Ben's Most Anticipated Games (For the Rest) of 2017
Better late than never, right? While my “Most Anticipated” list may be egregiously late this year, 2017’s onslaught of stellar releases is waiting for no one. From Resident Evil 7 and Gravity Rush 2, to Yakuza 0 and Tales of Berseria, we’ve already seen some great titles released in the early part of this year. If this is any indication of what’s to come, we’re in for one hell of a year in gaming in 2017. And if all goes according to plan, make no mistake, we’re in for one hell of a year in gaming. The sheer volume of quality titles set to release over the course of 2017 is staggering, making narrowing down this list to just five games almost impossible (even when taking January out of the equation, ha!). But, duty calls! So in the name of video game blogging, crystal ball curation, and list-making science, I present to you, fair reader, my five(-ish) most anticipated games (for the rest) of 2017:
Outside of The Last of Us Part II (which is nowhere near release), there’s no game I’m anticipating more — this year or any year — than Destiny 2. I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of hours mowing down aliens, collecting loot, and failing jumping puzzles in the first Destiny (and its myriad expansions), and I’m ready to spend hundreds more exploring everything Bungie is planning to throw our way in their shared-world sequel. When it comes to console gaming, there’s not a better feeling or better playing shooter out there. I know, I know, this game’s not even “officially” announced yet — its been mentioned by Activision via investor calls on several occasions — but we know it’s coming. And it’s coming sooner rather than later. It has to be. Not only is the Destiny community a ravenous group of fans who voraciously consume new content and are ready for their next fix, but Destiny 2 was originally planned as a 2016 title as part of Bungie’s original 10 year plan for the franchise, and I have to assume publisher Activision is going to be none too pleased if Destiny 2 doesn’t see the light of day in 2017, either. I know things change and the scope of a project can evolve, but with no further expansions planned for the first Destiny, it seems like we’re in the home stretch and I fully expect this game to be officially revealed prior to or during E3. And if what we’re hearing in regards to this sequel is in any way, shape, or form true — open world-esque “play-in destinations,” new enemies, new planets, a brand new feel, etc. — I’m going to have to seriously consider taking time off of work when this one arrives.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Of the games we know that are coming out this year FOR SURE, Horizon Zero Dawn is by far the one I’m most excited about, a feeling which somehow increased exponentially after this week’s preview coverage of the game went live. This game simply looks incredible. While the graphics are best-in-class, it’s the deeper-than-I-expected RPG mechanics that have me the most intrigued. Guerrilla Games has poured their heart and soul into this game over the last 5, 6, 7 years, and it shows in everything I’ve seen so far. Aloy is an exciting heroine, the world of Horizon is steeped in mystery — a mystery that will no doubt be explored throughout the game’s narrative — and the combat looks satisfying and intense. I respect what Guerrilla has done with the Killzone franchise over the years, but I’m thrilled to see them spreading their wings and branching into a completely different genre of game. Horizon Zero Dawn looks like an amazingly detailed and epic take on the open-world RPG genre, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this at the end of the month.
