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february releases

Most Anticipated Games Of 2017 – Our Top Five Picks

The year 2016 is past us and quite honestly it wasn’t the best, be it world events or video game releases. Apart from ‘Gears of War 4’ and ‘Uncharted 4’, there weren’t many that evoked the interest to play them. Thankfully, indie titles did a solid job (Superhot, Inside, Firewatch…) but they too were few and far in between.

Then there were the big disasters. ‘The Division’ takes pole position and who can forget ‘No Man’s Sky’ – so much promise but delivered very little in terms of immersive gameplay.

That said, the year 2017 looks promising with some of the best titles coming out in as early as March. While there are too many upcoming games worth mentioning, we focussed on five and for good reasons too. Read ahead to find out why.

Horizon Zero Dawn

This PlayStation 4 exclusive title certainly has us on the edge of our seats brimming with anticipation ever since we got a taste of it’s gameplay in E3 2016. Set in our world 1,000 years from now, robotic creatures and not the humans have moved up the ladder to become the dominant species of the planet. With much of the human population wiped out, there are but a handful of surviving colonies that have to constantly fight the odds.

You get to play the role of Aloy, the female protagonist of the Horizon Zero Dawn plot, she has been outcast from her tribe and over time, has learnt to hunt these creatures making her way through an open world. Her sole weapon from the first looks, is a bow and a quiver of arrows. The arrows themselves seem to be of different grades, some explode, whereas others pierce armours and discharge electricity.

The part that’s intrigued us is what Aloy does once she runs out of ammo (read arrows). It seems she has this special ability to construct weapons through a combination of machine parts from downed robotic animals and earth-based natural minerals. Oh, and did we mention it has giant metallic dinosaurs, because it does!

Mass Effect: Andromeda

The Mass Effect series has taken single-player space hoping and exploration missions to the next level. And we are guardedly confident that Andromeda shall not disappoint us on that front when its available in March and playable on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

The Andromeda plot begins in 2185, somewhere between the events of Mass Effect 2 and 3. The Citadel has identified the galaxy Andromeda as the next best bet to find and populate new home worlds by letting each race send a group of its finest on a one way, 600-year journey to the new galaxy. Each ship appoints a leader who’s called the Pathfinder.

In the game, there is a choice between human protagonists Scott and Sarah Ryder who serve under their father Alec Ryder, who happens to be humanity’s pathfinder. Much like the other Mass Effect games, here too we expect lots of space explorations, interactions with other alien species, alliances, wars, negotiations, decisions, break-ups and make-ups and a kickass storyline to thread all of these individual gameplay aspects together.

Although there will no cross-platform feature for multiplayer, like Mass Effect 3, Andromeda will support peer-to-peer gameplay. And quite frankly, we did enjoy playing it this way on the last one.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

The eighteenth in the list of Zelda family of games released by Nintendo over the years, Breath Of The Wild is among the rare few to incorporate HD graphics that’s set to release in March 2017. What makes this game even more exciting is that it can be played on the all new Nintendo Switch console as well as the Wii U.

Set in an open world, players can finally explore the lands either on foot or by riding Epona, the protagonist’s horse. That in itself should be reason to rejoice as the earlier titles had constricted gameplay decision making by pipelining entry and exit points in the game.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption was such a hit that its 13-million players (that includes us too) were praying that the game studio releases a sequel to it. And those prayers have been answered! Red Dead Redemption 2 is officially a thing and should be released for consoles sometime in autumn 2017.

Like its predecessor, this too will be open world but whether it clings tightly to the Western action adventure genre is something that we need to wait and watch. Chatter on the forums suggests that sequel will take American history as its central point, and offer a big sprawling gameplay to match.

Also, there just might a rethink to release Red Dead Redemption 2 for PC platform following the massive online petition sent to Rockstar with more than 47,000 signatures (and counting). The other being a multiplayer game play for the title, about which Rockstar has remained characteristically tight lipped.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

Set in Bolivia, a few years into the future, you take on the role of an elite Special Forces team, The Ghosts who are sent behind enemy lines to wreak havoc on the Santa Blanca cartel and neutralise their drug peddling operations for good.

As per Ubisoft, Ghost Recon Wildlands will be set in an open world that’s not just massive but extremely responsive. In fact, this could be the first game to offer nine varying types of topography, terrain and atmospheric combinations, from arid deserts to mountainous regions, each with their own rendition of day-night cycle.

Open world means more travelling and that means vehicles to do the job. And the rumor is that we could get to a do smash and grab ops on cars and trucks much in a GTA style. As for main gameplay, the weapons, tactical planning shall no doubt be improved, but a welcome addition are side-missions that you could do while on a mission.

