Posted March 1, 2017 by Marko Swanepoel in Feature

Game releases for March – With predictions!

There are a few months in a year where gaming just goes crazy. Title after title gets released and you need to sell some organs to keep up with everything. It’s usually in October and November, but there’s also another month that eeks us closer to bankruptcy: March. And this year is particularly scary because there will be a shiny new console for us to go into further debt with as well as a plethora of highly anticipated titles. I’ve been dreading writing this game release post, but it is my civil duty to you, our beautiful readers, to know what is what in the month to come. Because I value my sanity, we have distilled the game releases a bit to only include the big ticket titles that you should definitely pay attention to. There’s also a bunch of indie titles and smaller games releasing in March and if I had to insert all of them, my fingers would quite literally fall off. Let’s just jump into it, shall we?

Horizon Zero Dawn – PS4 – 1 March

Oh would you look at that, that’s today. Oh would you look at that as well, I wrote a comprehensive review for the game already where you can find everything you need to know including the fact that you definitely should get this game immediately because it is absolutely magnificent. Isn’t that just convenient right there. Jokes aside, Horizon Zero Dawn is one of those special games that come along and blow your mind with such ferocity that you’ll find pieces of your skull on the moon. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful, the narrative is gripping and fascinating, and you’ll play it for quite a while. Get up, drive to a game shop and buy it. Or just order it online, I heard Raru is a wonderful retailer that may or may not be a supporter of a certain excellent South African gaming website.

Prediction: Oh gee, I don’t know, this game doesn’t really look that good. I’m thinking a 6/10 at the most, Guerrilla Games should just stick to shooters. I’m kidding by the way, it got a 9.6/10

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Switch, Wii U – 3 March

Nintendo fans have been anticipating this one for a while now. I’ll be a heathen and say that I’ve never properly played a Legend of Zelda game in my life, if you can believe that. I just simply never got the opportunity. Yet, even I know that the series is the benchmark for quality and lies deep in the hearts and minds of many gamers. Many tout the series as their first love and what got them so invested in gaming so far be it from me to say that the series is not important. Breath of the Wild is especially important since it is a Nintendo Switch launch game and will set the precedent for future titles on the console. The game will feature an open-world that is quite different from other entries in the franchise as well as a beautiful new art style that will surely raise some eyebrows. The game has the enduring legacy and the top minds at Nintendo have been diligently working on it to ensure a lasting experience.

Prediction: Anywhere from an 8/10 to a 9/10. Like I said, the game has the pedigree to be something good and Nintendo exclusives are often carefully constructed works dripping with quality. There is the risk that the formula is tired or they mess something up, but even then it should be a solid game.

Super Bomberman R – Switch – 3 March

Now this is a blast from the past. Heh, see what I did there? You know, it’s funny because blast is a… nevermind. Super Bomberman R is another launch game for the Switch and it seems like the perfect game to showcase the Switch’s interesting multiplayer capabilities. It’s the perfect formula with the move-and-place-bomb system that has been a trademark of the series for decades now. It seems like they are indeed going for the nostalgia factor within a shiny new package. It’s full 3D with an isometric viewpoint with some colourful characters and environments. As much as I’m a purveyor for innovation, they should just play this simple. Fun multiplayer, simple gameplay and good design. That’s all they need for a winner with this classic franchise.

Prediction: Around 7.5/10 or so. I’m not expecting the world to explode with this. Get it, because the bombs expl…*gets slapped by editor* Ow. It’s being made by Konami as well and I don’t have much faith in them either.

Snipperclips – Switch – 3 March

Check it, another Switch launch title. What initially seems like a simple multiplayer puzzle game looks like it can be a ton of fun. You play some papercraft creatures and cut out shapes in your partner using the shape of your body in order to solve physics puzzles. Suggestive as that may be, it looks like it can be wonderful to play with someone and it looks simple enough that most people can grasp it quickly. It has a cute aesthetic and looks like a ball. There’s not much left to say.

Prediction: can be a 6/10, can be an 8/10. Depends on how well they handle the co-op aspect of it. It can be short-lived and lacking in variation, but that’s the pessimistic way to look at it.

1-2-Switch! – Switch – 3 March

Hey, it’s another Switch title. It’s like the console is releasing or something. 1-2-Switch! is the obligatory mini-game compilation that showcases the potential of a lot of the Switch’s capabilities. This is the game where all the funny Twitter videos come from of people doing masturbation motions with the controller in order to milk a cow. There’s a whole list of mini-games that are a part of 1-2-Switch! and they range from simple stuff such as ping-pong to trying to eat more sandwiches than your opponent (?). It’s the perfect party game to compliment your new console, but aside from that, there’s not much else to be excited about.

Prediction: It’s tough to rate this since it’s a collection of smaller games, but a 5/10 up to 8/10 seems reasonable.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands – PS4, Xbox One, PC – 7 March

Funnily enough, Ghost Recon was a major part of my childhood. Seems odd, but Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was one of the first console shooters I played. It was an enlightening experience because of how deeply strategic it was. It wasn’t on the same length as say a Call of Duty game; you actually had to plan your attack and be careful. There were more gadgets and instruments for engagement and the battlefield required a much more nuanced approach. The series held this level of strategy throughout its lifetime and now we’re getting a much more ambitious title in the form of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. However, it seems like it’s receiving the signature Ubisoft treatment. Huge open-world, co-op, multiple paths, lots of characters etc. You can simultaneously be excited and absolutely terrified by this.

