In the past, January has been a month where the videogames trickled out and not much was released that was considered top tier. The mindset was that the holidays were just over, players were not looking for new adventures and maybe the finances were a little down after the Christmas turmoil. Developers seemed to be prepping in earnest for the year ahead and thus, the first month of the new year was a bit sparse in terms of new releases. But that changed several years ago and January -- and February -- began to get some release love in the form of big titles. In 2011, the new trend continues.
Yep, there are a lot more titles than the selected few listed here -- this list just represents the biggest titles on the docket -- and gamers of every genre preference should be able to find something to fit nicely into their machines and give them new adventures. With that said, let's look at the top titles hitting retailers this month!
DC Universe Online (PC, PS3)
January 11, 2011
See CBR's preview of the title here.
Teased at E3 events for the past several years and delayed in late 2010 from its original release date pre-Christmas of 2010, "DCUO" finally hits retail shelves with an experience that should resonate with fans of MMOs, as well as those of DC Comics. The artwork, supervised by Jim Lee, is stunning and the game integrates the established heroes and villains from the comic book world in a manner that seems completely logical within the gaming world. Players are able to create their own archetype and pick a mentor from three superheroes and supervillains before venturing forth through Metropolis, Gotham and beyond. There is a lot of freedom to create archetypes and work through a variety of storylines while building the type of superhero that best suits the personality of the game player. In addition to mission-based quests, players can also embark on player-versus-player combat. The game will have a monthly subscription fee, in addition to the price tag for the retail version.
LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3)
January 18, 2011
The original game launched Sony's "play, create, share" themed lineup and was well received by both critics and gamers alike. Developer Media Molecule has gone back, re-imagined the world of Sackboy and given each level a basis in historical cultural high points. Of course, players have control over the world with the ability to change control schemes and even the rules. The multiplayer mode looks to be more robust this time around, offering both a social and competitive bent, and levels can be linked to allow players to bypass the Pod and continue on throughout the world. There are more than 40 story levels based on six themes and the game is backwards compatible with levels created and posted by players of the original "Little Big Planet."
Mass Effect 2 (PS3)
January 18, 2011
ME2 released in 2010 for the PC, but PS3 console fans will now get a taste of what PC gamers enjoyed by stepping into the shoes of Commander Shepard. The game features the content from the PC release, plus bonus PS3 content. Bioware's sci-fi shooter role-playing game is a visual treat, challenging players to put together the perfect team in embarking on what could well be a suicide mission to discover why humans are disappearing from the galaxy. Sound like a pretty broad topic? Sure, it does, but the game boils it down nicely and creates a nice flowing story with a few twists and turns along the way.
Dead Space 2 (PC)
January 25, 2011
The sequel to the critically acclaimed horror-adventure title brings back protagonist Isaac Clark who awakes from a coma and finds himself the lone survivor of an alien infestation in a massive space city known as "The Sprawl." But that's not Isaac's only problem; it seems the government wants him, he has aliens to fend off as well as dementia and visions of his dead girlfriend. The battles promise to be bigger and of an epic nature while players embark on a psychological thrill ride complete with top-tier visuals and action sequences.
The game comes in two flavors, regular and Collector's Edition. Included with the CE is a replica of Issac's Plasma Cutter gun from the game, complete with trigger-activated LED lights, as well as a voucher to download Issac's Unitology Suit and Force Gun. The packet also has the game's original soundtrack on CD and a Necromorph (the aliens) concept art lithograph.
While the overall list may seem sparse, the titles on it should be enough to get any gamer's trigger fingers itchy. Let the adventures begin!