The undertone of a new year always seems to be one of renewal. Once the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, your life experiences sort of reset. You have not only been gifted a new slate on which you can learn from the mistakes you have faced within the last year, but you have an opportunity to better yourself. It’s refreshing to look at a January calendar and see that you have hundreds of unblemished days to look forward to, much like sitting down on your couch and loading up a newly purchased game. Let’s take a moment, before we settle and watch some scenes pass us by, to take a gander at not only what we have watched, but also what we have to look forward to.
The year 2012 bore witness to the introduction and conclusion of some of the largest franchises in video game history. The ever-popular story of Commander Shepard from “Mass Effect” was finished, we saw a long-dormant gaming series be reawakened with “Diablo III,” and we were brought back in time to colonial America with “Assassin’s Creed III.” Of course, these are just a few shining examples amongst dozens of other games that deserve recognition.
Turning our attention to this year, we’re able to see not only the announcements of new series, but also sequels to some of our favorite gaming titles. Here is just a small sampling of what we’re going to be seeing this year in terms of sequels.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Release Date: Feb. 5
The Sly Cooper series was first released in 2002 with “Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.” Players control the great Sly Cooper, the latest prodigy in a long line of Master Thieves. Passed through generations within his family is the Thievius Raccoonus, a book that holds abilities mastered by his forefathers, skills that are highly sought-after by those outside the Cooper family. After the Thievius Raccoonus was stolen from him, many of its pages — and secrets — were lost, so it has been his mission to restore his family’s keepsake, with the help of two henchmen-turned-friends.
This time, Sly Cooper and his friends will be traveling through various eras in time to continue gathering pages of the Thievius Raccoonus. I consider Sly Cooper a breath of fresh air — it tends to shy away from the typical ‘hack-and-slash’ engines in games and focus more on stealth. It also mixes a cartoonish world with the gloominess that typically pairs itself with film noir and old mystery-style landscapes, a bizarre combination that actually works. If you haven’t checked out the “Sly Cooper” franchise, I highly recommend you do, because it actually has some quality gameplay.
Dead Space 3
Release Date: Feb. 5
On the same day as “Sly Cooper,” we have another anticipated game releasing, “Dead Space 3.” The murky and dark story of Isaac Clarke has been one filled with horror — this once-engineer had the misfortune of being sent to the mining spaceship, USG Ishimura,to investigate a distress beacon. After his own spaceship crash-lands and is no longer functional, Clarke is forced to venture deep within the Ishimuraand comes face-to-face with the horrors inside of it. In the second game, “Dead Space 2,” players are still fighting the Necromorphs — the twisted enemies in the series — with Clarke, but they are also able to witness his deteriorating mental state — it is becoming harder for him to distinguish reality from the images in his mind.
In “Dead Space 3,” Clarke returns yet again, but this time he has a companion with him — Sergeant John Carver, another man who bore witness to Necromorphs. His addition to the series helps streamline a co-op experience for the players, who can now undertake the game with a friend. Clarke and Carver must traverse the frozen planet of Tau Volantis in a mission to find out the source of these monstrosities and how to stop the threat for good.
Pokémon X and Pokémon Y
Release Date: October
Pokémon has been one franchise that has been pumping out games ever since Red and Blue versions were released for the Gameboy. We’ve seen the Pokémon count rise, though there were originally 151 Pokémon, there are now more than 600 species roaming around. It should be no surprise that, nearing the end of 2013, the world will be seeing another set of Pokémon games for the Nintendo 3-DS.
The even more exciting aspect of this news, however, is the fact that Nintendo is finally updating the gameplay engine, and players can finally look forward to 3-D graphics and a battling system that bears resemblance to the one seen in Pokémon Stadium. These are requests that have been thrown at the developers for years and now that they’re being implemented, the buzz for these games is high.
Details about the new generation are still scarce but the three starters have been announced and minimal battling and gameplay have been revealed. I’m sure, in the coming weeks, Nintendo will be releasing additional announcements and information about the games, but it’s nice to see Pokémon starting to update itself. I just want to be given the opportunity to mess stuff up with my Gengar.
Again, consider this just a tasting of what is to come. There are other titles I have my eye on, games that will have their own time to shine. Until then, best wishes for this upcoming year, and I hope that you stay organized and studious this semester — because we’ve all made that New Year’s resolution.
Samantha Tighe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.