by Matthew Thompson
I always like to follow up my look back at gaming in one year with what I’m looking forward to in the next. 2018 doesn’t seem to have quite as much for me to be excited about as 2017 had, particularly early on, but there are still quite a few standout titles. For my top five, I decided to only include games that are officially announced and that I believe will actually release in 2018 (delays have a habit of making these annual posts a bit redundant otherwise), but I’ve mentioned a slew of others in the bullets that follow. Well, here they are: my most anticipated games of 2018!
5. Kirby Star Allies
While Kirby’s experimental titles are a bit inconsistent in quality, traditional Kirby games are super reliable. They never really blow me away (outside of Kirby’s Adventure on NES which remains one of my all-time favorite 2D platformers), but I know I’m in for a good time. Star Allies seems to be in the mold of the recent Kirby trio of Return to Dream Land (Wii), Triple Deluxe (3DS) and Planet Robobot (3DS). I enjoyed each of those and I expect the same from Kirby’s first outing on the Switch. I look forward to more of floating around as the pink fluff and seeing what new abilities he has up his sleeve this March.
4. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
The first Ori ranks among my favorite Metroidvania games. Stunning visuals, a moving story and a memorable soundtrack made for a game that attacked your senses from all angles. While the gameplay featured the typical map exploration and ability progression that this style of game is known for, high-quality, challenging platforming and clever, sidescrolling dungeons helped set it apart from many of its predecessors and contemporaries in the subgenre. There is only a teaser to go on, but I don’t need much more to be excited for Will of the Wisps. I just want more of what made the original so good and that is what I’m expecting here.
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man
I can’t say I know a whole lot about Spider-Man, but the same was true of Batman before I played the Arkham games. Not only was I treated to a bunch of fun games, they helped get me more into Batman in other mediums. I’m kind of hoping the upcoming Spider-Man game on PS4 will have a similar effect. What really has me excited for the game is that one of my favorite developers, Insomniac Games, is behind it. Their Ratchet & Clank series is one of my all-time favorites while Sunset Overdrive showed they have a knack for open-world traversal that will pay off for a hero like Spider-Man. What I’ve seen of the game so far looks solid and I’m excited to get my hands on Insomniac’s take on the web slinger some time this year.
2. Yoshi (Switch)
I’ve been a big Yoshi fan since he first popped up in Super Mario World. Yoshi’s Island is one of the high points of the whole platforming genre and while not nearly on the same level as that classic, I enjoyed the follow-ups on DS and 3DS more than most people did. But what really has me hyped for the Switch game is just how incredible Woolly World was. Its variety reminded me oh-so-fondly of the likes of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario Galaxy 2 while its yarn aesthetic made for what may be the most adorable game ever. That game’s developer, Good Feel, is also behind the dinosaur’s debut on the Switch. While it may be hard to beat Woolly World’s look on a pure cuteness level, the diorama style of the new game is incredibly clever especially when you get a look at the inner workings by flipping the stage. What little I’ve seen of the gameplay looks promising and after their last effort, I trust Good Feel to deliver in that department. This looks to be arriving in the back half of the year, but I expect it to be worth the wait.
1. God of War
I love God of War, but after six fairly similar entries it was in need of a fresh start. The new God of War looks to be just that. Kratos stays, but most everything else changes. Greek mythology is gone in favor of Norse. The fixed camera has been traded in for a more intimate over-the-shoulder view. A new axe replaces the Ghost of Sparta’s trademark Blades of Chaos. And those are just a few of the ways this new take on God of War will differentiate itself from its predecessors. I love the look of the new combat and the story seems to be much more up my alley than anything the franchise has had to offer in the narrative department before. And while it seems traversal will be more limited this time around, I am hoping other aspects of the series – the boss fights, setpieces and their typical massive scale as well as puzzles – stay intact. With Cory Barlog, the director of God of War II (my favorite in the series), back at the helm, I feel Kratos’ next adventure is in good hands and I can’t wait to experience it for myself come April.
More Games Worth Mentioning:
- If I thought they were coming out this year, The Last of Us Part II and Ghosts of Tsushima would be in the above top five. Naughty Dog’s next game is always my most anticipated and that is once again the case with TLOU2. Sucker Punch consistently makes quality games and I am excited for something new from them (I had personally had enough of inFamous). Ghosts looks really cool.
- If Shadow of the Tomb Raider were officially announced, I’d have it in my top five too. I actually think it will release this year. I am curious how they will push the current formula forward. As much as I loved Rise of the Tomb Raider, I’m not sure how they iterate on this current style again without feeling too same-y. I’m excited to find out though.
- Some Remasters/Remakes/Ports I’m Excited For: Hollow Knight, Owlboy, Medievil, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Shadow of the Colossus.
- More Games that I’m Excited For (even if I’m unsure some are ever coming out): new Life is Strange from Dontnod, Guacamelee! 2, Bayonetta 3, Dreams, Far Cry 5, A Way Out, Cyberpunk 2077, Darksiders 3, Days Gone, Mario Tennis Aces, Beyond Good & Evil 2, Psychonauts 2, Vampyr, and Biomutant.
So those are the games I’m most looking forward to. Which games top your list? Let me know in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading!