7 RPGs to Look For in 2011
By Mark Ainsworth
As a lover of all things RPG it comes as no surprise that my attention has now shifted to focus on
what lies ahead for fans of the genre be it from a Western or Eastern perspective. Ive decided to
write this article on just seven of the upcoming games that are on the horizon of 2011 so lets take a
Two Worlds 2
Up first is Two Worlds 2 and I choose to write and inform you of this first as its release date is at the
beginning of next month, the 4th of said month to be precise. Some of you may see the title and run
for the hills but thatd be a misjudged, maybe even stupid decision. The original Two Worlds may
not have been a stellar title, nor may it have been a great game but its heart was in the right place
and the fact that it has been given another chance in the form of a sequel could be a case of righting
some wrongs. Developed by the same Polish developer Reality Pump its clear theyre are trying to
push forward and make a much better experience than the predecessor and it shows. Everything
from graphics to combat to sound direction has been improved and while the voice work may not be
excellent around the horn, there are some good performances that keep the standard.
So whats it all about? Taking place just 5 years after the events of the original and the hero is once
again being thrown into a struggle to save the land of Antaloor and finds himself having to trust
a mysterious prophet named Cassara. Only in doing so can he find the path to save not only his
own skin, but his sister (Kyra) as well. Youll meet many characters ranging from Ed Teal, the most
infamous and cunning pirate ever to have sailed Antaloor's seas to Dar Pha, a woman part of the
rescue squad that saves our hero in the opening sequence.
It may not sound like the greatest story to pass but the improvements upon gameplay and the game
world should do enough to make Two Worlds 2 a decent starting RPG for 2011 if youre willing to
give it a chance.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
CD Projekt RED is bringing us the next instalment of The Witcher and the latest chapter of Geralts
story. The developers have even gone to length of creating their very own in house engine for the
sequel instead of running off a modified version of Bioware's Aurora Engine. Now using the RED
Engine the developers have been enabled to be much more specific in the creation process and have
been given a new lease of freedom.
Retaining the branching dialogue trees and delayed consequence system the narrative seems
to be strong just as it was in the original and its also rumoured that there will be 16 different
endings to see so replaying is a given. Adding to the replay value is the different ways a player can
approach each level, as its been shown through developer diaries that choice plays a big part in not
just conversation but execution of gameplay as well. Combat is also changed, veering away from
the mouse timed style combat in favour of a more action RPG approach. Add into this more than
average voice acting and graphics and we could be in for a real treat. The game launches in May for
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Tipped as a prequel to the original games Deus Ex: Human Revolution is looking to bring back the
franchise, make it appeal to a broader audience and keep original fans happy all at once. Heres
the synopsis for the game: during the year 2027 (25 years before Deus Ex) Nanotechnological
augmentations have yet to be developed and biomechanical augmentations are the current state
of the art. The main character, Adam Jensen, is a private security officer with Sarif Industries, a
leading company that specializes in these augmentations. After he witnesses a chilling attack on
his company which leaves him horribly injured and forced to undergo augmentation to survive the
One thing I love about this game already is the art direction; Human Revolution fuses together
cyberpunk and renaissance and it makes for a beautiful game world even if youre traversing the
back streets. Players will visit a total of 5 different major locations some of which include Detroit,
Shanghai and Montreal and in addition you will have your own apartment where Jensens secrets
and items can be stored.
The developers have tried to bring the game to the modern age and one way they have done this
is to shift to a regenerating health system to keep the game flowing instead of constant break ups
to find medkits etc. Third person aspects can be seen from close up instant kills and a new cover
system and other changes to gameplay is intuitive AI, for example: every enemy squad will have an
identifiable squad leader who will direct the team's actions. If the leader is killed, the squad falls
into disarray. Enemies will also react to subtle player decisions, such as a change in behaviour or
weapons. I could go on and on about why you should be interested in the game but lets leave it at
that for now.
