Every year, gamers flock to major outlets: Gamestop, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, you name it. Some years, it’s for the shiny new consoles. Other years, it’s for the shiny new games. Still other times, it’s for both. All year long, we make trades, enter pre-orders, and generally set aside a paycheck or two for upcoming titles, in order to make sure we’re getting those new games that, let’s face it as gamers, we have to own to scratch that ever-looming itch.
For me, it’s shooters, horror, military, RPG’s, and a lot of the mainstream titles. In all the years I’ve spent gaming, 2016 is no exception. I’m chomping at the bit for February to get here, because that’s when the games start dropping that I’m getting excited about. What follows here, then, is the list of the top titles, in no particular order, I anticipate will be in my arsenal of entertainment for 2016.
13. The Division (March 8th)
Let’s face it. What’s the general idea behind games? The hero always wins, right? Well, most of the time. With Tom Clancy’s The Division, Ubisoft has taken a hard look at “What happens if we lose? What happens if the bad guys win?” Society, according to The Division, utterly collapses. I can’t wait for a few chances to sic my rolling explosive mines on campers.
12. DOOM (TBA)
This was a staple of my gaming childhood. Murdering the minions of hell forged me into the gamer that I am today. Allegedly an origin story, DOOM 4 returns to Mars, with a Union Aerospace Corporation compound coming under siege by the legions of Hell. Good, old-fashioned, blow-them-up, chop-them-apart gameplay that has made this title a fond and oft-recited memory in many gamer circles. Returning modes of play are single-player, Deathmatch, Freeze Tag, Domination, and Clan Arena. Now if they could do away with that lame keycard hunt…
11. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (February 25th)
As much as I love to say that I absolutely loathed the original games, mostly because I was just bad at them, I fell in love with Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. It stood to reason when my girlfriend and I discovered that this game was coming, it was a mandatory pre-order. Having the offline options, bots, Backyard Battleground mode, and more, it’s going to be one hell of a weed-pulling event!
10. Uncharted 4 (April 29th)
Move over, Lara Croft. You might have the curves, the accent, and the survival instinct, but this thief with a sense of humor and an unbelievable streak of luck has captivated millions. Picking up a few years after Drake’s Deception, it follows Drake on one last quest to help a long-thought-dead relative, through pirate colonies and other locales. Naughty Dog, I’m throwing my money at the screen but nothing is happening! D:
9. Xcom 2 (February 5th)
So I missed the bus as a kid to play the original Xcom games. Admittedly, that might destroy some of my stock as a gamer, but I’m over it. Xcom: Enemy Unknown kindled my love for this series, despite Xcom: Declassified’s attempt to bury it. Following the events of Enemy Unknown, like The Division, XC2 asks “What if the aliens win?” Picking up as the Commander from the first game, it is now a fight to destroy an alien regime in charge of Earth and to liberate humanity from their grip.
8. No Man’s Sky (TBA)
A game with seemingly more ambition than the rest of the gaming industry combined, No Man’s Sky has taken the procendural generation ideology behind Minecraft and turned it on its head. With the estimated possibility of over 18 quintillion planets, it is a game where your decisions, and your contributions, matter. What you discover, you are forever documented as the original “finder,” and your name goes into the Atlas for all other players to see. You are limited only by the scope of your imagination and sense of direction, with a single goal: Reach the center of the galaxy. Given the sheer scale of the game, the numberless side-missions and random events, and one’s personal conviction to explore every corner of existence, we might never see the end of this game.
7. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Deus Ex, like DOOM and many others, is one of those games that seems to transcend all other eras of gaming. Mentioning it is often enough for a nostaglic fan to go and reinstall the original game and play through its many hours and multiple endings. Mankind Divided touches on social dynamics with understones related to many social struggles in the world today. Augmented humans, infused with cybernetic technology to make them faster, stronger, or smarter, are persecuted worldwide by so-called “naturals” who believe they are a danger to the rest of society. Re-Enter Adam Jensen, augmented protagonist-extraordinaire, to save the day once again.
6. Dead Island 2 (TBA)
So zombies are almost old-hat these days in gaming. Every major title, in some way, has zombies now. Call of Duty: Zombies, Plants vs Zombies, zombie exercise apps for phones. Somehow, the industry still finds ways to make smashing a dead persons brains in even more entertaining every time. Publisher Deep Silver’s gem, Dead Island, has returned for more head-bashing, B-movie entertainment. I’m not entirely sure why it’s called “Dead Island 2” since the title is supposed to take place in a locked down California. Unless this occurred after that predicted earthquake that will somehow dislodge California from it’s United States landscape brethren…
5. Horizon: Zero Dawn (TBA)
Take a little of Merida from Brave, a little bit of Crysis, sprinkle in some tones of The Last of Us, and toss it into the pot of Guerilla Games, the masterminds behind Killzone, and you’ve got the baby that is Horizon. A tale of civilization reborn countless generations after society as we know it completely dies out, this game follows Aloy, a huntress who tracks the mechanized creatures that still roam the landscape for valuable materials required for survival. Any chance for a bow and arrow in a game has been a positive step for me!
4. Mass Effect: Andromeda (TBA)
As a science-fiction junkie, I would do an injustice to myself and my friends to leave this title out. With so little known about what will be included, it’s hard to even comment at this point. We know the story takes place well after the original Trilogy, and will be focused around entirely new characters. I can honestly say, that in my circles, this is one of those titles that if you pass up, you get left behind. A must have.
3. Overwatch (TBA)
I’m sure I’ll get some discontent from readers with this comment, but Overwatch, in my opinion, was explicitly formed with the idea to oust Team Fortress 2 as a dominator in the competitive shooter market. With cartoon-styll graphics, class-based play, and over-the-top characters, Blizzard’s newest IP will likely be the strongest contender to unseat Team Fortress 2 from a long-held perch. With rumors of a pay2play architecture, Blizzard announced on November 5th, 2015, that the game would be sold for a one-time charge, with all new updates, maps, characters, everything, included as free content for those who purchased the title, and would not require additional payment.
I love you, Tracer. Call me!
2. Ghost Recon: Wildlands (TBA)
If Grand Theft Auto and Splinter Cell had a staff meeting with Tom Clancy, it definitely led to this title. Featuring open-world design, multiple options to complete all missions, including “Shoot them from the grassy knoll, sneak in and slit their throat, or shoot everything, blow up everything, just…blow it up” options for all missions, this title is breaking away from old methods that have seemed to slow the Ghost Recon series down. Personally, I think the most fun is to be had in stealing White Hat’s supply and letting his bosses deal with him. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, catch the trailer. You won’t want to miss it!
1. World of Warcraft: Legion (TBA)
You knew it was coming, didn’t you? One of the most influential and pervasive titles of all time, Blizzard’s leviathan title has dominated the MMO industry since it’s release in 2004. Upping the level cap, adding the new Demonhunter hero class, and featuring the Broken Isles, a long-submerged landscape recently resurfaced around The Maelstrom whirlpool in World of Warcraft’s map, the games mechanics, presentation, and story are going to a whole new level. Don’t miss it!
I look forward to see you on the battlefield, friends! Come get me!