The Great Meta Bet of 2012

On our most recent podcast, Chas and I created what we dubbed the Great Meta Bet of 2012. This is the first of what is planned to be an annual bet on who can best guess the Metacritic scores of the 25 most anticipated games of the coming year. At the end of the year, the person whose guesses were closer will be anointed the winner. The loser will buy the winner a game of their choice for Christmas. In other words, Chas will be buying me a brand new Wii U game this coming December.

Now, on to the games! If you are looking forward to a game not on our list, let us know in the comments! And if you think we’re totally right, feel free to let us know that as well.







Bioshock Infinite: My most anticipated game of 2012 is Irrational Games’s third game in the Bioshock series. When it was first announced that the game would be moving from deep under the sea to high in the clouds, I had my reservations. One of the main reasons I loved the first two Bioshock games was the atmosphere. My worries were put to rest, however, when 15 minutes of gameplay footage was released from last year’s E3. Take a look at this gameplay footage and tell me that doesn’t look amazing.

Bioshock is one of my favorite games of all time, and my hopes for this game are sky high (pun intended).

Release date: not known (guess: late October)
Desirability: 10/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave- 95; Chas- 98 (Bioschock– 96, Bioshock 2– 88)






Mass Effect 3: Considered by many to be the greatest modern RPGs, Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 have received countless accolades. No doubt fans of the series are anxiously awaiting the conclusion of the trilogy. I gave Mass Effect a couple of shots, but it didn’t catch on with me. I tend to not like games set in space, but I think the clunky menus and poor shooting mechanics also turned me off. I’m still hoping to play Mass Effect 2 early this year. I think it’s worth at least giving it a shot.

Release date: March 6
Desirability: 4/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 94; Chas – 96 (Mass Effect – 91, Mass Effect 2 – 96)






Borderlands 2: The surprise hit of 2009, Borderlands was a great, albeit highly flawed, experience. I’m really looking forward to the sequel because I’m hoping they keep the great co-op play but improve on the missions and story and address the frame-rate issues the first Borderlands suffered from near the end of the game. Despite its flaws, Borderlands was one of my favorite four-player co-op experiences of all time. Here’s hoping Borderlands 2 lives up to my expectations.

Release date: not known (guess: early November)
Desirability: 9/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave- 87; Chas- 90 (Borderlands– 84)






Tomb Raider: Tomb Raider has never been my favorite franchise because I felt the star of the game received much more attention for her physical attributes than the game deserved for great gameplay. The series has been completely dormant for the HD generation; however, the trailer from E3 last year looked impressive. Hopefully a reboot of the series in a more Uncharted-style game will propel it to greatness.

Release date: not known (guess: mid November)
Desirability: 8/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave 85; Chas – 82






Max Payne 3: Max Payne was one of the last games I was able to play day one on my PC. The game was released in 2001. This should give you an idea of when I stopped being a PC game fan. However, back in the day I loved Max Payne. The graphics were cutting edge and the bullet-time Matrix-style gunplay was incredibly fun. I’ve enjoyed the last three Rockstar games, and as this appears to be their big release of 2012, you can expect quite an advertising blitz.

Release date: May 2012
Desirability: 7/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 86; Cha s- 92 (Max Payne – 89, Max Payne 2 – 86)







Final Fantasy XIII-2: The sequel to the most controversial Final Fantasy game is the first major release of the year. I very much enjoyed FFXIII, so I am looking forward to the sequel. The combat and graphics were the best I’ve experienced in a Final Fantasy game to date. Unfortunately, the sequel does not seem to have improved on the sub-par story in FFXIII. In fact, my favorite characters, Lightning and Sash, appear to have been marginalized. I’m still looking forward to playing it, but I don’t think it will be challenging FFVI for the crown of the greatest Final Fantasy fame of all time.

Release date: January 31, 2012
Desirability: 8/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave- 81; Chas- 80 (Final Fantasy XIII– 83)






Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: I’m a huge fan of all of Valve’s games, and while I always sucked at Counter-Strike, I’m going to take a serious look at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. An XBox Live arcade game, Global Offensive will set you back only  $15 and promises great FPS combat. As is standard with all first-person shooters, your ability to convince your friends to buy the game will have a heavy impact on your enjoyment.

Release date: “early” 2012 (guess: March)
Desirability: 6/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 88; Chas – 85







Resident Evil 6:  Resident Evil has been one of the biggest franchises in gaming for 15 years now. While the 4th game in the series is widely considered the best, Resident Evil 5 was also wildly popular. I have never gotten into the Resident Evil series because the early games suffered from terrible control issues, and I was not able to find a reliable co-op player for 5. Resident Evil 6 was just announced, and while I’m personally not looking forward to this game, I know a lot of people will be. You never know, though: Capcom may release a killer trailer at this year’s E3. We’ll have to wait and see.

