This year is absolutely exploding with video game releases and that’s especially true for March. Here at ConsoleMonster we want to help highlight a handful of games to keep an eye on each month, particularly a few of our personal favourites.
Bloodborne (PS4) – March 24
Reece W– It wasn’t long ago that From Software, the Japanese games developers, were a niche studio that didn’t have much of a mainstream following. That was until their exclusive contract with Sony saw the release of Demon Souls which brought them unprecedented exposure, which ultimately progressed to their multiplatform runaway success Dark Souls, which in my opinion was one of the defining games of the last generation of consoles.
Fast forward to 2015 and From Software has partnered back up with Sony to bring an exclusive action role-playing game to the PS4 titled Bloodborne. There’s a handful of reasons why this game should instantly garner your attention and anticipation, and here’s potentially the two most significant.
Firstly this new IP looks to step away from the now established Dark/Demon Souls formula to mix things up a little. Instead of having an emphasis on defensive and often slow paced combat Bloodborne looks to speed things up a little. No longer will you be outfitting with heavy armour and slow defensive shields, but will instead be equipped with a weapon in each hand – one melee and the other ranged. Combat is designed from the ground to be more offensive and action orientated, a terrifying premise given the promise of a challenge to rival the games roots.
Secondly whilst Dark Souls II was without a doubt a superb successor to the original, it was often criticised for falling short of the atmospheric world building, creative boss encounter designs and stunning level continuity of the first instalment and Demon Souls before it. Often this is excused to the lack of Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of both Demon/Dark Souls, having much involvement in the development of Dark Souls II – instead opting to focus his time directly onto the then fledgling Bloodborne project. There’s no way to measure truth to such sentiments but I can’t help but get excited at the prospect of From Software, and director Hidetaka Miyazaki, having had the time to refine and establish Bloodborne since 2012.
Seeing a release on March 24th you can bet you’ll see me day one struggling to get through the first few hours on PS4.
Hotline Miami 2 (PS4, PS3, Vita, PC) – March 10
Justin O– Neon lights, thumping beats, and loads of blood;Hotline Miamislashed itself into the heart of gamers back in 2012, and admittedly has become one of my all time favorite titles. More of a video game than most releases as of late, the straightforward, hard-as-nails gameplay made gamers scream with frustration and joy. The second installment,Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Numberhits later this month, and I’m already sporting myMembers Onlyjacket in preparation.
Returning to the blood-soaked underbelly of1980s Miami, the sequel adds to the surreal and dark storyline. Hopefully explaining some of the unanswered questions from the first game, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number promises to expand on the story of the original. The cryptic way the original told its story has left players theorizing and trying to fill in the blanks. Hopefully with the second entry, some of the questions will finally be answered.
Adding loads of new weapons, levels, the ability to dual-wield firearms, and even a level creator, the possibilities for mayhem seem nearly endless. Along with more tracks from the musical artists that contributed to the now legendary original soundtrack, the 80s post-industrial techno sounds are back to fuel the murder with style all over again.
Blazing through the floors in a mad blur of red and neon pink is something that must be experienced by all gamers. There is something insanely rewarding about finally finishing a level in a near hectic state after failure after failure. You will die—this is certain—but when you do finally overcome, it will be all the more satisfying.
If you’re looking for a title that is the purest of what video games are supposed to be about with fast-paced, adrenaline boosting action, then Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is one you shouldn’t pass up. Grab your hammer and gloves, things are gonna get messy.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong number hits the PlayStation Network March 10th.
ScreamRide (Xbox One, Xbox 360) – March 3
David W– Strap yourself in as Frontier Games (the development team behind Rollercoaster Tycoon) looks set to release its latest rollercoaster simulator in March.
Set in the near future on a remote development lab, ScreamRide is home to the world’s most thrilling theme park rides.
The Xbox-exclusive title will allow players to create and test rollercoasters throughout its campaign, which is split into three level types: Scream Rider, Engineer and Demolition Expert.
Scream Rider sees players racing rollercoaster trains along pre-created tracks; Engineer requires players to finish half-completed rollercoasters and Demolition Expert tasks players with tearing structures and buildings down in an Angry Birds-esque fashion.
In addition to the campaign, ScreamRide will also feature a free-rein creation mode (containing hundreds of customisable building components), online leaderboards and the ability to take control of coasters shared and created by other players through Xbox Live (although this is limited to the Xbox One).
ScreamRide launches for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 on Friday, March 6th, 2015.
Battlefield Hardline (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC) – March 17
Anthony B– Since the release of Battlefield 4, gamers wishing to blow stuff up have had to wait over a year for the next instalment of the Battlefield series. There has been many DLC packs since its release that have kept fans well fed for a number of months, but it is now time to focus on new ground; urban ground to be exact. Put your hands up for the release of Battlefield Hardline!
In an effort to spread the workload between annual releases, Dead Space developers – Visceral Games – have taken the rains of the Frostbite 2 engine to bring us an alternative direction to the EA’s award winning franchise.
Bringing a new variety of gameplay, Battlefield Hardline swaps military-based combat for a battle between police special forces and criminals. It wouldn’t be Battlefield without a arsenal of military-grade weapons and vehicles at your disposal either, so expect plenty of choppers, squad cars and automatic rifles to go with your waist-lining tasers and handcuffs.
Battlefield 4’s ‘Levolution’ mechanic returns once again in Hardline, bringing a refreshing change of events to the multiplayer aspect of the game, as will a handful of new game modes including: Heist, Rescue, Hotwire and two competitive game modes, Crosshair and Blood Money.
Fans of single-player gaming will enjoy an episodic crime drama experience in a campaign that its developers promises to not only be linear, but also be better than previous single-player campaigns in the franchise – A bold claim that I will look forward to pursuing.
Battlefield Hardline will read your rights on March 17 on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and PC.
Neverwinter (Xbox One) – March 31
Sam F– For MMOs, the path from PC to console has ever been one fraught with danger. Many have fallen by the roadside or at least suffered significant delays,The Elder Scrolls Online, for example, being pushed back on console to over a year after its release for PC.
This month, however, sees a new contender making the leap from keyboard to joypad. It’s time forNeverwinter, originally released for PC in 2013, to rock up on console and show its mettle.
The name Neverwinter should be familiar to players of classic RPGs. Based onDungeons & Dragonsgameplay and lore, the game promises to thrust players immediately into a realm plagued with chaos. After the fall of the city of Neverwinter’s last lord, the rising dead laid siege. The city’s remaining populace sprung to their own defence, establishing factions to defend against the blight.Neverwinterdrops you right in the brown stuff and invites you to find your own way out.
Offering seven classicD&Dcharacter classes,Neverwinterincludes the usual RPG fare: swords, shields, stealth and magic. Of course, anything derived from such hallowed ancestry asD&Dis bound to be nothing short of a masterclass in traditional roleplaying, but how does the gameplay stack up in the console port?
Where other MMOs have lumbered players with an enormous range of skills and abilities,Neverwinter’s tack is to place the onus on masterfully orchestrating battle with the judicious use of a smaller number of skills, deployed rapidly in concert with a tightly coordinated team. Such rapid action should compliment the joypad interface.
The game itself is surely one to summon excitement, and we here at Console Monster will certainly be eagerly anticipating the Xbox One release on March 31st. What’s less certain is whether the bowels of console multiplayer will spew up a team that’s up to the challenge.
Stay tuned as we plan for this to be a recurring feature at the start of each month, and we anticipate that the already packed release calendar will only get more overwhelming as the year goes on. Please let us know if you share our anticipation in the comments below along with suggestions for next months games to watch.