BioShock Infinite (Credit: 2K Games)Flu season might be over and done with, but don’t be surprised if your gaming co-workers suddenly come down with a month-long cold in March.
A glut of the year’s biggest games all arrive in the next four weeks, turning what’s typically a sleepy month into a nonstop video game party. It’s all by accident, of course: game publishers don’t exactly relish retail competition.
So what happened? Blame that on the volatility of game release dates. Several of the month’s biggest hitters were initially planned for release during the higher profile holiday season of 2012, but for various reasons got pushed back into the third month of 2013. What’s bad for Christmas is great for spring-- and downright awesome for gamers. Polish up your ATM card and check out what the month has in store.
Tomb Raider [March 5 | PS3, Xbox 360, PC]
Lara Croft hasn’t exactly aged well. After stunning gamers with her 1996 debut, the adventurous heroine fell on hard times, starring in a variety of mediocre follow-ups and slipping off the radar while upstarts like Uncharted's Nathan Drake rose to prominence. Time for a facelift, then -- and that’s just what we get with this impressive reboot. Featuring a young Lara shipwrecked on a mysterious island ripped straight out of “Lost,” Tomb Raider’s mature themes, gorgeous graphics and spot-on controls have already nabbed it high praise from the gaming press. Take a leap and check it out.
SimCity [March 5 | PC]
City planners rejoice! The foremost name in simulation gaming returns in this highly-anticipated reboot. The concept’s the same: build an entire town from the ground up, paving roads (curvy ones, at last!), managing services, and doing your damnedest to keep the populace happy. Thanks to an amazing new engine, however, your burgeoning metropolis will look like a million bucks, and thanks to innovative online play, it will be connected to -- and influenced by -- your friends’ cities.
God of War: Ascension [March 12 | PS3]
The angriest man in video games returns for another bloody assault on the heavens, but this PS3-exclusive isn’t just another demon-killing action romp. Okay, well, maybe it is, but it’s also packing the first multiplayer experience in franchise history along with a variety of burly new moves and abilities.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm [March 12 | PC, Mac]
Strategy gaming doesn’t get any bigger than StarCraft, and while it’s taken quite a while for Blizzard to release the second installment in their StarCraft II trilogy, fans aren’t likely to balk. Heart of the Swarm focuses on the hive-like Zerg race, furthering the complex tale of anti-hero Sarah Kerrigan while doling out new units, new abilities, and a lengthy new campaign.
(Credit: Epic Games)
Gears of War: Judgment [March 19 (North America), March 22 (EU) | Xbox 360]
Just when you thought it was over, Microsoft realized they could still make a mint on Gears of War. Judgment is a prequel, taking place before the events covered in the original Gears trilogy. It also features new protagonists (series mainstays Damon Baird and Augustus “Cole Train” Cole) and two new multiplayer modes, though fans should mostly expect the same glorious roadie-running action as past games.
(Credit: TT Games)
Lego City: Undercover [March 18 (North America), March 28 (EU) | Wii U]
Wii U owners haven’t exactly enjoyed a steady stream of games since the console’s launch this past holiday, to put it charitably. That’s good news for this quirky Lego game, however, as it’s bound to be scooped up by plenty of gamers itching for something new. And that’s what they’ll get here. Essentially a Lego take on an open-world game like Grand Theft Auto, Undercover turns the tables by letting players romp around as undercover cop Chase McCain out to clean up the streets. You know, so we don’t step on any of those pointy bricks.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon [March 24 (North America), March 28, (EU) | 3DS]
It’s been a dozen years since the other Mario brother starred in his very own game, but Luigi’s headlining return isn’t just fan service. It’s similar in its design to the first Luigi’s Mansion, dropping the frightful mascot into a series of haunted houses armed with little more than a flashlight and a vacuum cleaner. Sounds like the makings for new reality show, but it turns out that’s really all he needs to snag some ghosts. With clever multiplayer modes and that legendary Nintendo polish, it’s a must-have for 3DS owners.
(Credit: 2K Games)
BioShock Infinite [March 26 | PS3, Xbox 360, PC]
Talk about ending with a bang. Considering the original BioShock is on most “Best Games of the Past Decade” shortlists, there’s a fair amount of pressure on design guru Ken Levine and his team at Irrational Games to deliver the goods with BioShock: Infinite.
From what we’ve seen so far, that won’t be a problem. Set on the floating city of Colombia in an alternate version of 1912, the game isn’t afraid of heady subjects (American Exceptionalism and the Occupy Movement are touchstones), nor is it content regurgitating traditional first-person shooter gameplay.
Still looking for more? There’s plenty. March also sees the release of two competing MLB games (MLB 2K13 and MLB 13: The Show), Tiger Woods PGA Tour ‘14, the 3DS action game Castlevania: Lords of Shadoow -- Mirror of Fate, Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate for the Wii U, and EA’s bloody buddy game, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel. We almost feel bad for April.