I used to be the type of gamer who never had to worry about spending money for video games. Someone else always took care of it whether it was my parents or some distant relative who was trying to buy my affections with video games. Limited or Collector’s Edition? Not a problem. Pre-order? Knocked myself out. I was the kid who always had all the brand new video games on the first day of its release. I didn’t even play most of them, I just wanted to show off. Someone should have seriously kicked my ass for this. All I had to do was point, and it was mine. Yet, Life happened. I turned 17 and it was time for me to move out.
From then on, I was no longer the type of gamer who would go shopping on a whim. I only pre-order games if I’m a longtime follower of the developer. I anticipate sales on Steam, GameFly, GameStop, and what not like a hawk. I read reviews from various sources and endlessly debate the replayability of a game with my friends for days just to justify buying a game. The term ‘used’ actually sounded more appealing than ‘brand new.’
While pre-ordering is mostly a rarity for me nowadays, there are actually a lot of worthy video games coming out this year. It’s either because I’m a long time follower of a particular series or it extremely appeals to my love for science fiction. Again, I’m not expecting people to agree with my choices. I’m not saying you should pre-order it just because I like it. No haters please, but I do love and appreciate a good discussion.
1. Star Wars 1313
Assuming that Star Wars 1313 actually comes out this year, I’m totally sold on the idea of this game. Let me admit now that I’m not a die hard fan of the Star Wars franchise. In fact, I didn’t have much to complain about the prequels except for Hayden Christensen’s eye-rolling portrayal of Anakin Skywalker. The premise generally appeals more to my interest in the science fiction genre as a whole. I’m particularly fond of titles that are primarily focused on the ‘human’ and ‘gritty’ themes instead of the more fantastical elements. Luckily for me, this is what Star Wars 1313 exactly aspires to be. Don’t expect to play as a powerful Jedi or Sith because you’ll be playing as bounty hunter who will heavily rely on his human ability, gadgets, and weapons to survive the criminal underworld.
It has been confirmed by the developers during E3 that they aren’t focusing on incorporating branching narratives. There’s still no word yet if players can customize the protagonist’s appearance or what not. While I’m a fan of interactive storytelling in video games, Star Wars 1313 has me hooked by its breathtakingly beautiful cinematic appeal and gameplay alone. Consequently, I’m optimistic that the narrative is as equally compelling. Here’s to hoping they’ll announce either Bear McCreary or Michael McCann as the composer for the title’s score.
2. Sims 3: University Life
I think it’s vital for me to say that I grew up with ‘The Sims’ as one of the video games that introduced me to gaming on the PC. Since then, I’ve been playing every generation of titles under its franchise. The main thing that appeals me the most to the franchise is the ability to create a world that can house all my created narratives into one community. Basically, I’m simulating a world and I’m playing God with what happens.
I usually buy every ‘main’ expansion pack available except for the ‘stuff’ packs. My favorite has always been the University expansion from the Sims 2 generation. As a student, it was something I could closely relate to when it came my experiences balancing parties and my academics. When EA recently announced a University expansion for the Sims 3 generation, I was elated. Based from the announcement trailer and post, there are a lot of exciting additions and improvements from its predecessor to look forward.
While there are some expansions that contribute only to a minimal level towards the base game, I’m confident that this expansion is a ‘must have’ more than it is a supplementary title for any enduring fan of the franchise.
3. Beyond: Two Souls
If the film industry has Christopher Nolan, the video game industry has Quantic Dream. I personally regard the studio as the royalty of video games when it comes to story telling. They have consistently produced titles that are both compelling in its cinematic narrative and gameplay. The studio isn’t also known for linearity, since they are well known for creating games that emphasizes the power of the choice and its consequences on the narrative.
Not much is known about the title, except for its focus on ‘what happens after death’ through the fifteen-year journey of Ellen Page’s character Jodie Holmes as she attempts to discover the true meaning of the entity called Idan. The whole thing still sounds pretty ambiguous to me, much like when Inception was first described to me. We all know how Inception turned out, so it’s not exactly a bad thing.
I’ve been a follower of Quantic Dream since the release of their game Indigo Prophecy. If I’m not mistaken, they produced one other title before IP. I really enjoyed their latest title Heavy Rain, and I’m hoping to have my next dose of brilliance when Beyond: Two Souls comes out.
4. Dragon Age III: Inquisition
BioWare’s titles have recently been mired in controversy amongst many of its long time fans. This is hardly the post to divulge into it, but I did write about it in a previous article if any of you are interested. While I wasn’t blown away by Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 2, I’m still a believer in BioWare’s style in crafting character driven role-playing video games. I have never been thoroughly displeased with any of their titles. They’ve always ranged from being either simply good or supremely amazing. Plus, the lore behind their games are deeply compelling on its own. They’re not as consistent as Quantic Dream, but that’s only because they’ve only released less than five games as opposed to BioWare who has developed way more.
I’m not much of a fan of Bethesda’s games since the development of the vast and rich worlds present in their games often comes at the cost of strong character development. Now that I hear BioWare is taking a page from Bethesda’s playbook, I’m excited to see BioWare marry character development and open world in one game.
5. Grand Theft Auto V
If you’ve followed my articles online, I’ve mentioned that I was introduced to Grand Theft Auto when I was around six to seven years old. I’ve never played anything before the GTA III era, but I’ve been a follower of Rockstar’s games except for Bully and Max Payne ever since. Truly, Rockstar dominates the video game industry when it comes to crafting an open-world based on present society. The world they create has a life of its own, and it’s evident in how most players choose to participate in it more than the missions in the actual storyline.
Rockstar boasts that GTA V is their most ambitious instalment in the franchise to date. The map of Los Santos is said to be bigger than all of the maps in previous games combined. In addition, there are now three playable protagonists instead of just one. With all these claims, who among of Rockstar’s following in the right mind can possibly say no to this?