Dark Souls III – PC, PS4, XBO – March 24, 2016
Are we really doing this every year now? From Software! Come on! Give us a break, please! We’re a wisp of wind away from one of modern gaming’s most beloved franchises becoming the next Call of Assassin’s Battlefield annualized product.
What more is there to really see from Dark Souls? What does From Software have yet to show us that it hasn’t over the last decade already? I’m excited to play Dark Souls III, but it’s more out of routine this time than it is for the excitement of getting my teeth kicked in once again.
From Software has peeped that it wants this to be the last game in the series, and I agree it should be. If this pans out to be true, another way to look at this title is us getting the ultimate and final vision of this revolutionary formula. In that regard, can anything stop Dark Souls III this year?
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – PC, PS4, XBO – Aug 23, 2016
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a glorious return to form for Adam Jensen and his augmentations. The title was nearly perfect, were it not for the obnoxious and out of place boss fights.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looks to improve upon the already great refresh, and Eidos Montreal is definitely a studio capable of absolutely knocking it out of the park. The new generation upgrades and fixed mechanics could make this game utterly glorious.
Dishonored 2 – PC, PS4, XBO – TBA 2016
Dishonored was a great surprise. A new character set in a unique world – a sort of Victorian world powered by whale oil – with gorgeous art and great first-person gameplay that gave players freedom to play how they wanted and see the consequences unfold.
The sequel, Dishonored 2 was a surprise at last year’s E3, but a welcome one. This time around we can play not only as Corvo, but as the girl he was protecting in the last game, Emily Caldwell, deposed empress. She has her own set of powers and agenda. If Bethesda and developer Arkane can differentiate her enough from her mentor, it could add yet another dimension to the many choices the game is sure to present us with.
Far Cry Primal – PC, PS4, XBO – Feb 23, 2016
Far Cry has been a solid, fun series since its inception, with the first, second, and third games each different from each other while adhering to the same basic idea of being alone in the wilderness with a gun. While Far Cry 4 was a fine game, though, it felt tired. Does the series have much life left in it? The most interesting parts were the Shangri-La sections that had you working with spirit animals to go after ghostly enemies.
Far Cry Primal addresses exactly that. Instead of just making a game that takes place in Shangri-La, Ubisoft is taking things back to the Stone Age. You’ve lost your tribe and have to rebuild, crafting better weapons and taking control of more and more dangerous predators as allies. If the series does have any life left, this should be the kick in the pants it needs.
Final Fantasy XV – PS4, XBO – TBA 2016
Square Enix has been developing Final Fantasy XV for nearly a decade now. There is nothing left to say.
It comes out in 2016 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and you’re either going to love it or you’re going to hate it.
Firewatch – PC, PS4 – Feb 9, 2016
Firewatch I want to play just for the visuals. Sure there’s the story – you’re a fire lookout named Henry working in a national park, digging up clues to something as you go through your routine patrol. But the visuals alone are absolutely arresting, as is the score itself.
If the writing and voice acting can keep up with the visuals and music, we’ll have a truly memorable game on our hands. Call it a walking simulator if you want, but I can’t wait.
Gravity Rush 2 – PS4 – TBA 2016
We don’t know much about Gravity Rush 2. Yes, the games are known as Gravity Daze abroad, just in case you’re curious about the images above. We know that Kat is back, and this time she has an accomplice.
The original was a PS Vita exclusive, and it was an absolutely wonderful game. That title is being remastered in 2016 for the PlayStation 4, too, so we’re definitely looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. Hopefully the sequel is just as great.
Horizon: Zero Dawn – PS4 – TBA 2016
Horizon: Zero Dawn is the victim of one of the most generic game titles in recent history, but few games look more interesting. We’re presented with a post-post-apocalyptic world (yes, that’s two posts), where the world has begun to heal from the damage humans have done. Humans now live in tribes and hunt to survive. The twist is that the beasts the humans hunt are mechanical.
Detailed, open combat and a compelling story concept give Horizon: Zero Dawn a lot of promise, and it’s good to see Killzone dev Guerrilla Games working on something new. If the demos have been any indication, this should be one of the great exclusives of 2016.
Hyper Light Drifter – PC, XBO, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U – TBA 2016
Hyper Light Drifter has been our most highly anticipated Kickstarter game since the website’s break-out year. Every year, we list it here, and every year we’re disappointed by the delays. I guess that’s just the nature of the Kickstarter beast, but 2016 could very well put an end to our suffering and waiting.
The Last Guardian – PS4 – TBA 2016
We’ve been waiting for The Last Guardian forever, haven’t we? The game was announced nearly six years ago, and after years of delays and evasions, it seems like it might be on the horizon – finally.
The big question now is if it can live up to the hype inflated by years of waiting, and to the legacy of its predecessors, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. It seems like we might actually find out this year.
Mafia III – PC, PS4, XBO – TBA 2016
I love open-world games, but too often they pick the same time periods and locations. I’ve been to more versions of New York across various time periods, more medieval castles, more World War II bunkers than I’d ever want. Mixing those elements up can go a long way toward making things fresh again.
And here comes Mafia III, developed by Hangar 13. The game is set in 1968 and takes place in New Orleans, two settings we rarely – very rarely – see in games. The game stars a Vietnam War vet named Lincoln Clay, as he builds up a crime family for the sake of revenge against the Italian mafia. War, crime, and racial tension should make for an interesting mix we don’t often see in games.
