While everyone here at Gaming Trend had plenty of games that they loved from last year, nearly all of us acknowledged that much of the broken games that came out in the latter half of 2014 ended it on a pretty sour note.
So, I got everyone together to be a bit more positive, and talk about the games we’re excited to play in the coming year.
Batman: Arkham Knight
When Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment decided to release Batman: Arkham Origins after the epic adventure that was Arkham City, gamers were a little disappointed. Origins certainly wasn’t a bad game, but with different developers and voice actors, the game simply did not capture the same Batman magic that Arkham Asylum and Arkham City did.
Well, it turns out that Rocksteady Studios has been working on Batman: Arkham Knight all along. Taking place one year after the events of Arkham City, the Scarecrow has returned to Gotham City in an attempt to defeat Batman once and for all. Everything that made the previous games special — the excellent combat system, great puzzle solving, and Metroid-style upgrade system — has all returned, as has iconic Batman voice actor, Kevin Conroy. New to the series is the ability to drive the Batmobile, which is sure to present some clever new forms of combat and traversal.
Everything about Batman: Arkham Knight looks to be hitting all the right notes when it comes to building a fantastic sequel. Fans of the Dark Knight will have plenty to look forward to this summer. – Matt Welsh, Staff Writer
Not only is it the first big release of the year, it is the first big release from Techland since Dead Island. Dead Island debuted with little fanfare but quickly gained a lot of fanfare as people fell in love with the combat system. Dying Light has become a sort of spiritual successor to Dead Island as it also promises interactions with the good old zombie race. This go around will focus more on the day/night cycle as you decide when to go out and scavenge for more supplies. If the game can successfully blend scavenging mechanics similar to This War of Mind and Dead Island’s combat, Techland will have one hell of a hit on their hands. It will be interesting to get hands on the product, either way. – Jay Malone, Editor and Certified Zombie
We won’t have to wait long for this game — the release date is January 27th. One upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, Lucasarts used to make funny adventure games. Grim Fandango tells the story of Manny Calavera, a travel agent, as he guides souls towards their ultimate destinations in the Land of the Dead. It’s all told in a film noir style, but with a heavy Aztec influence. If you were too young or somehow missed this one when it came out originally, do NOT let this pass you by this time. Grim Fandango is one of the best adventure games ever made. – Ron Burke, Editor in Chief
Halo 5: Guardians
The beta was a small taste, and it makes a fantastic first impression. While the remasters are pretty fantastic, now that they are all patched up, getting to see what 343 Industries can do when they are running entirely under their own power is an exciting prospect. We have a new Spartan named Locke to meet, and there are sure to be a great many new worlds to discover. I get chills whenever I hear the Halo music, and it’s for good reason. I suspect this will bring a whole new generation of players to the world of Halo, and with the work 343 has done on the channel and side content, it couldn’t be a better time – Ron Burke, Editor in Chief
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Is it weird that I’m looking forward to a game for its soundtrack more than anything else? The haunting, digital beats of Hotline Miami were what initially drew me into its deranged world and the sequel is doing the same. On the other hand the graphics were, and still are, the game’s weakest point, but I can overlook that flaw since the gameplay seems to hold up based on my hands-on with it at PAX Prime last year.
Truth be told, you should know that Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is very similar to the original game in every respect. You’re getting more of what you loved the first time around rather than a reimagining of the formula. What you can look forward to are new skills, masks, and moves which I’m hoping breaks the mold just enough to make the experience feel fresh again. Here’s a link to some gameplay footage where you can… listen to the new soundtrack! – Sean Lama, Editor
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
Majora’s Mask is often seen as the black sheep of the Legend of Zelda series. As a sequel/spin-off of sorts to Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask’s darker tone, challenging difficulty, and unique time-traveling approach to puzzle solving makes for a truly different Zelda experience. Those who did enjoy the Nintendo 64 game usually adored it, though. So much, in fact, that after Nintendo’s successful Ocarina of Time 3D port a few years back, fans immediately created petitions to see the cult favorite updated in the same way as its predecessor.
Nintendo has answered gamer’s pleas and will finally be releasing Majora’s Mask 3D this spring. Much like OoT, Majora’s Mask will feature the entire game remade with stereoscopic 3D graphics, gyroscopic features and touchscreen controls added in for good measure.
