Positive Outlook

 Great Expectations

                                                  

With E3 2017 now a distant memory we've decided to consider the next 12 months and put together our thoughts as to what we're looking forward to.

 

Ultimately the intention will be to review the choices we've made here someway down the line (most likely via podcast) so that we can reflect upon our hopes and expectations and see whether we were justified in our anticipation or whether we mislead, let down or indifferent.

 

Nominations are in no particular order, candidates will be held responsible.

 

Mark - Agents of Mayhem

I have always enjoyed the Saint’s Row games and embraced their “GTA’s silly brother” vibe, so the idea to take the ever more ridiculous style and put it into the world of Superheroes seems like a great idea. Fun kooky graphics, ridiculous guns and vehicles were all present in the SR games so no doubt those themes will be turned up to 11. Also bonus points for taking on a new franchise gamble and not just hammering on with another sequel. 

 

Chris - Dragon Ball FighterZ (Fighter Z?)

As a big fan I was a bit blown away by what I saw at E3. I’ve always enjoyed the outlandish design and hectic action of Capcom’s vs games and also the art quality of Arc System’s products. Smashing these together with my favourite anime has pretty much turned me into a 10 year old again and I cannot wait! Out of nowhere this has ended up being the game I didn’t know I was dreaming of, that is depending on the size of the final roster.

 

Hope Eliza - Life is Strange 2: Before The Storm

Another Square Enix release to make my list, I really enjoyed the first Life is Strange but I did play it a good few months after all of the episodes were released and by the time that came around, there were already rumours of a sequel. I believe it was announced a month or so before E3 that DONTNOD had been working on another Life is Strange game since the boxed version of the game was released back in January 2016. We then saw the first trailer for Life is Strange 2: Before The Storm; a prequel to the 2015 success at E3 2017. Unlike Kingdom Hearts 3, a release date was given alongside the first trailer with the first episode being released on the 31st August 2017. 

 

Mark - Battlefront 2

This is more of a hopeful gamble than based on any knowledge. It’s been too long since the Star wars universe had a really good game. Whilst the Lego games work in a cutesy way I don’t think any of the recent SW games have really flexed the muscles of such a strong story universe so when battlefront 1 was announced I was really psyched. Unfortunately it was quickly revealed to be a multiplayer only experience which immediately dampened my interest. Enter BF2. Single player included, campaign fleshed out with the writer of Spec Ops: The line, and confirmed space battles. Bring it on. 

 

Jay - Spider-Man

I’ve been excited for this game ever since I first saw it’s box in the coming soon section of Game around a year ago even though this game isn’t due out until 2018. I hadn’t seen any footage of this game until E3 2017, but in my head; I pictured a Batman Arkham style game. The gameplay trailer has now got me even more hyped for it’s release and although it may be different to what I originally imagined, it still looks amazing. 

 

Chris - South Park - The Fractured But Hole

The Stick of Truth was a fantastic achievement which finally managed to blend the mediums of TV and videogames into something quite remarkable. It’s something you’d probably play through only the once but I took around 3 hours at the start of the game just exploring the town itself just for the pure pleasure of doing so, something I can seldom say I’ve done in any other game. It successfully took the show and expanded upon it without watering it down or bending the fundamental elements to fit a different mould. In short it respected the IP. The superhero edge will hopefully allow it to do the same all over again. The world has changed just enough that it should hopefully feel fresh if they do it right and they’ve already proven they can!

 

Mark - Middle earth: Shadow of War

I had originally written the first iteration of the series as “Batman with new skins” but after giving it more of a chance found Shadow of Mordor to be an good chance to explore some of the more bleak areas of Middle earth. With an opportunity ahead for Warner brothers to refine and work upon a solid start Shadow of War promises to be one of the more exciting offerings in the tail end of 2017. Hopefully the push back on the release date will lead to a great experience and not mean that the game was struggling to come together. The new mechanic of being able to recruit orcs and warlords to build yourself an army is particularly exciting.  

 

Hope Eliza - Kingdom Hearts 3

I know, I know. There’s no release date yet! Kingdom Hearts 3 was first announced at E3 2013 and fans have been desperately waiting for more information ever since, apart from a couple of trailers and vague hints at the plot, barely anything has been released when it comes to this game, that is apart from various rumours of when this game is to be released, with some believing that it was due in 2015 and others still thinking it’s due until 2020 – a heafty 7 years after it was first announced! I however have a strong suspicion that this game may be released late 2018/early 2019 due to some recent information that was released at the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour LA show – the game’s series’ director; Tetsuya Nomura made an appearance told fans that “he will return in a month for D23 Expo 2017 on July 15, 2017, with "final information" on Kingdom Hearts III.”as well as announcing a new world making it’s way into Kingdom Hearts 3 and a new trailer! So if this is the last we’ll hear about Kingdom Hearts 3 before it’s release, surely it’ll include when the game is due to be released! So here’s hoping for a late 2018/early 2019 release! But who knows, maybe this’ll be the last we hear from Square Enix but they still won’t release the damn game until 2030! 

