Oh sure, 2017 may be the year that keeps on giving in terms of quality video game releases, but that’s no reason to forget about 2018.
While its far too early to say that next year will be as great as 2017 (again, we mean solely in terms of quality video games), 2018 is shaping up to be a fascinating year for the video game industry. While Sony and Microsoft battle for control of a rapidly approaching 4K future,
Nintendo is hoping to prove that the Switch’s early success will carry over into year two. Meanwhile, the PC market continues to benefit from the growing VR industry and a constant influx of indie titles.
Of course, the true star of 2018 will ultimately be the games. So far as that goes, there are already quite a few promising titles on the horizon. We’ve taken a look at all of the games that are confirmed for next year, at least as a release window, and have chosen the ones we think you need to an eye on.
Here are the best looking games of 2018 so far:
A Way Out
TBA | Hazelight Studios | XBO, PS4, PC
Nobody outside of EA and Hazelight Studios had ever heard of A Way Outprior to E3 2017, but it ended up being one of the most noteworthy games featured during this year’s show.
A Way Out is a co-op action title displayed entirely through the lens of a split-screen. While the game’s early sections will focus on completing an elaborate prison break, later levels will seemingly cast both players as fugitives.
We’ve played co-op games for years, but few have ever taken advantage of the concept from a presentation and storytelling standpoint quite the way that A Way Out does.
The game’s split-screen style allows for both players to always influence the events of the story even when one is watching a cutscene or is otherwise indisposed. It’s a remarkably fresh take on the co-op concept that may prove to be the shot in the arm the cinematic action genre desperately needs.
TBA | SIE Bend Studio | PS4
Despite the fact that Days Gone has been one of Sony’s centerpiece titles for the last two E3s, we still don’t really know all that much about the game.
It seems to be about a group of survivors in the zombie apocalypse just trying to do what they can to live another day, but the exact roles of the game’s principal characters remain a source of debate.
What we do know is that Days Gone’s The Last of Us presentation style and Horizon: Zero Dawn world design may just prove to be tantalizing enough to justify another trip through the zombie apocalypse.
Days Gone’s emphasis on the power of a horde in an open-world setting is a fascinating way to ensure that the game’s zombies don’t just become bullet sponges or jump-scare devices. We look forward to seeing what other innovations Days Gone brings to the table.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
TBA | Arc System Works | XBO, PS4, PC
Hearing that another studio is making a new Dragon Ball Z fighting game is a lot like finding out you’re out of toilet paper. It’s a potentially disastrous situation that you quite honestly should have seen coming. However, Dragon Ball FighterZ is not just another Dragon Ball fighting game, and that’s because it’s not being made by just another studio.
No, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a high-octane, beautifully rendered, pure 2D fighting game from the makers of the Guilty Gear series. With its impressive roster of memorable characters and 3 vs. 3 team system, Dragon Ball FighterZ is shaping up to be a fascinating alternative to the Marvel vs. Capcom series for those looking for a pure fighting title that emphasizes the insanity of epic encounters.
Far Cry 5
February 27 | Ubisoft Montreal | XBO, PS4, PC
Far Cry 5 is a difficult game to read. On the surface, this looks like just another Far Cry game. What that means – at least since Far Cry 3 – is a large world, co-op madness, a psychotic villain, and a variety of weapons and vehicles.
Given that Far Cry 4 was admonished for adhering too closely to this system, it’s strange to see how much Far Cry 5 looks like more of the same in many ways
However, Far Cry 5’s fascinating rural setting and emphasis on narrative may just prove to be the X factors that elevate this title above its predecessors.
While the world of Far Cry 5 is no doubt controversial, the game’s creative look at a cult whose warped sense of morals have corrupted a small town and the rebellion that results in response to their actions is the kind of new twist that makes an old ride worth taking again.
