1. FIFA 13
Release date: 28 September Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
EA knows what it is doing with Fifa. It’s gone from being sluggish and cartoony to a bafflingly complex, photo-realistic football sim. Post a screenshot from the latest version online and you’d have to look closely to distinguish it from real life. Realism is also the order of the day in terms of gameplay, with EA upping the element of unpredictability. Long passes will see the ball fly through the air more like its real-life counterpart and some players will have trouble controlling it: after all, not everyone has a touch like Dennis Bergkamp.
Release date: 26 February Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
This stealth-based, first-person sandbox looks set to become a cult classic. You play the part of the Empress’s bodyguard, framed for her murder and forced to escape into the steam-punk streets of a city called Dunwall, which looks very similar to Victorian London. The skills that help you survive in this sinister world include the ability to possess living things around you, although you’ll have to work your way up from goldfish and the like before you’ll be able to possess a fellow human. The glorious visuals and offbeat narrative are sure to make this a hit.
3. HALO 4
Release date: 6 November Platform: Xbox 360
Probably the most hotly anticipated game of the year, Halo 4 is going to be massive. You will reprise your role as the Master Chief, once again jetting off to save the universe from some unspeakably awful catastrophe. Halo 4’s combination of lush visuals, easy to master control system and finely-tuned combat dynamic ensures everyone with an Xbox will invest in it. Developer 343 Industries also promises the multi-player aspect will take the game in directions we have never seen before. This space opera is one that you’re not going to want to miss out on.
4. FAR CRY 3
Release date: 29 November Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
The Far Cry franchise is the thinking man’s sandbox game, although this installment shares only its name with its predecessors. Your character is stranded on an island, which turns out to be peopled by some particularly unfriendly locals. The emphasis is on your ability to dictate the progress of the game through your decisions, which can have far-reaching implications. The developers have also tried to inject an element of morality into the game, beyond working out the mathematics of whether you’ll get more loot if a certain character is dead or alive.
5. CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 2
Release date: 13 November Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
The Call of Duty franchise has proved, incontrovertibly, that millions of people have a hankering for blowing stuff up. Not just stuff: other people, too. Lots and lots of other people. Black Ops 2 will satisfy your craving with as much polish and gloss as a virtual urban jungle can muster. The game mechanics have been honed over almost a decade so expect pinpoint precision and a vast multi-player experience. To shake up the single-player game, developers have intertwined two overlapping stories, one taking place in the 70s and 80s and the other in the year 2025.