The start of a new year lends itself to many new comforts. Whether it’s the comfort of success that you could eat all that Christmas ham that everyone said you couldn’t, or perhaps the comfort of a cigarette after making a New Year’s Resolution to quit smoking only to break it a few hours later. Whatever your new year is bringing to you, nothing is more comforting to me than the prospect of this year in gaming releases. This new year has a lot to compete with, as the hangover from last year still drapes over my shoulders. Last year had a myriad of overwhelming releases on all modes of gaming as well as a new console with the Wii U.
Nothing is more comforting than the knowledge that this will be a good year in gaming. Therefore I have created a Top Five List of games to look forward to that will be sure to get you excited enough to write down their release dates and perhaps even fantasize about, in your spare time.
5: Grand Theft Auto 5
A continuation of a well loved series, Grand Theft Auto always manages to deliver a larger and more immersive game play. Returning to the fictional world of Los Santos the series is reimagining an area created for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Promising to deliver a huge open area world, the developers, Rockstar North, are injecting a relatively new concept to the series in the form of three playable protagonists.
If you aren’t familiar with the Grand Theft Auto games the story and themes usually revolve around committing crimes to further a single protagonists standing in world. In Grand Theft Auto IV you played Niko, a veteran of an Eastern European war, who is chasing the American dream and builds himself up from relative poverty. In San Andreas you play CJ who returns to his old hood after his mother’s death and starts to help rebuild his neighbourhood into a gangster’s paradise. Despite the often brutal underpinnings of the story and the criminal acts you commit, your playable character begs understanding and empathy and you never totally feel like the bad guy.
This game is definitely one to look forward to. With its immersive style and complex world you often spend most of your time in Grand Theft Auto games exploring the little things that make the game incredible. Like driving around looking for that perfect car to drive over that ramp you saw about half an hour ago, or going on a rampage that ends with an army tank. The game play demands captivation that can be really rare in modern gaming. You spend hours playing the game than trying to finish it.
Release Date: March
4, 3:Watch_Dogs & The Last of Us
Watching last year’s E3 unfold was a potentially boring event. Most of the announcements and trailers were either old news or gave no news at all. Except for two game-play trailers that got my blood pumping. The first of those trailers was for Watch_Dogs the second was for The Last of Us.
Watch_Dogs just looked so damn fun while The Last of Us just seems so damn dark.
I’ve put these two together because based on their trailers; they both seemed to share the same game mechanics that make me anxious to see more. That mechanics being an immersive open world that seems to react and change based on how the player interacts with it.
Watch_Dogs focuses on the player’s unique ability to hack into electronic devices in the open world, utilising them to complete a number of tasks: the trailer features phones failing and causing distractions, gathering information from surrounding electronics, and hacking into a road light causing a traffic accident that the player then uses to kill his target and his bodyguards.
The Last of Us is a survival horror game that allows the player, coupled with an AI character, to explore an immense world where enemies respond uniquely to your own style of play. The trailer features a skirmish between the two protagonists and another group of survivors and while being ultraviolent in nature it also showcases how impressive the enemy AI is.
Both of these games want to offer that unique experience that comes with a world that responds to your every action. They want to recreate un-predictable reality.This is what will potentially make these games great. Gamers love that sense of freedom that comes with a unique gaming experience, an experience that, on the surface, doesn’t seem to be dictated by the rules of the game but by chance or your individual choices.
The only problem that I can foresee with these games is repetition. One of the problems I found with Skyrim was many of the quest that seem to arise organically merely degenerated into déjà vu as once again I would have to travel to some distant cave to fight the same Draugr over and over again. So much content and interactivity can lose the story or meaning in the process.
Release Dates: Watch_Dogs – Unconfirmed in 2013
The Last of Us – May 7th PS3 Exclusive
2: South Park The Stick of Truth
If you were born before or in my generation of gaming you might recognize this FPS.
You might not realize this but every South Park game that has ever existed was done with little development from the creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
For the first time these two are having a direct input into the development of the game and are maintaining creative control over the product, they even approached Obsidian with the concept: a 2-D RPG that combines a turn-based game-play with all the humour and wit of the South Park variety.
What gets me excited for these games are the trailers, the game looks hilarious; not just the game-play and dialogue but even the little things in the background that I didn’t notice the first time around. Genuinely funny games that maintain game-play are hard to come by. The game combines Final Fantasy with Paper Mario and still manages to seem epic.
What I want this game to represent is that classic party game. The one you pull out when everyone is really drunk or the party is beginning to wind down. Something like Super Smash Brothers or Mario Kart 64. While I haven’t been able to find much information, outside of speculation, on the multiplayer side of the game, it seems a logical introduction. There isn’t even a need for splitscreen in the way it is designed and it is this possibility of a party game that excites me the.
Release Date: March 5th
1:Total War: Rome II
Have you ever had that one game that consumes so much of your life that you when you are walking around you actually hear the background music? Well, I may have had more than one, but the first for me was Total War: Rome. A long time fan of Age of Empires, my first contact with Total War was like a dream come true. It was the game I dreamed of. With its complex battlefield mechanics combined with a turn-based strategy that delves into the economic structure of every province and set in one of my favorite parts of world history, Total War: Rome is the game I come back to every couple of months and still get that same sense of enjoyment from.
Now they want to take that game and make it better looking, add more content and add more mechanics. Seriously Creative Assembly, take all my money.
“‘Big’ would be the obvious word. “Enormous” is probably a slightly better one” Alec Meer, Eyes on with Total War: Rome II
Coupled with a new graphic engine which makes it possible to render tens-of-thousands of soldiers and buildings on a battlefield, the game will allow a played to focus on the macro-scale of the conflict or the micro-effects that ripple through the faces of individual men on the battlefield.
One of the only downfalls with the original Total War: Rome was the lack of naval combat, something that was addressed in later series of Total War, but will apparently be more user friendly in the upcoming release. The player will even be able to utilise both naval and land troops in a siege scenario.
Despite all this intense graphical detail the game will still be able to scale for slower computers or laptops, something that Total War: Rome managed to deliver as well.
Maybe there is some fan-boy part of me that hopes to recapture the gaming experience that I received throughout the first episode, but that knowledge doesn’t temper my excitement. Rome was a fantastic game, and throughout the rest of the Total War series they have consistently delivered a unique style of gaming. Basically, any military strategy game released this year will have a hard time competing, even if it doesn’t live up to my expectations.
Release Date: October
Well there it is my top five games to look forward to in the next year. Below this are three honourable mentions that, while being exciting game releases, were comparatively not as stirring. Be sure to look forward to them nonetheless. Your list is definitely going to be dramatically different than mine and you should leave a comment listing the game you can’t wait for.