The beginning of 2017 promises to give us a lot of great titles. Returning franchises are in bound for the early half of 2017. Some of these are games that we hoped to see in 2016 but were delayed and now we get to see if that delay was worth the wait. I’m optimistic that it will be, without further delay (see what I did?) here are top games I am looking forward to in early 2017.

Nioh – February 7th

Fans of the Dark Souls franchise are most likely keeping an eye on this new game. This game originally started development all the way back in 2004 and has a convoluted development process that makes Final Fantasy development seem reasonable. Its current iteration is being developed by Team Ninja. With a tight and punishing combat system that will remind people of Dark Souls and its sometimes aggravatingly unforgiving boss fights, Nioh takes on its own story in the 1600’s in Japan, but with a dark twist.
Graphically the game is solid and promises to give those of us a thirsting for another action RPG that will trigger control-slinging rage-quits.

For Honor – February 14th

For Honor is the latest game from Ubisoft Montreal. Hoping to cash in on that sweet Moba-craze that’s taking the gaming world by storm, For Honor offers a gritty (but beautiful) arena battle gameplay. This game has an insane amount fighters from across the historical world. Want to play as a Nordic warrior the size of a small mountain? You can. Or do you prefer a more Eastern persuasion and dream of being a Samurai? No problem. Really the only thing the game is missing right now are pirates, but give it time. Ubisoft is still announcing new warriors that you will be able to select from.
For Honor also captures a pretty unique combat system, with your blocks and strikes effected by how you move your mouse or joystick. It makes for challenging but engaging combat, and brings a mechanic I had not used before playing the Beta.
For those who do not like exclusively multiplayer games there is good news. There will be a single-player campaign that you can play. No word on how long it is or the quality of the writing for it, but hey Ubisoft made all those great Assassin Creed games. So, what could go wrong… Right?

Horizon: Zero Dawn – February 28th

Probably the game I am most excited for in February is Horizon: Zero Dawn. I almost have no words to explain how excited I really am. This action RPG features Aloy, a young woman living in her tribe. At first glance this game looks prehistoric or close to it. Until you watch Aloy shoot down a robot shaped like a giraffe. Wait- a robot? Yep, Aloy goes on a journey to discover the secrets of where she comes from, and what is happening to the herd of robots that generally have lived peacefully.
Aside from being beautiful, and having intense looking combat that makes a bow and arrow look cooler than a maxed out archer in Skyrim, Horizon has put a fun spin on a world by turning what we normally expect on its head. I am always a big fan of new titles that bring something different to the table than our annual FIFA, COD, Battlefront which are usually capable of delivering(meant that with love!).

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – March 3rd

So, with Nintendo’s new console comes a new Zelda and I cannot wait. Promising us a large open world with side quests and crafting as well as some new elements previously not explored in the Zelda franchise. It makes it hard to not be optimistic about the new installments of the game. Zelda holds a special place in my heart as it does for many others.
Combat looks relatively simple, but there is a new element of weapons, and gear to piece together, collect and possibly craft. This would add a new depth to the Zelda games that hasn’t really been explored. While it’s unclear if there is any voice acting for Link, many other characters are voiced breaking another mold that franchise has traditionally clung to. Keep in mind that this game is being released on the Wii-U as well so if you didn’t get your pre-order for the Switch in, you can still play it on the Wii-U.

Nier: Automata – March 7th

Nier: Automata is a spiritual successor to Nier, which is a sequel to one of the scenarios from Drakengard (that’s not convoluted at all). Nier: Automata features a robot wearing a black Lolita outfit. She runs around a post-apocalyptic world hacking up robots and giant machines with her two swords and a companion that hovers next to her that’s can also be a gun.
If you just went WTF?! You honed in on why I am amused and looking forward to this game. While I played the original Drakengard I never played any of the other subsequent games. Nier: Automata caught my eye because of the art direction. The demo offers little new in terms of action RPG’s. You have a heavy attack and a light that you make combos with. Its simple and that’s okay. Art direction and robots fighting robots is enough to get me on board. The demo from this game offered quick action and a peak into the bleak world. Little information has been given about the story but I am certainly interested to see what Platinum Games will bring to the table.

I am Setsuna – March

I am Setsuna is a JRPG that will remind you of the good old days of turn based character, chibi game sprites, and overworld maps. Paying a homage to the JRPG’s of yesteryear, Setsuna has a fun turn-based combat system that still manages to be quick and engaging despite the sluggish stigma, you sometimes gets stuck with. Touched with a beautiful and melancholy story, players will be taken back to the days when JRPG’s were sad and all about sacrifice.
This game is already out on most platforms, but I am excited to see it come out on the Switch in March.

Mass Effect: Andromeda – March  21st

If you haven’t heard of Mass Effect you’re either from another planet or a time traveler from the past. I remember playing the original on PC and being blown away by the scale of everything. The dialog was unprecedented, the exploration was some of the largest seen even though it was painfully repetitive. The codex or lore for the game was massive and the music was jaw-dropping. People bicker about how the original trilogy went, but I think Bioware made a smart move to reset the universe in a sense by sending us into a different galaxy. We will see new races, face new challenges and choose between a pair of twins on who are new protagonist is.
New features like a class system reminiscent of the jobs system from other games will make playing, dynamic and interesting. I am ready to go fall into a rabbit hole of in depth characters, dialog and exploration that will (hopefully) be better than it’s ever has been for the series!

That’s the list of games we’re looking forward to playing in early 2017. It’s going to be a busy season/year for these games and its gamers. I wonder how many sick days I will be taking this year?

– The GamingU Team

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