And time for my very last blog post of 2012, in which I sit down and look onwards to the next twelve months of gaming, and talk about which games have caught my eye. So, let’s end on a pleasant note and talk about these interesting and exciting games that have so many hoping 2013 is half as good as 2012…
And here we are. Unless something big goes down in the next couple of days, this is likely my last post of 2012.
So, this is a list of the games I am most looking forward to in 2013. And yes, there are some honourable mentions to come! Sadly not everything could fit inside a top 10 list. So let’s quickly rattle through a few games that I still very much want in the next year;
* Aliens: Colonial Marines – It’s been a long time coming, but a decent Aliens game is long overdue.
* Pikmin 3 – With very little Nintendo stuff made concrete for 2013, Pikmin 3 is still a big want.
* Tomb Raider – Yes, even after all the awful PR this year, my curiosity is still peaked for Little Lara.
* Metro: Last Light – Want this. If it gets released at all by a failing and ailing THQ. Please save Metro!
* Grand Theft Auto V – Still up in the air. But seriously, you know this will make a huge splash!
And there are lots of others as well, from the updated console version of The Binding Of Isaac to the future of PC First Person Shooters in Crysis 3, there is simply too much to get through so let’s instead focus on the ten games that I am desperately looking forward to in 2013!
10. Remember Me (Planned Release: TBA 2013)
Whilst this year hasn’t been one of the best for Capcom, it’s interesting then that the first game of this list hails from their stables and yes, is a brand new IP to boot. Remember Me looks to blend the soft sci-fi of Assassin’s Creed and the Animus with the sharp platforming of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
And that’s clearly a potent enough combination to have me curious to play it, because truth be told there’s been a real shortage of good science fiction games. As Nilin, you are a memory hunter – one who scrambles peoples memories to make them believe anything you want them too, except she has unfortunately also had her own memory scrambled. Wanted by the totalitarian state, alienated from her own rebel group and unable to trust her own thoughts and memories, Remember Me looks to be an exciting, thrilling tale set across a beautifully realised dystopian future Paris, where the story and the narrative matters more than ever to make sense of everything. And of course, messing with peoples memories looks to be truly thrilling, making people think they’ve done things that they wouldn’t otherwise do. A novel and interesting new take on situational puzzles that one can hope ends up working as intended.
And for a game on current-gen hardware, it looks truly special. So more power to it on that front!
9. The Last Of Us (Planned Release: May 7th 2013)
You can tell that we’re in the twilight of this current generation of consoles because of the truly spectacular looking games coming through the gloom, and The Last of Us – from Naughty Dog – looks set to be a right corker of a co-operative horror adventure set in the ruins of a modern world.
It’s also great to see a variation on a theme – rather than a zombie apocalypse, this one is a natural apocalypse, as a fungus has ravaged the worlds population and hijacked many victims, turning them into hybrid human-fungus monsters. But it’s not this that appeals – more the promise of an active system that allows for differing outcomes to certain events, meaning that you may never quite get the same game experience twice over. With a wilfully interesting young female character and a grizzled man trying to survive between mutant freaks and the last violent dregs of the human race fighting for control of the last untainted resources in each area, it looks set to provide another frankly brilliant blend of narrative and action that we’ve been somewhat starved of for the majority of this generation; a tale of friendship and belonging in a crumbling world, a dying world that looks achingly beautiful as well as depressingly real.
More than that, this is the sort of game Sony really desperately needs to sell right now. So here’s hoping it’s a good one!
8. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (Planned Release: January 2013)
So, it’s an RPG. A blended amalgamation between Level 5, they of Dark Cloud and the hugely popular Professor Layton games, and the legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli – of Spirited Away fame amongst others. So there’s no doubt that on a visual level, this will scream charm and character in a loud voice.
But most importantly it’s actually quite a traditional sort of JRPG in theory; but it is one that we’ve been waiting for for a very, VERY long time. In fact, this is almost exactly the problem with the idea of porting these JRPGs over to a Western Audience – the wait. But considering it was considered by Famitsu to be one of the best RPGs of that year, yeah, we’re kind of excited by it. A tale of a young boy gifted a book by a magical fairy, one that allows him to enter a parallel world to look for his recently-deceased mother, it screams traditional JRPG values from the very core and this is exactly why it is so hotly anticipated; for all the years we have now spent watching people differentiate and try experimental approaches to the JRPG, sometimes the result is that people long for that old, simpler, less chaotic time when it was about a solid game, with a solid story consuming large amounts of peoples spare time.
