So, everyone has an opinion, and here’s ours.
2013 looks set to be a bumper year for all us gamers and here are just a few of the games that have us newbs most excited about the next 12 months.
Our Top Ten Games of 2013
BioShock Infinite (Tuesday, March 26th – 360, PS3 & PC)
One of the most anticipated games of all time this is set to be one of the leading contenders for game of the year 2013, and possibly one of the crowning achievements of game development for current consoles, even being tipped to become the defining game of this generation (*The 7th generation… in case you’re wondering… ;-)*). But why such hype? Well; BioShock 1, particularly, is oft included in many people’s “best games of all time” pantheon, and is one of a relatively small number of games to equally delight gamers and critics alike. BioShock 2, whilst not quite as rapturously (* *) received, is only really substantially criticized for it’s similarity to the first and it’s subjectively poor multi-player experience. Taken as a single-player game in it’s own right it is superb, and in many ways superior to the first installment. Anyway, with a setting as exotic as it’s lavishly 1900s retro-styled flying city, what now seems likely to be by far the most advanced AI companion in gaming history in the form of a powerful but innocent girl your street-wise hero must not only protect but learn to work closely with, a richly developed and styled space & time travel mechanic, two substantial and complex warring factions, travel by perilous Skyline, a very strongly consequence based story-line and a huge mechanical bird in pursuit, this game is certainly going to have a huge amount to offer any gamer! Our advice? Pre-order now to gain access to “BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution” a cool “Cogs” style browser-puzzler which enables you to unlock cool rewards within full game once it’s released!
The Last of Us (Tuesday, May 7th – PS3)
The undying genre of… well… the undying takes a further step forward with the impending release of The Last of Us, a survival horror game exclusive to the PlayStation 3. Featuring another instance of the advanced AI companion players will be thrust into this survival epic from Naughty Dog, the makers of the excellent “Uncharted” series, as they play the role of Joel, a hardened survivor, striving to help a young girl, Ellie, escape the harsh regime the American military (*Sound familiar?*) have imposed following an apocalyptic outbreak which has “infected” a large majority of people, rendering them zombie-like. A third-person perspective and strong emphasis on cover will be both welcome and familiar to fans of Uncharted and with the promise of an emotionally engaging storyline set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the “Infected” are far from the only threat, this certainly goes to the top of our list for 2013!
Grand Theft Auto 5 (Q2 2013 – 360 & PS3)
We’ve had a “sequel”, then a new IP, and now we’re back to a sequel, the followup to what is generally regarded as the most popular game series of all time. Each iteration of GTA has upped the stakes in terms of visuals, scale and variety of game-play and this fifth installment is no different, featuring, amongst other highlights; A total size larger than it’s previous 2 games combined, a substantially increased number of available vehicles, 3 player characters that are played asynchronously but through the same mission from different perspectives, enhanced combat mechanics, oh and a fully explorable sea-bed?! If you’ve played it before you’ll likely be hungry for more, and if you haven’t what better time to jump in to this huge franchise than starting in 2013!
WATCH_DOGS (2013 – 360, PS3 & PC)
So, two sequels means we need another new IP right? Well, WATCH_DOGS provides us with just that in the form of its third-person presented open world hackathon full of stealth, parkour and gun-play alongside its featured and frequent device and tech hacking exploits. It’s approach to your character’s cutting-edge hacking skills is slickly presented with an incredibly fluid experience as you manipulate the technology around you on the fly, exploiting everything from mobile phones to traffic lights, security systems and the computing resources of any and all you come across. With co-op set to be a comprehensive option and a sprawling plot set in a dark and gritty (*but still seemingly very rainy*) fictional vision of Chicago we look set for techie treats across the board in this sumptuously designed and realised third person title. One of the best looking games we’ve seen recently this certainly won’t just be feast for the mind.
