New year offers solid gaming action

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Two prophecies are left unrequited as 2012 comes to a close: the end of humanity and the end of this generation of video games. With the return of mind-blowing sequels that take franchises in new directions, the next few months alone reveal 2013 as yet another incredible, almost prophetic, year of gaming.

Right around the corner, the big title in January is DmC Devil May Cry, a reinventing of Capcom’s stylized action classic. This rendition brings us a younger Dante and a grimmer, darker style of gameplay. Blending elements of The Divine Comedy with hyper-stylized graphics and intense, multi-disciplinary action, DmC has timed its release perfectly, acting as a siren for those souls who need a little post-holiday excitement.

If you’re one who appreciates the beauty of a game, delving into the nooks and crannies of level design, shading, and lighting, then Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Feb. 19) will certainly satiate. Similar to DmC, Revengeance combines over-the-top boss battles with artful, ninja-like fluidity adding a brutal elegance to its gunplay and melee action. It seems these two titles are destined to battle. Look to Metal Gear to win-out over DmC in sales, but for the latter to get more praise from die-hard fans.

Yet there is more in early 2013 than the clashing of colossal Japanese action titles. First person shooter fans, especially those who lean to the survival-horror genre, will get their fix with Dead Space 3 (Feb. 5). A unique drop-in, drop-out style of co-op teamed with a harsh, icy setting – think Dead Space meets Lost Planet – will keep gamers glued to their warm seats while the final month of winter rages on.

The above barrage of refurbished franchises may be misleading for it’s not all thrill-seeking sequels and reinvented franchises in early 2013. Aliens: Colonial Marines sees marines returning to the ill-fated planet, LV-426, home of that perfect predator. Seventeen years have passed since the events of James Cameron’s genre-defining Aliens and now, pulse rifle in hand, the thirty-somethings among us get to relive what it must have been like for Vasquez or Hicks to face an insurmountable xenomorphic infestation. Personally, I can’t wait to don a yellow power-loader and face off against a queen.

March has but one word to define it: epic. Five scintillating series are given new leases on life: Tomb Raider (March 5), Gears of War: Judgment (March 19), God of War: Ascension (March 12), Resident Evil 6 (March 22), and Bioshock Infinite (March 26). Articles could be written on each – minstrels could write songs – but I will try to quench your thirst with some highlights.

Both Tomb Raider and Gears of War are prequels, with the former revealing the gritty evolution of a young Lara Croft into the battle-hardened adventurer we know and love; Gears is the aggressively-paced story of how Emergence Day brought together and bound a team of well-loved characters from various backgrounds.

While Kratos, the muscle-bound, deity-infused, follically-challenged protagonist of the God of War series, is as impressive and vengeful as ever, Ascension brings four-on-four, team-based multiplayer action to the series in an authentic, albeit challenging way. You’ll need nimble fingers and a quick-combo mind to dominate these online battles.

Few franchises do “creepy undead” as well as Resident Evil. The sixth installment has the duo of Leon and Chris surviving the horrors of a global outbreak. What’s different this time around is that unadulterated truth is in the mix, as the story behind the series is given a fuller voice.

Finally, Bioshock Infinite stays true to plasmids, preference, and panache, but moves from the brooding, dead-ridden waters of Rapture into the vibrant, floating city of Columbia, which feels a bit like something out of Fable.

And this is but the tip of the iceberg. With new titles from series like Grand Theft Auto, Lost Planet, Splinter Cell, and Crysis, and new names like Agent, Beyond: Two souls, Remember Me, and The Last of Us, if 2013 heralds the end of this generation of gaming, it is certainly going out with a prophetic bang.

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St. Albert Gazette

The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.