And I’m very much looking forward to a good overworld map. They’re so rare these days!
7. Dead Island: Riptide (Planned Release: April 2013)
Last year, in 2011, Dead Island became one of the games that divided players from the critics; panned by the press, and yet adored by the gaming community for its action, its deep RPG stylings and its gorgeously set out island paradise. We all agreed the DLC Expansion was utterly stupid though and missed the point.
So here comes a sequel – except, it’s also not a sequel. Set after the first game, and yet set elsewhere with new enemies and new threats, with more emphasis on the perils of the weather and the chaos surrounding everyone, I think most gamers would be happy from there to see largely more of the same – Dead Island was a surprisingly successful game. Once again, the trailer was emotive and fantastically deceptive but I do feel most critics missed the brilliantly set quest writing from the original. So yes, more zombies, more weapons, more water. One can argue Techland might want to get the critics on board, but if Dead Island proved anything it was that the tastes of the critics and the tastes of the gamers do not always sit side by side. So more of the same then, just hopefully slightly less buggy this time around would be appreciated, will likely ensure this is a hotly anticipated title in the next year.
And say what you like about the FMV Trailer, it is still incredibly moving and well done…
6. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (Planned Release: Quarter 1 2013)
The first Amnesia was a triumph of the indie scene: a truly tense and scary game experience that inspired deep feelings of dread and terror without ever having to fully reveal its hand throughout its dark and twisted halls. So the stakes are inherently raised for its sequel: A Machine for Pigs.
Once again, the setting is bleak and without hope: playing a wealthy industrialist at the end of the 19th Century, you come back from a trip abroad and suffer from nightmares, fever and delusions, haunted by images of a machine and the unsettling sounds of squealing pigs. When you do awake, this machine is suddenly and mysteriously made manifest; blending together multiple timelines of the past, present and future into a cohesive story. What is this Machine? What horrors lurk in the darkness? And why is our intrepid industrialist at the centre of it all, trapped in a dark and haunting place? Hopefully all these questions and more will be answered. Plus from the chaps behind Dark Descent, you can guarantee that this is one of those horror games that you will play during the day with the lights on to ensure that your nerves aren’t shattered all at the same time, sending you screaming into the nearest wardrobe.
Based on the first game, this is absolutely one of those games that has a lot riding on it. Here’s hoping!
5. Beyond: Two Souls (Planned Release: Q1/Q2 2013)
Yet another Sony game, so the next year sees the current underdogs of the market come out fighting. Beyond: Two Souls is being touted as the closest thing yet to an interactive movie, and seems to have the kind of budget that you would likely expect from your average Hollywood movie as well.
Brilliantly, Ellen Page plays Ellie from young girl to young adult, an individual protected and yet tormented at the same time by an invisible guardian force that at the same time acts as her protector and saviour, whilst also doubling as a curse and sometimes a jealous boyfriend who simply does not want to see their charge happy in the arms of another. With the Military hot on her heels, and other individuals being caught in the crossfire, this really does come across as a terribly ambitious project from the same people behind the lackluster Heavy Rain, but at least this time they have a plot and a cast that truly does seem to shine a bright beacon of light into their gloomy past; an unusual and heady blend of deep, rich storytelling and setpieces that are said to make our jaws drop, it will be very interesting to see if this makes its first half of 2013 release target; my guess is this might be pushed into 2014. But I’ll still wait for it.
Beyond: Two Souls does look set to be one of the most original and innovative ideas of the year. We expect great things.
4. Deadpool – The Game (Planned Release: Late 2013)
Deadpool is one of those comic book characters that appears like they have always been ripe for a game spin-off; a character with multiple personalities, a twisted and deviant sense of humour as well as a quick tongue and a frankly filthy mouth on him as well. A perfect anti-hero set up.
As a game, it looks to be fairly much what you’d expect as well; a third-person action game with gunplay, fighting and lots of running about coupled with quick-time events and a little platforming adventure thrown in for good measure. But Deadpool, and the humour that the character inherently brings with him, is absolutely the main attraction here, and we can only hope that the game is equally happy to spoof and send-up the genre it sits in as well as the super-hero genre. As an example, here’s a taster of his comic book past: he teamed up with the X-Men at one point but he had no actual costume for them. So whose wardrobe did he raid for his outfit? Wolverine? No. He raided Marvel Girl. Yes, a fully-burned anti-hero appeared in a comic book series effectively in drag, leading Cyclops and Beast to note how it was going to psychologically damage them whilst Storm stood in the background, barely able to contain her mirth.
