Continuing our look at the year ahead from yesterdays Geeks Unleashed’s Top Twenty Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2013, Video Games get their turn today. Get those consoles fired up and joypads ready for Geeks Unleashed’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2013:
10: The Last Guardian
This is the latest game in the works for the developers of Ico and Shadow of The Colossus- two uniquely stunning games focused around relationships between character and entity. In each there is a barrier, which defines how the game is played; in the first a boy defends a girl and they must work around a language barrier, in Shadow of The Colossus, a young man must use the environment around him to scale massive creatures which he intends to slay. In The Last Guardian, the developers explored a friendship between two very different species: a strange gryphon-like creature and a human child. Very little is known about the game however, and the release date has been pushed back over two years. According to the chief of Sony Worldwide Studious however, the game has not received the axe and is still in development. There were apparently massive technical issues that needed to be over come. This could imply that The Last Guardian concept was reaching too high and may never come together, but I like to think it means this game will pioneer a whole new genre to blow away modern audiences.
9: Majora’s Mask: The Remake… ?
Fans of the Legend of Zelda series nearly wet themselves when a trailer for a Majora’s Mask remake on Wii U was released. The trailer showed Link –transformed into a deku scrub – running through the familiar underworld of Clock Town, yet it was beautifully revamped to create an even more ethereal world, gilded with magic and wonder. But, alas, the trailer was a fake. A very good fake. However, it has sparked a plea within the Zelda fan-base for Nintendo to heed the siren call of the remake, and make this dream a reality. The trailer has outlined just how much potential for a remake Majora’s Mask has. It moved away from the classic themes of the elements prominent in Ocarina of Time (with the temples of fire and water ext) and took a more psychedelic root. The game is teeming with eccentric characters and their eccentric lairs, such as the old professor and his colorful observatory. Just looking up and seeing the mad face of the moon is proof enough of Majora’s Mask’s strangeness. This could all be wonderfully reworked using modern-day graphic capabilities, to re live the special experience that was Majora’s Mask. The Ocarina of Time remake for 3DS received rave reviews, Nintendo. You have proved that this is well within your capabilities, so come on! Listen to your fans!
8: Beyond: Two Souls
The makers of renowned Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream have done it again. With a script that took over 12 months to produce, state of the art graphic technology and Ellen Page as the voice and face of the protagonist, what can go wrong? The plot is set over 15 years of the main character’s life – Jodie. She is constantly in the presence of a strange entity, which has the numerous powers, including the ability to manipulate matter around Jodie. However, the presence of this being means she can never have a normal life, outlined by a trailer showing Jodie sat in a police station with a shaven head, unable to speak. Little else is known about the story, but –in keeping with Heavy Rain mechanics- there will be alternate endings to this interesting release, and some will be darker than others.
7: Pikmin 3
If you’ve never played Pikmin, now is the time. The Pikmin games are full of pure joy, tragedy and adorableness. They centre on the trials of little space men that use a troop of ant-like pikmin people to complete various tasks (breaking down walls and building bridges ext) in order to reach a goal, such as recovering the lost parts of a damaged ship. As they have progressed through the Nintendo consoles, the added power of each platform has really shone through; this game looks beautiful, and is set to be one of the most endearing games of 2013.
6: GTA 5
Grand Theft Auto is officially hitting Hollywood! That’s right, the fifth installment of GTA is going to be based in Los Angeles. There are also three characters that the player will be alternating between as a posed to just one. Trailers have introduced these three new characters, briefly outlining their personalities and walks of life. Michael is the first be introduced. He appears to be an older man living in marred splendor; as he settles down by his pool for a cheeky midday cigar and bourbon, his wife and bratty daughter argue inside over petty matters, which he appears all too distant from. Trevor however, hasn’t seen quite as much success in life, and he lives in more run down conditions. He’s mentally unstable, filthy and brandishes a tattoo on his neck saying, “Cut here”. He and Michael were partners in crime in the past, best friends in fact, but something caused them to split. The third and final character is Franklin, a repo man who dabbles in-car theft. He follows the more traditional GTA protagonist bill with a desire to go one step further and branch into the criminal underworld. It will be interesting to see how the fate of these three men comes together, and could be the corner-stone in a new GTA era.
5: BioShock Infinite
Infinite is set to be the most unique of the BioShock games so far, with a movement almost completely away from the claustrophobic, branching off into open ground on a gargantuan floating city. Upon first hearing this I feared the series would lose everything that made it what it was. However, the demo confirms that BioShock is still as gripping, eerie and mysterious as ever, with the new protagonist Booker traipsing through the streets as very, very strange things happen around him. A terror even more fearsome than Big Daddy awaits him though, with the introduction of Song Bird. This is a colossal mechanical entity that serves as guardian to Elizabeth, the woman Booker has vowed to rescue from her imprisonment on the city. Elizabeth is with Booker throughout the game, but she’s no Princess Peach. Elizabeth has powers of her own, which coincide with Booker’s and make her a formidable companion. Infinite’s release date has been set back previously though, which I fear may be its downfall; anticipation has made expectations so high that it may never be able to live up to them. Lets wish this game the best of luck.
