We reckon these are going to be the biggest and best games of the year. And we should know, because we waste a lot of our time playing games.
For part one – including Max Payne 3, NeverDead, and South Park: The Game, click here.
SIX MORE GAMES YOU PROBABLY KNOW ABOUT ALREADY BUT HEY, THEY'RE GONNA BE GREAT, LET'S CHAT ABOUT THEM
Grand Theft Auto V
Even though GTA IV was a sombre grim-fest, it was still a really good game; so we're not overly upset by GTA V's fairly uninspiring trailer. One important thing to consider, though, is that Rockstar just don't make bad games. It's as impossible for Rockstar to make a bad game as it is for water to flow uphill, or for Eamonn Holmes to walk past a buffet and leave it unmolested. Even if you're not won over by the grime and angst in their latest crime-packed instalments, this game is still going to knock your socks off. That's just cold, hard scientific fact. Plus, it has dogs in it! Probably. Dogs that you'll be able to shoot and run over, we presume.
We very much liked the original [PROTOTYPE], despite the square brackets and shouty caps of the title, and loved steering evil Animated Bag o' Virus Alex Mercer around New York city to graphically devour people right in front of their friends. The sequel looks to be more of the same – with a new gameplay tweaks, and a more likeable protagonist – but as long as we still get to leap headlong off a skyscraper and land on someone's granny, turning her into a messy smear of giblets, we're okay with that.
You wanna know a secret? We got into Diablo II far too late, picking it up in 2006 a full six years after it was released. It wasn't really our sort of thing – far too much clicking and bashing up unexciting skeletons – but lots of other people seemed to think it was pretty hot shit, and who are we argue with “lots of people?”1 One small problem – you'll have to be online all the time to play the old-school hack and slash RPG, according to developers Blizzard. Which is no huge problem but means you're a bit screwed if you want to play it on, say, a plane. Or in a submarine. Or in a lead-lined case.
That Nathan Drake's getting a bit big for his boots, no? We're looking forward to the gritty reboot of the franchise, featuring Lara being all young and hip and stuff and a variety of improvised weapons, married with the same tricky platforming and puzzle solving we've come to tolerate and maybe even like. Plus we still sort of fancy Lara. It's ingrained, now.
Even though the original was a bit rough around the edges, marrying the first-person shooter with the tropes of online RPGs is no bad thing – we spent many an hour puggling mutants and monsters through the face with a variety of overpowered submachine guns and grooving out to Cage the Elephant's superlative theme tune Ain't No Rest for the Wicked. The sequel promises plenty more where that came from - possibly twice as much, if the dual-weilding trailer is to taken seriously - which is, well, super.
Plenty of over-the-top extreme sports action from EA as you're thrown down unforgiving, icy terrain and forced to survive in style. We've played it – and we interviewed some snowboarder only tangentially related to the project at the same time, which was nice – and we can safely say it's easy to look like you know what you're doing even if you're just pushing buttons in a semi-random panic. Which is an important feature of any game, we feel.
FIVE MORE GAMES YOU PROBABLY DON'T KNOW ABOUT, BUT TAKE IT FROM US, THEY'RE GONNA KICK ARSE
A Japanese game that deals with relationships, but not in a creepy 'convince school girls to let you look up their pleated skirts' sort of way. Catherine is both a fairly insightful look at faithfulness and temptation in long-term relationships AND a tricky action puzzler, which sounds weird and it is. It's really weird. Having been released in Japan and the US ages ago, Catherine is coming to our shores this Spring and really deserves your attention.
Kingdoms of Amalur
Stupid names aside, this is shaping up to be a cracking title. KoA has look of an MMO (but, well, prettier) and the feel of a third-person brawler, with plenty of fine-detail combat options and not just cycling through a set series of attacks in every fight. It boasts a fairly impressive stable of talent behind it – Ken Rolston, bald-headed gamesmaster extraordinaire and one of the team behind Skyrim prequel Oblivion, is heading up the design team while Spawn artist Todd McFarlane and noted fantasy author R A Salvatore handle the look and words respectively. Our nerd parts just went a bit tingly.
Lashings of style, more bullets than you can count, and piles upon piles of gory, over-the-top combat are drawing us in to this third-person shooter designed by the guy behind Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden. Factor in the way that everyone, not just the protagonists, seems to run on walls and casually disregard the laws of physics as a matter of course, and we're hooked.
We've waffled about this UK indie gem before, but the gist is simple – you're a trenchcoated cyberspy in the near future, and you fight guards by rewiring light switches and cameras to make dangerous things occur. Plus, you get to push people out of windows. A lot. We're down with that.
Lunatic genius Suda51, fresh off the back of the surprisingly-good and kinda underrated Shadows of the Damned last year is back with a flaming bodyshot of ludicrous ultraviolence. You play a high-school cheerleader whose only defence against the zombie hordes threatening her school is a giant chainsaw and a firm understanding of gymnastics – we literally can't see anything wrong with this.
1 A disclaimer: we often do this actually