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8 Games To Watch Out For In 2013

The Future Is Now!
The Cave (January; PC/Xbox/PS3/Wii U) I have a soft spot for adventure games. I think of them in the same way that I think of eating a bowl of mac ‘n cheese, or putting on a pair of pajamas fresh from the dryer. Soothing comfort and simple charm. I was already for it when I heard that adventure game legend Ron Gilbert had a new title up his sleeve, but all the more so when details started trickling in. The Cave brings in seven playable characters: a hillbilly, a knight, a monk, a pair of twins, an adventurer, a scientist, and a time traveler. The player chooses three to take into the eponymous cave (which talks), and in a Trine-like twist, swaps between them as needed to solve puzzles. Some light platforming mechanics have been laced throughout, just to add a bit of spice, though it’s been made clear that the focus is on problem solving, not reflexes. This already sounds like great fun to me, but the icing is that the characters were made with gender balance in mind. Those last three awesome-sounding characters I mentioned? All ladies. And the twins are an even split. Yes. Yes yes yes. Yes." } [1]=> array(4) { ["url"]=> string(105) "" ["thumb_url"]=> string(119) "" ["title"]=> string(11) "Tomb Raider" ["description"]=> string(1019) "(March; PC/Xbox/PS3) I can't help but wonder how we’d be looking ahead to Tomb Raider if a certain producer hadn't said those ill-advised things back at E3. Some heavy gender-focused critique was inevitable, given Lara Croft’s iconic status, but nobody is going to be able to play this game without scrutinizing that scene. The reboot will never be free of controversy, no matter what the end product might be. I've tried hard to stay objective until I actually play the thing, and part of me wishes I could go into it without months worth of arguments and analyses running alongside. I don’t know how Tomb Raider will turn out. All I know is I’ll be going into this game with three competing voices in my head: the gamer who is skeptical of the previewed mechanics, the young girl who can’t wait to see her hero again, and the woman who hopes that hero is someone she, too, can admire." } [2]=> array(4) { ["url"]=> string(105) "" ["thumb_url"]=> string(119) "" ["title"]=> string(11) "Remember Me" ["description"]=> string(1376) "(May; PC/Xbox/PS3) Remember Me came out of nowhere at Gamescom this summer. It’s got close quarters combat, a sleek Deus Ex-ish style, and all sorts of memory-wiping cyberpunk shenanigans. But while new IPs are always a welcome sight among all the sequels and reboots, I’ll let this quote from an interview with creative director Jean-Maxime Moris explain why I’m lured by this one:
How f**king stupid is this industry to only bet on [straight white male characters]? It's the only thing you give people, they get accustomed to it and don't want anything else. So yes, our character, Nilin, is mixed race, she is female, her sexual orientation is her private life, so I won't go there. She runs around, climbs, leaps, kicks guys' asses, remixes their memories, only kills a few people - and does it all in a game with no blood. We made those choices to say: 'look you can have something that's kick ass, something that's powerful, and you don't need it to be ultraviolent'.
Suffice it to say, I am on board with this. Now, whether the game will be any good has yet to be seen, but I’m always stoked to see a studio trying to break the mold." } [3]=> array(4) { ["url"]=> string(78) "" ["thumb_url"]=> string(92) "" ["title"]=> string(31) "Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime" ["description"]=> string(840) "(TBA; PC/Mac) Three-man indie dev team Asteroid Base describes their whimsically-titled game as “a 2-player co-op micro-platformer set inside a pink Death Star locked in battle with hordes of space baddies.” Do you really need to know anything else? Players run and jump between control stations at breakneck speed, trying to save their drifting ship from a never-ending barrage of merciless dangers. It looks like an insane sugar rush of a game, the kind that will make you yell and laugh and stay up ‘til dawn under the broken promise of just one more try. In other words, the perfect thing to play with a good friend. As the game description says: “Death may be a given, but at least you don’t have to face it alone.”" } [4]=> array(4) { ["url"]=> string(105) "" ["thumb_url"]=> string(119) "" ["title"]=> string(32) "Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm" ["description"]=> string(1483) "(March; PC/Mac) Real-time strategy games are not my forte, but I do have a quiet nostalgic fondness for StarCraft. The original game was a memorable part of my teenage years, and though I was never anything more than competent at it, the name Sarah Kerrigan is one I remember somewhat reverently. Kerrigan was an exceptional villain, full of confidence and power, a character who made me shiver and grin all at once. Which is why StarCraft II rubbed me the wrong way. Kerrigan got downgraded to damsel in distress, and though the entire story fell rather flat, that point in particular left a sour taste in my mouth. However, StarCraft II’s upcoming expansion, Heart of the Swarm, sounds like it might restore the franchise’s leading lady to her