Last year Capcom took advantage of the quiet month of January. With no other major releases to compete against it, Resident Evil VII gained the lionâ€™s share of press coverage. Skip forward twelve months, and theyâ€™re ready to steal January’s limelight once again with Monster Hunter World.
A franchise usually associated with Nintendo, this marks its first appearance on current-gen consoles. Itâ€™s also the first in the series to see a worldwide simultaneous launch. Uniting players across the globe, Japanese and western monster hunters can play cooperatively, via a revised drop-in multiplayer system.
Impressions from the open beta were favourable. â€œWith the announcement that more monsters will be coming post-launch, World is shaping up to be one of the best entries in this long-running series,â€ said Destructoid.
Dragon Ball FighterZ launches the same day as Monster Hunter World (26th January) and is generating a buzz likewise. Dragon Ball games are, mostly, well received but this one takes the franchise to another level by packing in some serious fan service. With Arc System Works â€“ creators of BlazBlue and Guilty Gear â€“ at the helm, itâ€™s likely to become the greatest DBZ game of all-time.
Continuing the theme, we have the three-on-three beatâ€™em up Dissidia Final Fantasy NT on PS4, a follow up to the popular PSP brawler. This instalment is developed by Team Ninja, and was first released in Japanese arcades. Team Ninja aims to add 50 characters over the gameâ€™s lifespan, with the deluxe edition including six characters not included in the base game. Hopefully, Square-Enix will see fit to provide some free content.
Square-Enixâ€™s Lost Sphear is also due for release towards the end of the month. Due out on both Switch and PS4, itâ€™s a traditional top-down role-player thatâ€™s receiving both a digital and physical release for around the Â£30 mark.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory, out 19th January, is set to offer a very different role-playing experience, filling in the backstory of the previous entry. Then we have Sonyâ€™s first-person horror adventure The Inpatient (24th Jan), which acts as a prequel to Until Dawn. While itâ€™s great to see continued first-party support for the PSVR, we do worry that Supermassive Gamesâ€™ talent is being spread too thin â€“ Hidden Agenda was released just a few weeks ago, and their PSVR shooter Bravo Team is currently pencilled in for release in March.
Mixing it up a bit, Retro-Bit Europeâ€™s officially licensed Data East and Jaleco collections should be with us at the start of the month. These are multi-game cartridges, including a Joe & Mac compilation for the SNES, a Jaleco beat’em collection and a five-game Data East pack for the NES. Amazon’s Â£30-Â£35 asking price seems reasonable.
We can also expect retail releases of Street Fighter V Arcade Edition (PS4), Railway Empire (PS4/XO), The Binding of Isaac Afterbirth (PS4), Don’t Starve Mega Pack (PS4/XO), Axiom Verge: Multiverse Edition (PS4/Switch), while Pokemon Crystal (3DS) gets the code in a box treatment.
As for new PSN/Xbox One Store arrivals, we can look forward to The Escapists 2 on Switch, the monochrome puzzle/platformer Albert and Otto, the co-op action RPG Full Metal Furies â€“ from the creators of Rogue Legacy â€“ and the pastel-hued 2D adventure The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human. Easily a dozen of other titles too, the digital stores being a hubbub of activity and all.