I admit it, I’m a total video game nerd. But that statement just doesn’t have the weight behind it like it did 10 or 20 years ago, because chances are good that you too are a video game nerd.  Maybe you like kicking it with your friends at Rockband, or perhaps you are the type to stay up late guild raiding in The Old Republic; I’m willing to bet that some of you have played a game sometime in your life.  I like to think of myself as representing the type of video gamer who loves to play games with friends as well as having a real passion for an intense, single player challenge.  I hope that you will follow my blog on Geek Hard every week to catch up on the games that I guarantee will knock you and your friends’ socks off.

Without further ado, I present Danny’s Top Five most anticipated games for 2012.

Diablo 3

Diablo 2 had its share of criticism possibly because it leant itself to a more hardcore, arcade style hack and slash than a true to form dungeon delve.  Diablo 3 promises to build on the multiplayer experience started by D2: randomly generated game environments, drop-in drop-out co-op through Bliznet and an auction house.

That’s not to say that I’m not also apprehensive.  I felt that Starcraft 2 catered to hardcore, competitive players and didn’t really bring anything new to the series that we casual gamers were looking for.  In Diablo 3’s case, I would be willing to bend a little more because the hack and slash works well in a top down, isometric multiplayer game.

Ever since Warhammer Dawn of War, I’ve longed for a game that I could quickly set up and jump into with my friends.  Thankfully, the man behind what made Dawn of War so successful is the lead designer on this project.

By the way, it’s a free to play on the Weekend of the 20 April. Click here for details!

Release Date: May 15

Excitement Level: 3/5

Half Life 3

If you don’t know anything about Half-Life, well, let me be the first to welcome you out of your 15 year coma and spin you a fantastical yarn: in 1998 a company called Valve created a first person shooter that redefined the genre because it was the first to use scripted events to tell the story.  Then came Half Life 2 in 2005 which pioneered real-time facial expressions and an incredibly immersive texture environment designed to scare the living crap out of you!

Gordon waits as patiently as his fans.

It’s hard to believe that Half-Life 2 came out almost eight years ago. Eight years we fans have waited for a resolution to that incredible cliffhanger.  This might be our year, friends.  Let’s just say there’s a lot of chatter in the rumour mill that this year looks be the year we get the conclusion in the form of an all new Half Life 3.

I’m mostly excited about a new Half-Life engine because it always spawns a slew of spin offs using the Valve engine.  From Half-Life 2 we got Portal 1 & 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike Source. Although this game hasn’t been officially given a release date, all speculation is on a Q4 release.

Release Date: TBA

Excitement Level: 4/5

Grand Theft Auto 5

Rockstar have some big shoes to fill thanks to the pure fun that was Saints Row 3.  Saints Row 3 took GTA4 and filtered out all of the boring missions filled with platitudes about “beeg teeted ladies”, and what was left was pure, concentrated fun.

Not a lot of information is known about Grand Theft Auto 5, except this trailer and a few announcement made since then.  What I gleaned from the trailer, is it will be another rags to riches story set in the modern era Los Santos (Southern California).  This is what I’m excited about; a story about starting with nothing and working your way up to kingpin of the city.  I absolutely loved these types of stories in Vice City and San Andreas and I can’t wait to see Rockstar return the series to its roots.

Another exciting feature announced for GTA 5 is the multiplayer “crew” mode that you can form with your friends.  In this mode, up to five of your friends can join your crew at any time and complete missions.  The points gained will also carry over to the single player game.  A very nice touch.

The question remains, will Grand Theft Auto 5 be released in time for the holidays this year?  If past performance is any indication, it may be released in October.  I’m just going to grab my hot coffee and keep my trigger fingers crossed.

Release Date: TBA. Christmas 2012?

Excitement Level: 3/5

Borderlands 2:

To say that Borderlands was the sleeper hit of 2009 is an understatement: it sold over 4.5 million units worldwide.  What made the game so great was a compelling storyline, interactive characters with fully fleshed-out story lines, and player characters with RPG style skill trees.  This game was unique in that it was the first to combine all these different gaming elements from different genres into one game.  If you haven’t played Borderlands One yet, grab three of your friends and prepare to spend hours upon hours of just straight-up laugh out loud awesomeness.

To get a feel for what Borderlands 2 will be like, have a look at this trailer and tell me that this game doesn’t look like a lot of fun.  The next game is written by Anthony Birch, the creator of the hilarious Hey Ash, Whatcha Playing web series.  Fortunately, I’m a huge fan of his work so I’m expecting a lot more of the crazy, surrealist humour from his web series.

Any game that brought as many laughs and countless hours of game time with my buds is fine with me, and I can’t wait to bring the game crew back together again for round 2.

Release: September 18

Excitement Level: 4/5

Bioshock Infinite

Ok, go ahead and watch this video and then come back. It’s okay, I’ll wait…

Elizabreasts needs your help…

Holy shit, right?  Yes, go ahead and watch it again, don’t say I’m not a patient geek.  So, if you follow Irrational Games’ Bioshock series, you know that the developers like to base their story in extremely unique and nostalgic settings.  In the case of Bioshock Infinite, the game is set on a floating city during a period called American Exceptionalsm, which may or may not harken to certain… political tones of today.  In Bioshock Infinite, you take on the role of a Booker, a former Pinkerton Detective Agent who must guide the powerful and mysterious Elizabeth to safety.

Some people have complained that there was not enough multiplayer content in the first game, and they will probably make the same complaint about Bioshock Infinite.  To them I say, there is nothing better than sitting in a darkened basement on a rainy weekend being fully engrossed by an absolutely fantastic story.  Irrational Games are the masters of immersion, so needless to say this one is definitely on my day and date buy list.

Release Date: October 16

Excitement Level: 5/5

So there you have it.  Now, this list is by no means exhaustive so if you feel that I left an awesome game off my list, please post it below. We love to hear about our reader’s viewpoints!

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!