Well, 2017 has been pretty great for us gamers so far right!? Resident Evil 7 and Nioh have already blown a significant hole in my budget. Horizon: Zero Dawn is just around the corner, with its own price tag looming – thank god I don’t have to pay until release! Isn’t pre-ordering great!? Because despite having limited funds and plenty of more important things on my shopping list, I can’t help myself when that shiny “One Click Buy” button glints.
With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some of the great stuff we have coming over the course of the next year. I hear many people saying that this article would have been better at the start of the year, and to that I say…well…good point.
Horizon: Zero Dawn – Excitement Level – 10/10
The first (and most exciting) thing that’s coming soon/already here by the time this article goes out, is the aforementioned Horizon: Zero Dawn. An open world action RPG looking to take inspiration from the likes of Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed, whilst also injecting a tasty dose of much needed originality. I spoke a little about this when it was showcased at E3 last year, but since then we’ve seen so much more about it and my excitement levels are peaking. As I write this now, it’s just over a week until release day, and I am so ready.
Let’s just talk about it for a moment. An interesting protagonist, a huge and visually stunning world to explore, and mother-effing robot dinosaurs. For anyone who hasn’t seen a lot about it, the world of H:ZD is populated by mechanical beasts to conquer, each with their own distinct characteristics. Some aggressive, some docile, all needed for progression and crafting. An abundance of dungeons, side quests and areas called “Corruption Zones” – which will feature tougher enemies but also yield greater rewards and make surrounding areas easier – ensure there is no shortage of content.
Personally I’m super excited to see the Tallnecks in action. These gargantuan but seemingly peaceful beasts move around and act similar to watchtowers in Far Cry. Each one serves as its own little puzzle, as you clear out the area of enemies then work out how to get up onto the thing. Then you scale its neck, and from its head open up more of the map, revealing side quests and other objectives. One of my favourite things to do in Far Cry was make my way around before doing anything else and activating all of the watchtowers in the area, so the prospect of being able to do it again has my fingers twitching in anticipation.
With a deep combat system, a dynamic economy that relies on you hunting for resources, and plenty more that we haven’t seen yet, H:ZD is already up there with my most anticipated games of this year – I said that after E3 last year, and now it’s finally here!!
Nier: Automata – Excitement Level – 7/10
Next up I want to talk about a game that I’m still not sure how I feel about. Nier: Automata – the sequel to the hugely underrated Nier – looks to keep up the frantic action of its predecessor, whilst also adding its own new features to the mix. I played a demo recently but I wasn’t overly impressed. The controls didn’t seem particularly intuitive and the interface wasn’t helpful at all. The addition of a fully fledged tutorial in the final game might alleviate these issues though, as my reliance on mindless button mashing dulled the overall experience for me. There were a lot of mechanics thrown at me and not a lot of time for me to get my head around them all.
Like I said, despite it receiving mixed reviews, I had a great time with Nier, so the idea of a sequel interests me, and I don’t want to base my opinion of the overall game on a short demo. I mean the epic action, huge scale and just absolute ridiculousness of everything was one of my favourite things about the original, and like I said, this carried over here. Brief overview of what happened in the demo (SPOILER ALERT):
A young female android (do androids have genders? It’s 2017, let’s not get into that) is walking through a large oil rig in the middle of a rough sea looking for the source of a dangerous and huge energy spike. Enter lots of little robots. Kill robots. Enter a young boy androids who wants to help you. Continue battling through hordes of robots, gradually increasing in size. Fight a huge boss robot thing who towers over you and would give Kratos a run for his money. Wipe the sweat from your brow after you defeat the monstrosity, satisfied that the mission is complete. Feel your stomach sink and your pulse rise as you realise that you just killed the small robot. The oil rig begins to move. You’ve been running on the main robot the whole time.
This thing was freaking huge. I’m talking Cronos from God of War 3 huge. I’m talking stands up in the middle of the ocean and is only waist deep huge. I’m talking both protagonists expending every last drop of their power to bring it down. After one of the characters sacrifices themselves in a last ditch effort to kill this thing, and your character (the female) cradles him as he fades, she looks out and sees a whole bunch more of them – yes the super huge one – walking towards her.
Now…although I gave a spoiler warning, we have to assume that this doesn’t spell death for either character. The fact that they both star in the rest of the game tells us that they get out of it, but holy hell it was epic. My experience of the gameplay itself was a little disappointing, but with a more in depth guide on how the many systems of the game work, I’m sure I could overcome those hiccups. The main draw here is the sheer scope of what was going on, and in this day and age it takes a fair amount to impress on that front. Nier: Automata seems to be having a damn good try though, and on March 10th it becomes available for people to try out on PS4 and PC. If I had to give my honest opinion, I’ll probably skip the pre-order for this one, and wait until I have more money, the price goes down, and people have cracked the many intricacies of it’s gameplay.
I’ve just realised how long I’ve rambled on about two games, so I’ll go ahead and try and keep the next ones brief!
Mass Effect: Andromeda – Excitement Level – 8/10
I’ve been a fan of the Mass Effect series since Mass Effect 2 came out on PS3 in January of 2011. I was among the many displeased with how the series came to a close in Mass Effect 3 though. Two games (and in some cases three!) worth of decisions, all boiled down to the same cutscene and a different colour based on your choice. Sure there was DLC released with an alternate ending but that doesn’t change what Bioware originally tried to do. With ME: Andromeda presumably taking place in that galaxy rather than the Milky Way, it would be interesting to see how (or indeed if) this new title links in with the original trilogy. A fresh start for the current console generation could be the way to go, bringing back fans disappointed by how the last game ended, as well as drawing in an entirely new audience of sci-fi fans ready to blast their way through some alien mercenaries. I haven’t seen a whole lot about this game, but if the gameplay is solid and the story is strong, then count me in. Here’s hoping for some new and inventive alien races for the new galaxy!
South Park: The Fractured But Whole – Excitement Level – 8/10
South Park: The Stick of Truth was a surprisingly good game. Taking out the fact that it was hilarious, well written and like being on an episode of the show, the gameplay and progression was pretty damn addictive, and made for an objectively well made title. Cue the sequel. This time the kids are making the leap from fantasy to superhero, which promises a whole array of new classes, abilities, special powers and humour that your mother would probably disapprove of. There aren’t many things that could go wrong with Trey Parker and Matt Stone once again at the helm, and a solid gameplay system established in the first game, I’d be perfectly happy with the same turn based combat and exploration, with some new jokes and a superhero reskin. Bring it on!
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – Excitement Level – 10/10
Let’s keep this one short, it is just an expansion after all, but it definitely has to be on here. It’s a story based DLC from my favourite game series, starring my favourite character in the series as she teams up with the most kick-ass addition to the cast since Chloe herself. Claudia Black’s performance as Chloe is one of my favourite voice performances in any game, as well as the character herself being a badass treasure hunter, and Nadine was pretty underutilized in the main game if you ask me. I hope we get to see more of her and see her fleshed out more as a character now that she can take centre stage. We don’t have a date, a month or even a season yet, but it will definitely be 2017, so it’s going on this list.
Those are just some of the titles I’m excited to see this year, and most of those are (hopefully) coming pretty soon. You guys can maybe expect another one of these lists later in the year, after E3 and other reveals enlighten us to what we can expect in the back half of the year. I’d also just like to point out my unbearable excitement for The Last of Us Part 2, but I doubt we’ll be seeing that this year, so I’ll calm myself down for now…
Thanks everyone for reading, let us know down in the comments about what games you’re excited for this year and I will see you guys next time with another article. Until then, keep gaming!
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Written by: Jack Sutton
Edited by: Patrick Lunn