Best PC Games of 2011

2011 is finally starting to get under way, and you know what that means: roughly 20 million identical lists from your old pal The Internet telling you which games should have your clicking fingers and WASD-claws aching with excitement. Here's the problem, though: you've heard it all before. Even without the aforementioned list avalanche, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when Call of Diablo: Crysis Effect 3 is dropping.

Granted, rocket science is also largely unnecessary when dealing with these games (we had to consult NASA, like, twice), but odds are, you probably know them about about as well as you know how to put a man on the moon. So, in that spirit, we thought we'd give you the scoop on some great-looking games that – prior to this very moment – were well on the road to passing you by.

Publisher: N/A
Developer: Hazardous Software
Release Date: TBA 2011

Whether it's because of ill-advised tactics or fingers that languidly crawl around on the keyboard like an obese spider, every RTS player's made their fair share of extremely regrettable mistakes. The obvious solution? Learn from your mistakes Time travel! Achron gives you the ability to manipulate the forces of time in your favor, potentially opening up innumerable new tactical options in your quest for strategic domination. For instance, you might tell a unit to move someplace in the past and – presto – it's suddenly there in the present. Or – if you're like us – you can undo your 527-cart pile-up of ill-advised tactical train wrecks. It's a complicated wrinkle in time all right, but we're certainly excited about the possibilities.

Publisher: EA
Developer: Maxis
Release Date: February

Ever wonder what Will Wright's intelligent design sim Spore would look like if it was also adopted by Diablo and nurtured into a fine young hack 'n' slasher? Neither did we. But that's the almost-jarringly unexpected turn Maxis decided to take, and to the developer's credit, Darkspore's looking like a mighty fine warm-up for Blizzard's third descent into the other burning down under. On top of that, the ever-popular (and frequently abused) Spore creature creator's making a triumphant return, so even if you only play for a few minutes, Darkspore will probably haunt you for years.

Fate of the World
Release Date: February 15

In Fate of the World, you have one simple objective: stop the world from killing itself. Different scenarios see you warding off different apocalpytic catastrophies – you know, fun things like rapid climate change and overpopulation – through use of a simple, effective menu interface. “Simple,” however, is the last word we'd use to describe the moutain of competing factors you'll have to sort through turn-after-turn. After all, you may be forced to rub multiple countries the wrong way in order to save one. Some might stop listening to you altogether. And then – poof – there goes earth in a brick-thick cloud of its own gasses. Intense, right? We, however, break out into cold addiction sweats just thinking about it, so here's hoping the game delivers on its boatloads of promise.

Publisher: Webzen
Developer: Red 5 Studios
Release Date: Q4 2011

A high-flying, hard-shooting MMO from some of the brightest minds behind World of Warcraft and Tribes, Firefall certainly has quite the pedigree. From what we've seen, it's a Frankenstein monster that's equal parts Tribes (jetpacks!), Borderlands (guns!), and WoW (loot!). Promising? Definitely. Here's hoping that each of its parts comes together to form a coherent whole – and not an ugly, needle-and-thread-stitched attempt to cash-in on more successful titles