Yeah, 2016 sucked. Lets not mince words about it. Many of our favorite celebrities died (including Harambe the Gorilla), the election ended in the worst possible manner, and Batman vs Superman wasn’t as successful as people wanted it to be. However, it wasn’t all bad. The Cubs won their first title in nearly a century, the Cavs bought Cleveland its first major sports title in over 52 years, Civil War, Dr. Strange, and Deadpool were all awesome, Netflix rolled right along with flicks like Stranger Things, the Get Down, and Luke Cage, and best of all, there were a boatload of awesome games that were released throughout the year. Doom and Mafia III were unexpectedly awesome, X-Com 2 and Civilization 6 both set new standards in the strategy genre, Final Fantasy XV made the rpg franchise relevant again, Titanfall 2 and Watch Dogs 2 surpassed their predecessors, Stardew Valley, Mother Russia Bleeds, Hyper Light Valley, and The Witness held it down for the indie scene, while Overwatch became this year’s big new IP and multiplayer sensation. 2016 also laid the foundation for 2017 and beyond. Check out after the jump to learn about 10 games hitting consoles, handhelds, and pc, most of which hitting before the summer, one of which is already in stores now.
1. Resident Evil 7 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Release Date: Available Now
What It Is: The latest entry in the Resident Evil franchise. Like RE4 over a decade ago, RE7 brings Capcom’s survival horror franchise back to its roots while at the same time taking it in a different direction. Although the first person perspective and atmosphere evokes thoughts of Outlast and Alien Isolation, the game has bits and pieces of the traditional Resident Evil gameplay; the claustrophobic hallways, limited inventory space, limited ammo, and disturbing enemies that stalk you all over the place. Playing as Ethan Winters, you explore a derelict Louisiana Mansion in search of your wife who has been missing for 3 years. You’ll have to contend with the mansion’s disgusting and haunting interior while having to contend with its owners, the Demonic and grotesque Baker family. The PS4 version contains day one VR gameplay while the Xbox One versions contains play anywhere functionality with Windows 10, where buying the game on Xbox One nets you the Windows 10 version for free.
My Thoughts: You seen the trailers, played through the demo, and even solved the puzzle with the dummy finger. Now it’s go time. Like FFXV, Resident Evil is a make it or break it title for the series. Although if the early impressions are to be believed, RE7 will succeed in making the survival horror franchise scary again.
2. Halo Wars 2 (Xbox One, PC)
Release Date: February 21
What It Is: The sequel to 2008’s Halo RTS Spinoff, Halo Wars 2 takes place 28 years after the original Halo Wars and shortly after the events of Halo 5. The game follows the conflict between the crew of the UNSC ship The SPirit of Fire and group of ex-covenant aliens known as the Banished. The game will include a simplified combat system based on paper-rock-scissors gameplay as well as multiplayer modes for up to 6 players. An Ultimate Edition of the game contains a season pass an a remastered version of the Original Halo Wars.
My Thoughts: This is certainly a surprise, as the original Halo Wars was released almost a decade ago, and Real time strategy game usually don’t do well on consoles. However, with Creative Assembly (Total War) co-developing the game, and with the recent resurgence of old-school style RTS games (Grey Goo, Act of Aggression), Halo Wars 2’s success could lead the way for an all new wave of strategy titles, and it could inspire 343 and Microsoft to try more new directions with the franchise.
3. Double Dragon 4 (PC, PS4)
Release Date: January 30
What It Is: The first numbered installment of the Double Dragon franchise since 1995’s Double Dragon 5. Being developed by Arc Systems Works, Double Dragon 4 looks to take a Mega Man 9/10-esque route, using spirites lifted from the NES original. The game is a follow up to the NES DOuble Dragon II (according to the Arc Systems Website, the series’ chronology is I > III > II > IV), and it will feature local co-op. Players can also play through a tower challenge mode and unlock new characters to be used in story and duel modes.
My Thoughts: At one time, Double Dragon was part of teh holy trinity of classic beat-em-ups, along with FInal Fight and Streets of Rage. While 2012’s DOuble Dragon Neon is nice, Arc System’s entry will no doubt bring back memories of my youth. If you check out the game’s website, you’ll see some interesting details.
4. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U, Switch)
Release Date: March 3
What It Is: The latest entry in the Zelda franchise. Playing as Link, you explore a gigantic open world in which you are free to explore. For the first time in the series, the game contains voice acting. The game will be both the last first-party to hit the Wii U, and a Nintendo Switch Launch title.
My Thoughts: No matter what platform its on, A Legend of Zelda game is a sure fire system seller, and Breath of the Wild will be no different. Nintendo is taking some risks in the game’s new direction, but the franchise has never failed us yet.
5. Mass Effect Andromeda (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Release Date: March 21
What It Is: The follow up to 2012’s Mass Effect 3. Taking place in a new galaxy 600 years after the original trilogy, players control one of two siblings, Sara or Scott Ryder, two members of a team tasked to find a new home for humanity in a mission that began during the events of Mass Effect 2. Players can customize the appearance of their chosen Ryder sibling. Also instead of classes, players can enhance whatever abilities they choose, ranging from weapons to biotics, and can even reassign points as random so players can tailor their characters to a specific playstyle. Players will be joined by members of other familiar Mass Effect races, such as the Asari and Salarians, along with newer species that reside in Andromeda.