SimCity (Tuesday, 5th of March – PC & Mac)
Returning to our theme of games with actual release dates! (*Wow!*) SimCity is a welcome addition to flesh out our “Best Games of 2013″ bringing, as it does, strategy to the table. Variety, they say, is the spice of life and we couldn’t agree more, but this is an exciting title for a number of reasons beyond simply being a different type of game; Firstly, it is the first new SimCity game in over half a decade, reason enough to buy it some might say. Secondly, it is set to feature a truly breath-taking look and feel, all powered by the now much heralded “Glass Box Engine”, a revolutionary platform which takes beauty and control to a whole new level within the genre. Lastly, for this brief overview anyway, is the extensive social integration built into the very core of the title, another first for the series, and a real game changer for city builders the world over.
Destiny (Q4 2013 – 360 & PS3)
The mystery surrounding this title is serving only to increase anticipation of all those keen to see what the studio behind the creation of the Halo franchise can bring to the table next. What we do now know is that it will be a socially driven (But not MMO based) sci-fi epic set in what remains of our solar system in the far future. Players will take the role of young protectors of humanity’s final city. A city also protected by a colossal unknown craft which hovers seemingly inert above it. Can the player repel the monsters emerging to threaten humanity’s last hope? Will the strange craft come to their aid? When will we get a release date? All this and more coming soon…
DEAD SPACE3 (Tuesday, 5th of February – 360, PS3 & PC)
As the leading proponent of sci-fi survival horror the Dead Space series has not only filled a niche, but completely re-defined it. Dead Space 3 has a lot to live up to. Following on from its 2 highly respected and hugely successful previous outings this latest release is making all the right noises when it comes to improvements across the board. Perhaps the biggest new addition is “drop in / out co-op”, a very exciting new option for those who like to play with friends (*or who are just to scared to carry on alone!*). Other big upgrades are to the movement and cover engines; providing a more realistic and fluid feel to how the player can react to situations they find themselves in, and a far more powerful weapon building system; wherein almost any combination of components can be fitted together to create all manner of weapon types, including binding multiple weapons together!
Metro: Last Light (March 2013 – 360, PS3 & PC)
One of the strange phenomena of this generation of games is the “Metro 2033 effect”. That is to say; One way of classifying gamers is by their exposure to this game. Either; You’ve never heard of it, you’ve heard of it but not played it, or you’ve played it and love it. It’s not that the game is perfect, far from it. But what it does, it does so well. So very, very well. And it’s followup; “Metro: Last Light” seems set to repeat the game’s quality, but this time with more resources, better graphics, bigger name voice stars and a far more complete and expansive game world with even more immersive game-play mechanics, choices, equipment options and more. This is the game for all those post-apocalyptic survival fans who love, grit, realism, darkness and Russian folk songs. Such as ourselves…
Battlefield 4 (Q4 2013)
If and when this one hits it will be HUGE. HUGE I tell you! (*And we don’t just mean the size of its maps, the number of its vehicles, the variety of its weapons, or indeed its number of simultaneous players!*) Managing to avoid Call of Duty’s “6 games a year” problem and catering for a very specific (*and large*) cross-section of the gaming public the only real question is whether it will squeeze onto this generation of consoles or be a leading light at the launch of the next? Anyway, we had to bang it into our list otherwise we would have looked WAY stupid if it arrived in 2013 & we didn’t at least mention it on here!
That Amazing Game That Nobody Predicted (? 2013)
Remember how everyone predicted The Walking Dead’s huge 2012 success back in 2011? Or the anticipation surrounding Sleeping Dogs? XCOM: Enemy Unknown? Spec Ops: The Line? Hotline Miami? No?!? Well, neither do we, and that’s because most people had no idea about these games, and, in some cases, that they would even exist! So, we’re putting good money on a game not even touched upon in this list setting the gaming world on fire this year… what will it be? Well, by definition, no one knows yet… and that’s one of the many things that makes being a gamer so fantastic!
The “Best of the Rest” Games of 2013;
Everyone knows that one gamer’s favourite game will likely not be another’s, and that a year is never made up of just a handful of games, so here is our list of some of our other picks of games to watch out for in 2013;
Beyond: Two Souls (Q2+ 2013- PS3)
The “sequel” to the highly divisive Heavy Rain this again promises to be a highly cinematic experience of the highest quality and is already looking gorgeously dark and atmospheric… Hopefully with Ellen Page on board to play the main protagonist at least there are some acting chops involved, in addition to an apparently monster script… oh and an “imaginary friend”? Anyway, all bodes well for a rich and intriguing story… but will it make any sense?
