It’s a new year, and that means a year of new games. And in turn, that means many will be planning where their hard-earned money and time should go. Since the release schedule is quiet until later in the month, here’s a look at five games you’ll need to play in 2017.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands, March 7th
Ubisoft’s tactical first-person shooter series is highly popular with people who want to put together a team and pull off a military operation. But here Ubisoft is mixing that style with that of their open-world games like Far Cry, largely stripping the elite team of the futuristic gear found in previous entries and instead stranding them in Bolivia to deal with the local drug cartels. Importantly, the game puts the emphasis on both long-term strategy. As you try to juggle the citizens, the local rebels, and the Bolivian government, and short-term tactical work, you’ll have to scope out your target thoroughly and decide whether you want to attack during the day, when you can spot enemies more easily, or at night, when you can creep up on them.
Yes, we’ve been hearing about this game for a while, but it’s not surprising it took this long to come out. Cuphead is a 1930s cartoon come to life, mixing classic run-and-gun platforming with smooth, stylish animation that’s a feast for the eyes. If this pushes game developers to think beyond polygons, it’ll be a great 2017.
Tacoma, Early 2017
Fullbright follows up the critically acclaimed Gone Home with a game where you’re trapped on an abandoned lunar station, the Tacoma of the title, and have to determine why it was abandoned by hacking the security system and, presumably, sneaking through secret passages and otherwise manipulating the environment we found in Gone Home. While Fullbright’s last game set off a few arguments about what, precisely, constitutes a game, Tacoma appears both a bit more traditional and a bit more boundary-pushing. We’ll find out later this year.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Q1 2017
Anybody who missed the old-school, turn-based RPGs of yore welcomed South Park: The Stick Of Truth when it arrived, and now we’ve got more of it, but refined. Stick Of Truth pulled off the complicated balancing act of retaining the humor of the show while also being a deep, highly addictive fantasy RPG that could suck you in for hours and that those new to the genre could pick up and learn. Video games can be short of intentional laughs, and this looks to be a winner in that department alone.
The Legend Of Zelda: The Breath Of The Wild, 2017
Nintendo is chucking a lot of dearly held traditions out the window in 2017. Its portable and home consoles are united with the Nintendo Switch. Mario is now a mobile star. And The Legend of Zelda is expanding its open world, ditching the strict order of its dungeons, adding crafting, and a whole host of other changes. Of all the moves Nintendo has made, this is possibly the most exciting. Seeing Nintendo tackle some trends it avoided before should be fascinating.
A top five is fairly strict. If there’s a game we missed, let us know in the comments!