What I’m Looking Forward to in 2016

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The New Year is here, and now that the holiday festivities are over, we can get back to focusing on the next wave of great games that will be releasing. Over the past month the blogosphere (and Internet at large) has been listing off its favorite games, moments and stuff of 2015 but why stop now? Let’s kick off 2016 with a list of games I’m most looking forward to, and some titles that I’m hoping for more information about.

Coming This Year:

Street Fighter V (February)

I’m a Street Fighter fan boy. Always have been, always will be. The mechanics required to play the game are superior to that of any other fighting game in my opinion. I’m really looking forward to the next title in the series, as I enjoyed Street Fighter IV, but I think there are some better characters in this iteration. I also love the fact that you don’t need a bunch of friends to be able to have people to play against (like we used to back in the day), you can just hook up with people online. Many fighting games die out over time, but Street Fighter tends to have staying power in that department. I hope to get this one on release.

XCOM 2 (February)

I loved XCOM back when it was a 2-D pixellated mess, and I especially loved the reboot of the series. I played the game on both console and PC, and look forward to seeing how the battles and grand strategy will play out this time. Apparently the aliens run Earth in the sequel, so you’re in charge of reforming the XCOM program and taking back earth. It’s not a huge twist, but it should be interesting enough.

Uncharted 4 (April)

I’ve talked about Uncharted 4 a few times over the past couple of years. It was announced at E3 year before last, and was on the last two of my E3: Most Anticipated lists, but it deserves a slot here as well because it’s actually coming out. The multiplayer beta was running a couple weeks ago and I really enjoyed that as well. It took the best elements of the multiplayer from 2 and 3 and ditched some of the stuff I didn’t really care for. The addition of the grappling hook adds a new element to an already vertically-minded game. I can’t wait to see how the story shakes up as well, in what will likely be the last entry into the series. I’m also hoping that we hear what Naughty Dog has up their sleeves in the way of a new series. Or perhaps we’ll be hearing about The Last of Us 2? One can only hope.

Doom (Spring)

DOOM, as it’s being called (but was at one point referenced as “Doom 4”) is sort of a reboot of the series. It’s taken the fast-paced, hip-firing action of the originals and paired that with today’s graphical capabilities. The campaign looks to be solid, carnage-filled fun, and the multiplayer reminds me of Quake III Arena. I managed to play some of the multiplayer Alpha on PS4 and it ran beautifully. I had technical hiccups when trying to play it on my PC though, so hopefully that won’t be the case once it releases. Either way it had an old school feel that was very welcoming and I look forward to it!

No Man’s Sky (June)

Provided this game goes off without a hitch, and is as grand as the vision I have of it, this will likely be my GOTY for 2016. I’ve spoken about it many times on the podcast and on this blog (it too made the last 2 of my E3 Most Anticipated lists), but it’s supposed to be out this summer. Originally I was under the impression that it was a Playstation exclusive, but it appears to be launching on PS4 and PC simultaneously. Either way it still looks fantastic and I can’t wait to go exploring. I’m torn as to which platform I should buy it on, because I’m hoping to have a PS4 with my tax return this year. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what the multiplayer situation is going to look like. I have far more friends on Steam than on Playstation Network.

Mass Effect Andromeda (Q4)

This is slated for a quarter 4 launch but it’s a possibility that the game gets delayed. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. That doesn’t stop me from being very intrigued. I loved the Mass Effect games, though I still need to get ahold of the first title, as it wasn’t ported until much later (originally an Xbox exclusive). I’m sure Bioware is going to have a whole new world with familiar ideas prepared for us, and I can’t wait to dive into another worthy Sci-Fi RPG.

Divinity Original Sin 2 (December)

I’ve honestly not played enough of the Original game, but I know that I rather enjoyed what I did play of it. Since this isn’t launching until December, I have the year to beat the original and be prepared for the sequel. I’m sure that it will be just as good. I’m a bit of a fan of the isometric RPGs of old, so I might be biased. Here’s hoping it doesn’t suck.

Final Fantasy IX PC (TBA)

Final Fantasy IX released back in 2000 on the original Playstation. One of three main-series Final Fantasy games to debut on the system, for some reason this one isn’t available on PC yet, despite pretty much every other title being on Steam already. Besides VII, this is my favorite in the series but I never got to finish it because my Playstation was stolen when my apartment got broken into. I’ve though about buying the downloadable classic version on my PS3 a few times, but now that it’s coming to PC I’ll likely just pick it up via Steam. I’m starting to toy with the idea of playing through them all, but I’d have to start collecting them from the beginning, as I currently only own Final Fantasy Tactics, and that’s it.

