31 December 2012

Five Games to Look for in 2013

5) Bioshock Infinite

Ken Levine's latest work has all the hallmarks of the original entry in the series and in Columbia, the floating city where the game takes place, has the potential to forge an atmosphere every bit as dynamic as that created by gloomy Rapture. 

There's also the potential too for a compelling story created around the relationship between Booker De Witt and AI companion Elizabeth. Recent controversy over Elizabeth's relegation to the back of the box aside Infinite may well be the game that helps define player's connections to NPC's for many years to come. 

Levine has said he wants Elizabeth to be at least as good as his favorite AI companion, Half Life 2's Alyx Vance, lofty goals but if anyone can carry it off it's Irrational. 

4) DMC 

Many fans are, or at least were, outraged when Ninja Theory were revealed as the developers of the new Devil May Cry with a new 'emo' Dante to boot. 

But the game's trailers have done much to allay the fears of series' veterans while Ninja Theory's storytelling flair mixed with Capcom's fluid combat mechanics ought to create something special. While it may not be traditional Devil May Cry that isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

3) Tomb Raider 

Crystal Dynamics' latest foray into Lara Croft's story is, as you no doubt know, an origin story. Lara isn't the heroine female equivalent of Indiana Jones, she's a new Lara and for at least part of the game she wants nothing more than to survive and escape. 

Tomb Raider had to change in light of Uncharted's runaway success in recent years and by the looks of it the series has changed for the better. Combat, always a weakpoint in the franchise, will be key to seeing just how far Lara's come as will exploration. 

The inclusion of multiplayer, while controversial with some fans, need not be a negative factor though that remains to be seen. 

2) The Last of Us

Which isn't to say the developers over at Naughty Dog are going to give Irrational the monopoly on compelling relationship-centric stories. 

Naughty Dog surprised everyone with the announcement of The Last of Us at the VGA's last year and we're promised everything that's made the studio famous. The dynamic exchanges between characters set against beautifully rendered environments ought to provide for a unforgettable experience worthy of the studio that brought us Uncharted. 

And while some might look at The Last of Us and think 'another zombie game!?' they're doing themselves a disservice. Naughty Dog rarely fail to deliver and we might just be looking at the PlayStation 3's magnum opus. 

1) Beyond: Two Souls

Leaked mere hours before Sony's E3 media briefing, a relatively impressive feat in this industry, Beyond still managed to surprise and delight many with it's trailer which focused on Ellen Paige's character being questioned by the police. 

One of the few trailers of E3 without widespread violence (though there were explosions near the end) Quantic Dream demonstrated the improvements they've made to their technology since Heavy Rain which, while a flawed game, set a benchmark for emotive storytelling. 

Perhaps Kara, the tech demo the studio revealed earlier this year, may have been a more interesting project ultimately but Beyond has plenty of things to worth getting excited for. 

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