Dragon Age 2
Dragon Age 2 centres around the main character named Hawke, known to be a survivor from the
Blight and the Champion of Kirkwall, who rises to power throughout the story. In the format of
a framed story, Hawke's tale spans over a decade throughout the game and the player writes the
history that will change the world forever. This take on storytelling is new for Bioware and allows
them to be more creative with the story that is unique to each individual player.
Taking the game in a more action packed direction combat wise Bioware are looking to make the
fighting element much more appealing to look at as well as execute. Player characters can now be
seen flipping into combat with much better animation and added finishing moves to make for a
more cinematic display. The main character is also now fully voice acted and can only be a human
unlike in Origins where you could change race, this was so that the developers could focus on telling
a more direct and focused narrative about the rise to power of Hawke. The game also now features
a Mass Effect styled dialogue wheel but with more emphasis on emotion and the way the lines are
While not making leaps and bounds graphically, any fan of the original shouldnt be put off by
any changes made so far as the core of what made Dragon Age: Origins so great is still there in its
entirety, it just looks a little different is all. Look out for DA2 on March 8th/11th.
Mass Effect 3
Another Bioware sequel now except this time a sequel to what I felt was the game of the year for
2010. Theres little known about the game for now apart from the tentative synopsis we have which
is: Earth is burning. Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun
their destruction of the human race. As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope
for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take
back the Earth.. Aside from this we have also seen a small teaser from the VGA 2010 show where a
British soldier taking cover in Big Ben taking a shot while describing how all planetary defences are
destroyed or regrouping. As Reapers touchdown in London he states "If Shepard doesn't bring help
soon, there won't be an Earth left to save. Then we see Shepard aboard the Normandy turn around.
As for actual game details all we have so far is that the game's director, Casey Hudson has said that
over 1,000 variables from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 to shape how players experience the final
chapter of Commander Shepards story. We can be sure to expect the return of the fantastic cast,
voice acting, gameplay and visuals weve seen in the past games and can only sit and wait in agony
for the game to land later this year.
The Last Story
The only Wii title and also only JRPG to be on this list is The Last Story which is being developed
by Mistwalker Studios and for a Wii title especially, the game is looking really great. The story and
gameplay are in the most capable hands of Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and his team
that brought us Lost Odyssey and with the original score being handled by Nobuo Uematsu you cant
help but be excited if youre a JRPG fan.
The game will take place on Ruli Island, governed by Count Alganan and located at the entrance of
a harbour which serves as the only entrance to a mountainous continent and players will control a
group of mercenaries who come to the Island seeking work. The lead character is named Elza; he
lost his family as a child and works as a mercenary to survive while he dreams of becoming a knight.
While hoping the narrative is great, there is also a totally original battle system that at times looks
like a hack and slash variant of a third person shooter which may sound strange but it looks like a lot
of fun. Other details include some form of online modes that are separate from the narrative and
a gathering system for items in game.
This is at least one JRPG worth looking at for 2011 and I only hope its not the only one worth
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Recently announced at the VGA 2010 show and there is only a handful of information at
the moment. Skyrim is a sequel to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and the story takes place
approximately 200 years after the events of the latter game. The game is set in the titular land of
Skyrim, a province of Tamriel, the continent on which all the games in the series have taken place. At
the time of the game, the King of Skyrim has died, provoking civil war amongst the native Nord race.
The war is the last in a sequence of events (depicted in each of the previous games in the series) that
fulfil a prophecy foretold by the Elder Scrolls; the Nordic god Alduin arises to destroy the world.
We know that players take the role of the last Dovakhiin (a dragon hunter) and that they must stop
the terrible events that are to unfold. Skyrim will run on an all new in house developed engine by
Bethesda that focuses on improving animation of characters when compared to previous games
by the studio as well as including dynamic snowfall. Players no longer choose a class archetype
in favour of a more dynamic system like the Fallout series, you now level based on how you play
therefore granting players more freedom to act how they wish instead of conforming to a class type
or suffering for trying something else.
By the sounds of it Skyrim is shaping up to be a fantastic title and is definitely one to look out for
later this year.