It’s hard to believe, but 2016 is right around the corner and with it comes 12 months’ worth of brand new games we simply can’t wait to get our hands on. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 games we’re most excited to play next year.
Console sales are up and more and more games are making their way to store/virtual shelves, but I think it’s fair to say this latest console generation has taken a bit longer than usual to get rolling full steam ahead. That all changes in 2016, with pretty much every games machine preparing to launch a crop of big, highly anticipated titles. Whether we’re talking about exclusives, third-party games, fresh takes on old favorites or potential new classics, the next year in gaming is going to be huge.
There are so many games coming out in 2016 that this list was actually pretty difficult to narrow down. We tried to pull together a solid mix, though, as well as throw in a couple of surprises we think deserve some extra attention.
Dishonored 2To say the original Dishonored was a surprise hit might be something of an understatement. The game looked great, played great and earned more than a few comparisons to the legendary BioShock series in regards to atmosphere, storytelling and world building.
With such a phenomenal freshman hit in the rearview mirror, of course we’re excited to see what Dishonored 2 has to offer when it launches next year. Where will the story go from here? What new threats will require stealthy dispatching? Speaking of which, what spiffy new abilities might we uncover in this new adventure? We look forward to finding out alongside Corvo and Emily next spring.
Horizon: Zero DawnWhen it was announced that Guerrilla Games was working on a new title, everyone assumed it would be the next entry in the long-running Killzone franchise. When the team pulled back the curtain on Horizon: Zero Dawn at E3 2015, however, everyone was stunned.
The game almost looks like the exact opposite of everything Guerrilla has worked on up until this point, boasting a female protagonist, a third-person perspective, lots of lively colors and…giant robot dinosaurs? We’ve seen Horizon in action a few times now and all of the gameplay footage looks fun as hell. I mean, you’re fighting robosaurus rex with a sci-fi bow and arrow. This game has to be rad, right?
Uncharted 4I know I promised some surprises on this list, but Uncharted 4 certainly isn’t one of them. Pretty much everyone with a PlayStation 4 is stoked to join Nathan Drake on his next adventure in March and that’s because everything Naughty Dog touches seems to turn into pure gold. All three of the previous Uncharted console games were insanely fun romps and many consider The Last of Us to be the best game of the last generation.
In other words, Naughty Dog has plenty to prove with its first outing on Sony’s new console, so here’s hoping they know how to end the beloved series with a bang. Everything we’ve seen so far seems to be pointing in that direction.
Dark Souls IIIWho knew that modern gamers could be such masochists? While many complain that games have become too easy over the years, the Souls series begs to differ. Featuring highly detailed and intricate worlds, tactical mechanics and insanely rewarding progression, you don’t get much better than Dark Souls.
The best thing I’ve gleaned from early looks at Dark Souls III is that the game shows some true growth on the part of the team at FromSoftware. Rather than just plug everything folks loved about previous games in the series into a new package, Dark Souls III introduces some creative new systems that should make picking apart its tangled web of challenges more enjoyable for the player. The combat seems to have taken a few pages from the Bloodborne handbook, too, making for confrontations that are just as ferocious as they’ve ever been while simultaneously giving the player more ways than ever to tackle them.
No Man’s SkyThere’s not a whole lot left to say about No Man’s Sky outside of the fact that we really, really want to play the game right now. Not arriving until June of 2016, however, it looks like we all have a few more months to wait. Cue the sad trombone.
The most intriguing thing about No Man’s Sky is the fact that, even though we’ve already seen tons of footage, screenshots and extended walkthroughs, the game is still a huge mystery waiting to be discovered. Since the universe is so vast and the worlds within it are created as we play, even the developers aren’t positive about what players will come across when the doors are finally kicked open. Now that is exciting.
Far Cry: PrimalWhen Far Cry: Primal was first announced, a lot of folks were scratching their heads. The most recent Far Cry games have packed on the content, including extremely well developed antagonists, worlds overflowing with things to see, compounds full of enemies and lots of ways to make said enemies go bye-bye.
And that’s exactly why we’re so excited for Primal. You don’t often see a studio take a formula that works and completely rewrite the script, which is what makes this new Far Cry seem so refreshing. The Assassin’s Creed series is a good example of what typically happens with these types of games. Yes, each game in the series journeys into new territory and introduces a new mechanic or two but, for the most part, the Assassin’s Creed games are very similar. For the Far Cry team to take such a huge step to the left with Primal shows a lot of guts, and we’re just hoping it pays off in big and unexpected ways.
Gravity Rush 2If you don’t own a Vita, chances are pretty good that you aren’t super familiar with Gravity Rush, a game about a young woman who discovers she has the ability to bend the laws of physics and then uses her new arsenal of tricks to take out a bunch of monsters that are tearing her reality apart.
The first Gravity Rush became an early darling for Sony’s handheld console and, once you got the hang of its bizarre mechanics, it offered some exciting and rewarding traversal and combat. The fact that Gravity Rush 2 is coming to the PS4 next year means that the game will have a bunch of extra horse power running under the hood, so we’re hopeful that will lead to a more fleshed out world with lots of fun side distractions to keep up busy between story beats. The PS4 controller should also allow for gyroscopic controls similar to the original game on the Vita, which makes for a fun new way to control the action.
Deus Ex: Mankind DividedDeus Ex: Human Revolution was another one of those last gen games that took a lot of folks by surprise. Everyone hoped the new game would live up to the series, but I don’t think anyone expected an action romp quite on the level that Human Revolution reached. As a result, we’re really excited for Mankind Divided to pick up where the last game left off and deliver another round of cybernetically-enhanced stealth/action goodness. So long as they iron out those boss encounters this time around, we’re expecting Mankind Divided to be well worth the wait into 2016.
Star Fox ZeroNintendo has become known for mostly falling back on the mascots/games that work. When a new Nintendo console comes out, it’s almost a given that folks like Mario, Link, Samus and the like will make an appearance. The Star Fox crowd is a slightly different story. The games in that series are just as beloved as many of Nintendo’s heaviest hitters, but they don’t pop up nearly as frequently.
Star Fox Zero has been a long time coming, so we’re basically chomping at the bit here to do a barrel roll and blast countless enemies out of the sky.
Gears of War 4This one almost didn’t make the list because it’s currently slated for a holiday 2016 launch. We feel pretty confident it’ll make that cutoff, but you never can be too sure in the world of video games.
With a new team comes new ideas, which is exactly the kind of thing a long-running series like Gears of War can benefit from. We’ve only seen a little bit of Gear of War 4 in action at this point and, so far, everything appears to be par for the course. That’s not a negative, when you consider the fact that “par” for Gears games is extremely solid.
While more and more games are striving to be taken more seriously, Gears has always been about big hulking soldiers, bigger hulking bad guys, guns with chainsaws on them and bloody shooting violence. Casa Blanca is great and all, but sometimes what you really want is a popcorn flick that’s a lot of fun. We’re hoping that Gears 4 continues to deliver the latter.