Another year down, another slate of games to drool over. Which of next year's Xbox 360 titles gets you hottest under the collar? Here's our shortlist.
SSX Tricky is high up in my list of last-gen classics. They were well ahead of the curve in terms of celebrity voiceovers. Why isn't Macy Gray in Skyrim, for God's sake? Why wasn't Jim Rose narrating War of the Worlds instead of Ubiquitous Picard? The big tricks and general friendliness of Tricky made it my favourite friends-around game.
The reason I'm excited about SSX is the difference between the original trailer and the latest one. The first trailer showed an anonymous man doing a Batman off a cliff. It was called Deadly Descents, for God's sake. What No Fear-wearing arsehole thought that title up, and how terrifyingly fearless must he have been for everyone else in the room not to say "ach, shut up"?
Then there's the trailer I've just watched six times. The one with Run DMC shot through with a squelch of dub step. I'm still tingling. It's like someone took EA into a room, explained to them what was good about their franchise, and they actually listened. Fun, overblown tricks, strong and cheesy personalities, unlikely rails and the slogan "Defy Reality. Own The Planet." Whoever did this, I love you. Shit, I'm off to dig out my PS2.
Not long to wait for this, but I'll struggle to focus on the rest of 2012 until Mass Effect 3 is out of the way. After five years of obsessing over the adventures of Shepard, the trilogy's grand conclusion is finally here. Explosive revelations and combat are certain to play a big part, but I'm most psyched about the subtlety. Tracking thousands of decisions made across the series, Mass Effect 3 looks like a logistical nightmare. For us though, the outcome should be something special. No matter the gender or history of your Shepard, it promises a fitting end to the saga. Massively improved combat is little more than the icing on the cake - as long as I'm back on the Normandy, I'm happy.
I'm not ashamed to say that I'm most looking forward to Grand Theft Auto 5. I know that doesn't get me any hipster cred, but I'm fascinated to see what Rockstar comes up with for its most famous franchise. With standards for open-world games set ever higher, not least by sibling Red Dead Redemption, GTA has to work harder than ever to impress - I'm expecting a great leap forward, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it is.
Besides Mass Effect 3, as detailed in our biggest 2011 disappointments feature? Tricky one. Halo 4 would be the big pick if I knew a damn thing about it (fortunately, there's grounds for some promising deductions about the game's plot, cast and gunplay). Bioshock Infinite I struggle to get excited about, oddly - I find Elizabeth risibly pert and puppy-eyed, there's little (right now) to suggest that reality tearing will be other than a glorified exploding oil drum, and Columbia feels too much like Rapture's inverse: approximately the same political leanings, different altitude. Perhaps if it took itself a little less seriously, a la Binary Domain, a shooter I've got stupid amounts of love for despite the quite probable fact of it's being totally broken.