God of War
TBA | Santa Monica Studio | PS4
Much like Days Gone, God of War has been one of the centerpieces of Sony’s E3 press conference the past two years, yet we still know relatively little about the game. What we can tell you is that God of War looks like a hard reboot of the franchise in terms of gameplay.
The demos showcased thus far suggest that this new title will ditch the original God of Wartrilogy’s combo-based high octane gameplay in favor of a more methodical combat system, with a much bigger emphasis on narrative.
The jury is still out on that approach, but what really gets us excited about this game is the way that it incorporates rarely explored aspects of Norse mythology and seemingly casts Kratos into the role of protective father. In fact, God of War feels like a brand new IP due to the number of changes made to the formula.
TBA | Nintendo | Switch
While the next Kirby game certainly wasn’t the star of Nintendo’s E3 2017 showcase – how you doin’ Samus? – it was one of those games that many found themselves taking a second look at when the festivities were over. Those that did may have noticed that this looks like a return to some of Kirby’s platforming roots, albeit with a very welcome upgrade in visuals.
What really gets us excited about Kirby, however, is the way that it seems to be designed as a four-player co-op experience. Recent Nintendo multiplayer platformers – most notably Super Mario 3D World – rank among the most purely enjoyable gaming experiences of this generation, and Kirbylooks to deliver more of that timeless fun.
TBA | Insomniac Games | PS4
When we heard that Insomniac Games was making a Spider-Man game, we wiped our monocles with our monogrammed handkerchiefs and declared it “acceptable” with an exhale of dignified air.
When Sony actually showcased said Spider-Man game at E3 2017, we were forced to drop our cautious pretense and simply embrace the sheer fanboyish joy of what looks like a truly fantastic Spider-Man experience.
While there have been a few great Spider-Man games over the years, Insomniac’s take on the character is already shaping up to be the character’s greatest gaming adventure.
Thanks to the innovations of the Arkham series and Insomniac’s own experience with silky smooth movement controls, this upcoming Spider-Man game may just be the one Spider-Man title that actually captures everything interesting about the character rather than simply mastering a lone iconic aspect of one of Marvel’s greatest heroes.
TBA | Double Fine Productions | XBO, PS4, PC
To be perfectly honest, the only thing we really know about Psychonauts 2is that it is the sequel to Psychonauts. But really, that is all we need to know about Psychonauts 2.
When Psychonauts was released in 2005, it was immediately hailed as one of the funniest and most original experiences that designer Tim Schafer had ever gifted the world.
Given that Schafer is known for dealing solely in such experiences, it was quite the reception.
What we really want from Psychonauts 2 is more. More wild minds to explore, more Saturday morning cartoon aesthetics, and more casual humor that grows on you the more you begin to appreciate how it serves as the backbone for the game’s gloriously weird world. It’s not often we simply ask that a sequel give us more of the same, but it’s not often such a unique game ever gets a sequel.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Spring 2018 | Rockstar | XBO, PS4
What do we want? Red Dead Redemption 2! When do we want it? In a time frame that will reasonably allow developer Rockstar to find a way to somehow top the greatest western video game ever made and quite possibly the studio’s finest hour.
Ok, that chant needs a little work, but the point is that we don’t fault Rockstar for deciding to delay Red Dead Redemption 2 to 2018, nor do we blame them for telling us relatively little about the game thus far.
Red Dead Redemption was an almost perfect video game experience. In fact, Rockstar accomplished so much with that game that we doubt it even technically needs a sequel.
If they’re going to give us one, though, we want to know they are able to deliver the kind of experience that makes us feel just like we felt the first time we rode into Mexico with a gut string melody lingering in the air.
Sea of Thieves
TBA | Rare | XBO, PC
At the risk of toppling the “It’s been awhile since Rare has delivered a truly great game worthy of their legacy” bandwagon, it really has been awhile since Rare has delivered a truly great game worthy of their legacy. At first, Sea of Thieves didn’t look like that game. However, its impressive E3 2017 showing has left us singing a different shanty.
