2015 was an awesome year for games, and it seems that with it the latest console generation has finally found its footing. Luckily for us, last year looks to be just the beginning for exciting games both familiar and novel, and 2016 will be packed with them all year long. Though I’m really looking forward to every release, here are just some of the ones that appeal to me above the all the others.
10. TellTale Games’ Batman
After the spectacular Walking Dead Season 1 that brought Telltale Games fame and fortune, it seems every IP now wants a shot to be retold by the narrative-driven developer. So many franchises being worked on at once in fact, that the quality tends to sway between series. After their uninteresting Game of Thrones series, which at first seemed a shoe-in for this style of game, I had begun to write the developer off as a biting off more than they can chew. But if there’s one series that can bring me back without fail, it’s Batman. Nothing is really known about this new game, but the thought of a more intimate, possibly low-key Baman tale after the grand Arkham series seems like a bit of fresh air; ironic after so many similar Telltale games. He is the world’s greatest detective after all, so an emphasis on finding evidence and putting together clues instead of solving problems with his fists could be a nice change of pace. A smaller game may even be a better way for some lesser explored of Batman’s rogues gallery to get some attention after the cavalcade of Joker villainy from the Arkham series.
9. Allison Road
With the fall of the once great Konami came the loss of Silent Hills and its harbinger P.T., leaving a hole in all of our collective greasy hearts. Lilith Ltd. however looks to right this wrong with Allison Road, a first-person horror experience aiming to be a spiritual successor to P.T.. Allison Road promises to both pay homage and surpass the minimalistic P.T., with more locations and gameplay mechanics such as item-collecting and an actual inventory. If the 13 minute long teaser is any indication, Allison Road looks to be just as terrifying and engrossing as its inspiration and hopefully can provide its own original ideas and scares. Though met with a bit of a complicated development, first beginning as a Kickstarter before gaining funding from Team17, Allison Road is still slated for release this year.
8. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Release: PC – January 28, PS4 – Q4
Alright, I’ll admit this entry is a bit of a cheat, but being primarily a PS4 player and hearing all the praise for the Xbox’s release of Tomb Raider in 2015 has got me excited for the delayed release. Despite critical acclaim, Lara Croft’s latest climactic adventure failed to make a huge splash releasing alongside juggernauts like Fallout 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront, and hopefully the staggered releases can help rather than hinder the games’ performance. After the Tomb Raider reboot in 2013, which changed up many of the of the series staples for a more action-oriented adventure akin to Uncharted, Rise of the Tomb Raider channeled a bit more of the familiar puzzle-solving mechanics of the previous iterations to make for a more equal balance of gun-toting excitement and actual tomb raiding. News of the lengthy timed console-exclusivity left me a bit deflated at first, but buzz around the initial release has done nothing but increase my excitement for getting some of Rise of the Tomb Raider’s sweet PlayStation trophies.
7. The Last Guardian
After countless delays and false cancellations, it seems like Team ICO’s latest may be finally ready for us to play this year Though The Last Guardian’s development has been the center of controversy for years now, little is known about the game, with still no set release date this year. What we do know is the last Team ICO game Shadow of the Colossus from more than a decade ago is still heralded as one of the best games of all time, so The Last Guardian has a lot to live up to. What we have seen looks to be intriguing though, with plentiful puzzles and exploration through a curious world, and many are already anticipating a tearful conclusion to the story of a boy and his bird-dog-cat-monster.
Release: February 9
With all the huge AAA games coming out in 2016, Firewatch looks to be exactly what I’m looking for in a smaller, more intimate experience. Following a fire lookout in the wilderness whose only form of communication with the outside world is a walkie talkie he shares with his supervisor, story and exploration seems to be the core of what Firewatch is all about. Slaying monsters and jumping off mountains is always great, but sometimes I’d like a well-written, story-driven game to immerse myself in. Easing into an immersive world of uncovering clues and dialogue options will definitely scratch that narrative itch when TellTale just isn’t going far enough, and Firewatch looks like it’s definitely one of the less-bombastic games to get excited for.
