2017 has left the building. It’s gone, dismissed, ceased to exist, striding off into the sunset like a fart in a hurricane, or something like that! To some this may come as a relief. To others a new year provides the opportunity to reflect on challenges presented over the past 12 months, some resolved others a permanent fixture in your life. A new year can feel like a passive reset that encourages newly discerned ambitions and a sense of productivity. We become conscientious of our bloated bodies, swelling from excesses of sustenance abuse during the festive period, seeking immediate nutritional alterations and workout routines that will swiftly erode within a few weeks when we rediscover our love for chocolate and dough. With a new year comes new perspectives and an expectant vigour for year infused with so much potential. So, rather tenuously it seems appropriate to start 2018 with a compact appraisal of my most anticipated games of the year.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2.
This is the only game on my list that I have already pre-ordered. John Marston’s attempts to kill his former gang members at the behest of a corrupt government official, who had taken his family hostage is some of the most compelling, as well as justifiable incentives that necessitates the killing of everyone you encounter. It’s bound be the most rooting tooting game in the West. For a fistful of dollars (£) I’ll be sure to trot home to the prairie to down a few sarsaparilla’s, toiling across the deserted plains in my painted wagon, assisting the helpless, starting fights in my local saloon, going toe to toe with some vagrant gunslinger and perhaps update my perception of what being in the old West is really about. Yee Haaaaw! There’s a snake in my boot!
2. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant King.
Ni No Kuni was a resplendent collaboration between Level 5 and the animated God’s of Studio Ghibli. And I loved it! It’s as cute as a button, as vibrant as a pool of skittles and possessing more charm than Roger Moore’s eyebrows. Don’t be fooled however by its yielding naivety or colourful imagery, as it also delivered an imposing turn based combat system as well as a surprisingly sullen tone, about a grieving boy trying to save his mother from dying. Ni No Kuni 2 is a sequel I didn’t even know I wanted, nor one I ever felt would exist, potentially arriving just a mere 7 years after the original! But I’m pleased it does exist.
“Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can”. Which judging by Peter Parkers eponymous alter egos current form is making bad Spider-Man games. Since Batman’s illustrious turn in the Arkham series I’ve besieged to the arachnid God’s for Spidey to emulate the same dynamic qualities that have made that series so successful. Spider-man for the PS4 expands on the theatrical iteration helmed amiably by newcomer Tom Holland, boasting a potent combat and unrestrained verticality missing since “Spider-Man 2 The Game”. Being developed by Insomniac, the auteurs of the Ratchet & Clank series only intensifies the tingling of my spidey sense.
4. The Last Of Us 2.
For me the fervent expectations I have for the other games listed here is somewhat more restrained in regards to The Last Of Us 2, purely because I never felt that the original would truly benefit from a sequel. The end, though not strictly conclusive felt absolute, espousing the controversial uncertainty between Joel and Ellie that has no doubt lead to many speculative dissertations into whether Ellie really did suspect Joel was lying. But then I remembered that this was NaughtyDog, a developer of the utmost distinction that has never disappointed me. So if they feel there is more story to be explored, that doesn’t merely unite beloved characters to re-tread familiar ground, you better believe I won’t be left out.
5. Pokémon for the Switch.
Now this one is a little more farcical, ambitious and frankly “Farfetched” but I’m hopeful all the same. Early indications suggest that this purported Pokémon Rpg is at the very least “a thing”, being developed by Gamefreak as a mainline Rpg that up until now had been exclusively synonymous with its portable brand. To experience a Pokémon game on the big screen is something I’ve petitioned for since Pokémon Red And Blue. So to finally get one on Nintendo’s coveted hybrid console is a 20 year dream realised. Yes I’m old enough that I shouldn’t care about Pokémon, but also immature enough to retort with raspberry blowing. So poo to you!
Honourable mention: Uncharted 5.
Hey, a fellow can dream can’t he?