Tuesday, January 13, 2015

15 in '15: Most Wanted Games

It's become a yearly tradition to post near the start of the year what games I'm most looking forward to. In 2012, I shared my twelve most wanted games of that year. In 2013, I posted my thirteen most anticipated games of that year. And so on. ...Now that I think about it, I hope I'm not still doing this in 2055.

2015 is seeing lots of games that were delayed from 2014. This list incorporates some of those titles, but there's also plenty of unexpected surprises that hopefully turn into amazing hits. Here's my list of fifteen games I'm most looking forward to for 2015.

Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4, XONE)

One of the few eighth gen-only games that truly makes me want to go out and buy either a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, Batman: Arkham Knight puts the reins of the Arkham franchise back in Rocksteady's more than capable hands for another showing of the Dark Knight. With a huge city full of crime, memorable villains, and the ability to ride through the streets in the Batmobile, Batman: Arkham Knight is looking to be not just a fantastic Batman game but an extraordinary game in general, much like its predecessors.

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

The original Xenoblade Chronicles was one of the best RPGs released in the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 generation of consoles, which makes Nintendo of America's reluctance to release it incredibly mind-boggling. That said, it seems with the Wii U's stronger focus on the Nintendo faithful, Xenoblade Chronicles X for Wii U is getting a great amount of time in the limelight. The game features both on-foot and in-mech combat that takes place in an incredibly immense world. The sheer scope of Xenoblade Chronicle X's world is astronomical, particularly for the Wii U. If the gameplay is anywhere near as amazing, Wii U owners will have a truly exhilarating RPG to play.

The Legend of Zelda (tentative title) (Wii U)

The hype for an original Legend of Zelda game is very real, but I'm not entirely feeling it yet. There hasn't been too much footage or information for me to get hyped about personally. We know that the land of Hyrule is going to be vast and expansive, but will it be full of things to do or empty like Skyrim? Will the game be as open as the world is, giving players the freedom to go where they want when they want? I'm guessing this E3 will provide us with more definitive answers, but while the work in progress is looking promising, I only have one foot planted firmly on the hype train for this game.

Star Fox (tentative title) (Wii U)

Many state that the last good Star Fox game released in 1997 with Star Fox 64. However, I'm of the opinion that while the replay value single-player wise in 2005's Assault wasn't as lengthy, the overall game, particularly the multiplayer, was worthy of praise. That said, this edition of Star Fox has series creator and director extraordinaire Shigeru Miyamoto at the helm, and seeing as this Wii U game is directly being made by Nintendo themselves, I have a good feeling about the end result of this title. I feverishly await more information on this game, what may be a return to form of the Star Fox series that fans have long yearned for.

Ratchet & Clank Remastered (PS4)

With a movie due out this year or next year or whenever, SCEA and Insomniac join forces once again to bring the dynamic duo of Ratchet and Clank out from their relatively brief vacation. This time around it's a return to the origin of the series, but instead of simply beefing up the visuals and polygon count, Insomniac is planning on adding some updates to the original Ratchet & Clank's story and how it plays. Just what these updates will be is currently unknown, but you can bet that I, a huge fan of the Ratchet & Clank series, will be there with a controller in hand eventually to play and enjoy this remake.

Tearaway Unfolded (PS4)

Speaking of enhanced versions of games, Tearaway originally released on the PlayStation Vita in 2013 to great critical acclaim but weak commercial reception. Now, Media Molecule is taking the game from the small screen to the big screen with Tearaway Unfolded, a reworked version of the Vita title. Media Molecule's goal is to play to the strengths of the PlayStation 4's DualShock 4 controller, recreating gameplay elements from the Vita game to work in context of the PS4, and retelling the story with expanded content. Tearaway was so good of a game that I couldn't help but earn the Platinum trophy for it, my first Vita platinum. I'll use any excuse I can to replay this gem all over again.

Splatoon (Wii U)

The argument that "Nintendo doesn't make new IPs" is quite a dated and incorrect one. Even without Splatoon coming out for Wii U, Nintendo has no problem with building new IPs, whether big or small. Regardless, Splatoon is one of my most wanted games. Period. It offers a new and fresh take on the competitive third-person shooter, having a king of the hill-type goal of spraying as much of one's team's colored paint on a given map. Throw in an intriguing solo campaign that has already showed clever uses of the gameplay mechanics, and you have a title that is not only ambitious but looking like loads of wet and messy fun.

Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)

Yoshi's last platforming romp was the mixed reception known as the Nintendo 3DS's Yoshi's New Island. While I liked the game, I realize it didn't do much to push the formula or the series. Plus it had a relatively sterile presentation. However, Yoshi's Woolly World seems like Nintendo is serious about creating not just a good Yoshi game like efforts after Yoshi's Island, but a Yoshi game that is phenomenal. Using a yarn aesthetic, Yoshi's Woolly World continues the line of Wii U platformers that ooze with charm and personality. I'm eager for the nebulous "early 2015" release period to get a firm date. Perhaps March?

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Wii U)

Kirby: Canvas Curse was the first wholly original Nintendo DS game that I truly loved. It single-handily showed the touch screen and stylus of the system as much more than a gimmick. The moment this sequel was shown in a Nintendo Direct last year, my face was beaming. Not only does Kirby and the Rainbow Curse offer over 25 unique levels full of secrets and things to do, but it also offers co-op play and a lovely clay aesthetic. It releasing close to my birthday is a gift from Nintendo. Buying the game, however, will be a gift to myself.

Mario Maker (Wii U)

For decades fans have been clamoring for an official Mario game level maker from Nintendo. With Mario Maker, their wishes will come true... hopefully. From what we've seen of Mario Maker, there appears to be plenty of features, and while most aren't asking for a LittleBigPlanet-sized amount of customization options, certain options are desired. For instance, scrolling levels, the ability to create longer levels than what has currently been shown, the use of warp pipes, the ability to connect levels, and more. We'll have to see how deep Mario Maker's tools really are, but even still, I can't help but express excitement towards this game.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D (3DS)

Despite it being a game I really enjoyed on the Nintendo 64, I believe I've only played through The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask once or twice, with me leaning towards the former. With the announcement of the game one Nintendo Direct ago and rumored mid-February release date for the game, I'll finally have the chance to replay this classic Zelda game that turned the formula of the series on its head, albeit for just one game. Traveling Termina with a looming moon always overhead, slowly falling each and every minute of the three-day time limit, Majora's Mask gave players like me a feeling of pressure. I'm anxious to see what changes Nintendo and developer Grezzo have to offer for this Nintendo 3DS remake.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

My first go of the Monster Hunter series was with the Wii's Monster Hunter Tri. After "tri"-ing that game out and enjoying it, I moved onto the Wii U enhanced port. Now, Monster Hunter 4 is making its way to the West after seeing spectacular success in Japan. With all new play styles, weapons, monsters, and online play, hunters of every skill level will find something to enjoy with the game. Well, maybe not hunters who are impatient and don't care about learning the intricacies of the series. You probably won't like it. For the rest of us, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will no doubt steal hundreds of hours from our lives.

Devil's Third (Wii U)

Tomonobu Itagaki's major claims to fame are creating the Dead or Alive fighting game series and successfully rebooting the Ninja Gaiden series... Oh, and just looking like a professional bad ass 24/7. He founded Valhalla Game Studios and their first project is Devil's Third, a game that Nintendo expressed interest in to diversify the Wii U's lineup through publishing it. This combination hack and slash and FPS brings with it intense action, brutal violence, and-- if those who have had hands on with the game are to believed-- satisfying gameplay.

J-Stars Victory VS+ (PS4, PS3, Vita)

Since many of the properties in J-Stars Victory VS+ are owned by multiple different publishing companies here in the West, it seemed like the game would be just another title that most of us would miss out on unless we imported. However, in a historic turn of events, J-Stars Victory VS+ is officially releasing outside of Japan, and the likes of Dragon Ball Z, Bleach, Naruto, and other anime properties are getting ready to duke it out on this side of the Pacific. With 3D battles and a list of characters both familiar and unique, J-Stars Victory VS+ is a dream come true for an anime fan such as myself.

Mario Party 10 (Wii U)

The tenth numbered installment of the Mario Party franchise will arrive on the Wii U later this year. In addition to the traditional every partier for themselves board game rules, there's also a new Bowser Party mode, where one player uses the GamePad to play as Bowser, causing havoc for the other players on a given board. My dream for this edition of Mario Party is some kind of online play, even if it's just for mini-game play. It's about time the series enters the 21st century in a bold way.


Which games are you most interested in for 2015? Post your picks in the comments section.

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