2016 in Gaming: What I’m Still Excited For
Now that we’re halfway done with the year and E3 has passed, now is a great time to look around us and start thinking about what the best games of the year have been so far, what we’re still excited for, and what the biggest disappointments have been so far. It’s been a very hectic year for gaming: A new generation of Pokemon is on the way, the Wii U’s impending end when we find out more about the NX, new versions of the PS4 and X-Box One on the way, Kojima returning to the game industry, the return of Star Fox and Resident Evil, a 5th Street Fighter game, the upcoming 25th Anniversary Party of Sonic the Hedgehog, 4K gaming, and of course the beginning of The Lifecast to name a few of the most notable events.
We’ve already had some great games come out this year: So what’s left to be excited for? E3 gave us some great titles to be excited for but most of them won’t be out until next year. There’s still plenty of games coming out this year to be excited about, however. If you’ve been wanting some good titles coming out this year to keep your eye on, let me recommend you these 10 games coming out this year that I’m excited for (in no particular order.)
Zero Time Dilemma
This one comes out on the 28th of this month, so fortunately, the wait won’t be much longer! It’s going to be the third and final installment of my favorite handheld series Zero Escape, home of 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward. The Zero Escape franchise is all about puzzles, the emphasis of choices, and quantum physics. In each game, you play as someone who’s been trapped in a confined space with 8 other people who’ve all been kidnapped by a mysterious man called Zero. You try to escape while solving the mysteries of why you’re there, who Zero is, why he kidnapped you, and so on. Each game emphasizes beating the game multiple times to get through multiple endings and fully understanding the consequences of your choices. The trailers make Zero Time Dilemma out to be much more dramatic than any of the other games, not to mention more visually stunning! A caveat, however, is that these games shouldn’t be played out of order: If this game looks interesting to you, yes, you need to play 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward first. The developer’s have already stated that answering questions that have been unanswered since 999 will be addressed, so you run the risk of both not fully understanding what’s going on and its significance, and spoiling 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions:
This one comes out on the 24th of this month for Wii U. Like Zero Time Dilemma, the wait won’t be much longer. I like Fire Emblem. I like Persona. So I should probably like a game that’s basically Persona with Fire Emblem characters, right? Although I never got the chance to actually play it, I did watch other people play the demo at PAX East this year. It doesn’t look great, but it does look like something that I would try playing if I only had a Wii U.
This game was the biggest hidden gem of PAX East: It’s an Earthbound-inspired post-modern RPG set in a hipster’s paradise in the 90’s and in case you haven’t heard: I absolutely love Earthbound. Gameplay is turn based and like Earthbound, uses real-world objects and even instruments–many of which need specific button-pressing to use, and it’s quite fun. The graphics are very stylized and charming, the developers seem to really understand the kind of world they want the game to be set in, and the story seems intriguing: You and your friends are looking for a girl who got sucked up by something otherworldly and disappeared. To quote the game’s website, “This is a story about what happens when you look for someone who can’t be found “ The game’s site also states that the game will have a 25 hour story, 6 unique dungeons, and an expansive soundtrack featuring songs by Toby Fox, Andrew Allanson, Hiroki Kikuta, and Calum Bowen amongst others. This game is supposed to be out sometime this summer, though there’s no confirmed date nor month. Once it’s out, it’ll be on Steam, PS4, PSVita, and Wii U.
No Man’s Sky
A gorgeous, Isaac Asimov-inspired adventure game set to come out August 9th for Steam and PS4, No Man’s Sky has done an incredible job generating hype. The game’s site calls it a “truly open universe” and emphasizes that this is a game about exploring a beautiful, well-built universe with more than 18 quintillion planets to explore. Needless to say, if this game lives up to these claims, this could be the biggest exploration game (second to Minecraft, if you want to get technical) to date.
Pokemon Sun & Moon
We Happy Few
I probably shouldn’t want this game after PAX East: I waited 90 minutes in their line to play the demo, finally got to the front, where I was only able to play for less than 5 minutes: They bragged about it being a rogue-like game, and that for the purposes of the demo, after you die it should give you the option to continue. I died, but was never taken to the continue screen and was kicked off because they had to keep the line moving. Needless to say, I was pretty bitter. I still am, although I did comment about it on their facebook page where one of the devs did apologize. That said, it’s really hard for me to talk about the gameplay because, well, I didn’t play it for hardly 5 minutes. What I can tell you is this, though: What got me the most interested in this game is the fact that the devs are saying it’s very Bioshock-inspired and Bioshock is my favorite game of all time. Mix that with some beautiful graphics, a very intriguing plot about drug addictions, and a very well-built world and you have a recipe for getting my attention. There are two things keeping me very hesitant, however: First of all, Compulsion Game’s track record.
