By Benny Carrillo / December 29th, 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. Today, we have contributor Benny Carrillo.
As 2015 and my first calendar year with oprainfall come to a close, it’s time to look forward to the future at all the awesome games that are going to be coming our way next year. Narrowing down that list to just five is not an easy task by any means. After some deliberation, though, this is the list I’ve come up with for myself. This is my most anticipated games for 2016. Please take a look and I hope you enjoy it.
5. Megadimension Neptunia VII
I love the Neptunia franchise. The fact that I import each game as it comes out from Japan alone is proof of that. It’s also why this game is so far down on the list. I’ve already played through parts of the game for a Let’s Play I was doing for the site (and need to get back to working on now that school is out; my apologies everyone) so I know what to expect going in. At the same time, that’s exactly why I chose it over MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune vs Zombies and the recently released in Japan Chou Jigen Taisen Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls Yume no Gattai Special (Roughly, Super Dimension Great War Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls Dream Combination Special). What I’ve played of Megadimension Neptunia VII has greatly impressed me.
Megadimension Neptunia VII represents Idea Factory and Compile Heart taking the things they’ve learned up to that point, the experience they gained from developing Omega Quintet for the PlayStation 4, and putting it all together in a very impressive package. Everything old is new again as you’ll play through three smaller stories that comprise the entirety of Megadimension Neptunia VII. The new characters as well are quite memorable even if I can’t understand everything they’re saying. Heck, Uzume pretty much runs on being awesome and hot-blooded and C-Sha is as close to a perfect homage to Capcom as I think you’re ever going to get. I may know what I’m going to be getting in this game, but I’m still quite eager to play it in English finally.
The next game, however, may prove to be a bit of a surprise to some of you due to how I feel about Nintendo of America’s recent publishing practices.
4. Fire Emblem Fates
I’ve made it no secret that I do not like having things whitewashed for me and that I am dreading what’s going to be done to Fire Emblem Fates. That said (and that’s all I will say on that subject here; hey, I want this be a fun article after all) I still can’t wait to get my hands on this one for a few different reasons. The first of which is the story. I’ve never been a major Fire Emblem fan and, in fact, have never completed a single one of the games. This story, though, has me really intrigued. Being forced to choose between two families — one that birthed you and one that raised you — is very much a difficult choice for one to make. Add to this the fact that each path is a separate story and that a third path exists should you side with no one and you have my attention in full. The other reasons are a bit more superficial but nonetheless important to me and that’s the inclusion of the option to marry someone of the same gender.
I love Yuri, it’s just a fact. Heck, many of my favorite games and anime (Neptunia, Senran Kagura, Symphogear, and Strawberry Panic to just name a few) have Yuri elements in them. At the same time, though, many of these properties (but not all, thankfully) merely stop at teasing the relationship and never really officially acknowledge it. It’s more than a bit frustrating as we never see a relationship established, just subtext. Thankfully, Fire Emblem Fates avoids this by letting you have characters you want to see together be able to marry. Maybe it’s a small thing so some, but to others of each gender and various sexual orientations it’s still important. So thanks for the inclusion of that little detail, Nintendo. It does mean a lot.
Speaking of Yuri though…
3. Flowers & Kindred Spirits on the Roof
Yeah I’m going to cheat with this one and list two titles in the third spot. The reason being both are Yuri titles, but on opposite ends of the spectrum. Flowers is a rather interesting title to me as its setting reminds me of Strawberry Panic, which is one of my all-time favorite and one of my most influential Anime. The idea here is that Suoh Shirahane transfers into Saint Angraecum Academy. There she participates in an experiment called the “Amité” which will have her make friends with others in the academy. Suoh will have to overcome her shyness and try to develop bonds with her two Amité partners Mayuri Kohsaka and Rikka Hanabishi, all against the backdrop of a student mysteriously disappearing.
While Flowers represents an all-ages and seemingly more dramatic Yuri tale, Kindred Spirits on the Roof looks to be a much more ecchi and comedic tale.
Kindred Spirits on the Roof takes place at Kokonotsuboshi Girl’s Academy of Commerce (try saying that five times fast) which was built on the site of an old castle. One of the students and our main protagonist, Toomi Yuna, discovers the ghosts of two girls, Enoki Sachi and Nagatani Megumi, who died at separate times but fell in love with each other as ghosts. The two wish to experience their first time together before moving on into eternal bliss. The problem is they have no idea what to do… at all. Thus begins the quest to turn the school into a ‘Yuritopia’ in order for Enoki and Nagatani to learn the ways of Yuri so that they might enjoy one night together before departing this mortal coil. Yes, it’s ridiculous and silly, but that’s the kind of story I like best. Besides, if you’re going to go with this premise, you might as well go the lighthearted and comedic route.
