Mass Appeal’s Holiday Gaming Guide

It’s not quite that time where the season of giving is upon us, however, the length of this year’s list of upcoming titles is one that could make Santa’s head spin.

So far we’ve only gotten a sweet taste of select releases for 2012, and video game developers are still promising so much more. Here are just a (very select) few of our favorites to look out for this holiday season.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (PS3, Xbox360, PC) [11/13/2012]

This is definitely one title to keep your eyes out for this winter season. The team behind this genre-defining franchise has always managed to push the envelope and keep the gameplay fresh and enticing, even though at this point I almost rolled my eyes at the announcement of yet another COD game. With the release of Modern Warfare, a new standard was set. Now that the setting has stepped into the realm of a futuristic universe, we might be looking at another game changer. There’s been chatter of a non-linear story that will change based on skill and the decisions you make. For the first time within the game, a player will be able to control multiple soldiers and flying bots to thoroughly dominate their enemies. And I almost forgot: Zombies will be back, promising the game to be bigger than ever… can’t wait.

Halo 4 (Xbox360) [December 2012]

Fanboys are going to need over-the-counter pain relievers after this release sentences them to a sedentary winter on the couch with Carpal tunnel syndrome. Although Bungie is no longer in charge of the Halo franchise, the game still promises to be as epic as ever. After all, Microsoft Studios is still behind their winning title. The stage is set after the events of Halo 3, some evil force is threatening life as we know it and it’s up to the ever unyielding Spartan 117 to stop it. We’ve heard it before, and we’ve loved it every time. Developer 343 Industries promises mad customization in multiplayer, for the first time allowing players to fully customize their load out based on a progression system, not something new, but definitely something Halo has been wanting for a long time.

Hitman: Absolution (PS3, Xbox360, PC) [TBD]

Hitman is all about viewing each mission from multiple angles, and finding out the most efficient way to put your targets in the dirt without leaving a trace. Ruthlessness, cunning, and improvisation are techniques that reward players exceptionally. Do I need to say more? IO Interactive, the development team behind Hitman announced Absolution in May of 2011, showing off a live gameplay demo (which looked insane) at E3 in June. They also just released yet another incredible gameplay video showing off some of the absurdly violent ways to take down baddies, but no official release date has been made. In the end, I for one can’t wait to bust out my fiber optic cable and choke some fools all across the world in an online beatdown. Agent 47 is back this winter season, and he’s got people to ice. Don’t miss out, this one’s going to be killer.

The Last of Us (PS3) [December 2012]

The Naughty Dog studio has proven to be one serious asset for Sony. For years, Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted have tipped the scales for those on the fence of which console to invest in. Say “hello” to yet another game changer. With almost all humanity decimated from some inexplicable modern plague, Joel and Ellie are forced to do whatever it takes to survive as they cross the country. As far as gameplay goes, no footage is available, but from initial screenshots, this title has got some seriously stunning visuals, possibly the best I’ve seen of any release this year.

GTA: V (PS3, Xbox360, PC) [December 2012]

*Recent ex-RockStar North employee posted leaked information on GameSpot forum – of which he says that GTA V wont be ready until May 2013*

Jumping into a Grand Theft Auto game, you know what you’re gonna get. Mayhem, madness, and the opportunity to waste everything and everyone that stands in your way… on second thought, screw it, even if they don’t stand in your way! Rockstar has got the open-world experience down and GTA V is promising to be the biggest world yet. After Red Dead Redemption, that accomplishment is pretty huge. While the basic city is modeled after San Andreas and its neighboring boroughs, all of it has just been expanded upon on an incredible scale. Rumors speculate it will be about five times larger than Liberty City. This is going to be a serious Game of the Year contender.

BioShock Infinite (PS3, Xbox360, PC) [10/16/2012]

What captivated me the most when I first saw the announcement trailer for BioShock Infinite was the change of setting. Rapture is a thing of the past, welcome to the gorgeous floating city of Columbia. You play a character named Booker as he tries to save the voluptuous Elizabeth, taking all kinds of heat from the warring factions within the city. Glimpses of the gameplay have revealed a massive mechanical crow as just one of the foes you’ll be butting heads with. Dope. And as it is with all BioShock games, wielding psychokinetic powers is a must, and Infinite is granting players bigger and badder possibilities. I’m hoping to see some serious destruction at my fingertips here. With story being a consistent forte, this game offers nothing different. A phenomenal interactive voyage where your decisions change the outcome of the story will leave you coming back again and again.

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