2018 is set to be another big year in gaming. Sam Brooks sets down his most anticipated games of the year, including one game he hopes to a higher power actually comes out this year.
It’s the start of a new year, and time to put aside the games we spent too many hours on in 2017. Or those we didn’t spend enough hours on but must stop playing because time marches forward, and so do we all, to our inevitable grave. And these games won’t play themselves.
After a quick perusal of what’s coming out this year, and in gleeful ignorance of my bank account, I give you the games that I hope to spend hundreds of hours playing this year. Hundreds of hours which could be better spent making human connections, or enriching my own life or the lives of others in some way.
(Note: There are no first person shooters on this list because I’m bad at them; no games with zombies on this list because I am scared of them; and no strategy games on this list because I will get addicted to them and I can’t do Crusader Kings 2 again. I just can’t, you guys.)
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4)
It’s Super Smash Bros but with Final Fantasy characters. That’s the sell, and really all you need to know if you’re weighing up whether this game is one hundred percent for you or something you wouldn’t look twice at.
There have been two Dissidia games on portable consoles, but this is the first time it’s on a major platform, which is the big sell for me, someone who likes his games to be on big screens like a huge dummy. I played this game in an arcade two years ago in Tokyo, where it was, predictably, in Japanese and I couldn’t understand it, but even then I knew it was a fun time, and it fulfilled my fanfiction-y desire to see Ultimecia beat up Squall.
I, for one, can’t wait to play this exclusively in offline mode because I’m sure everybody playing online will be too intense and good at it, and what’s the point of playing a game if you just lose all the time. But I can imagine there’s going to be a pretty robust competitive scene around this, so if that’s your thing get your claws in deep into this one ’cause it’s going to be around for a while.
Dynasty Warriors 9 (Playstation 4, XBox One, Microsoft Windows)
These hack-and-slash-in-second-century China games tend to get dismal reviews from the mainstream press for being repetitive (although last year’s Spirit of Sanada changed up the tired-to-some formula with a more story-driven, open-world approach to the series) but if you’re into these games, you are sold for them and all their countless spinoffs. I’ve been playing these games, with exactly the same characters, the same battles, often the same movesets, since I was 13. God knows if I’m not changing any of my actually destructive habits, I’m sure as hell not changing this one.
The ninth game in the flagship Warriors series looks to change things up even more, streamlining the weapon systems and opening up the world. The designs are slightly (and I mean slightly) more realistic and it seems to be more about living as a Chinese warrior/strategist or wife of a warrior/wife of a strategist than it is just about hacking and slashing. The Warriors games have been very much about riffing on old formulas, so I’m equally nervous/excited to see how this game shakes this up without losing their incredibly loyal core base.
Kingdom Hearts 3 (Playstation 4, XBox One, Microsoft Windows)
Oh, Kingdoms Hearts. This is actually the ninth game in the series, the first game in the numbered series in twelve years, and one of the most bizarre series to ever be a triple-A game series. The plots of this Final Fantasy-Disney crossover game series only continues to get more convoluted and insane. This game series is closer to Twin Peaks than it is to The Lion King at this point, and I could not be happier about it.
Despite the convoluted plots, there’s something that Square-Enix has managed to draw out of both Final Fantasy and Disney that makes this appointment gaming. The second game had me gaming for 50 hours straight, which my 15 year old body did not thank me for, and there’s something about the way these games are crafted, the way they play on two separate nostalgias and smashes them together, that sucks you in deep.
With a new bevy of worlds ranging from Toy Story (terrifying, see above) to Big Hero 6 (cannot wait), Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to continue, and perhaps finally end, these games which have edged closer to David Lynch than they have to Disney or Final Fantasy, and become their own chimera of gaming.
Yakuza 6 (Playstation 4)
I’ve been deep in Yakuza 0 over the break, and at times it feels like a lower rent GTA, while at others it feels like what would’ve happened if Rockstar had decided to keep with the (not always effective) humour and high drama that was that series’ trademark until San Andreas. It’s a special series, and I’m a little sad it took me until this long to get on board with it, and it seems to have been the game to finally break the series out of cult hit into legit mainstream recognition.
With that mainstream recognition comes high expectations, and if the surprisingly solid soap opera writing, satisfying brawler action and almost upsetting plentiful mini-games of Yakuza 0 are any indication, Yakuza 6 is going to be one of the glorious time-sinks of the year.
Detroit: Become Human (Playstation 4)
David Cage games are a love-or-hate kind of a deal – they tend to get rave reviews on release, and then the fatigue and ‘oh shit’ thing sets in. It’s the gaming equivalent of those biopics that get a million awards and then become known as trivia questions that only film buffs can answer. Detroit: Become Human, which focuses on relations between humans and artificial humans, looks like it could be one of those – especially with Cage’s repeated assertions that it is apolitical.
David Cage games tend to be hamfisted attempts at engaging drama that go off the rails at around the end of the second act. Remember how Indigo Prophecy starts with a murder in a bathroom and ends with a secret homeless cult dedicated to fighting Mayan/AI gods? Despite that, there tends to be a handful of engaging moments in each game – like the Saw-esque sequences in Heavy Rain and the secret agent sequences in Beyond: Two Souls – that make them worth the time you put into them.
I’m not sure where this will sit, but I know I’ll be digging into whatever Cage puts in front of me, and I guess that means I’m sold, right?
The Wolf Among Us (PS4, XBox One, PC, Mac, iOs, Android, basically everything)
I’m an on-off fan of Telltale games – I was very much in for Tales of the Borderlands, and very much not in for their Game of Thrones series – but The Wolf Among Us is their clear highlight for me. Telltale didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it came to using fairytales in gritty ways, but the way that they let you bend and craft a character was special.
There hasn’t been much information about this game, and the fact that it got a second season at all is a bit of a surprise, but I can’t wait to go back into the world of Bigsby and see what more they draw out of the deep, dark pantheon of fairytale creatures.
Wattam (Playstation 4, PC)
Remember Katamari Damacy? Remember the strange peace of rolling things up in your ball, letting the ball get big, and continuing to roll up things that are smaller than you until you’ve rolled up everything you possibly can? Well this is the new game by the guy who made that.
It’s described as a friend puzzle game. You can apparently play as a regular poop and a solid gold poop. You can also play as a soccer goal net and get points by hugging soccer balls. It sounds like the most wholesome, chill and rewarding experience. If 2018 is anything like 2017, and the first week implies that, yup, it’s more of the same, then Wattam is going to be the antidote or at least the low-alcohol wine to make it all better.
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Final Fantasy 7 Remake, hopefully (Playstation 4)
Please let this come out this year. It’s all I ask for. Take my first born/yet-to-be-born. I just need this game to come out.
Which is the preamble to: I have no idea if this remake of the game-changing J-RPG is coming this year. But I put it on my most anticipated in the hopes that I can secret it into the world. I pre-ordered it a year ago at EB Games (which makes me part of the pre-order problem admittedly) and I need to not have wasted that money.
I also need this to be good, which, after the let’s-be-honest-a-year-later disappointing Final Fantasy XV, is also concerning. But mostly I just need it to come out.
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