Exciting titles, new consoles await gamers
The new year is upon us. And this will be a particularly interesting year for video gaming.
Despite Microsoft releasing Xbox One S and Sony launching PlayStation Pro last year, both are incremental upgrades of their respective predecessors.
The real new consoles will be Microsoft's Project Scorpio - which is expected to be released at the end of the year - and the already-announced Nintendo Switch.
Mass Effect: Andromeda - exploring a new galaxy
Mass Effect has been one of my favourite sci-fi action role-playing game franchises. But after Commander Shepard destroyed the Reapers in Mass Effect 3 (ME3) more than four years ago, the franchise has yet to see a new game.
The wait is over. Mass Effect: Andromeda will be launched in the first half of this year. It takes place 600 years after the events of ME3. You are a Pathfinder, on a mission to find a new home for humanity.
As the name suggests, you will be exploring a new galaxy, Andromeda - the one nearest to our Milky Way. There will be new planets to explore, new alien species to meet, new weapons to master, new armour to craft, and new spaceships to pilot.
Halo Wars 2 - jumping right into the action
Halo Wars is a real-time strategy (RTS) spin-off from the successful first-person shooter (FPS) franchise Halo.
I played the Halo Wars in 2009, and was impressed by its seamless gameplay. It was not easy to play RTS games without a mouse, but Halo Wars managed to pull it off with great results.
After nearly eight years, the sequel will finally be here next month. Halo Wars 2 will see the return of the crew of United Nations Space Command (UNSC) warship Spirit of Fire.
Star Citizen - beyond the space combat game
Star Citizen is the spiritual successor of my childhood favourite space simulation game, Wing Commander.
Developed by Chris Roberts, who created Wing Commander, Star Citizen enjoyed an immensely successful Kickstarter campaign (I'm one of the backers) raising US$6.2 million (S$9 million) in 2012.
It continues to receive fans' funding, with over US$140 million raised so far. But, after four years, the game has not yet been launched.
Gran Turismo Sport - FIA-certified competition
Anyone who is a racing game fan will know about Gran Turismo, thanks to its breathtaking graphics, authentic game physics and realistic handling. And the next iteration - Gran Turismo Sport - will released this year, I hope.
It was supposed to launch on Nov 15, but was postponed to this year to further polish up the game.
The Gran Turismo Sport will feature three modes - Campaign, Sport and Arcade. The Campaign mode will have large-scale offline content that cater to even beginners, who can learn driving skills from scratch to eventually competing in major races.
The Legend Of Zelda - open-world elements
The latest instalment in the iconic Legend Of Zelda action-adventure series puts players in a sprawling open world.
The series' hero Link has woken up from a deep sleep after a century, with no memories and his kingdom Hyrule in ruins.
He now has to hunt wild animals, gather ingredients, cook his own food, and craft new weapons from the resources around him.
Nier: Automata - keeping you always on your toes
Female humanoid robots in high heels battling giant machines with swords and guns over the fate of Earth - that was my initial impression of Nier: Automata, after trying a demo of this upcoming action role-playing game (RPG).
In this distant future, humans have retreated to the Moon after an invasion by alien machines. To counter this alien threat, a squad of androids, dubbed YoRHa, are sent to Earth to fight the invaders.
Automata is set in the same post-apocalyptic universe as the original Nier released in 2010, which was praised by critics for its story and setting, but panned for its gameplay.
From the shadows of Dark Souls comes Nioh
Think Dark Souls, but set in a feudal Japan populated by demons (yokai) instead of a mediaeval fantasy world.
This is what early previewers have been saying of upcoming action RPG Nioh, which uses similar gameplay mechanics, as well as boasting a difficulty level to match the Souls games.
Creative director Fumihiko Yasuda admits the Dark Souls series has influenced his game heavily.
Red Dead Redemption 2 - stunning visuals
Not much is known about Red Dead Redemption 2 other than the short trailer from developer Rockstar Games last October.
Featuring scenes of lush forests and distant mountains, the trailer seems to showcase the game's open world while keeping its story and game characters tightly under wraps. The visuals, however, look stunning and you can probably expect it to support all the graphical features on the current consoles.
The game's artwork appears to mimic The Magnificent Seven movie with its depiction of seven characters over a red background.
Horizon Zero Dawn - fantasy and sci-fi
Horizon Zero Dawn adds another great role-playing game (RPG) to the Sony PlayStation 4's already stellar line-up.
It combines fantasy tropes with science-fiction elements.
In this third-person action RPG developed by Guerrilla Games (of first-person shooter Killzone series fame), you step into the fur-lined boots of Aloy, an archer and gatherer who has to uncover the mysteries of the post-apocalyptic Earth she finds herself in.
For Honor - great multiplayer fun
Releasing a game on Valentine's Day is a dicey proposition. Will gamers want to treat their partners to a romantic night out, or will they rather choose to slug it out in a mediaeval battlefield between three of history's most badass warrior races?
For Honor is a fantasy gamer's dream come true, because its premise is so simple yet tantalisingly alluring.
Its gameplay boils down to pitting knights in armour, samurai with katanas and Vikings with their horned helmets against each other in a mutiplayer spectacle of testosterone and battle.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - going back to horror
The Resident Evil series has got slightly over the top and ridiculous over the years, moving away from its initial survival-horror premise into large-scale zombie-killing.
Now, its developer Capcom promises the game will go back to the essential roots of the series: horror.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard takes place away from the chaos of the big city, in a more domestic but possibly scarier setting - a haunted mansion in Louisiana and its surrounding lowlands.
Ghost Recon Wildlands - fighting drug cartels
The latest instalment of the popular tactical shooter withdraws from the futuristic setting of its previous games and goes back to the present day, with modern military equipment as we know it.
Set in Bolivia againts the backdrop of the war against drugs, Wildlands puts the player in charge of the elite four-man special operation forces team known as The Ghosts.
Their mission: create chaos from within and break the alliance between the drug cartels and the corrupt government.