Opinion: New Year Gaming Treats Incoming. Games To Look Out For

Christmas might be over for another year, but there is plenty to look forward to in the coming months. 2013 is looking good for us gamers, especially in the next few months. So here are a few good reasons to be happy with the new year.

Featured image montage source – ShiftWallpapers

 

God of War: Ascension [PS3]

The fourth GoW game on the Playstation 3 is a sequel to the previous trilogy, set six months after the death of Kratos’ family. Breaking his oath to Aries after being tricked in to killing his loved ones, Kratos is sentenced to an eternity in a prison for the living damned.

The game boasts some admittedly quite fun looking multiplayer this time around. You can play solo or team based after you pledge yourself to Zeus, Aries, Poseidon or Hades. Bashing other people over the head with large heavy things will give you access to new weapons, armour and magic. There have only been a couple of gameplay videos so far, but it does look promising, so I will try to hold my back my pessimism when it comes to adding multiplayer where none is needed.

The game mechanics are said to have something of an overhaul also, Kratos is able to swing enemies around like a wrecking ball which augment his primary weapon attacks. Also it seems the mini games will be promptless this time, as enemies will continue their attack, causing you to have to evade in real time. Kratos can also steal weapons from enemies and combine them with his own attacks to create new combos.

Finally there is the new Life Cycle mechanic, this allows you to manipulate environments in some places and also freeze enemies, enabling our tattooed hero to unleash more hurt on hapless foes.

It all sounds good on paper so far. I have liked all three games on the PS3 very much, it’s been high quality all the way, from story to production values, with superb voice acting throughout, and I am expecting nothing less this time around.

God of War: Ascension shall be released March 15th.

 

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm [PC]

The painfully long wait for the Starcraft 2 expansion is almost over, Blizzard being known for their “It’s ready when it’s finished” stance on release dates, made lots of fans happy by giving the March 12th release date earlier this year. So what’s new?

Well, you get a brand new campaign centred around the Zerg forces that have now been fractured apart from their hive mind, due to the Queen of Blades (Kerrigan) being captured/rescued by Jim Raynor.

Kerrigan will be playable for most of the missions in the game and you will be able to choose from several skill sets, called “Battle Focus”, this will change the way she handles and supposedly impact the game in a big way.

As with the first game, you will be able to upgrade your troops; mutations can be selected on each Zerg species that eventually lead you to be able to choose between two forms. These should be very different and allow you to tailor your gameplay a little bit more.

Most of the focus, as you would expect, will be on the multiplayer. It’s hard to give too much information here though as it is still in beta and abilities and units are still being changed around. From what I have seen so far, each race has two or three new units that try to fill roles that Blizz felt were missing before. If you watch a lot of pro matches like me, you will see how much has already changed. If you haven’t kept up to date, you can take a look at these patch notes to familiarise yourself.

You can expect this to be a huge release next year, Diablo 3 sold over ten million units, despite being very underwhelming for me, but with the huge e-sport following and solid gameplay, I can’t see them messing this one up.

 

Dead Space 3 [PC/Xbox360/PS3]

I hold some serious man love for the Dead Space series. The first game is one of my favourite all time titles, if only for the sound work alone. The second one seemed to lose a bit of the atmosphere that made the original so butt clenchingly good. It certainly entertained me though.

Feelings appear to be quite mixed on what we have seen about the third instalment so far. It seems to move further away from the survival horror and more toward an action shooter. EA commented that the reason for this was that some users found it was too scary, as reported by CVG.

If you are one of these people, I will find you.

To me this is like making Battlefield 4 a game about gardening. Why you would remove the core aspect that made the series famous is utterly beyond me, but maybe it will be better for it? Right?

Isaac won’t be wondering alone this time, he can be joined by a soldier named John Carver. It is still possible to play single player with just Isaac (thank God), but teaming up to carve (see what I did there?) limbs off the nasties will give extra cut scenes and story elements.

The game takes place on a frozen waste planet this time around called Tau Volantis. Isaac and his new buddy go there in hope of putting an end to the Necromorph threat once and for all. The third game also has a weapon crafting system, I had a play around with it and it seems quite robust. I will definitely be looking forward to this, although with the way my imagination works, I seriously doubt a rainbow farting unicorn of destruction creation will be satisfied. Might just have to stick with Red Faction: Armageddon for that one.

Dead Space 3 is out February 8th, and hopefully I will have to think of many more reasons to give my flat mate about why there is such a multitude of girly screams coming from my room.

 

Crysis 3 [PC/Xbox360/PS3]

I am very eager to jump back in to the Nanosuit again; I loved the original Crysis on PC. Lovely open world to run around in, great mechanics to allow for different types of gameplay and also some very intelligent AI.

The second game was a mixed bag, gone was the sprawling jungle, replaced by New York city, but unfortunately the open ended nature of the game also disappeared with it. The word “consolised” was thrown about to quite a large degree, and rightfully so. Going from a huge island to a corridor shooter is indeed an odd design choice. Sequels are supposed to be about bigger and better in my eyes, not narrowing the scope.