 

Chris - Sonic Mania

Finally Sega might have got the message. Sonic has taken so much abuse over the last decade or so, suffering poor design choices and several identity crisises. Like a good bus service 2 decent looking titles have turned up at once. Sonic Forces wasn’t enough to make my list, although it appears to follow in the solid foundations laid down by Sonic Generations, it’s still a bit of a gamble. Sonic Mania however doesn’t really look like it can go far wrong, so long as they have copied over the Megadrive physics models! Here's to putting memories of Sonic 4 behind us!

 

Mark - Ni No Kuni II

Ni No Kuni was one of the reasons I bought a PS3 at the end of the generation after being a 360 kid the whole time. The Ghibli art, a fun pokemon style “catch em all” system and great voice acting meant this was a charming JRPG which I have fond memories of. Hearing the fact that they have dropped the beast collection part of the game is a bit of a mixed bag in my mind. On the one hand it was one of the things which differentiated the game from other JRPGs, but it did become a little clumsy when evolving your little guys as they immediately sacrifice a lot of their power to make way for a higher future cap,  meaning often it was more of a hassle in the short term to evolve them. Either way this will be a day one purchase for me. 

 

Hope Eliza - Animal Crossing Mobile Game

Following the footsteps of Nintendo’s other mobile successes such as Pokémon Go, Super Mario Run & Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo have plans to release an Animal Crossing mobile game. It was first announced in April 2016 and was mentioned briefly at E3 2017 by Nintendo of America president; Reggie Fil-Aimé who said: "It's an application that is going to launch this year, as we've committed". As far as I know, barely any other information has been released yet, I have no idea what this mobile game is going to be like but I’m hoping it’s a little like Pokémon Go where you can go out and collect items as it’ll make times where I have to leave the house a little more interesting. 

 

Jay - Yakuza 6

Although this game has already been released in Japan so we know what to expect; this game still looks phenomenal. With even more ludicrous mini games/side missions, this game promises to leave you with hours of entertainment past the main story. Although I’ve played a few of the previous games in this series, the developers have assured us that even first time players will be able to pick up and enjoy the same as anyone else. For those who haven’t heard of this series; it’s like Japanese GTA meets your classic beat ‘em up, it spans over 12 games including 6 in the main series and 6 spin offs. You can find these games on the PS2 all the way up to the PS4. 

 

Chris - Xenoblade Chronicles 2

I plunged about 120 hours into the original Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X was the one thing which had me considering a WiiU (still would if the price was right). X put me off though on it’s style, create your own avatar which has the lifeless appeal of other MMORPG’s. The open world dynamic isn’t my first choice either. So I assumed that we would next see Xenoblade Chronicles XS or XD or Alpha or something but no, “2”! Looking at the trailers the gameplay looks in tact with the original but the style has taken a turn for the anime and looks more akin to Skies of Arcadia or Eternal Sonata which graphically at least is certainly appealing. There’s a lack of old school JRPG’s on the horizon, many others seem to be pushing towards the open world dynamic (even Final Fantasy) so I am very much excited to give this a go!

 

Jay - Need For Speed: Payback

I didn’t realise I was excited for this game until I saw the trailer at E3 2017, but this game looks great! The trailer gave me a real Fast and Furious nostalgia due to the truck chasing scene. Although I haven’t played it myself; The previous installment of Need For Speed (2015) didn’t get great reviews due to a lack of story mode and the constant need for online access, however I have hopes that EA have learnt from this in their latest installment.  
 

Chris - Psychonauts 2

The original Psychonauts was a game I wanted to enjoy before I’d even played it. The style was unique and the exploration reminiscent of old point and click adventures (which makes sense given the developers). Luckily it didn’t disappoint and here’s hoping this one doesn’t either! I’ve been meaning to give the original another playthrough and I’m certain I will now prior to the sequels arrival. 

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Chris - Marvel vs Capcom Infinite

Would have made the main list if they hadn’t announced DBFZ!! It’s since been pointed out and noticed how the overall graphical style is very vanilla and doesn’t seem to lean between either franchise but is left to be some androgynous creation with seemingly little personality. It’ll be interesting if anything changes to this end as development goes on (although that’s doubtful given as to how far along they are).

 

Mark - FFXII Zodiac age

Remaster – Yes this is technically cheating, and yes by the time of publishing this will probably have been released but I am still going to double down and say this is something I am looking forward to. Whilst FFX was where I cut my teeth on the franchise, XII is where I sunk the hours in, close to 350 of them if I remember correctly. Whilst I will still not go for the Zodiac spear achievement this time around I am really looking forward to getting back to grips with the gambit system which I still believe to be one of the strongest mechanics for controlling NPCs in any game. Plus, Moogles. 

 

Jay - WWE 2K18

Another year, another WWE game – which means potentially not much has changed from last years previous release; WWE 2K17. However, with the dropping of previous gen support comes the hope that they will add the features that were cut from previous games as well as even more new features, such as more creation options and more extreme match types. With only the cover art shown so far, there’s not much to be excited about just yet but hopefully come release day I’ll be able to “smeeeell what 2K’s been cookin!” 

 

Chris - Fortnite

Looks exciting but due on 14th July so a bit too close to publication! I’m a big fan of the idea of online coop games and this looks like it has the depth and character to stand out.

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