Our wallets be damned, there are an absurd – an inordinate, a ridiculous and just about every other synonym you can think of for A LOT – of incoming games to look out for. We couldn’t possibly afford or play them all and our backlogs are going to become a whole lot longer, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is a list of the more obvious games to look out for and consider picking up this season. What do we mean when we say “more obvious”? We mean the AAA’s and generally larger titles. For those of you more interested in the indie or smaller titles on their way, that list is reserved for next Tuesday.
Before we get started, there are a large number of honourable mentions to get through: The Evil Within, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, Lords of the Fallen, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX, Forza Horizon 2, Bayonetta 2, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Hyrule Warriors and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
10. Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth
We’ve been known to attach the moniker “Pew, pew, Civilization with lasers” to Civilization: Beyond Earth, so we’re probably guilty of a little too much affection for the Sid Meier’s Civilization series to be objective in any shape or form. That said, who doesn’t love themselves a little Civilization?
The inclusion of space-bound upgrades and abilities, the use of a greatly improved tech tree (or at least at a cursory glance it seems to be) and more, means that Beyond Earth is just a much improved Civilization V, but with aliens. And that’s all we really want.
9. Far Cry 4
Visually, Far Cry 4 is a scenic marvel. Up close, it’s really only a mild step up from Far Cry 3, but it boasts a fair number of other, we’d argue more important, design improvements over Far Cry 3 as well as throwing in elephants to boot. That’s a hard formula to beat. But the short bursts of gameplay we’ve seen really can’t speak for a game that’s supposed to be as vast as this one promises to be.
Like with Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4’s antagonist may suddenly fall off halfway through the game, or the narrative might just outright suck. Moreover, it’s not inconceivable that the game’s scale leads it to becoming repetitive as you progress further. Until its release and for all that we’ve seen and heard, a lot of Far Cry 4’s appeal is upon the laurels of Far Cry 3 and so we can’t in good conscience put it higher on the list.
8. Assassin’s Creed Unity
Assassin’s Creed Unity isn’t quite in the same boat as Far Cry 4, so it makes it further up the list, but it’s prone to the same potential issues. Sure, we’ve gotten a better look at the game, and it makes for a nice change from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – not that we didn’t enjoy Black Flag and aren’t excited for its follow up, Assassin’s Creed Rogue – but Assassin’s Creed III, among a few others, has proven that the franchise is capable of disappointing.
That said, Assassin’s Creed Unity looks superb (graphically), the co-op is a welcome addition and the attention to detail of Paris instils a little faith that Ubisoft are talking this game seriously. Well that and its 8000 development teams… sarcasm much.
7. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
If you need to ask why Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is in this list, then you don’t know us at all. Handsome Jack is one of our favourite video game characters; Claptrap is a playable character who high-fives his team in order to distribute buffs and can transform into a pirate ship; and butt stomping is an actual thing. Need we say more?
6. Grand Theft Auto V
We’re fairly sure many of you will disagree with GTA V making the number six slot, and we don’t blame you. Quite frankly, we can’t explain it ourselves.
We’re not entirely certain that a game we’ve already played for hours on end should qualify for a spot in this list, and certainly not at this position. After all, a title with a similar status, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX, only managed the honourable mentions. Then again, that’s Rockstar for you – they seem to break all of the rules and come out favourably every time.
Might it be the massive graphical update the game has received, or could it be that our largely PC orientated team is excited, perhaps desperately so, by a GTA release we were repeatedly told was never going to happen? That’s one option. The idea of mods for GTA V has also definitely swayed our opinion somewhat, but can you blame us given what modders have achieved with GTA III, San Andreas, Vice City and GTA IV?
5. Super Smash Bros.
Nintendo certainly has their work cut out for them with the Wii U. It’s going to take some truly special games to overcome the constant PR blunders we’ve experienced thus far and get it moving in the right direction. Outside of the competitive, eSport scene, it’s hard to go wrong with Super Smash Bros. In fact, the upcoming Nintendo brawler might be the Hail Mary pass Nintendo needs… if you completely forget that the 3DS currently rules the roost that is.
4. Alien: Isolation
With Alien: Colonial Marines still causing the occasional nightmare, Alien: Isolation can really only garner a tentative excitement from us. That said: there’s just one alien; it’s freaking terrifying; and we need to play this game. The end.
We’ve all played a lot of Destiny by now, and so there’s no surprise that it’s at number three. While not quite perfect, Destiny is nevertheless the game to beat for many this year. Everyone will buy it, most will love it and for those who don’t, Destiny has a lot of room to grow and be nourished by player interaction, opinion and critique. So it may very well be a game worth looking into in a year’s time.
2. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Admittedly, Destiny was about to take the number two position, leaving Dragon Age: Inquisition at number three. But the recent announcement of a multiplayer, co-op suite gave Dragon Age the edge it needed to move up in the list.
Even if you aren’t interested in its co-op mode, BioWare know how to tell a story and sell their characters, and Dragon Age will need that with the sort of scope the game advertises. Plus, boasting a much improved combat system (it’s sort of a mix of what was available in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II) and a RPG character system to match, it was hard stomaching the short delay, never mind not having it at number two on this list.
1. Sunset Overdrive
As of this moment, Sunset Overdrive is, perhaps, the biggest pro to owning or buying an Xbox One this year. It’s almost a love letter to everything gaming should be about, having fun. Sunset Overdrive’s “freedom and self-expression” sale’s pitch may be just that, but it doesn’t look like it from our perspective.
Again, we’re aware that a lot of our excitement for Sunset Overdrive is on the backend of promises made rather than gameplay seen or experienced – the very reason we didn’t put Far Cry 4 higher on the list. But Insomniac Games has yet to fail us, and the mere idea of a world affected by the community and dominant pop-cultural references is too appealing not to be exciting. Beyond that. it boasts ridiculous enemies, extravagantly flamboyant abilities as well as weaponry and an aesthetic that caught our eye from day one.