I don’t know about you guys, but 2017 has been a blast thus far in terms of game releases and while I am still busy with Tales of Berseria and Nioh, March is already upon us and it looks like a killer month again! Next to the countless games that will release over the course of the next weeks, March will also see the birth of Nintendo’s new console: the Nintendo Switch!

Nintendo Switch Launch

h2x1_nswitch_keyvisual_image1600w

We have waited for quite some time, but now the new Nintendo console is finally here, but will it actually be successful unlike the Wii U? Only time will tell. Personally, I was pretty optimistic about the hybrid-nature of the console and the possibilites that it opened up and the first teaser trailer made me believe that Nintendo had a good message and was on the right path. After the big reveal event I couldn’t hide my disappointment though. The price is way too high for what they have to offer , the accessories are overpriced, it has useless gimmicks like HD Rumble after all and the lineup does not inspire much confidence after the Wii U experience. Yes, Zelda seems to be a contender for the best launch title ever, but other than that only Splatoon 2 (which seems more like a Splatoon 1.5) and Mario Odyssey are on the Horizon with eventual releases like Xenoblade 2 (it has a 2017 release target but I won’t believe it until I see it in stores) or Fire Emblem Warriors.

(Western) 3rd Party support is as always the huge question mark. Many developers and publsihers have declared their support for the Switch but not much has been confirmed yet except for the likes of Skyrim. Technically porting current AAA games to the Switch is possible thanks to Unreal 4 and Frostbite Support, but we’ll have to see whether 3rd party devs will actually go out of their way to support the device.

I am also surprised about the fact that Nintendo has made no statement about pooling their Handheld and Home Console library with the Switch. Their biggest Handheld IP’s like Pokemon and Animal Crossing have not been mentioned yet and 3rd party exclusive Monster Hunter is releasing its newest entry on 3DS only. Maybe Nintendo doesn’t want the 3DS to die just yet which is why they are deliberately withholding information about possible Switch versions of Pokemon and AC, but it adds to the insecurity about the system’s library in the long term. I still believe that the Switch might have a good shot at all Japanese 3rd party games that were mainly on the Vita though, since PS4 + Switch and/or Steam seems to be the most viable route for those games, but we’ll have to see about that.

The positive thing is that Nintendo has finally got rid of Region-Locking, but its online system still seems to lack behind their competitors and I don’t know why I should be paying for Nintendo’s network services with their track record in mind (today it was confirmed that friend codes are still a thing in 2017!). I think that the Switch will be much more successful than the Wii U because of the hybrid nature, especially in Japan, but as it is I am still reluctant to buy into this system.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

fbshare

The first title in March is already a big one with the newest installment in the “Legend of Zelda” franchise. Breath of the Wild is without a doubt the most ambitious Zelda title yet and therefore also the most anticipated title of the Nintendo Switch Launch Line-up. Although Zelda games always had large overworlds, BotW will be the first Zelda game to truly feature an explorable Open-World. According to the reviews this game is absolutely phenomenal and maybe even the best Zelda game of all time. The Launch-Lineup of the Switch might be lacking in general, but Zelda alone seems to be able to compensate for it.

Platforms:Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U
Developer/Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 3rd

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey

atelier_firis_banner

A new year, a new Atelier title! Atelier Firis is already the 18th game in the Atelier series and Gust shows no sign of stopping their staple series anytime soon. Since years, the Atelier games have charmed players with their cute artstyle and the mixture of deep crafting systems, exploration and turn-based combat. I haven’t really played any of the games except for a bit of Totori, so I can’t say what Firis does differently than the previous games, but I am sure that fans will be happy about another Atelier game 🙂

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC (Steam)
Developer/Publisher: Gust/Koei Tecmo
Release Date: March 7th (NA); March 10th (EU)

Nier: Automata

2982185-nier_automata_concept_art-hd

The onslaught of great Japanese games continues with this highly anticipated sequel to Nier, which is considered to be one of the biggest hidden gems of last generation. The game is already out in Japan and since the JP-Version included English voices and subtitles quite a lot of people in the West already downloaded the game on JP PSN. The game does seem to suffer from some performance hiccups on both Base PS4 and PS4 Pro, but the gameplay and story has been praised across the board as long as you remember to go for all endings. Fans will know that Yoko Taro games are not finished until you have seen all of the endings. In total, Nier Automata seems to succeed with combining the gameplay expertise of Platinum games with the weird characters and stories of Yoko Taro and I can’t wait to play it. Unfortunately I probably won’t be able to play it before May since I will be in Japan on vacation at the end of March and after that Persona 5 will hit the West…