4: God of War Ascension
This latest installment to an already critically acclaimed series will follow Kratos once more, as he attempts to break his oath to the Gods. Gameplay footage has demonstrated that this God of War is going to look just as good as its predecessor, God of War 3. Developers have also revealed that they have moved the “fun button” from circle to R1, giving Kratos the opportunity to tether in his opponents and initiate classic exaggerated kill sequences that make fights all the more satisfying. Ascension is also evolving the concept of puzzles, which fitted in so well with past God of War games. Videos have shown Kratos using his powers to partially rebuild structures laid to waste so that he can scale them to reach new areas, in a Mirror’s Edge-esque fashion, which looks like great fun. Developers say this installment will be just as over the top as previous games, as it’s all about having a good time and really enjoying the experience.
3: Gears of War Judgment
If you think Gears of War couldn’t get any more action packed, think again. This prequel is set just after the war against The Locusts has ensued- around a month after Emergence Day, or E Day for short. It claims to be far faster paced than the trilogy, with constant waves of fearsome foes, set on ripping your squad apart rather than pick and pop. This title will explore the past of Baird and his squad, who are on trial for severe war crimes. Each level is a retelling of different parts of the story during the trial, which builds up to their alleged wrongdoing. This is an interesting new slant on story telling, and should help colour each mission with an atmosphere of things to come. People Can Fly are assisting the development process this time round, adding a rating system for each level- not dissimilar to some of their previous games such as Bulletstorm. Gears of War is easily one of the most popular game franchises of the third generation consoles, making it impossible for its developers to leave it to rest after just 3 games. That’s right, there will almost certainly be more Gears action to come.
2: Crysis 3
Crysis defined the “next gen” movement with the first game, dropping jaws all around the world with its outstanding graphics and AI. Instead of altering the FPS game play it perfected it by incorporating the functions of the high-tech nanosuit, which gave players the option to use super strength, speed and stealth cloaking in a luscious jungle. The free world layout present in many levels made players feel like predatory entities, with the option to approach enemy clusters withguns blazing or with significantly more fun guile. I invented a new verb during my time playing this game, referring to Nomad as “animalling it” whenever I was hiding amongst the foliage, scanned the area for hostiles and then quietly and cleanly dispatching them after a moment’s calculation. Despite the second game delivering great combat and even better visuals, the city setting and linear level layout removed that feeling of “the hunter and the hunted”, feeling like more of a traditional FPS. It looks like Crysis 3 is going to combine the best of the two games though, as we see Prophet battle through New York, which has been consumed by a vibrant forest. His signature futuristic army-grade bow has not only been the highlight of advertising campaigns, but recaptures that animalistic feeling that made the first game so enjoyable. Stealth mode can also be used along side weapons to further instill this sensation. Crytek have also massively built on the concept of everything taking damage if you lay into it enough, with gameplay showing giant splinters of wood crumbling off grounded logs and newly sprouting trees collapsing as bullets tear through their thin trunks. Crysis is back everyone, and I for one am very, very excited.
1: Dead Space 3
Dead Space is most definitely going in the right direction. The sequel to the first game was met with critical acclaim; it was one of just 12 games in GamesTM’s history to be branded with a 10/10 rating. However, the game mechanics and setting evolved little from the original. Instead Dead Space 2 perfected itself with horrifying new enemies and a gripping story that took Isaac Clarke –the game’s unfortunate protagonist- through some chilling areas. For example, the darkly ornate Unitologist churches or back to the Ishimura, eerily showing signs of a clean up program that never saw completion. Dead Space 3 giving us another excellent plot and a couple more putrid necromorphs to dismember would be all well and good, but for this series to deliver yet another terrifying adventure, Dead Space 3 needs to deliver a fresh experience. From previews and trailers so far, it looks like Visceral Games have done just that, with some new additions that make this next game look like a fantastic 2013 release. Previews have revealed that Isaac Clarke’s engineering abilities are being manipulated to offer a whole new creative side to Dead Space 3. The Bench theme is still in play, but rather than a relatively simple “power node” leveling structure for weapons, health and abilities Isaac will gather up useful parts he finds during his ordeal. These can be used to fashion weapons with a range of different rounds (incendiary, electricity ext), bullet types and forces. I think this will create a great new sector in the fan community, as people share their creations on the Internet and people create walkthroughs to show players where to find the best parts. I fear there may be complaints from some of the slightly less creative players out there though, who could see the system as taking away from the “real” gameplay- but there will most likely be classic weapons available, or a schematics system to pacify them. One of the biggest points of discussion has been a move away from the solitary experience of Dead Space 1 & 2, with Isaac being accompanied by a new character going by the name of John Carver. Resident Evil 5 is renowned as the “Resident Evil that just wasn’t scary” which was partially due to the partner theme. But, we must remember one of its predecessors, Resident Evil Zero, which succeeded in delivering just as many scares with a duo system, thanks to the morose environments and chilling enemies, which remained unaltered. There is also a single player option for those that still feel that a lone experience is the only one that will unnerve them, but cut scenes from trailers imply that to get the most out of your Dead Space 3 the multi player is the only way to go. Dead Space 3 also has a very different setting, on an icy planet rather than the bleak innards of an ailing ship that the last two releases offered. Fans have complained that Dead Space is turning into Lost Planet due to this new snowy environment, which I personally think is ridiculous; the similarities are ultimately unworldly creatures and that it’s a bit chilly. Yet, many people are perfectly happy to let mass-market FPS games revolve around near identical themes. So let it snow, baby.