Crysis 3 (Tuesday February 19th – 360, PS3 & PC)
Set to be another visual marvel we’ve played this in 3D and it looks S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G., the sheer amount of detail is extraordinary and the 3D support some of the best we’ve ever seen. Uprated multi-player across the board and much tighter / weighty single-player can also only be very good things, regardless of 3D or not. Oh and that composite bow! What a weapon!!!
Tomb Raider (Tuesday March 5th – 360, PS3 & PC)
The first “Mature” rated Tomb Raider game? A stylish, Far Cry 3 esque, platformy, open world action RPG in the mold of Uncharted? Sounds good right? And, let’s be honest, it’s about time that Uncharted gave something back to it’s mom! It’ll be a breath of fresh air to have a really strong female protagonist for an action game like this, well overdue and extremely welcome all round.
Planetary Annihilation (Q2 2013 – PC, Mac & Linux)
What so called “Most Exciting Games” type list could be without an RTS being developed by the team behind the (*still*) genre defining “Total Annihilation”. None. Thusly proving we are worthy. I think? Anyway, this is an RTS with a twist because, just wait for it, it can feature up to 40 players!?!? In an RTS? This could be as big a game changer as it’s predecessor and as such deserves some of our combined attention. Oh, wait, did we mention that you can use asteroids (& possibly other planets!?!) to smash into enemy bases?
Dark Souls 2 (2013? Or could it slip to 2014? – 360, PS3 & PC)
There’s hardcore and then there’s the “Souls” franchise. Or are the two one and the same? Anyway, this is always going to be on any self-professed “hardcore” gamer’s shopping list, and with multi-player dedicated servers, a new game engine and a different team at the helm it’s interesting times for everyone who likes their games punishing and… well… punishing.
Dragon Age 3: Inquisition (Q4 2013 – 360, PS3 & PC)
Despite it’s predecessor being underpinned by an “interrogation” storytelling mechanic, clearly there are still a lot of questions that BioWare feel need answering… all I can say is I wasn;t expecting the name “Inquisition”, but then of course nobody expects the… (*;-))
Gears of War: Judgement (March 2013 – 360)
It’s Gears, it’s another year, it’s time for more running around slowly like an over-armoured rhino and “sawing” some “Horde” at close range!!! Yay! (*We are fans BTW*).
Call of Duty: Something (Q1? Q2? Q3? Q4? or possibly all four? 2013 – 360, PS3, PC, Wii U)
Of COURSE we’ll get a Call of Duty Game, the question is will we get 1, or 2 or 3 and will we be able to tell the difference? Whichever way this plays out it’s going to be ridiculously popular and very addictive, almost certainly topping the “hours played” chart for the year… In all seriousness tho, who doesn’t love a bit of FPS “fast food” from our favourite purveyors of twitch-shooting & nade-noobing?
Last Guardian (???????, like properly no idea… – PS3 or PS4 or DEFINITELY PS5)
Who knows? Seriously? Who? This game is more legendary for being legendary than almost any other and whilst unlikely to go the “Duke Nukem Forever” route (*shudder*), it is still inevitably going to have to battle it’s own hype. Will we get in 2013, probably not, but we’re putting it on our lists for the rest of eternity until WE DARNED WELL GET IT!
Star Wars 1313 (2013 – Almost certainly at least 360, PS3 & PC)
It’s going to be a bit like Uncharted, but a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… awesome combo much? Erm… Yerp!
Aliens: Colonial Marines (Tuesday, February 12th – 360, PS3, Wii U & PC)
This could be awesome (*please, pretty please*) or it could bomb… we pray for the prior, fear the latter and plan for both… yes, definitely, that’s definitely what we’re doing…
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Tuesday, February 19th – 360 & PS3)
When assembling expansive lists of things it’s nice to have the odd item with a funny name, you know, to lighten the mood. So… Yay! But in all seriousness this looks B-A-utiful! And has put the gaming cat amongst the critic pigeons… I think… as it’s not stealth based and seems mainly to involve slow motion sword fighting… weird… but possibly very cool!
