2017 may not have been a great year for this hurtling ball of mud we call Earth, but it was a damn good year for video games. At a time when most of us needed copious distractions just to make it to 2018, we were provided with a bevy of fantastic games to lose ourselves in.
Next year is shaping up to be a similarly great year, with a number of great games just around the corner. With that being said, let's take a look at our most anticipated games of 2018.
Most Anticipated Games 2018:
10. Detroit: Become Human
David Cage's games veer between knowingly silly to hilariously self-important, and for all intents and purposes Detroit: Become Human is shaping up to fall in the latter category. We previewed the game at PSX 2017 and walked away impressed by what we saw, but c'mon — there's going to be a bunch of Cage-isms tucked away in here, isn't there?
Quantic Dream's output remains a guilty pleasure, with those of us who are fans of the studio having to balance the good (the gruesome finger-chopping scene in Heavy Rain) with the bad (the entirety of Beyond Two Souls). But while Cage's history would dictate that Detroit: Become Human probably isn't going to feature an Oscar-winning script, we're still excited to see what off-the-wall ideas we'll get to enjoy (or endure) this time around.
Since the PS2 era Spider-Man hasn't really starred in many truly great video games. Ultimate Spider-Man was decent and Shattered Dimensions was passable, but neither really encapsulated what it means to be Spider-Man — a hapless teenage boy with the ability to web-swing himself around New York like a radioactive gymnast.
Spider-Man on the PS4 looks to change that, providing an open-world New York for Peter Parker to fling himself around in, action sequences borrowed from the Batman: Arkham series (never a bad thing), and a plot that isn't haphazardly tied into an upcoming movie. There's a great deal of buzz surrounding Spider-Man, and while Insomniac Games have been hit and miss with their output in recent years, we're tentatively excited for this superheroic adventure.
8. Dragon Ball FighterZ
I may not be the biggest Dragon Ball Z fan out there, but I could tell Piccolo apart from Frieza in a police line-up, so suffice to say that I'm suitably excited for what is set to be the most faithful game adaptation of the anime series to date.
Dragon Ball FighterZ completely nails the aesthetic of the Dragon Ball Z show, moving away from the cell-shaded, 3D environments of previous Dragon Ball games and instead utilizing hand-drawn characters dishing out explosive moves. The environments crumble around you making every fight feel like an apocalyptic battle between two super-humans (or whatever the hell Majin Buu is), its tag team action gives each round a pace similar to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, and it looks mighty fine to boot.
7. Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World's beta provided an exciting look at what Capcom has in store for the series' first PS4, Xbox One and PC release, and while some may not be happy with its new look, its heavily improved combat can lead to some frantic and epic encounters with its array of giant beasts.
Shortly following the beta's release players began sharing their battles online, highlighting the huge impact the game's dynamic environments have on hunting your prey, to the hilarity of taking on a towering foe alongside a group of friends. It looks like a blast, and we can't wait to sink our teeth into the final release.
6. Pokémon Switch
We've never seen a true Pokémon home console RPG in the vein of the handheld games, but that's set to change in the near future when Game Freak finally brings the mainline Pokémon series to the Nintendo Switch.
There's very little concrete information about Pokémon Switch right now, though various rumors have suggested that it could feature real-time combat over its usual turn-based approach, and that it could launch in late 2018 or early 2019. Nintendo's Chinese localization team are reportedly already working on it, so this could be a sign that things are progressing well, but without even a hint of gameplay footage being made available thus far we'll have to wait and see.
5. Sea of Thieves
Rare hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders in recent years, with the once-legendary studio being Microsoft's designated Kinect peddler until they realized that no one was actually interested in the Kinect. Sea of Thieves will be the first "proper" game that Rare has made in quite a while, and it looks like a ton of fun.
Tasking players with forming their own pirate crew before sailing the seas on their mighty ships, Sea of Thieves looks to provide plenty of multiplayer exploration along with explosive sea battles, treasure hunting, and assorted looting/pillaging. Rare's a much different team than it was in the '90s, so hopefully Sea of Thieves will prove to be their comeback.
Media Molecule is one of the most creative developer studios around, so Dreams piqued our interest as soon as it was announced. Despite both the game and its creators having seemingly gone into hibernation since its reveal, in the latter half of this year it has had a presence at both PSX and the Game Awards, with it shaping up to be every bit as surreal and beautiful as we had hoped.
Dreams features robust customization tools similar to LittleBigPlanet, allowing players to carve out their own platforming levels or create games that completely defy the boundaries of that genre. In its trailers we've seen a myriad of different ideas smushed together, and much like LBP the joy of the game will be in its community's utilization of its tools.
3. Death Stranding
Judging from recent comments made by Hideo Kojima and previous comments made by Mark Cerny, we've predicted that Death Stranding is going to release sooner rather than later. As in, mid-2018 soon. If this is to be the case, then Kojima's oddball sci-fi game certainly deserves its position around the top of our most anticipated list.
We don't know a great deal about Death Stranding, but from Kojima's perspective, that's kinda the point. Apparently its stars Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen don't really understand the game either, and considering how obtuse Kojima could get in the Metal Gear series, him working without the corporate oversight of Konami could lead to Death Stranding being an avant-garde success or a complicated mess. Either way it's almost certain to be one of the most interesting games in recent years, and we can't wait to finally get our hands on it.
2. The Last of Us 2
The Last of Us 2 didn't feel like a sequel that needed to happen. The original game's conclusion felt like it rounded off Joel and Ellie's story perfectly, offering a bittersweet (but mostly bitter) ending that was in keeping with their relationship and respective character arcs. Ellie was a bright spark of hope who would have been willing to risk it all for the future of mankind; Joel had already been beaten around enough by life to not want that spark to be snuffed out, even if it was ultimately for the greater good.
But Naughty Dog is rolling ahead with a sequel anyway, and game director Neil Druckmann has stated on multiple occasions that its follow-up will be a much darker chapter in this story. Considering that the first The Last of Us got pretty bloody dark at various points, hopefully its sequel won't be too intense. At the very least, Naughty Dog can throw a giraffe or two in there to lighten the mood.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
The sequel to Rockstar's magnum opus (and technically the third game in the Red Dead trilogy), Red Dead Redemption 2 focuses on a new band of outlaws taking the Wild West by storm.
We don't know a whole lot about Red Dead Redemption 2 aside from its hero being another grizzled hat-wearing man, that it takes place before the events of the first game and that Van Der Linde gang leader Dutch will once again serve as an antagonist. Rockstar will also introduce Red Dead Online, the game's equivalent of Grand Theft Auto V's bank-rolling GTA Online, so expect Rockstar to ask you to cough up the cash to get your hands on a flying golden horse at some point.