2017 has no doubt been a glorious year for gaming (have a look at what our writers' chose as their games of the year here), but there's plenty yet to look forward to in the year to come - here are our top picks and predictions for 2018.
Cowboys, vampires and Hussites
Another year flushed to the great S-bend of history and a brand new one ahead of us, full of all kinds of disappointment. Plenty of games to look forward to though, the biggest of which is undoubtedly Red Dead Redemption 2.
Though it was slated for release this year, Rockstar made the decision to push Red Dead 2 back to Spring of 2017 though that has done little to dampen the hype. This warrants caution as does Take Two’s worrying stance on lootboxes but I’m still looking forward to it. Still, 2010’s Red Dead Redemption is widely considered a masterpiece and is one of my favourite games of all time, and I’m eager to see if the sequel matches up to the original.
But beyond big names like Red Dead, there are a number of smaller releases worth keeping an eye on. One such game is Vampyr, an RPG developed by Dontnod Entertainment (who also created Life is Strange).
Then there is Kingdom Come: Deliverance, another RPG set during the Hussite Wars in 1403. Though the graphics do admittedly make it look like The Witcher on a budget, the use of a real historical period in an RPG still has me intrigued.
Of course this is a mere snapshot of what’s coming our way, with many more titles scheduled for release next year. Let’s just hope they’re not all shit.
Thy Kingdom (Hearts 3) come
Following the announcement of Mega Man 11 by Capcom, for me, there is plenty to be looked forward to in 2018. Not only will the Mega Man X collection also be coming to the Switch, but new, untitled Kirby and Yoshi games have also been announced for the console.
Let's not forget the fact that Kingdom Hearts III is finally supposed to be released in 2018 on both PlayStation and Xbox. This will mean that scores of people will be able to enjoy the fairytale and Disney goodness, and I, like many fans who have been waiting for a third instalment in the central narrative for years will finally be able to continue the adventure and explore entirely new worlds (yes, I've played some of the other games, such as Dream Drop Distance and 358/2 Days, but they're just not the same...). For some, this will be their first Kingdom Hearts title, and that warms my heart.
The Spider-Man game being developed by Insomniac Games for PS4 also looks to be a new, creative direction for our favourite Marvel hero. It certainly looks to be an improvement on previous games, and appears to have a definitive story for players to follow - making it my kind of game for sure. Detroit: Become Human also looks to have a gritty storyline and interesting dynamics that I may have to give a try - even if its coverage in the media hasn't been all too positive of late due to its graphic content.
Finally, I'd love to give Octopath Traveller (working title) a further play after trying out its demo on the Switch, and maybe Monster Hunter World as my first ever Monster Hunter game. There will certainly be plenty for me to be getting on with playing, especially during the inevitable temporary unemployment I will experience when I graduate.
2018, the year of the Hunter
For me, 2018 is going to get off to a great start with the release of Monster Hunter World in late January. World is shaping up to be a huge leap forward for the series both visually and mechanically thanks to the jump from 3DS to PS4/Xbox One/PC.
As well as shiny new HD graphics, the weapons have all been revamped to give much more fluid combat and environments are now much more dynamic, with various ways to make use of your surroundings when trying to beat the crap out of your monstrous foes. Capcom have also taken pains to improve the online aspect, expanding lobby sizes and adding the ability to join hunts already in progress. Hopefully World will be the entry to finally bring Monster Hunter into the mainstream in the West.
I've also got my eye on Biomutant, a quirky, open-world action-RPG from THQ Nordic which follows a genetically modified, raccoon-like protagonist in a post-apocalyptic setting. The game promises a huge amount of depth with its variety of mutations which will affect how you play the game, as well as an extensive arsenal of inventive weaponry.
As for predictions, I think it's about time Bethesda announced a new Elder Scrolls after running Skyrim into the ground with its many, many ports. And as a wildcard (and huge wishful thinking), I'd love to see a new entry in the Jak and Daxter series - Sony seems to keep teasing us with remasters, so with any luck they're testing the waters for a revival.