I’ll come out and say it: 2017 is going to be a big year for video games. We’re already hot on the heels of the PS4 Pro, which Sony promises will lead into some bigger games being released for the system. The Nintendo Switch comes out in a month and a half and will offer a completely new experience for gamers. Then there’s the release of Microsoft’s Project Scorpio next year. Said to be an expansion of the Xbox One that’s nearly three times as powerful as the PS4 Pro, one can only imagine the kind of games that system will run. I know I’m looking forward to all of it!
With all of this exciting hardware, that doesn’t mean anything if the games for them aren’t any good. And boy, do we have a lot of things to be stoked for this year. Each of the three companies has their own share of releases and AAA titles that are sure going to fly off of store shelves. No doubt you can already name a few games off the top of your head that you want to play this year.
Many sequels, spin-offs, and original titles are seeing release this year, and we couldn’t be more excited. From the unique and colorful offerings from “The Switch” to the larger gorgeous titles of the PS4 and Xbox One, there’s a lot of reasons why our wallets are going to take a hard hit. So if you like games, here are the 15 that you need to keep an eye on this year.
15. Horizon Zero Dawn
Get hyped. Horizon Zero Dawn has captured the attention of all who see any kind of gameplay for it. What makes this game particularly interesting is that it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before. Yes it’s an open world, story-driven experience, but the environment is completely different. You are set in a post-apocalyptic world where robot dinosaurs rule and humanity has regressed to a primal society with echoes of futuristic technology. Go ahead and try to find another game like that. Various videos of the game in action have been shown, and it’s one of the best looking games on the PS4 so far. Throughout your adventures, you’ll battle all kinds of vicious mechanical beasts, while at the same time using them for travel. There’s a wow factor with Horizon Zero Dawn that isn’t present in a lot of newer games today, and that’s why plenty of people are excited to play it. You won’t even have to wait that long either, because the game comes out on February 28- solely for PS4 though. I would tell Xbox One owners to wait for Scalebound, but we all know what happened there.
14. Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite
If there’s one game that will give a certain DC fighting game a run for its money, it’s this one. It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen our favorite Avengers go up against the characters from Street Fighter and Megaman. Now, in somewhat of a surprise announcement, a new entry in the franchise is finally being worked on and slated for release this year. At face value, it’s clear that Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite will be a gorgeous fighting game, featuring a lot of the tight animations and vibrant colors that have become a staple for the series thus far. There are some questions regarding it, such as what Marvel characters will be included due to the film rights being at different studios. But what we do know is quite exciting nonetheless. The game will utilize a 2-on-2 fighting style (as opposed to their familiar 3-on-3 system), similar to Tekken Tag Tournament, where players will switch out during battles. This will likely provide more interesting matches when it comes to the metagame. What’s even better about this game is that it is slated for release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, so most gamers will be playing this game.
There is so much love for Banjo Kazooie that it was only a matter of time before somebody capitalized on that. Former developers at Rare have since been working on the game Yooka-Laylee. Obviously a spiritual successor to the first game, this new title seeks to celebrate everything that made Banjo Kazooie great while building upon its foundation. Featuring a slew of platforming challenges and a great cast of extra characters, this game harkens back to a much older era. Since its announcement, Yooka-Laylee has grown much bigger due to how much crowdfunding it’s received. Multiplayer minigames were just announced for the title, adding an extra dimension of gameplay to the mix. Originally, the game was supposed to come out for the Wii U, but that version has since been canceled. No word if it will come out for the Switch, but it is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Steam. If you like polished platformers that take inspiration from classic masterpieces, this is the game for you. It’s bright, light-hearted, and will perhaps prove to Microsoft that people still care about Banjo Kazooie and that we want a proper sequel.
12. Splatoon 2
Splatoon is often cited as the greatest game for the Wii U. It is proof that when they put their minds to it, Nintendo can still create an amazing IP that will have insane longevity. Despite this, the Wii U didn’t perform nearly as well as the Big N wanted it to, so it’s been clear that Splatoon would be appearing on the Nintendo Switch to get some more sales. However, most people thought it would be an enhanced port of the Wii U best seller, but that isn’t the case. We are actually getting a full-blown sequel in the form of Splatoon 2. Featuring more options of play, more customization features, more weapons, and more mechanics, it seems to take everything people loved about the original and make it better. One interesting feature comes in the form of the Splat Dualies: a dual-wield weapon that allows players to dodge in the form of a quick roll. No doubt this game will see more of a competitive side when it comes out. Obviously, the game is only planned for release on the Switch and is scheduled for release in the summer. Not quite as early as some would’ve liked, but the fact that we’re getting a sequel makes it worth the wait.