Releasing in March 2017 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC , Ubisoft is offering a lucky few the chance to beta test the game between 23rd -27th February. The beta will have both single and multiplayer modes. It shall include two out of the twenty-one provinces from the actual game for players to test the open world nature and provide feedback.

february releases header

Top February Game Releases of 2017

The sheet number of titles scheduled for launch in 2017 makes this the best year yet in terms of game choices and February is just the start of a flood. Here’s a quick look at February’s top video game releases of 2017.

Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list of game title releases since some games were announced for February but no specific release date were given for them. Only games with confirmed release dates are mentioned in this list.

Fire Emblem Heroes, Feb 2nd

The game just launched for smartphone users and is available on both iOS and Android platforms. This particular edition of the franchise sees the player taking up the role of Summoner. You are required to call upon the services of various Fire Emblem Heroes throughout mankind’s history, which brings back characters from its previous installments. Using these heroes, you participate in turn based battles that occur over an 8 by 6 grid on your phone. The game relies on the same triangle weapon system and Players get to upgrade heroes plus call extra heroes to aid them in battle.

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World, Feb 3rd

Designed exclusively for Nintendo 3DS, this game will include all levels present in the Wii U edition plus a few new levels where you can control the woolen Poochy. As Yoshi in game you can take the help of the Poochy Pups to find secrets.

Atelier Sophie, Feb 7th

Did you know that this will mark the 17th title in this franchise and while this particular edition has already made its appearance on PS4 as well as the PS VITA, it makes its way to the PC this February.

Nioh, Feb 7th

Exclusive for PlayStation 4, Nioh feels influenced from Dark Souls series though the major difference between the two is that the former occurs in feudal Japan with mythological creatures walking the lands along with ninjas and samurais. You play the role of a westerner in their society taking the shoes of William, who is suddenly thrown amidst the turmoil of this tumultuous land. The game is riveting and keeps you glued to your seat throughout thanks to the picturesque settings and the character interactions.

WWE 2k17, Feb 14th

Your usual package of wrestling available on your computer, releases on Valentine’s Day. Great for us single gamers but those in a relationship might have to wait till 15th to play their favorite smash-your-head-in title.

For Honor, Feb 14th

An original cross-platform game title from the stables of Ubisoft Montreal, this battle intensive medieval action game features total of three playable factions starting with the Vikings, Samurai and ending with the Knights. It is the multiplayer mode of this game titled, War of the Factions, that you should be interested in though it features a complete single player mode too. Good news though, the multiplayer mode too is cross-platform too.

Sniper Elite 4, Feb 14th

For those loyal Sniper Elite fans, the 4th installment releases on February 14th but those who haven’t ever played this title, be ready to be bored on purpose. Yes, the game is a lot of preparation and planning and very little action but for those who love to strategize and meticulously plan each and every move, this is a title worth having.

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, Feb 21st

This game is based on a popular manga series by the name of Berserk but it gets its own spinoff world and warriors. You basically control the protagonist Guts and his merry band of fighters in a vendetta on the hordes of demons terrorizing the fictional lands.

Halo Wars 2, Feb 21st

Releasing this time around for Xbox One and PC, Halo Wars 2 is a strategy based real-time game with multiplayer put in it. The focus is more on card-based strategies and deck building rather than resource management and base building. There is a single player campaign too, complete with its own villain and mercenary band. The unique feature of this title is that a single license purchase allows you to play on Windows 10 as well as Xbox One.

Night in the Woods, Feb 21st

Proper cross-platform game that works not just on PS4 and PC but also Mac and Linux, this game follows a cat, Mae who has just returned to her rust-belt town from college. The dialogues are dense and the game presentation is enticing. There are several mini-games inside the main game plus loads of characters and upgrades.

Horizon Zero Dawn, Feb 28th

Developed by Guerilla Games, the new project titled Horizon Zero Dawn brings together a fantastical world where robots have overtaken the world and somehow made giant dinosaur copies of themselves. You are a hunter-gatherer who has to survive in this post-apocalyptic world now run over by robots.

Torment: Tides of Numenera, Feb 28th

Another cross-platform title this game will be available for Xbox One, PS4 as well as PC. It also is the only title on this list that gathered funding from Kickstarter about three years back. The game draws major inspiration from a classic RPG title called Planescape: Torment. However, that’s where the similarity ends because the game takes on a life of its own. The focus in this RPG game is more on conversations and how each sentence can affect future events.

