1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (October 9, 2012)
What is it: Aliens have arrived, and they most definitely do not come in peace. As a member of an elite militaristic force, you’ll be the first response to this extraterrestrial threat, engaging the enemy in turn-based squad combat. Expect cover-based encounters punctuated by cinematic alien executions.
Why we're excited: XCOM: Enemy Unknown somehow manages the impossible: Turning a punishingly difficult, cult-classic PC strategy game into a riveting turn-based blast-‘em-up that’s fun for gamers of all walks. Accessible and addictive in that “just one more match” kind of way, EU’s shootouts start out tense and ramp up into chaotic, bloody firefights. No matter how far ahead you plot out your troops’ movements, it’s inevitable that those clever, grey-domed Sectoids will force you to devise a frantic Plan B. And then Plan C.
All the signs of gaming greatness are there, with vibrant graphics that make every exploding alien really pop, and a bevy of customization options to make your squad of E.T.-eliminating soldiers feel truly distinct. Given Firaxis Games’ pedigree (Civilization V, anyone?), it’s all but assured that XCOM will be invading our free time long after its imminent release.