2017 was such an incredible year for video games that chances are, most gamers will be playing catch up with all the great titles they didn’t have a chance to play well into 2018. And if you are one of those gamers and you have a large backlog of games, you best get started soon because 2018 looks to be another banner year for the industry.
We here at Goomba Stomp have gone ahead with our yearly tradition of providing you with a list of our most anticipated games. Last year, almost every game we chose wound up somewhere in our list of the best games of the year. Hopefully, the majority of these picks will equally impress us, if not, exceed our expectations.
Microsoft debuted the first gameplay footage of Anthem at E3 2017, showing off BioWare’s brand new title from Drew Karpyshyn, a BioWare veteran who has worked as a designer and writer on multiple projects including Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. The game looks set to be a large scale world shooter in the vein of Destiny (albeit from a third-person perspective) and takes place in a futuristic, hostile alien world where humanity resides in a city guarded by a giant wall to help protect themselves from outside threats. Players take the role of a Freelancer; a heroic group that act as humanity’s guardians and scouts beyond the wall in suits of armour, known as Javelins. In other words, it seems like a cross between Attack on Titan, Destiny and Star Wars rolled into one. A non-RPG is certainly a departure from BioWare’s usual development territory but given Karpyshyn’s track record, I’m assuming the game will still have a decent narrative. It’ll be interesting to see what the developer can bring to this genre given their background in storytelling, but one thing is for sure, Anthem is an important game both for EA and BioWare and an opportunity to restore its faltering reputation after a disappointing 2017. (Ricky D)
Arena of Valor
The Switch already has a library teeming with quality content that spans all sorts of genres. However, they haven’t really experimented with free-to-play games, especially MOBAs. Arena of Valor looks to change all of this, as it arrives on the Switch sometime this year. The game has already exploded in China, becoming one of the most popular games in that region. It’s normally played on a phone or tablet, however, the Switch will mark its console debut. The transitions make sense, as the portable nature of the system makes it seem fairly close to its mobile counterparts.
As far as the game itself goes, it’s a fairly run of the mill MOBA. Players select a hero from a varied roster of archetypes likes ranged carries and tanks. The standard 5v5 mode is bound to be one of the most popular among the list, however, there are also 1v1 and 3v3 game types. It plays very similarly to games like League of Legends and Dota 2, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The game currently uses touch controls on mobile, so it will be interesting to see how the game plays on the Switch. Will it use the physical buttons or only the touchscreen? Will it be playable in TV mode?
If you’re interested in the game, it’s already out on mobile devices in the states. The game has a surprising amount of depth to it, and it’s clear the developers are trying to make this the next big MOBA. Hopefully, Switch players will be just as excited. (Zack Rezak)
A Way Out
A Way Out quickly shot up to my list of most anticipated games for one simple reason: This narrative-driven adventure from the team behind the acclaimed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, is a co-op-only experience. That is, you can’t play it unless you have a partner for the entire journey and as someone who loves playing video games with other people, it’s a no brainer that I pick it up. Even more, Electronic Arts — which is publishing A Way Out under its EA Originals program — will offer a free “friends pass” trial for the game. In other words, only one of you will have to buy the game. (Ricky D)
Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu’s release date vanished somewhere below the murky waters of 2017, but the promise of a new Lovecraftian RPG based on the famous pen and paper game by Chaosium makes the wait feel worthwhile. Cyanide Studio’s Call of Cthulhu will be hurling us into the dark and dripping mysteries of Lovecraft’s work as a detective: grappling with investigative mechanics to uncover the truths and horrors that surround us, stealthing past enemies, and wrestling with our own dwindling sanity. As you unravel the circumstances of Sarah Hawkin’s death, your own perception of reality will be tested with mind-bending sequences, intriguing puzzles, and the presence of monsters beyond your comprehension. Images of the game show a world that captures the atmosphere of Lovecraft perfectly, and with a narrative team strong enough to back it up Call of Cthulhu will be competing as one of the best psychological horrors of the year. (Helen Jones)
One of the more pleasant surprises during a disappointing Sony conference at last year’s Paris Games Week was the reveal of Concrete Genie – a puzzler/action-platformer that gently explores themes of bullying and childhood through gorgeous hand-drawn art that stands out in contrast to its depressing urban environment. According to PixelOpus (a Sony-owned studio that works out of San Mateo, California), Concrete Genie follows a bullied teenager named Ash, who escapes his troubles by painting spectacular living landscapes and mischievous creatures throughout his abandoned hometown of Denska. As he masters this magical paint, he discovers it can purify Denska’s polluted walls. Using the DualShock 4’s motion sensor, players can create stunning landscapes and strange creatures on the walls of the city which then turns into living artwork helping Ash overcome the heartaches of adolescence and paint his hometown back to life. (Ricky D)
