With games like Uncharted 4, The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy XV and Watch Dogs 2 to name a few, 2016 was a stellar year for video games. Now that we’re into 2017, it is shaping up to be another fantastic year to be a gamer. Let’s take a look at 5 of the biggest games due to hit our consoles in 2017.
Horizon Zero Dawn – 1 March 2017
With a vast open world that stretches as far as the eye can see, Horizon Zero Dawn has near limitless potential and is undoubtedly one of the biggest releases of 2017 and could well be in line for numerous Game of the Year Awards. Developed by Guerrilla Games and written by John Gonzalez, Horizon Zero Dawn puts our heroine, Aloy in a post-post apocalytic world full of futuristic mech-dinosaurs. Guerrilla ave done a fantastic job guarding the secrets of this game and on the back of some brilliant trailers, are teasing a world full of mystery with hints at a compelling story that will reveal how this world came to be. I’ve been lucky enough to see hands-off behind closed doors gameplay of Horizon Zero Dawn at E3 2015 & 2016. Both times I’ve left those sessions blown away by what this game is offering. The third person action adventure has a well put together inventory and crafting system that appears a good fit for Aloy. Put that together with her skills and the need to strategise in order to get your way around the world and harvest the mech-dinosaurs for resources and this game ticks all the boxes that you’d expect to see from a potential game of the year candidate. Sure it could all fall apart come release time in at the start of March but the signs are a looking very good for this PS4 exclusive. Oh and did I mention that it is optimised for the PS4 Pro to bring stunning 4k visuals to life?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 3 March 2017
I’ll freely admit that the Nintendo Switch hasn’t got me excited but if one game makes me want to rush out and buy one it is Breath of Wind, the latest installment in the powerhouse franchise that is The Legend of Zelda. It’s hard to believe that Zelda is going to be a touch over 30 years old when Breath of the Wild is released (Link doesn’t appear to show any signs of aging at all!). Breath of Wind is looking like a game that is winding back to the clock and taking many cues from the good days of the NES but obviously putting a modern day spin on it. Expect a big open world and plenty of monsters scattered all throughout the land. This game is more focused on the in-game experience and vast openness rather than relying on pretty cut scenes that has been rife in recent Zelda installments. My favourite Zelda game of all time remains The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time but in Breath of the Wild, that may soon change.
South Park The Fractured But Whole – Autumn
Now here’s a surprise! A game from South Park being included in this list, am I crazy? Ask the people that know me and the answer will be a resounding YES, but don’t discount this game on that basis. South Park The Stick of Truth was absolutely fantastic. Like all things South Park the game didn’t take itself too seriously and managed to sneak in many extremely funny bits that paid homage to the TV show, trying to open Stan’s door to find it locked and having Tom Cruise reply I’m not coming out of the closet was one of many genuine laugh out loud moments I had playign Stick of Truth. At Armageddon in 2016 I was able to play about 10 minutes worth of The Fractured But Whole and came away excited that this follow up has managed to maintain that same style and gameplay from The Stick of Truth and add some nice tweaks like the menu systems to make this an absolute must play. Look, South Park The Fracture But Whole is not going to win Game of the Year when it’s released BUT it is bound to win Funniest Game of the Year. In a world where too many game fail because they take themselves way to seriously and over-complicate things, THe Fracture But Whole will provide some light hearted fun and sometimes that is all we need from a game.
Mass Effect Andromeda – 23 March
When Mass Effect Andromeda was announced it was fair to say that a large portion of the gaming world lost their shizz! Mass Effect has a massive following and not having seen a Mass Effect game since 2012, Andromeda was a game that was always going to create a massive amount of hype. The great thing about Mass Effect Andromeda is that from everything that has been shown so far it looks amazingly good (and even then I’m probably understating it). BioWare and EA have done a great job of keeping information sparse, perhaps that’s so as to not over hype the game or more likely, it’s just to preserve the Day 1 experience and spring surprise upon surprise on their adoring fans. Yes the Reapers were taken care of and humanity was saved but humanity needs a new home and Mass Effect Andromeda is going to send gamers on that journey. Romance, Talking and lots of killing things are all going to be in there so look out world, Mass Effect Andromeda is preparing to wow gamers everywhere.
Boom! An indie game and a survival horror game at that makes the list! Again a bit of a wildcard entry but if I didn’t include these sorts of surprises then it’d feel like I was just rehashing most “Games to Watch Out For” lists that pop up. Outlast from Red Barrels was a spine tingling frighteningly good Survival Horror game. I absolutely love horror, having been desensitised tothe genre through watching classic B-Grade horror flicks in the 80’s and 90’s as I grew up. Because of that, very few Survival Horror games manage to surprise me or give me goosebumps. Outlast was one of those games that did both, the non-combat gameplay that saw you play through the eyes of your character’s camcorder was brilliant. Successfully getting through the game involved many run and hide moments where you tucked yourself inside a wardrobe (and other places) and prayed to all and sundry that you weren’t discovered and given an untimely and gruesome death. Outlast 2 follows that same gameplay and puts you in charge of Blake Langermann, who is stupid enough to visit an isolated town in Arizona to investigate the murder of a young, pregnant lady. Once again you’ll be looking through the eye of the camera and you’ll have to use all of your wits to survive. Everything that has been shown so far appears to showcase that same spine tingling experience that was Outlast. Oh and it’ll probably be pretty cheap to buy too.