Game Opinion: 20 Games to Watch Out for in 2018

Could it be that the chrysalis of 2017 has finally cracked? Why yes, it’s not just the sugar rush from this ice coffee after all. Two thousand and eighteen. That does feel quite strange to type. Though whoever finds this post in three thousand and eighteen will surely regard laptops the way we do stone tablets, and probably find it even more bizarre we once created listicles (like the one you’re about to read) using dots and pixels instead of virtual reality. Fancy that. If you’re actually a time traveller, I apologise for the primitive presentation, but do read on to learn how last century folks would entertain themselves. There are two more lists archived if you’re especially curious:

1. Hellhunter

Shadow

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: Q2 2018
  • Developer: Ballistic Interactive
  • Genre: Action, RPG
  • Platform/s: Win, Mac

Hellhunter is an unmistakable homage to the slimiest, furriest, most unassailable nightmares that somehow undergo spontaneous genesis in the shadows (a truth all children are aware of). As paranormal investigator, your job is to sweep out the nasties of the rural Australian underworld. With a trusty gun, sophisticated gadgetry, and monster-tracking encyclopaedia The Cryptonomicon by your side, a dark path of RPG madness beckons to be purified.

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2. Detroit: Become Human

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: Q1/2 2018
  • Developer: Quantic Dream
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platform/s: PS4

The rise of the androids is upon us. Quantic Dream continues its legacy of emotionally-charged interactive screenplay in Detroit: Become Human, where players get entangled in an existential battle between flesh and technology. As Kara, Connor, and Markus, you’ll be hunting down clues, derailing disaster, and proving you’re just as human as the real thing.

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3. Planet Alpha

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: Q2 2018
  • Developer: Adrian Lazar
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platform/s: Win, Mac

My heart flutters wildly whenever I see this image. If there was a way to live in Planet Alpha‘s stunning, exotic worlds, I would board the first express flight on a one way trip. I dare you to drink in the gorgeous alien jungles pulsating with undiscovered life and not be impressed. The prospect of deeply challenging adventure is icing on the Royal Dansk.

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4. The Last Night

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2018
  • Developer: Odd Tales
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platform/s: Win, Mac, Linux

Behold a simmering sci-fi world of neon gods. Our Earthly descendants are drowning in leisure, and struggle to discover a sense of purpose within vibrant gamified environments. The emptiness has hit Charlie the hardest. Now he’s playing hide and seek with drones, chatting with sultans of sin, and roughing the rain on hoverboards just to feel something again.

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5. Biomutant

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2018
  • Developer: Experiment 101 
  • Genre: RPG
  • Platform/s: Win, PS4, XB1

Uber sophisticated crafting? Check. Funky pirate cat-droid? Double check. Biomutant is the open-world radioactive adventure I didn’t know I wanted until I laid eyes on it. And honestly, who could possibly refuse the splendid environments and mutant melee abilities Experiment 101 is promising? Certainly not me. Order it here.

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6. Death Stranding

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBA
  • Developer: Kojima Productions, Guerilla Games
  • Genre: Action, Sci-fi
  • Platform/s: PS4

Mr. Kojima has spared miserly amounts of info on Death Stranding, which has of course resulted in rampant speculation and wild theories. It’s a necessary ploy when it comes to the dramatic sci-fi, and if this time-manipulating, death-defying adventure really is as extraordinary as its being hyped up to be, somebody better get the popcorn ready. After all, which of us isn’t the tiniest bit intrigued by the afterlife?

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7. Avatar

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBA
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Genre: Action-adventure
  • Platform/s: PC, Console

Linked by virtual umbilical cord to what is purportedly the highest-grossing film of all timeJames Cameron’s Avatar: The Game sure had a lot of expectations to live up to. Sadly, most critics deemed it unexceptional. But apart from the clunky dragon flight and slightly repetitive combat, I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of its 2009 graphics. Ubisoft and Gameloft poured a gallon of devotion into the interactive spin-off, so I won’t conceal my hype for their latest effort.

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8. Raji: An Ancient Epic

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: May 2019
  • Developer: Nodding Heads Games
  • Genre: Action-adventure
  • Platform/s: PC, PS4, XB1, Switch

Fate, kismet, destiny—all parts of the same three leaf clover. The idea of higher powers—gods—handchoosing an individual to fulfil a prophecy isn’t new.  In Raji: An Anient Epic, it emerges in the form of a young girl who must defeat a demon lord to save her brother. What’s different here is the heavy focus on spiritual rescue mission that charts medieval forts and crisscrosses between Hindu and Balinese mythology—not just diluted combat.

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9. Unavowed

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBA
  • Developer: Wadjet Eye Games
  • Genre: Adventure, Point & Click, RPG
  • Platform/s: PC

Wadjet Eye is a long-serving ambassador of the graphic adventure scene, rattling out superb entries like Technobabylon, the Blackwell series, and co-piloting with Joshua Neurnberger for Gemini Rue. It looks like they’re off to an auspicious start to 2018 with Unavowed, a subversive expedition into the supernatural.

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10. In the Valley of Gods

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2019
  • Developer: Campo Santo
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Platform/s: Win, Mac, Linux

Narrative junkies, rejoice! Firewatch developer Campo Santo returns with a red hot poker of a statement that’s positively glowing with mystical energy. Like Assassin’s Creed: Unity, we’ll be diving into Egypt, but in first person, and during a far less ancient timeline that is hiding place to a special archaeological treasure. No need for a photographic memory in this one, your film camera will happily take snaps of clues, artifacts and wonders that decorate the dusty dunes before you.