11. Crash Bandicoot ‘N’ Sane Trilogy
Crash Bandicoot used to be great. Since his glory days on the Playstation One, the spinning marsupial has faded out of existence ever since he was given to Activision. Sure he now has a figure in Skylanders Imaginators, but that is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination (am I right?). However, while many want a new entry in the Crash Bandicoot series, we’re getting the next best thing. Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: Warped are all getting remade from the ground-up into gorgeous 4K games that still keep all of the classic gameplay intact for the PS4. After seeing footage, Crash fans will have a lot to be excited about. The games, if they do well, could even lead to another new game in the franchise being made. Is this the revival of the old Playstation mascot we’ve been waiting for? Oh, and the entire package will be available for the very reasonable price of $39.99. Perhaps we could see a Spyro remake next? He deserves some good treatment after that horrible redesign.
10. Mass Effect: Andromeda
The Mass Effect series is big, and there aren’t many people that don’t have some attachment to it. That said, there’s a lot of excitement for the new entry, Mass Effect: Andromeda. This game will continue the expansive lore that has already been established by the previous games, but it will take place 600 years in the future. It will feature an entirely new galaxy, called the Andromeda galaxy. That’s not the only new thing to be introduced, though. The first games in the series have been somewhat linear overall, but Mass Effect: Andromeda will be a completely open world. Players will be free to explore an entire galaxy as they please, completing missions for unknown alien species while still working toward an ultimate goal. Apparently, the goal in the game is that the humans want more planets to colonize. As you can imagine, that won’t go well with some of the locals in this new galaxy, and this will be the stage for many great and memorable moments. Mass Effect: Andromeda comes out March 21, and it likely motivated Nintendo to pull the Switch’s release up to March 3. Competing with a big franchise while you’re rectifying the Wii U wouldn’t be a smart move.
9. Fire Emblem Warriors
Hyrule Warriors proved to Nintendo that they can work with other developers to create unique experiences that fans will still love. After the success of that game, many people theorized that the Fire Emblem franchise would lend itself as well if not better to the Dynasty Warriors formula. Relatively soon after the release of the Zelda mashup game, Nintendo announced that Fire Emblem Warriors will be coming to the Switch and New 3DS in the holiday season of this year. We haven’t seen much of the game apart from a special move from Chrom, but that’s enough to get us jittery with anticipation. Hyrule Warriors wasn’t perfect, and it’s likely that Team Ninja will be perfecting the structure as a whole, as well as adding new features to bring in more players. It’s also evident that the game looks better than its Zelda predecessor. There’s no doubt that they will also be pulling from the expansive cast of characters that have been present all throughout the games (with some priority being given to Awakening and Fates). This is a great piece of news for Switch owners, as this means there will be not one but two big titles released around the holidays.
8. Red Dead Redemption 2
Ever since the release of Red Dead Redemption, many people heralded it as one of the greatest games of the last console generation. An open world action game set in the Wild West is one of the best ideas to come from any developer in recent memory. Naturally, many people wondered if we would ever get to go back to that world, but there was a lot of silence for many years. Then some rumors dropped. Then we finally got an official announcement with a trailer. Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming, and it’s scheduled to come this year. While we don’t know a lot about the game at this point, we know that it will portray a much more optimistic and patriotic version of America that will likely factor into how the plot is structured. Furthermore, the developers have promised that the game will feature a gripping story similar to the first game, but it remains to be seen what that story is. There will also be some new features added to the mix, such as an online mode of all things. Needless to say, this will be the game to get when it comes out.
7. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Sony is pushing into the realm of VR with their newly released Playstation VR peripheral. At their demonstration during E3, one of the games they showed off was Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. According to many people that have tried the game, it’s one of the most horrifying experiences they had ever gone into. A lot of the fear factor has many echoes to the original Resident Evil- which only gets people more excited for the game’s release on January 24 (this coming Tuesday as of the time of this writing). Furthermore, the developers have promised that they’re returning to the franchise’s roots and not continuing in the direction that the much maligned Resident Evil 6 had. All in all, it seems that the game will be a must-have for owners of the Playstation VR, and worry not, as the controls will remain consistent. If VR isn’t your thing, though, the game will also be released on PC and Xbox One. If you’re still not quite sold, I feel it necessary to mention the game will feature absolutely no quick time events. You heard me right! A game is coming out that will focus entirely on gameplay! It’s mind-blowing!
6. Final Fantasy VII
Granted, it’s unlikely that this game will be released in 2017, but if it does, this is one to keep track of. Final Fantasy VII is often cited as the greatest game in the franchise, and it is long overdue for a remake. Finally, Square has taken up this task to breath new life into this RPG masterpiece. However, the game will be a bit different than the original in many ways. First of all, the graphics are getting a major overhaul to fit in with the PS4’s hardware. Secondly, the combat system will be much different. Gone is the turn-based fighting of the Playstation One classic, and in its wake will be a system very similar to that of Final Fantasy XV. Lastly, the game will be episodic with multiple discs, allowing players to experience the story as its constructed, as well as giving us a taste of the multi-disc games of the Playstation One era. Final Fantasy VII is going to be on PS4, and there is no word about it coming to Xbox One. We’re likely to hear more when the director of the game attends a special conference next month. Then we’ll also hear about the release date at that point, I assume.
