Below, you’ll find not one, but two Final Fantasy games, along with some long awaited releases and localizations of franchises that are almost as popular.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
We’ve arrived at last. With Midgar in the rearview, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Rebirth looks to bring Final Fantasy VII to life like never before.
The characters we all love are back to make us laugh and cry, including additions to the roster like Red XIII and Cait Sith (and the unplayable but present Vincent Valentine and Cid Highwind). Their journey will assuredly offer new twists and surprises along the way, and some events fans have been hoping for (or dreading) are about to unfold.
With an expansive world to explore by foot, chocobo, or buggy, new Synergy attacks to team up your favourite party members, and more quests and minigames than a Like a Dragon game, we have a game of the year, if not a game of all time, contender on our hands. We may even finally learn what the heck is up with Zack.
Writeup by Izzy Parsons
Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail
With the conclusion of a nearly 10-year-long story arc in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker (which inspired many varieties of tears), a fresh start is precisely what we needed next. FFXIV‘s next expansion, the aptly named Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail, begins a new tale in lands heretofore unseen. Boy, the rest of this better be good, because I don’t get many chances to whip out a “heretofore.”
Set in FFXIV‘s “New World,” the lands of Tural are reminiscent of those of some real-world Western cultures, drawing parallels to Earth as Final Fantasy XI did. Beyond the expected fare — a level cap increase, dungeons, and raids — Dawntrail‘s lush landscapes promise exciting new adventures, and the long-awaited graphical update will make everything look better than ever. The new made-for-XIV job, Viper, looks fun, the FFXI-themed raid is fascinating, and there’s still more to learn about Dawntrail before its summer launch. Will our Warriors of Light really get a summer vacation? Maybe not, but I’m excitedly packing my bags all the same.
Writeup by Mike Salbato
Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn by A44 Games is an open-world action RPG where guns and magic collide as an old god’s undead army brings the living close to extinction. It’s time for humanity’s last stand as you take on the role of Nor Vanek, aided in revenge by the magical creature Enki. Will they succeed, or are humanity’s days numbered?
Combat in Flintlock combines gunplay, magic, and melee in what looks to be a challengingly rewarding system, encouraging creativity as you unleash combo after combo in fast and furious battles. I’m not the best with shooting mechanics, so I’m glad there seems to be several ways ways to engage in fights. Flintlock also aims to offer a vast open world with plenty of secrets and content to be uncovered as you explore. Action RPG fans should keep an eye out for Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn when it releases on Microsoft Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S!
Writeup by Audra Bowling
Granblue Fantasy: Relink
Granblue Fantasy: Relink actually, truly exists. After almost a decade of development time rife with issues and a developer change, the game finally has a release date that’s just around the corner. On February 1st, 2024, the world will get its hands on Granblue Fantasy: Relink, and we here at RPGFan are ever so excited to dig into the gorgeous and flashy action RPG. Our expectations are certainly high, as noted by the game showing up on four of our past five Most Anticipated features.
Unfortunately, after such a long wait, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is releasing shortly before a few of our other most anticipated titles. Yet the vivid visuals, grand cast of characters, exciting combat, spectacular set-piece battles, and kinetic cooperative gameplay give Granblue Fantasy: Relink a leg-up against its contemporaries. While the game will precede some of 2024’s juggernauts, I firmly believe Granblue Fantasy: Relink will be well worth the wait.
Writeup by Des Miller
With so many AAA RPGs coming out in Q1, 2024 looks incredibly packed. My dilemma is choosing which one I should start first. However, in Q2, I know exactly which game I will play right away: Hades II‘s Early Access.
Hades was the highlight of my 2020. The Greek mythology lore, the soundtrack, the 10,000 voice lines, the stunning art style, and the replay value blew me away. Fast forward to 2022, and the news of Hades II is the announcement I never expected from Supergiant Games. It’s the first time the studio has ever made a direct sequel to one of their beloved titles; I’ve played several of their earlier creations, including Pyre, Transistor, and Bastion.
