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I'm going to make this update brief as it's late in the day and my brother's being hospitable to me as of late. As the title suggests, what follows is a short list of titles I'm looking forward to in 2011. Read on to see what gets me hot under the collar in regards to upcoming releases for what will hopefully be an uplifting year.

Dead Space 2

Following on from ship engineer and protagonist Isaac's main horror outing on the vessel The Ishimura in the first Dead Space, the sequel will see our determined survivor traverse a dig site referred to as The Sprawl, playing home to several necromorphs (the undead menaces in the game) and no doubt new dangers and challenges to endure.

Added features include increased manoeuvrability, a new weapon referred to as a Javelin Gun and the ability to use jet boosters on Isaac's suit to allow him to fly around in anti-gravity. Expect lots of scares, shock value and maybe some twists when Dead Space 2 hits near the end of January 2011.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

It has been 10 years since the last instalment in the franchise and with unofficial reports of this coming to next gen machines for a while, it was only a matter of time before Capcom made a formal announcement that that latest in the franchise was in the pipeline. This time around players will be graced with cell-shaded 3D over traditional 2D, leaving long-term fans slightly perturbed by the added dimension. However, trailers of the title show the game looking amazingly pretty and stylish in equal measure.

Capcom will not disappoint with the gameplay portion of the game seeing teams of 3 returning, assists, specials, supers, max supers and so on coming around again. Making a return will be the ability to switch characters between supers and changing characters mid-air combo seems like a welcome addition to the franchise.

Old faces Ryu, Chun-Li, Iron Man and Wolverine will be returning to the fray. Joining them will be new faces of the likes of DMC's Dante, SSFIV's Crimson Viper and Biohazard's Wesker together with Marvel's rebellious teen with claws X-23, multi-ability user Super Skrull and omnipotent dark lord Dormammu. The game's looking better with each trailer released and one can only hope MvC3 will keep players warm when it is released near Valentine's Day in mid-February.

Valkyria Chronicles 3

Fans of the franchise were initially upset that their favourite franchise was being taken from the PS3 to its smaller brother, the PSP. One sequel later and we arrive at the third in franchise, looking better than ever and no doubt due to the development team getting used to the portable's hardware.

This time around tells the story of rogue unit Nameless in the game's fictional continent of Galia. Players will get to grips with disgraced former elite soldier Kurt Irving, battlefield survivor and descendant of the Valkyria Riela Marcellis and vengeful Darcsen (the in-game minority), Imuka.

Protagonists take the form of Imperial army faction Calamity Raven who the Nameless unit will cross paths with throughout the game. Old systems from VC1/VC2 make a return, as does the game's graphical style. New to this instalment are Special Points that will initiate character-specific abilities and perks. The demo of the game looks and plays well so hopefully the finished product will live up to high expectations.

Yakuza 4

I'm aware this has been released in Japan already but Western fans are having to sit pretty until April next year. Joining Kazuma this time around will be former homeless man-turned money loaner Shun Akiyama, vengeful police detective Masayoshi Tanimura and former-imprisoned gangster Taiga Saejima. The play area has been expanded, allowing players to roam the rooftops of Kamuro-cho.

Players will also be able to roam the game's back streets (called the Rojiura) and the game's underground which encompasses Kamuro-cho's sewers, parking lot and various shopping arcades. Separate sections of the game will see fans take control of each of the 4 main characters, each harnessing their own fighting styles, before they are brought together to intertwine their stories into one. Be sure to check the game out when it is released with the emergence of Springtime next year.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Covered somewhat in this blog already, the next in the Uncharted franchise was announced approximately a week ago to much internet furor. This time around players will see the treasure-hunting Nathan Drake venture across the Ru'bah Khali desert in search of another lucrative treasure.

Joining him will be series' favourite Victor Sullivan (Sully to his fans) together with equal measures of shooting, traversing, automatic weapon pickups, fighting multiple enemies at once and hopefully some exhilarating original set pieces to boot. The game is due in November next year and should shape up to be as worthwhile an entry in the franchise as the previous two entries to date. Let's hope Drake keeps his sharp wit and acerbic tongue whilst he's at it.

Other gaming highlights of 2011 I am looking forward to include Batman: Arkham City, Devil's Third, Duke Nukem Forever, Gears of War 3, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus: The Collection, The Last Guardian and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Let's hope that 2011 proves to be a good year for game releases and also a few (positive) surprises along the way.

All the best for 2011 and let me know what you think of what's in store for gaming next year, or what you would like to see, in the Comments section below.

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