Round 3

This was the round where I realised that I absolutely no clue what anyone else was going to pick going forwards. - Alex

Finally a round without someone stealing a pick I wanted. This one is all mine. - Mac

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon

Pick 9 - Zack Webster
Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (3DS) - Official Site
Pub: Nintendo | Dev: Spike Chunsoft | Release: Q4.2015 (NA), Q1.2016 (EU)

Earlier this year I had the strongest desire to return the world of Pokémon, but my interest in the formula has waned considerably since my childhood years spent with the series. A vast, if nonsensical, world is at GameFreak's fingertips and many of its attempts to produce other games in the universe have been middling at best. The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series is one of the two spinoffs produced that I think holds up on its own merits. Maybe it's the fact that it still retains some of the RPG and dungeon crawling elements or as part of some childhood wish fulfillment to be my favorite Pokémon, the Mystery Dungeon games feel more like a natural extension of the franchise, and Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon looks to be a return to form after Gates to Infinity.

With all the starters throughout the series — plus Pikachu of course — available from the getgo as well as the entire lineup of Pokémon appearing in the game, it seems to be filled to the brim with content that its predecessors were missing. Mechanically speaking, the game may be a bit simple compared to other roguelikes, but that's just about the level I'm looking to hop in at. Spike Chunsoft has also managed to create some entertaining characters and witty dialogue, even if it gets bogged down in the umpteenth discussion about friendship and teamwork. All that needs to happen is to allow evolution earlier than the late game, and I could see myself getting into this.

Yo-Kai Watch

Pick 10 - Adriaan den Ouden
The Legend of Legacy (3DS) - Official Site
Pub: Atlus | Dev: FuRyu | Release: 2015 (NA)

This is a title that has probably gone largely under the radar for a lot of people, myself included, but the more I look into it, the more interested I become. The import review from our friend in Japan, Michael Baker, can tell you a lot, but basically, The Legend of Legacy looks like a revival of the SaGa series. But that's not why I'm interested in it.

By all accounts, The Legend of Legacy is something I've wanted from JRPGs for a long, long time: an exploration-driven, world-centric game. This is something that games like Xenoblade and Star Ocean 4 offered but failed to deliver for me, but The Legend of Legacy has the potential to correct that. The bulk of the game's intrigue comes not from the characters, but from the mystery surrounding the world itself. This is also the crux of what makes most western exploration-based RPGs like Fallout 3 or Skyrim so damn good. That's reason enough to get me excited.

LBX: Little Battlers eXperience

Pick 11 - Alex Fuller
LBX: Little Battlers eXperience (PS3/Vita) - Official Site
Pub: Nintendo | Dev: Level-5 | Release: 08.21.2015 (NA), 09.04.2015 (EU)

In hindsight this selection was probably a reach. However, with no more Inazuma Eleven titles on the immediate horizon for me and Yo-Kai Watch already taken, I wanted to get some form of Level-5's charm in my list. Combining that charm with miniature robot fighting should really provide a ton of potential for enjoyment.

Admittedly Level-5 titles can be a little hit and miss, though the company has seemed to find its perfect spot in series such as this, which has evidently proven popular enough in Japan to generate more games afterwards. While it might not turn out to be one of the very top games of the year, being able to build and customise my own fighting robots is always going to pique my interest and give me some evenings of entertainment. Having already turned football into a much more entertaining sport with its particularly bonkers interpretation, remote-control robot fighting should be a doddle.

Salt and Sanctuary

Pick 12 - Michael A. Cunningham
Salt and Sanctuary (PS4/Vita) - Official Site
Pub: Ska Studios | Dev: Ska Studios | Release: 2015 (NA), 2015 (EU)

I'm a big fan of the Souls series and have seen lots of games claim to be inspired by From Software's hits without really getting what made them good. Salt and Sanctuary is clearly inspired by Souls, but takes things in a new direction to create an original experience. Being able to play a 2D side-scrolling RPG with different character builds and challenging bosses is ideal for me, especially with the game coming to Vita as well.

Salt and Sanctuary, like most of the other games on my list, is one that I'm trying to avoid reading much about ahead of time. That said, like the Souls titles there's something about these games that make them some of the only things I enjoy watching others play it. I hope that there is subtle lore-based storytelling and interesting NPCs in Salt and Sanctuary, but I know this is not a From Software title. I don't want to put too many expectations on Ska for their first take on something like this, but there are a lot of ideas I'd love to see in a follow up if this one pans out.

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