Crackdown 3 had all but been wiped from my memory until the end of last year. Announced almost three years ago at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, Crackdown 3 came as a welcome surprise given how poorly the second entry in the series was received. However, after this announcement, and a trickle of information out of Gamescom the following year, Crackdown all but dropped off the face of the earth. While this didn’t bode well for the title, developer Reagent Games promised us a 2017 release, now all we have to do is wait with bated breath. From the look of things, Crackdown 3 is bringing the series back to what made it great in the first place. The complicated zombie nonsense of the second game has been done away with, and once again the player is back to a cleaning of the gang-ridden streets of a futuristic, unnamed city. By far the most exciting part about a Crackdown game is its level of destruction. With the use of Microsoft’s new Azure engine, Crackdown 3 will feature fully destructible environments and a wide array of vibrant weapons and devastating powers unleashed by the player’s character. If all goes according to plan, Crackdown 3 will be one game you won’t want to sleep on in 2017. (Carston Carasella)
Dandara has potentially some of the most interesting lore of any upcoming indie. Named after and featuring a character loosely based on the historical Afro-Brazilian warrior, Dandara is said to incorporate numerous references to her life as well as life in Brazil in general. The game’s surrealist art design, fluid animations, and ethereal OST succeed in creating a distinctly foreboding atmosphere that I personally can’t wait to experience. In terms of presentation, there really aren’t too many games that feel like Dandara.
There’ve been a wealth of quality Metroidvanias in recent years, and Dandara looks to continue that trend. Instead of the typical platforming that’s usually built into Metroidvania exploration, however, Dandara has a unique twist: she can only move by jumping from floor to ceiling on surfaces covered in salt. Though the reasoning for the salt has yet to be explained, this gameplay mechanic allows for surprisingly fast traversal and combat in skilled hands. In the brief snippets of gameplay shown so far we’ve already seen electrified platforms, spear-toting enemies, and massive bosses. If you’re a fan of Metroidvanias or want to try something different, you might want to keep an eye out for Dandara in February. (Brent Middleton)
Days Gone appeared as somewhat of an anomaly at Sony’s E3 press conference last year. The open-world action game will be the first I.P. created by Sony Bend since Syphon Filter in 1999 and seemed to come completely out of left field for most of us watching. While little is known about the story of Days Gone, the gameplay seems to be akin to the likes of The Last of Us, with the player utilizing much of the environment to accomplish their objectives. The world of Days Gone appears to be one of deadly tranquility, as nature has taken back much of the world, and humanity struggles to survive. The main enemy of the game appears to be a variety of zombie-like creatures called Freakers. Days Gone will feature a day/night cycle that has a direct effect on these creatures. During the day the Freakers are slow and weak but at night their movement and strength increase. The most intriguing aspect of the game for me is how vehicles will play into the narrative. While a variety of transportation has been confirmed, the most prominent is the use of motorcycles. This looks to play heavily into the story, as the main character Deacon St. John, a one-time bounty hunter, appears to have once been part of a biker gang. While the post-apocalyptic genre is beginning to get a bit overused in almost all forms of media, I’m still excited to see what Sony Bend has up their sleeve, and how consumers will take to a second PlayStation exclusive, post-pandemic based action game. (Carston Carasella)
Detroit: Become Human
From the minds behind two of the most character-driven video games and QTE heavy comes the next video game that will keep you up at night because you’ll be thinking about what could have been, Detroit: Become Human. Detroit is the next great game from Quantic Dreams and it’s been on my radar since the release of the Tech Demo six years ago that would be the origin of one of the main characters. As we get more information and new gameplay of the three protagonists and their radically different storylines that involve androids, humans, and figuring it all out…Quantic Dreams might have another hit on their hands as the missions become more dangerous and real. Another futuristic science fiction noir game never hurt anyone either. Detroit: Become Human not only looks fantastic, hopefully it’s another story and character-driven drama that puts us in impossible scenarios that’ll haunt us once we put the game down and long after. (Terrence Sage)
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball Z is one of, if not the, quintessential shounen anime. It’s a beloved franchise all around the world, and its fans range anywhere from 5 to 75. Video game spin-offs are nothing new for Dragon Ball, but there nothing quite like Dragon Ball FighterZ. Bandai Namco has is joint-developing the game with Arc System Works, the undisputed kings of stylish fighting games. This is the company behind games Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, and FighterZ has shaped up to be on par, if not beyond, those two.
