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AA Roundtable: AAA Gaming On A Budget

We’re approaching the busy season for video game releases. Traditionally, the annual Madden NFL release in late August/ early September marks the start of a packed few months. As gamers, we want to play all of them, but sometimes it’s not economically possible. We realise this at Analog Addiction, so we put our heads together and decided to create a list of the games we are most excited for during the next four months (including the one we are already in). There was one catch, however: Each editor could only nominate one game a month.

budget gaming

September – Something for everyone

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (now available)

It will be a while until I finally get around to this game primarily because I want to replay the entire series first, but I am incredibly stoked for The Phantom Pain. Metal Gear Solid 3 changed my life as a gamer and is one of my all-time favorite games for many reasons, and anything attached to the Metal Gear name is amazing as well.
The Phantom Pain is also seemingly series creator Hideo Kojima’s last Metal Gear game (P.S. Konami: I hate you). This makes it even more vital for me to play the swan song from one of my gaming idols. – Robbie Key

Forza Motorsport 6 (now available)

As far as racing simulation games are concerned, few have managed the long term success the Forza franchise has enjoyed. Granting access to hundreds of cars ranging from the more mundane to the exotic and luxurious, every player finds a vehicle to their liking. The constant improvements being made to the Drivatar system ensure the AI replicas of your friends consistently get closer to the real thing and offer a strong sense of competition when racing on your own. – Eric Pepper

Destiny: The Taken King (now available)

Destiny is my most played game of 2014/ 2015. It’s probably even heading towards the top of my “most played games ever” list. Bungie has learnt so much from the first year of Destiny, and update 2.0 has already laid the foundation for the changes. The Taken King brings new story missions, a new levelling system, three new subclasses, three new strikes, new crucible maps and a raid, but more importantly new guns to collect. I don’t know how much new content it will have, but it means more great gameplay at the very least. – Nathan Manning

LEGO Dimensions (27 September)

Ever since I first played Disney Infinity 2.0 and Skylanders Trap Team, I’ve been looking for a genre defining game in the toys-to-life genre. LEGO Dimensions looks like it could very well be that game. Not only have LEGO games delighted players of all ages for many years, LEGO Dimensions brings together an insane array of properties such as The Simpsons, Back to the Future and Portal all inside one adventure.

I have high hopes for LEGO Dimensions because of the track record of the insanely fun LEGO games of yesteryear, but I’d be lying if my inner fanboy isn’t excited to see Doc Brown and Homer Simpsons finally meet. Here’s hoping LEGO Dimensions is able to deliver when it releases later this month. – Jamie Briggs

Might and Magic Heroes VII (29 September)

Ever since Heroes of Might and Magic III, this franchise hasn’t really been on anyone’s immediate radar – with the exception of hard-core fans, I suppose. Sure, the fifth entry did a commendable job – being a reboot helped on a lot, in that regard – but the other two, Heroes of Might and Magic IV and Might and Magic Heroes VI – I still don’t get why they changed the title – were somewhere in-between decent and good. In other words, unremarkable. On the other hand, after playing the second beta for Might and Magic Heroes VII, I’m actually impressed enough to dare say that it might be as good as the third entry. It’s beautiful, the town-screens are gorgeous – yes, they’re once again portrayed from a 2D perspective – and the core gameplay has remained the same but with a few tweaks. If the campaigns prove to be an engaging affair, it’ll sure be worth my moderate hype. – Vlad Pintea

Destiny-The-Taken-King-

The Taken King

October – Xbox’s Flagship Shooter Officially Enters the Next Generation, Assassin’s in London, and Piledrivers

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (23 October)

After the disaster known as Assassin’s Creed Unity, I shouldn’t even mention Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Nevertheless, because I’m still a huge fan-boy and because the other titles of the month don’t interest me so much, I’ll say that Syndicate is my most anticipated game of October. At the very least, it introduces a second, playable character – whom I hope is different enough to warrant such a feature (no, the fact that it’s a female doesn’t mean it’s automatically different enough). The parkour seems to be just as refined as in Unity and the brash nature of Jacob seems to indicate a return to the good, old days of Ezio and Edward. Do I still think Evie becoming invisible is incredibly stupid? Of course. Same goes for the fact that carriage-horses can break down street-lamps like they are nothing. If the story and characters are worthwhile, then all might be forgiven. – Vlad Pintea

WWE 2K16 (27 October)

I want to love WWE 2K16. Ever since Here Comes the Pain I’ve always dabbled in the wrestling genre. It’s able to provide me with me annual wrestling fix and offer some of the most enjoyable local multiplayer around; even if this is due to the insane glitches of past iterations. WWE 2K15 was, from all accounts, a let down and hopefully now the development team has had experience with next generation hardware, they can finally deliver a strong WWE experience.

Though I’m still unsure how the final product will turn out, my inner wrestling fan is hoping WWE 2K16 can rival Here Comes the Pain for wrestling supremacy. – Jamie Briggs

Majority Vote Halo 5: Guardians (27 October)

Say what you will about 343 Industries, but Halo 4 was great. After playing the four main games via The Master Chief Collection, I feel Halo 4 is my favourite multiplayer overall, and I can’t wait to see what 343 has in the store for Halo 5‘s online mode. Of course I always look forward to continuing the story as well.

I am a little iffy about iron sights being added to the series, not to mention the bro-gnificence at the start and end of multiplayer matches based on what I played in the beta, but I’m confident Halo 5 is going to be a great addition to the Halo name and Xbox One either way. – Robbie Key

Master Chief is easily one of, if not the most iconic character from any Xbox franchise. The recent release of Halo 5‘s opening cinematic set the stage for how action-packed this title will be, and players have already been given a taste of the multiplayer through the beta. Thruster packs will make movement fresh again and add a frenzied element to the multiplayer action. There are still a plethora of questions regarding Master Chief which will not be answered until the game launches, but it is undoubtedly the most anticipated title of October. – Eric Pepper

343 Industries earned my trust with the Halo franchise after successfully taking the reins with Halo 4. I’m intrigued by the new movements systems like limbering over ledges and using the dash movements to evade in combat. It’s a new direction for the franchise, but I’m confident that 343 can pull it off. Warzone has me particularly excited, it’s a new multiplayer mode added to the mix of an already great selection of gametypes. This is a Halo game after all, so what more do you need to be excited? – Nathan Manning

Halo-5-Guardians-Cover-Art-Horizontal-jpg

November – Returning to the wasteland, or exploring the wilderness

Rise of the Tomb Raider (10 November)

The 2013 Tomb Raider reboot was the best thing that could have happened to the series. It introduced a more vulnerable and ultimately more believable Lara Croft, besides expanding on the series’ borders with being able to craft weapons and improve our heroine’s abilities, in addition to adding the latest trend, which is turning every last game into an open-world one – well, it was sort-of open-world. Now that Lara has had her first adventure, it’s time for Rise of the Tomb Raider to further refine the archaeology and shooting skills, with vast environments from the icy mountains of Siberia to sandy deserts. Nevertheless, with an expanded focus on tombs – after all, have you read the game’s title? – crafting and the fact that there’s no multi-player, all efforts point towards Rise of the Tomb Raider being the best entry in the franchise. – Vlad Pintea

Tomb Raider was one of my favourite games of 2013. It had a great story, portraying a strong female protagonist with a sense of adventure. At its core, Tomb Raider is an action game, and a fun one at that. Whether I was using my bow to silently take out enemies, or charging in guns blazing, I was enjoying myself all of the time. Pacing played a big part in that enjoyment. There was a great mix of combat and exploration, meaning I never felt fatigued by either one. The story was also surprisingly more supernatural than I expected it to be, but it kept me on my toes and unable to predict the next event. I expect much of the same with Rise of the Tomb Raider as there is already a great foundation to build from. – Nathan Manning

Majority Vote Fallout 4 (10 November)

Open worlds are precisely what Bethesda has become known for, regardless of which franchise they are working on. Fallout 4 promises to be bigger than its predecessors, offer players more ways to customize their experience, and will once again grant the freedom to do almost anything they like, whether it be helping the needy or slaughtering entire colonies of people. I may be slightly wary of the crafting mechanic being implemented for houses, but Bethesda’s track record aids in alleviating some of that concern, while the rest remains simply due to it being an unknown variable. – Eric Pepper

I remember my experiences with Fallout 3 so fondly, from the insane amount of side quests to the amazing soundtrack; and of course, satisfying VATS system. Though my time with Fallout New Vegas was certainly a lot rougher, as opening game glitches meant I never experienced even a small slice of the game.

With that said I’m still a huge fan of the series and the fact Fallout 4 has an emphasis on story, character customisation and (hopefully) will be able to run without providing an array of game breaking bugs, has me excited. I can’t really stress my excitement for Fallout 4 enough and I hope it delivers a polished experience, one that I will remember fondly, instead of those New Vegas memories. – Jamie Briggs

There’s a reason the other AA editors have said Fallout 4 as well: it’s an excellent answer to the what-is-your-most-anticipated-game-each-month question, except mine would have to be changed to most anticipated game of the year.

It’s been seven long years since we stepped into a Wasteland created by Bethesda, the guys who know how to do open-world RPGs – and even DLC if you can believe it – correctly. Fallout 4‘s E3 revelation of the game combined with all of the small sporadic info throughout the past few months almost makes me wonder how anyone couldn’t at least be somewhat interested in this game. Three-hundred-plus hours of play according to the producer? Modernized shooting mechanics? Endless leveling with 70 perks that technically expand to 275? What is there not to love, and this only seemingly scratches the surface.

Like war, my excitement for this game never changes. – Robbie Key

Fallout 4_E3_Behemoth

December – Killing, both lethally and non-lethally (and a JRPG)

Rainbow Six Siege (1 December)

Multiplayer-only titles often leave much to be desired, particularly when placing an emphasis on teamwork and co-operation. This is not the fault of the developer, but speaks volumes about the audience, as they understand the necessity of communication and teamwork, but frequently ignore it in favour of a lone wolf approach. My highest hopes for a multiplayer FPS title lay in Rainbow Six Siege due to the franchise’s history and the sort of player it attracts. Longtime fans of the series know all too well that the “run and gun” gameplay does not achieve victory, instead requiring strategy and teamwork. Rainbow Six’s more strategy-based fanbase should aid in making the online play significantly more successful than attempts from other developers have been. – Eric Pepper

Truth be told, if Rainbow Six Siege had not been delayed to December, it would not have been on my radar as a title I’m thinking of buying. Now, however, I’m paying close attention to it. I love multiplayer games, and shooters especially, so Rainbow Six Siege is right up my alley. It’s a different kind of multiplayer experience, trading up respawn gameplay to a one-life system. Some of my favourite Call of Duty memories are playing the one-life per round gametype Search and Destroy with a group of friends. I’m hoping Rainbow Six Siege will create memories that are just as fond. If anything, I’m excited for the level of destructibility the game appears to offer. Being able to make holes of any size in most walls of the map will hopefully lead to dynamic outcomes every match. – Nathan Manning

Xenoblade Chronicles X (4 December)

Yet another game I need to get around to playing is Xenoblade Chronicles. With that said, I know zilch about the series itself. I’m mostly interested in it because I want to see a truly massively open-world game on Wii U and how well it plays out for Nintendo. Whether it’s from JRPG fans or Nintendo fans, I constantly hear great things about the first game, and its predecessor is set to improve upon what allegedly works so well while making it much bigger. – Robbie Key

Hitman (8 December, digitally)

After playing Hitman: Absolution, Blood Money still remains my favourite entry in the series. This latest Hitman is sort of a reboot – notice there’s no subtitle – which seems to combine Absolution’s gameplay mechanics in open-ended levels akin to Blood Money. Only way bigger. It’s the sort of reboot which has developers shout out “We’re going back to the franchise’s roots” and it seems to be working. On the other hand, Square Enix’s newest approach to launching it makes me weary of the game’s story. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, know that Square and developer IO Interactive plan on releasing seven missions at Hitman’s launch, with more coming throughout 2016. If every level is as big as the Paris one shown at E3 and Gamescom and if Hitman also comes packed with the Contracts mode – on day one, of course – then this Early Access-style release might be forgiven. – Vlad Pintea

I’ve been a fan of Agent 47 since his days on the PlayStation 2, all the way to the impeccable Hitman Absolution. The upcoming release of Hitman on current generation platforms certainly made me raise an eyebrow, due to the online only release, sandbox missions and the unknown of what exactly this title will provide at launch.

That mystery has me excited, seeing Agent 47 at the forefront of providing a unique experience is amazing, especially since I’ve been along for the ride for so long. There is no guarantee this method will deliver, but after the latest gameplay presentation, the stealth gameplay looks as polished as it ever has been. Hopefully Agent 47’s latest adventure is one worthy of his legendary legacy within the industry. – Jamie Briggs

Next Hitman

Hitman

So there you have it, those are the games Analog Addiction editors are most looking forward to each month for the rest of the year. We know there are a lot more games releasing in the next four months, so we want to hear from you. Leave a comment below telling us what games you are most looking forward too.


This piece was compiled by the Analog Addiction staff. You can Analog Addiction on Twitter here, or like us on Facebook.

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