Release date: November 20
Desirability: 3/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 82; Chas – 85 (60) (Resident Evil 4– 96, Resident Evil 5– 84)







XCom: Because I never played the original XCom (released for the PC back in 1993), I’m not looking forward to this game at all really. Wikipedia describes it as a first-person shooter with strategy elements. This sounds an awful lot like Crysis 2 ,which I haven’t gotten around to playing yet. I hope it’s great and it surprises me.

Release date: March 2012
Desirability: 4/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 85; Chas- 83







Quantum Conundrum: Designed by Kim Swift, the mind behind Portal, Quantum Conundrum sounds very similar to that game. That’s great news as far as I’m concerned. Portal is one of the most original and fun puzzle games of all time. Every year one XBLA games releases that competes for my game of the year. I’m hoping this is that game.

Release date: Q1 2012 (guess: March)
Desirability: 8/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 89; Chas – 92







Hitman: Absolution: Honestly, I don’t know much (anything, really) about this game. I’ve never played a Hitman game. Chas loves these games, however, so he wanted to talk about it. I’m sure he’ll get Hitman: Absolution and then I can borrow it from him. If you like Hitman, let me know about it in the comments.

Release date: unknown (guess: October)
Desirability: 5/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 85; Chas – 86







Far Cry 3: This is another series I don’t know much about. Based on Chas’ recommendation, I played Far Cry 2 for about 2 hours and it didn’t grab me, so I moved on to something else. This might be another one I have to borrow in order to play. Like Hitman, let me know in the comments if you like the Far Cry series.

Release date: Q3/Q4 (guess: September)
Desirability: 8/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 91; Chas – 92

PS3 Exclusives






Twisted Metal: Twisted Metal franchise is one of Sony’s longest running franchises; however, it’s never been one of my favorites.  I casually enjoyed the first one, but I never felt like the subsequent entries in the series did much with the formula or improved much on the gameplay. This seems like a game that would be ideally played with lots of friends, but Sony’s crappy online service makes that impossible (for me at least). My gut tells me this game will not end up being liked all that much by the critics.

Release date: February 14
Desirability: 2/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 80; Chas – 82 (hoping for a 40)







The Last of Us: Not much is known about this game other than what we can see in the kick ass trailer. Of course, we’ve been teased with awesome trailers before, only to be let down by the game (see Dead Island). The difference here, I believe, is the pedigree of the developer. Naughty Dog, the creator of the Uncharted series, is working on The Last of Us, and that alone is enough to cause excitement. If The Last of Us turns out to be a game with an apocalyptic-style atmosphere combined with Uncharted-type gameplay, I’ll be very excited.

Release date: not known (guess: early November)
Desirability: 8/10
Estimated Metacritic Score: Dave – 90; Chas – 88.1

Xbox Exclusives







Halo 4: As I mentioned on the podcast, I think that Halo 4 will be delayed until the launch of Microsoft’s new system. I also am quite skeptical that the system will launch this year. If Microsoft is able to pull everything together and have their new system ready to launch by Christmas, I think we’ll see Halo 4 with it. I’ve enjoyed every Halo game on the Xbox and see no reason why I won’t love this one as well.

Release date: unknown (guess: 2013)
Desirability: 9/10
Estimated Metacritic Score: Dave – 92; Chas – 93 (Halo ODST– 83, Halo Reach– 91)







Minecraft: It may be a little misleading to call this an Xbox “exclusive,” as Minecraft has experienced a great deal of success already on the PC. However, Minecraft is not coming to either of the other home consoles, so Microsoft can claim an advantage there. Minecraft is like playing with a giant tub of Legos, as you are able to build whatever your heart desires. It will be interesting if the game will translate from the PC to home consoles. Peter Molyneux called the game one of the greatest innovations he’s seen in the last 10 years. I’m eager to give it a shot.

Release date: unknown (guess: May)
Desirability: 5/10
Estimated Metacritic Score: Dave – 91; Cha s- 88 (Micecraft PC – 94)







The Witcher 2: This is another game that isn’t truly an Xbox exclusive as it came out last year on PC. However, as it is not releasing on PS3, we’ll count it for Microsoft again. The Witcher 2 has received critical praise on the PC, and after playing Skyrim, I’m looking forward to an RPG that concentrates a little more on story than action. Reviewers have said you do not need to have played the first game to understand the second, so don’t let that be a barrier to playing the game.

Release date: April 17
Desirability: 7/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 87; Chas – 90 (Witcher 2 PC- 88)







Kinect: Star Wars: One of my least-anticipated games of the year, Star Wars has been the most talked about Kinect game since even before it was  announced. Once Star Wars nerds learned what Kinect was, all they could think of was a virtual lightsabre battle. Unfortunately for those fans, I feel that this game is destined for failure. Early reports from last year’s E3 have been lukewarm at best, and, not surprisingly, waving your arms around like you have a pretend lightsabre is just not that much fun.

