A couple of days ago I completed Mass Effect 2, and I'll soon be putting a full review together for it. Let's just say that it's a strong Game of the Year contender, and it's still only February! 2010 looks like it's going to be a great one for fans of RPGs, so today I will be highlighting a few of the games that I plan on playing over the coming months...
Final Fantasy XIII - PS3 and Xbox 360 - 09/03/10
Let's get the obvious one out the way first. The Square-Enix cash cow continues to squirt out Final Fantasy games, but of course this one is a proper numbered entry in the series and not one of the many spin off franchises. Opinion on the Japanese version suggests that it will be a fairly linear experience - even more so than most of the previous entries, but I'm not to bothered about that as long as it still delivers a good game.
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening - PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 - 19/03/10
Most of us had barely had time to complete Dragon Age before Bioware announced that they were going to be releasing a full disc based expansion for the game. Several trailers have been released - one showing off some new adversaries called The Children, and two more featuring brand new characters called Anders and Velanna, so it seems that we won't just be getting more of the same, but a properly expanded world.
Rune Factory Frontier - Wii - 26/03/10
The DS Harvest Moon spin off series gets transferred over to the Wii, complete with gorgeous visuals and a crapton of stuff to do. This game has been picking up awards from dedicated RPG sites such as rpgamer.com and rpgfan.com, and in a few months those of us in Europe get to find out what all the fuss is about.
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes - DS - 12/02/10
I've been hearing great things about this puzzle/RPG handheld, and it's good to see that it is getting a European release. You control five different characters, each with their own powers and playing style - should be hours of addictive fun for fans of the series and those who have never touched a Might and Magic game before.
Half Minute Hero - PSP - 19/02/10
An RPG with a twist - you're only given 30 seconds to find and defeat the boss! To get around this rather harsh time limit, you can pay a time fairy to reset the clock - but each time you do so it will get more expensive. All of the usual things that you have to do in normal RPGs apply here - you must level up, buy better equipment, acquire new characters for your party, journey through dungeons and of course defeat the evil overlord - all while adhering to the 30 second rule. There's a demo available on the PSN store so I recommend that PSP owners go and check the game out!
Avalon Code - DS - 12/03/10
This is the latest RPG from Matrix Software, the team that worked on the DS remakes of Final Fantasy III, IV as well as Nostalgia. The big twist with this one appears to be the ability to rewrite the stats of your weapons and enemies, as well as the rules of battle.
Pokemon: HeartGold and SoulSilver - DS - 26/03/10
Arguably the best games in the entire Pokemon saga - Gold and Silver, get remade for the DS, boasting improved graphics, extra content and more surprises. The game will come with a Pokewalker - which is basically a pedometer that levels up a pokemon of your choice as you wander around. I've yet to catch the Pokemon bug, but I'm willing to give it another try.
Import Games (currently no European release date announced)
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony - PSP - 02/03/10
Lunar is one of the most remade games that a lot of people won't have even heard of. It first appeared on the Mega CD, was completely overhauled a few years later on the PS1, then was ported to the GBA, and now here it is again on the PSP. It is a great game, but I've already played the PS1 version. I am tempted to buy the Limited Edition version... but should I really be replaying an old game (albeit with new graphics and sound) when I still have a ton of unplayed stuff I already own?
Infinite Space - DS - 16/03/10
Infinite Space sounds really intriguing - "control, build, and customise more than 150 spaceships"... "over 200 characters and the ability to control multiple spaceships at any time"... definitely one to watch and a nice change from all of the fantasy/manga inspired RPGs that populate the DS library.
There are of course many more RPGs coming out during the year that aren't listed here - this is but a taste of what we have to look forward to over the coming months. For example we know that at some point there will be not one but two Dragon Quest games - the sixth installment and the final part of the Zenithia trilogy: Realms of Reverie, and the all new 9th game in the series: Defender of the Starry Sky. Then there's another game in the Tales series - Tales of Graces for the Wii which will hopefully be localised during 2010. We also get to revisit the wastleland in Fallout: New Vegas, with Obsidian handling the development duties this time. I personally can't wait for that one as I loved Fallout 3 (though I still need to catch up on all of the DLC that was released). No doubt there will be plenty of surprises throughout the year as well - one thing is for sure, RPG fans will have plenty to do this year!