I don’t think it is a controversial opinion to say that 2014 was a mediocre year for practically every art form and that holds true for the gaming industry. There were arguably some decent gems, such as Dragon Age: Inquisition, Shovel Knight, Transistor, and Wolfenstein: The New Order but many titles – despite the hype – ended in disappointment.
However, 2015 is already looking packed with great games and so I’m going to list my top five games that personally I’m extremely excited for!
- The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
Honestly I wasn’t initially very big on Zelda. I knew of its influence on games nowadays and that the games are good but I hadn’t ever really had the opportunity to play one outside of the DS and 3DS releases… Until this year when I (finally) decided to play Twilight Princess.
It should be obvious but I adored it and everything about it, and I finally saw the light. Needless to say I bought Majora’s Mask on the Virtual Store and picked up the Majora’s Mask 3DS because… well… look at it.
A new LoZ with utterly gorgeous graphics and an open world is just what I needed and , now with some real knowledge of the franchise, I can finally share and feel the hype.
- Until Dawn (PS4)
I’m a sucker for choice based games. I, alongside everyone else, adore Telltale’s masterpiece “The Walking Dead: Season One” … but I’m also a big sucker for horror games. I’m terrible with them and easily scared but after PT/Silent Hills I’ve been rather craving a new and interesting horror game.
Until Dawn seems ready to satisfy that craving.
Until Dawn is a mix of horror and B-movie, the plot seems to be that several teens are trapped in a cabin and a mass murderer is on his way to kill ‘em all. Is it cheesy? Yes! Do I care? Not at all.
It may not be the scariest but with Until Dawn’s developers claiming to have “hundreds” of endings and that every small decision from using an object or examining something to dealing with a moral issue will cause the story to tweak due to the “Butterfly Effect” system of the game.
With the huge amount of choices, playable characters (eight teens!) and alongside the B-movie feel I’m pretty interested in Until Dawn and I’m just hoping it meets my expectations as many other developers have claimed that “your choices matter” and so we have to just wait and see if they’ll deliver.
- Kingdom Hearts 3 (Xbox One/PS4)
Yes the plot is … I’m not sure how to describe it as I can’t exactly follow it and I doubt this instalment is going to make it any clearer but damn I’ve waited through numerous spin-offs, mobile games and remastered editions that I didn’t actually think that this day would arrive.
But it is here and it’s finally going to be here in 2015, ten years after the second sequel (if we’re counting the “main” trilogy and not Chain of Memories, coded, 358/2 days, etc.).
It may simply be because Kingdom Hearts was one game I frequently played throughout my childhood but I’ve always had (and always will have) a soft spot for the game. The plot was never easy to understand, Donald was pretty useless, and I hated the Gummy ship but it had charm and it was quirky.
As for what’s known about the game so far the only information available is that it picks up straight after the 3DS’ instalment “Dreamdrop Distance” and it will be the final chapter in the “Dark Seeker” arc – which greatly hints that this might be the last game for Sora and co. and at least a send-off to players, like me, who played Kingdom Hearts through their childhood and the chance to finally see the story end – which will no doubt bring tears and nostalgia.
… Until Kingdom Hearts 4 and the next arc, of course.
- Life is Strange (PC/PS3/PS4/Xbox One/Xbox 360)
Life is Strange is Dontnod Entertainment’s second game after the (ironically) quite forgettable Remember Me – which I played and liked, admittedly – but instead of an action adventure taking place in a future Neo-France Life is Strange is instead an episodic interactive drama similar to that of a David Cage or Telltale game.
Life is Strange’s protagonist Maxine Caulfield has the power to rewind time and thus fix any previous choices that may have been problematic but while the premise is interesting it wasn’t exactly this concept that drew me in.
What exactly pulled me to Life is Strange was the peaceful folk soundtrack and the themes it wishes to address, such as memory and identity. The game feels peaceful, nostalgic and different from other episodic releases. Despite the strange concept of Maxine having powers it the game seems a lot more natural and down to earth than most titles: a true coming of age story.
- Persona 5 (PS3/PS4)
Persona is one of my all-time beloved gaming series, in the space of a few weeks I completed both Persona 3 and Persona 4, played through Arena/Ultimax and even started up a play through of ATLUS’ forgotten child Persona 2.
Persona 5 is on an entirely new engine from the previous two games and with the premise of breaking through chains and not conforming to society it seems to be a more “modern” twist, with Persona 3 focusing on tackling adulthood and themes of death and loss and Persona 4 (being a far more cheerful game – with murders!) dealing with adolescence, friendship and change.
With the hard red replacing the wallowing blue and the bright yellow of Persona 3 and 4 it indicates that this game is going to be harsher and probably far more realistic but of course this is only an assumption seeing as we’re lacking a loooot of information for the game but with Shigenori Soejima and Shoji Meguro returning as character and music director there is very little doubt in my mind that this may wind up being the best Persona game to date.
Ignoring the masterpiece that will be Dancing All Night, of course.