Me and my friend Max have decided to collaborate yet again – it’s a new year and there are lots of exciting books and games to swallow our time! I will be handling the gaming side, and Max will have the books! We have come up with our 5 most anticipated and combined them together.
1. Tiny Tina’s Wonderland by Gearbox studios (Aaron’s choice)
When the original Borderlands was first released back in 2009, it truly changed the way FPS games functioned in terms of the weapon systems. Borderlands was the first game to have loot with an FPS and it was also randomly generated. This was a delightful twist on what sometimes felt like a stale and often predictable nature of the way guns functioned within FPS games. This idea of crazy and unusual guns, which were unpredictable until use, surrounded in humorous storytelling, witty characters and brilliant gun mechanics made for a truly amazing experience. Now Borderlands maintained its standards throughout the series for the most part (maybe except for Borderlands the Presequel) but by the third instalment the game was starting to feel a little samey – now with Tiny Tina’s Wonderland on the horizon, this game could possibly introduce some new life into the series giving it a breathe new life into the series.
2. Horizon Forbidden West by Guerrilla Games (Max’s Choice)
I like open world adventure games as much as the next guy, but I have found to be a bit picky about the ones I decide to invest considerable amounts of time exploring. Horizon Zero Dawn was one of those games. The lush environments, the solid story and the fun combat mechanics hooked me in and only let me go on the other side of a hundred hours or so spent in its world. It is no surprise that its sequel is one of my most anticipated games of this year. Powered by PS5’s top of the line hardware, even more beautiful than the original, deeper in combat, and with a continued story that reels me in once more; I fully anticipate I will be spending a hefty chunk of my time in Aloy’s company. I am very excited to see how Guerrilla Games ups the ante and makes an early bid at Game contention.
3. Stray by Blue Twelve Studio (Aaron’s Choice)
Stray is a game that caught my interest when it was announced a while ago – the idea of playing as a cat that has a robot companion is definitely unique and interesting, I can’t think of another game like it! The concept is already surrounded in mystery and you combine this with the fact that the game is about exploration, the level of mystery just multiples. What I also love is the world shown in the trailers. It reminds me of the futuristic Tokyo, with tight streets and small, cramping buildings. The strange humanoid robots are also interesting – with a wide collection of interesting looking characters already seen hanging around the streets. I look forward to seeing more about this title.
4. Dying Light 2 by Techland (Max’s Choice)
I have so many fond memories of playing Dying Light with my buddy. We played the entire camping in co-op mode for weeks late at night and it is still one of my favorite gaming related memories ever. The game itself has had a lot to do with this. The parkour element added in a zombie survival game was enough to get us both hooked. Combine that with fun combat, tech tree, new weapon blueprints to hunt down and build, and a day and night cycle that kept the gameplay fresh, we both agreed that this game was near perfect. We have had to wait a long time to get our hands on the sequel and based on trailers and previews, it looks like it will be worth the wait.
5. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League by Rocksteady (Aaron’s Choice)
I have always enjoyed the DC universe, their heroes and villains feeling more grown up and mature, but I have found they have lacked consistency throughout all media. In the gaming world they have had some success in a few of the Arkham series of the Injustice games, but have failed to keep it up through the years or be more inventive. Rocksteady have decided to try something new in what seems like an open world multiple POV game where you get to play as the villains, tasked to defeat the justice league. This game needs no more of a selling point. On top of that, the graphics and character models look fantastic, the gameplay looks action packed and each character seems to play completely differently from each other. This is one game that I am very much excited to get my hands on this year.
(This game is potentially being pushed back till 2023!)
6. Elden Ring by FromSoftware (Max’s Choice)
It might surprise you to learn that I am not a big fan of “Souls” games. In fact, I have never finished one of them. There is something about the gameplay that simply did not click with me. Which is why I was quite surprised to find myself so intrigued and hyped up for Elden Ring. The creepy, horror-influenced medieval setting does a big chunk of the heavy lifting in getting my attention. I also watched a few people play through the demo they sent to certain streamers a few weeks ago and that convinced me that the combat was up my alley. I always like discovering new open world games and I think this new one could be a surprise hit for me this year.
7. God of War: Ragnarok by Santa Monica (Aaron’s Choice)
God of War is a series of games that I have always enjoyed – the pace of combat, the variety of weaponry and the absolute charm of Kratos himself. The God of War games are bloodthirsty, slaying a huge hoard of different enemy types, tearing arms and legs off and surrounding yourself in whatever remains of your fallen enemies. The absolute selling point of these games is the lore – the Greek Mythology is rich through these games and enhances every part. When they announced the newest chapter to these games, and knowing that they were changing it up, I was apprehensive at what would become of my beloved series. But my worries were unfounded because the latest God of War was excellent! With Ragnarok on the horizon I am fully excited to see what is in store within the Norse mythology, which gods or heroes are hiding behind the corner, ready to try and kill Kratos. Also the classic Thor look is a brilliant example of the tone and closeness to the lore that I am excited to see and play through.
8. Forspoken by Square Enix (Max’s Choice)
I have grown up playing Square Enix (formerly known as Squaresoft) games. Final Fantasy is one of my top three gaming series of all time, and Chrono Trigger is my favourite game of all time. Needless to say, whenever Square announces a new game, my eyes and ears are already wide open. Forspoken is being made by the team that was behind FF15 and while 15 was not one of my favorite games in the series, I still enjoyed playing it and I have high hopes that the team learned from their mistakes and are applying everything they learned to this new game. The game itself looks absolutely stunning. The fact that you have such a beautiful, extensive world to traverse while seemingly flying and swinging around combined with what looks to be a highly dynamic, magic-based action combat, makes for something that could be very special. I cannot wait to dive into it later this year
9. Star Wars Eclipse by Quantic Dream (Aaron’s Choice)
Now before you continue reading – I know this won’t be out this year but I am just too hyped!
In my opinion this was easily the greatest and most exciting surprise at the VGA’s last year (strange saying last year given the VGAs were only a few months ago). I knew that the Star Wars brand had finally leapt away from the clutches of EA and other developers were being given the opportunity to show what they could do with this brilliant universe. Now Quantic Dreams have recently jumped on to my radar when Detroit became available on PS plus and what a fool I felt, not ever giving this game a try before. Quantic Dream are master storytellers; creating a game that is able to tell a perfect interactive story whilst also giving the player ultimate choice that was truly impactful on the story. I can not wait to see how Quantic Dreams uses the Star Wars IP to create a new game within a relatively new era through the recently created High Republic story.
10. Sea of Stars by Sabotage Studios
There is no other video game genre that I love more than JPRGs. And out of those, old school pixel art JRPGs are at the top of the pyramid. This is one of the many reasons why Chrono Trigger is my favorite game of all time. When local Quebec game studio Sabotage announced they were making a love letter game to all their favorite old school JRPGs, I couldn’t believe it. I was already a fan of their first game, The Messenger, and now knowing they would bring their signature level of love and care to my favorite genre of games was the best gaming news I could have asked for. Since then, every small release of information has brought my hype to the next level. They have been very careful to release very little information about the game itself, but the few drops they have shared have been plenty flavorful enough to keep my enthusiasm fully blown. They were even able to secure the collaboration of legendary composer Yasunori Mitsuda (who worked on the Chrono Trigger soundtrack) for some of their tracks. From what we saw so far, the music is mesmerizing, the art direction and pixelated graphics are beyond gorgeous, and the turn-based combat infused with a few modern twists is punchy and engaging. These are only a few of the reasons why Sea of Stars is my most anticipated game of 2022.