My Thoughts: Ever since players decided to control, synthesize with, or destroy the Reapers at the end of ME3, gamers were eagerly awaiting the direction in which Bioware was gonna take the franchise next. Regardless, we knew that Bioware’s next entry into the franchise was gonna take us to a new area of the galaxy that we haven’t seen before, and it looks like Andromeda won’t disappoint. Hopefully Bioware won’t drop the ball with the endings this time.
6. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)
Release Date: February 28
What It Is: Developed by Guerrilla Games(Killzone), Horizon takes place in a post apocalyptic world warped back to the prehistoric ages, only this time Robots have taken the place of the dinosaurs. Taking control of a woman called Aloy, you set out to learn the true nature of the world. Featuring an open world divided into tribes, a day and night cycle, and no loading screens, Horizon Zero Dawn looks to make an impact as one of Sony’s newest franchises.
My Thoughts: Horizon Dawn has an interesting premise, and if the gameplay is on point, this could introduce another original franchise to Playstation 4.
7. Injustice 2 (PS4, PC, Xbox One)
Release Date: May 5th
What It Is: The sequel to 2013’s hit fighter, Injustice 2 features an all new storyline and all new characters such as Supergirl, Deadshot, and Brainiac. The game’s storyline involves a secret organization who wishes to restore Superman’s rule while Batman and his allies try to repair things after the original game. The game will feature a customization in which players can unlock and equip various pieces of armor that will enhance their abilities.
My Thoughts: Injustice was one of the best DC interactive products that wasn’t centered around Batman, and it set a new standard for fighting games. With new characters and features, Netherrealm looks to repeat its success, and it looks like Ed Boon and company are on track to do so.
8. Tekken 7 (Xbox One, PS4)
Release Date: June 2
What It Is: The long awaited home version of Namco’s latest entry in its fighting franchise. Based on the ‘Fated Retribution’ arcade version, the game will feature over 30 characters, including Street Fighter’s Akuma. Unlike other ‘guest’ characters, Akuma is actually a part of the game’s storyline. Customers who pre-purchase the game gain access to Eliza, the female vampire who debuted in the Free-To_Play Tekken revolution. Purchasing the game on Xbox One gets you a free copy of the Xbox 360 version of Tekken 6 which is backwards compatible on Xbox One. Purchasing it on PS$ gains you access to Jukebox mode, where players can listen to old school Tekken music. Tekken 7 had been delayed for so long because Harada wanted to make as much content available at launch, avoiding what happened with last year’s Street Fighter 5.
My Thoughts: It’s about time, and its good that the team is focused on adding new content. Now that Tekken 7 is here, maybe we can finally get a new Soulcalibur game. Or better yet, maybe we can finally see Tekken vs Street Fighter. At any rate, I reckon I better take these next several months to put in some practice work on Tekken Tag Tournament 2 so I can get ready for the summer. Between this, Injustice 2, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, and Ultra Street Fighter 2, it’s going to be a good year for fighting game fans.
9. Torment: Tides of Numenera (Xbox One, PS4, PC, Linux, OS X)
Release Date: February 28
What It Is: One of the most successful kickstarter projects. Marketed as a successor to the classic PC hit Planescape: Torment, Torment takes place in a future world that has been regressed to medieval society. You play as a character known as the Last Castoff, a vessel for an ancient consciousness. Unfortunately, you have no memory of your past, and worse, you are hunted by an entity known as ‘The Sorrow’, a force out to punish you for the actions of your master.
My Thoughts: Planescape: Torment is widely known as one of the best PC RPGS. For a game like Tides of Numernera to claim to be its spiritual successor, it has some big shoes to fill, and having been funded as much as it is, players will no doubt have huge expectations of it. However, the developers are putting serious work into creating the game’s universe. As seen in the video above, the game will feature some interesting gameplay mechanics, so soon we’ll see how well they mesh together.
10. Ghost Recon: Wildlands (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Release Date: March 7th
What It Is: The latest entry in the tactical shooter franchise. Rather than taking place in the futuristic environments of the last several games, Ghost Recon takes place in modern-day Bolivia as a division of the U.S. military known as the Ghosts attempt to liberate the country from the Santa Blanca drug cartel. The game features an open world in which players can choose to take missions at day or night. Also the game features 4-player online co-op, RPG list stat progression, and customization.
My Thoughts: No doubt this is one of the more ambitious Tom Clancy projects since The Division, and hopefully, Ghost Recon can succeed. However if UbiSoft wishes to do so, it need to offer quality content out the gate instead of having to wait a few months for game-fixing updates like we had to do with The Division and Rainbow Six Siege. However, the material that I’ve seen so far about the game looks good, and hopefully Ubi Soft has learned from its shortcomings on prior titles.
2017 has a lot in store for gamers, and this is just the first half of the year. The games listed here aren’t the only good games being released in the first six months of the year either. Do you have thoughts on anything in this list? Is there something coming that I didn’t include that you think we should watch for? Let us know in the comments below.