While there is typically a month or two early on in the year that floods the schedule with launch dates, this month is a special beast. With several new entries into adored and even a couple of long-dormant franchises, the March 2013 video game releases make this month look as though it would be right at home in the midst of the holiday shopping season.
Players will be able to enjoy God of War: Ascension, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, MLB 13: The Show, Dead or Alive 5 Plus, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, and much more. The crazy part is, however, those games just listed didn’t even make our top five of this month. What did? Check that out below and let us know what you’re looking forward to playing!
Tomb Raider | Crystal Dynamics | March 5
As the first title to hit in the month of March, Tomb Raider has already been lauded as a successful reboot to one of gaming’s supposedly forgotten franchises. The reboot centers on the origin story of Lara Croft, the heroine of the franchise.
While many have claimed that the gameplay borrows too heavily from the Uncharted series, Tomb Raider works to carve its own appeal by combining nods to the original games in the series with upgraded climbing and combat mechanics to provide what many are calling the first truly spectacular game of 2013. Fans of Uncharted will undoubtedly love the Tomb Raider reboot, but the title looks to appeal to fans of action and adventure genres as a whole.
SimCity | Maxis | March 5
After nearly a decade off, Maxis is bringing its SimCity franchise back with a revolutionary new entry into the series. While the “always online” requirement will continue to cause controversy, the economy system that has been given as a justification for the requirement will bring a new twist to the game.
In addition, new buildings, road designs, and challenges await any player who launches SimCity on their PC. Unfortunately, as previously announced, Mac users will need to wait for the game’s “eventual” launch. Until then, PC gamers will begin pouring hours into the first huge PC exclusive of 2013.
Gears of War: Judgment | Epic Games/People Can Fly | March 19
As a prequel to the original Gears of War trilogy, Judgment looks to shift the focus away from Marcus and Dom and place the spotlight squarely on Baird and Cole. The game will do more than just change who the story centers on, however. With People Can Fly having a bigger hand in development of a Gears of War game than ever before, the team is not only adding new features, enemies, and weapons to the campaign, but also more or less revamping many of the multiplayer modes.
Gone are the popular Horde and Beast modes, but in their places will rise Survival, a 10 wave Horde-like mode that allows for further tower defense options, and Overrun, a mode that pits a team of specialized locusts against a team of humans in what seems to be as close to a Horde vs. Beast mode style of play as we’ve seen. With Declassified missions in the game’s Campaign mode, Gears of War: Judgment could very well be that intense challenge players have been craving.
BioShock Infinite | Irrational Games | March 26
When one of the most anticipated titles of 2012 was delayed into 2013, March immediately became a special month for the gaming community. BioShock Infinite not only signals the return of Irrational Games, the original developer of the first BioShock game, to the franchise, but also a complete reinvention of the series from the setting to the gameplay mechanics.
Players will no longer be exploring the dampened depths of Rapture. Instead, gamers will have the opportunity to fly high in the bright and sunny city of Columbia. With all new enemies and completely unique gameplay schemes, BioShock Infinite is expected to be the first major Game of the Year contender for 2013. That is, of course, as long as it can live up to the lofty expectations set by its pedigree. Fans are expecting enormous things from the sequel, and if Irrational can deliver the game that fans want, it could more than pay its dividends for the developer.
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel | Visceral Games/EA Montreal | March 26
As the black sheep of this Essential Gaming list, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel could be the biggest sleeper hit of the month. While it unfortunately launches on the same day as BioShock Infinite, in the long run, it has the potential to be the biggest release in the franchise’s history. With Visceral Games, the developer behind the Dead Space franchise, having a hand in the Army of Two series for the first time ever, players can expect to see improvements in key areas for this release.
With Visceral working alongside EA Montreal, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel continues its tradition of having some of the most exciting cooperative mechanics (see: Aggro system) in gaming while improving the game’s narrative, which has traditionally been a weak point for the series. If all goes well, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel has an outside shot to quietly stealing the show for many gamers in March.