2015 most certainly had its ups and downs and even though the year’s been relatively steady, I for one am looking forward to its more promising future. 2015 introduced us to some fantastic new IP’s that stand gloriously in a tiresome trend of sequel-itis; titles that come to mind are the masterful Ori and the Blind Forest and the hauntingly beautiful Bloodborne, even the nuanced shooter Splatoon made a significant imprint. Fall 2015 is honestly so jam packed with such high production value and will prove to be a substantial final quarter to an already great year. With titles that range from Super Mario Maker to Fallout 4 to Star Wars: Battlefront, this sheer amount of quality, up until this point, has been unprecedented. If you haven’t jumped onto the next-gen bandwagon, then now is the time as more promising titles are being released each month and if you’re an early adopter like myself, then these releases will further warrant your purchase on your beloved hardware. There’s one undeniable fact that arises when analyzing on what’s left to come: it’s a great time to be a gamer.
September is the first month to start of this bazaar of gaming and what better way to start it off than a trip down memory lane. Super Mario Maker is a tribute to the astounding history that Mario has fostered over the many years, being both a traditional side-scrolling platformer which is a custom of the Super Mario series, but also a game creation tool for players to create their very own Mario levels. Players can base their levels on the varying gameplay and visual fidelity of the original Super Mario Bros, Mario 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U, giving the ability to change the visual style on the fly and craft the stage to your heart’s content. Players can also tweak the safe and familiar formula which can even challenge and punish series veterans, adding a unique flare to the pioneered gameplay and already resulting in some hilarious “Let’s Play” moments which can be found at your favourite gaming outlets. Levels can be uploaded and shared amongst the community and you can also follow specific creators and keep up to date on their newest projects. Simply put this is an endless Mario game with endless possibilities, what’s not to love? Another game that’s worth mentioning is none other than Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I’ve actually yet to play any of the Metal Gear series so I’ll be passing on this entry this year as I have some long overdue catch up that’s in order and need to experience why this series is so beloved by so many. Mad Max may also prove to be a surprising sleeper hit in a vein similar to last years’ Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, but only time will determine the fate of this one.
October will be a fantastic month for me personally as it houses two of my most anticipated exclusives of the year: Halo 5: Guardians and Yoshi’s Wooly World. Starting with Halo 5, I just recently finished Combat Evolved for the first time and I must say that I was extremely happy with the experience and of the three Halo games I have played (Halo CE, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4) it’s undoubtedly my favourite entry. I know, I know, many say that Halo 2 is arguably the best in the series, so I look forward to finally playing that gem later this year. Enough on the past however, let’s focus on the not too distant future! Halo 5 looks to improve everything that Halo 4 crafted and provide a slicker, more engaging sequel in what 343 Studios describe to be the most ambitious Halo project to date. The introduction of new protagonist Spartan Locke is a rather intriguing one, hopefully changing the formula in a significant manner. Both characters being playable, the dynamic approach of Locke hunting down Master Chief will hopefully provide nothing short of a thrilling experience. The shameful omission of any supported local multiplayer is a profound shock and saddens me immensely. Playing Halo cooperatively or competitively with friends locally has become an expectation of the series and its absence would be just plain wrong. On the Wii U spectrum of October, North America will finally receive Yoshi’s Wooly World (lucky Europeans have been playing it since June). Now I know that its reception has ranged between the good to the fairly average but none of that shakes my excitement and will deter me from grabbing this adorable title! Yoshi’s Island was just sublime, an immaculate work of art, and I’m not expecting that same level of greatness from Wooly World, but I do expect that iconic level of polish, charm, and challenging fun. Its imaginative art-style alone is enough to warrant a purchase from me and I can already tell that my cheekbones will undoubtedly hurt from smiling way too much. For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of experiencing the Uncharted series, I’m looking at you Space Fuelled Games, then October will be a great month for you! The Nathan Drake Collection is a great way for newcomers to experience some of Playstation’s best and to gain exclusive access into the Uncharted 4 multiplayer beta. The Uncharted series is arguably my favourite Playstation series and I honestly wish I could wipe my mind clean and experience these games anew once more. October is a behemoth of a month that seems nearly unstoppable, that is until the leviathan month November arrives, arguably releasing the biggest games of the year.
