Is there anything to look forward to after the great games of 2017? Apparently so. Some of our staff members share their most anticipated titles of the year in this multi-part story.
Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix)
It has been over a decade since Kingdom Hearts 2 was released. Since the ending of that game, I have been anxiously waiting for the third installment. Other additions to the franchise have come out since, but the feeling just isn’t the same. The project was always pushed back with constant additions as the Disney universe expanded. After teasing several times about a release date, it seems Square Enix has finally settled for 2018.
There is something magical about playing a Kingdom Hearts game. The combination of familiar characters from my childhood from both Disney and Final Fantasy somehow worked and made a franchise that I have followed closely since the early 2000s. Each world is totally unique, but feels so familiar as you’re transported into worlds you’ve seen in movies before. Kingdom Hearts III has teased Disney and Pixar worlds like Toy Story, Mount Olympus from Hercules, Tangled, Big Hero 6, along with revisiting worlds from previous games like Twilight Town.
Square Enix always wowed me with their storytelling and graphics, and the battles in Kingdom Hearts feel complex and fun. My New Year wish is that they will not push back the release date again and fans will finally be able to play this game.
God of War (Santa Monica Studio, Sony Interactive Entertainment)
There are many new things about the upcoming God of War game, but what piqued my interest the most is the Norse-inspired world. With the popularity of the wild terrain exploration in Horizon Zero Dawn and the Viking imagery of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, I think it’s safe to say that God of War will be enjoyable as well. As a fan of mythology and a self-proclaimed descendant of Vikings, this game looks like it will quickly become another favorite.
Although the series hasn't always been my favorite, I am looking forward to this game. I'm interested to see how they will explore Kratos as a father and his interactions with his son. Part of me knows that I will have a love-hate relationship with Atreus, but that doesn't deter me at all. The amount of work put into this game, with the motion capture and acting, shows that the developers are doing their best to make something great. Their take on creatures and gods from Norse mythology looks fantastic so far, as do the updated mechanics to combat these enemies. Plus, Christopher Judge taking over the role of Kratos is the icing on the cake for me, as a long-time fan of his. Overall, there are a lot of new additions and changes going on with this game and I cannot wait to play the final result.
I don’t think I’m ready, guys - 2017 was a lot. I went from Horizon Zero Dawn, to NieR: Automata, to Resident Evil 7, to PUBG, to Destiny 2, to Breath of the Wild, to Splatoon 2, to Super Mario Odyssey, to...oh my goodness, the list just goes on and on, and each game felt so fantastic for so many different reasons. As I said, I don’t think I’m ready, and this line up looks incredible. This year, we will see a few follow-ups to cult-classic series, which will hopefully live up to the expectations their predecessors have laid out for them, as well as some new, original titles, which aim to impress with fresh faces. Regardless, 2018 is another year, which means another 12 months, 52 weeks, and 365 days of gaming. A true blessing.
Here are my top 5 most anticipated games of 2018.
A Way Out (Hazelight Studios, EA)
My friends and I love playing co-op games, and the satisfaction we achieve from those games is mostly due to the simplicity of sharing a common objective and working together to complete it. Hazelight Studios’ upcoming co-operative focused title, A Way Out, should be a blockbuster hit for this very reason. From what I have seen, two “brothers” will work together to perform a variety of high-pressured and heavily dramatic tasks, such as pulling off a bank heist or busting out of prison. The focus on co-operative gameplay is what excites me most, and I look forward to experiencing the creativity that comes about with a dual-protagonist co-op title. Two other notes: A Way Out will be reasonably priced at $29.99, and to play cooperatively with a friend will only require one player to have purchased the game for both to play.
Dreams (Media Molecule, Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet series is unlike any other, and the excitement that Dreams brings to me is almost childlike. The freedom and appreciation for creativity that Media Molecule supports and pushes their players to delve deeper into is what fascinates me every time I played LBP. At the time of its release, I was in grammar school, and I recall daydreaming and sketching out custom-maps to go home later and build, tinker with, and explore in.
LBP is the “LEGOs” of video games to me, and my synapses are chomping at the bit to delve into Dreams. So, needless to say, I hope that MM follows in the massive footsteps that they’ve laid out for themselves, and pulls off something incredible with Dreams (and I have a gut feeling they’ll surpass the expectations I have with flying colors).
System Shock (Night Dive Studios)
Inspiring one of my favorite series of all time, BioShock, I feel as if I’ve committed some sort of treason to the game community by not first having played System Shock. Nonetheless, we approach the year of 2018, and with this year we get a reboot of an extremely important game: System Shock. Night Dive Studios has “gathered a team of industry veterans from games like Fallout: New Vegas, Mass Effect, and BioShock to create a faithful reboot of the classic game we all know and love.”* With reboots of important titles such as SS, there is always a hint of anxiety that the 2018 iteration won’t live up to the greatness of the original, but only time will tell. It sounds from the above quote that there is an awareness of and an ongoing effort to capture the memories and experiences those SS players had in the past. We will see. I remain hopeful and look forward to experiencing SS for the first time.
Yoshi (Good-Feel, Nintendo)
A charming side-scrolling adventure featuring my favorite green dinosaur, Yoshi is one of my most anticipated titles for 2018. I love Nintendo’s underdogs more than the “rockstars” like Mario and Link, and titles like Luigi’s Mansion are standouts for that very reason. Yoshi on the Switch looks to be a purely fun adventure, in which Nintendo focuses on what it is well-known for, side-scrolling platformers. Additionally, the Paper Mario-esque feel that the game offers with its “flipping the map” mechanic should be exciting. Nintendo always uses moments and environments to hide in-game gems (like Power Moons,) giving the player a constant thrusting motivation to explore beyond the surface level. And one last thing that makes my heart smile (metaphorically, of course) is the co-op feature that appears to be in play. The second, red Yoshi strongly hints at a drop-in, drop-out co-op mechanic, that I can’t wait to share with my best friends, and maybe even my younger sister.
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar Games San Diego, Rockstar Games)
“Badass Frontier Justice” is the name of the game, and Red Dead Redemption 2 is bringing that feel to life, through the shoes of a less-than-reputable protagonist, who I am very excited to play as. From the first two trailers, it appears that RDR2’s narrative will follow a group of outlaws, who are no strangers to violence. Explosions, blood, gunshots, stabbings and all of the good cowboy stuff are highlighted in the trailers, and it all looks fantastic. One of the most memorable aspects of RDR (on the X360 and PS3) was the pure scope of the game. To this day, there is only one comparison I can make to the feeling of openness and free-range that RDR brought to me, and that is to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Rockstar always impresses, and you can quote me on that. With the amount of work they’ve been putting into GTA: Online over the years, it’s clear that Rockstar aims to please their community. RDR2 has a lot to live up to in terms of the Red Dead series, but also because of Rockstar’s legacy as a whole. I know, just like with Media Molecule, that this title will live up to and surpass the expectations that I already have.
Cheers to 2018. Let’s see what you've got.