The summer blockbuster is practically an American entertainment tradition, and with crowds packing theaters for movies increasingly drawn from comic books, video games and general geek culture, it’s a good time to look forward to a different sort of blockbuster. With the E3 convention, the largest annual event in the video game industry, fresh in our memories, it’s high time we looked at some of the biggest, most-promising titles expected out this year — or at least the ones I’m most excited about anyway.
Hey, it’s my column.
1. “Torchlight II”
The original “Torchlight” was an attractive and ridiculously fun little action-oriented role-playing game that somehow managed to sell over 1 million copies — a huge feat for an independently developed game — and I expect no less from the multi-player-enabled sequel. If you’re burnt out on “Diablo III” already, or one of the many, many players frustrated with its technical difficulties, this might be the answer to your troubles.
“Torchlight 2” for PC is available for digital pre order only on Steam.
2. “Guild Wars 2”
Unlike “Warcraft,” “Guild Wars” had no monthly subscription fee and featured game content, both mechanical and story-wise, compatible with solo game play.
The sequel is once again set in the fantasy world of Tyria and picks up 250 years after the original. Gamers fortunate enough to have been selected to participate in the recent beta test reported an experience comparable to sliding down a rainbow into a pool filled with chocolate and magic. Seriously, the reviews were that good. If you have any interest in playing an MMO at all, you want this game.
“Guild Wars 2” for PC launches August 28 and is available for pre order now through a variety of digital sources and, for those of you who prefer having a physical copy (myself included, it’s so much fun to open the box) will be available in stores soon.
3. “The Last of Us”
Developers at Naughty Dog Studios had issued a tentative release date of late 2012 or early 2013, but lately that seems to have definitely switched to the latter.
Set in a post-apocalyptic America after a globally-devastating spore-born virus has wiped out most of humanity, this title practically swept the E3 awards on the strength of its varied, but action-oriented game play and stripped-down, cinematic visuals.
Players will take on the role of Joel, a hard-bitten survivor and will be accompanied by the A.I.-controlled Ellie, a street-smart 14-year-old who Joel promised a dying friend to protect. For PlayStation 3 gamers, this is probably hands-down the most anticipated title out there right now — even if it now looks like it might be a ways off still.
You can find more info at thelastofus.com but viewers beware, the game footage on the site is gory and features some strong language.