Fallout 4. Enough said. In all seriousness though, November is absolutely insane and is just ripe with quality. As I’ve already mentioned, Fallout 4 is the November game and the game that people will talk about for years to come. Look at the gargantuan and societal imprint that Skyrim left on the world; just imagine the impact the Fallout series, arguably a better series in my honest opinion, will have on our society today. It’s a game that knows no bounds and seriously aims to push the limits on what’s truly possible. The sheer scope of the game is mind-boggling and this is undoubtedly Bethesda’s most ambitious project to date, the amount of player choice and customization is an absolute marvel and I’m at a loss with words when articulating how Bethesda was able to create this beast, which is arguably the most daunting game ever created. Along with all the staples in the Fallout series that helped attained its popularity, the fourth main entry in the series seems to portray a more cinematic touch that is new to Bethesda’s repertoire. Donning a manner similar to the likes of the excellent Mass Effect series, protagonist dialogue is fully voiced and the cinematography is top notch and well-angled, emitting a welcomed, intimate feel, something that the Fallout series has noticeably lacked. The idea that NPC’s and other characters will verbally address you by the name of your choice (as long as it is deemed as a common name) is also an immersive touch, one that that hasn’t been done before if I’m not mistaken. Fallout 4 seems to be the most ambitious game ever and given Bethesda’s ability and track record, they’ll undoubtedly succeed and deliver one of the best games of 2015 and possibly ever created. Fallout 4 is easily my most anticipated game of what’s left of 2015. Unfortunately, another game anticipated by many, myself included, is to be released on the exact same day as Fallout 4, and that game is the timed Xbox exclusive, Rise of the Tomb Raider. I’m honestly worried that the game will be forgotten in the shadow of the behemoth that is Fallout 4. Hopefully I’m wrong and the game is able to hold its own and create a following that will love and dedicate time to the both of them, allowing them to coexist harmonically. A random tidbit about myself is my profound love for arctic snowy environments, I don’t really know why to be honest, there’s something just alluring about the aesthetic. Luckily it seems that Rise of the Tomb Raider will scratch that itch for me and deliver the globetrotting “Uncharted” experience that I am so enamoured with. Another big November entry is none other than Star Wars: Battlefront. Now the fact that DICE, the folks behind the Battlefield and Mirror’s Edge series, were tasked in developing the next Battlefront game was a ground-breaking one. The original Battlefront is over a decade old, so its ideas and practices on the multiplayer front may not be relevant or reach the standards of the modern gaming realm, so I couldn’t have thought of anyone better to revive and add their own flare to a beloved cult classic. Granted at first glance, it may look like Battlefield with a coat of Star Wars paint, but as you delve deeper into the footage, you can tell that there was an admirable amount of respect and dedication put into their execution. Everything from the aesthetics of iconic locales to the classic sound direction are remnant of the phenomenon that we know today. Also the ability to switch into third-person is a nice nod to the original series as they were third person shooters, a gameplay aspect that DICE is not too familiar with, as they specialize with the immersive first person nature. Given DICE’s typical heavy focus on online multiplayer, I do hope that there will be some form of local multiplayer since that was how I spent most of my time with the original series. Lastly, the third entry in the Black Ops, Call of Duty subseries is set to release in November. Many are fairly fatigued by the series, so a lack of excitement for this one is understood, but the Black Ops series continues to surprise me, so I’m curious as to what Treyarch has in store for us this time. And plus the zombies mode has always been awesome, there’s no denying that.
The last month of 2015 is a little sparse in comparison to its brethren but it undoubtedly boasts a similar quality. I, personally, am looking forward to Xenoblade Chronicles X come December which will hopefully deliver an expansive, open world experience that pushes the Wii U to its limits. Ever since its reveal, Xenoblade Chronicles X never failed to captivate me with its marvellously, enchanted world, large scaled battles, gargantuan wild life, and diverse methods of traversal and combat. All in all, the game looks extremely impressive and I can’t wait to board my Skell and traverse the glorious landscapes of the planet Mira come December. And hey, given light of its recent delay, December will also see the release of Rainbow Six: Siege, a slight wait for those of you who love your tactical, team oriented, online shooters. Two other titles to be released in December are Just Cause 3 and Hitman; now I’m not a big fan of either series so these aren’t necessarily the most anticipated games of the year for me but I do understand that each have built their own following and many are undoubtedly looking forward to sink their teeth into them. Who knows maybe, perhaps these specific entries captivate my intrigue and shed light onto the acclaimed brilliance of each series?
There are also many games that were supposedly given a 2015 release window, or were said to be announced in 2015, but weren’t given a definitive date. Will these games see the light of day in 2015? Honestly, probably not given how we’re slowly, but surely, reaching the end of the year. But I figured I should at least mention them nonetheless. Given the ambiguous date of Holiday 2015, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash looks like a lot of fun and would seem to continue that iconic addictive nature that’s a staple for the Mario subseries. I actually haven’t played a Mario Tennis since the original on N64 back in 2000 so I’m eager to get back into the court and rally away! Atlus assured fans that Persona 5 would be getting a 2015 release date in North America, but have since went radio silent. No further information on the Japanese or North American release date has been revealed, so all we can do is wait and dreadful this wait will be. That gameplay trailer was staggering and truly encapsulated that quirky and idiosyncratic nature that the Persona series is known for. Portraying a similar art style to 2011’s Catherine, Persona 5 looks to continue the tried and true formula of Persona 3 and 4, but in a more urban, city-like setting similar to the iconic Tokyo City. Its stylized nature and fantastic soundtrack are back again, resonating all the right notes but somehow feeling fresh at the same time. If Persona 5 is half as good as its predecessor, then we’re in for a treat.
So those are my most anticipated games for the remainder of 2015, a nice, versatile array of games that will undoubtedly keep me busy well into 2016. Which of them will live up to expectations and the insurmountable hype? In due time, the answers will be abundantly clear, but as of now, we’ll have to wait just a little longer. Patience is a virtue. What are you looking forward to the most this upcoming Fall? Did I forget mention your most anticipated game of 2015? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!