x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

2013's most anticipated video games

Whether we see any new PlayStations or Xboxes or not, the year is set to become another whopper in the world of video games, with some big titles heading our way soon.

Bioshock Infinite picks up where the previous two left off. Courtesy Irrational Games
Bioshock Infinite picks up where the previous two left off. Courtesy Irrational Games

It may only be a day old, but 2013 is already shaping up to be another interesting year over in game land.

For starters, it could well be the last year of fierce conflict between the PlayStation3 and Xbox 360, with Sony and Microsoft hoping to get another decent 12 months out of their ageing consoles before releasing the next generation of boxes. Then there's Nintendo, which will undoubtedly try to parade the multifaceted uses of its Wii U before the big guns come blazing.

But, as ever, it's going to be down to the games themselves and within the hectic schedule are some titles - both new ideas and blockbuster sequels - that are likely to be dominating gamers' attentions.

The game that saw a pixelated archaeologist in a tight vest adorn a generation of teenage bedroom walls in the 1990s is getting a reboot. Tomb Raider (due March on PS3, Xbox 360, PC) takes things back to the beginning, to when a younger Lara Croft was shipwrecked on a tropical island and forced to pick up a bow and fend for herself. À la all recent reboots, the character has been given a grittier backstory, but the images suggest she's still prone to wearing tight vests.

From remote islands to floating cities: Bioshock Infinite (March, PS3, Xbox 360, PC) picks up the Steampunk-driven motor of the first two games in the Bioshock series and sends it skywards. Although not a sequel or prequel, Infinite carries many of the same gameplay concepts (so imagine sinister early 20th-century advertising). It's actually set in 1912 aboard the air city of Columbia, which was launched as a shining showcase of American exceptionalism but - unsurprisingly - goes rather bad. It does, however, look incredible.

Who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman? Well, you'll be able to decide for yourself with Injustice: Gods Among Us (April, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U), which pits the heroes and villains of the DC Comics universe against each other one-on-one with predictable destruction. Bear in mind that Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman are all superheroes, so the special moves will go just a little beyond a few bicycle kicks.

Over in the fictional California city of Los Santos, we're arguably set to witness the year's biggest - or at least noisiest - game. Having drip-fed us screenshots and plot lines for months, Grand Theft Auto V (Spring, PS3, Xbox 360) - Rockstar's biggest open world game to date - has already been building up some mammoth-sized anticipation. This time, you'll be able to switch among three partners in crime and take time out from your heists to engage in base-jumping, tennis, scuba diving or quad biking. There are even bits underwater, which means - yes - sharks. But will it get a UAE release? We'll just have to wait and see.

For something a little different, The Last of Us (May, PS3), from the makers of Uncharted, blends adventure and action within a cinematic, character-driven story. Twenty years after a plague has left much of civilisation in ruins, two survivors - Joel and Ellie - trek across a post-apocalyptic America, battling the infected as well as fellow survivors. Alongside a well-crafted plot and multiplayer mode already being hailed as one of the finest, the graphics - particularly of nature reclaiming abandoned cities - looks outstanding.

Finally (although there are plenty of games that haven't made it onto this list, sorry Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gears of War: Judgement and Beyond: Two Souls), comes something a little more relaxed. SimCity (March, PC, Mac) already has a weight of expectation on it from budding mayors who have had a decade to wait since the last proper game. The emphasis this time is on multiplayer, with regions housing multiple cities from different players, who can collaborate on projects. Let's just see whether it becomes one massive - but beautifully rendered - traffic jam.

aritman@thenational.ae