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC (not sure about the release date…)
Developer/Publisher: Platinum Games/Square Enix
Release Date: March 7th (NA); March 10th (EU)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

ghost-recon-1

Next to all other big releases this month, I feel like Ubisofts Ghost Recon: Wildlands might be the game that will be overshadowed the most, but maybe that’s just me. The games has mostly flown below the radar until now and it wasn’t until the closed Beta that people got reminded that this game actually exists. This new installment in this tactical shooter IP seems to combine the open world elements from last year’s The Division and the tactical gameplay of Rainbow Six: Siege. Friends of mine played the Beta and were positively surprised about the game, but they are reluctant to buy another UbiSoft game on Day 1 at the moment.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: March 7th

Danganronpa 1&2 Reload

29944253061_d743636c13_z

Japanese games are known for being weird and over-the-top and the Danganronpa series is a prime example of this. This murder mystery Visual Novel series is about a bunch of super-talented highschool students who are trapped in their own school by a weird and sadistic teddy bear. In order to escape, students have to murder one or several of their classmates without being caught. If the murderer suceeds, they will get their freedom back while the others get executed. If the murderer gets caught though, they get executed instead. The game is similar to the Ace Attorney series and involves classic Visual Novel sections and Investigation and Trail sections that form the “Gameplay” segment of these games. These games have been out on PS Vita and PC for quite some time now, but now PS4 users will get the opportunity to experience these as well. They are not my favorite bunch of Visual Novels out there, but I had my fun with them.

Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer/Publisher: Spike Chunsoft/NIS America
Release Date: March 14th (NA); March 17th (EU)

Mass Effect: Andromeda

masseffect-andromeda-2

Mass Effect Andromeda would probably be the biggest release in March if not for Zelda. The original Mass Effect trilogy has been met with critical acclaim and fans are excited for the first Mass Effect game in this new generation. Andromeda is set between the second and third game of the original trilogy and will feature a new protagonist and new characters. I haven’t played the original trilogy myself although some of my friends have been bugging me about it since ages. The trailers looked good though and since Western games have been underrepresented in this first quarter I am sure that a lot of players are thirsty for this new Sci-Fi Adventure.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (Origin)
Developer/Publisher: Bioware/Electronic Arts
Release Date: March 21st (NA); March 23rd (EU)

Toukiden 2

toukiden-2

After the success of the first Toukiden, the second installment will hit the West this month. Toukiden 2 didn’t sell as well as its predecessor, but seems to be a decent addition to Omega Force’s take on the Hunting-Genre. As for all Hunting Games this game is really grindy, but not as difficult as the Monster Hunter series for example.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC
Developer/Publisher: Omega Force/Koei Tecmo
Release Date: March 21st (NA); March 24th (EU)

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

zero-escape-nonary-games-ann

The Zero Escape Series is probably one of the few Japanese Visual Novels that have gained a higher popularity in the West than in its homeland Japan and Aksys Games is therefore porting the first 2 games of this trilogy (999 and Virtue’s Last Reward) to the PS4, Vita (VLR was already on Vita, but 999 wasn’t) and PC. In both games the protagonist is abducted and forced by a strange individual called Zero to play the so-called Nonary Game. Throughout the playthrough the game is divided into Visual Novel sections that move along the storyline and Puzzle sections in which the player has to try to escape out of a closed room. As with in many VNs, there are several endings in these games and the players has to see all of them to get the whole picture. This might sound like a hassle but the twists and surprises in these games are definitely worth it. I am slightly concerned about the 999 Port though since the dual screen nature of the DS was actually important for one of the major twists. Nonetheless I hope more players will be able to pick this up now even though the finale Zero Time Dilemma was a bit disappointing.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC (Steam)
Developer/Publisher: Spike Chunsoft/Aksys Games
Release Date: March 24th (PS4 Physical EU version and EU Vita version coming later)

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix

kh1525_cmyk_bk_1477580925

Kingdom Hearts is probably one of the most convoluted game series out there and it’s hard for newcomers to get into it because of the countless spin-offs on various platforms. With the KH HD 1.5 + 2.5 Collection all games of the series will finally be available on one single platform for players to enjoy. 1.5 consists of Kingdom Hearts 1, RE: Chain of Memories and the cutscenes of 358/2days and 2.5 consists of Kingdom Hearts 2, Birth by Sleep and the Cutscenes of Re:Coded. Together with the already released 2.8 this should be enough to prepare for the eventual release of Kingdom Hearts III (whenever that may be…)

Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer/Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: March 28th (NA); March 31st (EU)

God Wars: Future Past

god-wars_feat

God Wars is part of Kadokawa’s push towards developing and publishing more video games. The game’s story is based on classic Japanese folklore and plays like a traditional grid-based SRPG similar to Disgaea or Final Fantasy Tactics. From the trailers the game doesn’t seem to be anything special, bu we’ll see. Import impressions for this title do not exist yet, since the game actually releases in Japan a few weeks after its Western release which is pretty strange for a niche game like this.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Developer/Publisher: Kadokawa Games/NIS America
Release Date: March 28th (NA); March 31st (EU)

Advertisements