It’s been an amazing year for Yuri with the announcement of these two games, and the release of A Kiss For The Petals: Remembering How We Met. Visual Novels in general have done amazingly well this year, and next year looks to be even better. Which brings us to…
When I was in the room for this announcement at Anime Expo, I still really didn’t know how big of a deal this was. Then once I got home, I started doing some research and was quite pleasantly surprised at not only how deep and complex Muv-Luv’s story was, but how big this franchise really is. This actually led to me backing the project, especially as I missed out on the chance to back Fruit of Grisaia when that campaign was running. So what’s the deal with Muv-Luv then? Why is this Visual Novel release so important — you know, besides the fact the legendary JAM Project preforms the theme in the opening below?
Muv-Luv ‘s story is a big part of that answer, I think, as it both plays the whole high school romantic love triangle straight in the first half of the game (Muv-Luv Extra) and then subverts everything horrifically during the second half (Muv-Luv Unlimited) where you’re suddenly transported into an alternate universe where most of humanity has been wiped out from the BETA and all the friends you made are now soldier’s trying to fight off these invaders. That doesn’t even touch upon the second game (Muv-Liv Alternative) which further complicates things by giving you a chance to go back and attempt to prevent some of the bad things (and there will be bad things) that happen during the first game. Aside from that is also the fact that our squad is comprised of a bunch of kick ass women mecha pilots. Much like Sakura Wars, these are not girls you have to “save.” Yes, you will support them, and you will be able to pursue a love interest, but that doesn’t make them weak. It makes them human. I’m very eager to get my hands on some Super Robot filled Visual Novel action next year.
So, what could possibly top a bunch of badass mecha pilots? Only a game that packs so much awesome into it, that it takes four companies to join forces.
1. Project X Zone 2: Brave New World
While many people love to point to Monolith Soft as a reason to be excited for Project X Zone 2: Brave New World, I always like to point out the other name attached to this series, Banpresto. Banpresto, for those of you who don’t know are behind the awesome Super Robot Wars franchise and the Kings of Crossover as far as I’m concerned. While the first game had its issues, it still was a ton of fun and I loved seeing all these different characters interact and fight alongside each other. I never would have called that a second game was going to be released, nor that it would have been announced for international release as fast as it was. Now the wait is almost over, the next crisis crossover is almost upon us, and the roster looks awesome.
We’ve got X and Zero (Mega Man X), Reiji Arisu and Xiaomu (Namco x Capcom), Gemini Sunrise (Sakura Wars V: So Long My Love), Chrom and Lucina (Fire Emblem Awakening), Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey (Ace Attorney), and freaking Segata Sanshiro. I don’t think you could pack more awesome into this roster, and these are only the characters I’m personally excited for. There’s still a ton of other characters that you may find interesting or are eager to see in action. Check the trailer above to see more of them. Add to all of this a pretty neat turn-based strategy action combat system and you’ve got yourself a winner in my book. I’m more than ready to step into this brave new world, and am hopeful that we’ll keep getting these crossover games in the west somehow.
So that’s my personal five most anticipated games for 2016. I know there were some favorites that didn’t make the list like Senran Kagura: Estival Versus, Beat Blades Haruka, and pretty much any Visual Novel that’s slated for release next year. But as you can imagine it’s hard to pick just five games to showcase when you’ve got a ton to pull from. Also, keep in mind this doesn’t even take into account games that haven’t been announced for localization such as Criminal Girls 2, Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkuni, and Demon Gaze 2. Regardless of what you’re excited for and anticipating, I think we can all say that 2016 is shaping up to be an awesome year for the niche gamer. Thank you all for reading and thank you to our very own Brandon S. Rose of the graphics team for the header and featured image for this article.
3DSFire Emblem FatesflowersKindred Spirits on the RoofMegadimension Neptunia VIIMost Anticipated GamesMost Anticipated Games of 2016muv-luvNeptuniaNintendo 3DSPCPlayStation 4PlayStation VitaProject X Zone 2PS VitaPS4Vita