As we get closer to the start of the 8th generation of gaming, let’s not forget that some of the finest work from the developers happens at the end of a cycle when they know every inch of the hardware and how to get the best from it. Between now and the end of the year there are some great games coming, here’s our pick.
Splinter Cell: Black List
Sam Fisher is back (though sadly not voiced by Michael Ironside this time), and he’s brought his team with him to silently creep around in the dark snapping necks. We’re hoping for classic Splinter Cell gameplay and story combined with the fluidity of Conviction, and a better online offering than Double Agent. It’s out on the 23rd August.
Saints Row 4
Aliens have invaded the Earth and destroyed the White House s0 it’s up to the Saints to fight for our existence. Taking the Saints Row franchise to all new heights of silliness, this should just be a fun game to play, assuming you’re not living in Australia where sections have been dropped to meet the age restrictions. The last two games have had drop in/drop out co-op for the whole story mode, giving the titles much more life than most open world action games, just expect mayhem and persistent police chases if you end up playing with Andy. It’s also out on the 23rd August.
Grand Theft Auto V
The most anticipated game of the last two years is out in September with a twist on the singleplayer that allows you to control 3 separate characters at any given time. The action is set in the vast San Andreas county with memorable landmarks returning from previous games, and there’s a multiplayer mode called GTA Online which Rockstar have kept under wraps so far which could potentially be bigger than the main story. Here’s hoping that we’ll be back to the days of hurtling through the desert with two Manc junkies in the back of the van trying to pull off some ridiculous side mission. Expect this to be the biggest game of the year, out on the 17th September.
The Walking Dead
We’re due season two at some point in the next few months, the 400 Days DLC has started the story off and we’re left wondering how everything is going to progress, and will any of the season one characters return? This was the surprise hit of 2012 and if the same care is taken with the story telling for the next part then Telltale Games have got another hit on their hands, and redeemed themselves after Back to the Future.
Beyond: Two Souls
The latest game from David Gage’s studio, Quantic Dream. Already looking stunning, we know the motion capture is up to scratch after the excellent Heavy Rain, and the story sounds very intriguing. From the trailers it also looks more action focussed than their previous title, and features Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe in the main roles. Due to hit the shelves on the 11th October.
Looks like this will be a PSN title and reminds us a bit of of Ico. You play as an invisible being (possibly a boy, possibly a girl, possibly a chimp, tricky to know at the moment), avoiding monsters whilst on your journey, and using rain to see your position and hide from enemies. As far as we know there’s no combat, no super powers, and no 0ne shouting “Let’s do this!”, so it should be pretty good. Out sometime in Autumn.
Ace Combat Infinity
Always good to look at, the Ace Combat games have pedigree all the way back to PSOne, and it’s returning home with this PS3 exclusive. What’s more, it’s free to play. Could be a fantastic concept and Namco have already dipped their toes in this area with Tekken Revolution. Let’s just hope the pricing is sensible considering how expensive the plane skins for Assault Horizon were. Out before the end of year.
Gran Turismo 6
Possibly the only game that could convince us to hold off buying a PS4, the 6th outing of the groundbreaking series is due in December in time for Christmas, and promises a significant overhaul of the handling and physics systems. Always graphically good (some say sterile, but the game is not about anything outside the edges of the track) we know it should be good, and may well be the swansong of the PS3.
For the console platforms that aren’t going away at the end of the year, there’s still some good things to look forward to as well. Vita has Killzone: Mercenary, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty and Tearaway; 3DS has Pokemon X & Y, Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and another Professor Layton; and Wii U has something with Mario in it because they can’t think of anything else to save it from death. And don’t forget, all the big pre-Christmas
yearly franchise milking machines blockbusters (yeah, I blatantly mean you Call of Duty and Assassins Creed) will be cross-generation games so you can buy them twice!