Bender's Most Anticipated Games of 2017
There were some great times to be had in 2016 in the world of gaming, but now it's time to look ahead to what the next year will bring. So far, 2017 seems like it'll be another banner year for the industry. Unfortunately, this list had to be revised after Scalebound was tragically canceled, but there's no point in dwelling on the negative. There are still some fantastic games to anticipate in the coming year. Here are a few of the ones that I can't wait to get my hands on.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
To the surprise of no one, the next installment of the Zelda franchise graces my most anticipated list for the third year in a row. I almost considered giving this game an Honorable Mention nod due to the circumstances, but when it really comes down to it, Breath of the Wild continues to be the game I'm most excited for out of all the titles that are scheduled to be released this year. It's also the sole reason I'm buying a Switch on day one (the rest of the games in the sparse launch lineup don't inspire a lot of confidence, but that's a different discussion entirely). I can't wait to see what sort of shenanigans Link and I will get into in the massive open world that awaits us.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
A close second in terms of my hype level is this brand new franchise from Guerrilla Games. Horizon Zero Dawn looks like tons of fun. Similar to Breath of the Wild, it's an open-world adventure with RPG elements and a mysterious story. The graphical presentation looks beautiful, and the concept is incredibly unique. I look forward to learning more about Aloy as a character, and what sorts of challenges she will face as she explores a post-apocalyptic future and battles robot dinosaurs.
As a big fan of the classic 3D platformers of the late 90's, I've been following the progression of Yooka-Laylee ever since the Kickstarter campaign associated with it was launched. I became a backer for the game when I learned that it was meant to be a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, and that it was being developed by some of that game's original creators. Yooka-Laylee looks to capture the essence of the Banjo games: colorful graphics, humorous characters, unique environments to explore, and lots and lots of things to collect. All of the pieces for success seem to be here, so here's hoping Playtonic Games does a good job assembling the Yooka-Laylee puzzle.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Having only finished the first Mass Effect game, I'm not as well-versed in the franchise as some of you who may be reading this. However, I'm no less excited to see what BioWare has in store for us in the Andromeda galaxy. I love the narrative and deep lore associated with Mass Effect, and I'm looking forward to the new environments and alien species that I'll encounter when this title launches in March. If Mass Effect: Andromeda features the same great storytelling, combat, and RPG elements as its predecessors, then it'll keep me invested for quite a while.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
When South Park: The Stick of Truth was released in 2014, it quickly became one of my favorite games that year. I loved the fun combat system and RPG elements. I also loved the game's hilarious story and the overall South Park vibe that could only have come from the minds of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. I've been waiting patiently to return to that world, and soon enough I'll have that chance when The Fractured But Whole releases this year. This time, Cartman and his friends have shifted from spoofing fantasy stories to super heroes, which is another genre that I adore. The Fractured But Whole looks to have an even deeper combat system than its predecessor, but with the same wonderfully twisted sense of humor. I can't wait to see what sorts of crazy situations the kids of South Park Elementary get themselves into this time.
Honorable Mention: Tacoma
With the release of their first title, Gone Home, developer Fullbright Studios demonstrated their aptitude for crafting an interesting, emotional narrative that is told by means of exploration and discovery. Their next title, Tacoma, is another first-person, narrative-based game — only this time it takes place on a space station. As you explore the space station Tacoma, you come across holographic logs and other clues that help you piece together the mystery of what happened to the crew. You can even rewind and replay these logs so you can glean every bit of information from the conversations and events that transpired. I'm a big fan of games with interesting and/or emotional stories (like Gone Home or Everybody's Gone to the Rapture), so I'll be hotly anticipating the day when Tacoma launches on Xbox One this year.
These games are but a sampling of some of the great things we can look forward to in the upcoming months. With the launch of the Nintendo Switch in March, the Xbox Scorpio later in the year, and an assortment of exciting games, it seems like 2017 will have something for everyone.