Why March 2013 is the Greatest Month for Gaming in Years
A month that packs a tremendous punchby Nicholas Laborde
©2013 Nicholas Laborde2012 was an above average year for gaming. We got tons of major franchise iterations like Far Cry 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Borderlands 2, and Assassin's Creed III. In addition to these solid titles, we also received a plethora of new IP and imaginative adventures: Dishonored, Journey, and Spec Ops: The Line, to name a few. While these were excellent games, it feels as if not that many were actually released in 2012. The first quarter of 2013 alone tops the entirety of 2012's lineup, and you'll see why.
BioShock Infinite, easily the single most anticipated title out of this bunch, will drop players in the fantasy world of Columbia, a flying fortress city in the year 1912.
Players will don Booker DeWitt, a disgraced former federal agent sent on an infiltration mission to the city, with the objective of saving a woman named Elizabeth.
Crazy enemies and encounter, larger than life scenarios and an incredible art style will make Columbia a place maybe a bit too real. If you haven’t seen any gameplay, you might live under a rock.
In the event that you do, check out the most recent trailer to convince you to drop in to this incredible world.
If reality or survival is more of your thing, then look no further than the newest Tomb Raider title, aptly named Tomb Raider.
It follows the story of Lara Croft as she is shipwrecked on an island, and must fight for her survival. Easily the most gritty and intense Tomb Raider game yet, more of a focus is put on the action which makes it seem far more similar to Uncharted (which is by no means a bad thing).
We’ll explore the earliest origins of Lara’s story on one of the biggest, most fantastic settings in the history of the franchise. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold.
BioShock Infinite: March 26 (Worldwide)
Tomb Raider: March 5 (Worldwide)
Ah, StarCraft, the granddaddy of strategy games. A game that I will never truly be competent at, but will continue to play and lose at because I have an insatiable desire for quality strategy games.
I’m still putting hours into StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty every day, and to hear that the first expansion, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, is on its way in March is great news for any strategy fan.
It will continue the Wings of Liberty storyline, and of course, bring with it a huge plethora of new units, changes to existing units, and new maps to the famed multiplayer. I’m in the beta at the moment, and it truly is the next big step in StarCraft.
Some aren’t as keen as others on the subject of StarCraft, however, partly due to the stigma of how difficult the game can be.
A little game called Company of Heroes garnered instant acclaim upon its 2007 release for being a different kind of strategy game.
Not only was it set during World War Two, but it was a strategy game with RPG elements: players could choose a specific path for upgrades and abilities, which directly affected how their armies would be structured.
Cue Company of Heroes 2, the triumphant sequel to the original game and all that was put in place. Taking players to the Eastern Front, players will find themselves dead in the middle of the most brutal conflict in human history.
The Germans are beginning to lose the war, and the Russians are seeing to it that they leave as quickly as possible. All of the expected gameplay elements like abilities remain intact, while adding an entirely new army on top of entirely new gameplay variables.
For example, blizzards will be conjured up in winter maps, and will freeze your army to death if you don’t find fire. Oh, and frozen lakes can crack and break, instantly destroying your entire fighting force.
Whether you prefer fantastic human-robot-alien encounters in StarCraft or the added layers of intense strategy in Company of Heroes, it’s going to be one hell of a month for commanders.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm: March 12 (Worldwide)
Company of Heroes 2: March (exact date unknown)
It had atmosphere that can only be described as unparalleled and balls-to-the-wall. It had beautiful visuals. It had an extremely ominous storyline, and great gunplay.
It wasn’t perfect, but I fell in love.
THQ are back with a sequel, Metro: Last Light. While I haven’t physically gotten my hands on it (I’ve only seen it at E3), I have seen it running, and let me tell you: it is absolutely gorgeous.
The linearity of the first game is completely gone. No longer will we be near-completely restricted to the dark tunnels of the metro; fully fleshed out outdoor environments will change up the gameplay and keep the player on the edge of their seat.
Seriously, you can’t go wrong with the polish and quality apparent in Last Light, and you’d be doing yourself a wrong by not picking it up when it releases sometime in March.
March (exact date unknown)
Taking place before the other entries in the franchise, Ascension follows Kratos attempting to sever his ties with God of War Ares (who kind of tricked Kratos into murdering his wife and child). It will also include a deep multiplayer mode, a series first.
We’ll be hacking, slashing, ripping, mauling… you get the picture. It’ll be exceedingly gory and violent, and just what you’d expect out of the God of War franchise.
