Last year was, in my humble opinion, a great year for videogames. Over the year, and in many themed gaming months, I played through some of what I now consider to be the finest videogames ever made (such as Bloodborne, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)... many of which I had been looking forward to playing as soon as they were announced. 2016 looks like it's going to be another fantastic year, partly because many of my most anticipated games of 2015 were pushed back to this year, and partly because there are some games coming that I never thought would have seen the light of day. To that end, my most anticipated game for this year would be The Last Guardian, the game I originally bought a PS3 for but now coming out on PS4. However, that game and many others are too risky to include here, because they're too likely to slip into 2017. So, presented here are my top eight anticipated games that hopefully are *guaranteed* to release this year and many of which I already have pre-ordered in various special editions.
1. Persona 5
This was my second-most anticipated game last year after Bloodborne, and so now it's my most anticipated game of 2016. It was only just over a year ago that I finished Persona 4 Golden for the first time (having previously played only Persona 3 FES) and since then I've been playing any and every related game that I could get my hands on and *loving* them all. Atlus knows how to make effortlessly cool and quirky games that play great and have absorbing stories and characters. Although we don't yet know a whole lot about Persona 5, and to be honest I want to go in mostly blind, the footage that we have seen looks like it's going to be another amazing videogame.
2. Fire Emblem: Fates
One of my favourite games in the year of it's release was Fire Emblem: Awakening, which I thought was just absolutely superb and kept me hooked for months; to this day it's one of the very best games that it's worth owning a 3DS for. I'm very *very* excited for the follow up Fire Emblem: Fates, I'm even looking forward to the prospect of it's duel-release structure and the possibilities of experiencing the story from two different viewpoints, or three with the special complete package. Living in the UK, we still don't have a firm release date or pre-order opportunity yet, but I'm hopeful it'll be out this year and with a similar special edition physical release as the USA. *fingers crossed*
3. Dark Souls III
My highlights of the year for the past several years have always included the 'Souls games, and last year Bloodborne was my most hotly anticipated game, which did not disappoint. Well, Dark Souls III is allegedly the final release in the series, and I was involved in the 'network stress test' last year... this was enough to convince me that the series is going out with a *bang*. The third entry looks great, like a true current-gen title unlike Scholar of the First Sin, and it still plays great, probably even better after the improvements taken from Bloodborne. With Miyazaki back at the helm of a true 'Souls title, there are plenty of reasons to be excited for this one.
4. Bravely Second: End Layer
God knows where I'm going to find time to play all these JRPGs!! But anyhoo... Forget anything with the title Final Fantasy this year, as the best release in that series of recent hasn't even carried that name. Bravely Default was a revelation when it came out, Square Enix had actually made an excellent traditional Final Fantasy game again, and this year we in the west are treated to the sequel in Bravely Second: End Layer. By all accounts this just looks like more of the same, but that's good enough for me; more classes, more story and hopefully without the misstep of a crap final stretch this time. I have high hopes.
5. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Not only do we have the final 'Souls game this year, but allegedly we also have the final Uncharted with the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. In 2015 I very much enjoyed revisiting the previous three mainline games on PS4 in their remastered versions, and it reminded me about just how much fun it is to romp across the globe as Nathan Drake, one of the most charismatic videogame characters of all time. This might be the game that Drake dies, but with the director's of The Last of Us at the helm, I wouldn't rule out a much more complex and involving story, with unpredictable twists at every turn.
6. The Witcher III: Blood and Wine
I know that this is not technically a new game, and is "just DLC", but the new and massive expansion for The Witcher III is one of my *most* hotly anticipated releases this year. I loved the main game in 2015 and I'm really looking forward to jumping back into the boots of Geralt of Rivia once more. There's no confirmed release date at the moment, but hopefully it comes out around the same time as the next translated book, Tower of the Swallow, so I can continue to read as I continue to play. I just love The Witcher and I'm betting that The Witcher III: Blood and Wine is going to be fantastic.
7. No Man's Sky
This game has seemed like vapourware for a while now, but allegedly it's coming in June. Either No Man's Sky is going to be absolutely mindblowing or it's going to be completely 'meh', but either way I'm excited for it. It's been a long time since I played an epic space sim, I think Colony Wars was the last one that I really *loved* back on the original PlayStation (I've dabbled in X3 but never really got hooked), so it'll feel good to play something in this genre again; which seems to be having a fair bit of resurgence at the moment. This game was also on my 2015 list, so it's way overdue.
8. Genei Ibun Roku #FE
As mentioned above, I *love* the Persona games and other series in the "MegaTen" family (such as Shin Megami Tensei IV) and I *love* Fire Emblem: Awakening, and almost more importantly I *love* Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Imagine if all three were mashed together and made some sort of beautiful mess. That's the basic principle behind #FE (pronounced "sharp F E" by the way) and it looks glorious. This game would be a lot higher on my list but for the fact that its got a hard to pronounce name and also it stands a chance of being a letdown. I'm hoping it's not!