‘Beyond Two Souls,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Fables’: 13 games to cheer in 2013

Jan. 17, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
beyondtwosouls Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page stars in “Beyond Two Souls.” (Quantic Dream / Sony Computer Entertainment)

south par Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

Trey Parker and Matt Stone hope for success in the gaming arena with" South Park: The Stick of Truth." (Obsidian / THQ)

fables Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

Bill Willingham’s "Fables" series for DC Comics is the basis for a Telltale Games project. Above, the cover for "Fables: Legends in Exile." (Vertigo Comics / DC)

dfa Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

Game art is not ready, but here's an early look at the logo for "Double Fine Adventure." (Double Fine Productions)

witch Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

A glimpse at "Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch." (Level-5 / NAMCO Bandai Games)

lego city Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

The open-world adventure "Lego City: Undercover" has earned comparisons to "Grand Theft Auto." (TT Fusion / Nintendo of America)

puppeteer Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

Sony's upcoming "Puppeteer" tinkers with the standard gaming formula. (Sony Computer Entertainment America)

tearaway6 Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

"Tearaway" could be one of the year's more unique games. (Media Molecule / Sony Computer Entertainment America)

kirk and spock Beyond Two Souls, Star Trek, Fables: 13 games to cheer in 2013

The new title allows gamers to play as iconic characters from the "Trek" universe. (Paramount Pictures / NAMCO Bandai Games)

It’s a heady time for gamers. Two weeks into 2013, Capcom released “DmC: Devil May Cry,” one of the year’s first major titles, a radical reinvention of the series featuring a new protagonist that’s earned solid reviews. Next up on the calendar, eagerly anticipated additions to the “Dead Space,” “Sly Cooper,” “Crysis” and “Fire Emblem” franchises. Given the wealth of options ahead, Hero Complex thought the moment might be right to offer our list of 13 games that have us excited for what’s in store — and what’s heading to stores — in the coming year.

“Beyond Two Souls” (TBA, PS3)

One thing’s for sure. Quantic Dreams’ follow-up to “Heavy Rain” is going to be creepy. “Beyond Two Souls” features Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page in the starting role of Jodie Holmes, and charts the character’s journey to discover the secrets about her eerie, deadly — or maybe just dead? — friend. Maybe Jodie will uncover the meaning of life, or perhaps simply serve as the engine for one tense, thrilling game? “Heavy Rain” was notable for its atmosphere and dramatic pacing, and “Beyond Two Souls” looks to be no different in that regard.

“Double Fine Adventure” (TBA, PC, Mac, iOS, Android)

Any new Tim Schafer-designed game is cause for celebration. But with this crowd-funded venture, the famed auteur, whose credits include the “Monkey Island” series, “Grim Fandango” and “Psychonauts,” among others, is returning to the point-and-click genre that his works for LucasArts helped define. More than $3 million was raised on Kickstarter to finance “Double Fine Adventure”– backers can watch the campaign unfold thanks to a documentary Double Fine is filming.

“Fables” (TBA)

Bill Willingham has spent decades making and remaking classic myths with his long-running monthly comic book series “Fables.” He’s built a career exploring, subverting and reconfiguring fairy-tale tradition by placing such familiar figures from legend as Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf in the modern world. Although Telltale has kept its plans for a project based on Willingham’s books (which most likely will not even be called “Fables”) under wraps, the outfit’s work on “Monkey Island” and “The Walking Dead” stood out for its emphasis on narrative and character interaction. We’re eager to see whatever downloadable series the company is offering next.

 “Grand Theft Auto V” (TBA, PS3, Xbox360)

Even the release of a new trailer for the granddaddy of open-world games is the sort of major event that creates online buzz for weeks — just imagine the hubbub likely to ensue once the game itself finally becomes available. Rockstar Games is promising players the chance to explore more vividly rendered vistas as one of three characters, and, of course, more opportunities to participate in criminal enterprises with morally compromised associates in a setting described as “the contemporary culture of L.A.” So, naturally, it will include a yoga minigame.

An open world, with Lego's! (TT Fusion / Nintendo of America).

“Lego City Undercover.” (TT Fusion / Nintendo of America)

“Lego City Undercover” (TBA, Wii U)

Lego goes open world with “Lego City Undercover,” which already has earned some comparisons to “Grand Theft Auto” — though it might be surprising if the content turns out to be quite that, um, what’s the word? Mature? In any case, the licensed Lego games are a blast, especially the recent dive into “The Lord of the Rings” adventures, and it’s about time the Lego games had a chance to grow up. It could just be the game that sells skeptics on the Wii U as well — players will use the GamePad as a full-on police scanner.

“Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon” (TBA, 3DS)

Forget the whole plumber-rescuing-the-princess business. Luigi, Professional Ghost Hunter, is a far more exciting occupation. Armed with a Poltergust 5000, Luigi will explore multiple mansions solving supernatural puzzles. Expect lots of Toad, and lots of flashing lights — as in actual flashlights. They’re an invaluable tool when confronted with paranormal activity.

