Consumer previews top summer video games

Graphic by Nick Graziano

With the end of the school year and E3 just around the corner, it’s time to take a look ahead at titles to keep an eye out over the next few months. With a slew of new releases coming, some a few days after school ends, there are plenty to look forward to and open your wallet for. In case you do not know what titles to spend your time playing, this list should help narrow it down. (“Grand Theft Auto V” is not on this list due to no set release date for this year at the time that this list is done).

10. “Call of Duty 9” – Another year, another “Call of Duty” game. This is the de facto game for the average college student, due to how much content is packed into the game as a way of compensating for the lack of change in game mechanics. Treyarch, the B studio behind the “Call of Duty” games set outside of the “Modern Warfare” universe, is developing this year’s entry. The belief with Treyarch’s next entry is that it will be a direct sequel to their 2010 release, “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” which put players in the boots of a Cold War era, CIA agent. The other possibility kicked around is a “Call of Duty” set in the future, creating a brand new universe for the studio to explore. One way or another is ready to answer the call for a ninth time when “Call of Duty 9” is released Nov. 13 for all platforms.

9. “Far Cry 3” – The next game list comes all the way from Ubisoft, with the next game in the “Far Cry” series. The next entry sends players to another island, with inhabitants that seem to have lost touch with the rest of the world, and the player caught in the middle of all them. That is what makes “Far Cry 3” stand out, the characters players meet along the way. Ubisoft has worked on constructing a world where the people inhabiting it are the real center of attention, not just the next mission the player has to do. So take this tropical trip to hell when “Far Cry 3” is released Sept. 4 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

8. “Assassin’s Creed III” – Desmond Miles and the Assassins are back for their first, true sequel with “Assassin’s Creed III,” and sends players from renaissance Europe to colonial America. The newest ancestor in this game is Connor Kenway, a half-English, half-Mohawk living in Valley Forge with his mother’s Mohawk tribe, but an outcast from both worlds. The game will have three main areas to explore: Boston, New York City and the Frontier, an area of woods and hills were most exploration is done. The player will also get a chance to interact with historical figures like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, but must refuse to take sides with either the Red Coats or Patriots. Take a bloody dive into our own history when “Assassin’s Creed III” is released Oct. 30 for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii U.

7. “Resident Evil 6” – Capcom is looking to make fans fear the dark again with the anticipated release of “Resident Evil 6.” Set 15 years after the Raccoon City incident, players will be able to take control of three characters in their quests to uncover the truth behind the outbreak of a new, even deadlier virus. The characters available will be series veterans Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield, along with newcomer Jake Muller. While giving players these three perspectives, the game also brings the franchise into modern times with better controls and mechanics, including the simple addition of moving when shooting. Be ready to survive the outbreak when “Resident Evil 6” is released Oct. 2 for 360, PS3 and PC.

6. “Darksiders II” – The sequel to 2010’s surprise hit, “Darksiders,” “Darksiders II” puts players back into the role of a Horseman of the Apocalypse, but not War. Instead, players will fill the role of War’s brother, Death, who is one his own mission to discover who framed his brother for the events of the first game. Death then travels to a place called the Nether Realms, a place between Heaven and Hell, to call in some favors and discover the truth. “Darksiders II” will continue to refine the “mature ‘Zelda’” feel to the game, but Death will play much different than War did in the first. Death fills the role of a finesse character, relying on his agility and speed rather than the brute force approach for War. So witness Death’s journey when “Darksiders II” is released in August for 360, PS3 and Wii U.

5. “Max Payne 3” – We start out the top five with the first game available after finals, “Max Payne 3,” which marks the first release in this franchise in almost a decade. For “Max Payne 3,” Rockstar takes the titular character out of the dark streets of New York City and drops him in the gang-infested streets of Sao Paolo, Brazil. The game is looking to keep noir feel of the originals, with Max narrating his journey through Sao Paolo as a private security provider. While the game keeps some of the staples of the original, like bullet time and painkiller, it brings it to a modern, fast-paced design to keep the players engaged. So experience Max’s dark tale when “Max Payne 3” is released May 15 for 360 and PS3.

4. “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” – The next entry in the Ghost Recon series, Future Soldier drops players in the role of, as the title says, a solider in the near future. While the game will retain the same squad focused game play in both single and multiplayer, the period of time allows for the use of new weapons and gadgets that the military may be developing right now. The game will also be sending the Ghosts on a worldwide romp to uncover a terrorist plot. So plan your strike when “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” is released May 22 for 360, PS3 and PC.

3. “Halo 4” – “Halo 4” drops players back into the armor of Master Chief who, along with Cortana, is awake after months of sleeping onboard half of their old ship, but are now trapped on a brand new planet. This will be the first game in the series not developed by Bungie Studios. Instead, 343 Studios have taken up the mantle of making the next installment in this franchise. This next game is also to be the first in a new trilogy of Halo games coming from 343 Studios, which they have dubbed the “Reclaimer Trilogy.” Along with refined controls, popular multiplayer and a fresh visual overhaul, there is plenty to look forward to this fall. Jump back into action with Chief and Cortana when “Halo 4” is released November 6 for Xbox 360.

2. “Borderlands 2” – Back when “Borderlands” was released by Gearbox in 2009, no one expected the game to take off as it did. Now, it is time to return to the planet Pandora in “Borderlands 2.” Set some time after the events of the first game, players now have a new set of characters to pick from for single player or co-op mayhem. While the looting and leveling up have remained somewhat the same, there will be a greater emphasis on gun manufacturers, with the goal of each maker’s guns to feel different from their competitors. That, along with a suite of new abilities with each character gives even more incentive for players to jump back. Start vault hunting when “Borderlands 2” is released Sept. 18 for 360, PS3 and PC.

1. “Bioshock Infinite” – This marks the first game for Irrational Studios since their 2007 Game of the Year winner, “Bioshock.” The next entry under the “Bioshock” franchise moves players out from the underwater city of Rapture in the ‘60s to the flying city of Colombia in 1912. Players take the role of Booker Dewitt as he explores the city in search of a mysterious and powerful woman named Elizabeth to take her away from Colombia. The game goes back to the guided openness of the first game, with players exploring a level in search of new weapons and tonics to survive not only the warring inhabitants, but the machines and creatures that roam the sky city as well, hunting Booker and Elizabeth as they try to escape. With another potential Game of the Year waiting thanks to this game, it is hard not to be excited about the possibilities. So go to the sky when “Bioshock Infinite” is released Oct. 16 for 360, PS3, and PC.

So there you have it, 10 games and 10 reasons to be excited about what the next few months hold for gaming. If people thought 2011 was busy year for games, then clearly they have not seen anything yet. Get your consoles ready for what is looking to be a busy few months.

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