I remember picking up a PS3 the year that they announced The Last Guardian, in eager anticipation of this amazing-looking follow-up to my most cherished videogame of all time, Shadow of the Colossus. It has been absolutely gutting watching this game slip into mythology and to face disappointment year in and year out as the game was continually rumoured to be at each E3 and then failed to materialise. Obviously, I watched this year’s Sony event with the same jaded expression expecting another no-show but… well the rest is now E3 history as once again this beautiful game graced our screens, although now reworked and beefed up for PS4. It’s still looking absolutely magical and the creature looks better than ever in the way it moves and responds to the player character. This year, E3 has stoked the fires of excitement once again, and The Last Guardian has returned to the very top of my most wanted list; please don’t slip past 2016!!
Persona 5 has been a bit of a no-show at this year’s E3, with the only new piece of marketing material being an official US version of the Japanese trailer from earlier in the year. Still, this does not dethrone the game from occupying a space very high on my list, comfortably at the number two spot after The Last Guardian reveal. I simply cannot wait for Persona 5, as the previous game was one of the very best JRPGs I’ve ever experienced and was my standout favourite game that I played last year. I don’t even mind that information about this game is slow to release and that we still don’t know an awful lot about it, just the fact that it’s coming to PS4 and looks fantastic keeps me happy and full of anticipation. Apparently it’ll be along sometime this year too.
I had assumed that it would be a while before we heard anything new regarding the ‘Souls series, but then I guess in terms of Namco Bandai’s multiplatform series the last entry was actually back in 2014; claims of “annualisation” are greatly exaggerated – this game isn’t out until 2016. Dark Souls III was revealed via a CG trailer, which usually fills me with “meh”, but the atmosphere and artistic direction had me intrigued. Since then I’ve read articles and interviews with Hidetaka Miyazaki and gotten myself *very* excited once again. I’m always up for more ‘Souls and Dark Souls III sounds like it’s going to be a particularly interesting entry into this franchise, it’s also allegedly the last in this line of games, although not necessarily in the ‘Souls series; after all Bloodborne is part of this series and is completely unconnected to Dark Souls. With Miyazaki at the helm, we’re definitely in good hands, and I’m anticipating good things from this new game in one of my all-time favourite series.
Speaking of some of my all-time favourite videogame series, this E3 gave us further peaks at gameplay for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which is definitely out this year and in fact is mere months away now with a release date set for the start of September. I’m very excited for this one, as while I enjoyed the gameplay of Ground Zeroes, I’m hankering for more actual story, and with this being the last in the series, Hideo Kojima seems to be delivering all the goods! The only trepidation is regarding Konami, who seem to have lost a game of Russian roulette recently, shot themselves in their own head, and emptied their cranium of any business sense. Hopefully they gave Kojima creative control right through to the last second and this series goes out with a bang; I certainly won’t be buying the shovelware crap they’re likely to stamp the Metal Gear brand on over the next few years, so best treat this like a final swansong.
I actually hadn’t played any games in this series before Fire Emblem: Awakening, and was *blown away*; easily my game of the year upon its release. Fire Emblem: Fates uses the same engine, albeit tweaked to look even better, and an interesting new story concept – split into two, you have to choose sides and experience a unique twist on the story. In the land of the rising sun this is resulting in a Pokémon style split release, with a third unlockable campaign as DLC further down the line, and it’ll be interesting to see if this is how it’s sold over here in the UK. I don’t mind to be honest, and would probably even double-dip… I’m just *really* looking forward to this game. Fire Emblem: Fates isn’t out until sometime in 2016 so we’ve got a bit of a wait.
Xenoblade Chronicles X looks wonderful! As somebody who still hasn’t played the first Xenoblade Chronicles game (I know I know – I have it on the New 3DS though and will play it at some point this year) I really didn’t know what to expect after that inaugural trailer, but each preview since has just looked better and better. The E3 videos have been great, except some of the voice acting, which I hope can be switched to the original Japanese upon release, and above anything else it’s the sense of exploration and the *amazing* soundtrack that accompanies it that has me sold. It’s high time that the WiiU got a sprawling open-world fantasy epic like this and, with the new Legend of Zelda game completely absent from E3, it looks like Xenoblade Chronicles X is going to deliver.
Another almost-no-show at E3 despite being featured on the show pass, Persona 4: Dancing All Night still had a funky new trailer released, and it looked absolutely brilliant. I still can’t believe that this game is a PSVita exclusive, the graphics are just so polished it could probably pass fine on the PS4! Anyhoo, as mentioned above, I’m a humongous fan of Persona 4 and its myriad sequels, including the Arena games, and I’ve really been looking forward to Persona 4: Dancing All Night; I’ve even had to stop myself importing the Japanese edition because I’m that excited for it. Each time I see a new trailer I then spend the next week or so with the music stuck in my head – I know this game looks a bit “girlie” or “not the kind of thing a 32 year old man would buy” (as I’m told) but I don’t care; I even have it preordered, disco fever edition bitches!!
The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes came out of nowhere! At first I thought that it just looked like a cheap cash-in on the A Link Between Worlds engine, but after watching some more videos and reading impressions from E3, this game sounds awesome. As most people probably know by now, Zelda is my favourite videogame series of all time, and I’m *always* excited for new games, this one being no exception. The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes looks a bit like a Four Swords spiritual successor, and hopefully I can convince my wife to join me in some multiplayer temple exploring, although I understand it also has a single player mode. While I wasn’t overly keen on A Link Between Worlds, the graphics engine was great on the 3DS and really played to its strengths, maybe this game will finally use it to make a truly fantastic Zelda game. Certainly one to keep an eye on, allegedly in late 2015, fingers crossed!
Now, I’ve never played any of the previous Shenmue games on the Dreamcast (because I didn’t have one) and so this might seem like a bit of a strange entry onto this list, so have I just brought into hype? Well no, for a long time I’ve been a massive fan of Sega’s Yakuza games, hell I even own the Japanese copies of all the ones never released in the west, and many people constantly tell me how much I would enjoy the Shenmue games if I’m into that sort of storytelling in a modern-day RPG setting. Backing the development of Shenmue III on Kickstarter not only means you’re actively involved in a piece of videogame history, but also the stretch goals have already unlocked gems such as a complete backstory cinematic for the first two games. From all the videos I’ve watched of the original games (dodgy voice acting and all), I’m really looking forward to Shenmue III, even though I obviously won’t have the emotional connection a lot of long-term fans have.
Genei Ibun Roku #FE is the new official name for the game previously known as the Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem project and this E3 it unveiled its new identity with a completely mental new trailer, which had critics utterly flummoxed!! Looking almost *nothing* like you would imagine from the original name/concept for the project, Genei Ibun Roku #FE looks like a crazy J-Pop inspired anime-tastic JRPG of overblown proportions (literally – those *bewbs*), and I really can’t wait. We don’t even know very much about it yet, but it totally looks like my cup of tea and right up my street, to use some British colloquialisms; I basically need this game. As with Xenoblade Chronicles X, it’s good to see some large Japanese RPGs like this come out on the WiiU, and by the time it’s finished it’ll be a console with quite the stellar line-up of games. Especially for an old weeaboo like myself.