Microsoft eases us into 2017 with a â€˜Games with Goldâ€™ freebie â€“ The World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap is due to hit Xbox One this Sunday.
Itâ€™s a tower defence affair with RPG elements, complete with co-op play. Looks like it’ll fare better than other games that made their Xbox One debut for free – reviews are ‘very positive‘ on Steam. If youâ€™re going to be at a loose end on New Yearâ€™s Day, and not too hungover, then definitely give it a whirl.
Incidentally, weâ€™ll aim to give it the review treatment soon.
The rest of Januaryâ€™s releases are mostly due at the end of the month, perfectly timed for your first pay cheque of the year. Thereâ€™s an absurdly high amount of RPGs due, confirming publishers still believe nobody goes out or does anything but play games during winter.
On PS4 alone thereâ€™s four to pick – Digimon World: Next Order, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, Tales of Berseria and Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star.
The PS Vita gets Atelier Shallie Plus, while the PS2 classic Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King heads to 3DS. The latter appears to be the only major Nintendo release due in January unless Darksiders: Warmastered Edition finally shows its face on Wii U.
Howâ€™s about one more? Earthlock – Festival of Magic is getting a physical release on 27th January, marking the first time itâ€™ll be available on PS4. Itâ€™s a very traditional role-player; those who believe the 32-bit era was the RPG golden age will find much to enjoy.
Underwater adventure ABZU also gets a physical release â€“ at around Â£14.99 â€“ as does Hitman: The Complete First Season. Hitman may arrive in the chart at a surprisingly high position. From the sound of it, many gamers have held off buying the episodic releases, choosing to wait for this complete package instead. Expect to pay around Â£35.
On initial inspection, it looked like Industry Giant 2 â€“ which we reviewed last week â€“ is getting a physical release on PS4/Xbox One, but it appears that console gamers are getting the new(ish) HD remake too. It took fourteen years for IG2 to finally reach console, and now weâ€™re getting two iterations of it weeks apart. This only makes the Â£34.99 asking price for the tardy PC conversion even more ludicrous.
All these games, and we havenâ€™t even talked about â€˜the big threeâ€™ yet – Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Gravity Rush 2 and Yakuza 0.
Youâ€™ve doubtlessly played the Resident Evil 7 demo by now, and as such already formed an opinion. Itâ€™s a franchise reboot that takes the series in a new direction, with a new protagonist â€“ Ethan Winters â€“ and action viewed from a first-person perspective.
Although a long list of melee weapons and firearms feature, itâ€™s promised that it wonâ€™t degenerate into a mindless shooter as ammo is far from bountiful. Puzzles are back on the agenda too, while inventory management also plays a key part. On top of all this, the PS4 version features PSVR support and looks set to become one of the benchmarks for the hi-tech headpiece. Horror and VR go hand in hand.
A demo of Gravity Rush 2 is available now too, but donâ€™t get too excited â€“ itâ€™s more of a glorified tutorial than anything. Certainly get excited for the main game, though. It looks set to become a more than worthy sequel, featuring larger â€“ and thus more open â€“ worlds and new online elements including treasure hunts and photo contests.
The two-part anime, which bridges the gap between the first and second game, is available to watch on YouTube:
SEGAâ€™s Yakuza 0 meanwhile takes us back to 1988. This isnâ€™t a new game, per say â€“ it was released in Japan back in March 2015. Itâ€™s the fighting system thatâ€™s had the biggest overhaul in this prequel, due to the ability to chance fighting stances mid-battle. Experience points are no longer used to unlock new skills either; money is used instead, gained from running various side-business. As for the playable arcade games â€“ a series trait â€“ look forward to dusting off your Space Harrier, Out Run, Fantasy Zone and Super Hang-On skills.
Donâ€™t get the fact that this is a prequel put you off, as the Japanese press referred to it as a franchise high note.
There are bound to be at least a dozen new downloads over the course of the month. At the time of typing though, only three are showing as upcoming and available to pre-order â€“ an Xbox One conversion of the 2015 PC shooter Dead Effect 2, tactical RTS Siegecraft Commander, and Saban’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle. This simple looking 2D side-scroller is obviously intended to ride on the hype/nostalgia train of the new movie. We arenâ€™t holding out much hope.