We're over half-way through 2013, and it's already been a terrific year for video games. The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite are not only my two early front-runners for Game of the Year, but both are among the best games of this current generation of consoles. Just by themselves, they are giving this generation one hell of a send-off. Along with other really good games like Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and Tomb Raider, I feel that 2013 has already been better than last year, and there's plenty more to come.
This thread got me thinking that while some really awesome games have already released this year, there's a heck of a lot of good games still set to release this year, and I was inspired to narrow this list down to 10 and rank them in order of my anticipation. And with that, this is a list of the games that I'm personally most looking forward to over the next 5+ months.
Confession: I've never played a Pikmin game; just never got around to checking them out on the GameCube. But I've decided that now is the time to jump in; it's a risk putting it at #10, because it's hard to know whether or not I'll like it. Still, I've never had a whole lot of trouble getting into Nintendo franchises for the first time, and I'm guessing this won't be any different. (August 4th, Nintendo)
After playing Killer 7 back in 2005, I became a fan of Suda 51 and have made a concerted effort to buy anything that this guy makes. Killer is Dead continues down the path of Killer 7 and No More Heroes, offering an ultra-violent and ultra-stylish assassination romp that appears to be every bit as over-the-top and insane as you'd expect from Grasshopper. (August 27th, Grasshopper Manufacture)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
While the Wii U is getting an HD re-release of The Wind Waker, my 2013 Zelda du jour is this "remake-quel" to A Link to the Past, which is set in an updated version of the original game's world but features a brand new story set within. While it will be interesting to see how that aspect of it plays out, it's the ways in which the traditional top-down view of the game will mesh with the 3D effect that's gotten me intrigued the most. A heavy emphasis on a "stacked" level design to solve puzzles and traverse dungeons has tremendous potential as a new element for the Zelda series, which in a lot of ways seems to be getting its own "3D Land" treatment here. (November, Nintendo)
Viewtiful Joe meets the Power Rangers in the newest game from director Hideki Kamiya. Coming from him, you can expect incredibly fun, stylish combat; combat which will give you plenty of incentive to experiment with the myriad techniques that there are to offer. It's also one of the few big upcoming Wii U games that will be making heavy use of the Game Pad, which is another plus. And there will no doubt be lots of quirky, juvenile humor. Lots! (September 15th, Platinum Games)
Since its surprise debut at E3 2012, I've felt like this game had tons of potential; now, it's just a matter of delivering on it. It's going to depend heavily on the strength of the individual missions. How much control over the city will you have, and how much of a good reason will there be for using this technology in meaningful ways throughout? If it works, this could be really awesome. The open-world game has seemingly plateaued a bit with me in recent years, and the predictability of Assassin's Creed and its overabundance of shallow, monotonous activities and repetitive missions has tempered a lot of my enthusiasm. Will Watch_Dogs prove to be a lot more than a modern-setting Assassin's Creed, and furthermore, will it make a stronger debut than that series did back in 2007? This is a "cross-gen" game, but I'm more interested to seeing how well it will take advantage of the PS4's added power. (November 19th, Ubisoft)
This game should not be on my list, because it should have been out FIVE MONTHS AGO! *Sigh* Anyways, Rayman Origins was my surprise game of 2011, and I've been looking forward to more of that ever since. Yes, more of the same is sometimes a very good thing, and this is one of those instances. Now, if only "more of the same" got here a little sooner... (September 3rd, Ubisoft)
I've been left enamored by this game ever since it was first shown, with its beautiful yet haunting art-style. Rain is about a boy helping a girl traverse a series of very desolate environments, and the game itself is built around the novel concept of your character only being visible when standing in the rain. If this game appears to be a love letter to PS2-era adventure games such as Ico, it's because it is. And with The Last Guardian taking forever (never going) to come out, this is probably the closest thing to that type of game that we'll get from Sony's Japan Studio for the foreseeable future. That being said, it's great to see that the increased viability of the downloadable games market has led to games like this coming to light. (Fall, SCE Japan Studio)
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
