Hello fellow gamers! Allow me to introduce myself. Sham B. here reporting for duty. Avid collector of RPGs and CRPGs, full-time geek, proud waifu admirer, anime fan, self-proclaimed bastion of gaming knowledge. Also old… yeah getting old gotta love it. So excuse me if every once in a while I tell someone to get off my lawn. That is a habit that seems to just come with age. Otherwise I am 18 at heart. I might grow up, someday. Just not today. Hello and salutations my few and precious readers! I come to you tasked with a quest.
It is a new year and time for change and hope of better things! Lucky enough for us gamers and anime enthusiasts, there is a plethora of new products and experiences coming for us to enjoy, dissect and binge. This brings us to the aforementioned quest of mine. I have come to bring you my personal most anticipated lists for 2018.
I have come to give lists the Sham B. treatment. Which just means taking my top three from three slightly related but mostly different types of products and running it through my personal filter of perspective.
We are going to start with RPG video games coming in 2018, followed by my anticipated tabletop RPGs, and we end it all out with best anime coming in 2018, These are not in any particular order. Let the lists begin!
Top three RPG video games coming in 2018
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Unless you have been living under a rock or just don’t pay attention to CRPG’s, then you have heard of Obsidian’s company saver, Pillars of Eternity. I was a proud backer of the game and was quite pleased with the results. In fact I would say I was very pleased with the results.
Very, VERY pleased with the results.
Set in the fascinating world of Eora, where souls are a known part of life and the gods sometimes directly affect the world, Pillars successfully grabs the feeling of Baldur’s Gate (Pillars itself is a homage to the Infinity Engine CRPG’s like the aforementioned Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment) while carving its own path. And the amount of support and patches to balance the game and fix bugs has been extraordinary on Obsidian’s part. It truly shows how much they love their product. Following on the tremendous success of the first game, Obsidian has successfully backed the sequel on Fig. Fig is a crowdsourcing site akin to Kickstarter.
But alas, fate would conspire against your humble writer and I was unable to back the sequel. Well not yet unfortunately though you can still back the game for a limited time on Obsidian’s website. Deadfire is looking to be an all-around improvement on the original and sets to send The Watcher into the deadly waters of the Deadfire Archipelago to try and track down a thought-destroyed god. Unfortunately the release date is a very vague “2018” but Deadfire is one patch deep into the backer beta already so hopefully release is not that far off. I am sure the waiting will be worth the while. Here is to another 260 hours of sweet gaming.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
From high fantasy to a more medieval experience, the original Mount & Blade came out in 2008. So it is fitting that its sequel comes ten years later. Praised by critics and players for it brutal and realistic combat, and open word, criticized for its underdeveloped production values and repetitive nature. Mount & Blade has garnered quite the cult following as an indie release.
Tasked with taking a character of your own design and accomplishing what you desire in the medieval Europe-styled setting of Calradia. The players are given the ability to amass armies and lead them into battle. The plot and story is mostly nonexistent, leaving that task to the player themselves. Some of the issues that were complained about were fixed in the expansion/sequel Mount & Blade: Warband, which was released in 2010. This also added more emphasis on the mounted combat aspect of the game and improved some of the lackluster graphics.
Another standalone expansion, called Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword released in 2011. This was more historical based, taking loosely from the novels, With Fire & Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It also has a vast quantity of user created mods as the game is also known for it ease to mod.
Mount & Blade II looks to expand upon the success of its predecessor while moving 200 years into the past of Calradia. Slightly mimicking the fall of the Roman Empire, Mount & Blade II will tell the story of the fall of the Calradian Empire. Look for an even bigger open world as fictional analogs of early Middle Eastern, North African, and European kingdoms will also make an appearance. With promises of more factions, more diverse armies, significantly improved graphics, and equipment modeled after 600 AD to 1100 AD, developer TaleWords Entertainment seems to be polishing a very successful formula into another precious gem. As with Pillars of Eternity II, this game also has a release date of “2018” (soon!) but I have a feeling riding down enemy troops on horseback will be here very soon.