With only three days before the world is destroyed, Link must travel back in time and repeat the same three days over and over again until he is powerful enough to save the world. The game’s time constraints admittedly make it quite stressful, but for a game where time is a factor, playing it on a handheld should be a perfect fit. Bring on the remake! – Matt Welsh, Staff Writer
The Legend of Zelda Wii U
There hasn’t been a great deal of footage shown yet, but what we’ve seen has been pretty fantastic. Nintendo looks like they are taking a few risks with their new untitled Zelda game, and I am eager to get my hands on it. The Wii U’s reveal in 2011 was punctuated by an incredible spider battle tech demo with a high-resolution Link swinging his sword and using trademark weapons, but it’s been pretty quiet since then. The newest footage shows a return to the cel shaded look, but the retention of that smooth 1080p experience. Aonuma-san is clearly blending some of the concepts of Wind Waker with A Link Between Worlds to create something new. This could be the first Zelda game that doesn’t follow the tried-and-true patterns of progress, and frankly I couldn’t be happier. – Ron Burke, Editor in Chief
Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat 9 was easily one of the best fighting games released in the past decade. It brought new life to what seemed like a dying franchise. That franchise will be receiving its next big installment this April with Mortal Kombat X. NetherRealm has already announced a few characters for the upcoming fighter, some of which I managed to get hands on with at the past E3. As far as the feel of the game, it still maintains that same Mortal Kombat style with moves feeling heavy but speed still being an important factor. The new fatalities seem as brutal as ever and being able to modify your characters abilities by choosing a certain class will prove to add a ton of variety to older characters that many have played before such as Skorpion. It is time for NetherRealm to set the fighting genre on fire, once again. – Jay Malone, Editor and Certified Skeleton
The Order: 1886
The Order: 1886 and I have had a rocky relationship. After leaving the game’s E3 demo with positive impressions, I had slowly become uneasy about whether the game would pan out to be more than a one-note third person shooter.
After playing the game again at the PlayStation Experience, I’m very excited for this game again. It has so much more to it than just Gears of War-esque shooting and I want to see how it brings together stealth, shooting, and horror in one cinematic package. – Kenneth Shepard, Lead News Editor
Despite having seen no proper gameplay or concrete story details, Persona 5 ranks high in my list of most-anticipated games just on the name alone.
The Persona series has been home to some of my favorite casts of all time and is always profound in its themes (Persona 5 is already looking to follow suit with topics of individuality already confirmed as prominent). Persona 4 in particular really struck me as it tackled accepting the truth about yourself and others, and I am ready to see what the Persona team does when exploring the ramifications of fighting against societal expectations. – Kenneth Shepard, Lead News Editor
Pillars of Eternity
Preying on the nostalgia deep in our hearts, Pillars of Eternity is a role-playing game boasting a graphics and art style that is very much reminiscent of an old-school CRPG. I used to have a bunch of time to play video games and that was about the time I used to play games like Pillars of Eternity. Still, it’s fun pretend once in a while that I have all the time in the world again and begin a grand ole adventure.
The developers of Pillars of Eternity are summoning some mighty classics when they talk about the game’s influences, including Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. From what I’ve seen of the game so far, I think they have a serious shot of doing the classics proud. – Sean Lama, Editor
Remedy, maker’s of Max Payne 1 & 2 and Alan Wake, aren’t done playing with time yet and that’s fine with me. I’m a huge fan of Remedy, I love their style of storytelling and the worlds they craft. Quantum Break looks like an evolution of everything the team has done before, with extremely fast-paced action – except for when time itself is completely frozen – and yet another character driven narrative. The graphics look top-notch and will be held to unusual scrutiny as the player navigates through paused action sequences.
Quantum Break is an Xbox One exclusive, unfortunately, but hopefully we’ll see a PS4 and PC version not too long after. – Sean Lama, Editor
Rainbow Six: Siege
Team-based multiplayer is making its much-due resurgence in first-person shooters, and I couldn’t be happier. After the e-sports successes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it seemed only fitting to see another tactical-shooter classic return to the limelight, and Siege looks to bring Rainbow Six back to the forefront of FPS gaming.
