We've been talking a lot about how good 2017 is going to be for gamers. However, it's one thing to talk about it in abstract and another to share exactly why it's going to be a great year.
Nothing exemplifies 2017 more than March. It's going to be a huge month for gamers, delivering both software and hardware. In terms of software, everything is covered from JRPG to action and even VR. Let's dive in and look at exactly why this year's March line-up stands out.
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
The first Nier didn't perform all that well, but that's the case for many IPs that end up being great (i.e. Assassin's Creed). Despite this, Nier: Automata is in the minds of many gamers, and not because of marketing or anything of the sort. Instead, it's earned hype thanks to a free demo on the PlayStation Store. Tens of thousands of gamers have played the game prior to its release, and many are sold on what it offers.
Nier: Automata is a great fit for March, if only because there are very few JRPGs confirmed for 2017. Taking on many of the elements JRPG fans have come to expect, including stylish combat and an emphasis on story, it's set in a post-apocalyptic open-world. There are a wide range of activities to engage in, in addition to improvements on the popular combat system introduced in the first title. Not a bad way to start the month.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Tactical shooters are a rare breed in the modern gaming climate. Ubisoft thrives on that trend, having a history of delivering the most well-received games in the genre under the Tom Clancy name, ranging from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege to Tom Clancy's The Division. But Ghost Recon Wildlands has some new tricks up its sleeve to deviate from the pack, including the franchise's very first open world environment. Exploration is pivotal to this particular game.
Ghost Recon Wildlands provides a great sense of freedom in a way not too dissimilar from Just Cause 3, with parachutes, vehicles (60+ of them), real-world inspired weaponry, and explosions being an important part of the hour-by-hour experience. Unlike most of the games in March it's also very supportive of gamers who prefer multiplayer by emphasizing squad play. Gamers looking for a playground to toy around in are going to find something memorable in this early March release.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Release Date: March 14th, 2017
As much as virtual reality has proven itself to be immersive for most people who try it, it's been lacking a AAA hit to draw in large audiences. Created by Ubisoft, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is the sort of thing that dreams are made of and exactly what VR needs to jump back into mainstream. Placing you and other players within on the bridge of a starship, you are tasked with keeping the ship safe in the far-reaching vastness of space. This means engaging with enemies, managing systems, and communicating with other players on the bridge.
Early hands-on previews have painted Star Trek: Bridge Crew as one of the must-have upcoming VR games, even for people who may not be fans of Star Trek. Color us intrigued.
Mass Effect Andromeda
Release Date: March 21st, 2017
It's been a long time since we've had a new Mass Effect to play, and given the franchise's significance that's been a tough reality for many to accept. But after more than five years of development a new title is upon us.
Mass Effect: Andromeda has a lot of weight to carry given the poor reception of Mass Effect 3's story, as if being a Mass Effect game wasn't enough. It's also the first entry in the series on current generation platforms, offering new potential for one of the most well-known series in modern times. Little has been shown of the game, but every time it makes an appearance it draws in the attention of the masses (no pun intended). This is going to be a huge game that has every reason to be a potential game of the year contender.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
You want Kingdom Hearts on PS4, you got it. The first two games have been remastered to bring them up to speed with modern standards. Although these two packages were already released on PS3, they didn't demonstrate the same level of improvement that their PS4 brethren will see.
Both games will include all expansions and DLC, in addition to major upgrades to visual fidelity. It's going to be a while before we play Kingdom Hearts 3. This is the next best thing.
Release Date: March 2017 TBD
A new console launch is always a big deal, but this one is a particularly important. For one, it's arriving at a time when Nintendo's console market share is at an all-time low. In that sense it has something to prove in a similar way as Mass Effect: Andromeda. In addition, it's a console that's trying something bravely different by becoming a home console/handheld hybrid.
The Nintendo Switch is the sort of thing that could shake up the industry as we know it. Let's be real, today's world is fast paced and you probably don't have all that much time to spend on your couch playing games. Having access to an entire current generation library (including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) no matter where you are is staggering.