Jurassic World Evolution
Jurassic World Evolution came out of nowhere and delivered a concept I didn’t know I wanted — a Jurassic Park city building simulator. Obviously, the renewed film franchise helped get this one off the ground, but I’m just as excited that its being made by Frontier Projects — the developer behind the smash-hit Planet Coaster. The amount of granular detail that team puts into its games is astounding, and I expect nothing less from Jurassic World Evolution. It’s been a long time since a building simulator hooked me, but this could be the one to do it.
Kingdom Hearts 3
This one is a stretch, I know. It’s definitely wishful thinking that Kingdom Hearts 3 might land in 2018, but Square Enix has already said 2018 will be a big year for its fans, so here’s hoping. We’ve actually seen a decent amount of gameplay, along with some more recent leaked screenshots that would suggest the game is at least pretty far along in development. I do have concerns over the story and potential over-reliance on the handheld games for context. I loved the first game, but after the myriad side stories, I’ve found the plot to be almost impossible to follow at this point. Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t head over heels excited for this game to come out. Hopefully, it’s released in 2018 and the wait can finally be over.
I’m a big Insomniac fan, so I was over the moon when I saw the team was making a new Spider-Man game. Insomniac has a proven track record with humor in games, and previous titles certainly nailed the acrobatic style necessary for Spider-Man combat to feel good. I’ve been a little worried about the sheer amount of quick time events we’ve seen in trailers, but I’m putting my faith in the pedigree of the developer to deliver what I want and expect from a Spider-Man game. I’ve also been happy to see a focus on some less popular villains, like Mr. Negative. I’m not tired of the Batman: Arkham combat yet, so give me some more of that — with a little Spidey flair.
The Metro series never took off, and that’s a shame. Both games are underrated gems, but Last Light in particular served up a surprisingly affecting story, gorgeous visuals, and some great, sacrificial gameplay mechanics like using bullets as currency. This game seems to break away from the more linear structure of the previous entries, delivering a more open world feel. And considering how I typically hate horror games, this series has had the perfect combination of tension and scary moments. The creature designs are just fantastic. Here’s to hoping Exodus puts developer 4A Games more on the map — I’m already excited for whatever the studio tries to do after wrapping this one up.
Red Dead Redemption 2
I’ve never played Red Dead Redemption. I know, I’m the worst. But I can say that I’m pretty damn excited for a long-awaited sequel, if only because it’ll finally force me to play through the original in anticipation. In all seriousness, Rockstar Games knows how to write a compelling main character, and the developers always find a way to implement some cool new gameplay feature I didn’t know I needed. There are far too few western games, but I’m willing to bet this one will spawn some genre rip-offs, just like Grand Theft Auto has done in the past decade. Red Dead 2 is allegedly slated for a summer 2018 release and seems like a perfect excuse to never go outside.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves is officially hitting in March, and it’s just about the only reason I’m considering buying an Xbox One. This game just looks like too much fun. I’m a little lost on the “why” you’re doing what you’re doing, but hopefully there’s some other reason to be swashbuckling and treasure finding than just upgrading your ship. But it’s also possible that playing with friends and exploring the colorful world will be enough to keep players’ interest. Much like with Red Dead Redemption 2, pirate games are too rare in this industry. Hopefully, Sea of Thieves spawns other contenders in the genre.
The Last Night
We haven’t seen or heard much about The Last Night since its reveal at E3, but its fluid pixel art and cyberpunk aesthetic still stand out in my mind. This game just looks rad. It’s referred to as a “cinematic platformer,” and beyond not knowing what the hell that’s supposed to mean, I’d imagine it’ll have some adventure game type mechanics with less shooting than you might expect. Either way, this is one of the coolest looking indie games on my radar.
Rather than jumping right to season two of Life is Strange, developer Dontnod is trying something new with its vampire action game, Vampyr. The gameplay has quite a bit of exploration and conversation, but the combat focuses on third-person action — shooting, dodging, magic, melee, etc. From a narrative perspective, you’re trying to learn more about vampires as you suffer from being one yourself, which could be cool. Vampyr seems to be floating along under the radar, which surprises me considering its concept and success of the Life is Strange series.
Considering Nintendo already blew its high-profile load with Mario and Zelda releases in 2017, it isn’t surprising that its 2018 slate of games is a bit underwhelming. Still, Yoshi looks to be a great gaming experience, with some interesting depth of field mechanics and adorable cardboard cutout graphics. Nintendo has always done a great job of implementing systems that might seem complex or cumbersome at first blush, so there’s no reason to expect anything different here. There’s also a co-op component, which seems like a great way to get my wife involved.
So, what are you most excited to play in 2018? Let me know in the comments below, and check out my video game reviews!