by Matthew Thompson
As I continue to get my writing legs back under me, I have decided to return to a classic. Yes, I already did a most anticipated games post for this year. But since then, two of those have come out and two have been pushed to 2019. And of course, plenty of games have been announced since I did the original post back in January, so there are lots of new titles to talk about (especially since I didn’t do a post-E3 blog this year). Well, here it goes (I’ve tried to keep it to games that are definitely coming out in 2018)!
5. Super Mario Party
I’m not really a huge Mario Party fan or anything. It has been a couple of entries since I even bought a game in the series. But some co-workers and I have taken to playing the Switch before work a lot this year. This has included teaming up in games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Kirby: Star Allies and hurling shells at each other Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In recent weeks, we’ve been playing a lot of Scribblenauts Showdown. Like Mario Party it is the sort of game that can become hysterical amongst the right friends. But MP has four-player mini-games (as opposed to just two in Scribblenauts) and a more in-depth board game which I think will make it even more of a riot with my new work buddies. Plus that feature where you can connect two Switch screens together just looks super neat. This is all to say, I’m finding myself unusually excited for Super Mario Party.
4. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
I like to think of myself as a bit of a platforming connoisseur and a pretty big fan of Insomniac Games and yet I have never put the entire original Spyro trilogy through its paces. Admittedly, the fifth generation of consoles was the one I played the least during its own era when I was more concerned with things like playing football, skateboarding, riding bikes with friends and the other hobbies that dominated my teenage years. But that isn’t much of an excuse. I have had ample time to rectify this via digital rereleases over the years and yet my only experience was finding an old hard copy of Ripto’s Rage and playing a bit of it back on my PS2. In a rare case where my procrastination pays off – as opposed to, you know, giving me all sorts of last-minute anxiety – I will get to experience these three games remade for modern consoles with the sublime-looking Reignited Trilogy this September. Given my affection for some of Insomniac’s other games, especially the Ratchet series, I am expecting to have a wonderful time with Spyro and company.
3. Life is Strange 2
Life is Strange is one of the best new series of this console generation. The youthful setting, unique atmosphere and ripped-straight-from-my-Spotify-library soundtrack all reminded me of some of my favorite television series like Veronica Mars and The O.C. while the rewind mechanic took away some of the anxiety I get from dialogue choices. All this made the original the first of these new-fangled, choice-based adventure games that I really fell for. Before the Storm acted as an excellent prequel even when on paper it seemed like a 2questionable idea. So even though the Captain Spirit demo did very little for me, based on the strength of the series so far, I still find myself really hyped for Life is Strange 2 (and I think some of my issues with Captain Spirit shouldn’t be a factor with the full game). If nothing else, it seems like a shoe-in to compete for soundtrack of the year.
2. Marvel’s Spider-man
I’ve always loved the idea of this game. One of my favorite developers in Insomniac Games putting their own spin on a superhero with great potential in the medium like Spider-man with the proper backing from a great publisher in Sony as well as Marvel themselves looking to take their gaming ventures more seriously than ever. But it wasn’t until this year’s E3 that what I actually saw from the game itself would match the potential I saw in it. Spider-man’s E3 2018 showing at Sony’s presser delivered with a spectacular linear demo that still felt very dynamic while accompanying footage of open-world web-slinging showed how fun it will be to traverse the city in a way last year’s prompt heavy setpiece failed to. I’ve always had high hopes for this new take on Spider-man and the more recent footage makes me believe it will match my expectations.
1. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
I love Tomb Raider. It’s one of my favorite series in gaming. That is probably enough for it to top my list of anticipated games for the rest of the year. But it certainly helps that the rebooted series has grown on me so much. While I was rather lukewarm on the 2013 game, Rise of the Tomb Raider really won me over. Partly just because it was a damn fine action/adventure game and partly because it started to take some steps back towards TR’s roots. The final game in this latest trilogy doesn’t look to reinvent the wheel. It takes the template created by the last two games and evolves it. And I really like a lot of the new tweaks they have revealed about Shadow so far. Things like expanded underwater swimming, the biggest hub-space in the series to date, the return of wall-running with the grapple, larger tombs and crypts, and more traps all look like quality additions to the trilogy. I can’t wait to see what Lara’s next adventure has in store this September.
More 2018 games I’m looking forward to:
- Darksiders III: I’ve enjoyed both Darksiders games so far. Nothing great and II certainly took some odd directions, but good solid games. And since Zelda isn’t even scratching my Zelda dungeon itch these days, this game’s dungeons will hopefully help fill the void.
- Mario Kart Tour: I’m torn here. Mario Kart is my favorite multiplayer series of all-time. I love it to death. But I didn’t like playing the DS game with a d-pad. Hell I don’t love playing with the Switch Joy Con’s inferior analog stick compared to the Pro Controller’s. I can’t imagine being happy with the controls of the upcoming mobile entry in the series. I hope I’m wrong though and I can enjoy the wonderful new tracks that Mario Kart Tour is sure to offer.
- Mark of the Ninja: Remastered: Possibly my favorite stealth game of all-time and one of the more underrated gems of the last decade. I look forward to playing it again and you should check it out if you missed it the first time.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: I should probably be more excited for this than Mario Party, but I guess I’m just not a huge Smash Bros. fan. It should be fun with friends for similar reasons to the ones I laid out for Mario Party earlier though.
- I liked Assassin’s Creed: Origins enough that I’ll probably give Odyssey a try, but I’m not sure I will want more AC until next year some time, so maybe during a lull in 2019.
- Are Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and the Luigi’s Mansion remake still going to come out this year? Then those too.
- Yoshi Switch was delayed until 2019 and I am still sad about it. It was my big Switch title of the year and would be number two on this list if it was still releasing in 2018. Oh well. See you next year buddy!
So those are the games I’m most looking forward to in the back half of the year. What about you? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!