I have taken rest over this fair holiday season with many a family gathering, plenty of drinking, and a reasonable amount of video ¬†game playing. I can say with a good amount of enthusiasm that I am ready for the new year. But what am I looking forward to exactly? Coming back to this column is a good feeling. Unfortunately I’m much too lazy to write on an actual game issue at this time, I’ve found solace in a list instead. Another list article.¬†

2013 is going to be a super memorable year in gaming. The prospect of new consoles on the horizon (with some already announced) is an exciting one. Even more exciting, however, is the collection of games launching this year, especially in the first quarter. We thought 2011 was amazing, but it is has met its match.

Countless fantastic looking games are dropping this year, but I’m breaking down the 10 that I am looking the most forward to, personally that is:

10) Anarchy Reigns

Well, technically this one is already out. In fact, it is sitting in my Playstation 3 as we speak. This game has a great backstory, actually. Platinum’s last game under Sega’s helm, it has been fighting for the chance to be localized for over a year. Having been created by Platinum games, a team I respect very highly, and that it stars the protagonist of their first hit Madworld, made it an instant catch for my interest since before it was released in Japan as “Maximum Anarchy”.

This game creates its own subgenre that Platinum called the “Multiplayer Brawler”. I’m perfectly content with calling it an alternative fighting game. Players fight on massive arenas using combos and environmental weapons to beat the ever loving crap out of one another. It’s really one of the most interesting things to appear in quite a while.

 

9) Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

I love the Sly Cooper series. The HD collection remains whole on the hard drive of my Playstation 3 while I flaunt my Platinum trophies, and long enjoyment of every adventure this cartoony PS2 era platformer has taken me on. It’s a symbol of the last breathes of a bygone era. With Ratchet & Clank off doing mediocre multiplayer games, we have Sly taking the helm and releasing a full fledged adventure.

Theives in Time will take players through the time to Sly’s ancestors that are so well hyped up in the previous games, through the Thievious Raccoonus. Sly will gain costumes and special powers through these encounters. Not to mention the persistent fresh humor and lovable characters in the series. The game was recently announced for a price cut, and with cross buy, there is really no reason not to pick it up.

 

8) Beyond: Two Souls

Continuing with a chain of Playstation exclusive games, we have Beyond: Two Souls. Admittedly, I haven’t spent any time with Quantum Dream’s claim to fame, Heavy Rain. However, Beyond looks much more like story that would be worth sitting through a narrative game for. Beyond is set to be more action packed than Heavy Rain, and what many believe will be one of the last major exclusives of this generation.

You know, not to mention Ellen Page is involved.

7) Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

I can understand why some people might be turned off by Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. However, everything I’ve heard about the game only makes me more excited. Developed by Platinum Games (those dudes behind another member of this list, Anarchy Reigns), Rising has the backing of gaming god Hideo Kojima, meaning that no part of the Metal Gear lore will be misrepresented. So what we have here is an action game developed by one of the best devs in the business at the moment, directed by a legend, and involved jumping across missiles to kill metal gears with precision cutting.

Metal Gear will be the answer to everyone’s craving for over the top action that remains tasteful and completely epic. I predict tight, and varied controls, with insane boss battles, crazy characters, and an all around good time. If you don’t agree, well you don’t have to play it.

6) Bioshock Infinite

Rapture, Big Daddys, Andrew Ryan, how can you beat all of those things? How about a floating castle in the sky and a sharp looking, powerfully character driven adventure? Bioshock Infinite appears to be just that. Taking players out of the dark, dreary underwater city and into a full floating utopia named Columbia, Infinite is the true ‘sequel’ to Bioshock, developed by industry powerhouse Irrational games at the hand of super mad genius Ken Levine.

Commanding Booker Dewitt, players will actually have an identity, as opposed to the self projected protagonist of the original Bioshock. I’m not calling either better, but this is a welcome change. I’m also in love with the focus on American history and the terrifying towering behemoths that players will combat throughout the game. I know this game tops the list for many of gamers, but I have a few more that beat it out personally.