I’m a huge fan of Jotun. I had the opportunity to play and review the PS4 version of the game about four months ago when the console iteration of the title launched, and it ended up being one of my favorite experiences of 2016. Most notably, Jotun features an insanely gorgeous hand-drawn art style that I just couldn’t get enough of. It was almost as if developer Thunder Lotus Games had ripped the images directly from a Disney animation cell and transferred them to the game screen, pencil lines and all. When I found out that their next title would sport this same addicting style of art, I could barely contain myself. Sundered looks absolutely breath-taking. The hand-drawn art style employed in Jotun somehow looks even better here. While graphics aren’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to gaming, Sundered is so striking that you can’t help but be drawn into the title and want to play it. And the cherry on the top of this beautifully delectable gaming pastry? Sundered is a metroidvania style of game, one of my favorite genres of all-time. Mix in some rogue-like elements, a unique resist/embrace power-up system, and the epic, gargantuan bosses Thunder Lotus is known for, and you’ve got the recipe for a game with the potential to be one of 2017’s best.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite/Injustice 2
Superheroes beating the hell out of each other? Check. High-octane, buttery smooth fighting at 60fps? Check. New characters, stages, and mechanics to wrap my head around and learn? That’s another check. Technically I’m cheating by including two games at the same time here, but like I said, 2017 is chock full of gaming goodness so I’ve got to sneak some extra games in here somehow. They're both superhero-based fighting games, so I figured I'd save a slot and lump them together. Plus, it’s my list so I’ll cheat if I want. I can’t wait for the return of Marvel vs. Capcom when Infinite drops later this year. With a whole host of new characters promised — we’ve seen Mega Man X and Captain Marvel confirmed so far — and a brand spanking new 2-on-2 battle system that is going to completely change how the game plays, I’m looking forward to returning to the chaotic world of Marvel vs. Capcom whenever it releases in 2017. Injustice 2, on the other hand, arrives in May and it’s looking as good as ever. The fighting system is fast and fluid based on the closed beta that is currently running, and I’m intrigued to learn more about the gear and loot-based upgrade system the game has promised. Add in what looks to be a dark continuation of the game’s off-the-wall superhero narrative, and fight fans like myself are in for a hell of a treat when the game drops this Spring.
Super Mario Odyssey
While I continue to waver on the merits of purchasing Nintendo’s new Switch console at launch, there’s no denying that I’m pumped about Super Mario Odyssey. The return of the fully 3D, open-world design of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine is incredibly exciting as a Mario fan, as I loved both of those titles on the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube respectively. Mario in the “real world” is a strange idea that mirrors the plot of the first Smurfs movie starring Neil Patrick Harris, but if anyone can make this weird concept work in video game form, it’s Nintendo. From what little we’ve seen of the game, the stage variety looks great, ranging from what looks like a Wild West-themed world to the sprawling metropolis of New Donk City, and Mario’s new sentient hat looks to lend some interesting new mechanics to the game’s tried-and-true platforming and exploration. If I do decide to hold off on purchasing a Nintendo Switch at launch this March — and the second game on this list makes this a very real possibility — I’ll have no choice but to grab one this holiday season when Super Mario Odyssey is set to launch.
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
I’m breaking the rules again with this one, but I’ve got to mention Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment. Technically, this is the seventh game I’ve mentioned on this list that was supposed to be capped at five and technically this is not even a new game, but hey, once again this is my list so I’m entitled to break the rules. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. After watching footage of the game coming out of PAX South 2017 this past weekend, I’m so ready to dive back into the awesome world of Shovel Knight. I mentioned Specter of Torment is not a new game strictly speaking, but it kind of is. Remixed stages, enemies and bosses, completely new mechanics and a brand new character to control in the eponymous Specter Knight, make Specter of Torment look and feel like a fresh experience in the Shovel Knight universe. While I had difficulty wrapping my head around the control scheme and feel of the game’s first DLC, the Plague Knight helmed Plague of Shadows, what I’ve seen of Specter of Torment looks more in line with the traditional Shovel Knight experience. I didn’t think I would be as giddy about this DLC as I am, but seeing the game in action has me completely sold on it. I’m so looking forward to running up walls and cutting down enemies with my trusty scythe when Specter of Torment releases this Spring.
There's No Way These Games Come Out in 2017...
God of War PS4
Detroit: Become Human
Well, there you go Frankie, my most anticipated games (for the rest) of 2017! If this list seems incomplete, that’s because it is. With titles like NioH, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Persona 5, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Yooka-Laylee, Nier: Automata, and Cuphead also set to release this year, it’s not possible to include all of the great games set to launch in 2017 in one list. Hell, most of the titles I just mentioned will be out by early Spring! We don’t even know what the back half of the year’s release schedule is going to look like. I think we’re in for an incredibly special year in gaming, and if I can find a way to play even half of the titles I’ve mentioned here, it’s going to be a fun ride. There’s no way I’ll be able to keep up with 2017’s breakneck release schedule, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn't excited to try!