Top 100 of 2013: 20-16 – Call of Duty, Splinter Cell & Oddworld

Hitting the top twenty.

We’re into the top twenty now, and it’s safe to say that the games left have us almost worryingly excited. Today we’ll do a little shooting, a little sneaking, some racing and a bit of magic before finally chanting to open a portal.

20. Call of Duty 10

20. Call of Duty 10

It says quite something about the Call of Duty series that a game we know literally nothing about, not even the title, has made its way to number twenty on our list. That’s the kind of pedigree that Activision have managed to build with this series and, frankly, it’s incredibly impressive.

So, although we know nothing for sure, we can speculate about the game. With Treyarch being responsible for this year’s Call of Duty title, Black Ops II, it seems extremely unlikely that they’ll be the ones working on next year’s Call of Duty title. We know from a leak earlier in the year that Infinity Ward are working on another Modern Warfare title, and that seems like a more likely candidate for release next year, sticking to the alternating schedule that we’ve seen for quite some time now.

Of course Activision could still surprise us. While Sledgehammer Games have been providing support on the last two Call of Duty games, there’s nothing to say that they haven’t been quietly working away on their own projects.

All we can say with any degree of certainty is that we’ll see the title sometime in November next year.

19. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

19. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

The second Tom Clancy title on our list, we know a lot more about Blacklist than we do about Rainbow 6: Patriots. This is likely because Patriots had its hand forced by a potential leak in 2011, although the fact that Blacklist has a more definitive launch is probably playing into Ubisoft’s strategy as well. Yes, the game is currently slotted for sometime in the Spring and is looking absolutely great so far.

The game follows on from the events of Conviction and, perhaps obviously, Third Echelon has been shut down. In its place is Fourth Echelon, a name that it must have taken quite some time to come up with. The new agency looks like it may be much smaller in scale, and is more a nomadic group of highly trained operatives than a traditional organisation. Sam Fisher is appointed acting commander, he’s probably earned it over the years, and is given the “fifth freedom” by the President herself.

This “fifth freedom” apparently means that Sam is free to break America’s laws on the international stage in order to protect the interests of America at home. Given what he’s gotten up to in past Splinter Cell games I’m not quite sure how he can be any more free, but I can only assume that he’s going to start nuking anyone who looks at him in a funny way. He’s granted his new found freedoms in an attempt to counter the Blacklist, a series of terrorist attacks against the United States that are set to constantly rise in intensity.

Gameplay wise, the game’s introducing new elements such as killing in motion, which sounds a little like the mark and execute mechanic from earlier games, although this time it seems to be focused more on doing it whilst you’re on the move and under pressure. The game’s also set to add Kinect integration in the form of a distraction mechanic. Simply speak at the Kinect and the game will use the sound to try and distract an enemy, or draw them closer for a kill. It sounds like one of the more interesting uses for Kinect, although I imagine the same mechanic will be tied to a face button.

You can check out more of the game in the trailer below, and get your hands on it in the Spring.

18. Grid 2

18. Grid 2

Grid 2, or possibly GRID 2, was the first game I paid attention to at EGX because, as things turned out, it was the first interview we had on the first day of the show. Clive Moody, Iain Smith and Gehan Pathiraja from Codemasters talked to us about the game, with the game sounding pretty interesting.

However, I’m not a huge racing fan, so it’s fortunate that teflon, who’s rather more versed in that area, went and looked at the demos of the game that were on show. He got to try a street race, as well as a one on one race, and found them both fairly enjoyable. He did find it tricky to judge the AI, as it was clearly on a lower setting, but was pretty positive about the game overall.

If you want to get your hands on some more racing action, then the game should be arriving next Summer.

17. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

17. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

It’s been a long wait for those outside of Japan who want to try Studio Ghibli’s entry into gaming, Ni no Kuni. The game released in Japan on the DS back in 2010, and the PS3 version arrived there in November of 2011. The Westernised version will finally arrive in January of next year, and with it’s high position on our list it’s clear that there are several members of staff who are tripping over themselves to get their hands on this RPG.

Technically the game is Ghibli’s second dip into gaming, as they collaborated on 2003’s Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color, although it’s the first game where they’ve taken such a prominent role. Their presence in the game’s artwork and animation style is clear from the instant you set eyes on the screen, and it’s safe to say that Level-5 have done a good job in bringing Ghibli’s talent to life.

