Well, my Best Games of 2020 list is done now, so it's time to move ahead to 2021. There's a lot to look forward to over the next 11 months. Assuming the release dates all hold, that is. At any rate, it's looking like it should be another solid year for gaming, all in all. Go ahead and read on for a list of 12 particular highlights that you should be able to play all of before the year's end.
It's so nice to be out of 2020. Between the pandemic and a multitude of various other reasons, it was surely a year most people would sooner forget. But that being said, 2020 wasn't actually a total loss. Despite several titles having to see their release dates pushed back due to the challenges of working through social distancing and quarantines, it was overall a pretty fantastic year for video games. Don't believe me? Well, just read on and see for yourself as I recap 12 of the very brightest spots in an otherwise pretty dark year.
In the late summer of 1998, Cartoon Network began airing episodes of an obscure (in the US at the time) nine-year-old anime series called Dragon Ball Z. The show was an immediate hit. In fact, so immense was its popularity, that it nearly single-handedly brought anime (and manga) into the mainstream in America. When I was introduced to the series in the early autumn of '99, I was instantly hooked. Watching DBZ became a daily afternoon ritual with my buddy at the time. And I didn't stop there. Over the next few years I amassed a small collection of Dragon Ball Z paraphernalia including t-shirts, posters, action figures, and even VHS tapes and DVDs.
The first licensed video game to come out following the show's US debut was the Dimps-developed fighting game, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai. After it came to the GameCube in 2003, I pretty much jumped at the chance to try it out. After all, if there ever existed a property just screaming for a truly awesome fighting game adaptation, it was Dragon Ball Z. Sadly, however, Dimps wasn't quite up to the task.
Budokai was a bit of a let down. It didn't really do proper justice to the series. Despite this fact (and the tepid reviews), Dimps was allowed to go right on churning out a slew of lackluster, half-hearted sequels, year after year, for well over a decade. With so many titles that lacked even so much as a hint of additional effort or enthusiasm from Dimps, and no sign of a developer change on the horizon, it seemed like Dragon Ball Z was doomed to an eternity of uninspired shovelware video games.
Another excellent Arcade port has come to the Steam Store this week, courtesy of Arc System Works. Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! is a very Japanesey, all-female fighting game with beautiful anime style graphics. If you're a fan of similar fighter series such as BlazBlue or Guilty Gear, you won't be disappointed with this one.
Also out this week, Inti Creates' 8-bit style action platformer, Mighty Gunvolt, and sports titles, Rugby League Live 3 and NBA 2K16. Fight like a girl, then proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.
Fear not! The New Nintendo eShop Releases post is finally back from hiatus. I was regrettably unavailable that big day when Super Mario Maker dropped, but I had intended to jump right back in the week after. Unfortunately, what followed were two straight weeks of garbage releases. Yes, I'm talking to you, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer! Come back when you've "designed" a complete game!
Finally, this week I have something good to cover. Namely, River City Ransom. The legendary early '90s high school beat 'em up has come home to the Wii U NES Virtual Console. Also out this week, Pumped BMX, Toto Temple Deluxe, and the incredibly overrated Freedom Planet. "BARF!" Proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.