Everyone basically says this at the beginning of every year, but I'm going to say it anyway: 2013 is going to be the best year in gaming! That statement turns out to be a hit or miss depending on a number of circumstances, but it's hard to deny that we're in for a killer year thanks to what's on the horizon.
Forget about the more than likely new generation of gaming consoles that might be released this year. We're at the prime of the current-gen life cycle, and if you doubt that for one second just look at the games we've listed below.
This time around, the various editors at Destructoid went about and picked their ONE most wanted game of 2013. We're all obviously looking forward to multiple games, but these are the ones each editor wants so bad that it hurts. HURTS!
DmC: Devil May Cry (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
Release: January 15, 2013
It's been a long and bumpy road, but Ninja Theory and Capcom's new take on the much loved Devil May Cry series is right around the corner. After the now infamous debut trailer and the immense fallout from series loyalists, DmC's chances seemed tenuous from the outset. Though the series was already known for changes in direction and tone, this new game from a Western studio seemed hard to swallow for many. As time went on and with every trailer and gameplay footage released thereafter, the game began to look better and better. Now, the game flaunts style and attitude that will even make classic Dante blush. Who would've thought?
A reboot and an origin story -- DmC looks to be a familiar, but also a more mature and exuberant take on the old, while seeking to shape a new identity of its own. Though a number of skeptics still scoff and revile this reboot, it's hard to deny Ninja Theory's gumption and tenacity in the face of mounting pressure from fans. Speaking as a fan of the series who was a bit put off by Capcom's last entry, I'm more than happy to see a fresh take on the old. The recent demo has not only helped affirm my confidence in the developers, but has also won over people on the fence, and helped introduce new players to the stylish action the series is known for.
With its release approaching, and the PC version (60FPS!) following the week after, only one question remains: will this reboot be able live up to the series' name? Well, you can be the judge of that.
Dead Space 3 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
Release: February 5, 2013
Co-op? Human enemies? Dodge-rolls? A cover system? It's almost as if EA and Visceral wanted us to doubt Dead Space 3's creds when the news started pouring in. And yet, in spite of all its unnecessary gameplay "advancements," I still find myself rock-frickin'-hard for this game.
Tau Volantis -- the icy planet we've been shown since the early gameplay videos -- wisely channels John Carpenter's The Thing with its harrowing, limited visibility and Necromorph-friendly piles of dusty snow, and the game's oft-touted weapon-crafting system should add a new level of variety to Isaac Clarke's classic arsenal. Who knows, maybe we'll even find a reason not to use the Plasma Cutter 100% of the time!
Likewise, the addition of dungeons should make subsequent playthroughs all the more enjoyable, and, believe it or not, I'm actually excited for the optional co-op mode. At the very least, it should be fun to see the campaign through a whole new lens; but only after we finish our solo playthroughs, of course. So yeah, critics be damned! I cannot wait to revisit the Dead Space universe.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Release: February 19, 2013
There's a big part of me that wants to say I'm utterly sick of Metal Gear. The overblown story, picking through minutiae to try and find the next secret that Kojima teases out interminably, slowly creeping my way from one plot twist to another; these elements and their persistence within his games have made me feel like Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2 upon the realization that all of it has been done before.
That's why I'm so keen for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Granted, some of those elements are going to appear because that's just who Kojima is. It just wouldn't be Metal Gear otherwise. But with the introduction of the Platinum Games team to handle the gameplay mechanics, I'm hoping that what we see feels fresh and frantic and encourages combat instead of sneaking. That could be just enough of a palate cleanser to prepare us for Ground Zeroes (and, presumably, The Phantom Pain).
Rayman Legends (Wii U)
Release: February 26, 2013
If Rayman Origins saw the return of the armless and legless hero to the hearts of all true gamers, Rayman Legends looks to be the experience that puts him into the limelight. This is especially true in relation to offering Wii U fans what will surely be am amazing cooperative platformer to the new system's still paltry exclusives library.
After getting some time in with Rayman Legends at PAX Prime and then being even further blown away by the awesome demo level Castle Rock, my excitement for the next Rayman game is more than palpable. It offers some really neat touchscreen implementation with Murphy, from cutting ropes to release bridges to collecting special lums for Rayman throughout certain levels.
The art style is still as beautiful as ever, and even sharper thanks to 1080p output on the ol' HDTV. Rayman Legends already seems to promise the same level of difficulty and addictiveness as Origins did, just with those beautiful graphics notched up to 11. If there has been any singular reason for me to invest in a Wii U, it's because Legends will be available for it soon enough.
