Summer is traditionally supposed to be a quieter time of year, a perfect opportunity to relax and catch up on your backlog of games you bought but never quite got around to starting. Perhaps you'd saunter down to the ol' swimmin' hole (protecting yourself from the sun's deadly solar radiation with a lead-lined suit, obviously), or hang out with your friends in a convertible on your way to some sort of "sick kegger," you cool young things. I already earmarked a perfect ear of corn to lazily dangle out of my mouth as I played through Fallout 3 and Quake for the umpteenth time, before dozing off in the shade of a wide straw hat.
Not this year. Since we're fast approaching the end of this console generation, summer 2013 is utterly ridiculous, with numerous massive games slated to release over the course of a single month. 'Awesome August' is set to put several Christmas seasons to shame, so it's time to take a look at what to expect from this frankly silly month ahead.
Where possible, we've linked you to our very latest preview, news or trailer coverage!
2K Marin's XCOM reboot saw us sharpening pitchforks two years ago, but now that Firaxis have delivered the strategic last word on the series, we're definitely ready to judge this one on its own merits. Tactical combat and a refreshing 1950s setting leave us rather excited.
To be honest, we're more curious than excited about Spark Unlimited's Lost Planet sequel. We love stomping down alien hordes in great big mechs, but we're mainly intrigued to see whether Spark are actually up to the challenge. You know, since Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty and Legendary are stinking up their resume.
Goichi Suda is as Goichi Suda does, and what he does is create frankly bonkers games that look utterly gorgeous. Perverted 'gigolo missions' may have gotten us a bit worried about playing this with other people in the house, but the slick combat and ridiculous imagery make Killer Is Dead one to watch.
Ubisoft describes Blacklist as "the biggest Splinter Cell ever," and it looks like they're probably on the money. Singleplayer, co-op and multiplayer have been wrapped into a single package that supports multiple playstyles - here's hoping that clever level design steers away from linear set pieces for the duration. I did spot a few in my extensive hands-on preview, mind...
Namco's Tales series are always worth playing, offering strong characters and storylines while switching up traditional JRPG battling with engrossing real-time intricacies. Plus, that cel-shaded style never fails to impress. Having received rave reviews in Japan, it's hard not to be excited about this one.
Wubwubwubwubwub, Mister President.
The Wii U desperately needs great games, and Platinum Games are in the business of making them. Here's hoping that this insanely colourful and recklessly inventive brawler can stack up with their past form.
3: PayDay 2
"PayDay 2, then, looks set to be an example of a sequel done right, a game that genuinely builds on the original concept by offering more, better, and then a whole bunch more for good measure. And an achievement that mocks Call Of Duty: Ghosts' intelligent fish." - me, a couple of weeks ago. Expect big unpredictable heists and massive customisation.
We have high hopes for this one. By blending classic Disney franchises with player creativity across multiple platforms, this staggeringly ambitious transmedia tie-in could well give Skylanders a run for its money if the game itself holds up. Once Star Wars playsets are added, this could be an unstoppable hit.
We've been waiting long enough, Monsieur Ancel. Let's have it. We're so ready.