To follow on from our recent Best Games of 2011 summary, it’s only polite to present something similar about the games we want in 2012. No GTA V you’ll scream – well, yes, but we have to get through Max Payne 3 before we can start revving up for that. Oh and it’s more in order of predicted release date in case you were wondering:

PS Vita
Release date: 22 Feb 2011

Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s domination of on-the-go gaming is to release the most powerful handheld console ever seen. Consider that PS Vita sports a quad-core CPU, beautifully clear screen, not just a front touchscreen but a back touch panel, gyroscopic control and the ability to remotely access your PS3 and so allow you to play your PS3 games remotely. Then there’s the launch line-up including a brand new Uncharted, a return to ModNation Racers and WipEout; February can’t come soon enough.

Luigi’s Mansion 2
Format: 3DS
Release date: Q1 2012

A cult-classic, Luigi’s Mansion was a launch title for GameCube which honed the idea of survival horror-lite, mimicking the likes of Resident Evil, but placing the rarely centre stage Luigi in the hero’s role in the midst of a traditionally cutesy Mario World environment. This 3DS sequel not only looks to deliver more of the same torchlight swinging, ghostbusting (via use of Luigi’s modified vacuum cleaner) action, but also features those same hauntingly beautiful backdrops and this time with the chance of the ghosts to come right out of the screen at you – who you gonna call?

Mass Effect 3
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release date: 9 March 2012

The concluding chapter of the current Mass Effect story arc sees Commander Shepard once more in finest galaxy-saving form. Not only are we promised ever better visuals and a return to the moral choices which help make your campaign experience unique, but can also expect a selection of four-player online missions whose outcome further impact your progress through the single-player – sure to be staggering.

Max Payne 3
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release date: March 2012

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by Rockstar’s recent announcement of Grand Theft Auto V, Max Payne 3 still looks to be one to keep an eye on. Continuing the noire-ish tale of the grizzled former detective, this new adventure embraces both the power of the modern day’s consoles and the sunshine, resulting in a shooter heavy of special effect, as Payne’s one-man army goes up against the gangsters of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Dragon’s Dogma

Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Release date: Q2 2012

Now here’s a rarity, a Western-style RPG with Greek mythology overtures but, and here’s the oddity, one developed by a Japanese developer in the shape of Capcom. The result is looking like a breath of fresh air for a genre that’s been getting increasingly homogeneous of late. Expect plenty of multi-headed hydra decapitation, the last flight of many a griffon and some impressive looking set pieces as the player’s entourage work together to bring down even larger monstrosities.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Release date: TBA 2012

Despite some well reported development issues which led to Hideo Kojima outsourcing the project to action-adventure specialists Platinum Games, there seems plenty to be excited about over the outrageously titled Revengeance. Not just because Kojima’s choice of studio was responsible for the brilliant slash-em-up Bayonetta, but also because it marks a departure for the series from the realms of Solid Snake’s sneak missions, into a Raiden-led world of all-out explosive action, devastatingly overdriven attacks and, maybe, a bit less talking between sections.

Kinect Star Wars
Format: Xbox 360
Release date: TBA 2012

Yes we’ve played it; yes, it didn’t quite live up to our expectations, but by pushing back the release date we have every hope that LucasArts and Microsoft between them will deliver a Star Wars title featuring never before seen heights of interactivity. Who after all can resist the idea of pushing droids off cliff precipices with one have while swinging a light sabre with the other? Let’s just hope they focus more on getting Kinect to fit Star Wars, rather than the other way around.

Diablo III
Format: PC
Release date: TBA 2012

Blizzard don’t put out too many games but when they do they tend to be of the blockbuster variety, see World of Warcraft and StarCraft II for example. Next up is Diablo III, which promises one of the most fluid and dynamic multiplayer systems ever implemented, as Blizzard look to make playing online as simple as undertaking the campaign solo. Expect plenty of dungeon exploring, hacking and slashing as the devil is driven back to hell once more.

Wii U
Release date: TBA 2012

While it’s anyone’s guess if Sony and Microsoft plan to release their own console updates in 2012, it’s common knowledge that Nintendo will be, the Wii U having already been revealed in June. Expect visuals on a par with the best of the present day, the ability to transfer gameplay from TV to iPad like controller and the usual suspects – Mario, Link, Metroid, Captain Olimar, Kirby, Donkey Kong, et al – in high definition for the first time. Surely one of gaming’s most exciting prospects ever.

BioShock Infinite
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release date: TBA 2012

What’s the natural riposte to Rapture, an underwater metropolis made famous in previous BioShock games? Simple, a city which floats through the air, and that’s exactly what Ken Levine and his team at Irrational Games are looking to deliver as they build Columbia. Though hesitant to reveal too much, we understand that not only will the traditional mix of guns and plasmids return, but the plot will hinge around the fate of the beautiful Elizabeth, who’s intrinsic and spiritual link to Columbia, and its mysterious leaders, is played out.

Halo 4
Format: Xbox 360
Release date: TBA 2012/13

Is it even going to be released on Xbox 360? As speculation mounts on when Microsoft might announce a 360 successor it’s perhaps only natural that similar predictions have been made which put Halo 4 as a launch title for such a system. There would be a certain synchronicity – Halo: Combat Evolved was after all a very effective release title for the original Xbox – but then it could also be a fitting swan song for Xbox 360 prompting others to suggest it might release for both systems, something along the lines of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on Wii and GameCube. Whatever the system, Microsoft will have a lot riding on this latest, post-Bungie, Master Chief outing.

The Last of Us
Format: PS3
Release date: TBA 2012/13

Having taken Nathan Drake through three adventures and supervised a fourth in PS Vita’s Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Naughty Dog have finally found time to move on to brand new territory with the announcement of PS3 exclusive The Last of Us, a survival horror of which little is known beyond the fact it looks harrowing, exciting and terrifying all at once, plus it’s in pretty safe hands.

Half-Life 3
Format: TBA
Release date: TBA

Whether Half-Life 3 sees the light of day – or is even announced – in 2012 is anyone’s guess, so we include this more as a wishful thinking entry than one based on anything more concrete than a recently spotted (supposed) Valve employee wearing a HL3 branded t-shirt. While we’re in the land of wishful thinking, can we be the first to predict a Left 4 Dead-inspired team based single player campaign in which humanity’s Freeman led resistance rises up against hordes of troops and aliens? Come on Valve, spill the beans.

Anything we’ve missed? Let us know.