The list so big, it needed a sequel; it’s time to head back to the Land of the Rising Sun. While Sega was the star of the show in our first Japan themed Ones to Watch, this time in the spotlight are Square Enix and Bandai Namco in equal measure. There’s also that long awaited Kickstarter from Yu Suzuki that fans have been rabid about for decades now, especially since their own money helped fund it. With that said, the first one is a doozy!
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Platforms: PS4, 3DS, Switch – Release date: 2018
We at the very least know it is coming in 2018, but with the game already out in Japan, international fans are hoping that the localisation is as stellar as Dragon Quest VIII’s was back on the PS2. The choice of platforms is certainly picking up some attention, as we don’t know when the Switch version is coming at all and whether it will be ready in time for the PS4 and 3DS international release.
If Dragon Quest XI is anything like the others, it’s sure to be one of the best and probably longest JRPGs in 2018. With the 3DS version comes the retro style sprites on the 3DS’ lower screen, while the PS4 would wield higher fidelity visuals. I for one don’t want to know anything about the Japanese version as I would like new things to be revealed through the gameplay, but it is likely to still have turn-based combat with all the familiar spells and monsters fans have come to know and love.
While Dragon Quest IX went in a very different direction on the Nintendo DS, and the chances of ever seeing Dragon Quest X localised are nigh-on impossible at this point, Dragon Quest XI will be when fans of the traditional RPG mechanics can get back into the series. Until then though, there’s plenty of older titles on Nintendo DS, iOS, and the Nintendo 3DS to play until then.
Platforms: PS4, PC – Release date: Q3/Q4 2018
As rapturous as the reception was for Shenmue III’s E3 announcement back in 2015, the wait for this game to actually come to fruition has been just as agonising for ageing fans of the Dreamcast originals. These things take time, especially when starting from scratch and with an epic story to try and tell.
Progress might have been slow, but occasional dev diaries have helped to reassure that the game is still coming, even if it’s been delayed until the second half of 2018. They even managed to release a first proper teaser trailer for the game last August.
Platforms: PS4, PC, Xbox One – Release date: 2018
“Transcending history, and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold.” SoulCalibur has always been one of those fighting games that has spectacular combat, while at the same time keeping core mechanics, even if they seem outdated. SoulCalibur V was admittedly a bit of a misstep in many respects – not even Ubisoft’s master assassin from Florence could save the horror that was Patroklos and Pyrrah, and oddly taking inspiration from Street Fighter of all games.
SoulCalibur VI already looks to be taking an approach more in-keeping with the nature of SoulCalibur, though rewinding the timeline is nothing original these days in fighting games; Mortal Kombat says “Hi”. However, the new clashing and countering mechanics look incredible on-screen, mirroring cinematic choreographed sequences, but actually being able for players to pull off.
Since its reveal, the most we’ve actually got was a stream where they showed off the combat mechanics, and the announcement trailer which showed Mitsurugi and Sophitia fighting and a new character’s twin-blade weapon. At this point though, I’m mainly wondering when they’ll show off other fighters from the original game, and also if Ivy’s improbable boobs will feature in a future improbable boobs segment in our News Snatch. Place your bets!
Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
Platforms: PS4, PC – Release date: 23rd March 2018
Though Studio Ghibli are no longer involved with the series, many people who were have returned to create the sequel to PS3 JRPG classic Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Though the sequel doesn’t feature Drippy, the welsh sprite that could, but it appare ntly does feature things that fans of the original may get a kick out of.
Ni No Kuni 2 is a very different game from its predecessor, though set in the same world. The combat now revolves around using Higgledies to aid you in battle, as well as switching between your party members, rather than the slightly Pokémon-esque nature of the original. It also has RTS battles that feature a similar unit structure to Fire Emblem that upon playing was surprisingly fun.
Catch more Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom in our Preview!
It’s certainly been coming along nicely and from what I played of it, and despite it being a rather radical departure it’s got a good chance to be one of the best JRPGs next year!
Kingdom Hearts III
Platforms: PS4, XBO – Release date: 2018
It’s been nearly five years since Kingdom Hearts III was first announced – in fairness, the team had to finish Final Fantasy XV first – but at least fans of the nigh on incomprehensible Disney and Final Fantasy crossover have been able to fill the time with a steady stream of ports and re-releases of older games in the series.
The most recent glimpse of the game came back in the middle of last year at Disney’s D23 expo in July.
Here’s hoping the final chapter in this story will live up to the hopes and dreams of the series’ many fans.
Attack on Titan 2
Platforms: PS4, XBO, Switch, PC – Release date: March 2018
Adapting the hit manga and anime series, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom did a great job of recreating the combat of small and nimble player characters trying to outmanoeuvre the slow, but deadly titans. It might have had a finicky and tricky control scheme to get to grips with, but for fans of the anime, this was something of a dream game.
For the sequel, OmegaForce are looking to greatly expand on the original, adding in a cast of 30 playable characters, picking up on more story cues from later in the series and even including completely original story content, made under supervision from creator Hajime Isayama.
Try not to click play below on the trailer if you’re wary of series spoilers…
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Platforms: PS4, Switch – Release date: TBA
We finish with a spin-off of the first game of the list! When I first heard about the original, I was very sceptical about how Dragon Quest and Minecraft mechanics would marry up. In the end, it was actually not a bad little game. It had its hangups but also was a nice, relaxing game to play overall if you can get past its issues.
New to this one, and perhaps crucially, is the ability to play the game cooperatively. This will not only make resource gathering and building happen much more quickly, but also ensure you’re not fully alone when monsters attack. There’s also the ability to swim and glide not only increase mobility, but provide more places to explore.
That being said, my sole concern is that it will turn out to be too much like the original, which was supposed to be a “What if” scenario based on the original Dragon Quest. With a similar looking world and look, it does at this moment in time feel too much like the original with a few upgrades. Time will of course tell on that front.
That’s it for this selection of games, but there’s plenty more to come in Ones to Watch, including another bunch of games developers and publishers around the world. Stay tuned!