Ubisoft come under fire a lot for their repetition and monotonous open-worlds and for good reason. It often just feels like a padded out mess with a bunch of insignificant stuff littering the map that offer little substance. Their online functionality is also not the best and it seems it will have a strong reliance on co-op play. It looks like a game you play with a 4 man squad since there will be multiple roles that you can fill to take on the open-ended encounters. It’s great that they’re offering a chance to be free in your plan of attack and putting an emphasis on strategy, which is a cornerstone of the franchise.

There’s a lot to fear with Ghost Recon: Wildlands, but it simultaneously has a lot to be excited about. The shooting mechanics, open-world exploration and the strategic elements might hold it together, but I have as much trust in Ubisoft as a year-old Twinkie.

Prediction: Anywhere from a 6/10 to a 9/10 depending on how Ubisoft play their cards. That’s a big gap, but it really depends on how they decided to handle the game.

NieR: Automata – PS4, PC – 10 March

Nier was a strange and wonderful game that flew under a lot of people’s radars. I picked the game up at some off-brand gaming shop for 50 bucks and was pleasantly surprised by what I experienced. It was decidedly strange and almost camp with its tropes and traditional Japanese-esque storyline. For goodness sake, the antagonist is called Shadowlord, just how much more JRPG can you get? However, the gameplay was a surprise because this is actually a third-person action game. Sword combos and the ilk. The whole game was weird, but the narrative was strong and had some masterful twists, the gameplay outside of combat was interesting where you can go fishing and do all sorts of things for your hometown and there was even some bullet hell aspects to it, if you can believe it.

The game didn’t really resonate with a lot of people because of its aforementioned obscurity, but those that did play it always have good things to say about it with a caveat about the gameplay not being too good. It was way too generic and quickly became monotonous. The visuals weren’t the best either and it was generally regarded as a diamond with a very rough coating. However, this niche little game is getting a sequel in the form of NieR: Automata. It follows the events of the original, but the direction has changed considerably. It’s developed by Platinum Games who are masters at third-person action games and really know what they’re doing when it comes to their titles.

The game looks gorgeous and seems to play buttery smooth. It might just be exactly what this short-lived and obscure franchise needed. A more experienced and competent developer that knows their craft. It will be interesting to see how this one shapes up.

Prediction: An 8/10 seems to be the conservative guess, but it can elevate to a 9/10 easily. The game, from demos and previews, looks great and with an esteemed developer behind the wheel, it can be something great.

Mass Effect: Andromeda – Xbox One, PS4, PC – 23 March

This is probably the most anticipated title on this list and is personally the game I’m most excited about. The original Mass Effect trilogy has a huge place in my heart with the first one really showing me what videogame narratives are capable of and the rest being excellent showcases as well. There’s still a sore spot following Mass Effect 3‘s ending, but it was about the journey, not the destination. BioWare seem to have narratives down to a craft, but they have made a few misguided moves with their gameplay as you can find in Dragon Age: Inquisition. While the game was excellent, it did play out like a singleplayer MMO with collectathon and fetch quests littering the whole experience.

However, I still have confidence in them delivering something excellent. Mass Effect: Andromeda just tickles your fancy out of the gate with the promise that we’re going to an entirely new galaxy and since the threat of the Reapers was (mostly) resolved in the trilogy, it will be very interesting to see where they’re going with the overarching story. Who will the new threat be, what are Milky Way inhabitants doing in Andromeda and the questions keep going on. The gameplay trailers seem to indicate that there will be a lot more variety in the combat, but there are some noticeable omissions such as no squad planner.

Everything will be different and it’s not completely out of the realm of logic to think of this as a reboot and probably the start of a new trilogy. If anything, you should be excited for anything BioWare brings out, even if there are some definite problems that they are certainly not immune to. We’ll forever remember Dragon Age 2, BioWare. We will never forget. I’m keeping expectations low and even tried to bury the hype, but the fanboy inside me wants this game right now at this moment inside my disc tray. New gaggle of characters, a whole new galaxy, a whole new story and some potential for more alien banging. We can always do with some more alien banging.

Prediction: Check out this range: 7/10 – 10/10. It can really go either way. A slightly mediocre experience with some missed potential or an absolute masterwork. You never truly know with BioWare, but they have the ability to deliver.

There’s your shopping list for March. Judging from the poll we have running at the time of writing, it doesn’t look like a lot of you will be getting the Switch at launch, or at least waiting for reviews to come in before deciding. Still, March looks exceptionally strong in terms of variety. You have Horizon: Zero Dawn which is an amazing action adventure title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for some nostalgia and good gameplay, Ghost Recon: Wildlands for some shooty bang action, NieR: Automata to throw some whacky spice into the mix and Mass Effect: Andromeda to cap it all off with some good old quality storytelling. Something for everyone. Also, I have just noticed that all of these games have colons in them. Is this the new trope to surpass the “dude holding a gun and looking to the side on the boxart” trend we had going for a while? Is it still funny to see the word “colon”? Leave your answers in the comments along with the games you are most excited for.

Marko Swanepoel