Nearly 26 years ago in the midst of a sweltering summer and under the light of a blood red moon I was born in to this world. I don't imagine that the circumstances of my nativity differed in any truly significant manner from those of my fellow Destructoid readers. I emerged from the womb covered in blood and other detritus, but otherwise unscathed. My hands clasped and unclasped, my mouth sucked greedily, empty at the moment, but already eager for the life giving milk that would soon flow from my mother's teat. As of yet I had no name, but already I had a passion. Perhaps planted within my heart by the machinations of ancient instinct or instilled in me by a nefarious subterranean demon, I had a love, and that love was for games.
There are those in this world that might lay claim to psychic or supernatural ability; wiccans, wizards, prophets, and prognosticators. The blood that courses through these veins of mine, however, is not divine. I was not sired by some benevolent god descending from his throne divine, nor have I established a link with spirits from the ethereal realm granting me untold wisdom and a lense through which to discern visions of events yet untold. Within the following paragraphs I will attempt to make predictions regarding the scores that will be assigned to some of the most anticipated or high profile games releasing over the course of the next month. I advise those brave enough to read further to remember that I am only a man, and as such, any of the accuracies or innacuracies that follow are nothing more than the guesswork of a deranged mind.
Subject 1:Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Perspective: I was as surprised as anyone when, at 2011's E3, a sequel was announced to the stand alone IP of Mario's misfit brother. What surprised me more than the announcement, however, was the fact that I was actually excited to play it. When the first game was released back in 2001 I beat it and liked it, but I can't say that it made much of an impression. Somehow, however, in the years that have intervened the game has settled into a softer place in my heart. Maybe it's because Nintendo so rarely branches out and takes real risks with their core franchises, or maybe it's just the nostalgia I associate with the Gamecube, which to me represents one of the truly golden eras in gaming. Either way I've got a Luigi shaped itch that I'm confident this game will scratch.
Heritage: With only one other title in the Luigi's Mansion franchise it's impossible to follow past trends to try and predict a score for this upcoming title. In keeping with Nintendo's pedigree, however, the original game received a respectable 78/100 on Metacritic which bodes well for the sequel's chances.
Prediction: This game's predecessor was hindered by the fact that it had to be rushed to meet the launch of a new console generation. It was short and the concepts behind it, while fun, never felt fully fleshed out. It seems with this new title that good ol' Ninty is attempting to correct these past mistakes and as a result I predict higher scores across the board with averages coming in around 8.5/10 (85/100)
Subject 2:Dead Island: Riptide
Perspective: The original Dead Island got me through a rough transitional period in my life. I had just moved into a new house and away from a lot of the familiar sights and friendly faces I'd grown accustomed to. Any drastic environmental shift can be accompanied by a certain sense of isolation, an isolation that for me was alleviated by immersing myself in a tropical and zombie filled paradise. Through the middle of winter in an unfriendly climate I huddled under a blanket in my unheated basement, finding warmth while mercilessly decapitating and electrocuting endless hordes of the undead.
Heritage: As much as I might have personally loved the first game, and as much as it resonated with me, it didn't do quite so well with critics at large. Due to a number of bugs, a rough ending, and a certain degree of repetitiveness the console versions came in at a satisfactory, but not amazing, 71/100 on Metacritic (the PC version faired quite a bit better with an 80/100)
Prediction: As this iteration is more of an expansion or addendum (I expect we'll see a full on Dead Island 2 debut not too far into the next gen console's life span) I fear that perhaps it might play things a little bit safe, hurting its chances at bettering the score of the first game. I predict an average score of 7.0/10 (70/100)
Subject 3:Injustice: Gods Among Us
Perspective: I'll admit without any reservation that this is the game I'm looking forward to least on this list and the one with which I am the least familiar. It's got super heroes, I guess, though it's severely lacking the type of clothing customization options that might REALLY suck me in. What if I could make Superman wear a funny hat? Or a fake mustache? The possibilities are endless and until NeverRealm Studios realizes that a Batman character without suspenders and a monocle isn't one that I want to see they won't be getting my hard earned cash!
Heritage: Developed by the same studio who brought us 2011's well received Mortal Kombat reboot, this game is in solid hands. That title defied my expectations receiving an above average 85/100 over at Metacritic.
Prediction: As talented as the men and women in charge of placing this product into our grubby nerd hands surely are, I fear that perhaps the disadvantages associated with adapting any known property might hinder this games chances at being truly amazing. It's been done well of course with such examples as the Arkham games standing as shining examples. Pushing boundaries and innovating, however, can be hard for any dev when the backgrounds and motivations of every character are already so rigidly defined. I expect Injustice to perform well though, if not quite as well as its predecessor coming in at perhaps an even 8.0 (80/100) at most major outlets.
Subject 4:Bioshock Infinite
Perspective: Crazy as it might sound Bioshock was the first game that I played and beat in the current console generation. I won't go into specifics, but suffice it to say I lived outside of the country for a period of two years during which I had neither the time nor the opportunity to do much gaming. Due perhaps to the long duration of my fast from this oh so addictive hobby of ours, the impact of Bioshock when I played it was all the greater. Never before had I experienced the level of atmosphere and immersion that I felt when I wandered into the world of Rapture. It single-handedly reignited my love affair with video games.
Heritage:Irrational Games' first entry in this series is frequently advertised as "The highest rated FPS of all time" a quick glance at various score aggregating sites shows such titles as Perfect Dark and Metroid Prime eking out slightly ahead of it, but the fact remains that with an average score of 96/100 it was an astounding game with near universal acclaim. The second title (outsourced to developer 2k Marin) marked a return to Rapture for the series but unfortunately not a return the same level of praise, achieving a still very high but not as astounding 88/100. Personally I loved the game but i'll be the first to admit that it failed to meet the same standard of originality and depth as the original.
Prediction: Ken Levine and his cohorts have had nearly six years since the release of Bioshock to tune and perfect there newest endeavor. I'm confident that this is going to be another fantastic entry in the series but am slightly off put by the degree of turnover and turmoil within the studio over the course of the last year or so. Will this game exceed the slightly lower bar set by Bioshock 2? I believe it will. I don't think, however, that it will be able to recapture lighting in a bottle as the first game did and as such I'm predicting an average across most sites of around 9.0/10 (90/100)
Hey everybody! Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read this little post of mine. If you disagree with any of the assertions I've made or have any of your own predictions to make I'd love to read them in the comments below! - JaMoMaN