We’re barely half way through the year, but the current gen PlayStation 4 is already teaming with games it probably makes your head hurt to count them all. And it isn’t just the big titles either, with dozens of indie’s carving their way into gamers’ hearts. But if you’re still on the look out for something to while your time away in front your faithful gaming companion, then take a gander at five of the best role-playing titles to grace the catalog of the PS4 this year. In order of appearance:
Wait, didn’t we just “Top RPGs of 2015”? Well, Inquisition was released November last year so it was too close not to count. Especially given the significance of this particular instalment in the series. So why not start the 2015 list with a blast from the past?
Dragon Age, along with Mass Effect, put BioWare back into the gaming industry map. Dragon Age: Origins, in particular, was critically acclaimed for its deep storyline, meaningful choices, and a fresh, new fantasy world not weighed down by the lore of the likes of Dungeons and Dragons, BioWare’s previous cash cow. Sadly, its successor, Dragon Age II, took all that and turned it on its head, earning the ire of many fans of the first game.
Dragon Age Inquisition, then, could be seen as the trilogy’s salvation, returning to the things that gamers loved about the first title and then adding some more interesting twists. In particular, as the Inquisitor, you get a say not only in what happens during battle but also where the battles take place. Inquisition mixes a bit of strategic gameplay into predominantly RPG title. Long story short, the formula worked!
What RPG discussion would be without a mention of a Final Fantasy title? Sadly, this particular game is not exactly from the main line of the Final Fantasy series, which hasn’t seen a major non-MMORPG release in years (more on that later). Nonetheless, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD still deserves due praise, even if it is practically only an afterthought.
The non-HD version of the game was originally released for the PSP back in 2011 as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis (again, more on that near the end). The HD remake headed to the PS4 last March and, suffice it to say, we were not disappointed. Just because it came from a handheld doesn’t mean it will fail to satisfy on bigger screens.
The story, for one, is so complex it’s easy to get lost in it. It doesn’t treat you like a wannabe Pokemon trainer, that’s for sure. And the battles can be quite frantic. After all, Square Enix removed the turn-based system that has become almost synonymous with Final Fantasy games. And when you add the fact that you still have to control multiple party members anyway, you’re definitely in for quite a ride. Be sure to read our review of this PSP now turned PS4 HD game.
Blood, action, and one hell of a time. FromSoftware really knows how to make life difficult for gamers and gamers just keep on gobbling them up like zombies. Bloodborne is the third installment of the developer’s hit franchise, starting with Demon Souls and followed up by Dark Souls. And each game is as excruciatingly difficult as the others. But that’s just fine, because that’s what the gamers want.
From its title and legacy alone, you know not to expect sunshine and flowers here. The whole game takes place in a dark and dreary Gothic setting, filled with grotesque monsters which you’ll have to fight. It’s the beauty, or rather the horror, of the game’s rich visuals that appeal to many types of gamers. The intense, fast-paced combat also helps keep the adrenaline flowing. It’s like Resident Evil meets Devil May Cry.
Gameplay-wise, Bloodborne carries over many of the mechanics of its predecessors, like the use of Blood Echoes as experience points. You can drop Blood Echoes when you die but you can try to retrieve them when you respawn at the save point. That is, if you don’t die again in between. That save point, called the Hunters Dream, holds many functions, sort of like your home away from home where you can set up your character and its equipment. Beware though, as you spend more time in the Dream, the monsters outside get respawned. Bloodborne also introduced a new health regain system, which lets you beat the crap out of enemies in order to regain some of your health over time.
OK, another slight cheat. But the Witcher 3 will be out next week, March 19 to be exact, that it surely counts. Besides, everyone loves trilogies these days, right?
Unlike Dragon Age, the Witcher series didn’t have much problems, so it just builds on success after success. That said, after more than two years of development, something smells a bit fishy. In fact, the Witcher 3 has undergone many changes, some of the quite substantial, adding to the mystery and suspense of the final product. For example, developers CD Projekt decided to do away with somewhat promised multiplayer features and the dreaded Quick Timed Events (QTE) in order to deliver a more solid single-player campaign that takes place in a vast open world that the series is popular for. We’ll see in a few days if they will be able to live up to that promise.
Pre-orders for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are now up, with a very, very small discount.
Another coming soon, though this time a bit later in June 9. But given we’re talking about The Elder Scrolls, it would be amiss not to mention it.
This is the only MMORPG in our list and, coincidentally, is also the first and so far only MMORPG from the venerable fantasy RPG line. Although the game was released last year for the PC, it is only now that it will be getting its debut on consoles. The game takes place in Tamriel, of course, but hundreds of years before even TES 3: Morrowind, though you probably won’t be able to tell much because of the graphics and art assets. The world and lore of The Elder Scrolls in a totally open-ended online game, what’s not to love? Well, probably the lack of offline single player content.
TES Online is also available on pre-order but only as a physical disc copy. Like the business model used by Guild Wars back in the days, the MMORPG has no subscriptions but is a buy once play forever kind of deal.
2015 is definitely far from over, so we can’t but help mention some titles that has us already at the edge of our seats, especially because we don’t know yet when these games will land this year.
The success to the game that made “emergent gameplay” a household phrase in gaming circles, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has just been revealed last month. Promised to be better than Human Revolution in the aspects of non-violence, Mankind Divided’s trailer already hints that you would probably not want to skip all the action, at least on one playthrough. And things are looking quite grim for our reluctant hero, forced to work against the very people who would call him “brother”.
And of course, there’s Final Fantasy XV, the first main FF title to not be an online game since Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Taking place in the same Fabula Nova Crystallis universe as Type-0, this game will seemingly also eschew turn-based combat, favoring the twitch-based action popular among console games these days. Of course there will be world-changing conflicts, disproportionately huge weapons, and lots and lots of hair gel.
We’ve barely scratched the very tip of the iceberg of the PS4 selection and 2015 definitely has a lot more in store. E3 is coming our way and we’re sure to hear more to fill your head and empty your wallet. So hang on to your swords, or guns. We’re about to embark on a huge adventure.