Sea of Thieves’ greatest asset is Rare’s complete abandonment of “realistic” pirate culture. Instead, Sea of Thieves embraces the romanticized concepts that propelled these seafaring outlaws into the pop culture stratosphere. The highest compliment we can pay Sea of Thieves is that it looks like it will perfectly recreate the imaginary adventures we enjoyed on the playground so many years ago when the jungle gym was a ship mast.
Shadow of the Colossus
TBA | Bluepoint | PS4
We’d be lying if we said that we haven’t thought much about Shadow of the Colossus since its 2005 debut – memories of the grand epic stand as a measuring stick for all other gaming experiences – but we never thought that we’d see a Shadow of the Colossus remake. Generally speaking, games casually, yet accurately, described as timeless aren’t candidates for remakes.
However, the moment we laid eyes on the new Shadow of the Colossus’ stunning visual design, we immediately felt the need to jump back into this world and replay a game that could be considered the truest testament to the “Games are art” argument. If you’ve not played the original or need an excuse to play this game again, 2018’s Shadow of the Colossus is going to be a must-have.
State of Decay 2
TBA | Undead Labs | XBO, PC
The original State of Decay was a fascinating example of how true ambition can conquer all. Developer Undead Labs didn’t have much to work with when they began working on State of Decay, but they did have a vision. Their vision was an epic open-world zombie apocalypse title that focused more on survival than action or horror. State of Decay was about building something strong in a defeated world. Its blend of base building, resource management, and role-playing was intoxicating.
While the biggest on-paper change coming to State of Decay 2 is the inclusion of co-op play, the reason we’re especially excited for this game is that Undead Labs finally has the resources and experience they need to deliver the game that they attempted to deliver the first time around.
TBA | Nightdive Studios | XBO, PS4, PC
It’s been far too long since we’ve played a new System Shock game. While you can’t deny the impact of titles like BioShock or the appeal of a game like Prey, no title in this genre has ever quite replicated System Shock’s usage of horror and suspense. While System Shock 3 is unfortunately not on the near horizon, this remake of System Shock will most certainly help pass the time.
Developer Nightdive Studios has proven time and time again that it cares about ensuring that truly classic games are played by a new generation of gamers. The studio’s love for System Shock combined with the few snippets of the game we’ve seen thus far leaves us with little doubt that Nightdive will be able to revitalize everything that makes System Shock an essential experience.
The Swords of Ditto
Early 2018 | onebitbeyond | PS4, PC
Never heard of The Swords of Ditto? We’re not surprised. Every E3, there is at least one game which can’t quite match the budget or graphical prowess of major titles, but ultimately ends up being one of the best games revealed at the show. Based on everything we’ve seen thus far, The Swords of Ditto may very well prove to be that game.
The Swords of Ditto’s core mechanic involves the legacy of the game’s playable heroes. Much like Rogue Legacy, every successful and unsuccessful run through this game will leave a mark on the world. You can even quest to find the epic weapons that the previous hero left behind. What really makes The Swords of Ditto stand out, however, is its Adventure Time-esque visuals and creative co-op combat options. This is just one of those games that takes the best of what came before and binds it all together with irresistible charm.
TBA | Good-Feel | Switch
Much like Kirby, the list of things we don’t know about Yoshi is slightly longer than what we do know about the game. What we can tell you, though, is that Yoshi’s Woolly World was one of the Wii U’s most underrated titles and one of Yoshi’s greatest adventures. The reason that matters is because this upcoming Yoshi title looks like it intends to replicate many of the qualities that made Wooly World as great as it was.
This time around, however, the Woolly World formula is bolstered by the introduction of a new mechanic that allows players to “flip” a stage and open up new paths. It sounds simple, but if the game’s first trailer is any indication, this mechanic will force players to completely reconsider the way that they view the typical 2D platformer level. For those who lament how far Mario has walked away from his platformer roots, Yoshi may just be the classic Nintendo experience you’re looking for.