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11. Vampyr

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: Spring 2018
  • Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
  • Genre: Action-RPG
  • Platform/s: PC, XB1, PS4

A bloody gamble from Dontnod, the creative force behind phenomenon Life is Strange, I can’t help but perceive Vampyr as Twilight meets Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, minus the saccharine romance (weirdly enough, Vampyr takes place in 1918, the precise year Edward Cullen died and turned into a vampire). The Jekyll and Hyde/Two-Face dynamic is revisited in Dr. Jonathan Reid, a doctor entrusted with curing the city’s flu-stricken citizens, and a ‘vampyr’—an unholy monster who must feed to survive.

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12. Past Cure

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBA
  • Developer: Phantom 8 Studio
  • Genre: Stealth, Action
  • Platform/s: PC, PS4, XB1

My apparent penchant for the paranormal continues in Past Cure, a Hitman-like which seems to enjoy slow-mo cinematic action and slealth-flexible gameplay, and I am absolutely not complaining. My only questions are whether the storyline sticks with a linear formula, and what the title is referring to. Thoughts?

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13. Mulaka

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2018
  • Developer: Lienzo
  • Genre: 3D Adventure, Action, World
  • Platform/s: PC, PS4, XB1, Switch

Mulaka is going to occupy a prominent position on the bookshelf of history buffs, cultural studies professors, and anyone who’s fascinated with endangered civilisations. Like Never Alone before it, Mulaka aims to preserve indigenous tradition, and does it with the help of a Tarahumara shaman.

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 14: My Friend Pedro: Blood Bullets Bananas

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBA
  • Developer: DeadToast Entertainment
  • Genre: Action, Third Person Shooter
  • Platform/s: Win, Mac, Linux

The ultra stylish, special effects laden fighting sequences in My Friend Pedro: Blood Bullets Bananas are enough to catch anyone’s eye. This acrobatic 2D operetta takes inspiration from The Matrix and Max Payne, and plonks you into seedy backstreets where your only means of survival is pumping your enemies’ guts full of lead.

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                             15. Darksiders III

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2018
  • Developer: Gunfire Games
  • Genre: Action-adventure
  • Platform/s: PC, PS4, XB1

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride again in Darksiders III, well…one woman to be precise. Crimson-haired Fury gleefully takes the reigns and makes her wrath fully-known with newfound weapons and traversal abilities. I’m almost certain this won’t be Gunfire Games’ last hurrah, and boy does it look good.

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16. Blasphemous

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: 2019
  • Developer: The Game Kitchen
  • Genre: Action, 2D Platformer
  • Platform/s: Win, Linux, PS4, XB1, Switch

Tripling its original kickstarter goal, Blasphemous proved how hungry gamers were for a 2D Souls-like—not to mention some fantastically fluid hack ‘n’ slash action and pixel perfect illustrations. A holy crusade against the darkness, it communicates its story in the background, but dares not interrupt your fast-paced skirmishes with creatures from beyond.

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17. Shadow of the Tomb Raider

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: TBA
  • Developer: TBA
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Platform/s: TBA

Despite my active stalking of the official Tomb Raider Instagram page, Square Enix is yet to admit the title of the next game. While rumours suggest the next chapter of Lara’s journey is diving into darker, more phantasmal waters, time will tell which direction Square Enix plans to take the franchise in. And we always have the film to tide us over until then.

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18. The Council

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: Feb 2018
  • Developer: Big Bad Wolf
  • Genre: Adventure, Narrative
  • Platform/s: PC, PS4, XB1

Can you feel that dinstinct cultist vibe emanating from masked George Washington? There’s a sinister plot brewing in Big Bad Wolf’s debut episodic adventure series, a five-part whodunnit which adopts a Telltale-esque consequence system that monitors how you play. The scythe is swinging, and the outcome won’t always be favourable.

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19. 22 Racing Series

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: Q4 2018
  • Developer: GOATi Entertainment
  • Genre: Racing
  • Platform/s: PC, PS4, XB1

Are you ready for a futuristic physics racer that’s so quick it’ll give you whiplash? Then get ready for GOATi Entertainment’s 22 Racing Series, a strategic vehicular simulation that is marketed as a blend of Wipeout and Gran Turismo. This would be a total blast in VR. Or a futuristic theme park ride in 3018.

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20. Shadow of the Colossus

KEY FACTS:

  • Release: Feb 2018
  • Developer: Bluepoint Games, SIE Japan Studio
  • Genre: Action-adventure
  • Platform/s: PS4

Judging by the nostalgimania of the present day, a remake of a PS2 classic lie Shadow of the Colossus is an ingenious move (please remake Ico next). Fans of the original are in for a treat: rebuilt visuals and modernised controls await PlayStation 4 owners, plus a chance to revisit Fumito Udea’s brand of atmopsheric minimalism once more. Speaking of time travel, I hope they still have ice coffees in a millennium from now, remastered or otherwise.

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More games* to keep an eye on:

Age of Empires IV | Ashen | Cryptodemic | Eagle IslandFrostpunk | Ghost of TsushimaGod of War | HalfLight | Immortal UnchainedMiegakure | Mutant Year Zero: Road to EdenPine | Primordials: FirebornRökiScorn | Spider-Man | Tangiers | Werewolf: The Apocalypse

*This list may be updated over time.

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