5. The Next Great Sequel in the Saints Row Franchise
Otherwise known as Saints Row 4, Saints Row: The Fourth, or perhaps S4ints Row, The Next Great Sequel in the Saints Row Franchise is the only open-world crime game I’m looking forward to at this point. (If you must know, no, that is not the game’s actual, final title.) Saints Row: The Third was the most fun I’d had with such a game in many years thanks to the balls-out, unapologetic insanity that permeates every single inch of it, and it really makes me excited to see what the development team has up their sleeves for a follow-up.
The Third was actually going to receive a stand-alone expansion entitled Enter the Dominatrix; a story in which the Boss is captured by aliens and forced into a virtual reality version of Steelport. A VR simulation that could be hacked to gain superpowers. However, this expansion was cancelled, and reportedly at least some elements that were planned for the expansion are now in the next full game. What utter madness are we due for next?
4. Tomb Raider
I have never been that much of a fan of Tomb Raider. I never played the games, never cared for the cardboard caricature that I always perceived as Lara Croft, and most certainly did not enjoy the first Tomb Raider movie nor even bother to watch the second. It’s probably safe to say that I’m not a fan.
That being said, I’m really, really interested in the new Tomb Raider in development at Crystal Dynamics. It looks like a truly fresh take on the series, complete with a Lara that actually seems more human and less over-developed pin-up. I had the chance to play the game’s demo at PAX earlier this year and was left impressed by what they had shown. If this franchise ever wants to win me over, this seems like the game that would do it.
3. Bayonetta 2
Like everyone else, I was surprised to learn that Nintendo had managed to lock up Bayonetta’s second outing as a Wii U exclusive. I never played the original (mostly due to owning a PS3, on which the original version was…less than stellar), but I’m really looking forward to seeing how Platinum puts the GamePad to use. Like Tomb Raider, this is another case of me being late to the party, but it’s potentially a great time to jump in.
2. Fire Emblem: Awakening
When all was said and done this past E3, regardless of what else was announced, which company “won,” and how absurd some showings truly were, there was only one thing I cared about. The Regginator’s slip-of-the-tongue announcement of a North American Fire Emblem: Awakening release.
And it looks like Intelligent Systems pulled out all of the stops for this one. A robust upgrade to the combat and other game mechanics, a lengthy list of DLC characters from past games, the ability to finally use Anna as a playable character. And I only have a little more than two months to wait.
1. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
The third and final game in Lightning’s story arc has got me excited. Lightning is one of my favorite protagonists in Final Fantasy, and even though her story wasn’t really meant to stretch on this long (since Final Fantasy XIII-2 was developed as a response to the criticisms of the first game), I’m happy to see it continue. The game sounds like an interesting mix of Final Fantasy XIII and Majora’s Mask, with a heavy emphasis on time management. Its emphasis on party-less combat and Lightning’s customizability will definitely be a switch, but what little that they’ve revealed has my interest piqued.