South Park: The Stick of Truth (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Release: March 5, 2013
Once again, South Park makes my shortlist of most anticipated games, one season and one terrible, terrible game later. One is a reminder of South Park’s legacy on TV; the other, a reminder of its history of abysmal attempts at translating the show’s topical, scatologically-minded humor to videogames.
One thing stands as true in 2013 as it did the year before: Videogames could use some more poop jokes, especially in a lengthy RPG developed by Obsidian. An E3 and two trailers later, not much is known on how Stick of Truth’s design or narrative is structured. Despite Obsidian’s hit-and-miss history, I remain optimistic about this one. As long as mechanics and faulty programming don’t get in the way of the world and story, Stick of Truth should be an obscene adventure full of literal shit storms, politically incorrect jokes that you can’t help but laugh at, and commentary on role-playing games and their ridiculous tropes.
South Park always manages to walk a thin line between making fun of the things we love while still celebrating them in its own twisted way. The show has focused on videogames a couple times, but an entire uncensored game focused on parodying the role-playing genre may lead to a high as memorable as the classic Bigger, Longer & Uncut. I look forward to beating the hell out of kids with a stop sign while leveling up my “High Jew Elf.”
BioShock Infinite (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Release: March 26, 2013
I always wanted BioShock to adopt the Final Fantasy approach to sequels (because Square Enix got stupid) and have a series of games set in new worlds, with new stories, with shared themes. BioShock 2, in its avarice, spoiled that idea, but BioShock Infinite has come to set things right, and I couldn't be more excited. Set in a new sky city, the huge bright environments couldn't be more different from BioShock's murky Rapture, yet the core aesthetic of the series is unmistakable. Add to that a range of outstandingly freaky enemies and inventive weaponry, and you've got a game that's looking set to turn heads.
Mixed in with what's sure to be solid gameplay is a narrative that lays the political commentary on a bit more blatantly than BioShock did. This could come across as tacky or bold, depending on how well it's done, but I trust the folk at Irrational Games enough to believe their story of jingoism gone wrong can entertain without having to brow-beat. In any case, its themes are certainly pertinent in an era where even the slightest disagreement with certain people can earn accusations of being "un-American." In fact, this game itself could infuriate certain members of that certain demographic. Certainly!
BioShock Infinite has been a long time coming, and has seen its fair share of trouble in the development process, but it speaks of Irrational's pedigree that nobody's seriously called the game's future into doubt yet. It's almost assured this will be a good one, and I can't wait to see whether or not Irrational's able to match our expectations.
The Last of Us (PlayStation 3)
Release: May 7, 2013
It's been exactly one year since Naughty Dog revealed their first teaser trailer for The Last of Us at Spike's VGA broadcast, but I still remember how it immediately captured my imagination. While their games always look and sound fantastic, this seemed like it could have a story that would be much deeper than any Uncharted game we've seen. An unlikely pair of survivors from a disease outbreak sent endlessly running for their lives at the end of the world -- even from the first tease I knew that this game was going to suck me in.
Over the past year I've seen much more of The Last of Us, and it's sure to kick down genre walls with its mix of action-adventure and survival horror, as characters Joel and Ellie have nearly nothing in the way of supplies and even less in the way of places to hide. And Naughty Dog promises that it's done away scripted events in favor of a balance-of-power system that has enemies dynamically reacting to the way that the duo is armed. And that incredible setting -- the world is desolate, gritty, and often violent, but at the same time so beautiful that it's almost unbelievable.
We already know that Naughty Dog can do graphically impressive, cinematic action games, but the star this time around is story and characters. We're in for a treat this spring.
Total War: Rome II (PC)
Release: October 2013
The original Rome: Total War (Yes, they did change the naming format) is arguably Creative Assembly's best game, and one of the greatest strategy games of all time. Well, it would be had they not made Total War: Shogun 2.
I'm incredibly hyped-up to see the studio's planned changes, which involve a dramatic increase in scope for both its turn-based strategic and real-time tactical aspects, while reducing the amount of late-game micromanagement overload. And let's not forget that Total War games have consistently been gorgeous graphical powerhouses, matching even the AAA shooter market in scale and fidelity. Creative Assembly has even promised to finally merge naval and ground combat, allowing for real-time amphibious invasions and even more units on screen than ever before. I'm totally looking forward to finding out just how Total Rome II will get.
Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
Release: Spring 2013
Fans of the Pikmin series have been waiting a long time for this sequel, and from what I can tell, the wait has been worth it. With new four-player co-op, new enemies, new modes of transportation, a new evocative camera system, and of course, new Pikmin, Pikmin 3 appears to be the greatest expression of the Pikmin concept to date.
I was once bitter that the game was put on hold until the release of the Wii U in order to capitalize on the console's capacity for HD output. But now that I've played the game, I see that it was worth it. Pikmin has always been about a place where the cute, iconic surrealism of the Pikmin meets the harsh but beautiful "real" world that they live in, and the HD display does a lot to make that idea hit home.
Though many may not see it on the surface, the Pikmin series is some of the most horrific, heart-wrenching survival games ever made. Your time, control, resources, and more are all limited. Only through managing all these limitations and making the most of every opportunity can you come out on top, which makes that feeling of victory that skilled Pikmin players have grown to love feel all sweeter when it finally comes.
Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Release: TBA 2013
Realistic open-world sandbox games are some of my favorites to play, and of course that means the Grand Theft Auto series is high up on my list of favorites. GTA paved the way for the genre, and I've immersed myself in every experience ever since the original.
In the downtime since GTA IV, titles such as Saints Row and Sleeping Dogs have been capturing the spirit of the last-gen Grand Theft Autos. Grand Theft Auto V is looking to come back on top, though. The new game looks to be delightfully more lighthearted, promising a mix of serious and offbeat, much to the pleasure of old-school fans.
What's really got me wanting to get my hands-on GTA V is the fact that you are in control of three main protagonists. Each will feature their own fleshed-out story, and certain missions will allow you to swap between characters on the fly, each offering a unique and different perspective. It's an exciting new mechanic that won't be easy to pull off, but if anyone can it's Rockstar.
The Elder Scrolls Online (PC)
Release: TBA 2013
I know a lot of people aren't that excited for an MMO Elder Scrolls, but hear me out. Although the term "MMO" may turn people off immediately, I think there's a lot of potential here to maximize the enjoyment of the franchise. Simply put, exploring the entire continent of Tamriel wouldn't be possible in this current era unless it was a project as massively scaled as an MMO.
Being able to set foot in Morrowind at any time will be an amazing experience, rich with lore built up in previous games. If Skyrim is your fancy, you'll be able to enjoy that, as well as treasured locations such as the Summerset Isles, which haven't been seen since the very first Elder Scrolls game -- Arena.
The Elder Scrolls Online already has five years of development behind it, and a lot of ideas, like the design concept of a more "single-player MMO" intrigue me. There will be more instanced play and story-based sequences than pretty much every other MMO before it, which may be a huge hit if it actually works out playing like a multiplayer Elder Scrolls game.
Release: TBA 2013
I am no stranger to competitive games, with many hours poured into games like Team Fortress 2, Street Fighter IV, and Dota 2. When I play SpyParty, however, something is different. There's a feeling of intense anxiety that permeates my being. You see, one player plays as a Spy at a party, while the other plays the Sniper. The Spy must accomplish a set amount of goals like swapping statues or bugging the Ambassador without getting caught by the Sniper. In other words, acting just like an AI while simultaneously accomplishing objectives. The Sniper has one bullet to take out the Spy before time runs out.
Here are some examples of what runs through my head in just about every three-minute match of SpyParty:
"Oh god. Did they notice that slip up?"
"Their laser hasn't left my skull for 10 seconds, THEY KNOW!!"
"Do I have enough time to even do these objectives anymore? IF I LOOK AT MY WATCH THEY'LL KNOW WHO I AM!"
And that's the pure beauty of SpyParty. One versus one. You against them. You have no team to fall back on, no one but yourself to depend on, and no one else to, eventually, blame. I've spent hours studying the mechanics behind the game, yet all the planning in the world cannot prepare you for the sensation and tension that fills each game of SpyParty.
Dark Souls II (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
Release: TBA 2013
I don't know if From Software itself could have foreseen the remarkable journey the Souls games would take. From humble beginnings to cult status to genuine success story, there's no stopping the franchise now. With a new director on board for Dark Souls II, there is some cause for concern, even if series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki is serving as a supervisor for the sequel. While it's unclear how exactly the studio will balance staying true to its roots and simultaneously reaching entirely new types of players, chances are that even if not everything is executed flawlessly, the game will still be an instant hit.