With a focus on 5-on-5 tactical combat and objective-focused gameplay, what we’ve already seen of Siege looks incredible. The real question will be if Ubisoft can capture the original spirit of Rainbow Six. The customization, preparation and planning is incredibly key to creating the full tactical experience, and executing on that will separate Siege from the crowd of FPS contenders. If it can feel as fun and tense as offerings like Vegas and the original titles, multiplayer shooter fans will be in for something very special in 2015. – Eric Van Allen, Editor
Resident Evil Revelations 2
After the somewhat disappointing release of Resident Evil 6, along with the heavy criticism it received from the public, Capcom is ready to win fans of the series over once again by taking a close look at where RE6 went wrong and what horror fans expect from a Resident Evil game. With Resident Evil Revelations 2, Capcom is embracing its roots by focusing more on the horror and atmosphere of the classics, as opposed to the fast-paced action the franchise was starting to lean towards.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 marks the return of two classic Resident Evil veterans. Claire Redfield, who hasn’t had a leading role since Code Veronica, is the main protagonist here and teams up with a girl called Moira, who just happens to be the daughter of the fan favorite, Barry Burton. Together, Claire, Moira and Barry (who was recently announced to be a playable character as well) have to make their way out of a desolated prison and face off against the new monsters, aptly named “the Afflicted”. Focusing on the “horror” formula RE was so well known for, as well as familiar faces we haven’t seen in some time are a few of the many reasons I can’t wait to embrace this episodic Resident Evil in 2015. – Paul Cesar, Features Writer
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider’s release in 2013 was a huge surprise, catching many off-guard with how good every aspect of it was. Amazing use of the bow and stealth mechanics, fun platforming, gorgeous setpieces and tons of explosions and exciting gameplay all made Tomb Raider a dark horse in the end of year debates.
What made Tomb Raider special for me was seeing Lara Croft develop as a character. She was no longer pretty pixels without personality, but she was a character that had growth and development. You got to see Lara develop into a confident survivor, and see her grow into the Tomb Raider we all know and love. Now, Square Enix looks to develop her story even more, addressing hard-hitting issues like PTSD with their E3 trailer. With more character development and hopefully more tombs to explore, Rise of the Tomb Raider could be another dark horse in a year of titanic releases. – Eric Van Allen, Editor
Stepping off my usual path, I’ve got an indie game that caught my attention recently. Here’s the description: “Satellite Reign is a real-time, class-based strategy game. You control a team of four agents, each with distinct and unique abilities, collectively battling for control of a simulated, living cyberpunk city. “ If that doesn’t sound like Syndicate, then I’ll eat my hat. I’m a huge sucker for cyberpunk, and Satellite Reign looks pretty amazing already. It’s available on Steam Early Access, and has mindblowing lighting and deformation effects going on. If Shadowrun piqued your interest, you should absolutely check out Satellite Reign. My enthusiasm for an indie game should say a lot, given that I’m not exactly known as the “indie guy” around here. – Ron Burke, Editor in Chief
Star Fox Wii U
We still don’t know a lot about this game. As a matter of fact, we know next to nothing other than its coming out this year, some time before installment in the legend of Zelda series. There is a lot to be excited about, however, considering we haven’t had a new legitimate Star Fox game on a console since Star Fox: Assault (2005) on the Gamecube.
We do know that the Wii U’s GamePad will be heavily utilize in interesting and unique ways, such as turning the GamePad into the cockpit view of the Arwing, which sounds extremely cool Just the mere concept of playing a brand new Star Fox game in HD and most likely with online multiplayer for some much anticipated space dogfights featuring all sorts of anthropomorphic, space ship piloting critters. All I can say is, it’s about time! Now, how about that F-Zero Wii U game, Nintendo? – Paul Cesar, Features Writer
Star Wars: Battlefront
Star Wars: Battlefront II is probably the best licensed game that I’ve ever played. It has an excellent campaign, addictive gameplay, vehicular combat, big battlefields, interesting game modes… pretty much everything I love in my shooters with that ever so sweet bonus of scratching that Star Wars itch. It’s also the game that fans like me have been asking for for an extremely long time, and with the exclusive license to develop Star Wars games passed to EA, we are finally getting it after waiting ten years.