While it seemed that the series may have been abandoned, acclaimed developer Visceral Games (known for Dead Space) is working on this iteration, and that alone is reason enough to warrant a purchase.
Gameplay is refined, fast-paced, and still proves to be a rewarding cooperative experience. Check out our preview here for a more detailed description.
Finally, if you just want to destroy some ugly-looking aliens with friends, whether that be alone, with friends, competitively or cooperatively, Gears of War: Judgment will whet your appetite.
With new additions like OverRun, which is a mix of the Horde and Beast modes from Gears of War 3, and a campaign set in a narrative-rich environment, Judgment is likely to steal all of your time this March.
God of War: Ascension: March 12 (US), March 15 (EU)
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel: March 26 (US), March 28 (EU)
Gears of War: Judgment: March 19 (US), March 22 (EU)
It’s a class-based game that, much like Borderlands, is best played cooperatively with friends. Set in the near future, players don a member of Overstrike 9, a team sent in to stop a paramilitary organization from taking over the world.
Each of the four members of the team brings their own weapon and backstory to the table, and for the gun nuts out there, you’ll really fall in love with the customization options.
I’ll let our preview speak for itself, but needless to say, it’s most definitely a game that you will want to be playing, especially if you’re a coop or action game fan.
March (exact date unknown)
Are you excited yet?
A simple name drop is the only thing needed to ignite an instant flame of hype. Set in a re-imagined Los Santos, GTA V will follow three different characters through their various journeys in the city.
Each character brings something new to the table, and it looks to be the greatest GTA yet (but don’t we say that each time a new GTA title is close?).
Rockstar has confirmed a Spring release, which could mean anywhere from March, as our investigation hints, to May, as more traditional Rockstar releases have been.
Regardless of whenever it comes out, it’s going to take the world by storm. If it does happen to be in March, it truly will be one heck of a month.
Spring (March – May)
And nearby releases
Aliens: Colonial Marines is the canonical sequel to James Cameron’s classic 1986 film Aliens, in development at Gearbox Software. Set right after the movie, the game follows a squad of colonial marines sent on a rescue mission on the planet LV-426.
I’ve seen both the campaign and the multiplayer, and I can confirm that not only does Gearbox capture the intensity of the film, but they also capture the mood and atmosphere of being stalked by Xenomorphs. Check out our single player preview and our multiplayer hands-on.
Speaking of stalking… We all love it! As long as it’s in a non-distinct military base and the goal is eliminating terrorists, of course.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is similar to what we saw in Splinter Cell: Conviction and continues based off of its story. Sam is now the leader of a new agency, Fourth Echelon, and gameplay is grittier than ever. Think “twisting a knife into a target for a torture mini-game” kind of grit.
Sam will have a ton of new gadgets to play with, and is more agile than ever before thanks to incredible motion capture tech that Ubisoft Toronto has used.
Oh, and the famous Spies versus Mercenaries multiplayer is returning. That’s all you need to know.
But if you’d prefer something a little more slower paced and scary, you’ll want to pick up Dead Space 3.
Taking place on a frozen planet called Tau Volantis, it tells the story of series protagonist Isaac Clarke and new companion John Carver as they try to eliminate the Necromorphs for good.
New to the franchise is full-blown cooperative play, with the second player assuming the role of Carver. While this may seem out of place at first, cooperative play transforms the gameplay and narrative into something that Dead Space always should have been.
While playing alone, Isaac is generally quiet and sees Carver at a distance. When in coop, they are side by side and additional narrative and dialogue comes into play.
It’s shaping up to be a truly excellent experience, and while not releasing in March, you really should see how it all ends in February.
Finally, one last EA game to dominate your early year is none other than Crysis 3.
Set in a jungle-ified New York City, we’ll be up to the usual Crysis antics: using crazy suit powers, fighting angry military personnel, and most importantly, we get to stalk the “jungle” with a crossbow, giving Crysis 3 the potential to be played as a pure stealth game.
I don’t know about you, but that excites me. Add a diversified multiplayer mode on top of that, and you have all the makings of a great FPS.
Aliens: Colonial Marines: February 12 (Worldwide)
Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Spring
Dead Space 3: February 5 (US), February 8 (EU)
Crysis 3: February 19 (US), February 22 (EU)
There goes my wallet
March 2013 is quite possibly the greatest month in the history of video games.
If you claim to have nothing to play, you should most likely seek professional help.
With a phenomenal lineup of confirmed games, several potential titles, and a slew of games before and after this period, Q1 2013 is an incredible time to be a gamer.