2012’s video game slate was an impressive one, bringing a plethora of sequels to classic video games of the past, including new installments in the BioShock, Pokemon, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty and Halo series. At the same time, Nintendo launched their latest home console, the Wii U, to follow up the massive presence they had built with the original Wii since its 2006 arrival. Can 2013 piggyback off of all that success and launch the world into a new age of gaming?
The known releases in 2013 are from various developers, genres and consoles. There are many games that are coming out across multiple platforms (as usual), while many others are exclusive to one system. The year includes another varied slate, from the returns of many beloved game series, to reboots of classic series, to brand new games that have the potential to become instant classics.
In part 1 of the Western Herald’s 2013 video game preview, we will look at the games exclusive tothe Nintendo Wii U, the Nintendo 3DS, the Microsoft Xbox 360 and PC. Enjoy.
Bayonetta 2: It may come as a surprise to some that Bayonetta 2 is exclusive to the Wii U after its predecessor launched on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Still, Bayonetta 2 will bring some much needed hack-and-slash joy to the Wii U. The trailer doesn’t reveal much about the game, but if it’s any indication on the quality of at least the graphics, look out for Bayonetta 2 to be a real staple in the Wii U wheelhouse. More details will be coming in the future…including an actual release date.
Rayman Legends: Another Wii U game breaking the tradition of its predecessors, Rayman Legends is a direct sequel to 2011’s multi-platform Rayman Origins that will bow exclusively on the Wii U. Rayman Legends is a classic platformer, which graphics that stay true to the cartoony style of the Rayman series while keeping things visually stimulating. Furthermore, the buzzed-about Wii gamepad will used in a simple-yet-effective way. Rayman Legends will be released on Feb. 26.
Pikmin 3: Pikmin 3 takes after its predecessors in gameplay style, but is rumored to have smoother controls that will expand its playership. In Pikmin 3, rock pikmin are introduced to the game and are used to smash targets. The Wii U gamepad can be used on its own to better use the map. Up to four leaders can be controlled in Pikmin 3, but none of those four are series’ protagonsit Captain Olimar for reasons that may (or may not) be explained in the game. The graphics for Pikmin 3 look amazing, and the extra detail available through the Wii U hardware certainly helps the series. The game is due out in spring 2013.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon: Despite its new handheld digs, Dark Moon will use many of the same game mechanics as its long-lost predecessor, 2001’s GameCube release, Luigi’s Mansion. There will be multiple mansions to explore in Dark Moon, and the gyroscope on the 3DS will have some impact on controlling Luigi’s movements. Look for Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon in spring 2013.
Fire Emblem: Awakening: This new installment in the long-running series will continue Fire Emblem’s tradition turn-based/tactical role playing game style. With beautiful anime-style graphics, Fire Emblem is certainly moving along nicely. Awakening adds greater detail to the “My Unit” system introduced in past Fire Emblem games. In addition, characters in the game can develop emotional ties with each other, and have children, as seen in the Japan-only game Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu. Fire Emblem: Awakening was released for the 3DS in Japan in April 2012, but will have its North American debut on February 4, 2013.
Pokemon X and Y: While Pokemon enthusiasts may be busy with the just-recently-released Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 for the Nintendo DS, Nintendo made a big announcement that they will soon have even more to work with. Jan. 8 brought along the announcement of Pokemon X and Y for the Nintendo 3DS. While the trailer does mention that the game footage is not final, X and Y look amazing even compared to Black 2 and White 2. With new 3D features and fresh battle animations (not to mention new Pokemon), X and Y looks to be absolutely stunning. In a first for the Pokemon franchise, Pokemon X and Y will be released worldwide in October.
Microsoft’s flagship console (which celebrated its seventh birthday this past fall) was short on announced console-exclusive games as of the writing of this article, but the one big-name exclusive game is certain to make a considerable splash: Gears of War: Judgment. Judgment is a prequel to the rest of the Gears of War series and is the first series entry since Gears of War 3 dropped in Sept. 2011. Judgment features Damon Baird and Augustus Cole as protagonists during their time in Kilo Squad. Multiplayer includes two new modes, Overrun and Free-for-All, but will not include the fan-favorite “Down but Not Out” mode, resulting in executions being left out of the game. On the positive side, Judgment has a more open style of gameplay than its predecessors, while the game’s graphics look to be a series best.
Not to be outdone, PC users will be getting a blockbuster sequel in 2013 as well. The Elder Scrolls Online is the first game in the titular series since the popular Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim bowed on PC, Xbox and Playstation 3 in November 2011. The Elder Scrolls Online is set a millennium before the events of Skyrim, with Molag Bal serving as the main antagonist of the game. The landscape graphics are astounding, and should generate plenty of anticipation for the (supposedly) early 2013 release of The Elder Scrolls Online.
That’s all for part one of our 2013 video game preview! Check back tomorrow for part two, where we will look at upcoming releases for the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation Vita and some titles prepping for multiplatform attacks.
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