by Matthew Thompson
This has been a generation of delays. For my annual January Most Anticipated Games feature that has meant a lot of repeat appearances year to year. So this time, I’m going with a list of five games I believe will actually be coming out in 2017 with some others mentioned below. Here it goes!
5. Super Mario Odyssey
I’m actually a bit less excited for this after the latest trailer. For one, seeing Mario in these pseudo-real-life environments next to normally proportioned people was sort of off-putting. And the use of the term “sandbox” to describe it was a bit scary. Apparently by this they simply meant that Odyssey would be in the vein of 64 and Sunshine, but the truth is I didn’t fall in love with 3D Mario until Galaxy. Mario to me has always been about linear platforming obstacle courses and I rarely saw that in the 3D series until 2007. Still, I’m sure this will be a good time and I’m hoping the more masterful design of the last four games (Galaxy 1/2, 3D Land/World) will rub off on this throwback to Mario’s older three-dimensional game structure. There was definitely plenty to like about the trailer too. The hat looks like a nice added platforming trick. I loved the new cooking world. It reminded me a bit of the ones from recent Rayman games. That area’s inclusion of turnips and a Hammer Bros.-style enemy that trades his carpentry tools for frying pans is the kind of charm I expect from a new Mario outing. And there is no denying the epic feel of the trailer. The Odyssey subtitle seems fitting.
4. Gravity Rush 2
Over three years ago when I first started up this blog, Gravity Rush 2 was on my anticipated games list (part of the problem I briefly mentioned at the top of this post). It was clearly announced a bit prematurely. It perhaps went through a system change at one point. Its final delay from December was basically to ensure it didn’t get ignored in the holiday rush. But it is finally here. It releases tomorrow and will be the first new game I dig into in 2017. Clearly I’m excited to finally play it. At this point, I’ve explained why many times. I love bubbly protagonist Kat. The series features one of the most fun ways to get around an open world. The sequel looks to bring those key elements back while improving some of the original’s less successful aspects like the combat. And recent reviews claim a much grander adventure awaits Kat in Gravity Rush 2. It’s almost here and I am more than ready to fall around this wonderful gaming world once again.
3. Horizon: Zero Dawn
This generation has really been missing those standout new IPs that typically help define each set of consoles. Looking back at the first few years of previous gens, they were full of them. This time around… not so much. I’m hoping that Horizon: Zero Dawn can be one of those new series I think back on when reminiscing about the eighth gen systems years from now. From what I have seen of it so far, there is a lot to love. The anachronistic world featuring giant robotic beasts being hunted by tribalistic human clans. The top-notch visuals you’d expect from Guerrilla Games with an artstyle that lets their technical chops shine brighter than ever. The fast, fluid bow-based combat. The awesome looking main character design that reminds me of Ygritte from Game of Thrones. This is a very different sort of game to anything the developer has done before, so it remains to be seen if they can pull it off, but I’ve been thoroughly impressed with what I have seen so far and am excited to finally get my hands on this in the coming months.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Console Zelda games are an event. They are so rare these days – the last one, Skyward Sword, came out in 2011 – that I’m basically frothing at the mouth for another hit of 3D Zelda by the time a new one releases. Of course, Breath of the Wild happens to look amazing too. The one thing I’ve really been craving in Zelda games recently is a proper, wholly new, fully explorable overworld. We haven’t actually gotten one since 2006’s Twilight Princess. BotW looks to be delivering and then some with a massive open world. I cannot wait to finally explore every nook and cranny of this latest version of Hyrule. I love the new systemic approach to gameplay as well as the most recent story trailer which was just awe-inspiring. And there is nothing in gaming quite like a Zelda dungeon for me. The puzzles. The items. The bosses. Gaming bliss. Hopefully they deliver on that front despite the focus on the open-world. Throw in the fact that this will be the first game I’ll be playing on my new Nintendo Switch and my hype is through the roof.
1. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Naughty Dog’s next game is pretty much always my most anticipated game. They just make the kind of games I love. I wasn’t expecting to see a new one in 2017, but what started as DLC for Uncharted 4 grew into its own standalone title and I’m really excited about it. I was actually hoping it would be a Chloe-focused adventure. I love the way things ended with Nate and his family in Uncharted 4, so I wanted that to be how our time together ended. So I was imagining a Chloe-Cutter spin-off of sorts for this. I wasn’t expecting Nadine, but she was really underdeveloped in A Thief’s End, so I’m happy to get more from her. Perhaps Cutter will still show up. Other than introducing the characters, there wasn’t a ton to glean from The Lost Legacy’s demo. I did like the atmosphere of it though. I’m really curious to see how they will work in Uncharted 4’s new vehicle mechanics. After all, Chloe is the best driver in the business. I’m hoping for a bit more high-octane action this time around too. I’m not sure a DLC-turned standalone release like this will be able to compete with the biggest titles of the year, but with Naughty Dog at the helm I don’t expect to be let down either.
A few more things:
- More (hopefully) 2017 releases I’m looking forward to: Spider-man, Yooka-Laylee, A Hat in Time, Rime, Cuphead, Splatoon 2, Nier: Automata, and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.
- Games I hope are announced this year that seem like a reasonable possibility: the next Tomb Raider game, Sly Cooper 5, a new IP by Sucker Punch, the next Wolfenstein game, a sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, and a new IP by Retro Studios for the Switch.
- Games that are coming in 2018 and beyond that I’m excited for: The Last of Us Part II, God of War (those first two would be in my top five if I included further off releases), the next Beyond Good & Evil game, Cyberpunk 2077, and Days Gone.
- My Xbox One looks to continue its role as bedroom media player/streaming machine this year. I get my multiplatform games on PS4, so the Xbox is really for exclusives and their 2017 line-up in that regard looks dreadful. With Scalebound cancelled, Cuphead is really the only console exclusive that I’m looking forward to on the Xbox One this year. Hopefully Microsoft announces some cool games to bolster that line-up like that aforementioned Ori sequel.
That will do it for this post. Which games are you looking forward to the most this year? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!