Closing out our second week, we’re already half way through our Top 100 of 2013 Recap. Sports, detective, zombies and plants; this group of five has almost every angle covered.
55. FIFA 14
EA’s power-selling sports franchise is back for yet another instalment and, for the most part, it’s business as usual. When it launches this September, FIFA 14 will be peddling the same slick gameplay and list of features it has since usurping Pro Evolution Soccer, a few years ago.
When compiling our list back in 2012, FIFA 13 only managed a meagre 86th, yet its sequel managed to rally a bit more excitement here at TSA. No doubt this is largely down to FIFA 14 releasing on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, its next-gen debut also bringing aboard the nifty-looking Ignite Engine.
Of course, not everyone obsesses over each blade of grass or the sweat glazing players’ foreheads. For most fans, FIFA is all about the reflex-driven, tactical gameplay, not to mention multiplayer and the comprehensive roster of licensed footballers. With that said, Ignite’s enhanced animations and detection will bring numerous subtle changes, though probably nothing too revolutionary.
EA is also bringing FIFA 14 to just about every console including the current gen PS3 and 360, 3DS, and Famicom. Well, maybe not Famicom, but still, the publisher has just about canvassed the entire video game market.
54. Dead Island Riptide
Oh, Dead Island: Riptide. You came with yet another heart-wrenching CG trailer and then, some months later, delivered the same, half-baked survival game we experienced back in 2011.
For those out of the loop, Riptide is a direct follow-up to Deep Silver’s original zombie title but we’d hesitate to call it a sequel. Sitting on a Metacritic average of 60, it did nothing to fix the fundamental issues present in Dead Island, simply offering another island to explore and more zombies to kill. That, and another swathe of bugs and glitches for players to wrestle with.
Before launching in April, Riptide dived head-first into the emerging “women in gaming” debate with its provocative Zombie Bait collector’s edition. Along with a copy of the game, Deep Silver also slapped together a bikini-clad headless bust for players to drool over.
No matter how average Riptide came across at review, it doesn’t seem to have affected developer Techland. Since working on the game, the studio has lent its talents to digital shooter, Call of Juarzed: Gunslinger and is now developing fantasy action game, Hellraid. Even more promising is Techland’s next zombie game, a spiritual successor to Dead Island called “Dying Light”.
53. Diggs Nightcrawler
When Sony announced WonderBook at its 2012 E3 presser, the majority of onlookers were left non-plussed. Though original and somewhat innovative, it was clearly aimed at youngsters, and definitely overstayed its welcome after a seemingly laborious stage demo.
The first title to launch with WonderBook, the Pottermore tie-in Books of Spells, didn’t exactly set the world on fire, though there was still hope for Sony’s ambitious peripheral. Behind the scenes, the animation wizards at Moonbot Studios were crafting AR crime-solver, Diggs Nightcrawler.
Combining film noire with nursery rhyme characters and some clever use of the WonderBook, Diggs looked like an endearing game. Sadly, when it hit shelves in May (at least here in the UK) it didn’t have the impact Sony was hoping for. Sure, it bagged plenty of positive reviews but you’d be hard pressed to ever hear the game mentioned, even on dedicated gaming sites such as our own.
However, it isn’t all over for the WonderBook. Sony still has two more titles in the works, including Walking With Dinosaurs and the recently-announced Book of Potions.
52. Brothers In Arms Furious 4
Sadly, there haven’t been any major developments surrounding this new Gearbox IP. Originally, Furious 4 started life as a continuation of Ubisoft’s World War II franchise, Brothers in Arms. However, when shown at E3 2011, it was clearly moving in a different direction, pitting four robust characters in a barmy, blood-soaked quest to rid the world of Adolf Hitler.
Not long after, the game – which was quickly compared to Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” – shed its Brothers in Arms lineage, and has been M.I.A ever since.
With no official word from Ubisoft or Gearbox, all we are left with is speculation. Is Furious 4 still lurking in the shadows, awaiting its late deployment in the current console cycle, or is Ubisoft lining it up as a new IP for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One?
Whether it’s still in the pipeline or trapped in development limbo, we may hear from Furious 4 in future, though we’re expecting that it won’t be quite the same game we saw two years ago.
51. Plants vs. Zombies 2
Last month, PopCap’s flower-fighting flagship spawned a sequel, in the form of Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time.
In short, PvZ 2 has been cited as the best tower defence game going. With new units, enemies and gameplay features, it’s a near-perfect refinement of the original. That said, a common criticism of the game is that it is perhaps too simplistic and hasn’t done enough to existing PvZ formula.
Luckily, if players are looking for a different approach to the series, PopCap has that covered too. At E3 this year, the studio confirmed that Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare will bring the franchise to PC, Xbox One, and the Xbox 360. Converting the game’s quirky 2D art into richly-detailed 3D models, Garden Warfare is more or less a third person action title with a focus on co-op and competitive play.