Top Video Games Releasing Q1 of 2012: Five Must-Play Titles

The top video games releasing Q1 of 2012 are a very diverse group, with titles from several different genres. The following video games are highly anticipated, heavily hyped, and frequently covered by the gaming industry. The list also happens to make up my personal shopping list for January, February and March of 2012. Whether your preference is the Xbox 360 (X360), Playstation 3 (PS3) or Personal Computer (PC) platform, there’s a little something for everyone in Q1 of 2012.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – PS3 and X360
(Release Date: January 31, 2012)

Final Fantasy is one franchise every gamer, especially those who love Role-Playing Games (RPGs) should sample, at least to experience what has become a powerhouse within the gaming industry. After taking a look at the promotional screenshots and videos released in anticipation of this Q1 release, it’s obvious that Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a much darker, bleaker world than players experienced with Final Fantasy XIII. Familiar heroine Lightning is missing and presumed gone for good, something her sister, Serah, won’t accept. It’s a second helping of a video game that was successful the first time ’round, and one any RPG fan – or diehard Final Fantasy lover – shouldn’t miss.

Twisted Metal – PS3 Exclusive
(Release Date: February 14, 2012)

Twisted Metal follows in the footsteps of the 1995 Playstation title of the same name, putting players once again into a world of crazed clowns and insanely tricked-out vehicles. This fast-paced title is all about destruction and chaos, and Twisted Metal offers both two and four-player split-screen multiplayer modes, plus online competitive modes with up to 16 players on the Playstation Network. Explosions, wicked weapons and chaotic battles await, and the only real shame of it is that Twisted Metal is releasing exclusively on the Playstation 3 console.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss – PS Vita Exclusive
(Release Date: February 22, 2012)

The Uncharted franchise is one of the biggest series exclusive to the PS3 system, so it’s little surprise that with the announcement of the Playstation Vita (PS Vita) handheld console a new chapter of the Uncharted saga was soon under way. Although much speculation still surrounds the PS Vita, which releases simultaneously on February 22nd, one thing is certain: Sony is taking portable gaming to the next level with the PS Vita and titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss. The implementation of a touch screen means that players can interact with Drake’s environment with the swipe of a finger, and given the impressive graphic and sound capabilities of the PS Vita, we’re sure to enjoy a satisfying, interactive experience.

Mass Effect 3 – PC, PS3 and X360
(Release Date: March 6, 2012)

I first experienced the Mass Effect world with the sequel, Mass Effect 2, shortly after its release last year. I was so impressed with this futuristic, Sci-Fi RPG hybrid from BioWare that I purchased a copy of Mass Effect 1 to enjoy the origin of the storyline and the ability to port-over characters from the first game into the sequel. Mass Effect 3 is supposed to offer the same feature, and even further expansion upon the Mass Effect world. The feature I’m most eager to play-test is the newly implemented multiplayer mode, which incorporates the core classes of the Mass Effect games and several race options as well. A fun cooperative mode, an interesting storyline, and stellar graphics make Mass Effect 3 an easy contender for some superb 2012 video game awards.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City – PS3 and X360
(Release Date: March 20th, 2012)

As an avid, long-time fan of the Resident Evil franchise, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is the video game releasing in Q1 that I am the most excited about. Odds are, this tactical and team-work-oriented title will be both a refreshing change from the usual formula and a welcomed glimpse back into the Resident Evil world. Quality third-person, multiplayer-based video games are still uncommon, though Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City certainly marks a big change from what players normally encounter in the Survival Horror-turned-Action Adventure series of titles. Players are transported back to 1998 and the original outbreak of the T-virus in Raccoon City, and must step into the shoes of an Umbrella Security Service soldier. What could possibly go wrong?

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