Thursday, June 26, 2014

Some Games I'm Looking Forward To In 2014

I was just watching the release trailer for Shovel Knight, which was officially released today by Yacht Club Games on the Wii U and 3DS eShops, as well as Windows, Linux and OSX, and I was thinking about how I had no interest in this game for quite some time, but as I saw more and more on the project, mostly via Nintendo Force, I grew very excited for it and it has become one of my most anticipated titles for the year.

That got me thinking, "What else am I looking forward to this year?" So, I decided to compile a short list of titles that I'm anticipating and are scheduled for release in 2014.

Mildly disturbing.
The Evil Within was a title that I was very surprised to hear was in development, but I'm so happy that it's actually happening. It is from acclaimed director Shinji Mikami, world-renowned for creating the Resident Evil series for Capcom. Since leaving Capcom and the RE series behind, Mikami has gone on to work on some great software, but ever since he began the trend of Resident Evil games going into shooter territory with Resident Evil 4, I've really wished he'd return to the Survival Horror genre where he belongs. The Evil Within is that wish made into fruition! I purposefully know very little about the game, except that it exists, but from the few videos and screenshots I have seen it looks like a very scary return-to-form horror title from the video game Master of Horror, and I'm anxiously awaiting it's release on October 21st of this year!

Some Destiny character classes.
I always consider myself a newcomer to the Halo franchise, but when I think back to it my friends got me hooked on the series way back with Halo 2 on the Xbox and I've been a fan ever since. When Bungie announced they would be stepping away from the series a few years back to work on an ambitious new dream title my interest was instantly piqued. This new game is entitled Destiny, and after several years of development, it is now passing Alpha testing, going into Beta, and should be officially released on September 9th. I've dipped my toes into the water that is MMOs in the past with World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI, but in honesty I'm not nuts about them. That said, the idea of an MMOFPS with the pedigree of Bungie behind it has me very excited and I look so forward to this game finally being released!

Ripley's daughter looks like a bad ass, too!
In the first year of owning my Wii U I had a shortlist of games for it that I was most hyped about, and on that list was the infamously horrid Alien: Colonial Marines. It has since been released on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, has subsequently been ruled a failure, and the Wii U version ultimately was canceled. I'm a massive fan/nerd for the Alien film franchise and was crushed to hear it was so poorly made (although if I see it for cheap enough, I can't say I might not still try it), but not long after it's release I heard news of Alien: Isolation being developed by British company Creative Assembly. It is described as a Survival Horror/Stealth title, in which you play as Ripley's daughter Amanda, who is having her own close encounter with a Xenomorph. What's weird is that I should have been skeptical of the title after A:CM, but from the get-go I knew the game sounded like my kind of Alien video game. After following the development team on Twitter and seeing their enthusiasm for this game, and their respect for the property of Alien itself, I just know this game is going to knock my socks off. Also it garnered 40 different award nods at E3 this year, which is a great sign. October 7th can't come soon enough!

Well that's my little list of titles I'm really looking forward to this year. I'm sure there will be some Christmas titles announced in the not-so-distant future that will get tagged onto here in the coming months. Some honourable mentions would be Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. I didn't mention them in the list, however, because the Halo collection is exclusive to Xbox One, which I don't see myself purchasing any time soon - although getting to play Halo 2 online again is very enticing - and I have never owned nor played a Super Smash Bros. title, but the inclusion of Mega Man in this newest iteration has me considering picking it up this holiday season.

Hope you enjoyed,

Friday, June 6, 2014

Too Much Nostalgia

I was perusing Nintendo's E3 Miiverse Community today and taking in all of the rumours and speculation regarding what Nintendo is going to show this year at the annual video game expo. Amidst the calls for a new F-Zero, Star Fox or Metroid - which we get to enjoy listening to every year - I saw an interesting comment that caught my eye: "Why are so many asking for remakes? I want new experiences."

I clicked on the post to check out any comments from other users and I saw one individual make the case - and I'm paraphrasing - that "nostalgia is plaguing the industry".

The truth is that I did notice a lot of community members clamouring for more remakes of old games; gamers demanding Metroid Prime collections, or a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - which has been a hot topic item since the 2011 release of Ocarina of Time 3D on the 3DS - and even off-the-wall requests for remakes of old Smash Bros. games.

If I didn't see posts for games like those above, it was port-begging for English translations of the Japan-only Earthbound titles, or outcries for a "brand new" Legend of Zelda game. We just had a new LoZ title released last year in A Link Between Worlds, which was itself a graphical throwback/semi-sequel to 1991's Super NES hit A Link to the Past!

The point I'm trying to get at is that these individuals seem to be right. No one is asking for a new game in this entire community. It's post after post for old games, sequels, rehashes, or ports.

What happened to just being excited to hear about new games? And when did we, as gamers, get so demanding about what we want to see year after year?

I - and I think of lot of people reading this - are definitely complicit in this kind of hype. I'll be the first to admit it. I mean, I want to see a new Star Fox or F-Zero game as much as the next guy. I can, however, see where we're kind of drowning in our own nostalgia. Do we really need a new Mario or Zelda game right now? I definitely don't think so, but the rumours are already swirling that we'll see Mario Maker and Aonuma's next LoZ title during this year's E3.

Let's hope for something different! I'd love more news on Monolith Soft's "X" or maybe something on this S.T.E.A.M. title that Nintendo's been cooking up.

Many of us get over-hyped for E3 as it is, but maybe hoping for more of the same isn't the right idea here. The industry could grow stagnant and what good is that to anyone? New experiences should be the order of the day, and this year I'm just going to try and sit back and enjoy the Electronics Entertainment Expo for what it is and hope that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo bring us something new and fresh to play in the coming years.

Thanks for reading,