Dark Souls III (TBA)

Another fantastic game series that I’m too far behind on. I played through and completed Demon’s Souls, the first of the Souls games to come out as a Playstation exclusive on PS3. Dark Souls soon followed, and I own that one on PC, but haven’t beaten it just yet. I have Dark Souls II on my Steam wish list, and Bloodborne is a title I can’t wait to pick up once I grab my PS4. Dark Souls III will likely be a PC purchase just to keep that series all on one platform. As this one is still “to be announced” it’s possible it won’t release this year, but I think it will pop up. I’ll just have to dig into the older titles or it’ll end up in the backlog.

Allison Road (TBA)

This is one of those under-the-radar titles. Remember PT, the Silent Hills demo-thing? That whole deal got nixed when Konami and Kojima parted ways, but apparently the PT demo got some fan attention. Enough so, that a fan-created full-fledged game is coming, and it’s called Allison Road. Honestly, it looks equal amounts of creepy and awesome, and definitely has the same feeling to it that PT had. I just hope that they manage to keep things compelling. It’s supposed to release this year, but we’ll see.

Overkill’s The Walking Dead (TBA)

I didn’t hear about this game at all somehow. I’m a huge Walking Dead fan, including the show and the comics, but the only game that’s really hit the mark when it comes to that IP was TellTale’s two seasons that were mostly based on the comics. There have been other titles, but they were pretty meh. This one is also supposed to be based on the comics and looks more like The Last of Us, in that it’s a mixture of survival horror and gunplay. If I hadn’t been doing research for this article I wouldn’t have heard of this game at all (yet) so I’m glad I stumbled upon it.

Want More Information:

Final Fantasy VII Remake

This is the second trailer to have come out since E3 last summer, and it shows more in-game footage, but we still don’t have a total picture for the game. I feel like it’s going to be fantastic, but I’m not sure that it will make it out this year. As my favorite of the series, I can’t wait to see this in action and I hope that it holds true to the nostalgia while eliminating some of the dated annoyances coming from old-school mechanics.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Another great classic title that is being remade. Capcom has gone pretty crazy with Resident Evil remakes lately, as many of the older titles have received HD upgrades. The original had a remake from top to bottom though, and it looks a hell of a lot better than it did back in ’95. This looks to be something of the same, where it’s not just an HD (resolution) upgrade, it’s supposed to be reworked from the ground up. If they preserve the storyline but give it a new coat of paint it should be pretty good. Time will tell, but it’s likely we won’t see this one release in 2016.

Crowfall

The game that still remains my MMO of the future, the next MMO I plan to play, the only MMO I’m looking forward to. Crowfall. There has already been some pre-alpha testing, and it’s likely they’ll be into either deep alpha or early beta testing by the end of the year. This latest video from the devs focuses on new systems added to the game, crows and vessels, which is a brand new concept in an MMO world, and looks to tackle some of the issues present in the current crop of titles on the market. Honestly I’ve been hating on MMOs for a long time, but I still love them. I just don’t love what’s on offer (even if I dip my toes in them once in a while). Crowfall is the only game I’ve ever backed on Kickstarter, and there’s a good reason for that. They are trying new things and sound like they’re going to hit the nail on the head. I can’t wait to see what further developments occur and I hope that it meets expectations.

Indivisible

Finally, a game that came out of left field for me. I happened to get Skullgirls packed in with a Humble Bundle, and as a result caught word of that developer’s next project, called Indivisible. The Kickstarter page had a downloadable alpha demo that was surprisingly fun and unique. The game combines platforming and turn based RPG mechanics with some elements from 2-D fighting games like Street Fighter. It’s hard to describe, but cool to play with. They were successfully funded but the game isn’t due until 2018, so I’m just hoping for more information before year’s end.

So there you have it. What games are you looking forward to the most in 2016?

State of the Game: Betas are In

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It’s been a while since I did a round-up post, and despite having semi-regular posts on various games I’ve been playing, there’s still a big chunk of time I’ve spent in other titles that I haven’t really discussed. First up, let’s recap what I’ve already written about:

  • Early in the month I took part in the Star Wars Battlefront beta, on both PS4 and PC and posted my impressions.
  • Later, I took part in the Warhammer End Times Vermintide beta week prior to launch, and have played a bunch of it since. More impressions.
  • We talk about Vermintide in-depth on the latest Couch Podtatoes.
  • I also completed the final chapter, and thereby the game, of Tales from the Borderlands. My choices are over here.
  • Finally, I played a whole game of Civilization V, finishing in ~700 turns. Entry one. Entry two. Entry three.

