Many of the summer months throughout my middle and high school years were spent fully immersed in the stories of various SNES, Genesis, and PSone role-playing games, like Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series. Without the stress of school, I could stay up late, remove myself from the worries and struggles of teenage life, and get lost in world-spanning adventures for a while.
Delays aren’t always a bad thing. As someone that’s been burned by plenty of $60 purchases, I’m more than happy waiting for a better, more polished experience. However, Mass Effect is easily my favorite series from the last console generation and Andromeda was my most anticipated release of 2016.
I’ve found myself drifting further and further away from multi-player gaming, which, in turn, makes me less interested in most of the Xbox One exclusives this year. I’m sure I’ll get around to Killer Instinct’s third season, and I know I’ll rent Quantum Break and Gears of War 4 to play through their campaigns over a weekend, but their big exclusive for me–Scalebound–was pushed in to 2017. Ah well.
So with Andromeda officially drifting off in to the 2017 sunset, what else is there for me to look forward to? Lots of stuff, apparently. Mostly RPG’s.
Final Fantasy XV
What is it?: The latest numbered installment in Square Enix’s inconsistently entertaining role-playing series, Final Fantasy.
I’ve purposefully avoided the Episode Duscae demo and story spoilers, but the action so far screams Kingdom Hearts-meets-Metal Gear Solid and I’ve always wanted to go on an open-world road trip with a bunch of brawlin’ dudes draped in black clothing. Nothing creepy about that.
I’m really digging the old and new approach of XV as well, which combines the futuristic sci-fi aesthetic of the more modern entries with more classical bits, like magitek armor. It should blend up real nice with hungry monsters wanting to claw up your face meats and a combat system that lets you teleport from target to target like an overpowered assassin.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
What is it?: The 5th main entry in the action RPG series Star Ocean, which takes place between Second Story and Til the End of Time, canonically.
In a nutshell, your peaceful and isolated home planet of Faykreed (sitting 6,000 light years away from Earth) is attacked by an unknown force and it’s up to your mish-mash group of heroes to protect it. Nothing out of the ordinary for a JRPG.
Star Ocean is notorious for its engaging combat, sci-fi backdrops, and verbose cut-scenes, and I’m sure Integrity and Faithlessness will be no different. The newly released English trailer (above) looks great.
MLB 16: The Show
What is it?: Playstation’s annual baseball sim.
I love baseball, therefor I love Sony San Diego’s The Show and I continue to buy it every single year (despite 2015’s lack of innovation in comparison to its predecessor).
It’s a shame that this’ll be the first year The Show doesn’t appear on the Vita, especially since it was a major incentive for me to buy Sony’s handheld. The idea of taking my PS4 season on the go–picking up where I left off on the Vita–was awesome, and it’s a shame that such a great feature is non-existent this year.
Tales of Berseria
What is it?: Bandai Namco’s newest entry in the action role-playing Tales series.
Focusing on female protagonist Velvet and her creepy monster hand, Berseria takes the battle to those who’ve been transformed by the disease Daemonblight after a crimson moon rises over the world of Wasteland (Gematsu).
This sounds an awful lot like Zestiria’s malevolence gimmick, but the Tales series isn’t shy about treading familiar territory.
The combat is always engaging and the recent open-world approach of Zestiria was a step in the right direction to freshen the series up a bit. If the trailer above is any indication, Berseria looks a bit darker than the previous entries.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
What is it?: The artist formerly known as Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, which was a cross-over of sorts between two of the most popular JRPG series on the planet.
Atlus and Intelligent Systems are working together on this one to bring us a shamelessly over-the-top turn-based RPG that heavily caters to fans of the Japanese pop idol craze and Fire Emblem. Seriously, just watch the trailer. It’s bonkers.
According to the official Nintendo page, evil “mirages” have been sweeping Tokyo and they’re transporting its citizens to an alternate dimension in order to steal their “creative energy.” To battle these mirages, your party can unleash some creative energy of their own, in the form of familiar Fire Emblem characters.
Imagine Hatsune Miku taking all the bath salts in existence while playing Persona and you’re probably close to what we’ll be experiencing on Wii U come June 24th.
Oh, fun fact, Tokyo Mirage Sessions abbreviates to TMS, which is SMT backwards; Shin Megami Tensei. I also think they were pronouncing it as “Tokyo Mirage Sessions Sharp FE” during the Nintendo Direct, but I could be wrong.
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization
What is it?: An action RPG based on the insanely popular anime Sword Art Online–if you’re unfamiliar, think of it as a virtual reality MMO where dying in-game kills the player in real life, and the only way to get out is to work together and defeat the final boss.
Hollow Realization is a bit of an origin story, sending series familiars like Kirito, Asuna, and Leafa back to where it all began. There’s also a new character created specifically for the game, which is a decent incentive for any fan of the series.
