Thursday, 31 December 2015

10 Games To Watch Out For In 2016

2015 is just about over. Politicians and news networks will stop pretending that they give a crap about poor people, and alcoholics now have one less excuse to hide behind. But let's not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas; getting presents off people. That included a game or two for you, right? So now, of course, you need to start thinking about what to ask/tell people to buy for you this year. Or maybe you'll just treat yourself. Go on, you deserve it! Here for your consideration are ten games due to be released in the space year 2016 with lots of potential. And remember; if you spend your money in CeX, you will become five times more sexually attractive to the gender of your choice with each game you purchase. Maybe. Possibly. Okay, probably not. But do you want to take the chance of not giving it a go?

The Last Guardian (PS4)

Development on this PS3 game began in 2007 and finally, allegedly, it will see the light of day as a PS4 game in 2016. This could go either way, really. On the one hand it will serve as the third game in an unofficial trilogy, the first two entries of course being the sublime Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The extended and troubled development period is worrying, but Resident Evil 4 suffered something similar; and remains, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best game in the series by a country mile. On the other hand Team Ico no longer exists, with Fumito Ueda and his new studio (including some of Team Ico) GenDesign kept on only as “creative consultants”. I suspect the finished product will have iffy graphics and (my number one candidate for the reason behind its time in development hell) flawed AI, but I'd love to be proved wrong.

FUN FACT: Sony insist that gameplay footage is thin on the ground because the game is so story heavy, and not because they're just trolling everybody about a release date.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Yes, yes, I know the name is an incredibly cheap and childish pun; but it still makes the fourteen year old in me giggle. (Much) more importantly, The Stick of Truth wasn't just a good South Park game – it was an awesome South Park game. It looked frickin' exactly like the show and, thanks to the original acting and writing talent being involved, sounded exactly like it too. It made me laugh out loud many a time. It provided little challenge but, given the fact that it was enormous fun to play, I didn't give a monkey's about that. I have high hopes for this, and Ubisoft better not let me down.

FUN FACT: George Clooney has cameoed in the TV series as a dog (with no dialogue, just barking), but Jerry Seinfeld refused a cameo that he asked for because he wasn't offered a major part.

No Man's Sky (PS4)

Have you seen it? I mean, seriously, have you seen it? It looks awesome. It's basically the fuckin' universe, procedurally generated; only instead of lots of nothing there are dinosaurs, and alien planets, and buildings, and spaceships, and and and I really want to play it now. It's like all that awesome 50s sci-fi art you used to get on book and magazine covers brought to life. Hello Games are going to have to work really hard to mess this one up.

FUN FACT: I met and interviewed the Hello Games team once, and can confirm that they are awesome people.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

I played – and loved – the original. I played it through twice actually, something I rarely do with a game (one run without shooting a single bullet). If you've never played it grab yourself a copy, it's dirt cheap now and unlike anything else. Catalyst, like the original, puts a heavy emphasis on first person parkour – and, by the sounds of it, even more emphasis on your character Faith not having much skill or interest in guns. The new title also raises the stakes with open-world gameplay however, giving you a whole city to make a nuisance of yourself in. Being able to launch improbable runs across walls whenever you like sounds like fun. So does scrambling up the fronts of random buildings like a madman on acid, and finding your own paths through rooftops and between buildings. Will it actually work, though? We can but wait and see...

FUN FACT: You shouldn't climb on buildings and jump between rooftops in real life, because it's naughty and dangerous.

Far Cry Primal (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

I thought Far Cry 4 was great, but let me get something off my chest. How in the hell did Ubisoft avoid sparking a controversy by casting a white guy as the Indian-American hero (not to mention casting a white guy as the mixed-race antagonist)? Devs are often disturbingly obsessed with movies and let me tell ya buddy, you wouldn't get away with that in a film – and quite right too. Anyway, now I've hopped off my soapbox, I can get on with stating the obvious: the Far Cry series is one of the most famous open-world experiences and, surely, one of the best too. There have been a few stinky spinoffs, but generally Ubisoft haven't yet run it into the ground like they have with Assassin's Creed. It's a good fit for a prehistoric adventure, especially given the emphasis the last few games have placed on wildlife. The only worrying thing about this game is that there are no dinosaurs. I'm well aware that dinos and smelly humans didn't co-exist, but we don't play games for hyper-realism, do we?

