Yes, we know, it's another zombie game, but hold that thought: this is a good 'un. Set in 80s Seattle with a main character modelled on First Blood's "Homeless Chic Rambo", interiors inspired by The Goonies and a game mechanic heavily indebted to iconic PC sci-fi slab Flashback, this has serious cult pedigree. Throw in a heavy helping of The Walking Dead's comic-book horror, a Rorschach-like grizzled diary structure and Shadow Complex's expert melding of 2D action within a 3D world, and this is a claustrophobic adventure-cum-puzzler we're pigeonholing as "future classic".
Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA) | Deadlight Release date: Summer 2012 | Link: Xbox
9. Soul Calibur 5
Soul Calibur is back... but it very nearly wasn't. It took a petition signed by Soul Calibur fans around the world to convince Namco to reinvest in the franchise after the disappointing reaction to the last two games. Thankfully, it appears that Namco are going back to the mechanics that made Soul Calibur 2, and the original Dreamcast games so good - an in-depth story mode and reaction-based, combo-heavy combat. Canonically this game is set long after the others, so expect plenty of new faces alongside comforting old favourites like Mitsurugi and Astaroth.
10. Trials Evolution
Everyone knows the Kickstart-esque motorcross might of Trials HD is the best Xbox Live Arcade bar none. Well, it just raised its own, perilously supported bar. The completely overhauled, consistently surprising single-player courses flirt with thematic inspiration as diverse as Saving Private Ryan (sand, gunfire and barb wire aplenty) and Limbo (the indie hit's moody environments recreated meticulously), and the in-depth level editor is so powerful it's a fully fledged game creator in its own right.
But it's the four-player on- or off-line multiplayer that will be running controller batteries down the world over, its clever regeneration engine keeping all players together while deducting points for lagging behind so that races remain thrillingly competitive till the death.
Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA) | Trials Evolution Release date: Summer 2012 | Link: Xbox
After SSX 3 was so successful, it seemed strange that the SSX franchise just seemed to disappear into thin air, even if follow-ups such as SSX On Tour and SSX Blur were less than successful. You can count us among the scores of happy virtual slope-rippers who cheered when EA announced a new SSX at E3 in 2010, especially since the the stunt-heavy snowboard sim will feature real-world locations this time round, along with a slope-stomping new soundtrack to accompany some classic SSX gameplay.
12. Quantum Conundrum
Quantum Conundrum (XBLA)Portal creator Kim Swift returns to her cubes and experiments template by way of Luigi's Mansion in this cartoony, "Saturday-morning TV-inspired" take on Valve's physics-based classic. "It's all about restraints," Swift told us, suggesting that limiting the scope of the game fuelled creativity, and her 16-strong team has certainly delivered on the latter.
Instead of two portal guns you utilise the two trigger buttons to change a variety of blocks' properties from hard to light as you solve a succession of room-based challenges in an eternal search for an exit sign. Unsurprisingly familiar but with an altogether more accessible tone, although still packed full of challenge, Quantum Conundrum is set to be a Pixar-flavoured puzzler to cherish.
Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA) | Quantum Conundrum Release date: Summer 2012 | Link: Xbox
13. The Last Guardian
Team Ico's latest game has been in development for nearly six years, and as with previous titles Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, mystery and speculation are rife. From what we can gather, you play as a young boy who travels around a castle-like world with a giant (friendly-ish) quadruped, cat-eagle thing. The last we heard Sony had put a tentative 2012 release date on it, but frankly if The Last Guardian finds its way into our 'Most Anticipated Games of 2013' list, we won't be surprised...
Platform: PS3 | The Last Guardian Release date: 2012 | Link: The Last Guardian trailer
14. Ninja Gaiden 3
Ryu Hayabusa is coming back in 2012, bring with him the long awaited Ninja Gaiden 3 - at last a genuine canonical sequel for Ninja Gaiden 2. The difficulty level remains as high as ever, although Tecmo has introduced an optional 'Hero mode', which automates some of your guarding and evasive manoeuvres when you're low on health. If you want to get a bit more active with your hack'n'slashery, Ninja Gaiden 3 also features Playstation Move compatibility, an idea that could make this game a real winner if it's done well.