So far, 2012 has been a pretty good year for games; having Dishonored, Fez, Mass Effect III, The Walking Dead and recently Assassins Creed III to keep our itchy fingers occupied. The innovation and quality each year just seems to exceed the previous. While I’ll take some time soon to look at the best games of this year, for now here’s the best games to look forward to in 2013.
Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix
5th March 2013
The next instalment of the Tomb Raider franchise has people excited and pissed off in equal measure and I for one, can’t wait. From what we’ve seen so far, similar styles and themes of previous games will still exist, all while introducing a new backstory, environment, control system and several more dimensions to what had become a jaded series. This game will have been in development for about five years when it’s released; pushing the release date into the first quarter of 2013, so hopefully that bodes well for the game itself. Also it seems to have ditched the over-sexualised aspects that were rampant in the previous games; extremely refreshing for any game with a female protagonist.
Irrational Games/2K Games
26th February 2013
Bioshock Infinite is exactly what this series needs to evolve past the two previous instalments; ditching the murky depths of the Rapture and reaching for the glorious sky city of Columbia. Many fans will note that while a lot of the control revamping in Bioshock 2 surpassed its elder, it lacked somewhat in the fantastic story we had before. The dark dystopian Art Deco inspired city of Bioshock I&II were undeniably brilliant so I am a little sad to have seen the end of it, however, I cannot wait to see what stylised direction Infinite will take us in having endless possibilities in an open top world.
Rockstar North/Rockstar Games
There are three main things that have me excited about Grand Theft Auto V; multiple protagonists, an enormous open world and bringing back features from previous games that GTA IV neglected to include. Apparently the hugely detailed world will be all inclusive down to the ocean floor, which is insanely exciting considering the size they have planned, and the array of vehicles available (BMXs, mountain bikes, road bikes, dirt bikes, huge variety of cars and trucks, helicopters, planes, ATVs and Jet Skis). The re-working of the mechanics of the game (combat and driving specifically) will no doubt lend a hand to this game becoming one of the most successful and exciting of the year.
The Last Of Us
Naughty Dog/Sony Computer Entertainment
The Last Of Us may just be the game to force me to finally buy a PS3; Post-apocalyptic wasteland survival based games being my Achilles heel. The story of the apocalypse is exciting too, rather than the usual chemical infection/supernatural occurance/nuclear disaster, The Last of Us takes a different approach, developers citing BBC’s Planet Earth and Cordyceps unilateralis (Brain controlling zombie fungus, for lack of a better description) as inspiration. Any game that offers a choice in a way to play, rather than forcing one role/technique on the player is my idea of a perfect game so I’m really excited to see how the adaptive games engine, Ai and world fares hands-on.
Dead Island: Riptide
April 23rd/26th 2013
The trailer for the first Dead Island hit us like a ton of bricks. It was sobering, terrifying, monstrous and beautiful, so no doubt when the trailer for Dead Island: Riptide appeared, people were excited. It was, of course, a tremendous disappointment, not in itself but next to the masterpiece of the first. Dead Island received massively mixed reviews upon release; being cited as one of the best and worst games of the year. After spending some extensive time with it I have to say I loved it. I am crazy excited for more zombie bashing, weapon customising, Oblivion-like side questing video game goodness, and you should be too.
Being one of my highlights from E3, Watch Dogs is a stealth and strategy based open world action/adventure game from the developering giants behind the Assassins Creed franchise. From what we saw the game seems to blend the ability to hack electronics to the players advantage with sneaking, spying, revenging and parkouring their way around town. The impression I get from the game is a mix of Assassins creed with a little bit of Arkam City and GTA in for good measure. With the time, money and dedication clearly evident from the gameplay demo, I really can’t see this game failing to impress.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
What has me most excited about this game, other than the fact it’s an RPG or that it’s a 2D south park game, is the fact that Matt Stone and Trey Parker actually contacted Obsidian Entertainment with the concept rather than the other way around. You take the role of the new kid in town, on a quest to make friends, which quickly escalates in true South Park form into a battle of good versus evil. It has also been confirmed that there will be voice integration with the Kinect and the ability to berate Cartman. While pretty much every other South Park game released has been critically panned and received terribly by fans, I have high hopes for the next instalment.
The Elder Scrolls Online
Zenimax Online Studios/Bethesda Softworks
When I heard the news that The Elder Scrolls Online was being developed, I was less than impressed. I had been playing a lot of WoW at the time, so I thought “Why do we need another fantasy MMO WoW clone”. Then I hit the cap, lost all interest in the game in its entirety and immediately saw how stupid I was being. The insanely expansive lore in the world of Tamriel has always captivated me; reading every book I could get my pixelated hands on. I really cannot wait for this game, I don’t care about gameplay or mechanics or the multiplayer, it’s purely a labour of lore.