There seems to be a great line-up of games coming out in the next couple years from a lot of series I follow. Most gamers have probably already learned of these, but I’m going to post about them anyway because I have a website and I can. I’m super-excited about these releases and here are some reasons why.

#1- Okamiden

This is the one I am anticipating most. Primarily because it’s a sequel to my favourite game, Okami but also because it’s the kind of game that can really benefit from touch-screen controls (considering it’s gameplay is based on fighting by drawing with a brush). Clover Studios closed down shortly after Okami’s PS release, but it seems that Capcom has decided to resurrect it. It takes place a few months after Okami and will revisit some old areas of the original game as well as brand-new ones. You control Chibiterasu, son of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Also, Spirit Tracks style, you will control various companions of Chibiterasu as well by drawing a path for them to follow on the touch screen. Zelda rip-off? Probably. No, definitely. But perhaps that’s why I like Okami so much, since I’m a big Zelda fan. The graphics look absolutely stunning, and will be in the same sumi-e style as the original Okami. My only reservations are the ‘cutesy’ look they’ve given it. Considering that the original was such a dark game, it doesn’t seem like an adorable little puppy fits in that world. Also, there’s no way that Okamiden- being a DS game- can be as massive as it’s playstation/ wii counterpart. That was one of the things I liked about Okami- the vast maps and near endless side-quests. It’s likely that Omakiden will be a much smaller world. however, it also looks like it is going to be a lot of fun.

#2- Rune Factory 3

I’ve been following this one for quite a long time. Since it was first announced, I think. I have been a fan of the Rune Factory series since it’s first game in 2007 (which, to be honest, I thought would be awful when I first heard about it, but tried it anyway and was very pleasantly surprised). After the tedium of Rune Factory Frontier for the wii, I am glad to see the series returning to the DS. The series basically crossed Harvest Moon -a farming sim- with deungeon crawling. You play through a storyline while farming and fighting, cooking, forging, getting married, and taming mosnters. The biggest new feature in RF3 is that the main character, Micah, is both human and monster, and can switch between forms with a ‘transformation belt’. The only monster form they’ve shown thus far is a sheep, so I’m hoping there will be others. My biggest gripe on this game is the character design of Micah. When I first saw it, I was overjoyed. ‘Finally!’ I cried ‘A female lead for a Rune Factory game!’ That is, until I read the description beneath the image. Micah is indeed male. A very very effeminate male. -_-* Since part of the plot involves courting and marriage, being a girl and playing as a male can be strange and awkward. ‘Which girl do I want to marry…. hmmmm, that guy is pretty cute. Blast, I can’t marry him!’ Even so, as bad as it is to play as a man (and a man that looks like a woman) I still love this series and can’t wait for the new instalment.

#3- Harvest Moon: Twin Villages

No, I cannot understand a word of this commercial, in case you were wondering. The Harvest Moon series is infamous for milking their games for all they’re worth. It seems like a new one comes out twice a year at least. And more often than not, it’s just the same game in a new skin. But here are some reasons why I’m anticipating this particular instalment.
-Better more Rune Factory-like graphics
-A new irrigation system for your crops (watering every day gets very dull)
-New animals that you can keep, like alpacas and honey bees
-A pet owl that can fly you around
Shallow reasons, perhaps, but I’m a sucker for this series, so oh well. The graphics are the main draw for me, mostly because of the anime-style drawings of the characters as opposed to the usual chibis. It’s hard to be attracted to a chibi-man who looks more like a small child than an adult. It will also be refreshing to have animals other than cows sheep and chickens. Other Harvest Moon games have indeed had a wider variety of farm animals as well, but there was usually something about them that made me not want to play them (such as HM DS cute, the controls were confusing to me and the graphics weren’t much better than the GBA). So even though this is likely the usual overdone Harvest Moon story, it is still something that I hope to pick up once it comes out.

#4- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Sorry that the blog is cutting of the edge of this video. 😛
I am both excited and skeptical about this one. The first thing I noticed was that the graphics are much simpler than Twilight Princess. This has really disappointed me. It may seem shallow that I’m placing so much emphasis on graphics rather than gameplay, but being a visual artist the art side of video games is important to me. Not that I don’t like simpler graphics- I love the cartoony style of Wind Waker and I have greatly enjoyed some old pixelated games. But for a big series like that to take a step down in visual appeal… But what has me excited is the new motion control system (which I have the feeling is the reason for the downsizing of the graphics. This motion control is likely tasking up most of the disk space. Let’s hope the story isn’t also downsized). Here’s a little about it:

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword introduces full motion control enabled by the Wii MotionPlus accessory, which synchronizes player movements with Link’s actions while offering intuitive play control.

With the Wii MotionPlus accessory, every movement of Link’s sword matches the player’s motion with exact precision. If players motion left to right, Link swings from left to right. The precision play control is applied to enemies as well, as players must contemplate strategy when battling opponents that actively try to defend against attacks.

I’ve the feeling this is going to call for some quick and clever movements on the player’s part. Considering my bad reflexes and lack of coordination, I am wondering if this is really the kind of game I’d be any good at. I played Twilight Princess for the gamecube, and so can’t say what the wii motion controls on it are like, but it looks as though they’re going to be much more complex for Skyward Sword, and I can’t wait to try it out. Is in 2011 yet?

#5- Pokémon Black and White

I’m not too sure about this one, actually. The graphics look nice, but rather dizzying. I’ll be keeping an eye on it, but you can’t really keep making the same game over and over and just introduce new pokémon (I can’t even keep track of them anymore) and some new multiplayer features. It needs a bigger draw than that (even though Harvest Moon does pretty much the same thing, but I’m not sick of that one yet). I don’t know much about Black and White yet, so I won’t make judgements. I just hope it’s not another Diamond/ Pearl disaster.