Joey and I will endlessly attempt to convince you that gaming on a PC offers a unique experience that everyone should have. Of all the strengths the platform has to offer, I enjoy the variety it affords us the most. Check out our list of games we’re anticipating for 2013 as a clear example of this point.
If you’re like me, you are wondering just how well you did with those PC hardware upgrades from 2012’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Here’s our chance to find out. CryEngine 3 looks especially punishing this time around. Make sure your fire extinguisher is within reach when cranking up the settings on this spectacular shooter, and keep your arms and legs away from your video card at all times.
Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid, just wants to have a conversation through video games. For his follow-up attempt, he’s planting us on an uninhabited island and asking us to uncover the mysterious plot through puzzles and exploration. If this sounds anything like an updated resemblance of Myst, well, you’re in luck. I can’t wait to see what Blow’s imagination and a team of talented 3D artists can throw at us.
I’ll be the first to admit that this title had me worried. Here’s another attempt at a super hero MMO, but this time in an action-RPG fashion. With City of Heroes shutting their doors and the various letdowns of DC Universe Online, I just wasn’t feeling ready. Luckily, the team behind Marvel Heroes have some serious chops. They also aren’t shy about discussing the issues involved with bringing the massively multiplayer aspect to a game with a finite number of characters to choose from. If you thought seeing several version of the same hero on screen would ruin the moment for you, Gazillion would disagree. If there are 100 Hulks on screen, so what? Can you imagine what 100 Hulks could do together?
The MMO shooter genre saw a booming resurgence this past year. Firefall stands out from the pack with its unique art style, action RPG-esque abilities and a heaping dose of PvE content. It’s nice to see a developer stray from the PvP deathmatch mode that is pretty much the standard these days (don’t worry, it’s in there too). Red 5 does something even more uncommon, they listen to the community feedback with anticipation and high regard. The player community continues to help shape the future of the game through the beta and official forums. We’re looking forward to whatever comes out the other side.
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
Blizzard’s stellar RTS titles are what initially made me fall in love with their company. It’s been a long time since Orcs vs. Humans, but every RTS released by them since reinforced the fact that Blizz can tell one hell of a good story. It only helps to wrap it in an addicting and challenging game to boot. In my mind, the Starcraft series is where they do their finest work. Chapter two of the three-part sequel is set to come out this summer. My free time is pretty much spoken for.
Company of Heroes 2
Relic Entertainment stole my heart with the original Company of Heroes. I couldn’t get enough of the original multiplayer experience. The first trailers for Company of Heroes 2 transported me right back to that special place. The sequel adds the endless Soviet army to the ranks of playable factions. The new line of sight technology and resource management mechanics further open up the play style and gameplay possibilities to this already promising RTS.
Whenever I read a press release or sit in on a panel with the crew from Trion, one word constantly pops into my head: ambitious. I’m convinced this company isn’t afraid of anything, including launching an MMO alongside a Syfy television series where both worlds are connected and affect each other. The potential for player immersion and ownership is mind blowing.
Path of Exile
You may have heard this about another game, but imagine what the follow-up to Diablo 2 should have been (I’m looking at you, Torchlight 2). What the team behind Path of Exile lacks in size and budget, they make up for with passion and enthusiasm. Don’t expect any hand holding or sympathy if you decide to step into the world of Wraeclast. PoE brings back the complex and nuanced decision making and character building that hardcore RPG fans miss from recent games.
Slender: the Arrival
The follow up to the hit indie gem Slender: the Eight Pages is slated for early 2013. Slender reminded us all that horror isn’t defined by gore and “something jumps out at you” set pieces. With more levels, more story, and improved graphics, the Arrival hopes to scare the pants off players all over again. I’m leaving the lights on and headphones off for the next Slender, I promise you that.
The Elder Scrolls Online
I know there are plenty of folks out there who are still riding Skyrim for all it’s worth. I don’t blame you. There are an absurd amount of moments in Elder Scrolls games where I wished I had a friend there to help me, or at least to there to see what I was seeing. It’s nice to know that while I was quaintly pining for a co-op mode, Bethesda and Zenimax were hard at work bringing the world of Tamriel to the MMO sphere.
What more can you ask for? Hawken is made by a small independent studio, has a stunning dystopian art style, is completely free, and lets you fight with giant mechs. The game is currently in open beta, so get in there and start learning the ropes now. The game modes are limited for the time being, but trust me on this, they won’t feel stale anytime soon. Involuntary laughter, cheers, and screams of last second disappointment are abundant. Your neighbors are going to hate you.
Mike White is a gaming contributor for CraveOnline and co-host of the Next Gen News podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @TheWhitestMike.