The cast of characters in the Dragon Ball universe is huge, and ASW have boiled their roster down to a select few. Plenty of popular characters obviously made the cut: Goku, Gohan, all the major villains, but plenty of goofy side characters have also made the cut such as Nappa and Captain Ginyu. The more I see about the game, the more I can’t wait to play it. The soundtrack, the visuals, and gameplay are flashy and hectic, and a perfect match for same explosive combat the series has in its manga and anime.
Dragon Ball FighterZ drops at the end of January, and I can’t think of a better way to start off the year than with a solid and fun fighter. (Taylor Smith)
The long-awaited next game from Media Molecule titled Dreams, allows players to customize and control characters that are used to solve puzzles by manipulating items and objects across the game’s segmented levels. It’s somewhat hard to explain but for the unfamiliar, Media Molecule is best known for LittleBigPlanet, and Dreams is likewise, a game about creating. It’s a wildly ambitious project full of imagination and featuring a narrator in a coffin and a bear armed with a hammer. What else could you want? Check out the trailer below to get a better sense of how ingenious this game looks. (Ricky D)
Dynasty Warriors 9
I am an unapologetic fan of the Warriors games. They are what I consider to be the simplest and purest form a game can take. There’s substance and story to them, but their main appeal is the sense of joy coming from mashing buttons and seeing KO and combo counts increase, watching characters use flashy moves, and having an oversized roster of various fighters to choose from. Koei Tecmo has continually found minor ways to change up the series formula with each game, but Dynasty Warriors 9’s large-scale maps have to be one of my favorite changes in a while. There’s depth and height to every stage, with the development team saying its closer to an open-world experience than past titles. Warriors games are experiences where I can turn my brain off for a bit, where I can sit back and just enjoy the escape that a game is supposed to provide without having to dig much past the surface. If Dynasty Warriors 9 is going to give me more to toy with, then I cannot wait till it comes out in February. (Taylor Smith)
The past few years have given a rise to the popularity of dungeon-crawling Roguelikes and Soulslikes, all attempting to capture a sort of atmosphere of death, despair and insurmountable odds, set to tough-as-nails gameplay.
Eneme Entertainment’s Eitr is one such game (with a seemingly long-ish development history, now confirmed to be set for a 2018 release by Devolver Digital). Yet, Eitr set itself apart with its focus on nuanced, yet streamlined, combat and a Norse-inspired fantasy setting that invoke the best of both of its major inspiration: the infernal hellscape of Diablo and the diseased dark medieval fantasy of Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls 1.
Visually, what is striking about Eitr are the satisfyingly evil looking crypts full of both RPG/tabletop gaming tropes and plagues, and the Nordic, cold eeriness to it all is not something we have seen properly explored in this genre, or in gaming in general.
