By Brodie Dayton-Mills / December 13th, 2013
5. Delver’s Drop
I’m not sure what it is about the roguelikes that’s so darn addicting. Perhaps it’s the sense of wonder and trepidation each time you enter a new dungeon. Or perhaps it’s the knowledge that dying means saying goodbye to all your progress and starting over from scratch. Whatever the case, games like FTL: Faster Than Light, The Binding of Isaac, and more recently Risk of Rain have eaten up far more of my time than I care to admit.
No surprise then, that I was quick to back Delver’s Drop when it hit Kickstarter back in February. This gorgeous little dungeon-crawler combines the combat of an early Zelda game with the random levels and loot generally found in roguelikes. Though a basic alpha version is currently available to backers, features like multiplayer versus and co-op modes, multiple character classes, and physics-based puzzles will be included when Delver’s Drop launches in full. Oh, and as a backer I was able to choose one of the names new characters might receive upon creation, so remember who to thank when you’re hacking and slashing as “Rudebrazen McBiznasty” next year.
4. Dark Souls II
Despite being almost two years late to the Dark Souls party, I was hooked on the infamously difficult action RPG the second I picked it up. I’d heard tons of talk about how good the combat system is, or how you should only play in a padded room in case you find yourself flinging your controller about, but I didn’t really understand how fantastic Dark Souls is until I experienced it first hand. There are few experiences I’ve had in my gaming career that can match the satisfaction this game offers. There is no greater feeling than dying over and over again and being ready to give up, only to survive a boss fight with a sliver of health remaining. I’m trying to think of a better word than ‘elation’.
From Software looks set to deliver more of that magic in Dark Souls II and I could not be more excited. Call me masochistic, but far too few games are willing to demand more from the player the way this series does. Judging by the trailers and artwork released thus far, Dark Souls II is purely another helping of the near-perfect gameplay of the first game, with a new weapons, enemies, areas, and a shiny new coat of paint.
3. Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem
Of all the games on this list, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem has the honor of being the most nebulous. As of right now all we know for sure is that both Atlus and Intelligent Systems are developing the crossover, and that it will be an RPG of some kind. The two series have vastly different gameplay and combat systems yet there is conceivably a lot of very interesting ways they could be combined. The first thing that came to mind when the game was announced was that human characters from both series would traverse a grid-based map à la Fire Emblem, and when combat begins they would summon a demon or two like in SMT. Of course, this is entirely speculation on my part, but it is incredibly exciting to imagine the possibilities.
2. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX
It feels a little like I’m cheating by including a game that’s technically two (and a bit) games that came out long before 2014, but it’s Kingdom Hearts so I feel it’s justified. KH 2.5 combines Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, both remastered in glorious HD, along with a movie-like set of rebuilt cutscenes that chronicle the events of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. These are some of my favorite games of all time, and just the thought of experiencing them again makes me weak at the knees. But what interests me the most at this point is the potential inclusion of a multiplayer mode. BBS featured an area called the Mirage Arena where you could team up with your friends to take on waves of heartless and some of the toughest bosses in the game. While there’s no guarantee that the multiplayer modes will be preserved in the port to PS3, it’s certainly an exciting possibility. As well, both games will have bonus content included that was only ever released in Japan before now. And of course, just as the end credits of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 hinted at this collection, it’s likely the 2.5 credits will give us a quick glance at Kingdom Hearts 3. Keep an eye out for that one on my Most Anticipated Games of 2017 list.
One of the best things to come out of the last generation of gaming was the advent of digital distribution. Services like Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and the Playstation Store have allowed for a massive variety of games to be released that were unlikely to be successful in a physical format. This led to an explosion of indie titles, many of which are considered to be some of the very best games of this generation, including my personal favorite: Bastion. Though Bastion will probably never get a sequel (and I don’t believe it should) it would be incredibly disappointing to never experience a game like that again. The best possible solution would be if the same team at Supergiant Games made a completely new game in the style of Bastion but with a whole new world, story, and cast of characters. Of course that’s way too good to be true, right? Wrong. Transistor is the next game from this hyper-talented developer, this time set in a futuristic cityscape which contrasts sharply with Bastion‘s fantasy one. Players control a young woman named Red who finds the Transistor, a powerful and sentient sword that looks suspiciously like a giant USB stick. The sword itself takes the place of the narrator this time around, and from the little I’ve seen, he already seems chock-full of personality. Of course it wouldn’t be a Supergiant game without some spectacular music and beautiful art, and those are both present and accounted for.
Dark Souls IIDelver's DropFire Emblem x Shin Megami TenseiKingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIXTransistor