This year is already shaping up to be a good one for gamers regardless of what platforms they choose to play on. There's a bunch of big-name releases already set for later in the year, the usual array of annual sequels and we might even see some of 2012's crowdfunded projects start to sneak out too.
While there are certainly some treats in store though, there are a few games that have got us especially interested - some titles we recommend you keep an especially close eye on in the coming weeks and months. These are our Games To Watch in 2013...
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux Release: January 2013
Frictional Games has always been one of our favourite studios for its use of a clever physics-based interaction system, but it was 2011's Amnesia: The Dark Descent that really put the three-man team on the map. Now, the series is returning with some assistance from one of the most exciting independent studios in Britain - Dear Esther developer TheChineseRoom.
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs Trailer
Apparently more of a spiritual successor than a direct sequel, A Machine For Pigs blurs the lines between reality and imagination by weaving together interlocking storylines. Each of these focuses on industrialist Oswald Mandus, who wakes after months of illness to find that a strange machine he saw in his fever dreams is now all too real...
Boasting a radical new approach from The Dark Descent when it comes to level design and AI, A Machine For Pigs is none the less shaping up to be a survival horror as terrifying as the original. Check the trailer if you don't believe us!
Platform: PC Exclusive Release: March 5, 2013
We've been lucky enough to take a look at Simcity quite extensively over the last couple of months and so far we've yet to see a single thing that makes us doubt developer Maxis' commitment to the franchise. The new GlassBox Engine especially has wowed us with it's innovative presentation of deeper simulation aspects, opening the series up to all audiences without sacrificing on challenge.
Heavily inspired by the likes of Google Maps, one of the ways the new Simcity achieves this is through the use of data-layers which reveal how your cities work. Take a look at the Power layer, for example, and you'll be able to watch the distribution of every kilowatt as it flows out of your power station.
Multiplayer is still the biggest addition for Simcity though - and makes this the first game to feature online play since Simcity 2000. It's one of the few features we haven't had a chance to go hands-on with ourselves yet, but the idea of being able to collaboratively improve entire regions (or simregions) has certainly got us intrigued!
Tomb Raider Trailer
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3 Release: March 5, 2013
Our initial thoughts when we checked out Tomb Raider last year were admittedly a bit mixed. We certainly approved of the direction Square Enix seemed to be moving the series in, but we remained unconvinced by overly scripted and QTE-reliant gameplay. Tomb Raider is going to be one of the big 'Ifs' of the year then, because if it's good then it could really rejuvenate the franchise, but if not...
The reason why we're watching Tomb Raider so carefully then is that the material that's been released since we last went hands-on indicates the game could go either way. The survival skills that Lara will have to rely on as she fends for herself on a hostile island certainly look impressive, but at the same time the trailers all seem suspiciously well choreographed.
One things for sure; we'll be taking a very close look at Tomb Raider when it does finally hit shelves later this year. After all, it's not every day that a series this big gets rebooted...oh, wait.