The paltry few
Updated on 3/27/2014
How hard it is to be an RPG gamer in this day and age? With the rise of over-the-shoulder shooters (as well as the FPS-RPG chimera) that don't take eons to finish, gamers just don't seem to have the time to sink into a traditional RPG. And where gamers go, developers go. But traditional RPGs are the reason many of us got into gaming--so where's the love?
There is love! Yes, most of the games coming out are the heavy hitters that we've all been seeing and waiting for. And yes, many are direct or spiritual sequels of franchises that weve seen do well. But in this list are some very interesting games that should pique your interest. And so, fellow RPG gamers, sit down, hang tight, and get excited for the new games of this genre to roll out.
Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns (PS3, Xbox 360)
Release date: Out now
Read our Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 review now!
The third installment in the FFXIII universe. If you werent pleased by the first two stabs at it, wait before you refuse to pick this one up, because it does seem to be an interesting reapproach to the story. Picking up from where FFXIII-2 left off, this iteration of FF13 pits the protagonists of the previous games against each other. Theyve all gone their separate ways since awakening from crystal stasis, and now have differing ideas of how the new world will be. Its up to Lightning and Hope to set things straight.
More reasons to pick it up: 1) its one of the only high-budget, triple-A RPGs to actually have a release date, 2) you know its at least going to be pretty, and 3) this newfangled world drive concept. The game is designed with a dynamic world that keeps going whether youre with it or not; youll only see certain events if youre in the right place, and interesting Easter eggs will pop up upon revisiting strange locations at strange times. Sounds interesting at least.
Bravely Default (3DS)
Release date: Out now
Whoa, it looks just like a Final Fantasy game! Which is good, because it is. Bravely Default, coming out sometime in 2014, will be the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light. Not only is it tied to The Four Heroes, but it will be getting influence from other Final Fantasy games. Notable is the the job and battle system of FFV, which is a great game to revisit for those aspects if we may say so.
Not enough to convince you to get it? How about this: the game was very well received when it was released in Japan, with critics stating that it will bring you back to an older time of gaming while still keeping everything new and fresh.
South Park: The Stick of Truth (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Release date: Out now
Finally, after delays and worries that this classy game wouldnt come out, South Park: The Stick of Truth will be released this year. If youre a fan of Trey Parker and Matt Stones writing in the show itself, or if youve ever seen the musical "The Book of Mormon," then itll be pretty much guaranteed that youll enjoy this game. Not only does it take the humor of the South Park show, but developer Obsidian Entertainment actually had to provide a proof of concept that it could accurately reflect the shows unique style in the game before being chosen to develop it.
You start as a new kid in South Park as all the other children are consumed by a LARPing event. What starts out as a simple task to make friends will ultimately end in you choosing sides in an incredibly epic (and undoubtedly crass) battle between all the South Park characters that you know and love
Child of Light (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)
Release date: April 30, 2014
Weve already shared with you what we know about Child of Light, the upcoming RPG being developed by Ubisoft. Having a distinctly indie look and feel to it, the game follows young protagonist Aurora and her firefly friend as they attempt to restore the sun, moon, and stars. Dawwwww, that sounds so cute. But dont take this for a childrens game--it looks to be a well-crafted puzzle and turn-based RPG.
And that artwork! Just look at it. With whats been released already, Child of Light looks like it will be a stunning game. While there's no official release date yet, Ubisoft has promised it will be somewhere in 2014. So even if its December 31th, 2014, Child of Light will be in your hands in any form you wish (because its coming out on everything).
Sacred 3 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita)
Release date: August 26, 2014
If you've already blown through the recent Diablo 3 expansion, Reaper of Souls, and youre still thirsty for more demon-slaying, you might want to consider checking out Sacred 3. The plot is fairly straight forward: the big bad allied himself with demons and is running amok in a fantasy world. Sounds like the perfect excuse for you and your band of co-op buddies to mince every monster you see to a bloody pulp.
Sacred 3 plays much like Blizzard's popular Diablo series. Your clicking finger will get plenty of exercise as you destroy the evil hordes, collect loot from their corpses, and earn class-specific skills. Three additional characters follow you on every step of your quest, putting a strong emphasis on co-op play (up to four players online)--because who wants NPCs following you around? So, if you want to get the most out of Sacred 3, you'll want to fill those AI character slots with some real-life friends.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Release date: 2014
The Witcher 3 is slated to be huge. Like, 30x larger than previous Witcher games, 20% larger than Skyrim, youll-have-to-catch-a-boat-to-get-to-another-part-of-the-world huge. This massive, giant world will also be living and breathing. Similar to how Skyrim had NPCs had their own lives, The Witcher 3s world will be dynamic and able to exist with or without you. But its not just people; the ecosystem of plants and animals is living and rotating with time and the seasons.
If youve played the latest installments of this series (or to a lesser extent if youve read the Polish-language novels that inspired the game), then youll know whats going on because The Witcher 3 is a direct sequal to its predecessors. Its also the final of the trilogy, detailing the conclusion of Geralts storyline, which has been pretty involved up until this point. Judging from the first two games, and the trailers for this one, The Witcher 3 might be worth checking out.
Trails in the Sky Second Chapter (PC, PSP)
Release date: 2014
If youre looking for straight up JRPG goodness, hopefully you wont have to look any further than Trails in the Sky SC. This is good news, because this game is actually the second in a trilogy of games. The first game, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, received staggering reviews from JRPG and non-JRPG communities alike. Trails in the Sky SC directly follows this well-received storyline. So if you havent been keeping up: congratulations you now have a game to play while you wait! But if you have, then congratulations because the second installment will finally be localized!
The combat of the game employs a version of the classic turn-based strategy battle system. After running into an opponent on the main screen, opponents are transported to a grid battlefield where each character takes a turn running around the map; using arts, crafts, items, and attacks to secure victory.
Deep Down (PS4)
Release date: TBA
At first glance this seems to be a chip off the old Skyrim medieval-dragon-slaying-weapon-swapping-strange-accents block. The E3 reveal trailer certainly shows that...until the last 10 seconds where it shows a Blanka avatar (a nod to the games producer Yoshinori Ono, best known for his work on Street Fighter) online asking a friend for help. This is where Deep Down plans to be unique: the game actually takes place in New York City, circa 2094. Apparently by touching certain magical objects, players are teleported back in time to seek treasure.
Deep Down--which is the games working title--will be implementing the Phanta Rhei game engine. Meaning everything flows, the Phanta Rhei engine is designed to make the entire experience run from cutscene to playable events to quick-times seamlessly and beautifully. The E3 trailer gives an example of this, with the player swapping in and out of cutscenes with absolutely no lag or sense of transition. It seems to be worth checking out, even if just for that.
Final Fantasy XV (PS4, Xbox One)
Release date: TBD
Otherwise referred to as The Game Formerly Known as Final Fantasy XIII: Versus. After being announced in May 2006 along with the now sequel-riddled FFXIII, Versus fell out of the public eye. With being gone for so long, it was no surprise that fans began to give up on the game and its gorgeous cutscenes.
But now look! This year the title got a breath of fresh air as it was rebranded and reannounced as the next iteration of the Final Fantasy series, as the officially numbered FFXV . It also got a platform update, and was pushed back to be on the PS4 and Xbone. For many, this game represents the Final Fantasy series being on a precipice: if it does poorly, that will be just one too many disappointments from Square Enix in a row. But if it does well, it'll be considered a rebirth. So lets hope it does well.