While there were plenty of amazing games that came out in 2012, and there’s a fair chance that you haven’t finished all of those yet, it is worth pointing out that 2013 looks to be just as good for gamers, if not better. Toward that end, here is a list of the most anticipated games for 2013.

DmC: Devil May Cry (January 15)

When it was first announced that Ninja Theory, maker of Heavenly Sword and Enslaved, was taking over as developer for the newest entry in the Devil May Cry series, fans were worried about what sort of changes might occur from a new studio taking the reins. The first trailer did little to stifle critics, who were quick to complain about the new look of this prequel to a prequel. I am a longtime fan of the series, even finding some enjoyment with half of Devil May Cry 4 (just a hint, its not the half with Nero), and even I was a bit skeptical. However, my fears were laid to rest by the excellent demo that Capcom released late last year. Using the shoulder buttons to swap weapons helps to make the combat even more fast and fluid than ever before. I’m intrigued by the art style and the way that the game’s environments become twisted and corrupted, like a nightmare out of Inception. This one’s already out, and it promises to give action fans a good start to the new year.

Ni no Kuni (January 22)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to say this: I can’t wait for a console JRPG. Not only that, but there’s actually more than one that I’m on the lookout for, but I’ll get to those in a minute. This is a game that has been tantalizing western audiences for years, and with good reason. It is the result of the collaboration of Level-5, creators of Dragon Quest VIII and the Dark Cloud series, and Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio whose works have been compared with Disney. In other words, the people who are designing and populating this game know what they are doing. The game’s battle system is reminiscent of the area-style battles of the Tales franchise, with a bit of Pokémon thrown in for good measure. One feature that I always appreciate in games is being able to use your magic to influence the world outside of battle. Ni no Kuni is shipping now, and it looks to satisfy all the hype that it has built up.

 

The Cave (January 22/23)

Whenever I’m in the mood for something completely different, I can always count on Tim Schafer and everyone else at Double Fine to deliver. The makers of PsychonautsBrütal Legend, and Costume Quest, Double Fine is a studio whose games are known for being ridiculously charming and legitimately funny. Their newest side-scrolling adventure game, The Cave, promises to be just as interesting. Following the exploits of seven different characters, The Cave will have players navigating traps, puzzles, and monsters that are unique to each story. The art style is colorful and interesting, and the voicework looks to be up to Double Fine’s usual level of quality. This game will be releasing on the PC and all the home consoles, which means that there’s no excuse not to pick it up.

 

Fire Emblem: Awakening
(February 4)

Ever since Fire Emblem first came to the States on the Gameboy Advanced, I’ve been a big fan of the series. While its punishing difficulty might provoke more than one rage quit, the interesting characters and story, combined with the rock-solid turn-based strategy, keep pulling me back for more. Unfortunately, the last game to release on the Nintendo DS never left Japan, which had left me slightly disinterested when they first announced Awakening for the 3DS. Having just played the new demo, however, I can honestly say this will be a Day 1 pickup for me. I’m impressed by the new look, which combines more realistic 3D character models with the same sense of style as the older, sprite-based adventures. The gameplay appears as solid as ever, and a new mode will allow players to save at any time and revive characters after missions. Of course, that won’t be how I play, but then again, I’m a bit of a Fire Emblem masochist.

Aliens: Colonial Marines
(February 12)

The Alien franchise has had a checkered past when it comes to video games. After a series of side-scrolling shooters and beat-em-ups in the ’90s, there been a bit of a drought of noteworthy Alien games. In fact, back in 2002, a different game that also happened to be called Aliens: Colonial Marines was cancelled by Electronic Arts. This just highlights how surprised I am by how good this FPS looks, and I how much I’m looking forward to it. What interests me most about this game is how well it seems to capture the feel of the movies, from the environments and locations to the nerve-wracking beeps of the motion tracker. The standard HUD has also been removed, which contributes to a bigger sense of engagement for players. Gearbox Software, the developer, is the team behind the Borderlands games, which shows that they know how to craft a high quality shooter. Here’s to hoping that Colonial Marines is more like that franchise than that other Gearbox shooter (I’m looking at you, Duke).

