In lieu of an interview for this week, we decided to do a sort of Q&A encore. Yesterday, we asked for everyone’s favorites of the year so far, and today, we want to know what everyone’s looking forward to most as we enter the second half of the year. So tell us in the comments what you’re planning to play this weekend and beyond.
I’m pretty pumped for Planetary Annihilation, the Kickstarted successor to the beloved real-time robot war game Total Annihilation. The story, I think, has something to do with clones fighting artificial-intelligence drones and using up planetary resources to fuel their remorseless armies. But never before have you actually been able to fight planet to planet, set up strategic moon bases, or hurl asteroids at your opponent’s forces. I’m about to go all Deep Impact on these Elijah Wood-looking fools, and this time there will be no Morgan Freeman to save them. I don’t know yet if players will actually be able to actually destroy entire planets, Death Star-style, but I look forward to finding out.
I’m looking forward to Watch Dogs. The premise, in which cities are run by supercomputers (just like the fantasies in all those IBM commercials) and hackers exploit that deep interconnection for their own aims, is such a promising match for an open-world structure. My expectation is that the hacking element will amount to superpowers along the lines of the inFamous games; my hope is for more nuance and complexity than that. There’s an opportunity here for this game to be something more than a playground, to serve as a commentary on the seemingly unstoppable integration of computer intelligence into every fiber of our day-to-day lives. Or maybe the game will surprise me with something else altogether. We’ll see.
For me, it’ll be damn hard for any game this year to out-hype Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney—Dual Destinies. The original Phoenix Wright trilogy had plenty of outrageous characters, wild plot-twists, and sharp (if sometimes broken) translated dialogue. The third game, Trials And Tribulations, has one of the most emotionally affecting endings I’ve experienced, only rivaled recently by the likes of Journey and The Walking Dead. I’m in the minority on this, but I also loved Apollo Justice, Wright’s protégé and the titular hero of the fourth Ace Attorney game. He brought a fresh perspective to the courtroom drama, and his unique abilities spawned a new level of excitement for testimonies. Plus, he wore a vest, and vests are cool. Then, there was Ghost Trick, the great one-off ghost detective story from the Ace Attorney team. I was already excited to see what they were working on next. Knowing that it’s a whole new Ace Attorney game with Wright and Justice working side-by-side? There are not enough memes of Philip J. Fry to express my desire to have this game right now. Also, Wright wears a vest this time too. Yeah, vests!
It’s hard to choose just one. I’ve been enamored with the bits and pieces I’ve been able to play of Sportsfriends, a collection of offline-friendly multiplayer indie games. I’ve sunk more hours into the frenetic early versions of Sportsfriends’ BaraBariBall and Super Pole Riders than most other games released this year. I’m also looking forward to Rayman Legends, the sequel to 2011’s stellar Rayman Origins. It looks to be everything I’d want from a sequel to that game: more zaniness, more beautiful cartoon worlds, more challenge. One level I played at E3, which the developer running the show said was the hardest in the demo, was a thrilling desert stage built to the tune of a mariachi-style “Eye Of The Tiger.” We clawed our way through the stage, and I was only aided by my knowledge of the song. (Your jumps and punches need to be in time with the song’s guitar blasts and other elements.) It was tough, but the finale, sliding down an oddly long rope and punching everything in sight while the music reaches its noisy climax, was riveting. The developer told me there were several more musical stages in the game. I want them now.
Anthony John Agnello
Rain, an upcoming game from Sony, is just the sort of thing I’m always looking out for. I love weird environmental puzzles, and I love them even more when they’re part of strange circumstances. Here, a kid accidentally turns invisible and gets stuck in the rain. He can’t take shelter because then no one, including you, the player, would be able to see him. Quirk like that is common, but it’s rare to see a premise this odd given the sheen Rain’s getting on PlayStation 3. Plus, it’s made by PlayStation C.A.M.P., the crew behind last year’s frightening, mesmerizing Tokyo Jungle. Sign me up.
My first impulse is to say Mistborn: Birthright, which is being written by Brandon Sanderson and set in the world of his Mistborn novels. But since I already talked about that game in the fantasy adaptations Q&A, I’m going with Young Justice: Legacy. Weirdly enough, both games are being developed by Little Orbit, and I fear I’m setting myself up for disappointment by getting psyched for an action game from the developer whose previous credits are limited to Barbie Dreamhouse Party and two games based on Monster High. But after the tragic cancellation of the excellent Young Justice animated series, which follows the adventures of a band of sidekicks and other teen superheroes from the DC Comics universe, I have to get my fix somehow. I’m encouraged by the fact that the show’s writers and voice actors are on board here, and I just love so many of the characters. I’m thrilled that I can swap between them—spending some time as both the adorable Miss Martian and the insanely emo Superboy as I smack Lex Luthor and the Riddler around.