shaping up to be another great year for gaming, with a plethora of
quality and variety in this year's upcoming releases. With the help
of such tools as Steam's Greenlight and Kickstarter, we are seeing a wealth
of ideas that just weren't possible a few years ago. Here is Part One of my top 20 most anticipated games of 2013. Enjoy!
20. Among The Sleep
Vulnerability is a huge factor in survival horror titles, and you don't get a lot more vulnerable than being shoved into the shoes of a two year old. This game could be quite tense and atmospheric, but what I'm most interested in is the unique experience this perspective could bring. If the trailer is anything to go off, it looks like there could be a variety of places to hide from the villainous monstrosities that most adults couldn't possibly fit, requiring you to think outside the usual logical parameters. These places could include: behind a sofa, in a cupboard, or in the oven, where most children belong.
19. Mars: War Logs
It's a Cyberpunk RPG set on Mars. Do you need more information before you throw money at it? You do? That's probably a wise financial decision and I respect you for it.
Well, since you're being a good kiddie and not blowing your hard-earned savings on things that could potentially be terrible, I shall divulge some more information. This game is made by Spiders — the company, not the arachnids, though that would be an excellent feat of anthropomorphism — the guys behind the relatively unknown Of Orcs and Men, which is quite an interesting title. These guys are an indie company, so polish isn't really their thing. But if their previous game is anything to go off, we can expect quality writing, an interesting narrative, and a lot of depth in a tactical combat system. By the look of the trailer though, this looks like it has a much bigger budget and grander scope than Of Orcs and Men. And, as we all know: making things bigger and throwing money at them makes everything better!
The problem with most horror games is replayability. The genre relies heavily on scripted sequences to craft a horrifying experience, which can be great, but once you know where the monsters are the game ceases to be scary. Your second playthrough will most likely be filled with comments like “oh hi there Pyramid Head. Enjoying your non consenting relationship with those mannequins that are dressed in my wife's clothes and represent my sexual frustrations? That's nice. You continue on your merry way, I'm off to enjoy my dwindling sanity in a town that's foggier than my mothers recollection of my conception. Toodle-oo!” Well, maybe you don't suffer from the form of severe brain damage that I clearly do, but my point remains: once you know what will happen, horror games cease to be scary. Routine is trying to remedy this. Its game world is fully explorable, its encounters are unscripted and can happen at any time, and it features a rogue-like permadeath feature, making those encounters even more tense.
17. Interstellar Marines
Hold on to your socks ladies and gentlemen, because it's time for more space marines! Those wacky alien-hunting buddies in flamboyantly coloured armour are back with more of that safe, comforting, samey blandness that guarantees they'll be instant hits! Or so it seems, for these space marines are no ordinary space marines. They're interstellar marines! This means that on top of thinly veiling America's Xenophobia by killing extraterrestrial aliens as opposed to the ones that look like us but talk funny, they'll be doing research, using stealth, thinking of diplomatic solutions, and taking the non-linear, co-operative approach to the first encounter. Sounds stellar! Or should I say . . . INTERSTELLAR. To be honest though, this trailer doesn't show anything the team has previously promised, so I think we have the right to be a tad hesitant in giving it our cash.
16. Shootmania Storm
Trackmania is one of my favourite racing series. It's all about user-made content, insane editing depth, and pressing restart every 2.6 seconds. Even without the map editor, the game would still be one of the best arcade racers around. Applying this formula to a shooter? That's genius. Hopefully they keep the lack of realism and fast pace in check, as well as a wealth of different game modes. We really do need more wacky shooters, as opposed to the hyper-realistic mechs and wingsuits of Black Ops 2.
15. Dragon Age 3: Inquisition
Well, Dragon Age 2 was a disaster on par with Hurricane Katrina. Ok, fine. It wasn't. It is a video game, and it didn't kill anyone. Mass Effect 3 on the other hand . . . Anyway, Dragon Age 2 was pretty darn awful, and in my opinion was the worst RPG released in 2011. Why was this? It was due to it being rushed. The game was set in one setting for the most part, and reused its assets nearly as much Dane Cook reused other peoples jokes. However, that doesn't mean we should be excited for the next game, should we? Especially when Bioware have proven they know how to end an epic trilogy in a satisfying, non-fan-maddening manner.
Sarcasm aside, Bioware have proven time and time again that they can craft a world and build characters people genuinely care about. They give you choices, both real and illusory, giving you the feeling that your choices matter. If that isn't worth getting excited about again, I don't know what is.
14. Rise Of The Triad
Remember the shooters of yore, where you could run at approximately the land-speed record, could carry seven metric tonnes of weaponry, and you didn't have to watch a cutscene every time you tried to walk through a goddamn door? This remake of the original seeks to scratch that Duke Nukem / Doom itch in a way that hasn't been done since, well, the Painkiller remake a month or two ago. Before that, though there was nothing. Except Serious Sam 3. And Hard Reset. Ok, so there isn't exactly a shortage of them, but they still provide a nice alternative to what we usually see.
I recently downloaded the alpha of this game, and this is what the readme says: “StarForge is a game about gathering resources, building bases, crafting anything you want, and surviving on an alien planet. Earth's star is dying and humanity transferred as much technology and resources as possible and left on a one way mission to populate another planet. StarForge was inspired by Halo, Warcraft 3, Borderlands, Terraria, and Minecraft. It borrows elements from the RTS, FPS, RPG, Voxel Builder, Tower Defense, and Physics Sandbox genres. We are building a dark and serious universe and want the player to live out their own unique story on the procedural planet.” From what I've played, that description is surprisingly accurate, without the Warcraft stuff. I haven't seen anything close to that game at all.
12. Dead State
“Another zombie game?” I thought to myself and sighed. “Well I know one game that won't be on my wishlis—wait a second. Is that Brian Mitsoda, the former Black Isle employee and one of the guys behind Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, one of the best and most original RPGs ever and in my top 20 games of all time designing this game?” Yes. Yes it is.
11. Prey 2
This was one of my most anticipated games of 2012, so when it wasn't released, I was a tad disappointed. Oh well. It's better to have to wait than have them release an inferior product. I'm really looking forward to this open world first person shooter with Parkour elements, especially now I have a hole in my heart where Mass Effect used to be. They are nowhere near the same game, but it's looking like this could at least partially scratch the itch.
Well that's it for Part 1. Part 2 should be up in the not too distant future. What did you think of these games? What games are you most looking forward to? Be sure to express yourself in the comments.