There's simply nothing else like Dark Souls out on the market today, and the number of people who want to partake in its particular brand of gameplay is only growing. Forget in-game screenshots or videos -- we're hanging on every translated word when it comes to the game. Whether it ultimately fails or succeeds to meet expectations, Dark souls II will be an exciting one to watch, and hopefully play when it finally releases.
Star Wars 1313 (Platforms to be announced)
Release: TBA 2013
Star Wars 1313 was announced right before E3 2012, and was shown off during the show with a promise of a more adult and gritty Star Wars than we're used to. Well, the demo showed us that and a whole lot more. Simply put, 1313 has some of the best-looking lighting, shadows, and particle effects I have ever seen. It looked suspiciously next-gen, even. That, mixed with the fact no targeted platforms have been announced and the game has been shown running on DirectX 11 has me thinking this might be launching on the heavily rumored next Xbox and/or PlayStation this year.
Either way, 1313 is already looking like the most interesting original Star Wars game since the first Knights of the Old Republic. It's the bounty hunter game we've always wanted, and never got even when, well, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter happened. The clearly Uncharted-inspired gameplay looks fun as hell with a focus on gadgets, tools, traditional weapons, and quick-thinking. Those are things I've truly always wanted to see in a Star Wars title, and that easily makes Star Wars 1313 my most anticipated game of 2013.
The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)
Release: TBA 2013
I wasn't too thrilled by the Wii U's teaser reveal at E3 2011, and the full reveal this past year did little to sway me. For the first time ever, I wasn't totally on board with the idea of owning a new Nintendo console. Of course, all it takes is that one game to catch a person's interest. And the Wonderful 101 was that game.
It's basically Viewtiful Joe meets Pikmin. You are a superhero who recruits other heroes then leads the throng against alien invaders. Simply issue a command and watch as the heroes link their bodies together to form giant fists and swords. But even though in the demo you could only manipulate the crowd with the analog sticks, I see great potential in using the stylus to draw the appropriate forms for battle.
This is the kind of colorful whimsy that made fall in love with the late Clover Studio, and I'm so glad Platinum Games has recaptured that ol' spark. I only hope other companies pay heed of Platinum's creative initiative and find ever more creative ways to use the Wii U's GamePad.
Watch_Dogs (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Release: TBA 2013
As someone who loves cyberpunk and gadgets, that first trailer for Watch_Dogs really intrigued me. A man armed with nothing (for the first part at least) but a cellphone taking advantage of the interconnected strands of our digital lives, to take revenge on an unsuspecting criminal. Whilst the combat looked fairly standard, the idea of taking some of the elements of Deus Ex and Dishonored and putting them into a contemporary setting was really appealing. What's even more interesting is the tease of co-op, a second player in the E3 demo appeared to be given the role of an escort or protector. The idea of executing these sting operations as a team is really exciting.
I have some concerns, though; the idea of an urban-based surveillance game seems like it might be really similar to parts of Assassin's Creed. The combat elements in Ubisoft games seems to have become fairly homogeneous, where games like Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon have ended up so similar. Will Ubisoft's "all hands on deck" approach to game development stifle any individual vision? Despite my concerns, Watch_Dogs is one of the games I'm really looking forward to in 2013.
Killzone: Mercenary (PlayStation Vita)
Release: TBA 2013
It's been nearly a year since the PlayStation Vita first hit shelves. For all its potential, support for Sony's little machine has been pretty dire to date. That sentiment applies especially to first-person shooters. A pair of marquee franchises have made appearances on the system, but they've been dreadful. And now Guerrilla Cambridge has stepped up to the plate with Killzone: Mercenary. As a fan of the series and someone who'd like the Vita to succeed, I dearly hope they're swinging for the fences with this one.
Now I'd be excited for this if it were just another Killzone game, but Mercenaries at least partially fulfills my greatest desire for the series. For the first time ever, players will have the opportunity to play as the iconic Helghast in the title's main campaign. Granted, the Helghast are almost certain to still be painted as the villains of the tale, rather than the heroes that they truly are. I'm not going to bemoan progress, though. I'm incredibly stoked to see how this turns out.
Like I said before, these are just our one most wanted game. There's obviously a ton more games we can't wait for, such as Tomb Raider, Ni No Kuni, SimCity, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Fortnite, Metro: Last Light, ARMA 3, LocoCycle, Starforge, Monaco, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Guacamelee, and so much more!
What game are YOU looking forward to the most in 2013?