FUN FACT: The game's creative director has worked on many Prince of Persia games. Time travel powers so you can get a gatling gun, maybe?

The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)

Surprisingly little is known about this game, considering the fact that it was originally due a 2015 release and will prove to be one of the Wii U's most important games. We don't even have the traditional Zelda subtitle yet. What we do know is that not only have Nintendo gone full open-world for this entry, they also seem to want to do away with the idea of clearing dungeons in a strict order. Zelda games have dabbled with the open-world concept before, but have never jumped in with both pointy-shoed feet in such a fashion. Can Nintendo change the structure so radically while keeping the experience 100% Zelda? The Wii U isn't exactly drowning in games with huge worlds to explore, but Xenoblade Chronicles X has set the bar pretty damn high.

FUN FACT: You see that mountain in the distance? You can go there.

Star Fox Zero (Wii U)

Like the new Zelda, the new Star Fox had its release date pushed back to 2016. A release date delay means one of two things – that the game is in trouble, or the team is determined to make the game as good as it can be – and this is hopefully a case of the latter. Judging by what's been seen of the game so far it will hark back to the unashamedly retro gameplay of previous entries; while introducing new elements too, such as transforming vehicles which in turn provide new styles of gameplay. It's being co-developed by Nintendo and Platinum Games, and the last time they got together we had the incredible Bayonetta 2. Fingers crossed, people!

FUN FACT: If you go to the Google search home page and search 'do a barrel roll', it still works. Go on, try it!

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

This is the third listed game in a row to have had its release delayed, though it was always due in 2016 (originally February, now August). Again, the delay is probably a good sign; it would not have been a decision taken lightly, and there were probably some behind-the-scenes fights between the production and marketing departments before the announcement. There are still reasons to be cynical, though. While all the Deus Ex games are great (yes even Invisible War, I really enjoyed it so fuck off), the footage released to promote Mankind Divided thus far tends to be along the lines of BANG RIP BOOOM KILLING IS FUCKING AWESOME which, let's face it, isn't really what Deus Ex is all about. Then there were Human Revolution's boss fights. Ugh. The 'improved' versions were still crap, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise. I'm still looking forward to it, though; let's hope they use the power of the newest gaming machines for more than shinier guns.

FUN FACT: I'm saying this again: I liked Invisible War. I really liked it. Deal with it.

Uncharted 4 (PS4)

This could be one to watch as in 'look at this amazing cinematic adventure', or one to watch as in 'look at this train wreck of a game where they burned everything that people loved about the series to the ground'. I genuinely don't know. Now, in my opinion, The Last Of Us is an example of a fantastically written story masterfully told, and is one of the bestest games ever. However, bringing in the creative heads of that game to steer a new Uncharted sets off alarm bells for me (as does the fact that head writer and creative director for the series, Amy Hennig, left early in the game's development; allegedly pushed by the aforementioned Last of Us duo). The teaser first released was tediously “dark and gritty”, a million miles away from the light-hearted eighties-style adventuring we all love Drake for. The E3 gameplay footage was very pretty, and I seem to be the only person on the internet who wasn't impressed; so what do I know? Maybe it'll be great and, after all, Sony wouldn't let the name of one of their most important franchises be ground into the dirt.

FUN FACT: Uncharted 3 isn't as good as everybody says it is.

Telltale Batman Game (everything, probably)

Telltale have been pumping out walk-and-clicks for years now; some good, some great, some boring (Minecraft Story Mode, I'm looking at you). They've proven themselves a very talented team, but a Telltale Batman game may nonetheless seem a strange choice to some people. Think about it, though. In the comics (the good ones, anyway), Batman actually does very little fighting. Most of it is talking, some of it is detective work, and more of it than you may remember is Bruce Wayne out of costume. So long as Telltale are careful, this could be the most Batman game we've ever seen.
FUN FACT: Batman isn't the hero Gotham deserves. He's the hero Gotham needs.

Luke Kemp

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