Press Start: 10 Games To Get Excited About In 2015

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It’s the future and we still get to care about videogames. We made it! Excitement and anticipation are crucial elements of life itself, and in this messed up world we are fortunate that we’re able to devote any of that energy towards games. (If you are reading this and plan to spend money on games this year you are already doing better than almost everybody else on the planet.) Of course hype can turn either way in any medium, expectations coloring our reaction to movies, books, or what have you, but it might be most dangerous in the world of games, where we are fed a constant stream of enthusiastic prerelease raves, and where what we’re playing today so rarely matches up to what we were hoping for yesterday. We try to temper our excitement here, reserving it for the games that truly deserve our love (like Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+, or the TurboGrafx), but 2015 has a lot to look forward to. Let’s get excited, everybody!

Grim Fandango Remastered
PC, Mac, Linux, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita 
January 2015

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Raise your hand if you gave up on Grim Fandango because it was too hard. Everybody, right? Okay, almost everybody. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a version of this game that anyone could actually enjoy without a walk-through in hand? I hear it’s got one of the best videogame stories ever told. I’d love to actually be able to find out what it is without having to individually pull out every single one of my teeth in frustration. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this new version will be more accessible, although goodness knows how. If they change any of the puzzles, all the old school adventure fans will complain. To those people, I say: please feel good about yourselves for being so smart … in silence. The rest of us thank you.—Maddy Myers

Evolve
Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
February 2015

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Another multiplayer shooter where you fight aliens? Boring. But wait! What if it was just four human players up against one really big, super-cool alien? Okay, still boring. But wait! What if you get to play as the big, super-cool alien?? Uh, yes please. I’m never going to be able to live my dream of playing through all of Gears of War from the perspective of a Berserker, but maybe Evolve will scratch that itch. (Yes, I know you can play as the Locust in Gears of War: Judgment’s multiplayer, but that game was terrible. Let’s hope Evolve is not terrible.)—MM

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Wii  U
February 2015

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This upcoming Wii U Kirby title will incorporate the stylus and gamepad to create a play-style similar to 2005’s Kirby: Canvas Curse. Basically, you draw stuff on the screen to make Kirby move. Although movement in-game behaves differently, Kirby will still be able to pick up a few different transformative power-ups. It’s Kirby, so I don’t expect any innovative design boundaries to be blown open here, but I am excited to draw swirly rainbow arcs to move a little pink puffball to and fro while whimsical calliope-inspired music plays in the background. If I know Kirby, this game will be a slow, stress-relieving walk through a danger-free playground. Aahhhh.—MM

Sunset
PC, Mac, Linux
March 2015

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Sunset, the upcoming narrative game from Belgian developer Tale of Tales, is full of things you don’t often see in games, like ‘70’s décor, a South American setting and revolutionary politics with real-world relevance. Most daringly you play as a working class woman, and a woman of color, at that. Groundbreaking stuff for a videogame. Angela Burnes is a housekeeper for a rich South American and the story evolves as you guide her through her weekly work. There are dictators and rebels and it all happens on earth, in a world essentially our own, but in a place and situation that few of us in America today could relate to. Sunset aims to make us feel and think, two things you can expect to do while playing any Tale of Tales game.—Garrett Martin

Bloodborne
Playstation 4  
March 2015

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From Software has solidified its role as the James Joyce of videogames. The developer of Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls makes massive, intimidating works and doesn’t care at all if you make it to the end, or even if you understand anything that’s going on. Bloodborne might be less of a challenge—your character is a little faster, defense might not be quite as crucial, and it’s even easier to regenerate health—but it doesn’t stray from the end-times aesthetic and cryptic sense of wonder we expect from a Souls game. A simpler Souls might sound like a lesser Souls, but if From can differentiate Bloodborne enough from the mother ship, you could have another reason to upgrade to a Playstation 4.—GM

Mortal Kombat X
Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, PC
April 2015

