For me, personally, I just can’t wait to be immersed in a world that is not this one. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be something special that I can just lose myself in. CD Projekt Red already has the experience in making giant open-world games from the Witcher 3, so I’m very optimistic that they can pull off a game with similar size and world-building elements. From what I’ve seen so far—a little gameplay footage and some trailers—the game looks to be massive and full of life. I am hoping that there will be plenty of different avenues to go down when it comes to spending my time in Night City. The cyberpunk aesthetic is probably one of my favorites, so to get a game set in this universe with a developer that has proven themselves is a match made in heaven.
Tales of Arise
As the resident weeb on staff, I feel it is my duty…nay, my purpose to spread the good word on JRPGs. Ok, for the 5 of you I didn’t lose with that intro: Tales of Arise seems to be a sorely needed reinvention of the franchise that is near and dear to my heart. With Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube being my first proper introduction in this genre, I fell in love with the real-time, fighting game-inspired combat. It also didn’t hurt that the aforementioned game had beautiful cell-shaded graphics and a story with enough clichés and plot contrivances that you’d swear you’d seen it all before in a seasonal anime. But this potent combination just works for me and Tales of Arise looks to elevate the franchise’s conventions to new heights. Now they’re finally entering the next-gen era…a few years too late. But I digress. Too jaded by the glitz and glamor of Final Fantasy? Too bored by the conservative Dragon Quest? Not edgy enough to be into Shin Megami Tensei or Persona? Well, buddy, do I have a game for you.
Ring of Pain
And as the resident card game player, how about a recommendation for an interesting game that was just highlighted during the Steam Summer Games Festival. Although the festival is over, Ring of Pain’s demo is still on my mind. Like most rogue-lites, there is a ton of replayability, due to a wide selection of armor, spells, and enemies you might encounter during a run. But instead of building a deck of cards to battle enemies, the dungeon you crawl into is all a deck of cards placed into a circle. You fight or sneak past enemies to the left or right until you are able to find an exit and escape to the next ring of cards. The game looks like it will provide an exciting challenge for those into rogue-lites but maybe not as mechanically able. Plus the creepy tone and aesthetic to the game feel just right. Honestly, I just want to play it to find out what’s up with that super creepy chicken creature. Just check it out and wishlist them here!
Baldur’s Gate 3
Ah, RPGs. How you take over my life. Having spent more than 200 hours on the project that awarded Larian Studios the rights to make Baldur’s Gate, I could not have been happier, nor could the project be in safer hands. Divinity: Original Sin 2 was a masterpiece in my eyes, and with the ability to plan and play Dungeons & Dragons campaigns on that game, it had already shaped up to be an incredible experience. Now, with the rights to the monsters and lore of the amazing Dungeons & Dragons itself, I shudder at the thought (in glee) as to what amazing nastiness and stories could be conceived by them. From what I have seen of the gameplay footage, it seems that both combat and exploration are going to be rather similar to Divinity’s own, so getting into that game would feel like slipping on a pair of incredibly comfortable gloves. I really, really cannot wait for the game to drop.
Yakuza: Like A Dragon
Released in Japan earlier this year and also known as Yakuza 7, the seventh entry in the popular Yakuza series brings with it the brand new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga (first introduced as a main character in the Japan-exclusive online collectible card game Yakuza Online). With this new character comes a completely different style of gameplay, being a turn-based rather than containing the more action-oriented gameplay of its predecessors. Don’t let this style change fool you though, there’s still plenty of that over-the-top craziness the series is known for, with a variety of crazy attacks to use and characters to summon to aid you in battle. Like me, Ichiban is a Dragon Quest fan, so much so that this upcoming game is heavily influenced by it (as some may be able to tell). As someone who has had difficulty getting into the series due to a dislike for some gameplay elements, but always been interested in and appreciated it, the changes in this new entry seem like they’ll be able to make me more invested than ever before. While it doesn’t have a solid western release date quite yet, as of writing it does still seem to be planned for sometime this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and even Xbox Series X. I also highly recommend this GameSpot interview with Localization Producer Scott Strichart focusing on the localization of the game for those interested in learning more.