This is the kind of far-out humour we’re expecting from Deadpool. In fact, we demand it. And the Marvel Girl outfit. Just because.
3. Watch Dogs (Planned Release: Sometime 2013)
At E3, UbiSoft had tongues wagging. Not only was their conference deadly serious when it came to gaming content, but they left us hanging on the first few minutes of their fresh new IP, Watch Dogs, a game set in a modern world where our every movement is traced and tracked, and used against us.
And it is into this that a presumed-dead man seeks to right some wrongs, hacking and weaving his way through this landscape, allowing us to solve problems in various ways. The first issue was to get information from someone, but he wasn’t where he was meant to be. In fact, he was on his way. So what to do? Sit around and surprise him? Or be more pro-active? The demonstration took the pro-active approach, as we hacked a signal box and created a car crash with his vehicle, as others fled and tried to help, the main character stepped in to make his presence felt. So is it an action game or a massive puzzle playground that any self-respecting wannabe James Bond would want to be a part of? Who knows. And who cares, when it’s that gorgeous, when it’s that slick and when it’s that compelling, all we want is to see just how this ambitiously large-scale game will turn out in the end. Hopefully brilliantly.
And yet again, achingly pretty brand new IP on current gen hardware. Fantastic! I cannot wait.
2. BioShock Infinite (Planned Release: March 2013)
To be fair, this was on my radar last year too but it was pushed back into 2013 sadly. Back then we had relatively few details to go on, but in the last year we’ve seen actual gameplay footage as well as getting more juicy dirt on the story itself, and it’s still near the top of my wish list.
It’s BioShock in name only really; new characters, new setting, new power-up system, new enemies but still the same trusted and exhilarating blend of tense action and general RPG overtones that we’ve come to expect from the franchise. In this, our new companion Elizabeth seems to have the world more or less revolving around her, set in an achingly jaw-dropping city in the sky called Columbia, with some of the most giddy travelling sections and imaginative enemies as we seem to blend the past and present to figure out what went wrong, and what the Dickens is really going on here. On the anticipation alone, most think this is going to win the best game of 2013 without any effort but then, we know that there is always the off-chance of failure. However, if our faith and patience is rewarded, this looks set to completely redefine how we view a good first-person action adventure and that can only be a good thing.
It’s been a long, long, LONG time coming. And silly Box Art aside, there’s only one game that could see this to #2…
1. Dark Souls 2 (Planned Release: TBC, but confirmed for current gen consoles. Rumoured Late 2013/Early 2014)
What can I say about Dark Souls I haven’t already said? Except that this thrilling, exciting and exceptionally-pitched uber-difficult RPG Adventure ranks as one of my most played games of this year; it has utterly dominated my gaming time, and the prospect of a direct sequel has me giddy with excitement!
All the concept art and the words being used fill me with a distinct hope that even despite a larger budget and an aim to make things a little less deliberately obtuse, that this is simply the only game on the horizon that can dwarf anything in its wake in terms of anticipation. Its considerate success on the market has ensured that Dark Souls has become something almost mythical, heralded as one of the finest games of this generation, a true gamers game. Indeed, it is only this that overshadows Dark Souls 2, because that puts an extremely large amount of pressure on FROM Software to really deliver the goods again, with the gaming world firmly fixated on its slick video trailer and mysterious characters and the gorgeously imaginative concept art of enemies and friends alike. To say the stakes are high in Dark Souls 2 is no understatement; it’s now one of the most anticipated games out there, and people want more information on it.
It might slip into 2014, but it deserves to be here. And if it does slip, then it’ll be on next years list. That’s how big a deal Dark Souls 2 is.
And with that, I am now more or less done for 2012.
I’d like to take this time to thank users of Kotaku, Joystiq, Official Nintendo Magazine, Not Enough Shaders, Gamefront, The Escapist and many more for making the last year such an exciting time for me, linking to my stuff and generally inspiring me to keep writing and investigating and reading and more importantly, gaming. When I got this domain back in mid-2011, I didn’t really think I’d get much in the way of traffic; I was doing this to keep myself occupied whilst being medically incapacitated. Instead, everyone who has come here as inspired me and driven me to keep at it, keep writing and exploring and thinking in ways I never really thought I would this time last year. I am deeply humbled that you come here, link here and sometimes post here.
Here’s hoping 2013 is as brilliant as the last year has been! I’m really looking forward to everything that is coming and could happen in the next twelve months.
Take care and have a fantastic and brilliant new year!