2018 is shaping up to a big year in gaming. There are already a few games released this year that could contend for game of the year. Monster Hunter World, Celeste, and Shadow of the Colossus have all released to high critical praise and are early players for game of the year. I recommend picking all of those up, but be warned about Celeste as it’s difficulty can snatch the will from your chest. With that being said, here are 5 games that should be on everyone’s radar:
God of War (April 20)
The return of Kratos is upon us.
The new God of War acts as a reboot of sorts for the series. Moving on from Greek mythology to Norse mythology, Kratos returns and is seemingly more docile and level-headed. It was rare to see him speak calmly in the original series, but in the various trailers and gameplay videos, he shows a quieter demeanor. It’s a nice change as it adds new layers to an established character who many considered one-dimensional. Joining Kratos in his journey is his son Atreus, who will act as a supporting character during combat and will play an important role in the narrative. Gone are the Blades of Chaos and fixed camera angles that were staples of the original series and in it’s place is the Leviathan axe and an over-the-shoulder camera that will allow a more visceral experience. Combat with the Leviathan axe seems unique as it can be thrown to stun enemies and will only return to Kratos if commanded. Meaning you can knock a character down, follow-up with a melee attack and then return the axe for a finishing blow. Various gameplay trailers show the creativity in combat and this will be a refreshing change from the button-mashing of the original series.
Everything about God of War has changed. It looks to be the start of a new and exciting series.
Spider-Man (September 7)
Ever since E3 2016, fans have been waiting patiently to play Spider-Man. Developed by Insomniac Games, the minds behind Ratchet and Clank, this is one of the most anticipated games in recent memory. Gameplay trailers show fluid combat and free-flowing movement. Spider-Man moves through the environment naturally and it looks like it really gives the player a sense of what it would be like as the titular wall-crawler. The game looks fantastic and even though there is some disappointment that it’s capped at 30FPS, this is so that there is no dip in visual quality. My interest in the game revolves around the story of Peter Parker. In this game, he is already an established hero and it will be interesting to see where the narrative takes him. Insomniac Games certainly has the pedigree to develop a memorable experience and it is shaping up to be one of the best comic-book games in recent memory.
Spider-Man 2 was considered the last great Spider-Man game, that looks to change with this PS4 exclusive.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (October 26)
My most anticipated game of the year, Red Dead Redemption 2 looks to be a worthy addition to the Red Dead franchise. Set before the events of the original game, players control Arthur Morgan, who is an outlaw associated with the Van der Linde gang, the same gang that John Marston was hunting in the first Red Dead Redemption. While there hasn’t been enough substantial footage of gameplay, the trailers that have been shown display a game that looks to capture the lawlessness of the wild west. I was a massive fan of the first game and have been patiently waiting for a follow-up. Hopefully, the added multiplayer will be something akin to GTA Online, it would be really fun to roam the wild west with friends and conduct robberies and heists. If there are train or coach heists that are similar to 3:10 to Yuma, sign me up. Rockstar is one of the most competent developers in gaming and this may be the frontrunner for game of the year.
I can’t wait to return to the Wild West.
Kingdom Hearts III (2018)
Now I know that there isn’t a firm release date for Kingdom Hearts III at the time of this writing. But, seeing how every trailer says 2018, I am going to include it on this list. It has been over 13 years since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Thirteen! That is a ridiculous amount of time seeing how there have been so many re-releases of the first two games and there have been various spin-offs released as well. How fans have stayed hyped for this long is beyond me. But the recent gameplay trailers for Kingdom Hearts 3 has gotten me excited, new worlds, new abilities, new partners, the game looks incredible. The Toy Story world in particular, looks incredible and captures the feel of the Pixar series. Gameplay looks faster than the first two, which shouldn’t be a surprise as those are fairly dated. Regardless, the fluidity of movement leads me to believe that Square is working diligently to create an experience that will satisfy newcomers and established veterans.
Let’s hope that the game actually releases on time.
Vampyr (June 5)
Vampyr is my dark horse. I am anticipating that this game will not be on a lot of people’s radar, primarily because it is a fairly obscure title from a new developer. It is a third-person action role-playing game, in which you control a doctor, Jonathan Reid, who was recently turned into a vampire. It is set in London during the Spanish Influenza epidemic and will allow the player to roam four districts and players can decide the fate of those districts through decisions in the game. Players are able to decide whether or not they kill innocent civilians but it is stated that killing is a not a requirement to finish the game. Also featured are branching dialogue trees and gameplay reminiscent of the Witcher 3 as Reid is able to use melee and ranged weapons as well as special vampire abilities that can coerce NPC’s in providing valuable information. The first trailers for this game show fairly rough visuals, but recent trailers have displayed higher quality. As it is being developed by a smaller studio, this has the biggest boom or bust potential of any of the games on this list.
The sky’s the limit.
What are your most anticipated games of the year? I should’ve mentioned Mario Aces Tennis, don’t laugh, at least it wont be filled with micro-transactions like Madden or NBA 2K. Could be one of the best sports games of the year.