Gravity Rush 2 (PS4), Jan. 18
I never played the first "Gravity Rush," either on the initial PS Vita release in 2012 or in its HD upgrade on the PS4. But judging by how many games of the year lists it appeared on at the time, it won many people over. If you're in the mood for fashionably dressed women stylishly beating up monsters with their powers of gravity manipulation, you may want to give this one a shot. Just try not to get motion sickness.
Resident Evil 7 (PS4, Xbox One, PC), Jan. 24
Any video game franchise reaching its seventh numbered entry is bound to have its fair share of detractors. Having celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, the Resident Evil series is certainly no exception. In fact, many would say the venerable zombie shoot 'em up has strayed too far from its survival horror roots, limping along through the last few iterations since a high point with the legendary (and endlessly ported) "Resident Evil 4." Good thing, then, that "Resident Evil 7" looks to breathe life into the franchise with a switch to a panic-inducing first-person view and some hints that we may be seeing a return to survival horror. It's unknown just yet how -- or if -- this entry fits into the goofy overarching bio-terrorism plot, but if the demos are any indication, players are in for a good time.
- Nippon Ichi Software
Disgaea 2 (PC), Jan. 30
Another game series I've never tried, this version of "Disgaea 2" is an enhanced PC port of a 2006 PS2 tactics game about a teenage demon hunter. I love tactics games and a friend of mine swore this is one of the best around -- if you can get past the goofy anime aesthetic. That may be a tall order (there are talking penguins) but, as my friend is no longer with us, I'm thinking of giving it a shot for nostalgia's sake. Might wait for a Steam Sale on this one, though.
- Arc Systems Works
Double Dragon 4 (PS4, PC), Jan. 30
The original "Double Dragon" started life as an arcade beat-'em-up in 1987 and playing the NES port at day care is one of my earliest gaming memories. The series is one that's firmly entrenched in the '90s, with the last real entry coming with 1992's "Super Double Dragon" on the Super Nintendo. You'd be forgiven for thinking the series was dead outside of various ports and fighting-game spinoffs over the years. Cut to the end 2016, when Arc Systems Works announced that it was bringing in some of the original developers to put out a long-lost sequel. Sure, 2016 was a year when seemingly dead titles got a second chance (see "Shenmue 3," "The Final Fantasy VII" remake, or even the "Last Guardian,") but "Double Dragon" is one I never predicted would get a reboot. The OG NES aesthetic is just icing on the cake.
- Infinite Fall/Finji
Night in the Woods (PS4, PC), February
Update: Looks like the game got pushed back just a bit.
What if the quaint towns and villages of the Animal Crossing series were filled with disaffected young cartoonish punks? That's the setup this adventure game by crowd-funded studio Infinite Fall seems to be going for. The main character, Mae, is a quirky black cat who dropped out of college and has returned to her old hometown looking for trouble. However, mysterious happenings in and around Possum Springs prove that the slacker's life is not what it first appears. I'm really digging the look of this and I'm a sucker for adventure games, so it's really a no-brainer for me.