I feel like it’d be an over exaggeration, if not outright inaccurate, to say 2021 was a bad year for video games. Quite frankly, there were plenty of awesome new games or updates to existing ones. On a personal level, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart properly demonstrated the potential of the PlayStation 5, both Great Ace Attorney games finally made it to the West, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate truly made the impossible possible by completing its roster with Sora from Kingdom Hearts.
But I will admit the industry itself has made it hard to be optimistic about 2022. Over the last twelve months, we’ve seen outright abysmal releases like the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy remasters, the likes of Ubisoft and Square Enix committing to incorporating NFTs (the newest environmentally damaging grift) into their games, and then there’s just everything about Activision, which has once again highlighted how horrible the industry can be behind closed doors.
While it is important to acknowledge all the bad parts of this industry, even if it’s painful to do so, that doesn’t mean there’ll be no joy to be found in it either. As always, there are already a number of select games I’m looking forward to this year and I’m sure there are a number of amazing titles that haven’t been announced yet. Plus, this is a yearly tradition at this point so let’s get on with things and get to my ten most anticipated games of 2022.
In a world where so many big-budget video games feel rather homogenised, to the point where most new releases can be easily described by just comparing it to another (e.g. Avengers is just Destiny but with Marvel), Balan Wonderworld really stands out from the crowd.
Wonderworld is thefirst title from new Square Enix subsidiary Balan Company, which is being directed by Yuji Naka (one of the men credited with creating Sonic the Hedgehog). Balan Wonderworld wears its inspiration on its sleeve and is quite clearly meant to evoke a sense of nostalgia from players despite being an original IP.
I’m sure you’ve seen every other outlet make obvious comparisons to old Sega games like Nights and Billy Hatcher, and you can hardly blame them. Watching the announcement trailer made me feel like I had stepped through a wormhole back to the late 90s or early 2000s but despite some trepidation about the whole thing I was admittedly quite charmed by just how strange this game seemed. The world could desperately do with more 3D-platformers that aren’t Super Mario or crowdfunded indie projects like A Hat in Time.
So, with a surprisingly sizable demo now available, it made sense to investigate this new world of Balan and let Naka and his team try to convince me to give this new (planned) franchise of theirs a look-see. Unfortunately, those aforementioned trepidations turned out to be justified.
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