5) Tomb Raider

I’m that guy. By that guy, I mean that guy who really loves Uncharted. That guy who will argue that Uncharted 2 was a breathtaking masterpiece, to which many would agree with me. I’ve never been nearly as much of a Tomb Raider fan, but my attention was caught when I saw the direction that the reboot was taking. Uncharted, originally a game that took a lot from the Tomb Raider series, was now getting copied back. The new Tomb Raider reboot looked like an Uncharted game with an even more pivotal protagonist than the now famous Nathan Drake. Though she isn’t nearly as handsome.

I’m still willing to give Tomb Raider a go after hearing that it might just be copying the worst parts of the Uncharted experience, and that it has the the most shoehorned multiplayer this side of Shoesville. I really do hope this game is as entertaining and fun as any of the Uncharted games.

4) The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Yep, you are looking at a very real list. You are looking at The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, comfortably placed at number 4 on it. Welcome to GamingUnwrapped, the only gaming source where The Binding of Isaac makes headlining news. The Binding of Isaac is an important part of the culture here. I mean damn, I’m near 100% completion on Steam. My excitement for this console bound remake is unmatched.

This time, glorious indie developer Edmund McMillen is working with the king of indie games himself, Pixel, to recreate The Binding of Isaac from the ground up. Edmund has stated multiple times that he’s going for something a little closer to his vision this time. More levels, more characters, new art styles, and even co-op will be featured. Even better, the game is launching on the Playstation Vita!

3) Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2

This game made me cry. An ending so powerful that it instantly established a place on every gamer’s ‘best of 2012′ list, Telltale’s The Walking Dead recreated a real emphasis on story telling and powerful characters in games. What it lacks in presentation and gameplay, it definitely makes up for in emotional weight. I can’t wait to see how the second season plays out.

There really isn’t much I can’t say here that I haven’t said elsewhere, just go play it.

2) The Last of Us

Going back to my confession for Uncharted love, there is an obvious expectation that superdev Naughty Dog’s next game would be high on my priorities list as well. The Last of Us looks like a super interesting spin on the entire ‘tough guy meets zombie apocalypse’ cliche’. Featuring graphics surpassing that of Uncharted 3, and gameplay that looks player choice oriented and frantic, The Last of Us will make a huge splash in 2013.

Like Tomb Raider, it has a pretty shoehorned multiplayer mode, though unlike Tomb Raider, it was more expected since Naughty Dog tried hard to make Uncharted 3’s multiplayer successful. I’ll be largely avoiding it in favor of the real meat, the single player with ND’s great attention to detail and epic adventure. Hopefully this one isn’t looked over for such an early release date. The next question is, what could I possibly be looking forward to more than The Last of Us?

1) Fire Emblem: Awakening

You drudged through my entire list to get to this point. My number 1 most anticipated game of 2013 is none other than Fire Emblem: Awakening. You see, I am a big Fire Emblem fan. I’ve played every single game in the series, some countless numbers of times. I just can’t get enough of that turn-based RPG gameplay that is strategic enough to be engaging, but never overcomplicates itself. I’m in love with the Fire Emblem lore, the characters, the writing, and the always great work by intelligent systems.

Fire Emblem: Awakening looks amazing. Featuring new graphics, and an abandonment of all things that made up the reasonably annoying Shadow Dragon, Awakening takes the series in a fresh direction, while being one of the first ever Nintendo games to feature DLC. I made a promise that as soon as Fire Emblem: Awakening recieved a release date, I would go out and buy a 3DS. Three days later it was on my doorstep. My body is ready.

If you aren’t excited for any of the games on my list, and perhaps thinks I’m a complete lunatic (or you don’t), leave a comment below. I promise I’ll come be back soon with more actual columns on actual current events, but until then this is what you get. 2013 is a going to be a glorious year to be a gamer, let’s take this as a celebration of that.

Fresh Meat is a weekly column by GamingUnwrapped Features Editor Jake Thomas. In this column, he explores topics that interested him, and analyze them with sound mind and calm demeanor. Fresh Meat is always written impromptu. Follow Jake Thomas on twitter @Jake_Sharky_T, or send an email with suggested to jthomas@gamingunwrapped.com.