former glory. Kerrigan, now back in human form, is hellbent on regaining control of the Zerg Swarm, which has split into rival broods in her absence. The trailer’s full of snarling proclamations of revenge and badassery, and I have to admit, I’m intrigued. The storytelling in Blizzard games hasn't been my cup of tea for a while, but there is potential here. So while Heart of the Swarm will not be a top priority in my gaming budget next year, I am nonetheless interested to see what lies in store for the former Queen of Blades." } [5]=> array(4) { ["url"]=> string(94) "" ["thumb_url"]=> string(108) "" ["title"]=> string(14) "Star Wars 1313" ["description"]=> string(923) "(TBA) I've never been much of a Jedi. Lightsabers are awesome, no question, and there have been a great many times I've wished I could Force Pull snacks from my fridge to my desk, but the ordinary folks in Star Wars have always resonated more with me. For that reason, I am totally down with the premise of Star Wars 1313. Made for the grown-ups in the house, 1313 casts the player as a bounty hunter prowling around the gritty lower levels of Coruscant, all tangled up in a criminal conspiracy. The graphics in the trailers are absurdly polished, the gameplay looks fun (though pretty standard chest-high-walls fare), and as someone who hasn't been drawn to the kid-oriented Star Wars offerings of recent years, the M-rating does pique my interest. As a wise man once said, “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”" } [6]=> array(4) { ["url"]=> string(116) "" ["thumb_url"]=> string(130) "" ["title"]=> string(11) "The Witness" ["description"]=> string(1105) "(TBA; PC/iOS) Remember how good Braid was? I certainly do. What started as a gentle watercolored homage to Super Mario Bros. became a strange and haunting fable about loss, regret, and the passage of time. A few years back, I heard that creator Jonathan Blow was working on a new game, and that was all it took for me to get excited. The Witness is finally launching next year, and from what little the devs have revealed, it looks like it could be rather magical. The official website describes the game with one sentence: "An exploration-puzzle game on an uninhabited island." It’s hard to read that and not think of Myst (which would be fine by me, as Myst is a personal favorite). But early gameplay trailers make it clear this is something different, though the influence is definitely there. There are mazes on traceable panels, wires that flow every which way, serene gardens to stroll through. What is The Witness? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to find out." } [7]=> array(4) { ["url"]=> string(101) "" ["thumb_url"]=> string(115) "" ["title"]=> string(31) "Dragon Age III: The Inquisition" ["description"]=> string(1604) "(Maybe. TBA; PC/Xbox/PS3/Mac) Rumors are circling that Dragon Age III, which is slated for late 2013, will get pushed back to the following year. I'd be fine with that. I'd go so far as to say I encourage that. I was surprised at how fast DAII came on the heel of Origins, and I think it’s fair to suggest that the game might have been better received among fans if it hadn't been rushed. Okay, time for an unpopular opinion: I liked Dragon Age II. Or to be more specific, I wasn't crazy about the game as a whole, which was indeed a far cry from Origins. What I liked about Dragon Age II was, honestly, the narrative structure. It was a shift from the well-worn Hero's Journey riff I'm used to in RPGs, and I admired the writing team for taking a risk. Did it work? Not for everyone (myself included, at first). Certainly not for people who were expecting a more predictable follow-up to Origins (again, myself included). But I think it deserves some credit for trying something new, and the cliff I was left hanging on has kept me eagerly awaiting a new chapter. This franchise is not without its many flaws, but even so, I've put some two hundred hours into exploring the layered world of Thedas, and I’m looking forward to going back. I just hope BioWare (well, really, EA) gives the next installment the time it deserves. It goes without saying, but 2013's got way, way more good-looking games on the docket than the ones listed here. If I skipped over the apple of your eye, chime in below." } } ["direct_slide"]=> string(5) "false" ["title"]=> string(21) "Click to view gallery" ["related_title"]=> string(0) "" ["related_desc"]=> string(0) "" ["related_call"]=> string(30) "Meanwhile in related galleries" ["related_galleries"]=> array(4) { [0]=> array(4) { ["id"]=> int(216621) ["title"]=> string(58) "Minimalist Movie Posters, Made With Simple Sheets Of Paper" ["thumb"]=> string(70) "" ["url"]=> string(57) "" } [1]=> array(4) { ["id"]=> int(144719) ["title"]=> string(60) "These Paper Video Game Dioramas Are On A Whole 'Nother Level" ["thumb"]=> string(82) "" ["url"]=> string(46) "" } [2]=> array(4) { ["id"]=> int(154621) ["title"]=> string(22) "20 Absurd Design Fails" ["thumb"]=> string(72) "" ["url"]=> string(42) "" } [3]=> array(4) { ["id"]=> int(153835) ["title"]=> string(23) "50 Funny Amazon Reviews" ["thumb"]=> string(76) "" ["url"]=> string(47) "" } } } -->

Becky Chambers is a freelance writer and a full-time geek. She blogs over at Other Scribbles and can always be found on Twitter.

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