The first quarter of 2013 has already brought us a pile of high-quality game experiences, and we’ve even played the front-runner for Game of the Year. There are still nine months to go, however, and there’s going to be way more where that came from.
We’ve already played Negative Nelly by telling you five games that we think you can safely take a pass on, but we take even more joy in talking up games that we’re excited for. Ten of them, to be exact.
So all aboard the hype train — these are the games that we think you’d have to be crazy to miss.
I got a press email inviting me to see Guacamelee! at PAX East 2012, and I had zero clue what it was. There weren’t any meaningful screens or videos online yet, but I saw that it was being developed by DrinkBox Studios — creators of Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, one of the highest-rated games on the Vita — and gave it a shot. After spending about 15 minutes with it, I was blown away.
Guacamelee! is a Metroidvania style game where you play as a luchador that needs to save El Presidente’s daughter. You punch, kick, and suplex your way through alternated light and dark worlds, switching between them on the fly as necessary. It’s gorgeous to look at, the combat is fluid, it’s damned funny, and features drop-in, drop-out co-op to boot. It’s shaping up to be a real gas.
Sony recently picked Guacamelee! up under its Pub Fund indie program, and it’ll see release on PS3 and Vita starting April 9th. $14.99 will get you both versions and features cross-save functionality and even a Platinum Trophy. What more do you want?
Metro: Last Light
Anyone who played the original Metro 2033 on the Xbox 360 and PC will tell you all about how it was one of most atmospheric games that they’ve played this generation. Taking place in the underground metro stations of post-apocalyptic Moscow, the survival-horror elements were well up to snuff for a sadly dwindling genre.
Metro: Last Light looks to build on this by offering what players loved about the original — the creepy mutant-filled tunnels, the scavenging — while making improvements to the lighting in a way that really amps up the tension.
We’re lucky that Last Light even still exists. Not because there was anything particularly wrong on the development end, but small details like the publisher funding your work going tits-up tends to put a damper on release plans. Thankfully, Deep Silver was there to scoop up the IP, and the only real price gamers pay is a release a couple of months behind schedule.
Despite a name that put it behind Robert Pattinson’s 2010 9/11 romance film in Google searches until just recently, Capcom’s Remember Me is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing games of the year.
Taking place in 2084 Neo-Paris, Remember Me puts you in the very capable shoes of Nilin. She’s an amnesiac “memory hunter” whose employer constantly wipes her memories, and she’s not having any more of that. The graphics and the combat both seem impressive, and it’s always great to see more female protagonists in high-profile games.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
While everyone tends to (rightfully) lose their shit waiting for the next 3D Mario platformer, the Mario & Luigi series of handheld RPGs has consistently put out wonderful games every few years. The settings are whimsical, and the humor present in the localization is always a treat.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team on 3DS seems to be no different. After the last game on DS took the fabled bros through Bowser’s body, this time we’ll be whisked away into Luigi’s dreams. While Mario’s putzing around in his brother’s wacky machinations, players will be able to mess with Luigi’s face on the touchscreen to affect what’s happening on the top screen; tickling his nose to make him sneeze and blow platforms into place, for example.
We don’t have much to go on beyond the announcement trailer shown to us during Dream Team’s premiere on a Nintendo Direct a while ago, but it’s definitely looking like one of the summer’s stronger titles.
The Last of Us
When Naughty Dog, one of the elite development studios on the planet, tells you that the game they’re working on is their most ambitious yet … well, you sit your ass down and pay attention.
The Last of Us is another post-apocalyptic title amongst many others, but this one eschews the traditional zombie or nuclear holocaust for a fungal infestation that transforms most of the human population into horrifying mushroom monsters. Well, I suppose they’re not *that* different from zombies, but the scarcity of ammo is going to play a much larger role in gameplay, as is protagonist Joel’s responsibility to protect the young Ellie.
Everything we’ve heard to this point makes it sound like the most story-intensive and cinematic game that Naughty Dog has ever put together. Considering the high benchmark set by their excellent Uncharted series, there’s a lot to be excited for.