This article was originally published as a user blog post on Game Informer.

Do you think 2011 (specifically during autumn) was one of the best years for new games of all time? I’m sure you agree, and I don’t even think I could disagree with that. We got Portal 2, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Dark Souls, Arkham City, Skyward Sword, and…man, I could go on! The point is that it’s going to be very hard for this year to be any better…or at least that’s what you would think. In 2012, we’ve got a line-up that’s just as impressive. I have my top 10 games that I’m looking forward to this year even though there are more I can’t include! So, you may be asking “What are your top 10 most anticipated games of 2012, Dr. J?” I’ll tell you, it was hard to come up with, but I have a general idea of what those games are in order (from 10 to 1) according to my “excitement level.” These lists are always fun to make and I hope you’ll have just as much fun reading my first published one. Let’s begin.

10. Call of Duty 9 -*- November 12, 2012 (?)-*- PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii

WAIT! Don’t leave because this is on my list! Let me explain. I’ve been an avid CoD player since Finest Hour and have immensely enjoyed the franchise over the years. I do know that it has been getting repetitive and boring in the past three years (trust me, I wrote a huge blog about it), but you have to admit the games are still impressively good for yearly releases. Anyway, I’m looking forward to a new campaign, an “upgraded” multiplayer to play with friends, and hopefully zombies. I’d definitely say the latter is what I’m most excited for the most because of its incredible replay value and immense fun it can bring while playing with friends. I’m hoping a new engine will slightly update the graphics and improve the AI for this year’s CoD, but if not, it still marks my list as something I’m looking forward to.

9. The Last Guardian -*- TBA 2012 (?) -*- PS3

I recently finished both ICO and Shadow of The Colossus for the PS3. The reason for this was from hearing about the accolades both titles earned. Impressive graphics, unique storytelling, and massive scope are some things I could praise, but I wouldn’t call them masterpieces (specifically ICO). I’d say they’re more along the lines of an 8-9 (being really great/amazing). I am ready to be flamed for saying this, but it’s just my personal opinion.

It’s been about 7 years now since SoTC was released, so where’s TLG? As of now, the development of the game is in question and is subject to termination or continuation. I would really like to see the game come to light because of the past creativity the developer has displayed. I could definitely see this becoming a contender for GOTY, so I hope efforts are doubled to get this intriguing, beautiful-looking game out of the doors.

8. Tomb Raider -*- Autumn 2012 -*- PS3, Xbox 360, and PC

We all know Tomb Raider has had a good run. Any franchise that maintains a steady 7-8 score range with each release is impressive to me. However, it has been dying out in the past few years due to fatigue. That’s going to change this year because Crystal Dynamics is getting their act together and rebooting the franchise. The demo given last year at E3 was phenomenal and showed the vulnerability of an ambitious young girl, rather than some (frankly speaking) big-breasted goddess that can accomplish everything. The graphics look amazing, the survival-focused gameplay looks fresh and interesting, and the more realistic approach looks to make an impression on gamers this fall. It’s definitely on my radar and should be on yours as well…we might have a competitor to Uncharted here.

7. Darksiders II -*- June 26, 2012 -*- PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC

The End Times, The Four Horsemen, and Heaven vs. Hell. These are defining descriptions of Darksiders II. You play as Death, who’s fighting to clear his brother’s name (War) after he was accused of inciting the end of earth too early. I have the first Darksiders, but have yet to play much of it. However, I can tell you it’s a God of War/Zelda mash-up that pleased many critics for its good story and fun gameplay. From the looks of it, the sequel is bigger, more bad, and improving on every single thing from the first. The game apparently lasts up to 20-40 hours and more RPG and customizable elements are being added to gameplay. Darksiders II is probably going to feel familiar, but it’s definitely going to be wonderfully diverse. Get ready for this horseman. He’s coming to overtake War’s reputation!

6. Dishonored -*-TBA 2012 -*- PS3, Xbox 360, and PC

Does anyone remember reading the GI magazine covering this game? I’ve never read about a more unique game in my life. It’s an Open-World Stealth RPG FPS… or at least that’s what I think it is. You play as a man named Corvo, who was a direct assistant to the empress of Pandyssian. You are framed with assassinating her, which leads you to clear your name and kill the real murderers. There’s a morality system, different ways to attack situations with stealth or shoot-outs, and no restrictions as to what you can do. Dishonored is a mess of a game in a great way; something we’ve rarely heard of in the gaming world. Everything about it is lurking in the shadows waiting to surprise us, which I bet will be at E3.