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Mortal Kombat 9 had a lot of problems—racism, sexism, and the final Shao Kahn boss battle being soooo god damn cheap—but I still played it for more hours than I’d care to admit. (It was fun, okay?) MK is one of the only American-developed fighting games with any level of popularity, and mostly, the game’s creators seem determined to prove that our fighting games can be just as rife with crappy stereotypes as other countries’ fighting games. Still, though, other countries could stand to learn a lot from MK’s campaigns (especially MK9), which tend to be the most entertaining of the genre, whether you’re laughing along with Johnny Cage’s terrible one-liners or imitating Liu Kang’s chicken-like squawks. Here’s hoping NetherRealm does away with the mechanic where all the female characters’ clothes fall off after they get hit more than a couple times in a row, eh? I’m looking forward to finding out.—MM

Broken Age Act 2
PC, Mac, Linux, Ouya, Playstation 4, PS Vita, Android, iOS
TBA 2015

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Remember Broken Age Act 1? It came out back in January of 2014, and the sequel was supposed to follow right on its heels. After several delays of Act 2 and some sad stories of lay-offs and financial hardship at developer Double Fine, I’m now more than ready to see the rest of this story that managed to find a bizarre new twist on subverting that old save-the-princess trope. I’m not the biggest fan of point-and-click adventures, typically, but this story and the world are captivating enough to hook me … also the puzzles aren’t as hard as some of those old school games like (cough) Grim Fandango. Best of luck to Double Fine towards getting this game out the door soon.—MM

No Man’s Sky
Playstation 4, PC
TBA 2015

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Yesterday we looked at games that let you explore outer space. That’s also the pitch for No Man’s Sky, which promises to let you fly through the stars and seamlessly visit one-of-a-kind, procedurally generated planets, and all in the first person. That’s a big promise, but all the footage so far seems to back it up. And with gorgeous color palettes and rad music that sounds like the score to a ‘70s sci-fi film, No Man’s Sky should look and sound nice even it winds up the overhyped videogame equivalent of Kohoutek.—GM

The Legend of Zelda For Wii U
Wii  U
TBA 2015

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Feel bad for anybody working on a new Zelda game. There’s such a legacy and such great expectations to contend with that the pressure has to be insane. And no matter how the game turns out, there will be fans who immediately reject it for the most marginal reasons. (Also feel bad for them because they make videogames and probably work like 80 hours a week for months on end making their kids think they are just roommates and not parents.) Still, according to my entirely subjective math, it’s been over a decade since a truly great Zelda hit consoles. Although not nearly as crushed by the weight of nostalgia as any new Final Fantasy, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword were both stuck trying to evoke Ocarina of Time while forging enough of an identity to stand on their own. We don’t know much about the next major Zelda game, which is tentatively scheduled to come out for the Wii U this year, but what Nintendo has revealed sounds like a variation from the Ocarina playbook. They’ve said it’ll resemble the free-range, open-world format of the original NES game, with players able to explore the world and tackle dungeons more freely instead of in a set order. Freedom has always been a big element in Zelda games, but the post-Ocarina 3D games have been more directed and constricted, guiding you through the dungeons in a specific sequence and leaving large parts of the map locked up until you accomplished certain goals. If the new Zelda is structured more loosely it could finally feel like a genuinely new Zelda.—GM

Xenoblade Chronicles X
Wii  U
TBA 2015

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The only thing I didn’t like about 2012’s Xenoblade Chronicles was that I wasn’t still 13 when I played it and couldn’t chug through its dozens and dozens of hours within a week or two. The follow-up, Xenoblade Chronicles X, is less a sequel than a Final Fantasy-style continuation of that game’s concepts, and will probably demand another two or three days of total play time. Chronicles packaged some smart ideas about culture and technology alongside exquisite battle and loot systems, and somehow even wrung a beautiful art style out of the then-ancient Wii. If they can use the more powerful Wii U to expand on what made that game great, but without fussily overcomplicating everything, Xenoblade Chronicles X could be an all-time great.—GM

Garrett Martin and Maddy Myers edit Paste’s games section.

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