Interested in any of the February releases scheduled or already available this year? If so, leave us a comment below and let us know which game you mostly look forward to playing and why. Also, if you feel we have missed any title out, do remember to remind us!

resident evil 7 still shot

Resident Evil 7 – Sneak Peek Into What You Are Missing

It is the environment in which Resident Evil 7 is set that gives the creeps. The game manages to bring you into a state of absolute solitude and then it brings on the horrible sequences, scares and the whole shebang. In fact, one of our fondest memories is simply navigating the house to discover stuff. Initially you only find decrepit things and abandoned stuffs but as you progress further you begin discovering animal parts, mutilated dolls and slime. That’s the moment you know you are in for a heavy session of horrifying gaming.

The game’s USP isn’t the demons, monsters and the gore. They only add to the overall effect. What truly sets this game apart is the reality of the decaying space around you. With littered items, an environment that speaks of abandonment, it compels you to imagine the life of the owner and previous occupants, what might have happened for the house to become the way it is now. That’s what really sets the tone of the game with the gore creating whatever remaining horror effect is necessary.

Instead of spoilers, let’s just briefly outline an idea of the game for you. Say you are Ethan and your wife is missing, much like the Outlander story. Except, she goes missing in some swamp somewhere. You play this character and he doesn’t like speaking much, but when he does open his mouth – it is usually to say something useful.

The starting of the game, about an hour is really non-descriptive other than the surroundings. You are left to discover things and by the time the real creeps start appearing, it is a little bit too late. No warning and definitely no inkling of idea when the horror starts. By the time, you are in the middle of the gore storm, you are left with a gut wrenching feeling of being in a wreckage.

In hindsight though, we felt that the game had a sort of low budget horror vibe to it. Through the first half of the game, things are laid out with clear ideas, there is a lot of thought that goes into the game. If you are a horror movie franchise fan, then you will begin to see similarities with various movie titles such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacres and more.

The game only works because of the sparse use of guts and gore. Unlike many previous horror instalments, here in Resident Evil 7, you spend much of your time moving about through nothing but filth. The limited gore appearances and gut wrenching horror moments leave you with an anticipation of things yet to happen, except you don’t have any idea when they will happen.

In our opinion, Resident Evil 7 is more of an intimate game. Yes, the world in this game is small, there aren’t that many protagonists in the game including the horror characters but together they somehow make up for an experience that is terrifying and yet addictive at the same time.

Think of a madman or in this case an entity that wants to do horrible things to you, creeping up on you as you explore a mansion. Imagine the weight of that knowledge on your shoulders and not knowing when this entity or its many minions will surface. It is the threat that Resident Evil 7 possesses in its spacious surroundings that drives the player forward. At times you are left alone in a quiet corridor with the fear of something untoward happening but then nothing happens. Then there are times when you are a well-lit environment with complete visibility that scares the crap out of you, catching you unaware.

Yes, there are cheap scares and thrills laid out bare in the game but then no horror game would be complete without those spine chilling cheap tricks. What does help with the entire effect of the game is the use of the house and its limited space. As you go on unlocking specific areas of the house and new routes, you end up back in a place you previously explored only to realize that there’s more to it than previously met the eye. Sometimes, that something more happens to be a scary part of the game and at other times, you are left wondering how you missed it in the first place. The sound effects in the game too play their part. Clacking shoes, some breathing noises, minimalistic music that appear right after a sudden change in storyline – all work well in giving that panic attack, unsafe for heart patients.

After completing just a few hours on Resident Evil 7, it was evident that this game hasn’t received the right kind of reception and that’s why we decided to provide an idea of the horror a player is in store for. If you still aren’t convinced, then we suggest you check out the crazy new video for the game that was recently released. This particular release has managed to drive the sales of the title further.

At the end of a brief overview of Resident Evil 7, here are a few reasons why we feel everyone should attempt playing the game at least once.

  • Loads of puzzles, exploration and an ever present tense atmosphere that just seems like it squeezes on you. This experience is reminiscent from its previous installments.
  • Totally revamped gameplay that brings survival horror into the next generation.
  • For VR adopters, this is a one scary game as the entire game engine was designed keeping VR compatibility in mind.
  • Addictive immersion where you are in control of your actions and the consequences but not aware of when the two will eventually tie together.
nintendo switch game list

Switch Titles Quadruple Overnight – Now Launching With 10 Titles

Just a month ago, Nintendo announced its latest console release, the Nintendo Switch that garnered rave reviews worldwide except for one small complication – Nintendo had launched a console with a trickle of game titles to its credit.

