One gets the feeling, with virtual reality fast approaching and TV retaking its place as America’s favorite form of entertainment, that game publishers are pulling out an unusual number of stops this spring. High-profile reboots, beefed-up sequels to fans’ and critics’ favorites, indies to fill every niche you can dream up, seemingly endless open-world environments — if you thought your TV options were overwhelming, you haven’t tried buying a game lately.
Just to be clear, all these options mean any games roundup is bound to make some oversights. Really, your best bet is to marathon some game trailers and make yourself a little wish list. But if you need a little guidance, feel free to cross-reference yours with ours. Happy hunting.
More of the Same, Please.
In the 12 years since Doom 3, the last installment in the franchise, first-person shooters changed. Running and gunning was out; cover-based shooting and health regeneration was in (thanks to Gears of War and Halo, respectively). Doom promises to bring the FPS back to its roots — firing away at bloodthirsty demons as fast as you possibly can — in a sprawling heavy-metal hell. After a decade of gloomy, gray shooters, this is welcome news.
Following the somewhat sour reception of Hitman Absolution (for a number of reasons), IO Interactive has their work cut out for them. Speaking with Kotaku‘s Kirk Hamilton, Creative Director Christian Elverdam promised that Hitman would return to the series’s core tenets: sandbox level design, worldly lifestyle porn and tight controls. Here’s hoping the new installment is the palate cleanser the series and its fans need.
Ratchet & Clank
Ratchet & Clank fandom might be lost on ’80s kids who grew up with Mario and Sonic. Rest assured, the franchise inspires the same joy. So when the trailer for a movie adaptation dropped, along with the announcement that the original Ratchet & Clank would be remade and retooled with gameplay elements from throughout the entire series, folks were happy. The gist: there are robots and aliens — lots of them — and you have weapons — lots of them. The reboot should be a fine point for newbies to enter into a franchise that’s mostly held strong for 14 years.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
A “finale” in a game franchise is never a sure thing, but let’s take Naughty Dog at their word. Uncharted 4 is a “one last job” story for Nathan Drake, with all the explosive set pieces, explosive car chases and globe-trotting intrigue fans have come to love.
Dark Souls III
With Dark Souls, extreme difficulty became director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s calling card. While fans were a bit let down by the second installment, the hype for Dark Souls III has been buoyed largely by last year’s Bloodborne — a similarly unforgiving third-person action game. Dark Souls III‘s trailer promises more castles and boss battles that would make Guillermo del Toro squirm with glee — and the gameplay trailer’s last 20 seconds or so, in which the player-character gets his ass handed to him, leave little doubt as to what you’re in for.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Mirror’s Edge was a favorite for its parkour-inspired free-running gameplay, sleek aesthetic and unique (read: strong female) protagonist. Catalyst is the first new game from the franchise in eight years, a prequel focused on said protagonist’s origin, eschewing the linear gameplay of its predecessor while retaining its emphasis on evading enemies as opposed to mowing them down. (Which should appeal to you if none of the shooters above caught your eye.)
Change can be good.
Adr1ft is one of many games coming out from the current wave of indie studios formed by former AAA designers. You control an astronaut who survives a catastrophic accident aboard a space station, and who must find his way to safety in zero gravity as his EVA suit leaks oxygen. If you dug The Martian, there’s plenty to dig in this moody, slower-moving but similar setup.
The product of a smaller indie studio, Okhlos is a cartoony rampage through ancient Greece. A philosopher bears witness to a god stepping upon a crowd of worshippers; you control him and his burgeoning angry mob of commoners, classical Greek characters and “weaponized livestock” to topple temples and take down the Pantheon.
This one’s still a bit of a head-scratcher: a third-person action game tied together with a digital series, the events of which reflect your choices in the game. The game is divided into segments, in which you control the protagonists, while the full-length episodes of the digital series portray the antagonists. Could be cool; could be catastrophic; could be a totally unremarkable footnote to the Golden Age of TV. But it’s worth a peak.