Thunderbolt’s Most Wanted 2017
Before 2017 gets too far away from us a few of our staff wanted to share what titles we’re most looking forward to in the new year. Let us know what games you’re looking forward to in 2017 that we’ve inevitably missed in the comments.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Zelda games have been the base of my video game experience, but recent installments of the main franchise have felt less than satisfying. The games followed a predictable pattern. Link wakes up, needs to save the princess, has to collect stuff from dungeons, gains items to beat said dungeon, has big boss battles, fights Ganon (or similar boss) and saves Hyrule and the Triforce. Breath of the Wild has the opportunity to finally change up the game with new systems implemented and an open world design. The game could actually deliver on the feeling of exploring and adventure that other open world games fail to bring.
When people talk about playing games on the Nintendo 64, most people recall a few key games. There is The Legend of Zelda games, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie. Mario 64 introduced the 3D platformer genre, but Banjo-Kazooie perfected it. Yooka-Laylee is from the same creative minds behind Banjo-Kazooie, for a new adventure.
Tales of Berseria
My very first Tales game was Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube and it captured me like no other game since. I became a quick fan of the series and impatiently waited for future titles. The road has been filled with highs and lows, with each game feeling like a gamble. All signs point to Tales of Berseria being a proud entry in the series. The game is currently out in Japan and many critics there have acclaimed that it’s taken what worked in the previous games and corrected the failings that have been a sore point for players. Additionally, a darker theme and plotline is much needed after the last few games being overly cheerful.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
I don’t really know what to make of Horizon: Zero Dawn. I really love the action that I’ve seen so far, but Guerrilla Games has fooled me with a lot of great Killzone trailers in the past, so I’m a tad skeptical because those games never lived up to the promise of their billing. Horizon: Zero Dawn is a game that I want to love, and I’m eager to see what they do here with the opportunity to explore a different genre, different universe, without the unreasonable expectation of being the “Halo-killer” that’s always gotten in the way of the Killzone series. Aloy looks like a capable heroine, the combat system looks promising, and no one can say Guerrilla doesn’t know graphics. For me, the challenge will be in creating compelling gameplay that keeps me interested in exploring the very big world they’re building. I’m staying optimistic.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Duh. I’m not terribly certain that this game will actually meet a 2017 release, but obviously, everyone’s totally hyped for Andromeda. It’ll be interesting to see how the turnover among the original team that built this game plays out on the end results, but it certainly seems like the game is on the right path so far. I’m very excited to explore a new cast of characters, as the relationship building has always been my favorite parts of every Bioware game, and I’m expecting good things as they’re coming off their recent efforts in one of my favorite games of this generation, Dragon Age: Inquisition. The framework they’re building off of with the previous games in the series is refined and developed and the game will probably lean heavily on what came before, but I’m glad to see some new additions, particularly enhanced planet exploration. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one releasing this year, but this is a release purchase for me.
Life is Strange is one of those games that stuck with me for a while after playing it. There were opportunities in how the game was paced and I’m not 100% convinced the episodic style of the game was a great vehicle to deliver it to the market, but the overall story and characterization was top-notch. Vampyr looks like it’s offering a lot of what I love in action games: the ability to hunt and stalk your victims from the shadow and the ability to finish the game without taking a life. I’ve never really been interested in vampire culture and am more interested in this game because I want to support Dontnod after their last outing, but I’m hopeful that this game turns out.
Dawn of War III
Developer Relic is touting Dawn of War III as a combination of aspects from the first two and, for longtime fans of the 40K RTS, this is an exciting prospect indeed. Base building, point-capture, hero units and large scale walker units have been confirmed, as have the core races of Space Marines, Orks and Eldar – with hopefully more to be added to the vanilla game. Not much has been revealed about the multiplayer, but as this is one of the series’ crucial modes, we can expect it to be essential as long as the community is properly supported. Current screenshots and footage showcase intricately detailed units and awesome battle effects, bringing to mind a virtual adaptation of the long-missed tabletop 40k game, Epic.
The Surge is an upcoming ‘difficult’ action-RPG from developer Deck13 that may end up being the first sci-fi take on the Souls series. Set in a dystopian future where humans have almost become obsolete in the face of cybernetic progression – your character is seemingly tasked with smashing this progression to smithereens. Your rig is able to be upgraded with various pieces hacked off your foes and this will change not only your stats but also its appearance. The world looks suitably cold and imposing, but whether it has a compelling core remains to be seen.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Big, sweeping JRPGs on consoles are a rare breed these days. Ni no Kuni might not have been the only title to fit that bill on the PlayStation 3, it was however the only one that piqued my interest. The Studio Ghibli connection, the plucky kid on a fated adventure, the nostalgia-inducing overworld, nearly every aspect of Level 5’s title struck the right chords with me: it channeled the aspects of JRPGs that I adore, while sidestepping the angst and contrived plots of many of its contemporaries. Sometimes it’s enough to simply be a kid summoned to a world to vanquish evil. Given the trailers for Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, I expect little more than an equally magical return trip to the other world, and frankly, that’s all I want.
Super Mega Baseball 2
I don’t have much to say about Super Mega Baseball 2, other than it’s the sequel to my favorite sports game since the PlayStation 2. The developers are addressing my only issues with the original, the lack of online play (my friends hate baseball!) and the somewhat awkward, limiting character designs of the original. Even if Metalhead Software had simply put the first game out again with more teams and stadiums I’d have likely bit. Seriously, it’s that good. Dust off your spikes.
Sonic Mania, by and large, ignores the recent, infamous history of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are back to relive their Genesis glory days, in all their pixelated, blast-processing glory. I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been a Sonic super fan, but I’ve always had a special bond with him and the Genesis. I still vividly remember picking up the Genesis with Sonic the Hedgehog packed-in from a KayBee Toys from a mall in my hometown that no longer exists. I remember hooking it up with my dad to our living room television, which was one of those old models that had all the ornate wood finishing around it. Today, when I pop those classic Sonic titles into my Nomad I can still feel the energy that Sega tapped into back in the early-to-mid ’90s. I know it’s mostly nostalgia talking, but I’m hoping Sonic Mania can find the groove the Blue Blur lost two decades ago.