By Operation Rainfall Contributor / December 21st, 2012
Tales of Xillia
Release Date: 2013
I don’t know a whole lot about Tales of Xillia aside from Mila Maxwell’s hair and some guy named Jude are in it, and I don’t mean to learn more before the game’s release. All I need to know is it’s another Tales game. Tales games are what really got me into the JRPG genre, starting with Tales of Symphonia, and continuing with Symphonia 2, the Abyss, Vesperia and Graces f. Tales games always have fun characters, and a story with somewhat small beginnings that somehow grow into world-changing events. They always have a solid combat system, beautiful art and awe-inspiring locales. And despite each game having a lot of similarities, they are also all very different. Their steady stream of quality games that I can consistently enjoy are why I keep coming back.
Beyond: Two Souls
Release Date: 2013
As someone who has no problem overlooking a couple minor flaws given more substantial strengths, I am a huge fan of Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. Based on their two previous titles and what I’ve seen so far, I am very excited for Beyonnd: Two Souls. The man behind the game proclaims in an interview that he would like to see players approach this game with very little knowledge beforehand (a philosophy I espouse as well, to an extent) and because of this not too much is known about Beyond. We know that story follows Jodie Holmes and the entity Aiden. Players will be able to control both characters. I believe the game may involve some coming of age and identity themes, having heard that players will grow with Jodie and Aiden’s name (I mean, they call him Aiden the entity. Aidentity?). The developers promise an engrossing story, full of emotion and action alike. Seeing both of those packed into Heavy Rain assures me that this is a promise the developers can keep.
Other than that, not too much is known. We know the police are after Jodie and Aiden. Aiden can possess and control people and objects (reminiscent of the Gamecube’s Geist) to help Jodie escape their clutches, or just survive. Other than that, not much is known about Aiden, or Jodie for that matter. We don’t know why they are together, or how, and we don’t know why the authorities are after them (although the generic “we don’t like what we don’t understand, in fact it scares us” reason and perhaps wanting to utilize Aiden as a weapon is all there is to it). While there are a lot of questions, the developers have proven themselves capable in the past, and the little information we are given is intriguing. Beyond: Two Souls is a game I will absolutely pick up on day one, whenever that day may be.
Release Date: March 2013
The game Fuse (originally Overstrike, please watch this short video before continuing) has taken me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I have both loved and hated it. I have been captivated by its character, and disappointed by the design of one of the villains (he just looked stupid, honestly). After the name and appearance change from Overstrike to Fuse I was immensely disappointed. Where was the funny? What happened to these endearing characters that I had been so looking forward to meeting? Replaced by increased realism and crappy rap music? NOT IN MY HOUSE. This witty, charismatic game called Overstrike had fused with EA and rapped its way out of my heart forever. Or so I thought. More recently, another video has been released. A Progress Update. It’s a little long (clocking in at around 18 minutes) but after sitting down and watching the whole thing with a friend, we both agreed Fuse is still a game worth looking forward to.
Fuse focuses on four characters: Dalton Brooks, Naya Deveraux, Isabelle Sinclair and Jacob Kimble. By their powers combined they are Overstrike 9, an elite squad of misfit soldiers! Each character has his or her own special weapon, and place in the group. Dalton Brooks has a shield that can build up kinetic energy and explode it back at his foes. He acts as both portable cover, close combat and the group’s leader. Jacob Kimble has a mercurial bow, and acts as a ranged specialist. Isabelle Sinclair is a support character, with some healing abilities as well as being able to crystallize enemies and make them easy marks. Naya Deveraux can turn invisible, making her the optimal scout character. Additionally, she can create tiny black holes to pull apart foes, or mark them and set off a chain reaction. These unique and interesting weapons really make the game shine.
As you might imagine, Fuse is built for co-op play. If you watched the progress update video, you’ll see that working together will reward everyone. As someone who loves playing games with my friends, the idea of a game built towards co-op (instead of just added on as a bonus) is very appealing to me. The game also boasts powerful single player, allowing the player to jump between any of the four characters (in multiplayer players can still jump into any character not controlled by another player). Additionally, the progress video makes it clear that the funny is still alive and well. The characters have some playful banter, crack a few jokes. And the enemy design is better, too. At the end of the day, Fuse’s strengths outweigh its flaws and I’m still excited to see where it will take me with those crazy kids comprising Overstrike 9.
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut
Release Date: March 2013
Deadly Premonition follows FBI agent Francis York Morgan as he solves a murder most fowl in the town of Greenvale. Agent York, as he insists on being called, is a competent but strange man. He often confers with an invisible entity he fondly refers to as “Zach” and reads his morning coffee for messages. Despite his odd tendencies, he was deemed good enough to investigate a seemingly ritualistic murder that has similar characteristics to a string of murder that have been committed around the country.
Beyond that, and despite the fact that the game has already been released, there’s not much more I know about it, aside from the way it apparently divided gamers upon its release. The quirky storyline and characters came off as endearing to some and stupid to others. Additionally, I’ve found complaints about the open world, the game’s bad visuals and production quality. As this is a re-release, at least some of these issues should be addressed. Oddball games may not be everyone’s cup of coffee, but I’ve never shied away from the strange so for me buying Deadly Premonition is all but inevitable.
Release Date: May 2013
Memory is a funny thing. You and a friend might remember the same event differently. Whose memory is the right one? How much can you really trust your mind? Remember Me takes this theme, placing you in the amnesiac shoes of Nilin the Memory Hunter. Nilin was once an elite at what she did: breaking into the minds of her targets and changing their memories. But something went wrong, and her own memories were taken from her. Now she’s fighting to reclaim her past, but her quest will bring her up against the very people who created this mind-altering society.
Normally, an amnesiac protagonist is the cheapest trick in the book, something we gamers tend to look down on. Remember Me revolves entirely around altered memories, and creates an environment where amnesia isn’t just acceptable – it’s the norm, whether people realize it or not.
Besides having an awesome premise, the gameplay looks fun, too. Nilin utilizes parkour moves to approach her targets, then delves into their memories, changing them to achieve her ends. Once you’re inside someone’s memories you need to decide what needs to be changed to get the proper outcome. In the trailer, we see Nilin make her target think he killed his girlfriend. After the alteration the man is so stricken by grief he takes his own life. Not too much else is known about this game by Dontnod (who seem to like palindromes) but what I’ve seen so far is enough to make me want to pick this game up when it drops in May. For now, you can enjoy the trailer here:
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
The Last of Us
Beyond: Two SoulsDeadly PremonitionFuseOverstrikeTales of Xillia