 

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (February 19)

As the next entry in the venerated stealth series, the bizarrely titled Revengeance once again finds series’ mainstay Solid Snake sneaking his way through…wait, what’s that? Rising is an action game, starring Metal Gear‘s resident cyborg ninja, Raiden? Well, that’s ok, I guess. Wait, you have a sword that can cut through anything, allowing players to slice objects and enemies into tiny pieces? That does sound pretty awesome. What’s that? The game is being developed by Platinum Games, makers of MadWorldBayonetta, and Vanquish? Alright, sign me up; I’m in. With each successive trailer, Revengeance manages to look more and more awesome. For anyone who’s ever watched an cutscene in an action game and thought, “Man, I really wish I could do that in-game,” this seems to be the answer to your prayers. While it might not be the Metal Gear people expected, Rising looks to be a highly polished action game that will be a ton of fun.

 

South Park: The Stick of Truth
(March 5)

South Park is a tough property to work with. There have been plenty of terrible games based on the series, and at first glance, a JRPG in the vein of Paper Mario would not seem like a good fit. However, I fell in love with South Park: The Stick of Truth as soon as I saw the first trailer. Obsidian Entertainment is a company that know how to make a good RPG, having worked on Fallout 2Baldur’s Gate, and Knights of the Old Republic 2. What’s even more important, though, is how The Stick of Truth captures the look and feel of the source material. This, of course, is due in large part to the participation of show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone in both designing the game and voicing the characters. Whatever the reason, though, the fact remains that this is a game I can’t wait to get my hands on.

 

The Last of Us (May 7)

The Last of Us first grabbed the gaming industry’s attention with a spectacular trailer that showed the main characters scouring a desolate building before having to fight off both a human character and a strange humanoid monster. Later footage continued to impress, showing enemy and ally AI that seemed both organic and spontaneous. The player’s partner, Ellie, is especially noteworthy, as she is far more than just the subject of an extended escort mission. If it lives up to this promise, The Last of Us could be a game that changes the way we look at player and NPC interactions. While this is certainly a daunting challenge, the developer seems up to the challenge. The makers of the Crash BandicootJak and Daxter, and Uncharted, Naughty Dog has a reputation for producing AAA titles, and they seem excited and committed to The Last of Us.

 

Tales of Xillia (Sometime 2013)

The last JRPG on this list, Tales of Xillia is the latest entry in the long-standing Tales franchise to make it to the United States. It was released in Japan in 2011 to rave reviews, and it was the last game of Namco Tales Studio before the company was dissolved into Namco Bandai Games. The Tales franchise is known for its action-oriented battle systems, which make encounters much more exciting and challenging. Xillia itself looks to continue that tradition, allowing players to chain together normal and special attacks, and introducing dual-character special attacks. The game is visually stunning, with character models and environments that are rich, colorful, and detailed. While it certainly won’t appeal to everyone, I’ve been a fan of the franchise since Tales of Symphonia, and Xillia looks to be better in every way.

 

The Last Guardian (????)

Yes, I know that there’s no set release date for this one. Yes, I know that Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida refused to comment when asked about a 2013 release date. This entry is more just a refusal on my part to allow this game to fall off the radar. First shown at E3 way back in 2009, The Last Guardian is the third game from Team Ico, the makers of Ico and Shadows of the Colossus. After the enormous critical acclaim of their previous works, there was an enormous amount of hype when The Last Guardian was unveiled. Sadly, there have been delays, issues with key staff members, and even rumors of cancellation. Sony, however, continues to insist the game exists. While its seems like the cards are stacked against it, I’m calling it here that The Last Guardian will release sometime this year, based solely on my gut feeling, as well as the magical wish-making fairy I have trapped in a mayonnaise jar.

 

It should be noted that this is my personal list, and that if you disagree with me, that’s okay, regardless of how wrong you are. You’re more than welcome to discuss the various flaws in my list in the comments below. Just, please keep the caps to a minimum, okay?

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