Now that you’ve beaten all of those games that looked so cool under the twinkling Christmas lights, it’s time to start thinking about the next batch of digital wonders.
The next wave of video games starts rolling in next month, and it looks like gamers will be awash in adventure and conflict. From startling visions of the future to grim battles with extraterrestrial opponents, here’s a look at a few of the most anticipated titles.
“Aliens: Colonial Marines” The title tells you everything you need to know about this game. It’s part of the “Aliens” franchise and it has Colonial Marines, not Predators. That’s enough to win you over — or to turn you off. Since the first time I saw a slimy Alien pop out of a guy’s chest, I’ve had a visceral desire to blast the little buggers before they turned into big buggers. I’m definitely in the “won over” column. Admittedly, the past couple of “Aliens” games haven’t been too hot but this one has the promise of a better story and four-player co-op — a feature that always piques my interest. Publisher: Sega. Due: Feb. 12.
“Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel” As the title indicates, this franchise lets you and a partner — human- or computer-controlled — take on all comers. In the past, you could choose between a pair of crusty mercenaries named Rios and Salem. This time, the teammates take the back seat while you take on a Mexican drug cartel as Alpha or Bravo. Controls and action were improved in the franchise’s previous outing and developers are promising further refinement, so this game holds promise. Publisher: Electronic Arts. Due: March 26.
“BioShock Infinite” The two previous entries in the “BioShock” franchise took you underwater to explore the paradise-gone-wrong known as Rapture. This time, you head to the clouds to tackle the problems swirling around the amazing floating city of Columbia. This franchise has a great track record for gameplay, action and storytelling. It looks like things will be even more wild — and enthralling — this time around. If I had to crown the “most anticipated game of early 2013,” here’s where I’d place it. Publisher: 2K Games. Due: March 26.
“Crysis 3” The “Crysis” franchise is known for great action and great graphics. This time around, you’ll get to don the powerful nanosuit and explore a New York City that’s been encased in an enormous nanodome after an alien assault. Things have changed radically since the last time you visited the Big Apple and it will take all of your special powers to cope with the new surroundings and threats. Publisher: Electronic Arts. Due: Feb. 19.
“Dead Space 3” This science-fiction franchise has delivered some of the most frightening — and gruesome — events in recent game history. Battling ghastly necromorphs formed from the bodies of dead humans — often using nothing but a space-age power tool — is guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. Developers promise to deliver more chills as well as a lot more thrills with the addition of cooperative play. Publisher: Electronic Arts. Due: Feb. 5.
“Gears of War: Judgment” The “Gears” trilogy came to such a satisfying end that I almost hate to see another title in the franchise — almost. “Judgment” is actually a prequel to the earlier games, taking Damon and Cole Train back to the days just after the Locust Horde emerged from its underground home to wage war on the human race. If the gameplay, action and story come anywhere close to those of “Gears of War 3,” this will be an awesome game. Publisher: Microsoft. Due: March 19.
“God of War: Ascension” We get a glimpse of Kratos in his human days, before his betrayal by the Greek god of war Ares. Expect frantic button-mashing and buckets of blood as the franchise unveils a new fighting and puzzle-solving system. The game also offers an eight-player online mode. Publisher: Sony. Due: March 12.
“Star Trek” I have to admit that I haven’t watched “Star Trek” with any sort of regularity since I was in seventh grade, and the franchise doesn’t exactly have a stellar track record for games. However, this title is based on the jacked-up new universe imagined by JJ Abrams, so it’s definitely worth a look. It also gets bonus points for offering co-op play as Spock and Kirk. Publisher: Namco. Due: April 23.
“Tomb Raider” For years, we’ve been helping Lara Croft climb, flip and swing her way through ancient ruins in search of treasure. Now, this prequel gives us a look at the events that set the amazingly acrobatic archaeologist on her path to fame. The graphics, gameplay and story of this prequel promise to be the best in the series. Publisher: Square Enix. Due: March 5.