Last year was a garbage-pile on fire for almost everyone. It feels like we’ve never been more divided and that our world has significantly less humanity in it than it did years previous. It also happened to be one of the greatest years for video games in the last decade.
Between the multiple 10/10 releases, 2017 really felt like it kicked the spirit out of us. But 2018 stands to keep the trend of building amazing, exciting, emotional virtual worlds for us to escape to and reconnect with our humanity.
Without further ado, here are GAMR’s most anticipated games of 2018.
Kingdom Hearts 3 (2018)
The western world is politically and socially divided and the final chapter in Kingdom Hearts’ 16 year, seven game journey isn’t going to stitch up the tears in the civic fabric. However, though unapproachable from the outside due to its long history of deeply convoluted lore, the Kingdom Hearts series has always stayed anchored to themes of sincerity and empathy – virtues we can all adopt to start making tangible change in our own world.
I love Kingdom Hearts without tire or remorse for this reason and thousands more like it. Though it might seem like a kitsch crossover series filled with Square Enix and Disney’s all-star characters, the series has built a robust arcing plot that is due a satisfying and climactic conclusion that’s as enthusiastic and in love with its own world as the community that orbits it.
While the Final Fantasy and Persona series start anew with every new instalment, Kingdom Hearts has maintained a legacy of creating an odyssey filled with alive, caring characters that the fans want resolution for. Not only that but Kingdom Hearts 3 should see the return and refinement of the series’ best and favourite mechanics as hinted to from this year’s E3 trailer.
For all its various dream dimensions, time travel rules, identity crises and hearts within hearts, Kingdom Hearts finds its power in the raw simplicity of love, whether its mine, the communities or the characters its created across nearly two decades of adventures, I have no doubt Kingdom Hearts 3 will resolve this philosophy with grace and sincerity.
Spider-Man is due to have a good console game and, at long last, Insomniac’s Spider-Man PS4 exclusive looks set to deliver. Not since the ‘Spiderman 2’ movie tie in game on the PS2 have we had a decent Spidey adventure. This new game seems to be set deep in the Spider-Man world, and seems to be a standalone adventure unconnected to any movie tie in. We are instead getting a game that uses multiple villains, set in an open world with a strong story at its core.
Insomniac games have a strong in-house pedigree with Sunset Overdrive on the Xbox which was a bombastic game which delivered carnage in an open world environment. If this new Spider-Man game can harness some of the chaos and game physics, then we are in for a real treat.
Rumours seem to suggest that we may get to play as multiple characters and even the new kid on the block Miles Morales could make an appearance. Mary Jane could also be a playable character (at least in one section of the game). The sheer fact that we are getting a current-gen Spider-Man game very exciting. Gone are the days when gamers used to sigh at the limitations of their systems; now we are going to get a full open world with dynamic looking combat and big scale battles. Oh and did I mention, you play as FREAKING SPIDER-MAN.
Johnny Di Girolamo
Slated for beta release in 2018, Dreams is… an experience. Is it really a game? Developer Media Molecule say: “Dreams is a space where you go to play and experience the dreams of Media Molecule and our community. It’s also a space in which to create your own dreams, whether they’re games, art, films, music or anything in-between and beyond”.
Essentially, it’s an interactive engine where the user creates anything they want using a vivid art style, it’s even more ambitious than Little Big Planet. If that doesn’t make sense, you are not alone.
Everything we’ve seen so far looks incredible. If it is as good as it looks then it has the potential to redefine gaming in a way no other game ever has. Will bedroom musicians use it to make music videos? Will filmmakers really direct animated movies using it? The sheer creative scope and possibility are beyond exciting.
Or will it be another No Man’s Sky? A technical wonder, but a vast and empty universe that is both confusing and off-putting. While Media Molecule have earned a fair amount of consumer trust, with Tearaway and LBP showing that they can handle a community and fan creations well, I don’t know how I feel about a game that is relying on me to make my fun, surely that’s why we pay a large amount of money to professionals: for a defined experience.
One thing is for sure: this is going to be one of the most talked about games of 2018.
Johnny Di Girolamo
Dontnod Entertainment have never shied away from ambitious games. Both 2013’s Remember Me and 2015’s Life Is Strange were innovative and flawed in equal measure, but I think they are the perfect company to tackle this. The premise is simple, in a post-WWI London you play a doctor who is attacked and becomes a vampyr. Do you increase your powers to help you tackle the supernatural underworld or do you try to keep your humanity by not feeding, instead focusing on trying to cure the flu?
There is still a giant void for an 19th/early 20th century supernatural game. The Order 1886 attempted to fill it and fell flat on its face. If they can get the atmosphere right then they’ll have an instant classic as far as world building goes, and if they can get gameplay and plot sorted then it could well turn out to be the game of the year. We want to be exploring dark, smoggy streets filled with memorable characters and difficult moral choices, where the veil between the supernatural and the concrete world of post – war England is frail and frightening.
That Dontnod have already said it’s possible to complete the game without killing anyone is encouraging, as it suggests something akin to Dishonored’s system, though they promise complex branching dialogue and exciting combat too. We all hope this is as good as it sounds, and we could finally have an heir to Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver as the best vampire game ever made.
Death Stranding (TBA)
Johnny Di Girolamo
The most exciting thing about this game is that we know almost nothing about it. If you’ve seen the video, then you’ve probably had the same thought that we have here at GAMR: “What’s with the babies?!”. Well, we just don’t know yet. Apparently there’s an open world to explore, and the idea of two realms of reality, something akin to the Upside Down from Stranger Things, where actions have lasting consequences in the ‘real’ world. With almost nothing known about the plot, all we have to look at are the stunning visuals and star array of talent: Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Guillermo del Toro… and those are only the ones we know about. Wow.
The real make or break deal with this game is the studio: Hideo Kojima is a legend for what he’s achieved with the Metal Gear series, but can he carry that over to production of this own product without corporate supervision? Past glories are no promise of future success: we saw this with the way George Lucas handled the Star Wars prequel trilogy. There is an argument that recent Kojima games have been growing increasingly, well… Kojima heavy. If his tendency to self indulge and confuse plots can be curtailed then Death Stranding has the possibility of cementing itself as a once in a generation classic.
However it ends up, the sheer enigma that has surrounded everything to do with the game is reason enough for it to be on our most hotly anticipated games list, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it!