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The best PC games of 2013

RPG

Wasteland 2

Publisher: InXile Entertainment

Release: Late 2013

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This post-apocalyptic RPG was one of the earliest nostalgia-bait pitches to appear on Kickstarter, promising to return players to the ruthless isometric world first created by Interplay in 1988. Its vision of a blasted future, and the form of its tactical combat, set the stage for Fallout. It also had probably the best pieces of cover art for a game ever. The principal developers of the original now return with this love letter to old-school RPG mechanics.

Grim Dawn

Publisher: Crate Entertainment

Release: TBC 2013

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From the people behind Titan Quest, comes this top down action RPG, set in a world ravaged by otherworldly forces - those who want to enslave humanity and those who want to destroy humanity before they are yoked by their opponents. Only outsiders - humans rejected by their own because of their unearthly powers - can launch a resistance. Five classes, multiple skill trees in each, and synergistic modifiers aplenty are promised, along with oodles of loot and co-op.

South Park: The Stick Of Truth

Publisher: THQ

Release: December 10

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Recent trailers make it difficult to tell where the cut-scenes end and the action begins - but that's just as much a testament to the loyal recreation of the potty-mouthed show's relentless patter as it is a frustration. With longstanding RPG makers Obsidian on board, we can hope that there will be just as much attention paid to its mechanics as there has been to the papery-poo texture of Mr Hankey. Howdy ho, kids!

Shadowrun Returns

Publisher: Harebrained Schemes

Release: July 25

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Lifting fantasy cliche out of the medieval era, Shadowrun sends its dwarves, elves, trolls and dragons hurtling into a cyberpunk future. However, the version of Shadowrun that made its way to PC in 2007 was hardly worthy of its name, sullying the memory of the classic turn-based RPG which had delighted console gamers some 14 years earlier. Harebrained Schemes looks to right this wrong with a loyal return to the classic series.

Should Shadowrun have Returned after all this time? Read our review to find out.

Dead State

Publisher: DoubleBear Productions

Release: December 3

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This turnbased survival RPG sees players struggle through a world suffering the early stages of a zombie outbreak. It might not wow visually, but there's clearly a lot more going on under the hood. The ample talent of Brian Mitsoda (he of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines) is being applied to writing duties, weaving a rich story through the sprawling, non-linear world. There's a lot of brutal decisions to make here at the end of the world, with players being faced with choices that defy conventional scales of morality.

Gorky 21

Publisher: TopWare Interactive

Release: TBC 2013

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1999's Gorky 17 – aka Odium – was a Polish take on the postnuclear- war scenario, and in some ways a precursor to Stalker. For follow-up Gorky 21, TopWare have inserted just about every sci-fi cliché going, including steampunk weapons and nano-technology power-ups. It'll be interesting to see whether or not TopWare go full Fallout 3, or just keep the original game's top-down roots. Doubly interesting given that there's been no news of the game for a good year.

The Dark Eye: Demonicon

Publisher: Kalypso Media

Release: October 25

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A third-person action-RPG, Demonicon follows the story of a pair of siblings, subject to the machinations of demonic forces. Players take on difficult moral choices in this bleak fantasy world, and their destiny will ultimately shape the fate of an entire continent.

Dungeon Gate

Publisher: Wild Game Studio

Release: 2013

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Villages, hordes, dragons, dungeons - you've seen it all before, but this thirdperson action RPG's unique selling point is the ability to drain the DNA of any living creature you encounter, and allow you to adopt their form, aiding the player in combat and puzzles.

Raven's Cry

Publisher: TopWare Interactive

Release: October 24

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A tale of revenge set in the Caribbean of the 17th century, RPG-adventure Raven's Cry attempts to reassert the realities of buccaneer life - well, up to a point. It may be keen to recreate the architecture of the time, weave in real historical figures, and stay true to the murky morality possessed by your average brigand, but it also features magic pirate treasure which can make you invincible or summon ravens to tear enemies apart. Still, naval battles and duelling should ensure you buckle remains heartily swashed.

