By Josh Speer / December 21st, 2015
oprainfall is proud to present our annual lists of Most Anticipated Games. Just like last year, we will be publishing one per day as we move closer to 2016. To begin our look forward, we have Review Manager Josh Speer.
It’s that time of year again, folks! I look forward to this all year long, since I spend way too much of my free time dreaming about video games, especially those that aren’t out yet. You know, those games just out of reach that we practically salivate over, before reality hits us and we reassess our opinions? Yes, here I am again with my Most Anticipated Games list for 2016. I must say, while in previous years I have really struggled to think these up, this year was a cinch. In large part, this was due to many games I had been anticipating for 2015 being delayed to the following year. So I will list my Top 5 in alphabetical order, followed by a few very important honorable mentions. Also, fun fact, this is the first year I have a Vita, so I had to list a couple games for that wonderful portable as well. Enjoy!
Josh’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2016
Like many here at oprainfall, I was utterly captivated with Bravely Default when it graced our shores. It’s been a long time since I could say that about much of anything from Square Enix, so it was a pleasant surprise that Bravely Default was as well made as it was. It was a charming throwback to the bygone days of Square’s glory, yet it managed to exhibit many new features that streamlined the whole retro RPG mechanics and made it far more than the sum of it’s parts. Yes, it had some flaws, but it was a great experience, and the true ending to the game only made it better. Now that the sequel, Bravely Second: End Layer, is slated to release, with Edea and Agnes reprising their roles no less, I’m quite excited. I fervently hope Square Enix doesn’t drop the ball with the sequel, and manages to retain the charm and fun of the first game. Now to hope we get a special edition that’s comparable to the sweet one that Europe got…
What can I even say about this one? If I was pleasantly surprised by Bravely Default, I was totally blown away by Fire Emblem: Awakening. I had played previous games in the series, but none were as dramatic, polished, challenging or captivating as this one. It is no exaggeration that I spent 300+ hours on Awakening, and relished the chance to stay immersed in that wonderful world, full of charismatic characters and intricate plot. When I heard that Nintendo and Intelligent Systems were cooking up another 3DS Fire Emblem, I was instantly sold; when I saw the first trailers, I was hooked; and when I saw that special edition, I threw my money down to preorder it ASAP. Now I just have to patiently sit and wait ’til February, which seems farther away with each passing day… Let’s hope this Fire Emblem entry is another game worthy of my most played 3DS game of the year!
Let me come out and confess something — I am a bit of an Alpha Dream fanboy. I have been since Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga came out for the Game Boy Advance. The series showed that not only could the famous plumbers be fun, but they could be downright hilarious. They mixed and matched well known Mushroom Kingdom flavor with some truly inspired new creations (looking at you, Fawful!). As far as I’m concerned, this series is the true successor to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (I can already feel the hatred from the Paper Mario fanboys), which I still rate as the best Mario RPG ever. So when I saw that the Mario & Luigi series was getting a new entry that mixed them up with characters from the Paper Mario series, I was sold. Especially after I was lucky enough to play the demo of the game firsthand at PAX Prime. Best of all, I don’t have long to wait for this game, since it’s coming out in January. Bring on the plumbers!
Ever since I got a Vita, I’ve split my time between buying new games for the system and buying old games that I just wanted to play on a portable. While the very first one of those was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, it was far from the last. Which brings me to Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir. While this one is technically a remake of the original, I want it for the same reason I got SOTN — to play a wonderful, beautiful game on the go. This is mostly the case because, while I do own the original Odin Sphere, I have yet to find the time to sit down and play through all of it, a problem that crops up more and more the older I get. The added bonus with Leifthrasir is it promises streamlined combat and features, as well as new goodies. I simply cannot wait ’til Spring 2016. Games like this make the Vita a system well worth owning.
Last but certainly not least on my main list is Project X Zone 2: Brave New World. I am still shocked by the fact that the original even got made, given how many licensing deals they had to work out in order to use all the properties in the game. That said, I rather enjoyed the original, and fully expected it to be a one and done sort of deal. When I saw rumors floating about that a sequel was in the works, I was amazed. Now we all know it’s coming to the West, and I have already preordered my copy. The only unfortunate thing about it is that it will share a release window with Fire Emblem: Fates, my other highly anticipated 3DS game. Regardless, I’ll enjoy seeing what madness they can come up with for this crazy crossover title. Here’s hoping it’s even more polished and fun than the original, and becomes a true niche masterpiece.
Now I know that we are limited to 5 main entries, but no self respecting gamer can limit themselves to only 5 games, so below are some games that I decided to include in my Honorable Mention.
Okay, I can already hear some of you bitching, so let me explain myself. Yes, technically speaking Axiom Verge is already out on PS4 and PC. I’m aware of that. But the system I most want it for, and have since it was announced for it, is Vita. I could buy it right now on Steam, sure, but a beautiful, discordant Metroidvania like this deserves to be played on my Vita. If I had a PS4, I might consider buying it for that, but even then I think Metroidvanias are best played on portables. So I will sit and wait with bated breath for this wonderful game to finally get brought over to my Vita, so I can see what all the hype is about.
Yes, yes, technically The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth is DLC. But it’s DLC I have been drooling over for more than a year. It’s DLC that was supposed to be available for my Vita, but due to hardware constraints, now it may not ever happen. But until that is 100% ruled out, I will cross my fingers and pray that this delightfully twisted DLC makes it’s way over to my portable. If it doesn’t, I’ll just buy it on Steam, but I will live in hope until I know for sure.
If you know me, it’s no surprise that I have been converted to the Senran Kagura series ever since it made it’s way to the 3DS. I ignore the frivolous controversy, and enjoy a game with great characters, interesting plots and fun combat. The only reason that Estival Versus didn’t make my Top 5 was because I’m a little behind playing the games, and still need to beat Shinovi Versus and Deep Crimson. But that’s not ’cause I don’t like the series, it’s only because my game backlog is ridiculous. Once I do get caught up, I’ll be more than happy to jump in to the latest sexy shinobi madness.
2016Axiom VergeBravely Second: End LayerFire Emblem FatesMario & Luigi: Paper JamMost Anticipated Gamesodin sphere leifthrasirProject X Zone 2Senran Kagura: Estival VersusThe Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth