2015’s Cautiously Optimistic Games – GameSided Roundtable

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Rebekah Valentine (Twitter)

My husband and I recently purchased a Wii U, which came with a funny little game called Nintendo Land. As weird as it seemed when we loaded it up, the multiplayer minigames show off the incredibly capabilities of the gamepad and, what’s more, you can play with up to five people at a time, not just four. The ingenuity of Nintendo Land has gotten me really excited for Mario Party 10.

But, as the topic states, this is a cautious optimism. While I’m thrilled to see what Nintendo does with the gamepad and Wii U for minigames in 10, the board game aspect itself is what worries me. I miss the good old days of star collection, when every map was different, but had the same goal. Mario Party 9 and Island Tour frustrated me. Chance was too heavy a factor in all the games, some of the boards didn’t even feature minigames unless you landed on a specific space, and there was just so much going on at times that it was hard to strategize and understand the game. I hope 10 at least offers a wider variety of maps with similar goals, and simplifies those goals a bit so chance doesn’t muck things up every single turn for everyone.

There have been so many Mario Party games by now that I can’t keep track of them all. I’d love for the Wii U Mario Party to be one that really stands out in my mind as a go-to for gatherings and family play.

Jon McSwain (Twitter)

After an arguably less than sub-par year in gaming, my expectations for 2015 have been somewhat tempered. Couple that with the fact that many of the major game publishers showed their true colors this past year; to say cautiously optimistic might be stretching it. However, despite my pessimistic outlook, I must admit there are several games, (perhaps more than normal) that I am quite excited about. None more so than Halo 5.

There aren’t many franchises that excite me more than Halo and with the upcoming beta just under a week away, it’s really been on my mind. The Halo: MCC has been a monumental catastrophe, (relatively speaking) and it has undoubtedly raised many questions with not only what the gaming industry views as a “finished product”, but also (perhaps more importantly in this particular instance) how 343 will deliver on Halo 5.

Before the recent MCC disaster, I wasn’t really worried at all about how the Halo franchise would continue. I was overly thrilled about the opportunity to play a Halo game that was completely designed for the next-gen consoles. New multiplayer maps, new game types, weapons and gear, but I would be lying if I didn’t have some serious concerns now.

Hopefully, Microsoft and 343 have learned some valuable lessons with the MCC and can use that to help guide and ensure the Halo franchise is secure for the future. I can only hope that this time next year we are considering Halo 5 as a potential GOY award winner. If that is the case, then lessons were learned and voices were heard and with that Halo 5 was a tremendous success.

Barrett Womack (Twitter)

2015 is looking to be another year of excellent releases across all systems, to the point where it’s hard to really pick an upcoming game I’m not so sure on! However, I’m allowed to be optimistic along with cautious, so my pick goes to Evolve. I have seen some footage of the game and read a fair amount about it, and it’s a killer concept that at least appears to play well. However, the core concept still seems incredibly difficult to balance. How will matchmaking work for asynchronous gameplay? Will the monsters be properly balanced against the team they’re up against? With the monster’s large sizes, how will hit detection work on physical attacks? As opposed to team deathmatches, balance is absolutely paramount; if monsters are too weak they’ll get stomped by the hunters, and vice versa.

It seems like a game that will provide some awesome new options and I give major kudos to the development team for taking a risk, but I would be surprised if there weren’t some sticky situations out of the gate. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’ll be great, but for now, I’m definitely still in the ‘wait and see’ camp. I look forward to learning more about it as its release date nears!

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