One more rodeo?
If you’ve followed my work here at Bit Cultures, you’ll notice that I have a passion for games – RPGs in particular. There’s something special about the video game industry, especially when you find a game or franchise that really clicks with your gaming desires. For me, games can be enjoyable for myriad reasons, even if they aren’t particularly the greatest. Still, it feels like far too often a game or franchise I love seems to cease production. Whether the cause be related to publisher issues, developer issues, or, really, any variety of issues, the lack of production leaves us yearning for more. I’ve compiled a top five list of games or franchises that I’d like to see a new entry in – regardless of probability.
5 – Crash Bandicoot
I know I’m not alone when I suggest wanting a new entry in the Crash Bandicoot franchise. Yes, Activision is pandering to fans with the addition of Crash to Skylanders, and re-releasing the classic PS One games on the PS4 is also pretty cool, but I’d love a fresh Crash Bandicoot game. I’m not talking the likes of Crash of the Titans, no. What I’d love to see is something similar to SEGA’s Sonic Mania – a reimagining of the classic Crash games or a brand new experience that plays like the original trilogy would be phenomenal. SEGA was pretty successful, even, with Sonic 4; wouldn’t Crash Bandicoot receive similar love?
4 – .Hack
The .Hack series helped me through the lulls of high school and college, combining into seven RPGs that I adore. Set in a fictional MMORPG VR world known as The World, the .Hack games followed both Kite and Haseo as they struggled through the nuances of hacking through The World in order to discover the reason why so many individuals fell into comas after experiencing death in the game. I believe .Hack would thrive on the current generation of consoles, particularly when it comes to populating a fictional MMORPG. .Hack’s biggest problems involved a pretty dead social MMO, so taking part in an MMO that felt alive would be pretty spectacular. I know that Japan has seen some extra .Hack releases (in the form of .Hack//Link and such), and the animes enjoyed some success, but I would love, love, love to see a new PS4 .Hack experience. Who knows, with the PlayStation VR set to release in October, a VR .Hack would be pretty wild.
3 – 3D Dot Game Heroes
Created by the now well-known FromSoftware (creators of Armored Core and the Souls franchises), 3D Dot Game Heroes was a uniquely awesome experience and experiment that, for me, was a success. The concept behind 3D Dot Game Heroes was to take classic NES/SNES era RPGs – particularly Zelda – and turn the visuals into 3D dots, settings and beings that were reminiscent of Legos. A complicated game for its simplistic idea, 3D Dot Game Heroes featured large dungeons filled with puzzles and epic boss battles. In fact, if there’s one thing I particularly remember fondly of 3D Dot Game Heroes (outside of its hilarious references to Demon’s Souls), it’s the wonderfully crafted and fairly difficult boss battles. Perhaps not as rewarding as downing a boss in a Souls game, 3D Dot Game Heroes still filled me with joy from its aesthetic beauty to its innovation.
2 – The Last Story
Arguably my favorite Wii game next to Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story was the final Wii masterpiece by Hironobu Sakaguchi (with the brilliant Nobuo Uematsu in tow). The Last Story was a game about a small band of mercenaries hired to protect a floating fortress. The heads of the mercs shared a dream of becoming knights, and this was their ticket to that goal. The narrative involves so much more, including a love story between the protagonist and the employer’s daughter, hostilities that keep the fortress under siege, and more; it was memorable. My favorite part of this game, however, was the awesome strategy battle system. Combat in The Last Story was pretty straight forward action RPG with a mixture of shooting and magic mechanics. Before you engaged in battle, however, you could position your group strategically with the goal of efficiently eliminating your foes in mind. I logged in well over 100 hours into The Last Story, and I’d love to see a game in the same vein as Sakaguchi’s gem; hell, a sequel wouldn’t be canonically impossible.
1 – Shadow Hearts
Perhaps the most improbable franchise on this list, Shadow Hearts will always hold a special spot in my gamer heart. The first two titles were originally published by the now defunct Midway, while the final entry came courtesy of XSeed. Shadow Hearts expertly mixed the horror and RPG genres to create an experience unique to this day. With its ring battle system, Shadow Hearts prevented combat from growing stale by offering up a new challenge on every spin. And while the original storyline ended after Shadow Hearts: Covenant, From the New World proved that the series could continue to live. If XSeed owns the rights to continue creating Shadow Hearts titles and the proper developer was able to build upon it, I would love to see a revisiting of the wonderful blend of horror/RPG, and its brilliant, gothic aesthetics and atmosphere.
Do you agree with my list? Are there any games or franchises you wish would live on, particularly outside of the RPG genre? If so, comment below.