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I also talked about some other games I’ve been playing on that last episode of Couch Podtatoes — ones that were on the console and not my PC. I hung out with a friend of mine who owns both PS4 and XBOne consoles, and tends to get games right as they come out. As a result, I was able to play through several games I wouldn’t normally have access to. Months ago the two of us started playing split screen co-op for multiple games. We began with the Halo Master Chief Edition, and beat the first game. We beat the Gears of War remaster. Just this week we finished Halo 2, and half of Halo 3, along with playing some Halo 5, though that was only multiplayer and split screen is no longer an option (which is stupid). I also finished the original Uncharted, which I had started a while back when he picked up the Nathan Drake Collection. We plan to finish Halo 3 and 4, though we won’t be able to do 5. I also plan to eventually play through Uncharted 2 and 3 again, so that I can be ready and have the story fresh in my mind once Uncharted 4 releases. Overall, Uncharted holds up really well. I can’t say the same for Halo, and I have to say I don’t really see a reason to buy an XB1 ever. Most of the titles that I’d even care about become available on PC, or I can play at my friend’s house. Knowing the release window for No Man’s Sky means I have a deadline to get a PS4 finally, which is mid next year. I did play the PSPlus titles for this month as well, but the only real gem there was Chariot, and it’s not even that fantastic. PSPlus is starting to feel unnecessary until I get a PS4, but I have a year so I’m not going to cancel. I’ll still be accumulating PS4 games for when I finally get the console, so it’s not a complete wash. That’s about all for consoles.

On PC, I’ve spent most of my time playing the games I mentioned earlier, particularly Vermintide. I’ve been playing with Eri quite a bit, and the two of us work well together. I can’t say the same for the random people though, as sometimes they are great and sometimes a liability. I have heard some chatter around the blogosphere about it though, so perhaps once more people we know are playing we can get some full on team work going. I’ve finally earned a trinket so I now know they are just randomly earned, and I have confirmed that there aren’t any new hats for the characters in the game, it just seems that you can get one for each character if you bought the collector’s edition. Apparently there are plans for expansions already in the works, so perhaps some fluff gear will make its way in. I have a video in the works, that will be coming from hours of recording I’ve done of me and Eri playing Vermintide, but I have to cut out all the good bits to make the compilation. More on that soon.

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Unmentioned til now, I have been invited to a couple of betas over the weekend, and I have another title that you might not have heard of that I’d like to talk about. First, I was invited to the Battleborn Closed Technical Beta, but there is an NDA so I can’t talk about it, but I will say that I do enjoy the concept thus far. I was hoping to get into the Overwatch beta so I could report about this anticipated title, but I have yet to get in. This weekend was also a closed beta test for Devilian, the new-ish isometric MMO being imported by Trion. Knowing Trion’s reputation after ArcheAge, I don’t have high hopes for the game. But I love Diablo and isometric RPGs, so I wanted to give it a chance anyway. It mixes up concepts from both Diablo and traditional themepark MMOs pretty flawlessly. The gameplay and animations were smooth and enjoyable. I don’t really care for the anime aesthetic for the characters, but their designs were still well done. The kill ten rats quests are ever present, but for some reason it’s easier to accept when the combat is so damn enjoyable. I don’t really see much of a challenge from the game though, but I imagine it ramps up in later levels. It was pretty cool to see other players running around though, as typically you’re limited to a small group in Action-RPGs. I started up a Shadow Hunter which stylistically reminds me of Dante from Devil May Cry. He’s got a chain whip and shurikens, and various trees to spec different ways. I leveled him to 10 and then rolled a Berserker but haven’t gone beyond that. Basically, if you like Diablo, I think you’d like this game. It’s got that simplistic nature that’s easy to get hooked into. A quick google search should bring you to where you can sign up to beta test as well.

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Another game that I stumbled upon while following #InternetRabbitHoles (yes, I’m making this a thing) is called Indivisible. It’s from the creators of Skullgirls, which was a 2-D fighting game with awesome hand-drawn art. That’s about the only similarity between Skullgirls and Indivisible, their striking hand-drawn art style. Otherwise, Indivisible is a game that successfully mixes the metroidvania style with turn-based JRPG combat that also makes use of fighting game mechanics. As you explore the world, you only see your character, and not the other members of your party. When you come across enemies, you can attack them to get in extra damage (or kill them outright with sufficient power) and then when you do enter the battle screen (pictured above) your other party members come out and it uses an active time battle system. This is where the fighting moves come in. Holding different directions while pressing the button for the appropriate character changes their basic attacks to do different things. The gauge at the top is much like fighting game rage meters, where it can be used for super moves when it’s filled. It’s a great concept and they’re allowing anyone to download and play the prototype for free. They’re asking for 1.5 million on Indiegogo, but the game looks to be fantastic, so I’d recommend supporting it!

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Last but not least, I was gifted a copy of Shadow of Mordor as the GOTY edition was on sale this past week on Steam. Thanks Dad! I haven’t played too much but I have to say I like what I see so far. It mixes elements of the recent Arkham Batman games, Assassin’s Creed or similar open world games, and of course, LOTR. The nemesis system looks intriguing and I haven’t gotten far enough to really know how to comment just yet, but I have to say the controls are wonky as fuck if you don’t use a controller on PC. Outside of that criticism, it looks to be a great game I’m looking forward to spending more time with.

That’s all for this round-up. What have you been playing?