Tower of Time
I present to you Tower of Time from newbie developers Even Horizon. With their first offering, Even Horizon is looking to push the bar of the traditional CRPG and, in the realm of combat, trying to revolutionize with fresh mechanics and systems. At first glance everything is pretty standard fantasy fare. It takes place in a familiar setting featuring a rural human world where cataclysmic events have left it with almost no sunshine, in which society is falling as food becomes scarce, and a hero who is marked as a child by a mysterious, magical throne and given the power to determine the fate of the world.
Soon other staples of fantasy, like elves and orcs, make their appearance. The systems running the game seem familiar as well. Shown with an isometric camera, left-click on items to interact with, left-click to move, gain levels to put points into abilities and gather better equipment to crush increasingly more dangerous enemies. For a game in early access, it does all of these things very well. But where Tower of Time suddenly strikes you as different is when you enter your first combat. That is when you realize that something revolutionizing might be happening for CRPG combat.
Real-time strategy is not a stranger to CRPGs. Many of the Infinity Engine games and even fellow list dweller, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire used a real-time with pause system for combat. These battles almost always take place in the location where the battle is initiated. Tower of Time ditches the “pause” part and takes the genre into straight real-time. Well, you can slow down time so maybe not totally pure real-time strategy but a definite change from what most CRPG enthusiast are used to.
Tower of Time also borrows from turn-based strategy and JRPGs by going away from the traditional battle locations. Here you are transported to a special, pre-determined battlefield littered with random obstacles. Enemies come at you in waves from different spawn points with different enemies coming in the different waves. This approach to combat opens up a vast array of strategy and requires you to think far further into the future than Real-Time with Pause combat.
Tower of Time is looking to be a refreshing take on CRPGs and is now in early access on Steam. The developers seem to be making fine use of early access and really seem to appreciate player feedback. Even Horizon is shooting to have a full release on March 1, 2018.
Top three tabletop RPGs coming in 2018
The hobby may be the same and based in pen and paper but the means to play and distribute this wonderful hobby digitally has evolved amazingly. PDF files are standard and there is a variety of software to make use of playing online with friends. I would say tabletop RPGs are in a better spot than anyone could have imagined coming into 2018. It looks to be a pretty big year with a lot of returning names getting new editions. Now for what I am looking forward to.
Legend of the Five Rings 5th Edition
The classic setting makes a return in 2018. Announced in 2015, it has finally hit open beta and is looking to release later this year. Set in a fantasy version of feudal Japan, this game has been around since 1990 with the original publishers, Alderac Entertainment Group. Famous for having its setting determined by a connected collectable card game, players take the role of samurai from one of the setting’s distinct clans. Fans of this game have been looking for a new edition for a long time and it seems will have their wishes granted soon. People seem to be a little torn on the changes in the system by Fantasy Flight Games but any tabletop RPG gamer knows, we can be very attached to our favorite editions of games and become very resistant to change. You can make up your own mind with the open beta on DriveThruRPG. I must say I like how they are looking to stop min-maxers personally. [NERDITOR’S NOTE: You can get the beta rule book for free through DriveThruRPG. Look below for a Nerdarchy exclusive coupon code for the other stuff you pick up while you’re there.]
