Detroit: Become Human – TBA
I have complicated feelings around David Cage and Quantic Dream’s games. I can absolutely respect their artistry and storytelling ability, but I just don’t usually like playing them. I’m hoping Detroit: Become Human can fix that. It still looks like it’s a primarily story-driven game where the interaction takes a back seat to what’s unfolding on screen, but the ability to rewind time to take different actions is a novel concept. It’s not something brand new, but I’ve never seen it attempted like this. The options seem to be very robust, and I also like the set up of the story. Detroit: Become Human has a focus on AI and humanity, weighty concepts that society may have to face sooner rather than later. It seems like the story revolves around many different characters in a sort of Until Dawn kind of way, which is another plus. Being able to see many different perspectives in a game that’s so about the characters and story is a great way to build investment and interest when the actual playing of the game is a smaller element of the experience.
Far Cry 5 – February 27, 2018
I’m teetering on the edge of being bored with Far Cry. I dabbled with Far Cry 3 and 4, and while I found them to be well-made games, they just didn’t sink their hooks, and felt too similar to one another (a common problem with Ubisoft open world games, these days). Far Cry 5 does look interesting though, mostly because of its setting. But that could also be a big turnoff for me. The game takes place in Montana and focuses its story on a survivalist cult of sorts. I’m totally fine with exploring real to life scenarios in games, and there’s plenty of negative aspects about living in the U.S. that deserve to be highlighted. My fear here is that the game will paint with a broad brush about conservatives and Christians, painting them all as racist, evangelical bigots. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of those types out there, but it’s not representative of the majority. And it’s not like Ubisoft is known for its even-handed portrayal of other cultures. Still, if the game doesn’t try too hard to make a statement or be edgy, running around a small town taking out rural terrorists sounds like a good time to me.
Fortnite – July 25, 2017
Fortnite sort of came out of nowhere this E3. The game has been in development so damn long that I had honestly forgotten about it until the recent gameplay trailer surfaced. It was smart of Epic Games to put the trailer out ahead of E3 to get away from the noise of all the new announcements. Fortnite just looks like a good time. I traditionally play games by myself; I don’t like competitive multiplayer shooters, and I don’t like being forced to go through a story at someone else’s pace. I also don’t usually play tower defense games. So why the hell does Fortnite appeal to me when it’s a co-op multiplayer tower defense game with zombies? I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet, but I have a few ideas. Honestly, the game just looks very well polished. There are plenty of different characters with seemingly balanced abilities, the graphics, while not amazing, are colorful and clean, and it looks like there’s just a crap ton of content. I don’t have many friends that play video games, so it looks like I’m going to have to make some.
God of War – 2018
God of War is going to be dope, there’s really no argument to be had about that. The gameplay demo we saw last year looked absolutely stunning and brutal, and Sony followed that up with this year’s gameplay trailer. We got a little bit more of the story, but it was primarily focused around the different types of enemies we’ll be fighting, the different locales we’ll be visiting, and really selling the sense of scale that we’ve come to associate with God of War. I’m curious to see how the story pans out, as Sony Santa Monica has committed to humanizing Kratos and centering the story around his relationship with his son. Despite his awful past, Kratos has never had much depth as a character, so I’m interested to see if the change in tone pays off. It’s worth mentioning though that the violence doesn’t seem to be compromised one bit. Some of the moves Kratos pulls in the trailer were completely over the top and badass. I can’t wait to try them myself next year.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm – August 31, 2017
2015 was a weird year for me when it came to video games, but I can still confidently say that Life is Strange was one of the best games I played that year. It had a fascinating concept, a cool mystery bent, and a tremendous amount of heart. The dialogue at times definitely felt like it was a bunch of 40-year-old dudes writing for a teenage girl, but that was easily overlooked when compared to the sheer insanity and twists of the story, and the depth of the characters and complexity of the relationships. Before the Storm takes us back, well, before the storm that began in the first game, and focuses on the character of Chloe before she went 100% punk rock. The game is being developed by a studio other than original creators DontNod (who are working on the true sequel) and it also won’t feature the time-manipulating mechanics that made the first game so unique, but I think I’m okay with that. I’m excited to get this little side story to tide me over until the real thing comes back.
Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle – August 29, 2017
I know, I can’t believe it either. When this game was first leaked, I felt the same gagging sensation as the rest of the internet. Mario using a laser gun? Rabbid Peach taking a selfie and using hashtags? It was like a nightmare. Well friends, we’ve come out the other side, and Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle looks super freaking rad. Sure, some of the humor in what was shown didn’t land, but that’s how comedy works. The real takeaway for me was that this is a real deal video game with some effort and thought behind it. The game plays like a tactical RPG; in fact some people have begun referring to it as “Mario and Rabbids XCOM.” There’s some light exploration and platforming between fights, but it’s really the combat that takes center stage. You pick your party, you set them up on the grid style battlefield, and then you move them around to gain tactical advantages while blowing shit up with some kid-friendly laser guns that I’m sure will have life-size replicas in your local Target by year’s end. This game looks to have way more depth and variety than I would have thought, and it somehow skyrocketed to making the list of reasons why I need to buy a Switch. It’s been a crazy year.
Mario Odyssey – October 27, 2017
Not content to simply pal it out with some rabbids, Mario is also invading the “real” world in Mario Odyssey, and it looks weird as shit. Thankfully, Nintendo does weird better than just about anybody else. Seriously, I have absolutely no idea what was going on in that new trailer shown at the Nintendo showcase. I was familiar with the idea of Mario using his hat as both a weapon and a platform since that was revealed last year. But apparently, you can also take over the bodies of other people and enemies, including some inanimate objects? And there were different types of hats shown, too, including a pretty awesome sombrero. In all honesty, I don’t really know what to make of Mario Odyssey, but I know that I want to play it. Nintendo seems to have that effect on me.
Metro Exodus – 2018
I’m a big fan of the Metro series. In fact, Metro: Last Light made my list of best games from 2013 and my list of the most under-appreciated games from last generation. But the series never took the world by storm, and I was surprised to see another game announced at Microsoft’s press conference this year. To be honest, I felt like the last game wrapped up the Russian apocalyptic story pretty well, so I’m not sure what the story or time frame of this game will be. It seems like it’ll follow in its predecessors’ footsteps, offering some intense monster shooting action and semi-linear levels. The setting is always what’s grabbed me about the series. Everything feels so bleak and realistic, and the gameplay reflects that. Bullets are scarce, and can be used as currency to buy or upgrade new weapons and materials. You have to wear a gas mask out in the open air, and it fogs and breaks depending on your actions or the outside elements. The first two games managed to set up incredibly tense and sometimes terrifying scenarios without falling prey to the jump scare trap too often utilized by horror games. I hope Metro Exodus is finally the game that gets this series the attention it deserves.
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