The game’s story seems to be fairly reminiscent of several of Ghibli’s movies, with the star, Oliver, struck with tragedy early on in the game when his mother dies. As you’d expect this brings him to tears, and those bring to life his doll which is, in fact, a fairy. The fairy gives him a magic book that allows him to enter the titular world of Ni no Kuni, where he explores in hope of finding his mother. I can’t honestly believe I just wrote that paragraph.

The Japanese version of the game was well received, picking up 38/40 from Famitsu. The only major issue they had with the game was the fact that the game’s RPG systems may be too complex for children, the game’s likely target audience. Otherwise the game seems like a well rounded RPG, and one that will hopefully be as well received when it arrives here next month.

16.  Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee New N' Tasty!

16. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee New N’ Tasty!

Abe’s Oddysee is one of my earliest memories of the PlayStation, and it’s a very fond one too. The game holds a special place in my heart, and I’m almost obscenely excited about the new version that Just Add Water are bringing out next year.

At this year’s EGX I got to sit down with Stewart Gilray and Lorne Lanning to talk about the game, one of my highlights of the year, and everything they said about New N’ Tasty seems right on the money. If you watch the interview you’ll also see Lorne give the longest answer I’ve ever had to a question, remaining completely captivating the entire way through.

It should be made clear that this isn’t just your bog standard HD update to the game, it’s a new version that uses the original as a template. When you see the footage of the game (below) that becomes abundantly clear, and Just Add Water look like they’ve done a stellar job in adding new dimensions to a much beloved game.

If you missed Abe’s Oddysee when it first game out, it tells the story of Abe, a Mudokon slave at RuptureFarms, albeit a relatively happy one at the start of the game. The problem is that RuptureFarms is a meat processing factory, and they’re rapidly running out of meat to process. As a solution the Glukkons who own the factory decide to start using the Mudokon’s as food, a plan that Abe soon finds out about and resolves to escape.

If you’re a fan of the original, or a fan of highly original 2D platformers, then you should playing New N’ Tasty when it releases next year.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow we’ll return with our final five games before we break into the top ten games.

14 Comments

  1. Cool…Abe! Though I fail to see any major differences between that and the original (besides the speech)

    • I don’t think there need to be any differences, presumably this one’s being marketed on nostalgia factor so some shiny new graphics on top of a very familiar game will probably be a hit :)

      • I agree; it’s just that the article hints at it being more than just a HD upgrade. From that video, I didn’t see anything to support that statement. Probably just me, though.

      • It’s a complete remake, not just an HD remastering.

      • It’s comparable to what they did with Halo 1 and the 10 year anniversary edition. It’s the great original gameplay with completely new graphics, not just a simple retouch of the original assets like God of War for example.

  2. Yeah true I see what you mean, I think Kris’s enthusiams is very much coloured by the interview he did with two of the developers. Follow the ‘read more about’ link for Abe and watch the interview and I think you’ll get a bit of the dreamy vision too. It looks like there is a bit more atmosphere in the remake compared to the originall, as far as I remember they’ve said it’s not quite a carbon copy either, there will probably be some pleasantly surprinsing changes later in the game :)

  3. Oddworld and Ni No Kuni have me excited, GRID could be cool too. No interest in the other two though. A full on port of CoD would be cool. But I still think 4 is the best…

  4. Go try the demo of Ni No Kuni out. Then set the voices to English. Not only are the characters great but Drippy was voiced by a chap with a lovely welsh accent. It was even apparent he was welsh from just reading the subtitles. :-p

  5. I reckon no 1 is going to be Watchdogs.

  6. Really looking forward to COD next year, and Splinter Cell looks brilliant too.

  7. Apart from COD I will hopefully be playing all these next year. Splinter Cell blacklist was one of my favourite games at E3 n I’m really looking forward to playing it even with all the stealth games I’ve played recently. My girlfriend will like the abe one as I missed it completely as a child.

  8. Can’t wait to get my hands on Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – New n’ Tasty.
    It’s fantastic that one of my all time favorite franchises get so much love these days. I really thought they abandoned it before they started with the HD remakes. This is easily in my top 10 of next years release schedule.

  9. Hopefully the new splinter cell is better then conviction was.

  10. Top 15 is really puzzling me as I can still think of 20+ games and I’d be surprised if some didn’t make the list at all. Unless of course games like the last guardian were excluded as there is no clear indication they’ll be out next year

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