A list of 10 single-player PC adventure games for 2011.
The only real “must buy” is of course Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Having hugely enjoyed Titan Quest this year, Diablo III is second on my list — but I’ll be looking carefully at reviews and probably waiting for a patch first. I think I’ll pass on The Witcher 2 until I’ve finished the first one (I got bored half way). Dragon Age never grabbed me (the first main party quest — find the witch — was so lacking in charm, so linear, and so utterly flat in terms of visual imagination that I couldn’t be bothered to continue. It was like playing an MMO), so I’m not very interested in Dragon Age 2.
As a fan of Unreal Tournament 2004, the wildcard for me is the soon to be released Bulletstorm. Could it be an interesting fun blending of Unreal Tournament and Mass Effect? Or just another mindless macho shooter for pimply boys? It certainly can’t possibly be worse than the dire Unreal III, a game which Bulletstorm‘s oh-so glossy screenshots rather seem to echo. It’s also interesting to see Fable III announced for the PC. I wonder if it’ll be timed to go head-to-head on the shelves with Elder Scrolls V in the pre-Christmas period?
Much further out (mid 2012?), I’m heavily anticipating Risen 2. Just make it as all-round good as Risen, guys — but with much better-looking, more differentiated, and better-animated NPCs. Risen is a game that’s actually been criticised by critics for the so-so graphics. The natural environment certainly doesn’t feel as heart-tuggingly ‘real’ as it does in Oblivion. But it’s all hand-designed in Risen and you can tell/feel the difference that makes — it’s like when you go from a vanilla Oblivion landscape into one of the Unique Landscapes mod areas. Suddenly the landscape has ‘feeling’ as well as beauty.
Elder Scrolls 5 is due on the shelves on 11th November 2011, and (rather scarily) it’s going to be using a new game engine. Which should mean they have an opportunity to improve on those pasty unconvincing NPCs that plagued Oblivion. Let’s hope the new engine doesn’t mean the landscape is all procedurally (automatically) generated. After hugely enjoying Risen, I really want games that have carefully hand-crafted landscapes. Everywhere. Even if that means subcontracting a lot of ‘little’ places to the best of the fan-modders, in advance of release. Oh, and I want a God Mode that lets you avoid tedious multiple deaths while starting/training your character, but which also subtly alters the way you look. Use it too much, and perhaps your character starts to get uglier and uglier… with in-game consequences.
Let’s hope also that Bethesda ship a full fan-modder Construction Kit on release-day, as they have with other Elder Scrolls titles. That means we can then play the game over Xmas / New year with a month’s worth of mods and fan-patches guarding our back :) I seem to recall that over 600 mods had been released just one month after Oblivion was published.