Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The best PC games of 2013

The best PC games of 2013

Watch Dogs

Publisher: Ubisoft
Release: Late 2013
Though in recent years, Ubisoft has been happy to milk the Assassin’s Creed licence until its ruddy teats squeaked, let us not forget that the space-wizards-thru-history mega-franchise was born of huge creative risk: a new IP that cost so much develop that, rumour has it, sales didn’t cover the cost of development until its sequels were on shelves. Now, the same gigantic studio, Ubisoft Montreal, has unveiled Watch Dogs – a game with no smaller a scope than Assassin’s Creed, combining the complex sedition of information warfare with brutish third-person action and, it is suspected, with some sort of clever multiplayer/singleplayer crossover. It’s not only a showcase for the kind of polygon-crunching power the cutting edge PC can generate (finally loosed from the shackles of last-gen cross platform releases) but it also establishes a fiction that Ubisoft hopes will see it through the next decade.

Dead Space 3

Publisher: EA
Release: February 8
The sudden appearance of a co-op mode in this venerable space-horror franchise may sound like the marketing department got a little trigger happy with the back-of-box checklist, but there are reasons to be optimistic. Firstly, didn’t we all the say the same gloomy things about Mass Effect 3’s excellent multiplayer? Secondly, Dead Space already showed it could deliver terror to a twosome in its (actually terrific, sadly undersold) Wii light-gun game. What’s more, the game’s roots have hardly been forgotten: it’s still perfectly possible to play the game on your tod. This one promises to add themes of insanity and perception to the traditional jump-scares and body-horror.

Tomb Raider

Publisher: Square Enix
Release: March 5
Vulnerability and survival are the watchwords for this reinvention of the Tomb Raider series, which finds a young and unworldly Lara Croft shipwrecked on an island – a far cry from the back flipping  dual-wielding daredevil treasure-seeker who murdered her way through polygonal archaeological hoards during the mid-nineties. Crystal Dynamics are certainly brave in taking this iconic character in such a dark, mature direction – but will the cost to our heroine’s empowerment prove too great a price to pay?

Star Wars 1313

Publisher: LucasArts
Release: Late 2013
“Dark and mature” may not be the go-to description for Star Wars, particularly since LucasArts’ acquisition by the House of Mouse, but such is the promise for this third person actioner. Set in the bowels of Coruscant, the subterranean Level 1313, you take on the role of a bounty hunter embroiled in a murky criminal conspiracy. Early glimpses suggest the game will ignore light sabers and force powers in favour of gadgetry and guns, and the claims are for a more grounded and gritty fiction, instead of the fruity pan-galactic melodrama to which we are accustomed.

Strike Suit Zero

Publisher: Born Ready Games
Release: January 24
Space combat has proven popular on Kickstarter but the interplanetary dogfighting of Strike Suit Zero wasn’t born from the crowdfunding process. Instead, this rather beautiful off-world blaster had been a while in development already and will be using the $175k it raised to, uh, kickfinish the project, and then kickpolish it, too.


Publisher: Epic Games
Release: TBC 2013
Perhaps keen to prove that there’s more to Unreal Engine 4 than high-definition beefcakes gunning down space goblins in the destroyed beauty of a future city, Epic Games’ first proof of their new technology will be the cartoonish tower defence game, Fortnite. The clean, chirpy visuals belie technological innovation, however: UE4 will allow players huge freedom in the way they construct their anti-zombie fortifications, editing each wall with a 3×3 grid. The plan is that the game will have a long-tail, with many post-release updates, eventually allowing players to construct Rube Goldberg-style machines of death.


Publisher: CodeHatch
Release: TBC 2013
Minecraft with guns, realistic graphics, and both ground and low-orbit construction. Interested? Starforge is a ridiculously ambitious crowd-funded indie project that’s already come a remarkably long way. You deform terrain and build a fortress to protect yourself from aliens, and when all else fails, use a shotgun to blast them into pieces. If the small team can make those weapons feel nice to fire, it’ll be a winner.
Grand Theft Auto 5

Publisher: Rockstar
Release: Spring 2013
There’s been no confirmation of Rockstar’s next blockbuster for PC, but it would be a world gone topsy-turvy if Grand Theft Auto 5 was marooned on consoles for ever. This isn’t Red Dead Redemption, a game developed by a studio with around three PC credits to its name – this is GTA, a series whose every main instalment has appeared on PC. And it’s developed by Rockstar North, a team that (even including its legacy as DMA Design) has brought all bar seven of its games to PC. And where are the internet petitions to port Walker over from the Amiga, I might ask?

Guaranteed to be one of the biggest releases of 2013, GTA 5 sees the player take on the role of three different characters trying to make a crust amid the tinseltown glamour and sunbaked squalor of Los Santos. And it’s likely to be an ill-gotten crust at that, given the series’ heritage of exuberant criminality: heists, hits and high-speed chases are all to be expected, interspersed with all the leisure activities a high-rolling hoodlum might desire.
Remember Me

Publisher: Capcom
Release: May
“We’ll always have Paris,” as the saying goes – not so much in the Neo-Paris of 2084, when memories can be erased or altered by Memory Hunters. You play as one such mnemonic saboteur, called Nilin, herself rendered amnesiac by agents of the oppressive Parisien regime. Thirdperson acrobatics and assassinations ensue as you try to piece together the conspiracy, and featuring the world’s mostcomplicated sounding combat system. You also get to wreck men’s minds by jumping into their memory and replaying events to reconfigure their recollection. Convince someone they killed their girlfriend during an argument, for instance, and you may just drive them to suicide. How lovely.

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