Rainbow 6: Patriots (2013, sometime, maybe – 360, PS3 & PC or it could slip to next gen)
This is an FPS, yes, but worry not fellow RTS fans, for it is also squad based… but will it be “setup & execute”? Who knows, but with serious dev team changes and a possible slip to the 8th gen of hardware we’re not holding our breath, even though we’re snipers… the lot of us… apart from Adam, he’s more of a berserker…
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Q1 2013 – Xbox 360, PS3)
Anyone that ever listened to our podcast will know how much we loved the last Splinter Cell game, Splinter Cell Conviction, so when it was announced that Sam Fisher would be returning (albeit in a younger form) we jumped for joy. This time Fisher is back in his trademark spy outfit, complete with night vision goggles and an array of shocking gadgets, and must battle against a terrorist group creating havoc across the globe. While the story may not sound like it’s going to be anything special we are officially in love with the fast-paced action stealth gameplay, which will now allow you to quickly and quietly take out multiple targets whilst on the move.
Injustice: Gods Among Us (Q1 2013 – Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U)
The latest reinvention of the Mortal Kombat series, imaginatively titled Mortal Kombat, was one of the finest fighting games to be released in recent years. So imagine our excitement when it was announced that NetherRealm Studios were hard at work on another fighting game! This time, rather than going for all out gore, Injustice: Gods Among us aims for a slightly less gruesome gameplay experience inside of the DC Universe. With a roster already confirmed to contain the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman and The Joker, and featuring expansive multitiered arenas, Injustice is looking very promising indeed.
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel (Tuesday 26th of March – 360 & PS3)
A two player FPS powered by the Frostbite 2 engine? Erm, yes please! This one is going to be a title for anyone who likes their gun-play frenetic and in-your-face. With a cool overkill mechanic and some very well implemented destructibility delivering a very slick shooter indeed! Will be best with a buddy of course, but great fun with one nonetheless…
XCOM (FPS) (Unconfirmed, if at all!)
Having suffered 3 different game studios and a change of visionary leader over it’s 6 year development lifetime (so far) and having changed from an FPS to a RTS FPS to third-person squad-based who knows what may come next? Could it end up as a browser puzzler? A mobile MMO? We’re not sure, we’re just sad that it might not get the loving care it deserves as a concept… (*sniffle*)
Wasteland 2 (Q4 2013 – PC, Mac & Linux)
Another reboot, well overdue, courtesy of your friend and mine Kickstarter. This gaming gem thankfully received the funding it deserved and looks set to deliver to fans, old and new, alike.
Soul Sacrifice (2013 – Vita)
From the mind of Kenji Inafune, who has been partially responsible for Mega Man, Resident Evil and the Onimusha series, comes Soul Sacrifice, a PlayStation Vita exclusive action RPG that encourages players to be sociable and play with their friends… and then sacrifice them for your own personal benefit. While other games encourage co-operative players to work together to bring fallen friends back to life Soul Sacrifice takes a more unique approach, allowing you to sacrifice those that fall behind in exchange for huge rewards.
Dead Island: Riptide (Tuesday April 23rd – 360, PS3 & PC)
A lot of people claim to have disliked Dead Island, well, they almost certainly didn’t actually play it, because it was actually pretty awesome. Likely to be more of the same, but with the rough edges taken care of and a bit of TLC to various mechanics we could be in for a real sleeper treat of zombie survival FPS hack-n-slash co-op. Eyes front soldiers and ears open. (*It starts on a military ship you escape to following the original game’s conclusion*)
Command & Conquer (2013 – Not sure, probably just PC?)
Sceptical? Would you give it a spin if it was free? Well, you’re in luck! Free is exactly what it will be! First in what is to become a series of free-to-play games set within the C&C world and developed by a BioWare studio we think this could be a keeper. We’re certainly keeping a close eye on it… Oh and I nearly forgot it uses the Frostbite 2 engine! Good times!
