(originally posted January 2nd 2015)
2014 was a mixed year for videogames. It was the year we got an HD Mario Kart, Layton VS Ace Attorney finally came to the West and we were graced with two Smash Bros titles. But it was also the year that gave us the mess that was Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, the disappointment that was Watch Dogs and the insult that was Assassin’s Creed: Unity.
But let’s not dwell on the past; let’s focus on the future because 2015 has got some great titles in the pipeline. So, here’s what I’m looking forward to what’s coming out this year,
1. Batman: Arkham Knight (PC, PS4, XBone)
Arkham Asylum surprised me in how good it turned out to be, actually making me feel like I was in control of Batman. Arkham City added to the formula; expanded it and fine-tuned what was already great to somehow make it better. And Arkham Origins… happened, and now Arkham Knight is set to be an explosive finale to this series.
The game is set to do everything that I wanted after Arkham City; having Gotham City itself as my playground, being able to drive the Batmobile, a plot that doesn’t involve the Joker. Add in even more ways to beat up thugs through combat and stealth, all of Batman’s greatest foes actively working together to take him down and a mysterious new rival in the form of the titular Arkham Knight who seems to match Batman in every aspect and it looks like we could have another fantastic superhero title.
2. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (PS4, XBone)
The world may be waiting in bated breath for Final Fantasy XV, but for some reason, I’ve got my eye on the re-release of Type-0, a game that was a PS Vita title that was only released in Japan back in 2011, and I don’t know why. Seriously, I don’t.
Maybe it’s because it features a large cast of playable characters with different weapons all working together to either blaze through a wave of enemies or bring down one giant menace. Maybe it’s because it’s an action-RPG similar to Kingdom Hearts, meaning I can run around and be a badass without feeling restricted. Maybe it’s because it presents an interesting world to explore and learn about. Or maybe it’s because it just looks really fun to play.
3. Rodea the Sky Soldier (Wii U, 3DS)
Apparently this was a title that got announced back in 2010 for the Wii before mysteriously vanishing into the ether. Many thought it was cancelled but earlier this year it came back, now set for the Wii U. I hadn’t even heard of the game in 2010 and I’m glad it’s coming back and that I found out about it.
It’s hard to explain but the game will play in a similar vein to NiGHTS into Dreams (makes sense since they’re both made by Yuji Naka) where the protagonist, Rodea, will fly around the world, exploring new locations and battling a variety of enemies, all neatly wrapped up in some delightful anime-esque drama. It’s a neat idea and the concept of being able to actively fly about is very appealing to me. Reminds me of Gravity Rush which had a similar experience. However, it’s currently slated for a Japanese-only release but given the surprising amount of attention this game’s getting, I’m sure we can expect it to grace our shores this year.
4. The Great Ace Attorney (3DS)
The announcement of a new Ace Attorney always excites me because it’s another chance to experience this wacky and lovely world of courtroom drama, over-the-top lawyers and cold-blooded murder. And now this time, it’ll be in the 19th century. With Sherlock Holmes.
I’m usually opposed to the idea of prequels but having this title set in a wildly different time period means a whole new way of looking at things. You can no longer rely on the likes of security footage and DNA tests; just testimony and your own logic, all set on an old timey English backdrop.
Let’s just say it will be interesting to see what kind of cases protagonist Ryuunosuke will get involved with and the no doubt bizarre characters he’ll encounter, including the aforementioned Holmes and a pink-haired girl as Dr Watson (yeah, I don’t get it either). Again, currently slated for a Japan release only but given the London setting and the series’ popularity, there really is no excuse to not bring it over. Come on, Capcom.
5. Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U)
Kirby’s Epic Yarn was a stupidly easy game but it was oozing with so much charm thanks to its unique art style of having everything being made out of yarn. Now, developers Good-Feel have been handed everyone’s favourite green dinosaur to create his first console game since 1997.