The design, innovation and functionality of the Nintendo Switch makes it an interesting device and priced at around $299.99 on Amazon, this first generation device can reach its sales target but provided sufficient game makers sign up for the new console and extend existing titles or create brand new ones.

Back at the time of launch, the total number of confirmed titles was around 26 that were spread out across 2017. Some of the titles were totally new and innovative while others built on the previously successful Nintendo franchises. Most popular of all titles was the Zelda: Breath of the Wild but there really wasn’t much one could get excited on.

Now a month later, the extended list of game titles scheduled for launch in 2017 has grown and while folks other than the early adopters will continue to be skeptical of this brand new device, those holding back because of a dearth in game titles will be pleased to know that Switch will now have a lot more games made exclusively for it than previously believed. The total number of game titles coming out for the Switch has quadrupled in a month.

According to PressStart, a gaming website, the original number of titles at the time of Switch launch was 26, which has now gone up to an impressive 106! That is a huge increase in titles. Besides, there is yet another good news in that gamers who pre-order the Switch on launch day will receive more game titles from the beginning.

The original plan was to launch only five games with the Switch. The titles include Skylanders Imaginators, Just Dance 2017, 1-2 Switch, Super Bomberman and Zelda. For those purchasing the Switch on the day of launch, the total titles releasing with the Switch has grown to include the titles of World of Goo, Human Resource Machine, Little Inferno, I am Setsuno and The Binding of Issac. While there aren’t more than the handful of games at launch, it still is better than having just four to five titles at launch.

After receiving heavy criticism from fans for the dearth in game titles, Nintendo decided to add a few late releases into the launch day release segment. This was necessary considering the $299 price tag. Remember Wii and its launch? The concept back then was innovative and they rode the innovation wave for quite some time but due to the lack of game titles for the Wii, it began to quickly fade away. The same could be true for the Switch though, this is an entirely different concept from the Wii and the concept alone should help it garner a good fan following. Now with more launch titles, it should get better first day sales and with nearly 100 plus titles promised for 2017, looks like Nintendo might just have the next big thing in the gaming industry.

The Problems of the Switch

Speaking of the next big thing, consumers aren’t just interested in the Switch because of its looks or the way it operates. The fact, that this device can offer big screen entertainment plus mobile entertainment is what helps it garner support. The only real question remaining however is whether it does well as a multi-tasking gaming device. Any new idea requires time to settle in and baring the early adopters, the rest of the market is interested in more than just an innovation. In order to convince this lot of buyers, Switch will have to increase its titles quickly and if possible add to the number of titles scheduled along with its launch. 10 titles sound good but 20 would be outstanding.

Another hurdle in the Switch’s path is the interest shown by third party developers. Games developed or commissioned by Nintendo will help keep the Switch alive but for this platform to grow, more independent game developers and their production houses have to begin making games for the Switch or at least include cross-platform compatibility for the Switch in their already existing game titles.

How Game Titles Will Be Available

Yes, you probably have heard that the Nintendo Switch does not have a huge internal storage capacity. With just 32GB of space available inside, the need for game cartridges or storage devices is paramount. Unlike Sony that decided to make expensive proprietary memory cards, Switch has gone with the tried and tested Micro SD Cards. They will allow games to be downloaded onto microSD cards or sell them as such with titles already preloaded. And to start off their campaign they already went into a partnership with Hori to make 16GB and 32GB Switch insignia microSD cards.

With the Nintendo Switch capable of working with a 2TB micro SDXC memory card, space should not be a major concern. By the way, 2TB micro SDXC memory cards are a pipedream away at the moment, just in case you were wondering, but Switch is geared up for the eventuality when it happens. Coming back to the present, with microSD cards costing anywhere between $10 to $25, storing games for the Switch should not be a problem at all.

Only a month remains for the launch of the Nintendo Switch and things are already starting to look up. New titles added to the total 2017 Switch games list, SD Card branding, aggressive marketing and a truly innovative design are just a few positives that Nintendo will be aiming at peddling in the coming few days as they build up to the launch.

 

nintendo switch

Nintendo Switch – What To Expect From Nintendo’s New Hybrid Home/Portable Console?

Formerly known as NX, Nintendo Switch is the latest video-game console to come out in March of this year. But, even before it’s proper release, it has garnered quite the following over social media platforms.

So, what is the Switch? Well, it’s a cross between a home and hand-held console. At first glimpse, the Switch looks like a mini-tablet with its 6.2” screen straddled by two detachable controllers, on either side.

The controllers that go by the nickname ‘Joy-Cons’ can be used in a variety of configurations, thus allowing for a smooth transition between solo gameplay and double player mode as and when required.