5. Dark Souls III
Release: March 24
On the complete opposite spectrum to Firewatch is Dark Souls. Despite having no firm grasp of any of the finer details (both in terms of story and gamplay) of the previous games, including last year’s Bloodeborne, I’ve somehow managed to stumble my way through all of them and I’m back for more. FromSoftware seems to have come up with a winning formula for these games that keep us all coming back, and despite so many of these similar-styled games coming out in recent years there’s no sign of series fatigue yet. After Bloodborne, Dark Souls III has us returning to the gloomy fantasy setting, with the familiar larger focus on defence and strategy over the fast-paced ruthless action of last year. With twists on old mechanics and entirely new ones like stances however, this won’t be a simple rehash of the time-tested formula. Dark Souls III is said to be the last in the Souls series, and I’m more than ready to have my ass handed to me one last time.
4. Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerilla Games has finally moved into a new direction with Horizon after so much time spent on the Killzone series, and the results look well worth the departure. An intriguing post-apocalyptic world, a wide variety of hunting weapons and strategies, and rad robot dinosaurs all blend to make Horizon not only one of 2016’s most anticipated games, but a huge new potential franchise under Sony’s belt to join the ranks of God of War and Uncharted. There isn’t a ton of information known about Horizon, but from what little we’ve seen so far making it jump to the top of many peoples’ lists, the game already looks to be in great shape. Just watching the trailers has me itching to jump in and explore the world, crafting new items from remains of the robotic monsters that inhabit it.
3. Mass Effect: Andromeda
Though the ending of Mass Effect 3 left a sour taste in everybody’s mouths, Mass Effect: Andromeda is appearing to be a nice shakeup for the series. Though the ending wasn’t what we expected, there’s no doubt that BioWare crafted a memorable and engrossing universe filled with charismatic characters and breathtaking moments with Mass Effect. A promise of a whole new galaxy to explore and aliens to meet has me already forgiving BioWare and excited for more in this new direction. Though we don’t know much, an emphasis on exploration rather than the typical save-the-world story seems to be what we’re getting, and it’s a change I’m happy to see since that’s exactly what made the last trilogy so well-loved. I’m pumped to get back into the world of Mass Effect and see what new surprises and twists await us in Andromeda.
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Release: April 26
Uncharted’s inclusion on the list needs no explanation.With Naughty Dog touting A Thief’s End as the last we’ll see of Nathan Drake, it looks like they’re hard at work on making sure the series ends with a bang. It’ll be bittersweet to see an end to it after some of the greatest games in recent time, but the anticipation over how it’ll all wrap up is immense. Multiple delays aren’t helping the wait either, as the game slowly gets pushed back months at a time. Whether it’s because of the rumoured troubled initial development that saw many notable staff departing, or Naughty Dog just wanting to fine tune their last Uncharted outing to perfection, we’ll finally be seeing Uncharted 4 in April. A Thief’s End definitely has a lot to live up to, following not only the previous entries in the series but the studio’s last mega success of The Last of Us, which had many people praising it to be the greatest game of the entire last console generation. Fortunately, based on everything we’ve seen so far, there’s no doubt in my mind that this game will be anything less than stellar.
1. The Legend of Zelda for Wii U
Despite Skyward Sword being a fairly disappointing addition to the console The Legend of Zelda games, enough time has passed and the wounds have healed for the hype to be astronomical for the newest game slated for the Wii U sometime this year. Though next to nothing is known about the new game, promises of a huge open world and a rethinking of the traditional formula only add to its mystery. It’s still not even clear if the game will be exclusive to the Wii U after the delays, or if it will follow in the footsteps of Twilight Princess and lead the way for the NX. Despite being slated for last year, so little is known about the game that anything is a possibility, and that just makes the wait all the more unbearable.