December’s posts were devoted to games, music, and movies released in 2016, but now it’s time to look forward at the games I’m excited for releasing in 2017 (assuming they aren’t, y’know, pushed into 2018). It should prove to be interesting to read again towards the end of this year, at least for myself.
Not that I don’t want to play Valkyria Revolution, but I’m more excited at the opportunity to play Valkyria Revolution. Since the game was announced, there was a lingering question of whether Sega might localize it. Yes, Valkyria Chronicles did well on Steam, but Sega could’ve easily stopped there. Fortunately, as 2016 prepared to exit the building, Valkyria Revolution was revealed to be hitting North America and Europe on PlayStation 4 and Vita, along with Xbox One.
For those unfamiliar, Valkyria Revolution swaps the real-time/turn-based strategy mechanics of the Valkyria Chronicles games for a more straight-up action approach with a degree of strategy and RPG mechanics. I’m not confident that the game will be any good, but regardless of whether it’s enjoyable or garbage (or, more likely, somewhere in the middle), I’m eager to try.
It’s been five years since Mass Effect 3, but we’re unlikely to get too nastolgic playing Mass Effect Andromeda. Familiar races like turians and asari will appear, but this adventure is set in the far-off Andromeda Galaxy hundreds of years after Shepard’s antics. Humanity and the other alien races are the newcomers, exploring uncharted planets and coming into conflict with the kett race. Adventurers searching for the New World, as it is.
What hasn’t changed is the core gameplay. Andromeda remains a third-person shooter where the hero, Ryder, is flanked by two companions, but BioWare altered the classes so that Ryder isn’t forced into one. Instead, players freely jump between combat, tech, and biotic abilities. Sticking with the explorers angle, the game consists of larger open-world environments similar to Dragon Age: Inquisition instead of just a series of linear combat levels.
Zelda needed a change. Skyward Sword was too constricting, ironic considering that it was Link dropping into an unfamiliar world below the clouds. Doesn’t that invite exploration? Fortunately, as we know, Breath of the Wild is completely open-world, releasing Link from his slumber and immediately removing any hand-holding that sucked the fun out of too many Zelda games. Hopefully Nintendo manages to make Hyrule feel populated with activities (and doesn’t go overboard as Ubisoft so often does).
And, fortunately, they’re not shying away from story. The recent trailer (posted below) features Link and Zelda struggling against enemies and getting a tad dirty in the process. Someone begging Link to rescue his daughter makes me worry that Zelda will end up getting kidnapped (again), but a rumor regarding the story that gives me hope that the dialogue is a red herring. Guess we’ll know in early March.
This one should prove interesting depending on which direction they head. Will Shadows of Valentia follow Shadow Dragon by staying relatively faithful to the game it’s remaking or will they go New Mystery of the Emblem and include bigger changes? There’s been a question of whether the long-standing Weapon Triangle (introduced after Fire Emblem Gaiden) will even be included, so what chances does avatars, dual attacks, and children units have? And if those won’t appear, will fans gained by Awakening and Fates still enjoy Shadows of Valentia?
What other changes will the developers make? Fire Emblem Gaiden is often criticized for unimpressive map designs, so will those change? The maps seen in the announcement trailer (included below) look faithful to their original incarnations, so evidence points towards towards no changes. On the other hand, fans already pinpointed a new character sprite, so is that an avatar or a new character? Will that person introduce new story elements? With a May release, we don’t have long to wait.
JRPGs don’t attract me quite as they used to, but Persona 4 Golden had no problem latching onto me and demanding my attention until I reached the ending. I’m hoping — expecting — a similar reaction when Persona 5 releases, although I’m not thrilled to go from a portable console to the PlayStation 4. Grinding in JRPGs too often kills my enthusiasm, but running around dungeons while watching something else helps. (Man, if only the rumors of Persona 5 on Nintendo Switch were true. I suppose that PS4/Vita Remote Play is an option.)
The story is appealing, at least. Misfit students donning silly thief costumes to undermine corrupt authority figures sounds like a blast. I did get aspects of the plot spoiled for me, but I’m not terribly disappointed. So much of Persona 4’s appeal was getting to know well-written characters, and that’s the part of Persona 5 that hasn’t been ruined for me. Now if only Atlus wouldn’t stop delaying the bloody thing.