Since the beginning of this decade, we’ve had a great array of releases hit the gaming platform. It began in 2010 with such titles as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Mass Effect 2 and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood , then came 2011 giving us a Halloween treat with Dead Space 2, the controversial Bulletstorm and what some call the underrated Homefront which was pit amongst Battlefield 3 in release. 2012 then arrived with the 10th Year Anniversary – Decade of Entertainment for Xbox LIVE and greeted us with a huge list of AAA titles from Mass Effect 3, Halo 4 and The Walking Dead by Telltale Games joining those was Modern Warfare 3 and a large batch of downloadable content and Xbox LIVE Arcade titles – many winning multiple awards for their intuitive design and powerful story-telling.
So with the last 3 years done with and to celebrate that we survived a non-existent Apocalypse, we can now welcome another year of great gaming from sequels to new IP. Xbox Insiders’ Most Anticipated Titles Of 2013 from triple AAA franchise releases to Xbox LIVE Arcade titles and Downloadable Content is here.
Why: Whilst the core game remains similar to predecessors, the spicing up multiplayer is what has grabbed fans most attention. In previous Gears games, most notable Gears of War 3, it was always a limited Locust character choice, with little different vs COG or in the new Horde Mode players had the chance to become many of the Locust Enemy Types to charge against COG A.I, this character choice was limited to Horde Mode – However in Gears of War Judgement developers People Can Fly (Bulletstorm) have now mixed it together with multiplayer players being able to become all types of Locust taking on other players who are COG, rather than Players vs A.I, it’s now Online Players vs Online Players with a variety of Character Choice. The signature Down but Not Out’, will be absent in the Free-for-All game modes, also resulting in the absence of executions. Most likely these new features are to produce a more faster paced third person shooter. The other selling point is a new prequel story starring many of the fans favorite characters Baird and Cole and how they came about to be in the Locust War just before Gears of War happened.
Release: 19th March 2013 exclusive to Xbox 360
Why: The upcoming preqboot for the Tomb Raider franchise was welcomed to last years E3 with a round of applause after the first trailer was shown giving us a look at a younger Lara Croft and how she became the Tomb Raider. Once gameplay footage was released we were given a new look at what Uncharted territory the game would be heading in with its fancier graphics and explosive gameplay from hunting down enemies on a deserted island with scarce resources, to exciting and heart pounding QTE events.
Release: 5th March 2013
South Park: The Stick Of Truth
Why: Over the last couple of years, South Park has been given the video game treatment in the form of two Xbox LIVE Arcade titles. The first was the tower defense game appropriately named as South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defense Play and the second which was a recent release of South Park: Scott Tenormens Revenge, which saw a Xbox LIVE enabled co-op side scrolling beat ’em up title be thrust into the South Park Universe. Then, at last years E3 2012 a new title was teased being developed by Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, KOTOR 2). Gameplay Trailers have since been released and show the game is a spitting image of its TV counter-part which excites a lot of fans of the show, with an RPG twist of creating your own character in the town that’s thrown into chaos after a “Stick of Truth” is stolen. Players will venture across South Park’s key locations with an array of characters to play along side and against making appearances.
Release: March 5th 2013
Devil May Cry
Why: A range of fans of the franchise, since seeing the games first trailer, were not very welcoming to the idea of a Younger Dante possibly in a separate universe to the past Devil May Cry games when it was announced. However after months of waiting for more trailers and gameplay footage which show that the game still sticks to the roots of the dark yet witty nature of a world ravaged with demons and the fast paced action gameplay that players have come to love with Dante and pals, it was quite a surprise to some that the game still was a Devil May Cry game. Then the release of a demo, available on Xbox LIVE, came to be and praise was met well with Ninja Theory showing that the game still is what the franchise is about just a fresh new look of characters and the story. A more Not Safe For Work Devil May Cry with even sillier lines and bosses is a welcomed treat for old and new fans a like.
Release: January 15th 2013
Why: It’s Grand Theft Auto. Every release in the franchise is met with praise and excitement even when they are not announced. Rockstar Games are known in the industry as amazing story tellers and stamped their point since the dawn of Grand Theft Auto in the developers of incredible open world games. After releasing world-wide hits like Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3, it was time for the next game in the incredible line-up, the fifth Grand Theft Auto. This time around the game will see players take on Three Characters with the ability to switch simultaneously throughout the game each with their own unique traits, ones including the ability to fly planes which is back since it’s demise in Grand Theft Auto IV. Rockstar tell that of a more powerful and engaging story-line will be the focus of the game, but that will not take away from the core of the game that fans love, the fun. With missions that take place underwater and in submarines and in the air inside high-speed jets, with exotic wildlife below and above sea. Even more variations of travel, even better graphics that Grand Theft Auto IV and even bigger atmospheric cities, including the return of Los Santos/San Andreas, that is set to be bigger than GTA San Andreas, GTA IV And Red Dead Redemption Maps combined, meaning this is going to be one giant leap in the next step of open world gaming.
