The once dominant platform has fallen on rough times as of late, cruelly deprived of the sort of franchise exclusives that once made the PC the go-to platform for hardcore gamers. On the rare occasion that the PC is remembered in a developers’ haste to go multi-platform and reap the lucrative rewards of console gaming, the ports usually lack the quality of their console-based brethren. I’m looking at you “Call of Duty: Black Ops”.
This upcoming year, however, does have a few surprises for gamers who prefer mouse and keyboard over a controller. “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” will undoubtedly keep many busy until the next “World of Warcraft” is released (which, considering Blizzard’s time table for “WoW” expansion packs probably won’t be until the end of 2012), and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Blizzard might even drop “Diablo III”s sometime during late summer or early fall. The problem with Blizzard is that they treat release dates like most of us treat orgasms – it’ll happen when it happens and not one second early, so don’t rush me. It’s a bit of a crap shoot whether Blizzard will have anything to show in 2011, but if you’re still sticking to the PC as your primary platform, chances are you’re an optimist anyway.
The rest of the PC’s line up is unsurprisingly sparse, but there are a few noteworthy titles that PC gamers (and only PC gamers) will be able to play in 2011. “Stronghold 3” and “Total War: Shogun 2” will allow you to assume control of armies of medieval knights or Japanese Samurai as they do battle for glory and honor, “Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad” puts you in the war torn city of Stalingrad during the height of the Nazi invasion during World War II, “Might & Magic Heroes VI” brings back the classic RPG franchise for one more turn of angels vs dragons vs demons goodness, and the RTS adaptation of the critically acclaimed “A Game of Thrones” novels also looks enticing.
Of course, the PC continues to shine is in Massively Multiplayer Online games, a category that consoles have had little success with in the past. “Final Fantasy XIV” and “DC Universe Online” will certainly take a stab at it when the launch on the PlayStation 3, but it’s safe to say the PC has the upper hand with upcoming MMO’s like “Star Wars: The Old Republic” and “Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online”, both of which are tentatively slated for a release sometime in 2011.
In short, while the PC has its share of exclusive titles that will undoubtedly make good use of the resources endemic to the platform, it looks like it’ll be surviving in 2011 off mostly MMO’s and multiplatform titles, like “Portal 2”, “Dead Space 2”, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but the list of games that justify your building a PC seems to get slimmer and slimmer with each passing year.
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