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (2013 – PC, Mac & Linux)
Sequel to what must surely be the most terrifying game of all time this is certain to be a hit with the survival horror fans, the real question is can it break out into a more mainstream audience and still please fans of the original. But the again does it want to? Or will it just be happy to continue scaring the pants off those hardiest of hardened horror gamers.
Pikmin 3 (Q2 2013 – Wii U)
(NOTE: This is not included just so we can have a Wii U game on this extensive list, it’s genuinely awesome and you should read about it!) If you’re a Pikmin fan already we need say no more, you’ll be sold on this already, but if you’re not will an allusion to that daddy of puzzle games Lemmings be of any help? Of course this time it is lovelier and more complex than ever before, but, we wager, also no less beautifully designed that either of it’s predecessors.
The Elder Scrolls Online (2013 – PC & Mac)
Will this be a game for fans of the Elder Scrolls series? Or for MMO players? Or indeed both? Only time will tell, but then we have precious few MMOs on our list don’t we, so, particularly if you’re a fantasy MMO fan in 2013, you’ll want to keep an close eye on this one…
Firefall (2013 – PC)
As mentioned above not many MMOs made our list this year, and this one is the only MMOFPS to do so. We’re certainly excited to see if it can mix it with PlanetSide 2 and Tribes: Ascend although we are also promised a much more focused story-driven team-based co-op campaign. Interesting, non? Let’s all just see how this one develops…
Lost Planet 3 (Q1 2013 – 360, PS3 & PC)
Whilst we’re on the topic of massive stuff in games how about we talk some “Lost Planet”? OK, well this is a personal fave, but with a lot of work to do. Building directly on the experience of the first game in the series (Yay!) this is set to deliver a more story-driven / RPG like feel than it’s direct progenitor “Lost Planet 2″. This should minimise the (*at times frankly ridiculous*) “grind” required to progress in the second game which will not only be a very welcome improvement in-of itself but will likely open the game up to a wider, less-hardcore audience, and is thus the perfect game to finish up this version of our list!
Lego City: Undercover (Q1 2013 – Wii U)
A lawless town, filled to the brim with devious criminals, and only one man can clean the up the whole mess, Chase McCain, LEGO supercop! With an expansive open world and a wealth of gadgets and vehicles at your disposal, Lego City: Undercover has been designed exclusively for the Wii U to take advantage of the GamePad, allowing players to use it to scan the environment for criminals. Think of it as being a more child-friendly law-abiding GTA in Lego form.
Rayman Legends (March 2013 – Wii U)
Another highly anticipated Wii U exclusive? GASP! After having played the demo that is available to download from the Wii U’s eShop we can already tell that this is going to be special. With a beautiful animated art style and some brutally old-school platformer gameplay, just like its predecessor Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends looks to be another fine Wii U exclusive title. We’re personally looking forward to seeing how the developers are further integrating the Wii U GamePad in unique and innovative ways.
Lego: Marvel Superheroes (October 2013 – Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS, Vita, Wii, Wii U, DS, PC)
Lego Hulk. ‘Nuff said!
Tearaway (2013 – Vita)
The first brand new IP from Media Molecule, the geniuses behind LittleBigPlanet you say? A game featuring charming papercraft characters, whose main features have been designed with the PlayStation Vita’s touch pads, camera, and tilt functionality in mind? Great, another must have game added to out list!
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (March 2013 – 3DS)
Bit of a no brainer this one – a fully fledged portable sequel to the Gamecube classic Luigi’s Mansion? Consider us sold. For the uninitiated, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon revolves around Mario’s brother Luigi and his efforts to rid a series of mansions of their spooky occupants. Armed with the Poltergust 5000, a super powered Vacuum cleaner, Luigi is tasked with solving a series of light-based puzzles to help expose the ghosts before capturing them. Think Ghostbusters, but through that special Nintendo filter.
So that just about wraps it up from us, but what about you? Which game are you itching to get at this year?