Mass Effect Andromeda – PC, PS4, XBO – Dec 2016
After Mass Effect 3 wrapped itself up, I was “anti”-new entry in this series for a while, feeling like it should just be a nice, self-contained story. Only now that I have become somewhat disillusioned by the repetitive beast that huge Western games have become do I see the appeal of jumping back into BioWare’s sci-fi universe.
Something is amiss when a half-year old franchise can be looked back on as “the good old days,” but Mass Effect just has it where it counts.
Deep characters, excellent storytelling, brilliant settings and music. I have faith that Mass Effect Andromeda will deliver that sense of science fiction adventure all over again, and show us the way. EA backing BioWare with the Frostbite Engine 3 is also a match made in heaven for this series.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – PC, PS4, XBO – May 24, 2016
DICE is best known for big, wide open battles with tens of players duking it out on a large scale, vehicles, bullets and explosives all whizzing back and forth. The original Mirror’s Edge was a huge surprise. This intimate little game about acrobatic running and hand-to-hand combat was unique and interesting. It didn’t quite pull the audience Electronic Arts had hoped, and it did have its share of problems, but the idea stuck around and so did fans. Now we have Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.
The game is a prequel instead of a sequel, but it builds on the ideas of the original, putting protagonist Faith into an open-world scenario. Instead of items being arbitrarily painted, her Runner Vision lights up acrobatic opportunities. It’s great to see this neat idea get a second chance, and we hope it gets the game it deserves and the attention, too.
No Man’s Sky – PS4, PC – June 2016
Is there a single more hyped game coming this year? I’m not sure. Hello Games is a tiny studio with a track record that features the likes of Joe Danger, a 2.5D bike racing, physics series. With No Man’s Sky, Hello Games is creating an almost infinite, unique, continuous universe complete with space travel, combat, planetary exploration, discovery and a path to the center of the universe.
This game, if it’s done well, could tower over everything in 2016. It could also flounder. Time will tell.
Persona 5 – PS4, PS3 – TBA 2016
I absolutely cannot wait to experience the next entry in the proper Persona series. I was introduced with Persona 4 on the PS2, and I went back and played Persona 3 after that. Then, Persona 4 Golden hit the PS Vita and became one of my most played games ever. Persona 5 looks incredible to me as a, I suppose, more recent fan.
Atlus has a game that looks amazing, and that includes its insanely slick UI design. Wowsers, this one could be crazy.
Rez Infinite – PS4/VR – TBA 2016
Rez Infinite, in short, sold me on PlayStation VR. I have a feeling this announcement may have been somewhat lost on younger gamers, because I’m not sure if Rez is as legendary as I think it is. Watching the trailer, some 13-plus years after its original U.S. release, Rez is still as exciting and enthralling as it was the first time I played it and found myself out of breath.
The mere idea of being totally immersed in the game’s audiovisual sensory assault is almost intoxicating on its own, and any chance to get a new perspective on the game is worth jumping at. Rez Infinite is, without question, required play for any PlayStation VR owner.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness – PS4 – TBA 2016
2016 will see the launch of plenty of huge JRPGs on the home consoles, but I think it is Star Ocean that has me most entranced. Not because it looks like the best game or the most revolutionary, but rather, because it is the one bringing it all back to basics.
In a world where Persona style anime dominates and Final Fantasy reinvents itself as an open-world waypoint-hopper, Star Ocean is kicking it old-school. It’s a game where a bunch of strangers unite in a sci-fi/fantasy world, and they set off together on a coincidental plot to save the world.
I didn’t think anybody had the guts to make such an old-fashioned project, but the genre is such a well oiled machine at this point that someone, other than the Tales Studio, had to step up and do it right. tri-Ace is the best company to go about this, and Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness will prove that even old gems deserve a place in this new world.
Street Fighter V – PC, PS4 – February 16, 2016
Street Fighter V is interesting, if nothing else, for all the changes it is bringing to the series. Characters are seeing heavy overhauls to their looks and fighting styles for the first time in many years. The game is console exclusive, but cross-platform. There’s no plan to release Super Ultra Mega Turbo editions of the game. It’s different in so many ways that you’d almost think it isn’t Street Fighter.
But then you get a look at those awesome characters and their super moves and you know it’s still the same old fighter in the best kind of way. We expect the same kind of tightly balanced, fast moving action we’re used to from the series, and all the beta testing Capcom has done suggests that that’s exactly what we’ll get.
Tom Clancy’s The Division – PC, PS4, XBO – March 8, 2016
The Division is another one of those games that’s been a long time coming. The game was announced at E3 2013 and has been delayed quite a few times since then. Now the release date is near and we’ve had the game in our hands. The combination of MMO-style game and shooter is appealing, and the game’s trademark Dark Zone should result in lots of cool stories.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – PS4 – April 26, 2016
Nathan Drake is getting too old for this stuff. We know it, and Naughty Dog knows it. Uncharted 4 looks to be Drake’s last adventure. It’s also Naughty Dog’s first real outing on the PlayStation 4, and they’re going all out to take advantage of the platform. The game should prove to be, if nothing else, a great showpiece for the PlayStation 4’s strengths.
But then, Naughty Dog games have never been just about that, and we’re expecting this to be one of the best reasons to own a PlayStation 4 this year thanks go great writing and action, much like Uncharted 2 was when it came out.
The Witness – PC, PS4 – January 26, 2016
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good puzzle game, but Jonathan Blow’s The Witness looks set to fill that gap. Now we’re finally coming up on its release date and the game promises colorful, beautiful environments and more puzzles than just about anyone will be able to complete.