Some time ago Rockstar announced that Red Dead Redemption 2’s release will be delayed until the spring of 2018. In doing so, they ruined innumerable “top games to look forward to in 2017” articles across the internet.
The move also tossed up the gaming schedules of many an eager fan waiting to dedicate the latter half of this year to delving into the vast Wild West world that Rockstar is creating.
So, now that your gaming schedule has been cleared out, you’re going to need something to fill that void – or rather, multiple somethings. Luckily for you, the recently held E3 event had some heavy hitting reveals coming later this year, and 2017 has already been a seriously strong year for game releases.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Also known as “that one game on the Nintendo Switch”, Breath of the Wild has stolen headlines consistently since release.
Praised as one of the best Zelda games, and worthy on its own to justify buying a new console just for this purpose, Breath of the Wild gave players a fantastic, deep, detailed and lively open-world in a sea of bland and empty ones being produced by the AAA corporate machine.
The game world is packed to the brim with activities to do and hidden secrets to uncover. Add to that an endearing artstyle and captivating soundtrack and you have yourself a very strong contender for Game of the Year.
2. Nier Automata
Nier Automata is the newest installment in the Nier franchise, which itself is part of the Drakensang franchise, but don’t let that put you off if you haven’t played any of the other games. Automata is perfectly enjoyable without previous knowledge of the other titles.
Praised almost universally as an early GOTY, Nier Automata wraps a surprisingly deep and philosophical (of the non-pretentious variety) narrative that is guaranteed to make you sad into the guise of a fast-paced fluid action RPG.
While the way combat flows will elevate the gameplay experience of Automata over many other titles released this year, the storyline is what will ensure that it is remembered – and saying anything about it would already spoil too much.
3. Grand Theft Auto Online
Yes, GTA Online wasn’t released this year, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best bets for passing free gaming time with. Why not play the game everyone is playing?
Rockstar Games poured an immense amount of effort into the single player portion of the game, but it is Online that has been expanding with constant free DLC ever since it launched over three years ago.
Incidentally, the game just recently received a massive update called Gunrunning which added a ton of content, for free, as always.
Then again, seeing as over 80 million people have bought this game, chances are most of you are playing this already.
4. Mass Effect: Andromeda
The gaming press and community have unfortunately been perpetuating the idea that if a sequel doesn’t surpass the quality of its predecessor, it’s automatically trash. Andromeda got a rather lukewarm reception simply because it didn’t eclipse the original trilogy, however when looked at alone, it’s still one of the best games of this year.
While the tale of the Ryder siblings isn’t the same grand epic as the saga of Commander Shepard, Andromeda was never aiming for that. The goal was to show us a new galaxy, and how the species from our own adapt to this new and dangerous environment.
Andromeda’s many alien planets hold countless hours of entertainment, and this is a perfect example of a game that you shouldn’t overlook just because of the vocal haters.
5. Torment: Tides of Numenera
If you’re even remotely interested in RPGs, then there is no way you haven’t heard of Planescape: Torment, lauded by many as the best RPG of all time. Well, the kinda-sequel kinda-spiritual successor game was released this year after a very successful crowdfunding effort.
While Tides of Numenera didn’t quite manage to eclipse the legendary predecessor, it’s still one of the best RPGs out there. It also introduces players to one of the most unique and unusual game worlds in the industry.
If you’re hurting for a true RPG, prepare to whisk yourself away to a billion years into the future.
Out Later This Year
1. Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Yes, it’s Assassin’s Creed again – but after a two year hiatus.
While the industry kinda got burned out on Ubisoft’s stab happy open world stealth’em’up franchise after a long string of annual (or even more frequent) releases, the gaming community is ready for Assassin’s Creed to return, and Origins seems like the best way the franchise can do just that.
Instead of inching closer to present day on the timeline, Origins catapults fans into an age that predates that of Altair from the first game. Taking place in ancient Egypt, Origins will show us the events leading to the foundation of the titular secret society with an insatiable hood and knife fetish.
Coupled with this triuphant return will be a wide array of fundamental gameplay changes. It will still be Assassin’s Creed at its core, but there won’t be a minimap, for example, and deeper RPG elements like a levelling system and loot will be added as well.
2. Destiny 2
If you’re among the millions of hyped up players who were let down by Bungie’s first non-Halo game, then Destiny 2 is here to restore your faith in the franchise.
Featuring improvements that, if we’re being honest, should have simply been present in the first game and wouldn’t be considered “improvements” in other games, such as a map and, you know, an actual story, Destiny 2 will be the game Destiny always should have been.
The crushing hopelessness of the first game’s setting, where humanity’s vast prosperous civilization that spanned the solar system was reduced to a single struggling city, is made even more crushing when said city is burned down. We’re interested to see where the sequel’s story goes, since from a point of view this is the actual narrative debut of the IP.
3. Call of Duty: WWII
We’re fairly certain that the past few years of the lackluster generic sci-fi nonsense that Call of Duty had become was merely a long-reaching several year market manipulation campaign intended to ensure that merely reading that title will trigger fans into buying the game, sort of like a conditioned muscle reaction.
Yes, finally, Call of Duty is returning to WWII and you’re probably not even reading this anymore since you’re pre-ordering the game right now. It’s okay, we’ll wait. Back? Good.
While the change of setting to something better established and more familiar might seem like a massive selling point, the highly adaptive multiplayer improvements the developers implemented are what make the hype for this game justified. All sides can use the weapons of all sides, you personal avatar will be highly customizable and factions will vary match-to-match.
Yes, you can be a black Nazi woman in this. Thank you, Sledgehammer Games.
4. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Joining the long list of games determined to utterly ruin your filing system, Wolfenstein 2 is the fourth game in the franchise’s current continuity, and eleventh entry in the entire franchise. Following the alternate reality version of The New Order, The New Colossus depicts a technologically advanced steampunk Third Reich successfully occupy the USA.
Returning hero B.J. Blazkowicz is somehow healed from low body paralysis between the tutorial and the rest of the game, but you can bet that this over-the-top Nazi killing adventure will provide one of the tightest shooting mechanics of this year.
5. Super Mario: Odyssey
Joining Breath of the Wild as another game made to make the Switch worth buying, Odyssey represents the trend of Mario games adding a new gimmick for their new console debuts. This time around, Mario’s iconic hat will be missing the small white “M” symbol, which will be replaced by two eyes. The gimmick this time around is that when Mario throws his hat on something, he can possess it and control its movements.
Oh, and for the first time in the franchise, Mario will visit kinda-Earth and will meet actual humans. It’s about as creepy as you’re imagining right now.
Between all these games and upcoming releases, you’ll have plenty with which to take your mind off the nigh unbearable desire to play Red Dead Redemption 2, as we wait for its early 2018 release date.