The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa

Publisher: Tales Of Game's

Release: TBC 2013

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"The ball is in your court. The fate of the galaxy, the Post-Cyberpocalypse and all of b-balldom is in your hands. Do you have the courage, vigor and sagacity to slam with the best? Or are you just going to jam with the rest?" The sequel to pseudo-spoof RPG Barkley: Shut Up And Jam Gaiden returns with the same absurdist humour but with snazzy new graphics and a whole load of new mechanics that promise to make the game as enjoyable to play as it is satirical. It's now an action-RPG, with top-down-shooter-style combat, and a vast world to explore. The game tore past its Kickstarter target by a factor of three - no doubt because backers were eager to get their hands on the $100 tier reward of a cyber-dwarf body pillow.

Sword Of The Stars: The Pit

Publisher: Kerberos Productions

Release: February 21

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Marking a departure from other games to bear the Sword of the Stars name, The Pit is a light-hearted, dungeon-diving action-RPG, with more than a dash of roguelike thrown in for good measure.

Eschalon: Book 3

Publisher: Basilisk Games

Release: Late 2013

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An old school RPG of an uncompromising kind, Eschalon's climactic chapter hopes to recreate the sense of pen-and-paper freedom with its many miles of wilderness and dense dungeon complexes. This third instalment builds in dozens of fan-requested features, overhauls the engine, and promises to be highly modifiable: the development kit will be shipped shortly after the game's release.

Cube World

Publisher: Wollay

Release: TBC 2013

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Minecraft is the obvious touchstone here, but in its action Cube World takes influence from The Legend of Zelda series. Not that it will be called Cube World for long, as the developer wants to avoid copyright issues with litigious Minecraft clones. Watch this space.

Caribbean!

Publisher: Snowbird Games

Release: TBC 2013

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The world of the buccaneer is perfect RPG fodder - after all, ship captains did assemble their squads, they did upgrade their ships and they did augment their bodies with stat-boosting hooks and peglegs. Caribbean! aims to fill the swashbuckling RPG gap.

Chaos Chronicles

Publisher: bitComposer

Release: TBC 2013

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Hoping to revive the classic party-based western RPG of the 80s (along with nearly every other Kickstarter project), Chaos Chronicles namechecks a list of venerable influences: Ultima, Pool of Radiance, Bard's Tale and Wizardry. The game promises rather less retro graphics, however, and a hex-based combat system.

Sacred 3

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release: TBC 2013

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Development responsibilities for the third main instalment in the action-RPG series have passed on to Keen Games. With that change comes others: classes from the second game will not return, and the entire game is enabled for four-player co-op. Even offline you are accompanied by a squad of AI allies.

SaltyPepper

Publisher: SaltyPepper Studios

Release: TBC 2013

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A thirdperson ARPG which hopes to bridge the gap between singleplayer and competitive multiplayer, Saltypepper introduces “groundbreaking” spectator tools for its PvP arena. Not much else is yet known, but its early concept art reveals a fantasy world with manga-influence character design.

Pier Solar HD

Publisher: Watermelon Co.

Release: December

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A high-def port of the only RPG released on Sega's ancient Genesis console this side of the millenium. Originally an experiment among members of the Sega homebrew community back in 2004, Pier Solar sprawled into an RPG matching the size of professional productions from the 16-bit era. Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, it's now coming to PC, too.

Nuclear Union

Publisher: 1C Company

Release: TBC 2013

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An irradiated mutation of Fallout and Stalker, Nuclear Union is an RPG set in an alternate timeline where the Cuban missile crisis led to outright war. It's being developed by Best Way, the Ukrainian studio best known for the fabulous strategy game Men of War. It's their first foray into a different genre, but has the weight (and money) of Russian mega-publisher 1C behind it. Expect anomalies, slow-motion death cams and shambling nightmare creatures.

Mars: War Logs

Publisher: Spiders Games

Release: April 26

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Say it with me: a cyberpunk RPG set on Mars. That's all you need to know. It's like if Red Faction had deeper elements to it (and didn't go rubbish with Armageddon and then die) like RPG-style combat, dialogue choices, customisable characters and all that jazz. The biggest problem is it's made by Spiders, which means PCG's very own Rich will probably be too afraid to play it.

Hear our take on the red planet-set RPG by following this link .

