Posted on Monday, December 31 @ 08:50:00 Eastern by Nicholas Tan
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Rayman Legends, the fifth main Rayman title and the direct sequel to Rayman Origins (not that this matters much), was our most anticipated game of all launch titles shown for Wii U, and despite its delay to February of next year, our high anticipation is still the same.
If you've been listening to our podcast, you'll know that Anthony and his daughter Ava has played the game's demo, which is available now and can only be played 30 times. It's an odd restriction, but considering how exhaustively they have played it, Ubisoft knows how to dangle the Rayman carrot in front of us. Rayman Legends takes the best of Rayman Origins, under-appreciated as it is, and kicks it up a notch with the same Lum-collecting goodness.
And if there's anything that a fledgling console like the Wii U needs, it's any title that isn't a port and is, better yet, an exclusive. Ubisoft has been on a roll (hey, we've given them the Best Publisher Award two years in a row), and it looks like they're going to be well on the right foot this year too.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: March 5, 2013
At this point, the plight of THQ is old news, as much as bad news seems to come rolling from the woodwork. Most recently they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but we think that's just merely the auspicious sign of the phoenix. THQ has more than several high-profile titles out this year, and South Park: The Stick of Truth presents its best hope for revival.
Obsidian Entertainment, with their experience on Fallout: New Vegas, has collaborated with South Park Digital Studios as well the show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone (who wrote the game's script!), to produce a South Park title that actually lives up to their name. In fact, they're the ones who approached Obsidian, not the other way around.
The Stick of Truth, parodying the lives of Dungeons & Dragons LARPers, is a fantasy RPG where the main characters take up arms as the archetypal classes: wizard, warrior, healer, etc. Since both the dialogue and voice-work were created by Trey and Matt, you should expect it to be nigh-perfect translation of the show in 2D video game form. You can even mock Cartman if you own a Kinect. He'll likely tell you to shut up (before going home), but it'll be worth it.
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Yet another top-tier title slated for March (it's a giant conspiracy to make us work hard...), this reboot of Tomb Raider has had our collective mouths watering for more than a year. Despite the controversial "rape scene", it promises a humanistic approach to Lara Croft, who instead of her place as a tough, well-endowed sex symbol, will begin as an innocent but stalwart woman—perfect for an origin story.
As one of the few games on this list that I've had the pleasure to preview (in this case, at PAX 2012), Tomb Raider sees Lara Croft slowly but surely learn the skills necessary to endure the island on which she finds herself after the ship Endurance capsizes. There, she must gather food and water, hunting deer if need be, on Dragon's Triangle to survive. Eventually, she'll need to murder mercenaries assigned to hunt her and the ship's survivors.
But by all accounts. they won't succeed. You won't let them, right?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Developer: Platinum Games
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Raiden's flipping out and he's not naked this time.
The story of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's development essentially goes like this: Hideo Kojima made it, then Platinum Games made it fun. They picked up the broken pieces of the canceled game and placed the cutting action at the forefront with their signature blazingly fast action. Raiden slicing up foes into fifty pieces in bullet time (or is that "sword time"?) is totally ninja. I'll never look at watermelons the same again.
Even if this spinoff doesn't win all the hearts of Metal Gear fans, it has given Hideo Kojima the time to develop both Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain. And Kojima Productions is still responsible for the game's plot. That alone should put Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on their list with deadly certainty.
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: 2013
Ubisoft let us take a sneak peek at their upcoming new IP, Watch_Dogs (also known as Watch Dogs), at E3 2012, and from what we saw, we were surprised that Ubisoft has projected a 2013 release date. This is next-gen material, Star Wars 1313 material, revolutionary material. But if they say 2013, I'm not here to challenge it. I'll cross my fingers too.
Indirect power—that's what Watch_Dogs is about. Protagonist Aiden Pearce can wield a sturdy, telescoping staff to subdue foes, but melee combat is generally a sign that your strategy isn't sound. Aiden's true strength lies in his hacking ability, to switch off security systems, jam cellphones, turn traffic lights green or red at a moment's notice, raise drawbridges, and obtain information on any person within close proximity. Otherwise, he has enough prowess with parkour and fisticuffs to get out of harm's way.
But the most powerful moment we saw in the E3 demo was Aiden hanging along the side of an elevated train track in the rain and hearing the thunderous echo of the subway cars as it zoomed past. The level of graphics and sound are at the turn of the tide of the next generation, and its examination of the darker powers that come from constant connectivity relates the future to the present. It taps into the fear of our lack of privacy, that anyone has access to our personal information without our consent.
In fact, Ubisoft will probably want us to use Facebook. I'm not so willing anymore....
The Last of Us
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: May 7, 2012
It's corny, but ultimately true: Save the best for last.
While BioShock Infinite earned the most votes, The Last of Us came only one vote short and it landed in first place on more of our lists. That's just about as close to unanimous as you're going to get on Game Revolution. It was the star and biggest surprise of E3 2012, easily handing the best E3 press conference to Sony, and its impact has yet to leave us.
The Last of Us elevates the zombie apocalypse. Joel must keep himself and his young female companion Ellie away from the hostile Infected and some even more hostile humans to evade capture by the military and infection by the parasitic fungus Cordyceps unilateralis. In every situation, Joel can choose different strategies to overcome threats on the fly, like slamming a man headfirst into the edge of a desk or slithering past the same man with stealth. Ellie, controlled by the AI, doesn't play the helpless girl either, and can toss Joel extra ammo or throw a brick at an enemy's head. Go girl!
By all accounts, you're probably witnessing the battle between BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us for next year's Game of the Year award. But that's only if Grand Theft Auto V and Watch_Dogs fail to meet their lofty expectations. And who knows? Maybe one of the remaining six (!) new IPs on this list will surprise us. Upon the threshold of the next-generation consoles, 2013 may just be the best year in video gaming yet.