It may not be the console 3D Mario game that I wanted, or that I even expected, but I got over the sad reality that this was not a follow-up to Super Mario Galaxy 2 when I remembered just how much I enjoyed Super Mario 3D Land. And then thinking about how I would have loved that game even more if it was on a console instead of a handheld. I really do believe that this game is going to surprise some people, and in a good way. 3D Land was about as close as Nintendo has gotten to perfecting the Mario formula, as far as fully realizing the style of the old-school, 2D Mario games in 3D. Director Koichi Hayashida has hinted that with 3D World, they think they've finally nailed it, and that has me very excited. Also, playing as Cat Mario looks fun. as. hell. I think it's the coolest Mario power-up that Nintendo has come up with in a long while. (December, Nintendo)
Remember what I said earlier about "more of the same" sometimes being a good thing? Yep. Donkey Kong Country Returns is my favorite 2D Platformer of this generation, and when it's all said and done, will probably be among my Top 10 overall games of the entire generation. To say I had an absolute blast playing that game would be an understatement. As far as I'm concerned, Retro Studios is one of the very best developers in the world. And yet, every time they release a new game they still manage to impress the hell out of me, even though my expectations are always through the roof. What has me the most excited about Tropical Freeze is that Retro gets to tinker with a lot of the ideas/concepts that didn't make it into the last game, which invites the possibility of even crazier level design, something that Retro has mastered the art of. (November, Retro Studios)
Up until last week, GTA V was probably middle-of-the-pack as far as games that I was really looking forward to this fall. Going into 2013, my most wanted games were easily Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us, and GTA was well down the list. I mean, I fully expected it to be a good game. I fully expected to get it. I fully expected to really enjoy it. And maybe a lot of that is because the open world game, as I mentioned earlier, has started to wear on me a bit. It had become predictable. It felt like I already knew what to expect. So with GTA V, for me it was always like, "Alright, it looks a lot prettier. And hey, the story seems like it'll be more interesting and less self-serious this time. Sure, it'll be good." And that was about it, for the most part -- it never got into "cannot wait for this game" territory for me.
That all changed when Rockstar released their first gameplay trailer of GTA V, and holy ****! I should have expected it considering the long development time, but I wasn't prepared for just how impressive of a product this is shaping up to be. It really, truly looks like the open-world game that I've always wanted, and the next big evolution for this series and the genre at large. Not only are they delivering on the sheer size and scope, but they are finally holding up their end of the bargain on the gameplay front as well, notably bringing in the excellent shooting mechanics of Max Payne 3 (a game I didn't much care for, but not because of this). And some of the varied activities like golfing, hunting and deep sea diving will probably eat up hours and hours of my life.
But what really stood out the most to me, are the things Rockstar has brought to the table when it comes to missions. More specifically, the heists. Being able to plan these missions out in advance is something that I've always wanted to do in a GTA game; being able to essentially set a script for the crime you're going to carry out (much in the same way you'd plan out an assassination in a Hitman game) sounds awesome. And then there's the partner-zapping, which infamously didn't work for Resident Evil Zero, but seems to be applied a lot more sensibly here. The partner-zapping mechanic could prove to be a landmark innovation for open-world missions if used effectively in conjunction with the pre-mission plan. I'm already salivating at the number of possibilities there will be for completing a mission, and also wondering just how crazy Rockstar is willing to let us be. In any event, GTA V looks to be going far above and beyond the typical "car chase -> shootout -> escape the cops" that made up the bulk of the missions in previous games.
In summary, GTA IV was a really good game, but it was missing some of that magic that the series had on the PS2. With GTA V, it looks like Rockstar has taken notes from their recent successes in Ballad of Gay Tony, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3, and is bringing it all together at last. It really looks to be the total package. All of these reasons are why Grand Theft Auto V is my most wanted game of 2013. (September 17, Rockstar Games)
And that's my Top 10 Most Wanted for the rest of 2013! I had to sadly leave a few games off the list, like Batman: Arkham Origins, Sonic: Lost Worlds and Beyond: Two Souls. There's too much good stuff coming...the first half of the year was great, and the second half might be even better.
