A wonderful year for gaming.

2016 has already been an enormous year for gaming. Titles like Uncharted 4, Dark Souls III, DOOM, Overwatch, Battleborn, and more dropped earlier this year, providing gamers with some of the toughest purchase choices. With many game of the year candidates already popping on your console of choice, I’m here to talk about the games 2016 has yet to release. These are the bad boys and girls that I’m excited about.

10 – Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (6/7/2016)

Mirrors Edge parkour

Kicking off my list is the eagerly awaited Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a huge fan of the parkour style of gameplay, and no game has better parkour platforming than Mirror’s Edge. Having had the opportunity to test out the beta for Catalyst, I can safely place it in my top 10 anticipated games of 2016 – it’s that enjoyable. With the removal of firearms from the game and more of a focus on perfecting platforming, Faith and her adventure should shine.

9 – Zero Escape 3: Zero Time Dilemma (6/28/2016)

Zero Time Dilemma Header

Many years after Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Stand released, Zero Time Dilemma will finally see its day. Announced quite some time ago, Zero Time Dilemma is a game that I’ve anticipated since its debut. Zero Escape partially inspired the DanganRonpa series, and it plays as a first person puzzler. The last game had you solving puzzles in various rooms in order to escape a facility in which you and a group of people were locked; however, at certain intervals, each pair of partners had to vote to see who would live or die (only one person could escape). Once the watch you were wearing reached a certain number, you would either escape or die via lethal injection. The plot was fantastic, and even being a good hearted individual didn’t always serve you well. Hopefully, Zero Time Dilemma picks up right where the last game left off.

8 – 7th Dragon III Code VFD (7/12/2016)

7th Dragon

It’s nice to see a sudden surge of Sega published titles. Yet with the remaster of Valkyria Chronicles and the announcement of 7th Dragon III Code VFD(a series that began on the Genesis, if I’m correct), Sega has stepped right back into the game. After acquiring the rights to publish Atlus games, I see a bright future ahead for the once well loved entity. But what 7th Dragon III Code VFD offers gamers is another interesting 3DS RPG from a celebrated series that rarely makes the journey to the west. I’m always ready to gobble up just about any RPG, and the combat looks like an enjoyable hybrid between dungeon crawling and a traditional turn based setup.

7 – I am Setsuna (7/19/2016)

I am Setsuna battle

If Square-Enix published I am Setsuna ends up playing as amazing as it looks (and as amazing as its influences play), then I am Setsuna will wind up becoming one of the best RPGs of 2016. With a soundtrack styled similarly to Chrono Trigger and gameplay to match, the only thing I am Setsuna needs to watch out for is being too much a clone. Still, watch some gameplay demos and tell me that isn’t a beautiful game.

6 – Mafia 3 (10/7/2016)

Mafia 3 car

Few open world games of the same style as Mafia actually interest me. But I took a risk on Mafia II many years ago when it hit the shelves and loved it. The atmosphere, cars, and story all mixed together with an accurate craftsmanship that I took for granted at the time. But thinking back upon my 200+ library of PS3 games, Mafia II was one of the most memorable. And for that reason alone, I’m very excited for Mafia 3.

5 – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (8/23/2016)

Mankind Divided

Fans of Deus Ex celebrated upon hearing news of Human Revolution’s sequel Mankind Divided. Reprising the role of Adam Jenson, players will pick up where the previous entry left off. Human Revolution gave gamers a first person shooter experience that split between all out action and stealth (both lethal and non-lethal) based on your abilities and decisions, while incorporating interesting dialogue options and a decent in depth RPG skill tree. What ensued was a successful ensemble of genres that never felt contrived, offered thoughts on important themes, and was an absolute blast to play. If Mankind Divided furthers this trend, it will be an excellent 2016 release.

4 – Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (6/24/2016)

Tokyo Mirage Sessions

When first I heard that both Persona and Fire Emblem were coming together to make a video game baby, I about lost it. My excitement was contagious, as I shared my discovery with my Persona/Fire Emblem buddies, and together we waited for more information. That never came. Until recently. With its inception less than a month away, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE looks to play as a Persona style game, where your “persona” are Fire Emblem characters. If the ambiance of the previous Persona games seeps into this one, this game will immediately jump higher on my list.

3 – Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (6/28/2016)

star-ocean-5-integrity-faithlessness-summer-2016

For all of its flaws, Star Ocean IV still holds a memorable place in my heart. Who doesn’t want a fantasy-sci-fi adventure that spans planets (and isn’t Mass Effect)? If there’s one thing Star Ocean has always done, even back on its SNES roots, is create a universe full of life and color that is hard to forget. Watching gameplay videos of Integrity and Faithlessness, I have already fallen in love with the detail of the world and characters; I only hope that its narrative and acting doesn’t stumble as much as IV.

2 – Final Fantasy XV (9/30/2016)

Final Fantasy XV

I’ve been waiting for this game for 10 years. A lot has happened in my life during this game’s mammoth development cycle. The reason it doesn’t top my list is because my apprehension for what it may turn into. I’ve enjoyed the demos and trailers, so my hope is that Square-Enix really pulled their heads out of their collective ass. Really, I can’t wait to explore the vast open world in XV (originally Versus XIII). Here’s to hoping that Final Fantasy XV’s journey is as successful as my venture into adulthood and soon marriage.

1 – The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (9/6/2016)

Trails of Cold Steel Sara

I’m sure many of you will disagree with me on this one, but Trails of Cold Steel, released last year in America, provided me with one of the best RPG experiences of the past decade. What’s even more about this title is that it will only be available on the PS3 and PS Vita, two systems either on its deathbed or dwindling down. Having recently finished Trails of Cold Steel, I am so eager to see where Rean’s adventure takes him next. The simplicity and realness of its narrative and its enjoyable gameplay solidified this grandiose RPG as my number one more anticipated remaining release of 2016.

 Honorable Mention:

Nier: Automata (TBA 2016)

Nier Automata

Because this title has no official 2016 release date, it did not make my list. However, with its possible release in 2016, I felt the need to discuss it.

One of my favorite RPGs of all time, Nier gave me a game that I’ll never forget. Sure, it had its flaws, but it also played completely unique to most action RPG games by splitting genres, presenting a memorable narrative, boasting one of the best soundtracks of the decade, and forcing gamers into an existential conundrum. With Nier: Automata, a game that I thought would never exist (a sequel to Nier that is), Square-Enix hired the expert combat crafters at Platinum Games to improve upon the admittedly dated and somewhat sloppy combat that Nier incorporated. With such talent at the helm on both the narrative and gameplay front, I’m hoping Nier: Automata can surpass its predecessor in my heart.

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