5. Halo 4 -*- Winter 2012 -*- Xbox 360

Bungie’s marvelous run on Halo ended in 2010 as they departed for a new IP with Activision. For a lot of people, any other Halo game attempted in the future wouldn’t be as good. I completely disagree with that because of Halo 4’s developer: 343 Industries. It’s easy to tell that they absolutely love and respect the franchise; what it is, what it should be, and how to make it awesome. This is why I have faith that 343’s take on the next big chapter of Halo will succeed, especially after seeing a recent look on the inside of the game’s development.

We’re looking at a fresh, enthusiastic, passion-filled take on Halo this year. It’s going to be a great ride to watch this come to fruition, and I want to be there when Master Chief finally returns.

4. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance -*- TBA 2012 -*- 3DS

For those that have played Kingdom Hearts, you know it’s amazing. The complex story is phenomenal, the unique RPG/TPA gameplay works well, and the music is beyond what words can describe. They’re more than just games. Kingdom Hearts is an experience.

Despite continued spin-off titles ever since the console release of KH2, titles like Birth by Sleep and 358/2 Days have been absolutely wonderful. Dream Drop Distance aims to succeed as well. The graphics look like Birth by Sleeps’ (which is impressive), new additions to the gameplay are welcome, and the story is wrapping up loose ends for the long-awaited numero tres. Fans of KH are in for a treat this year because the franchise will impress us once again this year.

3. Assassin’s Creed III -*- October 30, 2012 -*- PS3, Xbox 360, and PC

Ever since the first game, Assassin’s Creed has continuously evolved in an uphill direction. The graphics are continuously improved, new elements to gameplay are added, the scope and openness of the worlds have been increasing, the story has been becoming more mind-blowing, and so forth. One of the only exceptions is Revelations, which I thought was a step back in terms of adding questionable new gameplay elements over successful ones in past titles. This year’s game is looking to make up for that twofold. A completely different environment, time period, characters, weapons, and more is just what the franchise needs right now. Although unexpected, I am immensely excited to see what’s been at hard work for over two years at Ubisoft’s Montreal developer.

2. The Last of Us -*- TBA 2012 (?) -*- PS3

The world is in chaos. A fungal virus of epic proportions has devastated human civilization and has caused even the few survivors left to turn on each other due to mistrust. You play as Joel, who has a young girl named Ellie tagging along with you while running across North America. This is The Last of Us: a TPS Survival-Horror title with incomprehensible expectations to live up to. We’ve seen what Naughty Dog can do. They’re going into beast mode because they’ve said themselves this isn’t just a video game, but an experience. With true emphasis on survival, horror, and realism, gamers are in no doubt going to be blown away (hopefully) by the end of this year.

1. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron -*- Fall 2012 -*- PS3 and Xbox 360

No one expects games under a license to be any good, which includes Transformers. This was undeniably changed forever two years ago when War for Cybertron was released. It was the “Arkahm Asylum of 2010.” I personally thought it was an astonishing game with great mechanics, an awesome story, and a fantastic multiplayer component. It baffled me that less than 3,000 people played multiplayer every day on PSN. To be honest, it was probably my GOTY for 2010. Everything about it impressed me; it shot past all of my expectations.

Now we have Fall of Cybertron. And boy oh boy, does it sound like a perfect sequel. More diversity is being added to gameplay; the engine was torn down from the last game and built from scratch to improve the AI and graphics; the story is aiming to be not only action-packed, but emotionally charged, and the multiplayer – my goodness – there’s going to be a much more complex customization system, new modes, and (hopefully) better servers. You better be prepared for Fall of Cybertron because I believe it’s going to be a GOTY contender. How about the GOTY? Perhaps, but I’m certainly not excluding it from the drawing. So, if you haven’t played the first game, do yourself a favor and pick it up. High Moon Studios (the developer) has an undeniable passion for Transformers and wanted to introduce the franchise to new fans through a video game. They’re pouring all they’ve got into the sequel, so be prepared for (quite possibly) the best game of 2012 that’s more than meets the eye.

Thanks for checking out my picks for 2012. Again, the list isn’t in perfect order, but it’s a general sense of what I’m looking forward to this year. But enough about me, what are you looking forward to this year? Sound out in the comments below and tell me if you agree with most of my list or not. Let’s hope for a great year of gaming for everyone!