Release: Spring 2013
Why: Dead Space has truly made a stance in the horror franchise with the last two titles. Dead Space was critically acclaimed when it made its debut with its incredibly horrific atmosphere, top quality graphics, survival third person gameplay and story. It was met with another round of success with its sequel that introduced vs multiplayer with Necromorphs vs Humans, whilst this was a risk with fans stating that it takes the time out of the single player development, the main story line still kept at it’s best delivery another freaky corridor crawler like the first and maintaining a mind-boggling “what on earth is going on here” feel. The Multiplayer, whilst it remains a dust-ball wasteland as today with a little to no player population, it was a fun addition to the game as are all games that introduce a playable enemy we see in the Campaigns of games then allowing gamers to control them and see things from their perspective. Dead Space 3 introduces a new online feature, Co-Op, whilst many fans disagreed once more stating that it would take away from the atmospheric feel of the first two games with a sense that you are alone and anything can happen, it has been made clear that the second player in the Main Campaign is entirely optional with drop in drop out gameplay meaning fans of Isaac can once again venture into the story alone of Dead Space 3 and battle the Necromorphs into the abyss.
Release: February 8th 2013
Why: Bioshock was a mysterious new IP from Irrational Games led by Ken Levine that rose from the ocean and became a huge success within a couple of weeks for its plasmid shooting gameplay and the beautiful design of underwater utopia of Rapture. Would you kindly keep reading? This led Bioshock 2 to be created a couple of years later which led some fans showing us a different perspective of the game leading on after what occurred in the first story, this time around you became the first Big Daddy awoken to the even more disrupted world of Rapture after the events of the first game. Many fans enjoyed this, some didn’t. But the key point was that it kept the incredibly detailed world of the game intact and followed the same format putting you inside this powerful body to roam the desolate ruins of even more locations. Multiplayer was also introduced which had you play as the ravaged plasmid drinking Splicers. The game was met with some criticism with Irrational Games not being the center of development and instead a brother company 2K Marin took over with the help of Digital Extremes, Arkane Studios and Darkside Game Studios which fans felt took away from the main point of the game, the story in the single player campaign. However Bioshock 2 was still given multiple awards with it keeping the story intact and delivering another atmospheric sea plundering title. Now Irrational Games led by Ken Levine return for Bioshock Infinite. Set in 1912 during the era of American Exceptional ism, the game’s protagonist, former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, is sent to the floating air-city of Columbia to find a young woman, Elizabeth, who has been held captive there for the last twelve years. Though Booker rescues Elizabeth, the two are pursued by the city’s warring factions; the nativist and elite Founders that strive to keep the city for pure Americans, and the Vox Populi, a rebel grouping representing the common people. Booker finds Elizabeth to be central to this conflict, and that she also holds strange powers to manipulate rifts in the time-space continuum that ravage Columbia. The player controls Booker throughout the game, eventually teaming with the computer-controlled Elizabeth. Like previous BioShock games, the player uses a combination of weapons, gear, psychokinetic powers granted through “vigors”, and Elizabeth’s own powers to fight off hostile foes and make their way through Columbia. In contrast to the limited spaces of the underwater city of Rapture, the open-air city of Columbia provides for more combat challenges, including combat that takes place aboard the city’s Skyline roller coaster-like rail system. The game will also feature a “1999 Mode”, harkening back to games like System Shock 2 where decisions made by the player will have a more permanent impact on the game, possibly leading the player to an unwinnable situation and requiring a restart from an earlier saved game. Whether or not hints or Easter Eggs will tie in with the Bioshock Universe is yet to be seen which is why a lot of fans cannot wait to see the return of Bioshock.
Release date: March 26th 2013
Those are just a few of some of the most interesting and eagerly awaited by fans of their franchises are looking forward to in the Year of 2013. Now it’s time for some notable mentions in what we will most likely see in the form of digital downloads from Add-On and Map Packs to Xbox LIVE Arcade and Retail Games.
Unnanounced and or unseen titles: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 sequel. Fable 4. Kinect Sports 3. Kinect Adventures 2. Dragonball Z RPG. Modern Warfare 4. Battlefield 4. Half Life 3.
Downloadable Content: Skyrim Add-on and Expansions. Halo 4 Map Packs.
Xbox LIVE Arcade: Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Updates. Kinect Sports Gems Titles. Doodle Jump Kinect. Crimson Dragon. Avatar Motorsport Madness. Saints Row: Money Shot. The Cave. Terraria: Xbox 360 Edition. Outbreak. State of Decay. Shenmue. Ascend: New Gods.