Friday, December 19, 2014

Hedging Expectations

There are a lot of awesome looking games scheduled for release next year and quite a few of them are sequels.  Take these numerically ascending titles for example; Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Uncharted 4, Halo 5,  The Order: 1886, Gran Turismo 7, Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires, Mighty No. 9, and Mario Party 10.  Each is noteworthy in its own way, as are quite a few other titles I'm not going to bother mentioning right now.  Instead, I really want to focus on a half-dozen new IPs that have caught my fancy.  Mostly because they are gloomy in tone and as such will dampen my enthusiasm just enough to make the wait tolerable.

From Software's spiritual sequel of sorts to Demon's Souls, this game seems to be about a Victorian era city blighted with an illness that slowly turns men into monsters.  True to the Souls series tradition this action RPG looks really challenging.  More intimidating still, players won't get a shield to hide behind either since there are none in the game.  Maybe the tagline for this outing should be "Prepare to Die...even more than before!"

As if physical harm weren't bad enough, how about some mental trauma?  In this Kickstarted indie project by Red Hook Studios players have to manage a stable of heroes as they attempt to expunge an ancient evil from the land...possibly at the the cost of their sanity or very lives.  Worse still, one of the archetypal adventurers is a leper; meaning that even if he somehow endures the horrors of the dark he's still screwed in the long run.

Another kickstarted indie title, and beautiful pixel art game, set in a distant future long after they fall of human civilization as we know it.  Aside from poking around the ruins of humanity's former glories, the titular Drifter must find a cure for a disease that is slowly killing him.  Adding to this melancholic theme is the name of the studio, Heart Machine, which in turn is a reference to the game director's lifelong struggle with congenital heart disease.  

Brought to you by the makers of Just Cause, everyone's favorite post-apocalyptic road warrior is back!...except it sounds like his iconic V8 Interceptor has been stolen...and he's stuck in the middle of a barren wasteland, devoid of even basic necessities such as drinking water.  Don't worry though, there's plenty of psychotic marauders out to do all sorts of bad things to the player purely for entertainment value.

Trapped in the cold, dark, crushing depths of an ocean, players must explore an underwater research base infested with robots which have begun to display human characteristics.  Expect to deal with existential horror concerning the nature of conciseness and existence.  Particularly if this title, like Frictional Games' last five outings, has players controlling a character that can interact with objects in the environment without every using any visible limbs.  I guess it all kind of makes sense when one considers that "soma" means "body" in Greek.

As if being isolated under water wasn't bad enough how about being stuck in a seemingly abandoned research base on the moon?  In this case players will have to contend with the hardships of rogue-like gameplay complete with unpredictable layouts and enemies, as well as 1980's aesthetically driven technology.  So, basically Alien: Isolation with permadeath.  Sounds like a potentially nightmare inducing scenario although it's hard to say for sure since developer Lunar Software is keeping most details top secret.

Is your excitement subdued at all?  Hopefully so.  If not though you have my sympathies.  2014 was a downer in a lot of ways, and not just in terms of video game releases.  Hence, after all that dissatisfaction it's pretty hard not to get pumped for the better days that lie ahead.  Just remember to manage those expectations though otherwise it's pretty much guaranteed you'll feel let down once again.

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