2017’s games might still be why you’re turning on your console or PC, but 2018 promises to bring a whole host of great games to the table. It’s time to break out our Ones to Watch feature once more, in other words.
We’ll be taking a look at a whole host of upcoming games over the next couple of weeks, but while many of those games featured are off in the distant and mystical lands of “Q2” and “Holiday 2018”, there’s plenty of games to look forward to in the more immediate future. To kick things off, here are six games to look forward to in January.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Platforms: PS4, XBO – Release date: 16th January
Street Fighter V was released with the intention of becoming a generation-long platform for Capcom to grow and build upon, and with Arcade Edition, they’re sticking to that. While it’s seeing a new retail and digital release, all of the fundamental balancing and gameplay changes are coming as a free update for anyone that’s already bought the game.
When the update drops, players will have two new game modes to explore – Arcade Mode and Extra Battle Mode – as well as the addition of new V-trigger moves that will be the most significant change to the gameplay.
The Arcade Edition will be bundled together with the first two seasons of DLC characters, but it also kicks off Season 3 of additional characters, with six to be released through 2018. That starts alongside this release/update with the addition of Sakura, while you can look forward to the return of Blanka, Cody, and Sagat and Falke and G in the months to come.
Platforms: PS4, Switch, PC – Release date: 23rd January
Coming from the makers of I Am Setsuna, Lost Sphear is another wonderful looking JRPG from Tokyo RPG Factory. It’s a whole new world and cast of characters, with the balance of civilisation and untamed wilderness destroyed as much of the world is consumed by the blank white space known as Lost. It’s only Kanata, the main protagonist, that has the power to bring things back from nothingness by using Memory.
Just as with Setsuna, it takes inspiration from the genre’s 90s classics and the Active Time Battle system of Chrono Trigger in particular, but this game mixes things up much more significantly. When taking a character’s turn, they can move around the arena of battle freely, which becomes important when considering that all attacks now have an area of effect, whether directly next to a character and their sweeping blade, or with large magical abilities.
For more on Lost Sphear, catch our preview here!
There’s some intriguing new ideas in Lost Sphear, and this is definitely one to keep an eye on for fans of classic JRPGs and I Am Setsuna.
Platforms: PSVR – Release date: 24th January
Sony have come to lean on Guildford-based Supermassive Games quite a lot of late. After years developing the eventual breakout hit Until Dawn, they’ve now been charged with creating a number of second party titles for PlayLink and PlayStation VR.
The Inpatient actually sees them returning to the world they created in Until Dawn, albeit setting it decades before the events of that game in Blackwood Sanatorium. As with the original, it’s your actions and decisions that will shape the story as it unfolds.
If there’s one thing that Resident Evil 7 showed us, it’s that horror games can work really well in PSVR, and The Inpatient will be leaning in on elements of psychological horror, including the use of three dimensional audio.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release date: 26th January
We’ve seen more than a few Dragon Ball games released in the past, but not like this. Dragon Ball FighterZ (pronounced ‘fighters’) is simply amazing to look at, with visuals that might as well be straight out of the anime. There’s a great looking style to the fighting, with flashy abilities and explosions that light up the screen in spectacular fashion.
With Arc System Works behind the game, you can expect fighting game excellence. This is a 3v3 fighting game in the vein of Marvel vs. Capcom and Skullgirls, where your team of characters can tap in and out, lend a hand to a combo with assist moves to pull off simultaneous attacks or boost your combos, and so on. Arc are also delving into their own games, with a smattering of features and abilities that might be familiar to Guilty Gear Xrd fans.
With gorgeous graphics, a wide cast of characters and 2D fighting game experts developing it, Dragon Ball FighterZ already has fighting game fans salivating.
Monster Hunter: World
Platforms: PS4, XBO – Release date: 26th January
Where handheld and portable gaming reigns supreme in Japan, it’s all about home consoles in the West. So while Monster Hunter has gained a cult following outside of its homeland, being restricted to Nintendo 3DS for the last half decade has really held it back. Capcom are looking to solve that with Monster Hunter: World with its worldwide release on PS4 and Xbox One at the end of this month.
Throwing off the hardware shackles of handhelds allows this to be a much more ambitious game. It looks great, for one thing, but the open world is much larger and seamless, as you explore the zones to hunt and battle the huge monsters that roam them. Those battles prove to be as gruelling as ever, as you have to learn how to defeat a monster, read their tells, figure out when they’re wounded and track them from one place to the next when they flee.
Much of the gameplay will be familiar to veterans of the series, from the basics of monster hunting to the overarching progression, but this will be a great opportunity for newcomers that have only heard of the series’ greatness to dive in for the first time. Thankfully, you’ll still have the series’ four player co-op there so that old hands can induct new players into the Monster Hunter ways.
Dissisia Final Fantasy NT
Platforms: PS4 – Release date: 30th January
A truly baffling 3v3 brawler to start with, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT manages to be a lot of fun to play once you start to get the hang of it. The jump from arcade machines to home console is long overdue, with the upcoming release adding a couple of new characters and overhauling the interface so that it’s clearer and easier to understand what’s going on.
Catch our Dissidia Final Fantasy NT preview here.
As the title suggests, you pick from a range of Final Fantasy characters and take them into battle, looking to hook up with other players to work together and defeat your opponents with complimentary and contrasting classes. There’s hints of Super Smash Bros. in the way that you can take hits and dish out blows, but have to bide your time and strike at the right moment to actually knock someone out with a damaging hit.
There’s plenty of flashy abilities to use, but by far the biggest and flashiest are the summons that bring in the deities and gigantic creatures of the many Final Fantasy universes to back you up in battle. They buff your team and then proceed to roam the battlefield for a few moments, dishing out damage.
it might seem pretty nuts to start with, but it’s actually a lot of fun once you start to get the hang of it.
That’s all for our first entry in Ones to Watch 2018. Check back tomorrow where we’ll start to home in on particular categories of gaming and specific platforms.