Reasons to be cheerful in 2013
By Sam Dumitriu
The first half of 2013 is packed to the brim with AAA releases, The Mancunion have picked the 5 we’re most excited about.
Tomb Raider (360/PS3/PC) Crystal Dynamics:
Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of the popular Tomb Raider centres around the theme, Lara Croft as a survivor. The game is based around Lara’s transition from explorer to duel-pistol wielding tomb raider. Lara is shipwrecked on an isolated tropical island; she has to hunt for food, water and shelter to survive.
But picking berries is the least of her worries, as she also has to deal with the dangerous animals and violent mercenaries. After the success of Uncharted it appears Crystal Dynamics are placing a greater emphasis on combat, trailers show Lara dispatching mercenaries brutally with her bow and arrow.
The most noticeable change is that the game has shifted towards realism, Lara’s most famous assets are noticeably closer to realms of physical possibility and the game’s environments are much darker than the vivid horizons of past games.
GTA V (360/PS3) Rockstar North:
Five years after the last instalment in the series, the action picks up in the city of Los Santos in the fictional state of San Andreas. The map is set to be bigger than the maps of GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption and San Andreas combined.
GTA V’s story is a series first as you follow not one but three protagonists as the game’s focus is the pursuit of the almighty dollar in present day Southern California.
You play as Michael, a big time criminal in witness protection trying to adjust to life after crime; Trevor, the polar opposite still working and living in a trailer park, and Franklin, an ex gangster who now makes his money in by collecting debts. How these three stories will intertwine is still anyone’s guess, but it’s likely to invoke memories of GTA IV’s meeting of Niko, Johnny and Luis.
Gears of War: Judgement (360) Epic Games:
The fourth entry in the Gears of War series will take place before the events of the first game, and will for the first time leave Delta Team behind and follows series favourites Baird and Cole. Kilo Team are on trial for treason and each level centres on Kilo Team’s testimony.
You can alter your testimony by taking on extra challenges like only using certain weapons in order to get a higher end of level rating, providing much needed replay value to a story that otherwise might get ignored in favour of multiplayer.
Multiplayer will be important as ever, with Epic launching a new mode called Overrun. A class based mode where the Locust aim to infiltrate the COGs defences and destroy their E-Hole cover. The opportunity to play as a Corpser should be enough to make this a must buy even for those jaded after the last three battles with the Locust.
God of War: Ascension (PS3) SCE Santa Monica:
Fitting with the year’s theme of prequels, Ascension takes place before the events of the first game. Kratos battles the three Furies in an attempt to sever all ties with Ares, who callously tricked him into murdering his wife and child.
The most surprising addition is a multiplayer mode that has players swears allegiance to one of four gods and fight to gain new abilities through levelling up. Different gods give different powers and customisation and specialisation will be vital to online play.
With online multiplayer looking to be incredible fast paced and fun, and after three years without any Kratos action on the PS3, Ascension is shaping up to be a must buy for all PS3 owners.
Bioshock: Infinite (360/PS3/PC) Irrational Games:
Whereas Bioshock dealt with Libertarianism, and Bioshock 2 dealt with the Communism, Bioshock Infinite has set its sight on the ideology that started World War Two, Nationalism.
Set on a city in the sky, two warring factions, the Founders obsessed with American exceptionalism and the Vox Populi, a rebel grouping representing the common people. You play as Booker a down on his luck ex-Pinkerton agent who’s drafted in to pay off his gambling debts tasked with finding Elizabeth, a young woman held captive who may be pivotal to the war.
The game has controversially added 1999 mode, which aims to be make sure your choices matter by giving you less ammo and health and forcing you to specialise early on. It’s a brave move, but it shouldn’t upset too many people provided the standard single player is still good.