The welcome conclusion to yet another hectic holiday season always provides gamers with a sense of relief as they slowly begin to regain their sanity and, more importantly, divert their attention back to the virtual realm of video games. With no more hair-pulling gift searching, frustrating seasonal decorating, or boring family get-togethers to waste away precious game time, January’s fresh batch of potentially entertaining releases finally have a chance to be appreciated in their own right. From long-awaited HD remasters to brand-new intellectual properties, I’ve composed an informative list of my own anticipated games arriving in early 2015 for you, our loyal readers, to dive into and enjoy. Hopefully, you’ll discover an exceptional experience worthy of your time as the dreadful winter season further transforms our surroundings into cold, snow-engulfed wastelands.
5) Life is Strange – Episode One (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, Xbox One)
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: January 30th
As the newest project from Remember Me developer Dontnod Entertainment, Life is Strange: Episode One introduces avid point-and-click fans to a drama-infused graphic adventure that incorporates dashes of inspiration from renown masterpieces like The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series and Gone Home. Emphasizing a razor-sharp focus on delivering a well-crafted, story-driven experience, players will assume the role of Maxine Caulfield, a high school senior gifted with the remarkable ability to rewind time, as they explore and utilize interesting gameplay mechanics in order to drive Life is Strange: Episode One’s narrative forward. Tasked with guiding Maxine’s time-manipulating actions, players will also be forced to make story-altering choices, and come to terms with the unforeseen consequences rooted within each tough decision as Maxine and her friend Chloe Price investigate the suspicious disappearance of Rachel Amber, and unravel the mystery surrounding their hometown of Arcadia Bay. Promising to highlight intriguing concepts like the butterfly effect and the notion of personal identity, Life is Strange: Episode One seems determined to become one of early 2015’s most thought-provoking video game releases.
4) Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, Xbox One)
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date: January 20th
Releasing as a standalone expansion to Volition’s Saints Row IV, Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell thrusts virtual troublemakers guns blazing into the fiery depths of Hell in order to halt Satan’s latest diabolical plan: force the Saints leader to marry his demonic daughter, Jezebel. As Johnny Gat or Kinzie Kensington, players will wage all-out war against the Devil’s legion of minions (alone or with a friend in online co-op) in a nightmarish open-world filled to the brim with the series’ iconic, unadulterated shenanigans. In hopes of exterminating Hell’s pesky demon infestation in classic Saints Row-style, players will utilize everything from newly acquired superpowers (including the ability to fly via angelic wings) to weaponry inspired by the seven deadly sins in order to annihilate foes and rescue the Saints’ psychopathic boss. Unlike past entries in the series, causing mayhem and successfully killing enemies with your ridiculous arsenal will also play a monumental role in filling up Gat Out of Hell’s “Satan’s Wrath” meter, which grants gamers the opportunity to not only progress through the game’s absurdly entertaining story, but also advances them closer to a final confrontation with the Prince of Darkness himself. With even more features patiently awaiting those willing to pay the game’s inexpensive admission fee, and with the content-filled Saints Row IV: Re-Elected emerging on current-generation consoles on the same date, we couldn’t be more ready to visit Gat Out of Hell’s scorching Hellscape with the notorious 3rd Street Saints this winter.
3) Resident Evil HD Remaster (PC, PS3, PS4, 360, Xbox One)
Release Date: January 20th
Survival horror devotees have anxiously waited over a decade for Capcom’s lovingly-crafted Resident Evil remake to break free from the shackles of Nintendo exclusivity, and shamble onto other consoles. Thankfully, their patience will finally be rewarded with the anticipated release of Resident Evil HD Remaster, the definitive and completely remastered edition of the critically-acclaimed 2002 Resident Evil GameCube exclusive. Introducing a bit more bang for your buck than most HD re-releases, Resident Evil HD Remaster will contain numerous features including stunning 1080p resolution (720p for last-gen systems), atmosphere-enhancing 5.1 surround sound, a modern control scheme option, and even a brand-new 16:9 widescreen mode to experience the horror in (although purists can always switch back to the original 4:3 ratio at anytime). While Resident Evil HD Remaster is only scheduled to emerge as a full-fledged digital title, we’d be willing to endure any amount of download-related irritation for this welcome chance to revisit the haunting, undead-inhabited confines of the infamous Spencer Mansion.
2) Dying Light (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Release Date: January 27th
Dead set on reinvigorating the noticeably stagnant zombie formula, Techland’s Dying Light intelligently combines the free-flowing parkour mobility of Mirror’s Edge with the visceral melee combat of Dead Island, forcing players to utilize a mixture of both in order to survive the horrors lurking within the infection-plagued city of Harran. As warring factions and flesh-hungry monstrosities drive Harran closer to the brink of destruction, armchair zombie slayers will be tasked with rescuing desperate survivors, completing narrative-driven missions, crafting death-dealing weaponry, and capturing invaluable airdropped supplies (among other things) as they traverse and explore Dying Light‘s immensely dangerous open-world. In particular, scavenging for supplies and constructing powerful DIY weaponry in Dying Light will prove to be incredibly vital (even when engaging in four-player co-op), especially considering that the game’s dynamic day and night cycle transforms the undead populace into more aggressive and powerful brain-munchers when the sun goes down. With all these relatively fresh features – and more – creating the underlying structure of the game, Dead Island’s successor seems well underway to providing gamers with a satisfying freerun n’ slash adventure to experience this winter season.
1) Grand Theft Auto V (PC)
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: January 27th
It’s not difficult to understand why the PC gaming community has been so desperately seeking the opportunity to experience Rockstar North’s spectacular masterpiece Grand Theft Auto V, especially considering how unbelievably monumental its impact was on last-generation and current-generation consoles. Thankfully, devoted mouse-and-keyboard enthusiasts won’t need to wait much longer to explore the sprawling, awe-inspiring open-world of Los Santos and its surrounding countryside. Scheduled to finally release during the bitterly cold month of January, the long-awaited PC port of Grand Theft Auto V will emerge exhibiting noticeable visual improvements like extended draw distances and a higher overall game resolution. For those more interested in fresh game features rather than graphic enhancements, however, Grand Theft Auto V also promises to be cram-packed with numerous additions including brand-new weapons and vehicles to use, new activities to complete, more varied wildlife to see, and even a new first-person mode to experience (to name a few). Rockstar North has been known for crafting quality, polished ports in the past, and with the noteworthy success of Grand Theft Auto 5 on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, we couldn’t be more excited for this magnificent title to appear on PC monitors across the world soon enough.