What games are you guys most looking forward to this fall/winter? Share your thoughts below!
#3 Super Mario 3D World for playing multiplayer with my wife
And honestly that's about it for me. Unless there are some surprises, I'll be enjoying Animal Crossing: New Leaf and the AMAZING new Streetpass games that I absolutely am loving right now. I didn't realize there was a new Killer 7 game coming! Hope it does alright on those other two systems. Bet it would do gangbusters on Wii U...
I gotta say the launch lineups for the new platforms aren't really doing it for me, although it's rare when a system's launch does have a lot of games that interest me. The one good thing that does come out of a new console launch when there isn't a clear-cut "must-own" game, is that I'm more willing to check out some other games that I might otherwise not. Stuff like Killzone and Knack haven't shown me enough as of today, but who knows? It's sorta like how I had zero expectations for ZombiU last year, and that was my surprise of the year. If "The Witness" was making it out in 2013, or if Sony pulled a Twilight Princess with The Last Guardian (lol), the PS4 launch would look a lot more appealing to me.
For me: 1) Donkey Kong Country Frozen Treat - Looks awesome and has Coop 2) Super Mario 3D World - Looks awesome and has Coop 3) Pikmin 3 - Looks awesome and has Coop
Maybe: 4) Pokemon X & Y - Though I played Pokemon B&W with Ker and ultimately sold it. Pokemon X & Y has my interest... especially if it has anything close to the 3DS online of Animal Crossing. If I dig it may match Animal Crossing's great $:time investment as gameplay can last. 5) The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds probably not right away since I still have to play through Skyward Sword. Perhaps pick it up next year.
If it hits the bargain big, maybe: 6)The Wonderful 101 looks amazing but no co-op so there's a slim chance I'll play it. That's not to say it looks bad but with baby I have a tighter budget and less time to play.
Mine would probably be something along the lines of: 10) Ratchet & Clank Into The Nexus 9) Batman Arkham Origins 8) The Wonderful 101 7) Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze 6) Mario & Luigi Dream Team 5) Wind Waker HD 4) Tales of Xillia 3) Pikmin 3 2) LoZ: A Link Between Worlds 1) Super Mario 3D World
Kind of a weird place to put this, but one of my most anticipated titles for Q3/Q4 is, Viscera Cleanup Detail for PC. It's currently in Alpha and completely free to download. Pre-orders are up ($5) guaranteeing a finished product download as well of a Steam key if it passes Greenlight cert.
If anyone has a spare moment, please feel free to vote it up on Greenlight. It only takes a moment.
Disaster! An alien invasion and subsequent infestation have decimated this facility. Many lives were lost, the facility was ruined and the aliens were unstoppable. All hope was lost until one survivor found the courage to fight back and put the aliens in their place! It was a long and horrific battle as the survivor dueled with all manner of horrific life-forms and alien mutations, but our hero won out in the end and destroyed the alien menace! Humanity was saved!
Unfortunately, the alien infestation and the heroic efforts of the courageous survivors have left rather a mess throughout the facility. As the janitor, it is your duty to get this place cleaned up. So grab your mop and roll up your sleeves, this is gonna be one messy job. Today you're on Viscera Cleanup Detail!
The world needs more games like this. Ones that challenge and poke fun at the norms, while thinking creatively and providing a fun, unique experience.
10. Watch dogs (Wii U) 9. Batman Arkham Origins (Wii U of course) 8. Sonic: Lost Worlds (Wii U) 7. Pokemon XY 6. Mario & Luigi Dream Team 5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 4. The Wonderful 101 3. DKC Tropical Freeze 2. Super Mario 3D World 1. Pikmin 3