(Xbox 360, PS3)
It is still unknown when this game will come out, but it would be on the list no matter what. If it was announced that the game was pushed back until 2011, we would change the name of the article to “Most Anticipated Games of 2011” to accommodate this game. Yes, there are other games that will sell better this year, and yes there are other games that are generating more buzz. But of all the games coming out this year, none have as much history (except maybe Metroid), and none have as many forgotten sequels in the bargain bin. So why is it on the list? Hideo Kojima. If the name Hideo Kojima doesn’t ring any bells, then, well, you probably aren’t a game nerd. Loser. Kojima is the man behind the Metal Gear franchise that reinvented the stealth action genre. In many ways, he raised the bar of games everywhere by demanding incredible detail to the game, perhaps even to a fault (the sound of a codec still haunts the dreams of people everywhere). Kojima helped push the launch of both the PS2 and the PS3 with Metal Gear games, and at Konami, he is the video game equivalent of a rock star, swaggering down the halls of his Kojima Productions offices, while young eager interns line the floor in front of him to make sure his feet don’t touch the ground. That may be an exaggeration, but he is a big deal, and his involvement as a producer on Castlevania, even if it is limited involvement, is a very good thing.
The Castlevania franchise has tried its hardest, but like a three legged puppy, it is heartbreaking to see it continually fall short. In recent years, the Castlevania series has entered the wilderness. Game after game of unremarkable and bland levels, with increasingly poor gameplay and a fundamental lack of imagination sent each new installment straight to the bargain bin, and even at deeply discounted prices the games were disappointing. Then someone at Konami decided that a reboot was in order. He or she likely went to the Konami red phone, and a signal went in the air to call Kojima, Konami’s version of Batman. One thing about Hideo Kojima, he spares no expenses. At all. When the 2009 E3 trailer debuted for Castlevania: Lords of Shadows, it looked better than half of the Hollywood movie trailers in the theaters. The cast is top shelf, with Sir Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle, Natasha McElhone and Jason Isaacs all lending their voices. The gameplay looks like it follows the God of War style, which is good, and a new story follows Gabriel Belmont (voiced by Carlyle) as he attempts to save the world and find the pieces of a mask that can bring his murdered wife (McElhone) back to life. So basically you have a magical whip that you use to beat the crap out of werewolves, vampires, and various monsters, including possibly the Grim Reaper, you do it with amazing and exacting graphics, and one of the most successful producers of all time in charge. If you are a gamer, and you aren’t at least a little excited by this, we have nothing further to discuss.