As we enter the final stretch of our Ones to Watch feature, we turn our gaze to thos games coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4, but doing so from outside the halls of Sony’s own first party studios – those are the focus of tomorrow’s finale.
There are a few games that have seen popularity on Sony’s platforms for years, but also others thathave made their games exclusive to Sony’s console. It’s certainly an interesting lineup if they all release in 2016, so let’s dive in shall we?
Let’s begin with the one that actually has a release date! If 2015 was the year where character reveals built up the hype, 2016 is the year that the next generation of Street Fighter truly begins. We’ve seen it at trade shows and via online betas with a variety of characters on show, and it’s seen some redesigns, balance tweaks, and new fighting arenas along the way.
There are definitely some characters on the roster I’d love to get to grips with and learn their V-Trigger interactions. Mainstays such as Ken and Chun-Li look like a great amount of fun to use, while characters returning after a long hiatus such as Birdie and Karin have had updates to make them more competitive in the new engine.
Then there are the new characters on show. Necalli looks savage as sin, literally scratching his foes away with his attacks like an angry cat encountering a sofa, while the most recently revealed fighter F.A.N.G. – a new Shadoloo agent with a design not far from Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece – looks suitably insane.
Couple that with a teased tutorial featuring the Street Fighter Alpha versions of Ryu and Ken, and that’s pretty much all we know about Street Fighter V. Hopefully we’re in for a pleasant surprise in the amount of content on show, but historically there probably won’t be Mortal Kombat levels of stuff on offer. While it is coming to PC too, it will always be a console exclusive for the PlayStation 4 when it launches on February 16th, 2016.
Easily my personal pick for most anticipated game on the horizon, Persona 5 mixes the traditional JRPG and life-sim formula from the previous two titles with stealth and masks. Sound bizarre? Well it wouldn’t be the first time the series has spruced up the formula!
According to more recent updates from the game director Katsura Hashino, the game will follow a group of protagonists who “feel alienated from the current world. When they can unleash their personas in a place called the Palace, it’s perceived as liberation from the society that’s silenced them.” He also mentioned that the protagonists essentially steal malice from the hearts of certain people, hence the heists seen in the trailers.
It’s a fascinating concept on paper and if it’s anything like the murder mystery from Persona 4 or the occult hunter squad antics from Persona 3, this should be a brilliant little caper. Combine that with extra curricular activities from baseball, to playing video games against your cat. There’s a fair bit to the combat mechanics too, with masks being key to your Persona’s abilities.
Historically, Atlus have delayed European releases of the Persona franchise for a frustratingly long time compared to the US release date, so hopefully their acquisition by Sega will ensure that this will arrive in a timely manner. After all, there are a lot of European fans of this JRPG franchise, including yours truly!
This is actually part of a tie-in for a new Anime as well. Danganronpa 3 is the continuation of the main story with Makoto Neigi as the protagonist and Danganronpa V3 is the new game being brought to PlayStation Vita and, for the first time, PlayStation 4.
Given how the Danganronpa title that was localised this year was a third person shooter, this is more of a return to the traditional Phoenix Wright meets Battle Royale scenarios from the first two games. It’s hard to see where the series is going at this point, but solving each murder by deducing clues, reasoning with your fellow classmates, and playing a couple of mini-games to find the truth was exhilarating.
Very little is known about Danganronpa V3 at this time, and even in Japan with the only teaser I’ve found being the Japanese one shown above. However if the writing is as good as the first two games and if the subsequent translation is refined a bit, we could be onto a visual novel worth having a look into.
Kingdom Hearts started off well, but has been churning spin-off after spin-off for almost a decade now. The plot has become so convulted and impenetrable for some that compilations add these side stories into the package as movies rather than games.
So perhaps, finally, this is the end in sight. We will finally know the fate or Sora, Kairi, Riku, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey. Kingdom Hearts 3 looks to be more of the same with compelling gameplay, but incorporating rides from Disneyland/Disney World attractions into the mix as summons is a stroke of fourth-wall shattering genius, especially as some Disney themed worlds make their first appearance.
Our last look at the game was around E3 this year where we saw a bit more of the gameplay on offer and the worlds on show, as they entered territory from more recent films such as Tangled and Big Hero 6. We hope there are homages to older, more classic Disney films not previously referenced, but we also hope the combat feels as equally engaging as the previous titles were.
A sign of an enduring partnership in Japanese game development, despite these uncertain times, Square Enix have teamed up with Tri-Ace once more to bring us the next Star Ocean game. This time the story will be sandwiched into the timeline, rather than continuing hundreds of years in the future.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness seems to be using the same trope as the SNES debut, bringing a protagonist who lived his entire life on a developing world and thrusting him thousands of years into the future – not literally, but in terms of technology.
While my experience with the latter versions of this particular series has been nonexistent, it’s nice to see that the battle system hasn’t changed all that drastically since its inception, with its combo heavy fighting and what looks to be free-roaming around a battlefield. The Japanese will be getting this in March, but as with many games on this list, hopefully the localisation won’t take too long.