The genre Eitr will find itself in upon release is full of comparisons and not-so-subtle attempts at re-creating elements of existing games. Here’s hoping that Eitr can elevate itself beyond just that. (Maxwell N)
A year ago, Electronic Arts announced: Fe, an action-adventure game in which the player controls Fe, a fox-like creature within a dusky forest that is highly responsive to the songs of the creatures and plants within it. It was presented as the first of “EA Originals”, a new segment of EA’s publishing aimed to help indie developers with financing and publishing and the first trailer made a strong impression, with many critics drawing comparisons to Microsoft’s Ori and the Blind Forest for its story, characters and setting as well as Journey and Shadow of the Colossus for its “hands-off” approach to gameplay. Those comparisons aside, what interests me most about Fe is that the Swedish-based studio, Zoink Games said they tried to capture the exploration mechanics of games in the Metroid and Zelda series, my personal two favorite video game franchise of all time. (Ricky D)
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Warhorse Studios’ debut open-world, RPG title is not a cookie-cutter fantasy as a first glance might suggest. In fact, it falls neatly into the historical fiction realm. Sans magics, elves, and dragons, Kingdom Come: Deliverance authentically captures early 1400s Bohemia and what it would have been like to live during the Dark Ages—one period of turmoil of the Holy Roman Empire era. The story is set some time after Emperor Charles IV dies. His son, Wenceslas IV, a naive, self-indulgent, and unambitious man (as the developer describe him) inherits the throne and falls into a power struggle with his half-brother and King of Hungary, Sigismund the Red Fox.
Players will assume the role of Henry, the son of a blacksmith. His simple life comes to an end when a raid ordered by Sigismund destroys his entire village. From there, he finds himself fighting against Sigismund’s invasion, hoping to restore power to Wenceslas and peace to Bohemia.
Since this is a game that takes place in a real period of history, Warhorse Studios made a commitment to accuracy. From visiting real locations and buildings still standing from the time period, to their mocap work on cutscenes, the developers took full advantage of their location in Prague and dug deep into all the little details of the Czech Republic’s history. Many of the structures in the game are real, and other things like the armor are period correct. They even worked with experienced swordsmen to capture real, historical European sword fighting.
And if all that isn’t enough, the RPG elements allow players to dig into the game according to their play style, all while building a reputation for themselves that affects how NPCs react to them. Become strong in battle, and word will get around that you are someone to be feared. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a unique and incredible departure from medieval fantasy into realism—and a much needed one, at that. The game will release on February 13, 2018, for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. (Joanna Nelius)
Kingdom Hearts 3
It’s been a long road to the release of Kingdom Hearts III. With Kingdom Hearts II dropping all the way back in March of 2006, it’s been over a decade since players have been greeted with a full-on game in the series. While there has been no shortage of spin-offs or side stories in the interim, fans could be forgiven for being a little impatient after 12 years.
The good news is that there does seem to have been some sizable work put in on the title, even if Square-Enix’s announcement last year that we will see the game “before 2020” isn’t exactly encouraging.
Still, with a highly enhanced battle system, several confirmed worlds, and the promise of being the final leg of Sora’s story in the KH universe, fans have plenty to be excited for in regard to the latest game in the series. Will 2018 finally be the year? Here’s hoping. (Mike Worby)
Kirby Star Allies
Many of Nintendo’s franchises fade in and out of the limelight, but Kirby is as much a mainstay as Mario or Zelda. Kirby Star Allies is the thirty-first game in the long-running franchise and its ninth release since 2014. While experimental handheld titles of recent years varied in quality, the core side-scrolling entries like Kirby: Triple Deluxe surprised players with their refinement and reinvention of the standard Kirby formula. This bodes well for Kirby Star Allies, the first proper side-scrolling Kirby since 2016’s superb Kirby: Planet Robobot.
Nintendo hasn’t shown much footage of Kirby Star Allies since its announcement at E3 2017, but the trailer from last September’s Nintendo Direct depicts the most traditional console Kirby game in over fifteen years. But that’s not to say the jovial blowhard doesn’t have any tricks up his proverbial sleeve. As the first Kirby game on Switch, Star Allies leverages the platform’s built-in multiplayer capability by resurrecting Kirby Super Star’s AI/co-op ally system. On top of this focus on cooperative play, the power combination system from The Crystal Shards and Squeak Squad hint at an especially malleable play experience that could boost replayability. The new puzzly stages and gym rat King Dedede are further icing on this rosy cake. (Kyle Rentschler)