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Our Picks of 2013
- Updated: January 9, 2013
[Header image © Felixcasio | Stock Free Images]
It’s been a new year for almost ten days now and with that we look to the future of new releases. Or, more accurately, releases that were pushed back from the tail end of last year. Here are some of the team’s picks from the games that you’ll (hopefully) be seeing in 2013.
Dead Space 3
Dead Space and Dead Space 2 are both sci-fi action/horror games of the highest calibre. Dead Space 2 was also my 2011 Game of the Year, and I shall give it at least one more play through before Dead Space 3 arrives, on 8th February.
With a highly anticipated playable demo release imminent, Dead Space 3 once again aims to improve the Necromorph nightmare significantly. The root of the franchise is still there; once again pitting Isaac Clarke in a third-person shooter, dismembering humans-turned-Necromorphs to survive, with a variety of weapons. But that’s not all; Visceral Games have now added a new main character, Sgt John Carver, as a drop in/drop out co-op option, and each promises to have their own tales to tell as the game progresses. Add to this the abilities to now take cover and roll out of the way, Dead Space 3 looks to add more fluidity and more character to an already great series. I cannot wait for this one, certainly looking to pick it up on launch day.
Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse
Everyone loves a resurrection of a game series, right? Well 2013 has another in store in the return of the Broken Sword series, which began in 1996, with four classic point-and-click adventures. It’s no surprise that when The Serpent’s Curse was put forward as a Kickstarter project, the funds were raised very quickly indeed.
The original voice cast will also reprise their roles, which is great news for the many Broken Sword fans out there. I look forward to guiding George Stobbart and Nico Collard through yet another myth-focused adventure. It will feel as though they never went away.
Devil May Cry
Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry is just around the corner, and having played but a snippet of it, I’m pretty confident that it will be met with all the praise it rightfully deserves. But the most significant response to DmC will not be the rapturous applause or praise of fans and critics alike, but silence. The silence of all the boo-boys who caused such a stir when Ninja Theory revealed Dante’s new emo look and continued to fill message boards with nothing but assertions that the game must suck because it looks ‘different’.
DmC has a rejigged combat mechanic, bringing in new “Angel” and “Demon” powers for Dante, which exploit different weaknesses of your enemies. This adds a new element of strategy which was absent from the frantic action of previous games, and makes DmC a step-up for the series. The stylish combat in DmC is unlike any other, and is some of the most fun you’re likely to have this year.
South Park: Stick of Truth
Trey Parker and Matt Stone “won” E3 with their brief (and unscripted) appearance during Microsoft’s Press Conference. Seeing Stick of Truth for the first time, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a clip from the new series. The guys at Obsidian have done an incredible job of recreating the look and feel of the show for you, the new kid in South Park in its turn-based strategy RPG.
Videogames of movies and TV shows have disappointed in the past (I’m looking at you Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse), but I have complete faith in Obsidian, a developer which boasts Knights of the Old Republic II and Fallout: New Vegas on its resume. The trailer gives a brief look at some of toys you’ll get to use in combat, including a road sign that has been forged into a battle axe and lighting farts on fire. We also get to hear snippets of the excellent dialogue, written and voiced by Parker and Stone.
Any fan of South Park has dreamed of the day they would be able to unleash the powers of Butter’s alter-ego, Professor Chaos upon the city, and soon that day will be upon us.
Ni No Kuni
I know Ni No Kuni is going to be one of the best games of next year. How do I know that already? Because when I played the opening three hours at a preview event I was brought to tears. Combining Ghibli’s iconic art style and musical direction, along with voice acting from the same studio that handled Xenoblade Chronicles, the game tells a story that should move both young and old players alike about fighting to reclaim someone that you’ve lost.
With a battle system that involves switching between a series of different characters and their unique summonable creatures, each having their own skill sets, Ni No Kuni seems to allow for a lot more depth that the standard menu selection system found in other JRPGs. If the rest of the game lives up to its opening I’m sure it’ll be a game I’m recommending to anyone who will listen.
Beyond: Two Souls
While there are a lot of unknowns still about Beyond: Two Souls, I know enough to be excited about it. Coming from Quantic Dream, the studio behind both Heavy Rain and the incredibly moving Kara tech demo, the game is set to follow the story of a girl between the ages of 8 and 23 as she struggles to come to terms with the fact that a spirit is inseparably following her.
Ellen Page plays the main character Jodie Holmes. She provides the design for Jodie as well as the voice and full body motion capture for every scene. I’m very interested to learn what studio head David Cage can pull off with such a talented big-screen actress on cast and see how the story unfolds. With two different gameplay perspectives throughout the game I’m excited< to see Quantic Dream push themselves even further in terms of interactive storytelling.
If the only new game I got this year was SimCity, I’d be very happy with that. The level of detail is absolutely staggering and the changes they’ve made give urban planning a significantly different feel to that of the previous games. Here’s the trailer:
Combating crime and fire risks is no longer a simple case of plonking down stations in the middle of high-risk areas. Well, it can be but now you can upgrade stations as well by purchasing garages and other extensions. Overlays have changed and now display the flow of “agents” such as workers, water and even sewage moving from point to point along your system’s networks. I played a demo last year and yes, I spent a not-insignificant amount of time dropping sewage treatment plants around the city to watch the effect they had on the local poo routes. I am not ashamed.
My second pick for 2013 is Remember Me from DontNOD and Capcom. Remember Me is set in a world where people outsource their memories to corporations – think Black Mirror’s An Entire History of You but on a much larger scale. As Nilin, you can hack into people’s memories and not only learn everything about a person, but manipulate their memories to suit your own ends.
The combat system looks incredibly fluid and, done right, you could have a lot of fun with the memory hacking abilities. I’ve seen videos of the “Memory Remix” where Nilin moves items around to fill someone with grief and cause a suicide.
If those sections are more flexible than just one correct outcome per puzzle, this could be a really great game.
Honourable mention: Lords of Football.
Dragon Age 3
I’ve picked Dragon Age 3 simply because it follows on from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, both amazing games. If you need more convincing and haven’t played either of those titles yet than a) DO IT and b) the third instalment will hopefully feature a new engine, allowing for much more swooshiness and whizziness.. plus armour and follower customisation. We’ve no confirmation that it’s out in 2013 but if this next title manages the same engaging characters & interesting storyline we’ll be looking at another hit.
Salem – The Crafting MMO
I first dipped my toes in to MMO waters many years ago with Ultima Online, if I’m honest I spent most of my hours messing about with crafting and dying bits of material. With little shame I can honestly say I miss those days, and Salem from Paradox Interactive looks to be bringing some of those aspects back by mixing permadeath with “crafting, farming and building”. There’s open PvP combat as well, so get ready to make friends or alliances to protect against those nasty campers.
What about you?
That’s just a small sample of what’s coming for 2013. We haven’t even touched upon the biggest brands, like Grand Theft Auto V or Tomb Raider. What are you saving your money for this year?