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Games to Get Excited About – September 2016

Fall may be around the corner but the weather is still hot. The holiday release calendar is also heating up, so lets take a look at some of the upcoming releases that we’re keeping an eye on. September is surprisingly full of ports of previously released games and early access releases but there are still a few promising full releases.

Steins;Gate 0

steins-gate-0

Visual Novels are finally starting to get wide release in the West. Last year, we were finally able to get the fantastic Steins;Gate which is one of the best Visual Novels ever released. It is a twisting ride of a story that deals with both time-travel conspiracies and Tokyo’s otaku culture in ways that wind together in surprising ways. Steins;Gate 0 is a semi-sequel to the original game that explores an alternate timeline and explores ideas of Artificial Intelligence. Hopes are high that it will live up to the quality of the first game.

ReCore

recore

ReCore is a new IP from Keiji Inafune and team members that worked on the Metroid Prime trilogy. The game will be an exclusive for the XBOX One and it places players in the shoes of Joule, a scavenger, as she attempts to survive a ruined wasteland with the help of robot companions that she meets during her adventure. The game has an impressive pedigree and its art style offers a welcome bit of variety to the XBOX One’s lineup. Hopefully the gameplay will live up to some of the great work of its creators’ previous projects.

Destiny: Rise of Iron

destiny-rise-of-iron

Year 3 of Destiny launches, this month with the full Rise of Iron expansion. Destiny was initially met with mixed reactions from gamers who generally praised the moment to moment gunplay but complained about the boring, stilted story and the extreme grind required to make progress on post-game gear. Developer Bungie worked to keep the community active and the second year expansion, The Taken King, was generally much better received. We are very curious to see if they have kept up the quality in the new expansion.

 

Yokai Watch 2

yokai-watch-2

Level 5’s Yokai Watch has become a cultural institution over the past few years in Japan, with sales that have even come to eclipse the juggernaut that is the Pokemon franchise. The franchise came to the US last fall. Yokai Watch did not become nearly as big in the west as it is in its home territory, but it did well enough that the next game in the series in being brought over. The Yokai Watch series draws inevitable comparisons to Pokemon, but focuses on a smaller scope stories in a single community and encourages the player to get to know the town and its inhabitants while solving problems caused by mischievous spirits. We’ll see if this iteration can pick up a larger audience than its predecessor.

 

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice

phoenix-wright-spirit-of-justice

The beloved Phoenix Wright series with Spirit of Justice. Spirit of Justice is the 6th main game in the series and will focus on both Phoenix Wright and his proteges Apollo Justice and Athena Sykes. The series is well established at this point so if you are a fan of previous installments, chances are you’ll be happy for the chance to get back into the courtroom with Phoenix. If you have never played one of these games then this might not be the best entry to jump in with.

Honorable Mentions

We normally don’t feature ports of already released games in this feature, but I would be remiss for not pointing out that Darkest Dungeon is finally releasing on Playstation consoles this month. If you’ve been salivating over this title like I have since the PC release, then know that the wait is almost over.

Note from the editor: Games to Get Excited About was delayed this month due to conflicting schedules. Please expect October’s edition of Games to Get Excited About to be on time.

 

Top 10 Games of 2015

As we welcome the new year and all its exciting prospects and hopeful game releases, I’d like to look back on some of the games that made 2015 one of my favorite and most memorable years for gaming. This list is biased, of course, so here’s a bit about me: I’m a twenty-something writer/editor who has been gaming since Sega Genesis, and I have since developed a fierce love for role-playing games and anything with a great storyline or unique playability. I also love playing games with my friends (I mean, who doesn’t?), and I’m mostly Sony and Nintendo all the way, as far as consoles go. These factors weighed heaviest on my Top 10 of 2015, but there were still some outliers that really entertained me. I didn’t get to play all the games I wanted to – nor did I even get to hit up some of the most talked-about titles like Undertale or Life is Strange – but I did discover a lot of new favorites this year.

10. Samurai Warriors 4 IISamurai Warriors 4 II
I’ll be the first to admit hack-and-slash games can get really mindless really quickly, but I have a major soft spot for Koei’s Musou games. I attribute this fondness largely due to the local co-op, but this reboot of Samurai Warriors 4 added some features that really improved the gameplay. Character switching allows players to alternate between two characters during battle, which kept me from getting bored of the same ol’ button smashing of previous games. There are also a lot more combos you can gain with experience, and combined with the new “rage mode” (aka “but what about SECOND musou?”), there was actually more strategy involved. It’s still a Dynasty/Samurai Warriors game, so you can’t take it too seriously or expect too much, but it definitely is satisfying the see your kill score go up past 1,000. This has definitely been my favorite duo couch co-op video game of the year.

9. Exploding Kittens: NSFW Edition (Card game)Exploding Kittens
Like the Kickstarter promised, Exploding Kittens is horribly hilarious. I am in love with the card designs, and find myself cracking up randomly throughout the game. There is sort of a Sword of Damocles feel to the game each time you draw a card, and I can truthfully say that sometimes I have never been more relieved to draw a card featuring a fat cat wearing itty bitty kitty bikinis. The humor is definitely the charm of this game, and while I wish dead players had more to do while those still in game tried to kill each other with their kitty arsenals, the game is fast-paced enough that the losers don’t have to wait long before a new game can start. That being said, I’m really hoping for some expansions to add more features to the game, as the card options were a little bare. Still, the concept is fun and there isn’t too much of a learning curve, so it’s accessible to the (more mature) family. If you’re a fan of The Oatmeal, I highly recommend getting this game.

8. Magicka 2
Magicka 2
Now here’s a game you can really enjoy playing with a larger group of friends. Magicka 2 is a light-hearted little game that allows up to four players at a time run around co-op killing your generic little baddies. The fun, however, is in the extensive combo spell-casting system that lets you create any number of element amalgamations to target or defend yourself or others. The controls are a little confusing at first, and the sheer amount of combinations you can cast is definitely overwhelming and hard to remember, but that’s really the fun of it. You panic, and stupid things happen. And you have your friends running around you also doing stupid things, and suddenly everyone’s on fire. What’s not to love? I found this game completely charming and a great couch co-op for multiple players at a time. In a gaming climate where couch co-op is a seldom-seen word, I have to give this game major props for bringing groups together while still keeping the gameplay unique.

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