Kult: Divinity Lost
Another classic title making its way back in 2018, Kult was first released 25 years ago. Set in a world where reality is an illusion made by a spiteful god. Where humanity is surrounded by nightmares, angels, demons and worse. It is a fantastic horror setting that is both beautiful and terrifying. I am pretty sure I still own a copy of the original game from my childhood. I remember being fascinated by a setting where the god we loved was a god who hated us. It was probably a bit too old for me as well. Unfortunately the game has already been pushed back from 2017 to this year so one can only cross their fingers and hope that the beautiful horror of Kult: Divinity Lost graces our desktops soon.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition
Another game that slipped out of 2017 and headed for a mid-2018 release is a well-known favorite. A grimdark fantasy world where Chaos corrupts society and men play with magic at their own risks, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has been around over three decades. With its Renaissance-inspired technology and brutal combat, this is a much beloved franchise and setting. While some cried foul with the direction 3rd edition took under Fantasy Flight, Cubicle 7 is looking to take things back to towards 1st and 2nd edition. This seems to be an attempt at getting on the Old School Revival train that has become popular lately. (Basically a return to more crunchy game systems in response to the many rules-light and more player dictated systems that made their appearance through the last decade.) Cubicle 7 is a solid company and I am looking forward to the return of a more classic take on the setting.
Top three anime of 2018
Except there are no new waifus, just old ones. (Shout out to Tsu and Albedo from My Hero Academia and Overlord respectively). By no coincidence at all, those two anime are also part of my list. It is mostly second or third seasons here on this list. Sometimes sequels are what is truly anticipated, for me at least.
One Punch Man Season Two
Taking place on an unnamed, Earthlike planet where heroes have joined together to fight alien and supervillain threats that have started to plague humanity. One Punch Man tells the story of Saitima, a hero so powerful he has defeated all of his enemies in one punch. This power is not supernatural at all (that we know of) but from the result of extreme training and willpower.
From there the crazy adventures of The Strongest Hero are told. The first season was an astounding success and season two has been anticipated by many, including me, for a very long time. One Punch Man is a perfect parody of Shonen style action manga and anime. Very self-aware of the tropes it is playing on, it succeeds with very hilarious results. Unfortunately there is some doubt as the studio responsible for season one (Madhouse) is not working on the second season (Replaced by J.C. Staff. A respected studio but known more for comedies and romance anime). Even the director has been changed. So here is to hoping that season two does not fall flat.
When the time to shut down the servers of a beloved online RPG comes and passes, an elder lich character named Momonga finds himself in a world where the game world of Yggdrasil is reality and the player is stuck, unable to log out. Changing his name to that of the in-game guild, Ainz Ooal Gown, he sets out to discover the mystery of his situation even as he deals with the fact that becomes more like his unfeeling, undead avatar with each passing day.
Overlord is a masterpiece. It is a great story and the character building is top notch. As of this writing, season two is in early showing in theaters in Japan with the TV broadcast on January 9. I am not sure when it will be broadcast in the US but I am sure Funimation or Crunchyroll is on top of that.
My Hero Academia Season Three
Coming in hot from a fantastic second season, the third season of My Hero Academia is set to hit in April of 2018. If One Punch Man is a parody of superhero and action anime, My Hero Academia is a love letter to them. The anime follows the adventures of Izuku Midoriya, a boy born without superpowers in a world where the majority of the world has them. Even with this handicap Midoriya, or Deku as called by childhood bully and rival Katsuki Bakugō as an insult, dreams of being a hero.
Can I mention here that Bakugo is a very misjudged character and just wait until people see how big of damn hero he really is? Sorry, it irks me people hate such a great character so much. Anyway, a chance encounter with his childhood idol, Champion of Justice and all-around strongest hero All Might makes his dream become a reality. With his chance, Midoriya heads to U.A. High School to train at his dream.
This anime is one of the greatest superhero stories told. Full of intrigue, character building of the highest quality, and big dang heroes, I felt my love coming back for superheroes with every minute I watched. Season three looks to be even better as it will cover the School Trip arc of the manga, which is also very popular. This arc is intense so be ready. You will laugh, you will cry and you will believe in heroes again. April cannot come soon enough.
We made it through!
I am sure all of you also have things you are looking forward to in 2018. Leave comments below. I am interested in hearing what other people think. Hopefully you all will get to read my wonderful and valuable opinions again soon, in the future! For now, have a Happy New Year and may all of your 2018 gaming and anime dreams come true soon.