In this series of 4 we will be taking a look into our crystal ball and seeing what us lucky gamers can expect in 2013. Last year we had a banquet of sequels, AAA titles and indie games, and it’s looking like we have plenty to whet our appetites for 2013 so far.
For now we will be taking you through Q 1 which lasts from Jan to March, and as you will see; it’s all about the big bucks. With rumours growing around possible announcements of new consoles later on in the year, plenty of AAA titles will be arriving to shimmer and dazzle you over the next few months, whereas the second half of the year looks unsurprisingly quiet. Let’s take a look at some of the most important releases;
DMC; Devil May Cry (X360, PS3) (Pc Release 25th Jan)
This reboot to the long and well established franchise got off to a very rocky start. There were worries that new developers Ninja Theory has turned Dante into an emotional adolescent teenager, but ever since we got a chance to test it for ourselves, this is one we’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. After getting hands on we found him to be the same old smooth, cocky Dante we know and love. And with the fluid, acrobatic combat and towering bosses all back and bigger (literally) than ever, this reboot has got many people’s curiosity.
Ni No Kuni; Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)
Hugely anticipated and all round excellent JRPG Ni No Kuni has been out in Japan since 2011 and has received critical acclaim from almost everywhere. Now it’s finally getting a western release. Co-developed by Studio Ghibli, who claim such strings to their (pretty large) bow as Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away, many JRPG fans will be salivating at the chance to get hold of this intuitive game from the White Knight Chronicles developer.
Dead Space 3 (PS3, X360 PC)
The third and probably final installment in Visceral Game’s survival horror franchise is looking interesting, to say the least. While players carry on the story of Iisac Clarke, that masked man of mystery, there is now a drop-in-drop-out co-op mode similar to Resident Evil 5 as part of the main story. While this will surely make it more accesible for many people, it has also caused some controversy as many poeple believe EA may have compromised the “horror” element of the game in favor of more action and set-pieces.
Crysis 3 (PS3, X360, PC)
Accidentally announced back in August where it surfaced on the EA Store, this next chapter in the sandbox shooter’s story follows Alcatraz as he heads to the drastically altered New York, styled as an “urban rainforest”. New this year is a “strategic multiplayer” option called Hunter, where two cloaked hunters try to off as many troopers as they can, with each trooper killed added to the hunter’s team. It is apparently being developed on the CryEngine 3 again, so you can expect some truly stunning visuals. If your PC can cope.
Metal Gear Rising; Revengeance (PS3, X360)
Arguments about whether “Revengence” is a real word or not aside; here’s another release that many people will either love or hate. A pretty drastic departure form previous titles, Revengence is being described as Lightning Bolt Action rather than Tactical Stealth Espionage. And although during my preview with it I enjoyed the looks, arcade-y hack and slash style and the fast paced action, many people will also feel that the arcade style means it’s not a “true” Metal Gear Solid game. Definnitely one to keep an eye on.
Sixth game in the immensely successful franchise from Maxis; fans have lots to look forward to in this most recent edition. SimCity will run off Maxis’ brand new GlassBox engine, which will allow for much more detailed buildings as well as smarter animations and most importantly, curved roads. CURVED ROADS! But if that doesn’t sate your mayoral lust for power, there will also be full online multiplayer, which will allow one region to host different cities at once. And with many little tweaks such as limited resources and specialized cities, this should make for some interesting competitive play.
Tomb Raider (PS3, X360, PC)
Another reboot; Tomb Raider will take Lara Croft back to her roots as a younger girl, and follows her journey from prim and proper, to a terrified girl alone in the wilderness, to a survivalist and the strong independent woman we know her as. And we already know from that scene that Crystal Dyamics aren’t pulling any punches. This metamorphosis looks to be portrayed very seriously and very darkly. But whether you agree with the controversy surrounding this game or not; it looks like it could be a quality title. The game is open world, and with plenty of side quests and multiplayer features to supplement the 10-15 hour story, this could be the game that takes Lara back into the mainstream.
God Of War: Ascension (PS3)
Yet another AAA prequel being released the beginning of this year; Ascension will focus on another chapter of Kratos’ life, telling the tale of his attempts to break free of his chains (so to speak) of servitude to Ares. Todd Papy, Game Director at Santa Monica has promised we will have “a look at Kratos’ human side so fans can relate to him better and understand some of the stuff he went through when he was younger.” Whether it was a good call bringing a softer side to arguably the angriest man in the history of videogames is something we shall just have to wait and see. Another first for multiplayer as well; Ascension will feature team battles with up to 8 players in a mode dubbed “Favour Of The Gods”, among others, a small story driven game where players use various forms of defence and attack to complete objectives and score ‘favour’, leading to dramatic conclusions.
Gears of War: Judgement (X360)
Is anyone beginning to see a pattern here? Yet another prequel, Gears of War: Judgement will be the first title to not feature hardened criminal/hulking space marine Marcus Phenix. Instead, it will take the story right back to Emergence Day itself, and follow Kilo Squad as they get caught up in the chaos of the locust horde, and get accused of treason by their comrades. Many people, just like previous years, are talking about the game’s multiplayer modes, specifically a new mode titled Overrun. Focusing heavily on class based teamwork and accomplishing a series of ever more challenging objectives, one team will play as COG and the other, Locust. Initial previews seem impressive; and it looks to be a real contender for other more traditional horde modes.
BioShock Infinite (X360)
And finally in Q1 we have BioShock Infinite. Taking us back to the 1900’s, instead of shady underwater cities and experiments, the floating city of Columbia was sanctioned by the government, until it reveals itself to be a huge weapons platform. Players take the role of “Booker DeWitt”, and once again must side with one of the two factions vying for control, and make choices that impact the rest of the story. Infinite will once again feature a mixture of gunplay and unique powers, albeit ones that cannot be changed this time. However possibly the best looking new addition is the use of grappling hooks to navigate the “Skyline”, a vast network of rollercoaster like structures that Booker must use to get from place to place.