A glimpse at "Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch." (Level-5 / NAMCO Bandai Games)

“Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.” (Level-5 / Namco Bandai Games)

“Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” (Jan. 22, PS3)

Here’s a role-playing-game with the potential to look and feel as if one is playing through an animated film. A mix and match of the talents of Level-5, known best for the friendly puzzles of the “Professor Layton” series, and Studio Ghibli, the world-renown animation house responsible for “The Secret World of Arrietty” and “Howl’s Moving Castle,” among many others, “Ni no Kuni” promises a story-driven experience and an enticing, real-time combat system. Early reviews have been universally glowing.

“Puppeteer” (TBA, PS3)

Essentially, “Puppeteer” is a platformer, but not the traditional side-scrolling run-and-jump kind. In this moody Terry Gilliam-inspired fairy tale set entirely inside a magical theater, players become Kutaro, a young boy transformed into a puppet – a headless one. Gavin Moore, a longtime art director at Sony Computer Entertainment and the creative director of “Puppeteer,” says the game was “an exercise in freeing my imagination and creating a world where I could do anything I liked.”

"Remember Me" could be a trippy, sci-fi experience. (Capcom)

“Remember Me.” (Capcom)

“Remember Me” (TBA, Xbox 360, PC, PS3)

“Remember Me” stars Nilin, a mixed-race female memory hunter. Those five words alone have us eager to play this sci-fi action title, set in a “Blade Runner”-like Paris (or Neo-Paris, as the game calls it). Combat has earned comparisons to “Batman: Arkham City,” but Nilin’s main weapon is her ability to enter an enemy’s mind. The emphasis here is not on shooting — the goal is to trick her targets into going mad. (If there’s a cause for concern, it’s that the game’s early art emphasizes Nilin’s ability to wear a pair of skin-tight jeans.) Here’s hoping the game is the promising head-trip it seems to have the potential to be.

“South Park: The Stick of Truth” (TBA, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have worked magic in television, film and on Broadway; it remains to be seen if their writing prowess can translate into the gaming arena. “The Stick of Truth,” which functions as both an original “South Park” story and a parody of “The Lord of the Rings,” shows promise as a satire of major action games, complete with ridiculous fighting and an even more absurd story. No word on whether or not ManBearPig makes an appearance.

“Star Trek: The Game” (April 23, Xbox 360, PS3)

Set to be released almost one full month before J.J. Abrams’ upcoming sci-fi sequel “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the Marianne Krawczyk-penned “Star Trek: The Game” allows players to dip into the roles of either Capt. James T. Kirk or Spock — it’s an intriguing proposition, but how well it works will be key to the game’s success. Far too often, major action games downplay the hero’s personality, needlessly sacrificing story and character. Yet as any “Trek” fan will tell you, the more Kirk and Spock, the better.

"Tearaway" could be one of the year's more unique games. (Media Molecule / Sony Computer Entertainment America).

“Tearaway” could be one of the year’s more unique games. (Media Molecule / Sony Computer Entertainment America)

“Tearaway” (TBA, Vita)

The Vita needs this game. Sony’s hand-held device is vastly under-appreciated, but “Tearaway” just might be the title that shows the promise this powerful little portable holds. A platformer, with a construction-paper look, “Tearaway” makes use of the Vita’s dual touch screens, camera and microphone and experiments with how a gamer interacts with a digital environment. One doesn’t just swipe, one can actually “enter” the game universe (touch the Vita’s back screen, and a user “pokes” into the game). While augmented reality attempts have tended to be gimmicky on any device, early signs signal that “Tearway” integrates the technology in a promising way.

“The Wonderful 101” (TBA, Wii U)

So much for The Dynamic Duo or The Fantastic Four. This Wii U exclusive packs an army of superheroes — 101, to be exact. The look and tone seems to borrow a little from Pixar’s “The Incredibles,” and that’s all well and good as far as we’re concerned. But even more exciting is the ability to control such heroes as Toilet Bowl Man. That’s his real name, and no, we don’t yet know his special abilities. The mind wanders…

— Todd Martens

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex


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6 Responses to ‘Beyond Two Souls,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Fables’: 13 games to cheer in 2013

  1. neverworrybehappy says:

    These games are gonna be legendary.

  2. Dean says:

    I think you forgot Naughty Dog's 'LAST OF US'… dying to play that game… pardon the pun!

  3. DKS says:

    last of us
    Bioshock infinite
    Watch dogs (maybe)
    star wars 1313
    God of war ascension

  4. ChemBrain says:

    How about Tomb Raider?

  5. OrlandoMovieGuy says:

    Come on, no mention of the long awaited Aliens: Colonial Marines?

  6. joaomlo says:

    (cough)Sly 4(cough)

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