Contents And Cost:

The contents of Nintendo Switch upon unboxing shall include the console (tablet); a docking station for the console; two Joy-Con controllers (left and right); controller straps; a Joy-Con grip to play while charging; AC adapter and an HDMI cable.

Customers in the United States will get to choose between two different stylized editions for the Switch; a dark-grey pair of Joy-Cons that match the overall system’s color combination, and the other being a contrast edition, featuring blue and red controllers.

Other than the aesthetics, both SKUs are identical in their hardware and specs. The suggested markup price for the Switch is on the higher side at $299, given that Nintendo has historically seen success by undercutting the competition.

Its also interesting to note that back in 2102 Nintendo’s Wii U too had an expensive launch price, which it had to slash by $50 in the following summer to stay relevant in the console market.

Hardware And Specs:

At the heart of Nintendo’s Switch is the 6.2-inch tablet a.k.a. console with a nascent resolution of 720p. When docked, it can be projected to the TV screen using an HDMI cable, with a support for up to 1080p.

Under the hood, the Switch packs a customized NVidia Tegra graphics processor. The storage capacity is rather low – only 32GB of space, but thankfully there is a microSD card slot provided to expand storage as per needs.

The Joy-Cons are the hybrid console’s versatile limbs, employable in a variety of ways to play games. The default setup has the Joy-Con pairs slid on to either side of the console for a portable solo-playing feel. Additionally, the Joy-Cons can be detached and used separately much like Wii controllers to play two-player games.

In terms of on-battery game-time the Switch gives anywhere between 2.5 to 6 hours when fully charged. For example, break-free playing of Zelda, a relatively graphic intensive game will drain the battery completely in roughly three hours.

The controllers however last for much longer – 20 hours, if one were to rely on usage data from Nintendo sources. The console can be charged in one of two ways – either by docking it or via its USB-C port when on the move.

Games Available At Launch:

At the time of launch, only two in-house games, both developed by Nintendo shall be available in the Switch. One of them is the long-awaited title from ‘The Legend of Zelda’ franchise – Battle of the Wild, and the other being, 1-2 Switch.

1-2 Switch is a collection of mini-games designed specifically by Nintendo to showcase the creative control scheme of the Switch. Take for example a game from 1-2 Switch, where two players, each holding one Joy-Con have to face each other to play as opposed to facing the screen. Interestingly, this mini-game pack was originally intended to be released for the Wii U.

Future Switch owners can purchase two third-party games separately. This includes Activision’s Skylanders Imaginators featuring a gameplay revolving around the concept of toys coming to life. The other title, Just Dance 2017 from Ubisoft is all about simulating and replicating dance moves using full-body controls.

Games To Be Expected In Future:

According to Nintendo of America’s President, the company is closely collaborating with 50 different game developers and plans to bring out 80 titles for the Switch console in the time to come.

Expect games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe; Lego City Undercover; Super Bomberman R; Has Been Heroes; Sonic Mania; I Am Setsuna, and Arms to be released for Nintendo Switch in the spring time-frame. There’s also Snipperclips: Cut It Out Together, a title that will be available as downloadable content.

More graphically engaging games like NBA2K18, Splatoons-2 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are slated for fall/summer release, whereas the iconic Super Mario Odyssey should hit store shelves around the holidays. Price per game is set at $60.

Online Gameplay:

The Switch also features out-of-the-box multiplayer option allowing up to eight such devices to connect over a Wi-Fi network. Also, much like Xbox1 and PS4, Nintendo too shall launch an online subscription service sometime around the console launch.

Based on reliable sources, the downloads for the first few months shall be free of cost. Thereafter, customers shall have to fork out a monthly subscription fee (undecided) to continue downloading content from Nintendo servers.

Initially, the company plans to offer Super Nintendo games as well as NES titles as downloadable content. With time, more specialized Switch features and in-game additions will be made available for customers.

Final Thoughts:

The Switch looks like a well-made kit, with the hardware that is, quite frankly, the best to have come out of Nintendo’s stables. But then, the video-game console giant has always been great at imagining new ways to play video-games.

Sadly, the problem area has been with convincing developers to make meaningful yet engaging games that can fully exploit it’s creations.

Switch seems no different. Here is an incredible piece of hardware, but with very little games to play on it. Then there is the issue of its introductory price being on the higher side. However, Nintendo says that it has learnt some valuable lessons from its Wii U experiences.

And we sure hope they have, and that by the end of this year, there are enough numbers and variety in game titles that will push the immense creative potential of this latest hybrid console offering of Nintendo.