Mistborn: Birthright

Publisher: Little Orbit

Release: Autumn

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Birthright is an RPG based on the popular Mistborn fantasy books, which is set in a world of “Allomancers,” who can do magic with select metals by burning and ingesting them. It's an unusual conceptual bedrock for a magic system, and one that I can imagine transitioning nicely into videogame form. Sadly, there's very little information about Mistborn: Birthright, save for a little concept art and a “Fall 2013” release window, though the author of the novels, Brandon Sanderson, has signed on for story and dialogue duties.

Yogventures!

Publisher: Winterkewl Games

Release: Q4 2013

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The inevitable has come to pass. The enormously popular Yogscast has spawned a videogame. The Yogscast crew have earned recent fame exploring Minecraft adventure maps, and it's quite easy to trace that inspiration right through the Kickstarter description, especially the part that pitches Yogventures as “adventure maps in Minecraft, only now you aren't limited to just blocks!” Co-hosts Simon and Lewis can't code, so production is being handled by Winterkewl. This is their first game. Can they take on the mighty Minecraft?

Kitaru

Publisher: Aoineko Studios

Release: TBC 2013

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Kitaru is a third person RPG set in a dystopian cyberpunk future. It features free-roaming exploration and turn based combat. Quirky touch controls and minigames make it an interesting proposition on iPhone, but it's unclear if those features will make the translation to PC. The developers say they've been working on art and background work for five years, but only started building it in 2012, which suggests this one could still be some way off.

Cult: Awakening Of The Old Ones

Publisher: David Hagar

Release: TBC 2013

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You can take control of a band of adventurers or an entire army in this intriguing roguelike. The world generation tech will model unique dungeons, vast landscapes and then fill them with civilisations, history and old gods. It sounds like Dwarf Fortress, but with less city building, more exploration, and procedurally generated storytelling. “Dialogue, the personal stories of the various characters you meet, cultural anecdotes, and even the mythology of each world will be generated from scratch,” says developer, David M. Hagar. Cult's kickstarter secured $34k in funding, five more than six times the amount Hagar asked for.

Ring Runner - Flight Of The Sages

Publisher: Ring Runner Team

Release: TBC 2013

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Ring Runner is a top-down shmup expanded with RPG elements, customisable ships and a 20 hour singleplayer campaign. Missions challenge you to escape exploding trenches, battle bosses bigger than your screen, race against NPC pilots and engage in spectacular space skirmishes in an engine modelled on the laws of Newtonian physics. You can upgrade your ship's capabilities with more than 300 items including turrets, rocket launchers, laser cannons and close range grappling hooks. Procedurally generated enemies can spawn with any weapon/hull combination and their AI will adapt to the tools at their disposal. On top of all that, there will be additional multiplayer and co-op modes like “Spire Battles,” which described as “fast paced, MOBA-like base battles.” It's massive, crazy ambitious and surprisingly pretty too. One to watch.

Secrets Of Grindea

Publisher: Pixel Ferrets

Release: Late 2013

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Action RPG Secrets of Grindea is a game about trying to steal everything in the world, even if it's behind or underneath or inside a monster. You'll have to murder a lot of wildlife to maximise your stealing potential, but the adorable 16-bit art takes the edge off the necessary mass murder. The co-op mode supports up to four players and there's an open class system that allows characters to progress any way they want. Oh, and if you're worried about the name, here's what the developers say about it: “In the world of Grindea, people are obsessed with collecting items. Imagining how many hours they must spend hunting loot it's no wonder they named their entire world Grindea. However, you won't be forced to grind at all, unless you choose to.”

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

Publisher: Neocore Games

Release: May 22

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Want to know what Van Helsing got up to when he wasn't having a bit of a go at Dracula, or attempting to murder the career of Hugh Jackman? Well it turns out he had his own monster-hunting action-RPG – or rather his son [Dave] Van Helsing did at any rate. It's a “gothic noir” game that's a bit like Diablo, giving you a ghostly companion in the form of one Lady Katarina, and putting your skills to use on a variety of mythical beasties.

Hey folks, beloved mascot Coconut Monkey here representing the collective PC Gamer editorial team, who worked together to write this article!