The only other game they’ve made is a platformer called Contrast and in theory, it sounded like a great, game, too! Bioshock inspired, beautiful graphics, intriguing story, and platforming where you use your shadow! That sounds awesome, right? I thought so and bought it on a Steam sale, but a very short duration, a story that never really got much more fleshed out than its description, and an overwhelming abundance of bugs and glitches ruined this game. Had it only been longer, had its story fully-realized, and had been well-patched, Contrast could’ve been a fantastic game. Needless to say, there’s nothing indicating We Happy Few won’t be the same way—but there’s also nothing indicating that it will be. Regardless, the bottom line is, I’m worried We Happy Few could fall into the same situation as Contrast.
Secondly, We Happy Few doesn’t seem to know what kind of a game it wants to be. The developers told me it was a Bioshock-inspired rogue-like survival game with first-person shooter, mystery, survival, and puzzle elements—that seems like an awful lot to be going on at once if you ask me. It’s possible it could pull it off, but the sheer amount of genres it seems to be trying to pull off makes me worried that they’ll try to do too much in too little time.
Despite all this, the trailer looks interesting and I haven’t heard bad things about the demo and from the 5 minutes I played of it, it seemed okay. I do love Bioshock, and so do these developers—so perhaps I’ll find solace in the Bioshock-inspired elements of the game. I guess I’ll find out when I’m finally able to play it—it’s supposed to come out for Steam and X-Box One sometime this year, and early access starts July 26th.
Mighty No. 9
Perhaps I shouldn’t say I’m as excited about this game as much as I am just curious. I’m sure by now most, if not all, of us are at least familiar with the story of Might No. 9, but just in case, let me briefly summarize: This game is meant to be a spiritual successor to the Megaman games and is being developed by Keiji Inafune—the man who made Megaman—with no involvement from Capcom whatsoever. It had overwhelming success on Kickstarter and everyone was super excited about this game. Originally, it was supposed to come out April 2015, but needless to say, that didn’t happen. Delay after delay, secretive development process, slipshod graphics, and arguably the most cringy trailer in gaming history killed most of the hype that this game had generated.
Its latest release date is June 21st –tomorrow. Needless to say, it’s a little too late to delay it now, so I think this release date is finally the one. I guess we’ll finally find out if it will live up to its initial hype or if everyone was right to stop caring about this game.
Final Fantasy XV
Like Mighty No. 9, perhaps “excited” isn’t as good a word to describe how I feel about it as much as “curious.” This game’s legendary 10-year development has fans wondering if it will have been worth the wait, and frankly, I’m not entirely sure. First of all, there’s the matter of the story. Originally this game was supposed to be Final Fantasy Versus XIII—a spinoff game for Final Fantasy XIII. Two sequels that somehow managed to be worse than Final Fantasy XIII later, however, I guess Square Enix started to realize how unnecessary another Final Fanasy XIII game would be. It makes me very curious about how they handled this change and if we’ll still see elements of XIII in the game. The combat demo we saw didn’t look particularly exciting, nor did it remind me much of a Final Fantasy game, to be honest. I really wish they’d return to the turn-based system from Final Fantasy X, but I realize that’s a very specific thing to nitpick at. It does look like a very expansive game though, and of course, I’m really curious to see how they’ll incorporate VR. This definitely won’t be a game that I preorder nor get on day 1, but it’s definitely a game I’ll be keeping a close eye on. It comes out September 30th on PS4 and X-Box One.
Star Ocean 5
I’ll be honest: I’ve never played a Star Ocean game. I’ve been interested in the Star Ocean series for a while now however, and after watching the demo at PAX East, I’m even more interested in it. Beautiful graphics, fun combat, and of course knowing that Square Enix is behind it, all make his game look very promising. This one will be out later this month on the 28th for PS4.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice
There’s not a large difference between how much I love Ace Attorney versus my love of Zero Escape. Ace Attorney is a hilarious, fun, and incredibly clever series following defense attorney, Pheonix Wright, who always knows that his clients are innocent and will do anything to unveil the truth! I’ve been a huge fan of the Ace Attorney series since the release of Apollo Justice, so I’m more than welcoming for a new game in the franchise. There are 2 things that make this game really stand out from other titles that have fans the most excited. First of all, the setting:
We’re no longer in America/Japan (depending on what language you get the game in)—we’re in a remote, very traditional Japanese island with no formal court system. Instead, they rely on spirits revealing the truth. How is this going to play into the plot? What new gameplay mechanics will this give us? And of course, most importantly…
Pheonix’s beloved sidekick Maya Fey is finally back after a long absence that was never explained nor addressed until now. Not only are fans happy to see she’s back, but we’re also excited to find out what she’s been doing and why it hasn’t been talked about until now.
Spirit of Justice will be a digital-only release for the 3DS in September.