Guys (and gals), we made it! We survived the extremely rough fall gaming release season - congrats. Now we’re coming up on December, a month with only a few major releases worth taking note of; stuff like two re-releases, a compilation package and a major DLC expansion. So let’s waste no time and get right into the games of December that you should be keeping an eye on.
Far Cry 3
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC / Release Date: 12.4.2012
The Far Cry series is back, and it’s returning to the tropical island setting that made it so popular in the first place. Far Cry 3 has a robust single player campaign, as well as competitive multiplayer and cooperative missions that tell a story that parallels the single player game. There’s a lot of game here, and it all looks absolutely stunning – just watch the above trailer to see what I mean. Early reviews of the game claim it’s one of the best titles of the year. While we haven’t played it for ourselves yet, we trust a lot of our peers. Far Cry 3 appears to be the last major AAA release of the year. You should be setting aside some money to play this.
The Walking Dead
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3 / Release Date: 12.11.2012
The Walking Dead has seen all five of its episodes release digitally, but if you missed them, here’s your chance to experience one of the best games of the year – easily. Much like the comic series it's based on, The Walking Dead is an emotional roller coaster ride that’s more about the moral choices that gnaw at your mind than the zombies you slay. I promise you: you will get attached to the game’s characters and you will be enthralled by the story that lasts for five, 2-3 hour chapters. If you missed this game digitally, pick up the retail release post-haste.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn
Platform: Xbox 360, PC TBA / Release Date: 12.4.2012
Dragonborn marks the third expansion to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The DLC will see the return of the first Dragonborn to the island of Solstheim, which was previously featured in the expansion to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Bloodmoon. You’ll also be able to explore Raven Rock and Fort Frostmoth, both of which were featured in Morrowind, too. While not yet confirmed, it's rumored this expansion will even let you fly on a dragon. Cue: R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly."
Mass Effect Trilogy
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC / Release Date: 12.6.2012
If you somehow managed to miss one of the biggest sci-fi epics the gaming industry has ever seen, then now’s your chance to remedy that mistake. The Mass Effect Trilogy comes with Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 under one cover. Additionally, you get some of the game’s post-release downloadable content on-disc, depending what game in the series it is and what platform you buy for (full details here). The compilation package is a great option if you’re itching to see what all the buzz (and controversy) is about.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10th Anniversary
Platforms: iOS, Android / Release Date: 12.6.2012
Can you believe Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is 10 years old? It’s true. And to celebrate, Rockstar is re-releasing the game on iOS and Android devices with upscaled visuals and new touch controls. Vice City ranks as one of the best games in the series – let alone one of the best games of all time - and for $4.99, you can relive the experience on the go. Not a bad deal at all.
Platform: PC / Release Date: 12.12.2012
Developed by Adhesive Games, Hawken is a free-to-play, multiplayer-based mech shooter that looks gorgeous. Having played Hawken at E3 this past June, I can confirm that game is simple in concept, yet super addictive. And let us not lose sight of what’s most important - it’s free. If you have a decent PC rig, Hawken is a game that you should absolutely check out when it releases in the middle of the month. You have no reason not to.
Erik Norris is the Gaming Editor for CraveOnline. You can follow him on Twitter @Regular_Erik.