Since Dragon Age: Origins is my absolute favorite RPG of all time, this is an absolute no-brainer. Hell is almost literally coming to Thedas, and you as the Inquisitor must stop it. A tear in the fade is no joke, as it's causing demons to pour into the physical realm. Needless to say, the story is set to be pretty epic. BioWare seems to actually be listening to fan feedback on this one, stepping away from some the less popular decisions they made with Dragon Age II. A renewed focus on exploration mixed with BioWare's always stunning storytelling makes this seem like an RPG you won't be able to put down.
Writeup by Zackery Parkerson
Here's the deal. A startling large number of upcoming MMOs will be weighed down almost entirely due to the juggernauts already in the market (I'm looking at you here, Final Fantasy XIV). Regardless, some games look too good to pass up. Even when coming off the XIV hype, WildStar looks excellent. Carbine Studios is off to a great start, considering this is their maiden voyage into the videogame market, but this should not be surprising given that the staff of Carbine is comprised of some of the minds that brought us the undead king of the MMORPG, World of Warcraft. WildStar appears to be taking a different angle to the others by introducing players to a positioning-based combat system known as telegraphed combat, which looks to help break the mold of "point and click until dead" that so many MMORPGs face. WildStar also hopes to provide a beautifully colorful world known as "Nexus," an extensive housing selection, chaotic PvP battlegrounds, a myriad of end-game content, and a story that players will want to participate in involving a race called the "Eldan" that have mysteriously disappeared. I may have nothing but love for XIV, but I'm more than willing to form a polyamorous relationship when WildStar is released.
Writeup by Brian Tomlinson
The Atelier games move at a different pace than your average JRPGs. They focus on small-scale (but still interesting) stories and provide glimpses into the everyday lives of eccentric characters. Excluding the Iris trilogy, every Atelier game has featured a sole female protagonist, a trend that Escha & Logy bucks for only the second time in the series' long history. In this direct sequel to Atelier Ayesha, players can choose between two main characters; the adorable Escha provides a conventional Atelier experience, while her cool counterpart Logy has a story more akin to a traditional RPG. No matter who the player selects, they'll spend the bulk of their time synthesizing items and fighting adversaries with an improved combat system that allows for six active characters in battle. Critical reception for the title in Japan has been quite positive, so we're excited to find out what the buzz is about once the game lands in North America this March.
Writeup by Derek Heemsbergen
Last year's HD Kingdom Hearts releases were well-produced and great for fans of the series — to say nothing of the stellar re-recordings of the classic music — and I thoroughly enjoyed replaying those titles. However, I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep are some of the (if not the) best in the whole franchise, so the prospect of dipping into those titles with gorgeous new HD graphics, re-recorded music, and all of the (very extensive) Final Mix content is an absolutely appealing proposition. KHII's Final Mix included tons of new boss battles (two each with all thirteen members of Organization XIII, along with a super-challenging ultimate clash with a mysterious beknighted spirit) along with new cutscenes and other additions. Birth by Sleep certainly stands to gain from the HD upconversion, and I am delighted at the chance to experience the original game plus the new epilogue chapter from Final Mix, in big, shiny, widescreen HD. All Square Enix has to do to make this a perfect package (at least for me) is ensure that the multiplayer component is retained (preferably with online play!) so that new players can experience the exciting three-person super bosses! /blahblahblahloveKingdomHearts
Writeup by Stephen Meyerink
Another visual stunner on this list, Child of Light is built on the same UbiArt Framework that powers the recent Rayman titles. The result is a beautiful hand-drawn art style that already blows me away. Child of Light focuses on a young girl from 1895 who wakes up in a magical land, and is determined to bring back its sun, moon, and stars on her way back to her own world. Mixing side-scrolling platforming with JRPG combat mechanics seems like a fun twist, and I can't wait to see how this one will turn out.
Writeup by Zackery Parkerson
Xenoblade Chronicles with player-controlled robots! Okay, there is definitely more to the game than that, but with precious little info available on MonolithSoft's newest RPG, you might as well boil it down to the essentials. The trailer is interesting, with hints of gameplay and story elements like the Monster Hunter-like multiplayer and a mysterious countdown timer. While we don't know what systems have been added, changed or removed, the untitled game we'll refer to as "X" (and its logo) does bear more than a passing resemblance to Xenoblade Chronicles, which is certainly a good thing
. Last we heard, "X" was scheduled for a 2014 release, but with no new information since June, it is easy to get paranoid about a possible delay. For now we just have to trust Takahashi's team to deliver whatever "X" is on time.
Writeup by Joshua Bateman