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The 10 Most Exciting Games of 2012

Ten of the best from what’s due over the coming months

All signs point to this being a vintage year for videogames – and here’s ten of the very best from what’s due over the coming months.

2012 might have had a bit of a quiet start in terms of new games releases - although this month's The Darkness II, Kingdoms of Amalur and Soul Caliber V and Final Fantasy XIII-2 have very much got the ball rolling - but the best is very much yet to come. There are dozens of games due between now and Christmas that we can't wait for, but if pushed, we'd name these 10 titles as the ones we're most shivering with anticipation for... (For more games reviews, games news and our games forum, visit GamePro UK.)

BioShock: Infinite

BioShock: Infinite

Publisher – 2K

Developer – Irrational

Formats – PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Release month - TBC

With first-person shooters increasingly defined by the militaristic machismo of Call of Duty and whatever response to it EA come up with each year (rumour has it there’ll be another Medal of Honor in 2012), the time is more than right for a new BioShock game. Like its predecessors, Infinite promises to meld action with thoughtful storytelling, a choice of how to play and a painful moral dilemma or two. The big difference is that it moves away from the failed undersea utopia that was Rapture, and into the failed flying utopia project of Columbia. This means wide open spaces, dramatic skyrail travel and, perhaps most enticingly, a city that’s still alive and inhabited by civilians. We’ll also see time travel, a near-constant companion character in the form of the otherworldly Elizabeth, and giant mechanical bird-men. BioShock: Infinite remains a mystery in a great many ways – but that’s a big part of the appeal.

Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3

Publisher – Rockstar

Developer – Rockstar

Formats – PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Release month  - May

It’s been long years since oft-betrayed New York city cop Max Payne last did his slo-mo, Matrix-inspired dance with legions of thugs and gangsters, but in May he’s dragging himself into action one more time. The setting has moved to South America, the dark and wintery streets of NYC replaced with sunshine and favelas, and Max’s distinguished hairdo and sharp suit with a big fat belly and a shiny bald head. Developers Rockstar are claiming Payne 3 offers a reinvention of shooting, thanks to a whole new targeting system and, of course, those slow-motion powers, but fans’ fears that it’s too much of a stylistic departure from the first two Maxes may take some allaying.

Dishonored

Dishonored

Publisher – Bethesda

Developer – Arkane

Formats – PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Release month - TBC

With last year’s confident Deus Ex comeback proving there’s a clear appetite for cerebral shooters with generous lashings of player freedom, Dishonored looks to be exploring similar territory in a much weirder way. Set in an alternate reality where plagues, empires and steampunk defence systems rule the land, you take the role of a disgraced imperial assassin who, as well as being a master of stealth and guns, can possess animals to find alternative routes to his target. Or he can freeze time. Or, if you prefer, he can just blow a hole in everything that moves. The plan is that no two players will have quite the same experience.

Diablo III

Diablo III

Publisher – Blizzard

Developer – Blizzard

Formats – PC, Consoles TBC

Release month - TBC

From the makers of World of Warcraft, this hack’n’slash roleplaying game has been in ‘coming soon’ status for what feels like forever. Even after a successful beta late last year, creators Blizzard decided much still needed improving – so there’s still no sign of a definite release date. One thing’s for sure: it’ll be huge. Fusing the compulsive qualities of World of Warcraft with the more guided gratification of singleplayer roleplaying games, this’ll end up on almost every gaming PC the world over. Recently, a console version was confirmed too: it’s almost a mercy Diablo III isn’t out yet, because once it is, we won’t be able to escape it.

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3

Publisher – EA

Developer – Bioware

Formats – PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Release date - March

Speaking of things we can’t escape, Mass Effect 3’s marketing blitz has been long and constant: presumably we’re all supposed to have been brainwashed into believing it’s the ultimate sci-fi adventure by this point. But, while there will indeed be sex, violence and robots, what Mass Effect has traditionally done best is storytelling and the opportunity to shape your character and their crew into a reflection of your light or dark heart. Finding out how Earth’s last stand against the merciless mechanical Reapers, and what terrible sacrifices Commander Shepherd must make to stop them, is hopefully going to be a darkly dramatic journey to savour.

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