I think most would agree that 2012 has been a good year for gaming. We’ve seen big budget franchises reinvent themselves with the likes of 343’s Halo 4 and Treyarch’s Black Ops 2. Not to mention Mass Effect 3’s surprisingly awesome multiplayer mode and Forza’s excellent knew change of pace with Horizon. We’ve also seen the return of a forgotten hero in Max Payne 3 and the arrival of some excellent new IP’s with Bethesda’s amazing Dishonored and Square Enix’s Sleeping Dogs (albeit formerly a True Crime game).
However, with all that in mind, 2013’s list of releases at least matches if not threatens to surpass the work done this year. Will Bioshocks return be a success? What about Dead Space 3? Or Devil May Crys change of direction?
Here are my five most anticipated games for the next year, providing we don’t all die on the 21st December. This list is subjective based on my own personal opinions. Feel free to shout at me in the comments, but not too strongly, I have feelings too….
The original Bioshock stands to this day as one of the most surprising and amazing games on current generation consoles. The scenery was beautiful, the gameplay was fantatsic and the story had arguably the best twist ever seen on a video game. It had an allure to it that fews games, past or present have managed to match. Bioshock 2 was another solid entry in the series, with another cracking story and the inclusion of some pretty decent muliplayer modes. However, most felt that despite the games quality, it lacked the natural progression in gameplay and tense story that they expected.
The criticism has been taken to heart clearly, as Bioshock Infinite, the third game in the series set for release on the 26th March is about as drastic a change as you can imagine. It takes you from the murky depths of an underwater city high up into the skies with a floating city. The gameplay is set to be more sandbox, with players able to fly around by connecting their hooks to rails which will transport them around the city. The gameplay seems to be more ambitious than ever with new powers, guns and a new partner to the lead character in the shape of a girl with some fairly unique abilities. Will the story hold its head up high with that of the original game? Will the new gameplay be what it’s built up to be? Finally, will the new bosses match up to the aura of the Big Daddy’s? If the answer to all those questions turns out to be yes, then we could be looking at one of the greatest single player FPS’s ever, if not one of the best games ever.
Dead Space 3
I personally love the Dead Space series. Sure they may have stolen the control set up from Resident Evil and yes it’s about as scary as my little finger, but there is no denying that Dead Space 1 and 2 are both very entertaining games. The combat mechanic of having to shoot off individual limbs before you can kill the creatures creates a tenser combat experience than rival games in the genre and although it may lack in frights, the series more than makes up for than in entertaining action.
Its also a series that shows natural progression. The original was entertaining but flawed. The guns lacked variety and the setting were too similar. The second game was longer, had a more coherent story with a greater variation of locales and the combat was crisper and more exciting. If the third can continue this upwards trend then it game could turn out to be quite a game.
Gears of War: Judgment
There is no question that the Gears of War franchise is one of the reasons (alongside Halo and a few others) that the Xbox 360 is where it is at today. The popularity of the game really helped to boost sales above the Playstation 3 in the consoles early days. The adult nature of the combat and the overly macho characters created a game that adolescents and young adults fell in love with. The package combined a strong story with a unique multiplayer mode that has spawned successive sequels, each better than the last.
The trilogy with Marcus at the centre is now completed and it is now time for a new character to take centre stage. This role falls on Baird, the dry humored mechanic, in a 14 year prequel to the events of the previous game. The game is being part developed by People Can Fly, the team behind what was in my opinion the most underrated game of 2011, Bulletstorm. If People Can Fly can combine the frantic combat they showed with Bulletstorm and at the same time maintain the essence of what makes a Gears game what it is, then this could be very special indeed.
Its about time we had another great Lara Croft game isn’t it? I am not saying that the Tomb Raider games released on Xbox 360 have been bad, its just they have not been great. Everything I have seen so far from the new game seems to suggest that it is all in place for it to be great. It seems more gritty, realistic and the combat and platforming seem to have been refined to create a game that runs as smooth as it looks.
Whether it will live up to the hype remains to be seen but I am quietly optimistic it will. Ubisoft has been on tremendous form recently with Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 3 so here’s hoping that Tomb Raider keeps up the current form.
DMC: Devil May Cry
This is another game, much like Tomb Raider above, that I haven’t included because I necessarily believe it will be a great game, but more because I believe it has the potential to be. The reimagining of the Devil May Cry franchise has taken some serious stick recently from hardcore fans saying that the younger, punkier Dante is dishonoring the franchise and that the game wont live up to expectations.
However, based on the trailers and my time with the demo I am pretty optimistic. The gameplay feels crisp and attacks chain together naturally. The game looks great and the visual effects during combat are spectacular. The change of setting and unique idea surrounding the antagonists seems great. Whether this will be a great game remains to be seen. However, if everything comes together then it could be the best action game of its type on consoles since Bayonetta.
Now that I’ve wrapped up my five most anticipated games of 2013. What are yours? Please leave a comment below with your lists and why.