By DevourerOfTime 2 Comments
Thanks for reading the third part of the 25 games I am most excited to get my hands on in the coming year. I won't bore you and just jump into the list right away.
Sly is still one of the best 3D platforming series out there. It had an incredibly solid stealth-platforming base established in the Thievius Raccoonus that morphed into open world shenanigans sprinkled with incredibly varied and unique missions that constantly both exploited and twisted that platforming you grew to love. It was one of my favourite series to come out of its era and, while I think that the Sly series earned its little break in order to keep it from getting stale, it’s sad that Sucker Punch’s current generation efforts didn’t resonate with me as much as Sly.
Now the series is in relatively untested hands and I’d be lying if I said I was confident in this game. This fourth title seems to have taken the story at the end of Honor Among Thieves and tossed it out the window. With the time elements and multiple members of the Sly Cooper family, it seems that the gameplay is going down a quite gimmicky route, even as compared to the original trilogy. Worst of all, from my very limited time playing it at PAX, it just doesn’t feel like that solid platforming core has been maintained.
This was a hard game to put on this list, purely because, like I said, I lack confidence in it. I remember how the Jak series “came back” on the PSP, never even coming close to recapturing the original trilogy’s charm. I’m worried that the exact same thing is happening here.
Ultimately though, this list is not a manner of whether I think the game will be good or bad, but how excited I am to see the final product and determine its quality first hand, rather than through pure speculation. And I am way more excited than I am apprehensive to dive into a new Sly adventure.
#14 - Guacamelee!
This game needs to be on this list purely for that name alone. I mean, that’s just brilliant. Also, it’s really fun to say. Guacamelee. Guuuaaaacamelee. Gua-ca-me-lee. GUACAMELEEE!
But to bring it back to the game itself, metroidvania games are always welcome in my book. Add into it some cool melee combat elements, the old standby of parallel worlds ala Link to the Past that impacts every aspect of the game, fluid platforming, and some absolutely gorgeous art and animation with a fantastic sense of style.
I mean, look at dat standing pose. Look at it. LOOK AT IT!
#13 - Super Time Force
Tagging out Guacamelee for the other Toronto indie superstar, Capybara’s new game is looking to be something special. Super Time Force is one of those games where at any point in the game, anything can possibly happen. Anything. Get a mission to go back in time to fight a cyborg T-Rex? Stopping the dinosaur extinction by destroying the meteor? Meteor turns out to be some sort of robot? All of that happened in the PAX demo. When that is presented to you as the standard experience within the game, anything is possible.
But what’s best about this game is just how fun it is to play. There have been quite a few Contra-esque games in the past few years from indie and small japanese developers, but Super Time Force shines due to its Super Meat Boy approach to death, difficulty, challenge, and level design. Death comes quickly on any stage, against any obstacle, but the stage itself is only seconds long. Quick and easy refreshes, along with the ability to save past selves (who are still interacting with the environment simultaneous to you) to create checkpoints, allow you to die again and again and still feel like you’re making progress. Plus, being able to choose classes at each respawn, with each giving you a completely different way of approaching combat, just adds layers of depth, strategy, and enjoyment onto the game.
All in all, it looks like a simple game with cool mechanics and an infinite possibility for insanity. But it looks like it will be incredibly solid, simple, cool, insane game and I cannot wait to play more.
#12 - The Last of Us
The Last of Us is a strange beast. Since the very first trailer of the game, the focus has always been on the characters. It’s been pushed as a personal story, a journey following the gruff, Troy Baker voiced Joel and the young, somewhat naiive, Ellen Page-look-alike Ellie through a post apocalyptic America filled with fungus zombies, supply shortages, and groups of thieves and highwaymen. Oh, and they (and the world around them) will be very, very pretty.
And that is pretty much all we know about the game. Like at all. There have been early promises of this and that, but from the footage we have seen, that’s all we really know. We don’t know how important any of the systems are. We don’t know whether the game is extremely linear, ala Uncharted, or how much choice is played into the game. How deep are the repercussions for playing in a brutal manner? What is even the whole point of this journey of Ellie & Joel? We’re gonna have to wait until May, I guess.
But I know what The Last of Us is striving for. Like all forms of The Walking Dead, it is digging into the way-too-popular post-apocalyptic story and grabbing the human story out of it. Like Bioshock Infinite, it is trying to push the lives, the decisions, and the interactions of two individuals into the spotlight and watch them grow and struggle to overcome their obstacles. Like Uncharted, it is chasing after that cinematic element and weaving it into every aspect of the game, for better or worse.
Even if I don’t know everything I would like to know about it, The Last of Us is still one of the most promising AAA titles this year. Naughty Dog has proven themselves in the past and I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt despite the uncertainty of a big budget new title at the end of a console’s lifespan.
#11 - Skulls of the Shogun
Look, 17-Bit. We need to talk. I know you’ve had a weird development cycle for this game. I know you’ve been trying to put this out for what seems like ages. But of all the games on my list that should have been out by now, this is the one. I’ve played it before. It’s great. It’s a game that is right up my alley and it seems like a game that will have a lot of content to it.
But c’mon guys. I know that the end-of-game crunch is killing you, so I’m not mad at you for not getting this out. But I can’t say I’m not disappointed. So I can see that you probably need some encouragement after missing the Windows 8 launch. But that’s over now. It’s in the past. You’ve got a kick ass game coming to a plethora of platforms. It’s got a killer style to it with mechanics that remind me of greats like Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, and Phantom Brave. Guys, this game is gonna rock.
So tie the fucking bow on this title and get it out there. It’s gonna be great.
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This blog is a crosspost of a series of posts on my personal blog: Yeti Sized Games. It's a blog about my thoughts on gaming, whether it be reviews, opinions, podcasts, game design, and, sometimes, my time with indie game development while working towards getting my degree. Check it out if you want.