5. Sea Of Thieves
When it comes to exclusives in the battle over the PS4 and the Xbox One, it’s clear that Sony has Microsoft beat in that aspect. That’s not to say that the Xbox One isn’t without a great exclusive or two. The biggest one they have going for them at the moment is Sea of Thieves. Like many big titles coming out this year, this game is open world, but with a big environmental twist. The game will put you in the role of a pirate sailing across the seven seas. Being an entirely online game, it gives the developers the opportunity to make it as fun and realistic as possible. For example, sailing a ship requires at least three people operating different parts of it. Furthermore, only one person can hold a treasure map at a time, and if he’s working with other players, he must show it to them or direct them accordingly. It does sound like an MMO, but that doesn’t stop people from getting excited for this game. Elements of PvP will also be present, so just imagine the intense kind of nautical battles players will be able to experience. The game is coming exclusively to Xbox One later this year.
4. Injustice 2
Injustice: Gods Among Us set a much different standard when it came to fighting games and superheroes. On top of having an impressive roster of characters with fluid gameplay, Netherrealm focused on creating an engrossing story that would fit very well in a comic book. The game was widely successful and fans have been waiting for a sequel ever since. Now we have Injustice 2, and man does it look intense! The game will feel much more personal than ever, with each character conversing with his/her opponent before battle and during clashes. A new mechanic in the game will allow you to equip different items to your fighters that also offer a cosmetic upgrade. Injustice 2 will also continue off the story set by the first game, showcasing Superman’s followers attempting to revive his regime while Brainiac sits on the sidelines, slowly putting his pieces in position. The game will also feature a host of new characters from the DC lore such as Blue Beetle, Gorilla Grodd, Deadshot, and Darkseid. There’s no doubt that a lot of people will be wanting this game when it comes out on May 16 for PS4 and Xbox One.
3. Destiny 2
There are many reasons why Destiny wasn’t a game that was entirely worth it. Regardless of how you felt about the game at launch, there’s no doubt that Bungie fixed a lot of errors as they patched the game up and released the expansions The Taken King, and Rise of Iron. Since then, Destiny has been a solid game if you can manage to get all of the proper expansions. Naturally, Bungie has plans for Destiny 2- which is heavily rumored to be coming out during the latter half of this year. What makes this game particularly exciting is that Bungie has learned from a lot of the mistakes they made when they first built this franchise. Naturally, fans can expect this new entry in the series to have a lot more polish and fine-tuning to make it a more complete experience this time around- something that Bungie hopes will put them back on the map as excellent developers. They also have other studios working with them this time to ensure that they give out a quality experience. Not much else about the game is known, but expect some kind of announcement very soon. Are you a fan of the MMO, shooter hybrid game?
2. Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo has some big games coming out this year, and one of their biggest announcements was the new Mario game for Nintendo Switch: Super Mario Odyssey. Right away, we can recognize that there is something different about this game that separates it from the linear titles like Super Mario 3D World. Nintendo attributed this to the game being an open world sandbox experience that takes cues from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. What makes this especially exciting is that fans have been begging for a game like this for quite a long time. The fact that Nintendo is willing to give players this kind of experience says a lot about their angle. Furthermore, development for Super Mario Odyssey is nearly finished, meaning that Nintendo has plenty of time to polish it up and iron out all the edges for its release in the holiday season. While many wanted this game as a launch title, and you could argue that it very well could have been, it’s still quite amazing that Nintendo is creating this game as a more open product. Mario will be going outside of the Mushroom Kingdom this time around to rescue Princess Peach from a Pimp Bowser.
1. The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Many were and still are disappointed with the Nintendo Switch’s launch lineup, but I would argue that it’s already better than the Wii U’s for one reason: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Many people have been waiting for this game since 2014, and it was originally intended to come out for the Wii U. However, since it’s taken so long, we are getting it for the Switch as well, and yes, it’s a launch title. This game, if done right, could be one of the greatest games ever created. People already love the Zelda formula, but knew that there was something a bit lacking. Well now, Nintendo has figured it out and decided to make the game a truly open world, very akin to Skyrim. Breath of the Wild is packed to the brim with so much depth that it will likely keep players busy for weeks- if not months! The lacking launch lineup of the Switch is a blow easy to take when we have this game to look forward. It will likely hold many of us over until Nintendo can get some of their other big games on shelves.