Now that my Game of the Year 2017 content is all wrapped up, let’s transition into Game of the Year 2018...sort of. I like to kick off each year identifying my Most Anticipated Games, as well as reflect on last years list. Did the games I was excited for hit the mark? Did they disappoint? Did they come out at all? So let’s start by looking back at my Five Most Anticipated Games of 2017.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
When discussing it last year, Zelda was a somewhat tepid number 5 on my list. I mentioned that Wind Waker was really the last game I played in the franchise and also suggested that maybe Nintendo just isn’t making games for me. Notably, I closed the entry with “Maybe I’ll play the new Mario game and some Zelda and stay with my PlayStation 4/Xbox One the rest of the year.”
And that last little bit is just about what happened. Mario, Zelda, and a couple of the indies grabbed me, but 2017 was still dominated by my PlayStation 4 (not even my Xbox One really with Tacoma and Cuphead really serving as the only games that got me to boot it up). My general apathy with Breath of the Wild (or the occasional habanero-fueled rant) are well-worn territory at this point. It was fine. It didn’t blow me away though.
4. Uncharted The Lost Legacy
I definitely thing my perception toward this really amounted to how it was packaged. Five years ago, it would have been considered DLC, but here it was pitched as a standalone game and those two things get judged differently. The game was great and a nice little side story in the universe but it felt so similar to Uncharted 4 in its gameplay that I was underwhelmed by the lack of something shiny and new. And the thing they tried was a pseudo-open world segment which really messed up the pacing of the story,
3. Mass Effect Andromeda
If my Biggest Disappointments list had been game-centric instead of here are a bunch of things that stunk this year, Andromeda would have been near the top of the list. It’s not even so much that it was bad; the real problem was just how forgettable it all was. Ten months removed and I couldn’t tell you the names of your crew, the big Mass Effect-y decisions you have to make, hell even the ship’s name escapes me. I played through the whole thing and it was more or less fine at the time but it just made no real impact on me and that sucks for people who were wanting to see more from that universe. But it seems response to this, and EA’s general financial directions, have pretty much left the series dead in the water for the time being.
2. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
This one was, like Uncharted The Lost Legacy, potentially the product of too much hype. In both cases, we never really thought we were getting another game. And certainly, not so soon. And neither are bad. I really love a lot of the adjustments South Park made to its combat system and simplified some of the more needlessly complicated aspects (even something simple like auto adding everything you search into your inventory). But whereas I remember a lot of distinct moments from Stick of Truth, Fractured But Whole seemed lacking in that department.
1. Persona 5
The one game from my most anticipated that actually managed to meets and surpass expectations. I went into this game mostly dark and appreciated getting introduced to the characters and world as I went along. It ended up landing at my number two so my biggest surprise winds up being the fact that I didn’t have Horizon Zero Dawn on this list at all and it came out of nowhere to take the top spot.
Also bonus points to me for this comment last year: “I didn’t even think about Red Dead Redemption 2 until just this moment which could be a huge oversight. But it also speaks to my genuine level of excitement for that game: which is pretty low for the time being. I’m sure it’ll be Rockstar’s typical quality but I’m also not convinced yet it’s a real 2017 game.” Way to go, Past-Trevor!
And now looking ahead to 2018. We’re in a bit of a weird era now where enough publishers have become gun shy when it comes to announcing release dates for fear of the backlash from a delay. So these are all games I think are coming out in 2018 or are actually slated to launch this year.
5. Kingdom Hearts 3
Square Enix has said it’s coming in 2018. I don’t believe it. But I did really enjoy the first two (mainline) games back when they came out two console generations ago so hopefully I’ll still dig this one...when it actually comes out in 2019.
This is another one I don’t know if we’ll actually see it this year but I’m hopeful. And the idea of Insomniac making a Spider-Man game has me incredibly excited as Sunset Overdrive and Ratchet & Clank are a couple of my favorite games this generation.
3. God of War
The tonal shift we seem to be getting with this new version of God of War has me incredibly intrigued. There were rumors of a March release date but then PSX came and went, and Cory Barlog had no date to deliver. I don’t think it means the game is in trouble but I don’t think the March leak was as certain as they would hope but I’m still fairly certain we’ll finally be playing this in 2018 and I’m quite excited to see this new take on Kratos.
2. Detroit Become Human
The big ideas of Detroit Become Human have me excited. And the branching paths will, like Heavy Rain before it, ensure a wide array of potential story beats. I don’t quite know how the details will end up shaking out but I, Robot is one of my very favorite underrated science fiction films and I get all sorts of I, Robot vibes from this game so I’m looking forward to exploring the story.
1. Far Cry 5
Far Cry tends to have solid, engaging gameplay that often helps drive the action ever more than the story might. But this story and it’s much more controversial US-based locale fighting off a bunch of religious zealots intrigues me in the same way the Wolfenstein 2 did this year. When development on this game started, the country was nowhere near as polarized as it is now so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I had fun with it back at PAX West and people who had a longer hands-on preview recently talked about the fun they had so I look forward to diving into this game when it comes out. And it’s already been pushed back from it’s original February date but only a little bit, suggesting that this new date is likely one they’ll decidedly hit.
So that’s what I’m most anticipating in 2018. Again, I haven’t highlighted Red Dead Redemption because, again, I don’t feel like they’ve given me a reason to. We’ve only seen a couple minutes of what will surely be a massive world to explore. I’m not as brazen to say it’ll miss a 2018 release date, but they haven’t given me a reason to anticipate it yet. Yeah, I’ll undoubtedly get it when it comes out, but they haven’t given me an actual reason why yet apart from the company’s pedigree.