With DICE at the helm, who have shown clearly with their Battlefield games that they know how to create a compelling vehicular shooter, I am confident in this game successfully recapturing the frantic battles we saw in the past while adding their own twist to the series. While I think there are reasons to be worried, I have confidence that DICE won’t mess up a game this important to so many people. I’m excited to return to chaotic battlefields in classic settings, riding around in iconic Star Wars vehicles, and blowing stuff up.
If DICE recaptures the Star Wars feel, this game will be good. If they manage to build an incredible game on top of it, this game will be amazing. – Niko DelValle, Contributor
Tom Clancy’s: The Division
When The Division was initially revealed back at E3 2013, it blew my mind with the possibilities. Not only did the initial announcement video rock thanks to it’s presentation and it’s use of real-world events to press the story, but the demo showed some serious potential in multiple areas. The quasi-MMO mechanics sound really interesting, as does running into other players around the world and surviving in this ravaged New York City setting, looting abandoned buildings.
The demo also showed off some really interesting looking combat, the story sounds like it has amazing potential, and the new Snowdrop Engine looks gorgeous. I’m gonna need a whole new graphics card just to make this game pop, and I can’t wait to see it in all it’s glory! Plus this is going to be the first game to take advantage of the formula of survivalism games like Day Z and State of Decay started with without zombies, which is a huge bonus because I prefer survival in more grounded settings.
If Ubisoft can pull this off, then they will have restored my confidence in them that has been damaged by releases like Assassin’s Creed Unity and Watch_Dogs. I can’t wait to play. – Niko DelValle, Contributor
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
While attending the PlayStation Experience, I was in the audience when Naughty Dog showed the first gameplay footage of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Being fully aware that the event was being streamed to the public, I tried to contain myself, but seeing Nathan Drake wrecking shop in stunning PlayStation 4 paint had me sobbing in my chair while I sat with a crowd of people with better composure.
Knowing Uncharted 4 was likely coming was one of the many reasons I invested in a PlayStation 4 on launch day. Uncharted is a series that holds an incredibly special place in my heart, and knowing this likely Nate’s final adventure (for now at least) means that A Thief’s End is the game that I’m going in to 2015 with the most excitement for. – Kenneth Shepard, Lead News Editor
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt Red is a company that skyrocketed into the public eye, seemingly overnight, with their release of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. While the first Witcher game was a somewhat-okay isometric RPG, The Witcher 2 was one of the deepest and most intuitive action-RPGs I’ve ever played. The story of Geralt’s quest to regain his memory, save Triss and find the mysterious assassin who framed him is fantastic, and the combat is brutally focused and well-designed. I have no reservations putting The Witcher 2 in my top games of all time, and Wild Hunt looks to expand even further on The Witcher formula to create the perfect end to CDPR’s Witcher trilogy.
The search for Yennefer and Ciri is finally at hand. Geralt will have to not only face the consequences of the second game’s conclusion, in the form of a Nilfgaardian invasion, but also finally face the Wild Hunt, an enigmatic and mysterious force that originally split him from Yennefer. CDPR is moving the game into an open world setting, with plenty of optional hunts and sidequests to go on, monsters to track, and a much grander scale to fit the size of the story. In a year full of big franchise follow-ups, Wild Hunt might be the most anticipated of all. If CDPR delivers like they did with The Witcher 2, this will easily be one of my favorite games of all time. – Eric Van Allen, Editor
Now I know, WWE 2K16 is not “technically” announced, but there is no doubt 2K, and most importantly, WWE, will want Yukes to churn out yet another wrestling game. This past installment was easily the worst the series has seen in years. After some very successful installations in 2K14 and WWE 13, the series has began to fall apart with the transition to new consoles. In order to correct this, Yukes will need to do a few major things, most notably scrap the entire chain wrestling system. After that, the Career Mode needs to have some serious changes made. It was not total trash, but it definitely lacked personality or any kind of driving force to propel the player forward. Those are just two things that need to happen in order to make WWE 2K16 feel like a new and improved experience. No matter what the game becomes, it is clear that Yukes has a long road ahead of them. – Jay Malone, Editor and Certified Intercontinental Champion