New Year, new games to look forward to. 2021, at least so far, isn’t shaping up to be as hype as 2020 was for games, but there are definitely some things I’m looking forward to this year. Let’s dive in.
Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition
Demon’s Souls Remastered has given me the ‘Soulslike’ bug and while the original Nioh wasn’t too bad for what I was able to play, Nioh 2 looks to have improved on everything its predecessor offered. The catch? Nioh and Nioh 2 are considerably more difficult than your typical Dark Souls game, so I’m not entirely sure if I’d actually like them, but I’m looking forward to giving Nioh 2 a proper try when it drops on PC this year.
Bravely Default II
The original Bravely Default was an interesting JRPG on the 3DS, featuring art from legendary Japanese game artist Akihiko Yoshida. It got a little stupid for me in the back half of the game, but I’m hoping the sequel doesn’t repeat the original’s mistakes.
GaaS looters haven’t been faring too well lately, but the folks at People Can Fly seem to be focusing on the right things with Outriders. I’ve been around the block with these games enough times to wait for release to really dial up my excitement, but the recent delay to April gives me hope that the studio knows it needs to get this right out of the gate or see its game suffer the same fate of many of its peers.
Ah, Amplitude Studios, developers of some of my favorite Civilization competitors. The studio’s 4X games are always beautiful and full of interesting ideas, but often plagued by a lack of depth and AI issues that would make Civ games blush. Humankind is Amplitude’s first actual direct shot at the Civilization games and I’m hopeful the studio can go all the way this time with a 4X game that’s as deep and functional as it is beautiful.
Chucklefish publishes some of the most interesting looking retro style games out there, but they have a mixed record when it comes to quality. That said, I can’t help but be captivated by the charming world of Eastward, a new RPG by developer Pixpil and published by Chucklefish. It’s unclear if Eastward will make it out this year, but I’m looking forward to checking it out if it does.
Arkane Studios are one of the few studios out there still giving us immersive sim games. Dishonored, Dishonored 2, and my personal favorite, Prey, were all excellent immersive sims developed by the studio. Arkane’s applying its pedigree to Deathloop, a new shooter that looks to play a lot like Dishonored, with an interesting Groundhog Day style mechanic layered on top of it.
Truth be told, I am super behind on all the Batman Arkham games. While I own them all, I’ve only finished the original Batman: Arkham Asylum, though I fully intend to go through the series once I get to ‘em in my backlog. Gotham Knights, a new game by WB Montreal, is a wholly co-op take on the popular brawler series of games. This may bump it up on my list of games to play, as the co-op focus is a big draw for me.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
It’s hard to say at this point if the official re-release of the Mass Effect games will offer much for PC players who have had access to a variety of mods for a number of years now, but I’m crossing my fingers nonetheless. I don’t know if I want to go through the emotional rollercoaster those games put me through years ago, but if the re-release is worth it I may jump back in.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis
Phantasy Star Online 2’s release in North America came too late for me. PSO 2 is an interesting, but dated game, in a genre one could argue it pioneered well before Destiny came around. I was surprised to learn that SEGA was working on a more modern take of the game. Dubbed Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis, players will be able to go back and forth between both games or even continue to play the original using the considerably upgraded graphics. But New Genesis itself offers new combat systems and open world gameplay. It’s enough to have piqued my curiosity.
SaGa Frontier Remastered
This is my obscure JRPG from the 90s that I like to bust out to flex my JRPG bona fides. It was one of the most bizarre games I’ve ever played, but the soundtrack was (and still is) impeccable. Never in my life would I have expected to see this game get remastered, but here we are. I’ll be there day one to check it out.
Like Nioh 2 on this list, Elden Ring has jumped up on my radar due to how much fun I had with Demon’s Souls Remastered. In this case, Elden Ring is actually being developed by From Software and the involvement of George R.R. Martin is another angle that makes this project all the more interesting. No clear indication that this game will make it out this year, but here’s hoping.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
It pains me to discuss this game. I don’t think I ever pre-ordered a game so fast, but now I regularly consider canceling it and waiting to see how it all shakes out post-release. Pretty much nothing post-announcement has gone right for this game. Janky demos, delays, and then the firing of narrative lead Brian Mitsoda (one of the biggest draws for fans of the original game) and the subsequent departure of senior narrative designer Cara Ellison, all cast a pall over the status of what was once one of my most anticipated games ever. I still can’t help but look forward to Bloodlines 2, if for no other reason than I hope the game delivers on its promise, despite all the clear and disturbing issues going on with the game’s development.
What’s on your list for 2021?