2012 was one of the weaker years for gaming, for me, in recent memory. There was nothing I played that came close to my top three of 2011. Most of the most worthwhile games of last year were short, downloadable games; there was little in the realm of full retail type experiences that I could get anywhere near as immersed in as the likes of Skyward Sword and Skyrim. Anyway, I still need to play The Walking Dead, to find out what the fuss is about on that one, and Retro City Rampage, when it finally comes to Wiiware, before I finalize any kind of personal 'best of 2012' list (maybe I'll count the latter as a 2013 game). But for now, a most anticipated of 2013 list! If some of the games on this list pan out (not to mention, some of the games not on this list, like Killer is Dead), I see 2013 being quite a bit stronger a year than '012...
10. Fantasy Life (3DS - TBA)
This is a game that hasn't been announced for a release outside of Japan it just came out in Japan like a week ago after like three years of development but my fingers are crossed for it. It's a JRPG, but you don't play as a hero, rather, a peasant. There are tons of different occupations you can choose and I'm seriously enraptured by the idea of playing an RPG as a postman. The game looks to capture the simulation game addictiveness and delightfulness of stuff like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, and I have high hopes for it.
9. Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS3 - Q2)
I laud Rockstar for taking their immense talent and resources to original settings in riskier games like Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire, these last few years, the former being, I think, their best game. But I'm ready for a new GTA now. And they've earned their right to make one. It's been enough time that the game can be a true sequel, not just a new iteration. I had some problems with GTA IV, but I look forward to this new game blowing that one away.
8. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS - Spring)
I haven't gotten much use out of my 3DS lately. Why hasn't this come out yet? Since the launch of the 3DS, I've seen this as perhaps Nintendo's biggest first-party title - or at least the most intriguing, since I never played the original Luigi's Mansion, and am interested to see what the green brother's personal series is all about.
7. LEGO City Undercover (WiiU - Q1)
This looks like easily the best LEGO game in years, if not ever. It's not a franchise cash-in, it's its own thing, and it looks awesome. It appears to be a true open-world game a silly GTA clone, in the tradition of The Simpson's Hit & Run, and I'm frankly more excited for it than the actual new GTA game.
6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS - Q1/Q2)
It's been many years now since my addiction to Animal Crossing on the DS finally wore off. But now, as I've seen more and more of the new game, I'm starting to feel it again... the craving. Yes, I see myself playing this every day again. And now, I'll have even more motivation to keep with it, since my brother (who played the Wii version until the disc broke) will no doubt get his own copy of the game. Aaarg, I really hope I don't get to that point again where the game just devolves into me logging in every day to spend twenty minutes picking and selling all the fruits that have regrown on my trees...
5. Rayman Legends (WiiU - February 26)
This was to be my big launch title for the WiiU, before it got delayed. Having played a little bit of New Super Mario Bros. U, and the Rayman Legends Demo Rayman Legends is just so much better. This is the WiiU platformer to be; this is the WiiU game to play with friends. This game is where the fun and creativity is.
4. The Wonderful 101 (WiiU - "Launch Window")
This is a game where you draw circles around unemployed Superheroes to recruit them to form together into a giant fist and punch robots. Yes. This game for me represents the next generation of the kind of unique niche Wii games that made that system so special. The gameplay is immediately intriguing to me, being another new take on the Pikmin style of gameplay that's made for some of my very favourite games. Yeah, this is definitely one of my most anticipated WiiU games.
3. The Last Guardian (PS3 - TBA)
Okay okay, The Last Guardian has been at the top of my most anticipated games lists every year since 2010. So it's getting difficult to include it with a straight face. But c'mon! It's gotta come out this year, right?!
2. Pikmin 3 (WiiU - Launch Window)
This is Nintendo's one big triple-A WiiU game, and it's the long-awaited next instalment in one of their best and most under-loved franchises. The Pikmin games are soo fucking good. I am enormously excited for this game it is certain to be incredible. And what better way to establish Nintendo's first foray into HD gaming this game will look glorious.
1. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3 - January 22)
I debated the order of these top three choices. But, despite some trepidation regarding the turn-based combat and possible grinding that's why I'm not often a big JRPG fan, I'm giving Ni No Kuni the top spot. I mean, the game looks deep and unbelievably beautiful, and I can see myself being absorbed into its world the way only a few of my very favourite games have ever accomplished. The fact that Studio Ghibli is behind this project lends credence to this possibility the worlds of their films are charming and endearing and beautiful. And seeing these worlds through their films is great, but I'm getting this feeling, that that will pale in comparison to the experience of actually being in one of their worlds. ...And it's coming this month!