Release date: unknown (guess: October)
Desirability: 0/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 70; Chas – 75 (hoping for a 20)







Alan Wake’s American Nightmare: Alan Wake had the misfortune of releasing on the exact same day as Red Dead Redemption, one of the most successful games of 2010. Thanks to that boneheaded marketing move by Microsoft, the game probably did not perform as well as it could have. Perhaps for this reason, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare will be an XBLA game. It will be featured in the 2012 House Party and should receive additional marketing associated with it. While I had some issues with the original game, overall I liked it very much. I’m looking forward to this game. I hope it is successful and will allow us to see another retail game in the future.

Release date: February 22
Desirability: 8/10
Estimated Metacritic Score: Dave – 85; Chas – 88 (Alan Wake – 83)

Vita Exclusives






Uncharted: Golden Abyss: I’ll say right now that I have no plans of getting a Playstation Vita. I already own a handheld, the games on the PSP never appealed to me, and the games that I did have interest in generally struck me as experiences I’d rather have on my Playstation 3. Uncharted: Golden Abyss falls into the latter category. I don’t understand why someone would want to play an epic experience like Unhcarted on a 4” screen or in short 30- to 45-minute sessions. I don’t doubt the game will be good; however, that alone is not enough to inspire me to rush out and spend $250 (plus a memory card, plus the price of the game, etc…) on a new system.

Release date: February 15
Desirability: 4/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 85; Chas – 82

PC Exclusives






Diablo 3:  Diablo 3 is currently a PC exclusive, but there have been pretty clear signs that Blizzard plans to release the game on home consoles as well. If that is ever 100% confirmed, my desire for the game will increase, albeit slightly. I played and somewhat enjoyed the original. When playing together with friends, it’s a fun dungeon crawler. When solo, however, the grinding the game requires is next to unbearable (see World of Warcraft). I don’t own a PC that could run the game, so I’ll wait and see if a group will want to get this together on Xbox. Otherwise, I’ll just watch it print money for Blizzard from afar.

Release date: when it’s ready (guess: March)
Desirability: 7/10 (Xbox)
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 90; Chas – 95 (hoping for a 66.6)







Dota 2: Created by Valve. That’s all you really need to say to get me excited about a game. Unfortunately, my lack of a PC will prevent me from playing this one; however, I think it sounds pretty cool. Dota was originally a mod to Warcraft III. The game is a real-time strategy game, the one genre that I still feel is not playable on consoles. A couple of my favorite games of all time are Command & Conquer and Warcraft II, so I’m sure I would love this one. However, until I get a PC capable of running current games (which won’t happen anytime soon), I’ll have to miss out.

Release date: when it’s ready (guess: October)
Desirability: 8/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 93; Chas – 88






WoW Panda Expansion: The last time I upgraded my computer it was to play World of Warcraft. What a mistake that was. The latest expansion pack, which features pandas, does not make me regret cancelling my subscription. Significantly, however, if Diablo 3, this WoW expansion, and a Starcraft expansion come out this year, Blizzard will have released three games in one year–an amazing occurrence ,as it generally takes them 5-10 years to release just one game.

Release date: when it’s ready (guess: May)
Desirability: 0/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 85; Chas – 82







The Last Guardian: If you’ve been listening to Stew Over’s Loadcasts, you’ll know that no game has given me more grief than this one. For the past two years this has been my most anticipated game. I loved Shadow of the Colossus and had been waiting patiently for over 5 years for a new game from its studio, Team Ico. Unfortunately, the game’s creator and executive producer have both left Sony. The official word out of Sony is that the game will still release, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the game is cancelled. If it ever does see the light of day, I have doubts that it will be the great landmark game Shadow was. The entire situation is very depressing.

Release date: unknown (guess: 2013)
Desirability: 10/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 80; Chas – 82






Mario (Wii U): I understand that this game hasn’t been announced yet. I understand we haven’t seen a screenshot, video, or even concept art. I also understand that Nintendo hasn’t even hinted at it. I don’t care. I really, truly believe that Nintendo learned its lesson from the early struggles of the 3DS and even from the negative reaction to the Wii U’s reveal at last year’s E3. There’s one game that can fix all of Nintendo’s problems, and that game is Mario. It’s been 2years since we saw the last Mario game, which gives Nintendo plenty of time to prepare the new HD game for their new system. I also believe I know the release date of the system. Nintendo loves releasing games on Sundays and released the Wii in November. I also think that 11/11/12 gives them some great marketing opportunities. I also believe all of this will be confirmed at E3 this year. If I’m right, the new Mario will be right up with Bioshock Infinite as my most anticipated game of the year. As it stands I’m very excited for the Wii U, but a new Mario game will put me over the top.

Release date: unknown (guess: 11/11/12: Sunday)
Desirability: 10/10
Estimated Metacritic score: Dave – 95; Chas – 88

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