Despite my scepticism, I like the look of Crysis 3. From what has been shown on this gameplay video it looks like we are returning to what made the game great in the first place.

It doesn’t look like there is a great deal different in terms of gameplay so far. The Nanosuit energy usage is noticeably different though, in that it no longer uses energy when running and jumping. I would have liked them to separate the usage of cloak and armour, as using one drains the same energy as the other, to me this is hampering the game mechanics. You could argue it means you need to be more tactical, and maybe my way would make the game to easy, but it would have been nice to be able to switch play styles more easily.

There is a rather interesting looking Compound Bow in the game, it seems to be customisable, to what extent I am not sure, but it looks from the gameplay to work very nicely with both stealth and aggressive play.

We return to New York for Crysis 3, set twenty four years after the events of the second game, the city has been encased in a Nanodome created by the Cell Corporation. EA have hired a well-known filmmaker, Mr Albert Hughes (Menace II Society/Book of Eli) to help with the cinematic style of the game, if they can do as well with this as with their movies, then this should be something quite special.

I’m very much looking forward to this, I’m not expecting huge changes, if EA can somehow push a bit more of the first game than the second in to this, and I think we could be in for a treat. Crysis 3 is due for release February 22nd.

 

DMC [PC/Xbox360/PS3]

When it comes to hack and slash games, there are only two titles which come to mind for me, the first is already mentioned I this article, and Devil May Cry is the other. Starting way back in 2001 the series started in style on PS2. Originally developed by Capcom, the series has now been passed to Ninja Theory. The reboot is set in an alternate universe much like the recent Star Trek film. Whilst the main character still goes by the name Dante, he now has both angel and demon powers.

The demo is already available on PS3 and Xbox, as you can imagine though, the fanbois have gone out in force on the forums, whilst you normally expect some form of back lash to any reboot or sequel, death threats reported by Official Xbox Magazine are a little over the top, however creative they may have been.

Personally I had a lot of fun with the demo. It did seem different to its predecessor but the combat was wonderfully fluid. There were some concerns raised that reaching SSS rating in combat was way too easy. This isn’t something that really bothers me as style points weren’t something I paid attention to.

Something that really stood out for me was the wonderful art style. The stunning Gothic looking scenery and the Limbo world that Dante shifts in to are superb. It is odd without the white haired protagonist, but I won’t let that spoil it for me.

Not too much more information on this one yet, even though it’s not far off launch which is set for January 25th. For me, I can’t wait.

 

BioShock Infinite [PC/Xbox360/PS3]

Out of all the game coming to our shores in the next few months, it’s BioShock that I am most looking forward to. The game has already racked up over seventy five editorial awards from E3 this year, including the game critics best of show award.

Looking through the slew of gameplay videos so far, it’s not hard to see why.

Set in a fictitious 1912 time line, the sky city of Columbia finds the hero Booker DeWitt (awesome name) trying to erase his debt by rescuing a certain lady named Elizabeth. The damsel in question is not one your regular helpless love interests, she has some very powerful “world altering” powers. Elizabeth has been imprisoned on the floating city her whole life with the Songbird as her jailor. Whilst that name might not sound particularly terrifying, it certainly looks to the contrary.

Moving around the city is just a matter of using the sky-lines. These were initially designed for moving heavy equipment, but with an attachment on his arm, Booker uses them not only to move around, but also to take combat to new heights (sorry that was awful). The shooting and ability use look to be much the same, no bad thing but I am hoping they have slotted lots of new powers in there to play around with. I think it’s fair to say that it’s the story I am most interested in, the voice work looks stellar so far and we are promised to have characters that we will come out feeling very attached to.

A little earlier in the year, Ken Levine announced the ending of the game would be “absolutely different to anything you’ve seen in a videogame.”

This on its own is intriguing and also great being that the first game’s ending was bloody awful.

This trailer in particular is making me ache for the 26th of March release date. If it all comes together as well as I am hoping, this could well be the game of the year for me.

“Bring back the girl, wipe away the debt.” ~ Booker DeWitt.

 

These are just a few of the goodies coming your way in the new year, but there is plenty more to come later on in 2013.  I am going to go with my usual plan of eating bread and cheese for a few months so I can buy everything I want.

Let us know what you guys are saving your pennies for. Have you been burned too many times by some developers? Lost interest in certain franchises? Or does some of this wet your appetite for a year of little to no social life?

Although remember that we are gamers, not because we have no life, but because we choose to have many.





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About the Author

Tom Collins
Tom Collins

Aspiring novelist/writer. Fan of many things geeky and an avid gamer since I was three years old. Mainly a PC gamer, but I do own an Xbox and PS3. Other interests include movies, comics and spending money on games I won't really play on Steam.

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