2016 is over – it can’t hurt you anymore.
In all honesty, 2016 wasn’t a bad year for gaming – it wasn’t as great a year as some are saying but it was by no means a failure. Arkane delivered on all fronts in what I consider the game of 2016 – Dishonored 2. EA Dice seemingly won the most recent head to head against the Call of Duty series in what many have considered to be an almost flawless handing of World War One as Battlefield One led players through a harrowing campaign before letting players run wild with their epic multiplayer mode. Even Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2 has seemingly repaired much of the damage left behind by the thoroughly underwhelming its 2011 predecessor. However, as I stated initially – 2016 is over and now we look to the future and the five games that you should be excited about getting your hands on this year.
5: Resident Evil 7 (Jan 24th)
I considered not including Capcom’s latest installment of the Resident Evil series simply because it is coming out so soon however I have a feeling this is going to be a title that may very well be the stand out horror game for the whole of 2017.
RE7 has seemingly backtracked to the horror genre that so many titles since the original Resident Evil had forgotten. The game has switched up the experience for players by introducing an immersive first person view point and if the teaser demo I reviewed before is reflective of the environment of the final game, the claustrophobic hallways and bleak dilapidated settings that draw inspiration from Outlast and P.T. suggest that this is a game that will keep you awake at night out of sheer undiluted fear – especially if you are brave enough to play it in VR!
If you haven’t already, get your hands on the teaser demo from both the PlayStation Store and the Xbox Store and give it a go – you won’t be disappointed!
4: Kingdom Hearts 2.8 (Jan 28th)
2017 is set to be an interesting one for Kingdom Hearts fans, with the fifteen year anniversary of the original title seeing both Kingdom Hearts 2.8 and a full collection of the series’ title being released within the first three months of the year.
The argument could be made that KH 2.8 offers nothing more than a remastered version of Dream Drop Distance along with a short new bit of gameplay and a feature length film. Though the title actually offers an attractive experience for fans of the franchise who got lost amidst all the fun platform switching required in order to fully engage with the story. Due to this platform switching I have never played Dream Drop Distance as I’m sure that many others did not either. Having a fully ported version of the game on a console will allow for a larger audience to get back on track with the more convoluted storylines: including the ‘prequel’ segments of the events within Kingdom Hearts Backcover, the aftermath of Aqua’s journey in Birth By Sleep 0.2 and the events that transpire immediately before Kingdom Hearts 3 unfolding in Dream Drop Distance.
So, whether or not you’ve already played Dream Drop Distance, the chances are pretty high that most Kingdom Hearts fans will be picking up a copy of 2.8 on January 28th because you are getting a lot of content for the price. Whilst it is not an entirely new installment – what the arrival of 2.8 does offer is a significant signpost that the KH series is on the move once more and may very well be the year that we finally get KH 3.
3: Cuphead (Mid 2017)
Aww – Cuphead, this colourful shooter was the main reason I decided to buy an Xbox One in August of 2016. At that time Cuphead was thought to be released at some point before the end of the year, though StudioMDHR felt that the game wasn’t quite ready and have thus delayed its release until ‘mid’ 2017, I suppose that ranges from between March and June.
For those of you who may not have seen much of this title, Cuphead returns to the run and gun classics many of us enjoyed during our younger years, as the single or co-op campaign sees you tackle some of the trickiest enemies and bosses you will come across for some time. Out this revival or a beloved genre with the brilliantly executed 1930’s style animation and character design and Cuphead offers you a game that will challenge and entertain you for quite some time.
March is the latest release date for the title but it may very well be moved before that. In the mean time you can get a taste of what the game offers thanks to the good folks at OutsideXbox who had a chance to play the title.
2: South Park: The Fractured But Whole (March 2017)
Hopefully you’re starting to see just how infuriating 2016 has been in some respects for gaming – as the last two title along with South Park were all initially supposed to be released last year.
If you played The Stick of Truth you will have some idea of what to expect from Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s adaptation of the popular series. The detail within both script and animation are what made the first instalment of South Park RPG so popular and TFBW is looking set to continue that trend. Players return to South Park as the ‘New Kid’ once more though Cartman and co. have swapped out fantasy for superheroes. Players should expect the return of the turn based battle system though the game introduces a somewhat tactical side to this as characters can move around the battlefield in order to perform differing moves.
I could go on about battle mechanics and other stuff but let’s face it – it’s a South Park game that looks and sounds like the cartoon. If you’re a fan just buy it in March and ask questions later.
1: Ghost Recon: Wildlands
This is by far the game I am most excited about for this year. Wildlands seems to incorporate the increasingly popular military MMO aspects into its gameplay. Players enter into a mass open world as part of an elite squad tasked with disrupting and destroying the organised crime syndicate based within Bolivia.
The game is meant to be played with friends – and the methodical nature of planning and executing your approach to a target will allow for different roles for members to take up, whether it be recon, sniper, assault, or driving – each of your teammates will need to understand their job, movement and underlying task in order to be an effective teammate. So when one of your team inevitably balls up what is a pretty simple job of driving slowly, instead opting to drive at full speed, crashing through the gates of a highly militarised drug compound and successfully murdering one out of twenty guards, it will inevitably be the rest of the team that has to try and clean up the mess as you ponder why you sat around the perimeter of the compound discussing tactics for twenty minutes beforehand.
I’ve got a great feeling about this title as the balance between open world, strategic thought, and detailed shooting mechanics – all mixed in with a volatile multiplayer co-op aspect – should end up with a satisfying shooting game to last you a pretty long time.
Those are the five games that I’m most looking forward to this year – there were tons of games that could be on this list, I mean here might be a new Zelda game coming out this year – but there probably won’t be a new Zelda game this year… There’s also Red Dead 2, Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn and a few other titles that you can look forward to! So… 2017… not looking too bad.
What about you? Which games are you looking forward to playing this year? Tell us in the comments and why not follow me on Twitter @jreetun – Happy New Year everyone!