The Game Console I'm Most Excited About Post-E316 Jun 2013
One of the most exciting annual events in the video game world, the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) was held last week. A lot of the focus this year was on the two new console juggernauts - the PS4 and Xbox One - but there were plenty of exciting game announcements for current and next generation systems as companies vied for gamers’ attention (and money). Established series revealed information on new entries including giants like Metal Gear Solid, Mario Kart, Final Fantasy, Halo, Super Smash Brothers, Call of Duty, Kingdom Hearts, and Battlefield. It’s certainly a good time to be a gamer! After a week filled with exciting news, I thought about the console I am most excited to game on in the coming months.
Both going into and coming out of E3, I am most excited for Nintendo's handheld 3DS. My 3DS is already hogging up most of the time I spend gaming! Having spent a ton of time playing Fire Emblem: Awakening and New Super Mario Bros. 2, I am currently playing through Donkey Kong Returns 3D and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Not only is the current 3DS game library awesome, the games in the release pipeline are looking to secure the 3DS as my go-to gaming system. Here are the ones I'm most excited for.
Project X-Zone (06/25/2013)
Pronounced Project Cross Zone, this tactical RPG features a diverse set of characters from Namco Bandai, Capcom, and Sega franchises. Here are a few from series I have played in the past: KOS-MOS and T-elos (Xenosaga); Megaman and Zero (Mega Man X); Dante (Devil May Cry); Yuri, Flynn and Estelle (Tales of Vesperia); Kite and BlackRose (.hack); Chris and Jill (Resident Evil); Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li (Street Fighter); and Selvaria Bles (Valkyria Chronicles). I checked out the demo for this quirky RPG and had a great time playing through it. I'm looking forward to diving into this game next week!
Pokémon X / Pokémon Y (10/12/2013)
It's been far too long, old friend! The first and last Pokémon game I played was the original Pokémon Red. The series has evolved a lot since the late 90s when Professor Oak gave me a choice between a Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle (I chose Bulbasaur!), and then sent me off to catch the 151 Pokémon known to exist. While there have been many new regions, new Pokemon (Pokémon #649 is Genesect), and new gameplay elements, for the first time in the series, the entire game is going to be presented in fully polygonal 3D graphics. I plan to at least finish the story, while resisting the urge to try to catch em' all so I can play other games.
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (November 2013)
Taking place in the same world, but still not a remake or sequel to my all-time favorite Zelda game, A Link to the Past, this new entry in the Zelda series looks very promising. There aren't any specifics, but the spirit of the predecessor is clearly here - a Zelda game played in an overhead perspective with two linked worlds. I normally turn off the 3DS' stereoscopic 3D functionality, but the new vertical dungeon designs that will be enhanced by 3D might actually tempt me to turn it on. A new game mechanic/ability allowing Link to turn into a 2D drawing on walls will also add some Paper Mario-esque goodness to puzzles. This game will have everything going for it to satiate my long-held desire for a classic Zelda in the style of A Link to the Past!
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (~2014)
My heart cries when amazing games are released only in Japan, and it looked like Square Enix's Bravely Default was going to go this route. An awesome JRPG featuring turn-based battles and a job system akin to Final Fantasy V's, Bravely Default sold very well in Japan and received a 38/40 from legendary Japanese video game magazine Famitsu. Calls and petition to localize the game eventually got through and the game is now slated for release in 2013 in Europe and 2014 in North America! It seems like the Final Fantasy series is not returning to the classic, old-school goodness of games like FFVI and FFIX, but Bravely Default looks like it might be able to fulfill those nostalgic desires.
Yoshi's New Island (~2014)
I clearly remember my first day of Sunday school, because my mom picked me up along with a Super Nintendo and Super Mario World. I also remember the day my cousin Brian and I demolished Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island in a single evening during a sleepover. After my college roommate Theo Beers got a Wii, it took me a weekend to play through Super Mario Galaxy. When I thought I had my fill of Mario platformers, New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS got me hooked again with its excellent level design and compelling goal of collecting one million coins. I expect and hope Yoshi's New Island continues to channel the light-hearted fun and addictive gameplay that have become hallmarks of Mario platformers.
While the 3DS has awesome games coming soon that I am eagerly awaiting, the one game I am most excited for is not on the 3DS. Check back later this week to read about the game I crave more than all others!