This will be the third SAO game localized in North America and, like the others, will only feature Japanese voice-overs with English subtitles. I’m a fan of the anime and liked what I played of Re: Hollow Fragment on PS4, so I’m definitely looking forward to Hollow Realization.
I just hope to see an SAO game with the English voice actors at some point, although I’m sure that’s an unpopular opinion. Offering cross-buy with the Vita version if customers bought it on PS4 would be great as well, since buying two versions certainly sucks.
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus – Endless Summer Edition
What is it?: An unapologetically over-the-top hack-n-slash game with overly busty and bouncy ninja girls. I promise I’m not shallow.
Senran Kagura is perhaps mostly known for its ridiculous fanservice, featuring questionable camera angles and revealing outfits, but behind its busty exterior lies a satisfying hack-n-slash game (much like Onechanbara’s Z2 Chaos).
The Endless Summer Edition comes jam-packed with content, more than two dozen playable characters, and a new multi-player mode that supports up to 10 players on PS4.
Cosmic Star Heroine
What is it?: A retro-inspired turn-based RPG from the folks that brought us Breath of Death VII, Cthulu Saves the World, and Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness; Zeboyd Games.
According to the official Zeboyd Games website, when top government agent Alyssa L’Salle uncovers a galactic conspiracy, her own government reveals her identity as a spy. Not only does this draw the attention of her former adversaries, but the adoration of the people. She is now their Cosmic Star Heroine!
The SNES era is when I fell in love with role-playing games, like Chrono Trigger, Lufia, and Final Fantasy II & III, and Cosmic Star Heroine seems like a love letter to that entire generation. It’s been in development for nearly 3 years, and hopefully we’ll finally get a chance to see this in 2016.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
What is it?: The next big project from Sony’s first-party development studio, Guerrilla Games (Killzone).
As an open-world action RPG, Horizon: Zero Dawn features a bunch of neat stuff like mechanical dinosaurs, traps, stealth, and a red head with a pretty insane compound bow. In the gameplay reveal above, you can watch Aloy take down a massive beast using a variety of tactics, which is pretty interesting. This makes it feel more like a boss encounter than a trivial hack-n-slash affair.
Although I’ve never been a fan of Guerrilla’s Killzone series, I can’t deny how beautiful they were to look at. Horizon seems no different–the game looks absolutely phenomenal, from the highly detailed character models and enemy designs to the vast open world.
Here’s hoping it plays as good as it looks, though.
What is it?: The 6th entry in the famed Persona series of role-playing games (since Persona 2 was split in to two games, Eternal Punishment and Innocent Sin).
Persona 5 takes place during a year in the life of a 16-year old high school student in Tokyo, who forms a ragtag group known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. As their name implies, the students enter a mysterious castle known as “Palace,” which is somehow created by the hearts of people, in order to steal the ill intent of others and become stronger.
As has become commonplace in the Persona series, the Phantom Thieves can summon powerful persona to assist them in combat. There’s also an altered version of the series’ social link feature that allows you to build bonds between the students.
I love Persona–anything in the Shin Megami Tensei universe, really– so I need Persona 5 in my life. This game looks stylish as fuck.
*I think it’s worth noting that Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final for 3DS would be on this list if it were confirmed for 2016 in North America. As of now, the game has only released in Japan back in February. I’m hopeful for a 2016 release date, but without a confirmation I didn’t want to include it.
What is it?: A new action role-playing game set in the Nier universe, developed by one of the best stylish action game studios on the planet, PlatinumGames (Bayonetta, Wonderful 101, Metal Gear Rising).
When beings from another planet arrive on earth with weapons of mass destruction, the warfare forces mankind to relocate to our best friend in the sky: the moon (where wizards are from–nyuk nyuk). To take earth back Independence Day-style, humanity creates a series of battle androids to drop down and deliver a mechanical ass kicking (Official Playstation Blog).
Combat is fast and fluid (as expected) and that soundtrack is phenomenal (again, as expected). Did you watch the trailer? Because you should really watch the trailer.
Although Automata takes place after the original Nier (in which a father battles to save his daughter from an incurable disease), the story doesn’t appear to be connected. This is a plus for any of you out there with no plan to track down the original, although I highly recommend it.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
What is it?: An open-world sandbox RPG that forgoes magic and monsters, in favor of first-person medieval sword fighting against other humans.
Somehow this one slipped under my radar until a few days ago. How? How did that happen? I blame college getting in the way of fun stuff.
Like I explained above, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an open-world sandbox game. I typically enjoy open-world games, especially the role-playing variety, so I’m already sold. What’s that? There’s also armor and weapon crafting, a full story campaign, alchemy, and strategic sword fighting? Sign me up.
This is a bigger list than I imagined, but I kept stumbling upon interesting games as I scoured the internet for 2016 releases. There are other games piquing my interest as well, like Nights of Azure, Ray Gigant, Trillion, and The Last Guardian, but a man only has so much free time.
Anything here tickle the ol’ fancy? What are you looking forward to this year, now that Andromeda will be MIA until 2017?