In the trailer, we learned that our new protagonist is Melinoë, a witch, Princess of the Underworld, and sister of Zagreus. Brace for new challenges and revelations as we confront the Titan of Time’s forces in a larger underworld. I’m ready to test my reflexes and die over and over again.
Writeup by Tin Manuel
The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak
The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak is the eleventh title of Falcom’s venerable The Legend of Heroes: Trails series. Set in the Republic of Calvard, a nation often discussed in prior entries, the story follows Van Arkride. Van takes on all sorts of work as a multitasking bounty hunter called Spriggan.
Trails through Daybreak features the dynamic turn-based combat the Trails series is known for, but also adds a new morality alignment system in which your story choices lean more towards lawful or chaotic. Having played through the previous Legend of Heroes games, finally getting to play The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak feels like a rite of passage. I’ve become invested in the series’ ongoing plot, so I look forward to continuing the journey in this new locale when it releases on the PS5, PS4, Microsoft Windows, and Nintendo Switch.
Writeup by Audra Bowling
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth
There are two eras of Yakuza: The adventures of Kazuma Kiryu that ran from Yakuza to Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, and everything that came after, including the introduction of Ichiban Kasuga in Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
Now, those eras are colliding in the eighth mainline entry of the series, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth! Continuing the turn-based gameplay of LaD, Infinite Wealth looks to focus equally on Kiryu and Ichiban’s stories. Not only that, Infinite Wealth is heading to the West for the first time, mainly set in Honolulu, Hawaii.
While we’re looking forward to the usual over-the-top melodrama and absurd humor, we’re particularly excited by this entry’s minigames. The usual activities of karaoke and mahjong *shudder* will be available, but we’re also getting a massive business sim where Ichiban manages an island resort. It’s unknown if Tom, patriarch of the Nook family, will make an appearance, but given how unpredictable this series is, we would not be surprised!
Writeup by Jonathan Logan
The mainline Persona series is at the top of the critical world for RPGs, and Shin Megami Tensei is no less beloved by its fans. So, what happens when veteran developers of Persona and Shin Megami Tensei are allowed to make whatever the hell they want?
Metaphor: ReFantazio is the answer, a game that appears to be a Shin Megami Tensei fever dream. While we have seen limited footage, we’ve gleaned some facts from it. We know Metaphor uses a form of the MegaTen series’ staple Press Turn battle system to fight some incredibly wild monster designs. We know it has gorgeous character designs by Shigenori Soejima, and we can assume Shoji Meguro has a banging soundtrack in store for us. We also know it has a calendar system and some form of social links akin to Persona. All that should be enough to have any Atlus fan incredibly excited — I know I am.
Writeup by Izzy Parsons
Mina the Hollower
Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight is a triumphant nostalgia trip and a massive success, with expansions, spinoffs, and cameos released sporadically over the nine years following its release. But why am I bringing up Shovel Knight, a 2D platformer, in a feature about RPGs?
Yacht Club Games made a splash in early 2022 with a crowdfunding campaign for their next standalone title, Mina the Hollower, which raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter alone. Mina, a plucky mouse inventor, must repair an island’s generators to protect its residents from the forces of Thorne, a usurper warrior bat.
Mina the Hollower’s whipping and jumping might suggest Castlevania, but this presentation is all 2D Legend of Zelda. The tile-based maps and variety of items and powers will immediately light up whatever part of your brain remembers the Zelda games for Game Boy Color. Yacht Club Games may have a second nostalgic hit on their paws.
Writeup by Michael Sollosi
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Remaster
If I made a personal wishlist of games I would like to see remastered and made playable for Nintendo Switch, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door might legitimately top the list. I consider it the best game released on the GameCube (yes, even better than Skies of Arcadia Legends). It expands and perfects the formula for what made other early Mario role-playing games so special.
Fans will be able to play TTYD on modern hardware, and for me, that’s more than enough to get my approval. Any visual or mechanical upgrades included in the game’s release are just a bonus. However, if the Super Mario RPG remake is any indication of what Nintendo can do with a classic RPG, then this could be another home run.
Writeup by Jimmy Turner