The rush is over, and we’re all winding down from three busy months of Blockbuster games. I don’t think I can handle anything beyond Final Fantasy XV, but we do have a few stragglers to crank out this late in the year. December usually sees a big release or two to put a nice bow on the holiday shopping, and 2016 has the biggest, nicest, and most anticipated bow of them all!
Super Mario Maker – Dec. 2 – Nintendo 3DS
Before we get to December’s main attraction, we still have Super Mario Maker to chat about. This entry promises portability when you create your levels, but it does so at the price of being able to share them so easily. Reception has been pretty solid now that reviews are out, and our own Joey had mixed feelings about it. Basically, I think the idea is that you should wait for the inevitable Nintendo Switch version, which will combine the best of both versions into one big package.
If that happens, which I think it will, you might be happy if you held off on this one.
Steep – Dec. 2 – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Believe it or not, I was once a big snowboarding game fan. Tucked in between my adventures with Tidus and Crono, I would slip in a few runs with both the Cool Borders and SSX franchises. Steep is the only game really taking on that genre anymore, and here’s to hoping that it can bring new life to the world of open exploration snow sport games.
Yeah, it’s not really that big of a genre anymore, but who can forget SSX 3, one of the first games to properly incorporate online gaming in a sports title. Steep has that legacy to live up to. The big question is… did they get in contact with Run DMC?
The Last Guardian – Dec. 6 – PlayStation 4
Here we go. One of the most anticipated December releases of all time. The Last Guardian is finally about to be released after nearly a decade of teasing us with trailers and failed appearances. Much like ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, this game has always seemed to exist on the outside of gaming, free from the criticisms of modern advances and popular trends in video games. It exists solely to please the fans of a small, loosely connected franchise, and those who are on the inside of this group will obviously get more pleasure out of this game.
It’s been a question on our mind for years and years, but we will finally have the answer to the biggest one of all: How will this game break our hearts?
Dead Rising 4 – Dec. 6 – Xbox One, PC
The Last Guardian is not alone on its release date, but luckily, it doesn’t share the same platforms as this other big hit. Frank West is returning to us in Dead Rising 4 on the PC and Xbox One. Ol’ Frank is back in Colorado, once again using his superior engineering skills to bring the pain to hordes of zombies.
Much like the other games in the series, I wouldn’t expect a life changing experience from this title, just a whole lot of mindless fun and experimentation as you wipe out the living dead as one of gaming’s most badass photo journalists.
Stardew Valley – Dec. 13, 14 – PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Console gamers finally get to head on down to the farm with Stardew Valley this December. The game remains one of the most popular indie hits of 2016, long after its original release on the PC back in February.
The timing couldn’t be better either! As the cold weather sets in, and gamers start hunkering down for the winter, just remember that the warmth of the spring sun and glow of spring flowers await you in this beautiful farming simulator. I’m waiting for the Switch version, but absolutely, if you want to play it sooner and don’t game on a PC, it’s never too late to become a fan.
Super Mario Run – Dec. 15 – iOS
And you thought Pokémon GO turned out to be a huge hit? Nintendo’s classic character Mario is making his grand debut on smartphones many years after the Nintendo faithful said it would never happen. Super Mario Run will make or break Nintendo’s mobile strategy. It stars the company’s most popular character, and it will bring him to an audience that might have never even played a Nintendo platform. Now that the youth of the world is dominated by smartphones, this is the way to lure them into Nintendo products.
Will it work? Will it not work? I think that question is even more interesting than the game itself will turn out to be! Not that Super Mario Run doesn’t look like a lot of fun, but I am far more interested in seeing how this carries over into the Nintendo Switch and the Mario game that it comes with.
The Walking Dead Season 3: A New Frontier – Everything – Dec. 20
Telltale is bringing its brand of game design back to the series that put it on the map, and the series that it always finds the most critical success with. Sales figures for its last few games show that some gamers are getting a little fatigued of their episode releases, so it will take the success of another Walking Dead series to put the company back on top. Clementine returns, she meets a whole new group of humans, and you know the rest.
Regardless of if you keep up with other Telltale games, we need to keep the company around and on the front pages so it can finally land Star Wars and deliver us the unicorn of a graphical adventure.
Cosmic Star Heroine – Dec… – PlayStation 4, PS Vita, PC
I haven’t given up just yet. The official release date is still listed as Dec. 2016, but with that window quickly closing and no solidified date just yet, we might see this one leak into 2017. The game is coming to PlayStation Experience this weekend, so if we don’t get a release date by then, you can scratch it off this list.
If we do get a release date, then you can close out 2016 with one of the most explosive and retro JRPGs in recent memory. This game has it all, and I can’t wait to finally get my hands on it.