Welcome to the final week in our Top 100 recap of the most anticipated titles of 2013! In a somewhat surprising twist, all of the games on today’s list are either out now, due in the next month or so, or Rainbow 6: Patriots. So read on for talk of swappable heads, sliceable watermelons, and remixable memories.
Puppeteer sees you playing as a boy names Kutaro who loses his head after an encounter with the Moon Bear King. Stealing the King’s magical scissors, Kutaro heads off on an adventure to get back his head, switching out a whole bunch of discarded heads he finds in the process, each granting him special abilities. For example, the Knight’s head enables Kutaro to shield himself and deflect attacks, while the Ninja’s head lets him throw small bombs, and the Wrestler’s head grants a new slam-down attack.[drop2]Yup, Puppeteer is a Studio Japan title alright. While visually it may have similarities to Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet series, Puppeteer is darker in tone (the game’s director Gavin Moore previously worked on The Getaway and Siren: Blood Curse), and each level plays out on a theatre-style stage, with literal set pieces sliding in and out as needed.
Puppeteer is actually due in just a few weeks on September 13th, arriving as a budget-priced retail title on PS3.
24. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Whatever your opinion on the central series or this year’s action-centric spin-off, you have to admire that with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Platinum may have pulled off the most successful expansion of a franchise since Mario and his friends first jumped in a race kart. As Polygon’s Mike McWhertor put it in his 9/10 review, “Platinum Games has done something incredibly rare: honoring a beloved series while successfully broadening its reach into a whole new genre.”
We didn’t review Revengeance here at TSA, but Blair did talk extensively about the game and it’s connections to the Metal Gear series as a whole. “I’m still not a huge fan of stealth games […] and I much prefer the hack and slash genre that Rising falls into,” he confessed, before going on to say that while the plot and characters are naturally better in the Solid series, “Rising isn’t about that, it’s about feeling awesome while cutting up enemies with the soundtrack blasting away in the background and it absolutely succeeds in that regard.”
“Rising wasn’t really necessary, though I’m extremely glad it exists,” concludes Blair. “It’s still a worthy entry into the series and a spin-off done right.” I agree too – I’ve never managed to find the right entry point to jump into the series, and the more action-based gameplay of Rising certainly appeals to me more than the Solid branch. Whatever your opinion of the game and its role in the MG world though, it seems that everyone describes it as “fun” – and isn’t that what games are all about?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is available now on PS3 and Xbox 360, with a PC port due soon.
23. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots
After some interesting looking ‘target footage’ in July 2011, and an official trailer at the VGAs that December, Rainbow 6: Patriots has, erm, completely disappeared. Much like the new Brothers in Arms game revealed by Ubisoft the same year, it seems that Patriots has gone back underground to be retooled somewhat.
Here’s what we do know: Team Rainbow (is this a Nintendo game?) has been sent to New York to take down the homegrown terrorist organisation, the True Patriots, whose aim is economic equality. While the two-hit combo of credit crunch and internal terrorism may have been as bang on topic as Watch Dogs is now when announced, in 2013 it feels a little like a throwback, potentially one of the things Ubisoft is currently reworking.
With Ubisoft currently on a big next-gen push, and given the reinvention of the Tom Clancy franchise with this year’s big E3 surprise The Division, don’t be surprised to see Patriots resurface sooner rather than later. Now where’s that new Brothers in Arms, Gearbox?
22. Remember Me
Like many I believe, I was first drawn to Remember Me by the fantastic futuristic Parisian stylings of the game’s city setting. The colourful but dystopian, strange yet familiar, look was something previously attempted by Ninja Theory’s Enslaved, at it looks the part here as well. As Peter notes in his 8/10 review, the game’s promotional campaign was as confusing as its central protagonist’s memories – first impressions suggested a more open-world style title reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed, with follow-ups alternating between an Uncharted-style focus on combat and traversal, and a God of War-like heavily combo-focused brawler.[drop]But to distil Remember Me down to a sum of its parts does it a disservice, says Peter: “[the game] manages to do something quite special – and rare – in big releases from major publishers: it innovates in a really meaningful way. The incredibly intuitive combo system takes a game that might be as frantically, impenetrably nuanced and complex as God of War or Devil May Cry and makes it as accessible as Batman: Arkham City.” Then there’s the “Pressens”, self-constructable combos unlocked and upgraded as the game progresses, and “S-Pressens”, special abilities that are designed to target specific enemy types.
While the central memory remixing element may have left Peter wanting, Remember Me offers complex gameplay, a gorgeous universe, and a decent story, all in a brand-new western IP from a Japanese publisher – not something you see every day. “Remember Me surprises in many pleasant ways as its fast-paced action beats play out,” concludes Peter. “Although the narrative is perhaps a little predictable in places, it does have a few twists along the way that should be enough to keep you guessing right up to a final, titanic showdown.”
Remember Me is available now on PC, PS3 and 360.
21. Pikmin 3
As Al notes in his review, “the Pikmin games have traditionally played out as a blend of tactical strategy and real-time exploration.” As soon as the Wii U’s tablet controller was unveiled, the idea of a Pikmin game that utilised it just made too much sense. And here we are – after taking a generation out (excluding the New Play Control version of the original game), Olimar and the Pikmin are back for a third instalment.
There’s much to love about Pikmin 3, says Al:
“It looks great, seriously great, with slick, rich visuals that are (the ground aside) capable of producing detailed and tangible surfaces and objects. The characters are expertly designed and animated, the Pikmin an evergreen thrill and the menu system throughout screams Nintendo, in all the best ways. The music, too, deserves special mention, Asuka Hayazaki’s presence clear and appreciated, the central themes orchestral and memorable.”
But that’s not to say all is perfect with the game. While the sense of danger that has always been present in the series returns, in Pikmin 3 that means a quick dash home to hide through the night at the end of each of the game’s levels. “It’s a finite, sudden end to each of the game’s levels,” says Al. “Whilst it’s tempting to head back to a previously beaten level to perfect it, there’s a prevalent sense of deja vu that persists over the game’s numerous (but ultimately samey) campaign.” In addition, while the game is “endlessly endearing and joyfully bouyant as an adventure”, it seems to struggle for “genuinely fresh concepts” as things progress.
“It’s deep enough to keep you hooked, although there’s not quite enough meat on the bones to warrant a second look,” Al concludes, bestowing the game an 8/10. “For fans of the earlier two games this can be considered an essential continuation of the series and one that definitely deserves a place on your shelf; for anyone new to the series, they might – wrongly – leave wondering what the fuss was all about.
Pikmin 3 is out now on Wii U.
We’ll be back tomorrow with five more games – see you then!