To be honest, I am usually a few years behind in gaming. When you game on a budget waiting becomes key.  Spending wisely and getting the most for your dollar is crucial when you can not throw away precious little funds on E.T. or a No Man’s Sky. Budget gaming requires you to research games, look for bundles, and find sales. Steam sales and used games are my favorite way to accomplish this. I know my gaming tastes so I can watch a quick little first 10 minutes on Youtube and get a sense if I would like it. I also read up on the gameplay and reviews.  For this upcoming year I have three types of games I am looking forward to playing the heck out of: retro, new releases, and wish list.

Retro games for me are the games in my collection that I have had for a while that I have not devoted the time to playing and beating. We each have some of those that we got on sale, or after a recommendation. Dust one out and play it this year. Its never to late for a Lunar New Year resolution.

The come the new releases. These are games scheduled to come out this year. I likely will not buy a single one of them, but I will be paying close attention to if they will be worth it. The last game I bought new was Ni No Kuni and it did not disappoint. This might be the year I break out again!

Wish list games are ones that we dream of popping up on E3 as a surprise. If only these games shocked the world and were announced for “Holidays”. They will likely not happen, but hey we can dream right.

Retro:

Day of the Tentacle (Remastered)

day-of-the-tenticleMy 2016 purchases of video games centered on a style of game that I had not played in forever, point and click puzzle games. One of the purchases happened to be the recently remaster of Day of the Tentacle. This game has a quirky style that had reviewers raving about its humor even after all these years. The only con listed has been the illogical puzzles that can slow you down. Now that we have internet walk through, this no longer presents a big problem. That said, this gamer will be thwarting the Tentacle this year on his own!

Blaster Master

blaster-master

This game is my video game unicorn. What’s a unicorn video game? Not a My Little Pony game, but one that you love but have never been able to complete. For those unfamiliar, Blaster Master uses two separate perspectives. In your tank, SOPHIA, you are in a 2D side scroller exploring through the different levels. You can leave the tank and enter buildings for a top down perspective like Zelda dungeons. The combination, paired with Metroid like back tracking and exploration, create one of the most amazing games. This year SOPHIA and I will go toe to toe with the Plutonium Boss. I’m coming Fred.

Castlevania

castlevaniaThis is a classic series that I have owned for a very long time. I used to play a great deal on the Gameboy. I was lucky to pass the first level and inevitably the batteries would give out before I could beat it. I am looking to work on some harder games this year like Ninja Gaiden, Batman, and for all the publicity and reverence this series gets I will be giving it my best.

Mega Man Legends

mm-legendsI am a Mega Man fanatic. Back in the day, a few friends and I pulled some all nighters to beat all the original and X’s in the series in a single sitting. It was daunting and many thumbs were bruised. It was then that I heard about a messed up Mega Man series that had him going through shopping malls. It is time I gave the series a go. I honestly do not have high hopes, but this will be the year I dust this one off.

Xenogears

xenogearsFor many RPG fans Xenogears is among the best RPGs of all time. I have had many make the case to me that it is in fact the best (take that Chrono and FF7). I have played through the first few hours several times and never had it hook me well enough to continue. The battle system in the early stages has been greatly lacking. The story has some intrigue, but it is clear that the main draw is the giant robots. The time has finally come to put in the time and finish the game to see where it ranks among the RPG greats.

 

New Releases:

Hello Neighbor

hello-neighborMost games hinge on surprise such as an enemy jumping out, a bomb exploding, or a sudden appearance from a boss. When is the last time you felt suspense in a game?

Alfred Hitchcock explains suspense as knowing what is there and participating in it. Hello Neighbor captures suspense in a way I have seen few games use. You know where the other is, and you try and sneak around them. Will you be caught? Can you evade your neighbor and find out what they are hiding in their basement? From the trailer it looks like getting to play the movie Rear Window. This game could end up being a surprise hit Indie worth checking out.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Of all the games to noted for 2017, this game seems to be the masterpiece in waiting. Renewing the exploration aspect of Zelda, Breath of the Wild brings about a large open world like never before in Zelda. Rumor has it that like the original, Link will be able to access dungeons at any time instead of a forced progression. The size of the game is said to be at least double of the recent games in the series.  The scope, magnitude, and call backs for this Zelda appear to have the foundation of a masterpiece.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

License properties are notorious for being trash. Some quite literally, ahem E.T.! South Park showed with Stick of Truth that it could turn a video game into a season’s worth of episodes and fun. With the creative team back the outlook is good for The Fractured But Whole. The biggest knock on the previous entry was in the gameplay, specifically the battle dynamic. As the developers and creators have both already responded to this, it appears the game will build on the previous entry and take South Park to a new level. The only question remaining is can they find a way for the game to still feel fresh and topical like South Park is meant to be.

Sonic Mania

sonic_mania-2I wrote an article earlier debating what makes Sonic, Sonic. Usually we connect Sonic with the idea of speed, but I believe the core is good level design and constant movement. The lead game designer seems to get what Sonic is about and has been building unique levels accordingly. These levels have showcased multiple pathways and unique game play mechanics. Best of all, the painful waiting in Sonic seems to be limited. All signs point to a Sonic renaissance, but we will have to find out.

Blaster Master Zero

Many sequels have been made for Blaster Master. Reception has been from acceptable to frosty. Just like Sonic Mania, there is a chance that the series could be returning to its roots. Inti Creates, developer for Mega Man 10, just got the rights from Sunsoft to make Blaster Master. They are looking back to the original for inspiration and adding a few touches to improve the few critiques of the original. Most notably they will be adding sub weapon options for strategy in the top down action. Having seen how well Mega Man 10 came out feeling like a Mega Man game, I have hope Blaster Master will be back!

Ni No Kuni 2

ni-no-kuni-2This game feels like it should be on my wish list instead of here. Yet, it is scheduled to come out this year. Someone pinch me, I must be dreaming. The animation of the first game felt like playing a studio Ghibli movie. The story was solid, with heartfelt moments. Few deaths in games have captured me like Oliver’s mother. It was like Aeris of FF7 all over again! You could feel the depression and sadness overwhelm the poor boy. The weird high lord of the fairies, Drippy, breaks him out of it to go after his mother and off you go. The next game is said to be set either in the same world or another dimension. With the incredible animation and strong character development this game could again be a smashing success and capture the Ghibli magic.

 

Wishlist:

Pokemon RPG (Switch)

The game has been announced. The questions remain, what is it and when is it coming out? After years of The Pokemon Company noting they will not make a Pokemon RPG for a console, Nintendo has switched things up. Combining mobile and console into one means that a true Pokemon RPG could finally become a reality for a console.

It is unlikely that the game is ready for 2017. The game could also take many different forms, and only tease players, once again, with what could truly be. Although, one can dream of a slimmed down Pokken Tournament combined with a generation 1 Pokemon RPG might look like on the Switch.

Half-Life 3

half-life-3The game has become a joke to many, a myth to most, and the Holy Grail to the faithful. In truth, HL3 has about as much chance of coming this year as me becoming a professional Overwatch player.

That said, there are a few reasons to hope, not for this year, but for the future. It is likely that this game will not see the future until something inspires or motivates Valve to move forward with it. With VR becoming a reality, it stands to reason that Valve could eventually use that medium, along with Steam, to bring Half-Life 3 to become a reality.