The HD graphics certainly help this game look astounding. The effort that has been put into making everything look like actual wool is just amazing; everything from the levels to Yoshi himself. I don’t know if it’ll be just as easy as its spiritual predecessor or if it’ll offer a bit more of a challenge but, regardless, this is set to be a title to play for its cuteness alone.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (3DS)
When Ocarina of Time was remade for the 3DS, I saw it as an opportunity to see why so many people thought it was the best game ever. But afterwards, I started hearing many people say Majora’s Maskwas better and, to be honest, I believe them. And now Nintendo has given me a chance to check it out.
OoT was by no means a bad game; technically, it was good, but Majora’s Mask just looks better in almost every regard. Yeah, it does reuse almost all of OoT’s assets, but it doesn’t take place in Hyrule, making for a stranger and interesting setting, along with a bunch of characters with varied personalities that are bound to be a lot more memorable and a rather haunting and just plain dark atmosphere. Let’s just say I’m as happy for this remake as much as the fans of the original game are.
7. The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
As much as I’m looking forward to MM3D, this is the Zelda title that I’m most hyped for. The last main title, Skyward Sword, was kind of a mixed bag due to its use of motion controls (they weren’t great) but it was okay. With this next title, though, Nintendo is going all out.
They know what the capabilities of the Wii U are and are taking full advantage of it. Graphically, it looks amazing. It’s bright, colourful; it’s what an HD Zelda looks like. The world looks huge; hopefully giving players a ton of areas to explore and secrets to find. Plus, it’s set to change the conventions of the series, something that was briefly touched on in A Link Between Worlds. Maybe we’ll be able to do the dungeons in any order again, or take Epona into dungeons, or there will be puzzles in the overworld or you could find important items in the overworld. I don’t know; I’m just spit-balling here. Regardless, I’m excited, if only because you can jump of Epona and shoot at enemies mid-air in slo-mo.
8. Persona 4: Dancing All Night (Vita)
What happens when the people who make a series of rhythm action games starring a virtual Japanese pop idol sensation are handed Persona 4? Answer: you get something that is just indescribable. Actually, I can describe it. It’s amazing. I love Persona 4 and any opportunity to spend time with its cast is a welcome one. I also love rhythm action games so this is pretty much a match made in heaven for me.
But what makes it even better is that this isn’t just a re-skin of the Hatsune Miku games. Apparently there’s actually a plot that sees the Investigation Team returning to the world inside the TV to solve the mystery of the Midnight Stage, save a J-pop band and battle the monsters that lay within with the power of dance. If you don’t love this idea, you have no concept of fun.
The game is set to come out in America but no European date yet, but given Atlus’ recent track record with Persona 4 Arena Ultimax and Persona Q, I’m optimistic about us getting the opportunity to experience this brilliant madness.
9. Persona 5 (PS3, PS4)
It’d be weird if I was looking forward to a dancing spin-off but not the next major title in the series. Good thing I am then. I may have jumped on the Persona train late into the series’ life but I’m glad to be on it regardless. Persona 3 and 4 were both great RPGs that manage to be accessible, challenging, engaging and just fun to play for almost everyone and, hopefully, Persona 5 will continue that trend.
It’s hard to explain why I’m excited considering we know barely anything about the game outside of two very short teaser trailers that showed off the protagonist and hinted towards possible themes, but for now, I can deal with this since all I really want from P5 is the same quality of story-telling and another cast of wonderful characters to fall in love with.
10. Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Xenoblade Chronicles was a surprise hit for me when it came out in 2011. I went into it expecting a fun time and was left with an experience I hope to never forget. It’s my favourite game ever for many reasons and I didn’t think it could be replicated. Now, Monolith Soft and Nintendo are telling me to buckle up for an adventure that’ll somehow be even bigger.
While the sequel is set to be a bit more… traditional in terms of its story and there’s no set protagonist (you create one in the same vein as an MMO), I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to it. Xenoblade Chronicles was a massive game and ran on the Wii; imagine what they could do on the Wii U. Oh wait, you don’t have to. We’ve already been shown a gargantuan overworld to explore, a menagerie of monsters to fight and giant robots to pilot. Despite the ‘epicness’ and HD wizardry of it all, I don’t think X will top its predecessor in my eyes but it’s still bound to an enjoyable experience, and could very well lead to Nintendo’s personal RPG franchise.