If this was a feature about the most anticipated games of the entire year, "Dead Space 3" would be near the top of the list. The two previous "Dead Space" games were absolute works of terrifying art, brilliantly blending action and horror in ways that make them two of the best games in both genres. (About.com named "Dead Space" the scariest game of all time.) What will the third outing bring? There is a bit of concern over co-op focus in a world that's previously been defined by isolated terror but I have a little rule when it comes to gaming franchises -- until you disappoint me, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. There's no reason yet to think that "Dead Space 3" won't be one of the most memorable games of not just early 2013 but the entire year. "Dead Space 2" made my top five two years ago. I'm hoping "Dead Space 3" surpasses it.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Before You Buy: Go play "Dead Space" and "Dead Space 2," both of which are currently available on the PSN and will rule your world.
Suggested Reading: "The Most Exciting Games of Early 2013"
Alternate: "Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time"
Remember what I was saying about giving franchises the benefit of the doubt until they screw you over? This kind of goes against that theory since there have been some truly bad "Alien" games in years past. So why get excited for "Aliens: Colonial Marines"? The eye doesn't lie. Every bit of footage, every screenshot, and that kick-ass commercial that's been playing endlessly on TV -- they all kind of rule. Gearbox (the company behind "Borderlands" and "Half-Life") have worked for a long time on this title, one that promises alien shooting with more style and personality than your typical sci-fi banger. And the game picks up after the action of James Cameron's "Aliens" and has been officially announced as part of the franchise's canon. It was written by "Battlestar Galactica" scribes. Seriously. Everyone is looking to "Dead Space 3," "Tomb Raider," and "Bioshock Infinite" to revolutionize the final wave of PS3 games before the PS4. This could actually be the most visceral fun of them all.
Before You Buy: Why not go watch two of the best movies ever made -- "Alien" and "Aliens" -- so you know what a face-hugger and chest-burster is before you have to kill them.
Suggested Reading: Actually more like, Suggested "Viewing". Go watch the excellent cinematic trailer.
I'm sure this will aggravate Solid Snake fans who have already marked 2/19/13 as "Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Day." I'm excited for the new "MGR" but this one just edges it out for me. I became thoroughly addicted to the clever multiplayer of "Crysis 2," one of the more underrated shooters of the last few years. I'm a little concerned that the follow-up has come too quickly and won't match the clear degree of developmental love displayed in the last graphically stunning title but I'm hoping I'm wrong. And the concept -- a playground of environments and weaponry in a New York that has been turned into essentially a giant simulation battle room (think The X-Men's Danger Room in all of Manhattan) sounds pretty awesome. Early visuals are great and there have been a lack of truly stellar multiplayer offerings in the last few months with the exception of "Call of Duty: Black Ops II". Here's hoping that Activision's addictive game is replaced by this one.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Before You Buy: Once again, do your franchise research by playing "Crysis" and "Crysis 2." Don't miss the multiplayer in the latter. It's probably the best multiplayer experience that you haven't played.
Suggested Reading: Crysis 3 Screenshots Don't they look amazing?
Alternate: "Metal Gear Rising Revengeance"