1. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

I adore Monster Hunter Tri. The total freedom awarded to the player won me over with ease. The world looks absolutely gorgeous, the monster designs are amazing, and the game is completely non-linear. So, naturally, when I found out that Monster Hunter 3G, a Japan-only 3DS expansion of Tri, was coming to the West for both Wii U and 3DS, I was over the moon.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, as mentioned before, is an expansion of the Wii’s Monster Hunter Tri. Developed by Capcom, it offers a greater variety of weapons and armour for the player to create and utilise than its predecessor. Additionally, while it retains all of the monsters seen in Tri, it adds a handful of new ones and varied versions of current ones. So far I’ve seen a golden, more powerful Ceadeus whose horns have overgrown to cover its remaining eye, a venomous Royal Ludroth, an Agnaktor adapted to live in the Tundra, a Qurupeco who attacks with lightning in place of fire and much, much more; FAR too many to list here.

I also love the multiplayer aspect of Tri. Going online with my friends to beat up huge monsters is one of my favourite pastimes; I’ve logged over 200 hours in this game in about 4 months. Needless to say, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is probably going to be my favourite game to be released next year.

2. Fire Emblem: Awakening

I got into the Fire Emblem series a few years ago, after playing as Ike in Brawl. My first game was Radiant Dawn, and I have since gone back and played all of the Fire Emblem games that have been released here in the West.

The staff room went crazy when Reggie accidentally announced the game’s localisation at this year’s E3. Personally, I’m excited that Intelligent Systems have incorporated the My Unit feature into Awakening, which we missed in the Mystery of the Emblem remake that never left Japan’s shores. I’m also excited for the new combat feature. Specifically, when you have two units stand side-by-side and a battle is initiated, they will enter the same battle to fight together.

I’m hoping we’ll get all the DLC the Japanese received; but even if we don’t, Fire Emblem: Awakening is looking like another great game from IS!

3. Two Brothers

Two Brothers had my interest piqued from the very beginning. Developed by two real-life brothers and their friends at Ackk Studios, the game follows the adventure of Roy and Bivare. Having lived in a monochrome world all their lives, they decide to try and fill the world with colour; a concept they had only dreamed about in the past.The game will be released for PC, Xbox 360, OSX and the Wii U.

When you start the game, it has no colour. But as you advance through the world and clear more dungeons, you find more colours, which then steadily brighten up your screen. It was this concept that pulled me in initially.

Our interview with Ackk Studios revealed a mechanic in which the player was sometimes required to die and see the game over screen so they could go to the underworld. Here, they would be required to talk to dead people for information and to progress the game. All in all, Two Brothers is shaping up to be an incredible game and I know I’m not the only person on staff stoked for it.

4. Ni no Kuni

My first article on this site was a preview of Ni no Kuni. Developed by Level 5 with Studio Ghibli doing the visuals – how could one NOT look forward to this game? And I don’t even own a PS3!

Level 5 are perhaps best known for the Professor Layton games. Studio Ghibli, dubbed “The Disney of the East” (and rightly so) are well-known for their charming and thought-provoking anime movies which always look gorgeous and have incredible soundtracks; there have even been concerts devoted solely to their music. I should know, I own one of their CDs.

As for the game itself… it looks beautiful. Like it was lifted from the directly from the mind of a small child with a large imagination. The few tracks I’ve listened to sound exquisite as well. Every JRPG fan should be looking forward to this game.

5. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legend of the Titans

I recently finished the first game in the Etrian Odyssey series and adored it. I’m looking to import the second and third games as well, since they never made it outside PAL regions. I’m looking forward to this game so much, I’m probably going to import an NTSC 3DS just so I can play it.

Etrian Odyssey IV was developed by the ever-reliable Atlus. They’ll also be taking care of the publishing in the Americas. This game adds lots of new features to make exploring more convenient and fun. One of these is the addition of multiple dungeons, with FOEs appearing outside of battle as they are instead of as giant fireballs. Another is that the skill tree is more plainly laid out, making it easy to tell which skills you need to build on to unlock that final one you desire. These are just a few.

Etrian Odyssey IV is set to release February 26th, 2013. I’m going to pre-order as soon as I can so I can get that limited edition bundle. I suggest you all do the same!


Honourable Mentions:

  • Toki to Towa
  • Dragon’s Crown
  • Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
Operation Rainfall Contributor
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