For my last column in 2015 I want to take a quick look at some of the games and news items I’m looking forward to most in 2016. I’m predicting now that next year will be known as the year of Nintendo for me. They have a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of interesting things coming down the pipe but first let’s talk about some MMORPG and PC gaming items.
There are only two MMORPG’s that are even on my radar at this point for 2016. Black Desert Online and Blade & Soul. I didn’t play a lot of MMOs in 2015. Sure I did review a few but I never continued to play any of them after the fact for fun. This was the first year in a long time I can make that claim. You know how when you end a relationship you try and be nice and say, “It’s not you, it’s me?” Yeah… it was them. I hope to see that trend reverse very soon. Black Desert Online is still a bit of an enigma for me. While it garners universal praise for its aesthetics I’ve seen a lot of concern for the long game. How will this one play out? What will motivate players to continue to log in day after day? Farming? PvP? We’ve seen that tried before and while it does serve a niche it has a hard time finding a foothold with the masses.
In addition to BDO the next MMORPG that I’m actually looking forward to is Blade & Soul. This game doesn’t strike me as innovative or the next big thing, but it also doesn’t strike me as pretentious enough to bill itself as such. I did go hands on with it at some shows throughout the year and during some of the earlier beta periods. It was fun. Sometimes that’s all you need. I can see myself leveling a character to max while playing through the “story” and then engaging in some end game activities. One thing that really struck me was that I enjoyed how characters could change their outfits and by doing so change their allegiances.
For those that are wondering, “Well Rob, why aren’t you looking forward to EverQuest Next or Camelot Unchained?” I’ve got a simple answer for you. I am… sort of. I’m really looking forward to Camelot Unchained but it won’t be in a “released” state until 2017 at the earliest so by default it can’t make this list. I also highly, highly, doubt that we will see EQ Next in 2016. I’m also fairly certain that EQ Next has veered far enough from what we thought it might be that we won’t even see most of the items that were promised that would end up making it so great when it was first announced. Here is hoping that Daybreak proves me wrong. Please?
On the RPG front I’m looking forward to the next, and unfortunately last, DLC/expansion for the Witcher III: Blood and Wine. Did you know I like the Witcher? Have you ever read anything I wrote before? Sure it’s flawed but I enjoyed it the most out of any game that I played in 2015 and there were a lot of really good games this year. It’s a good thing I had to do the Hearts of Stone review because I almost took a pass on this game as a whole. I was frustrated with the tiny text on my PS4 version so I switched and started playing it on the PC for the expansion. It breathed new life into it for me. Blood and Wine takes Geralt to an entirely new region, one that hasn’t been beset by war. Finally we can see what a zone made by CD Projekt Red looks like that isn’t full of rotting soldier corpses with crows peeking at their eyes.
Next up on the RPG front are two little titles due out in January for the Nintendo 3DS. Final Fantasy Explorers and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. Final Fantasy Explorers is an action RPG that includes over 20 Final Fantasy job classes that your character can learn. You can also capture iconic Final Fantasy monsters and have them join your party to help you defeat Eidolons, which seems to be the primary goal of the game. One of the best parts of the game in my opinion though is the support for up to 4 player multiplayer. Unfortunately it looks like it will only be local multiplayer and not support match making over the internet like Tri Force Heroes. I do have a handful of children at home that I game with though and we get a lot of mileage out of local multiplayer games on the DS so it isn’t all doom and gloom.