So yesterday I started off the list of my ten most anticipated games of 2015 with numbers ten to six, and now I’m back to reveal numbers five to one. (Matthew also has a list, which you can see here and here).
Without further ado, let’s pick up where we left off.
5. Tom Clancy’s The Division (Ubisoft, PC/PS4/Xbox One)
This is an open-world third-person shooter/RPG. A pandemic has caused society to all but collapse. You play as part of a classified unit deployed to the streets of New York, tasked with restoring order. There’s also a survival element. You have to scavenge for food, water, and ammo.
The game looks to have an interesting approach to classes. You level up and earn points to spend on specific skills, but you can respec on the fly, so you’re not locked in to particular role. There’s also a companion app for tablets that actually looks not useless for a change. Players using tablets appear in game as drones. Drones have many ways to assist other players. They can do recon, mark enemies, call in airstrikes and so forth.
What really sold me on The Division was the gameplay demo from E3 2014. Looks pretty nice, right? But let’s take a moment to notice this is a Ubisoft game.
Oh Ubisoft, you rascals. You had to sneak in here somewhere, huh? I’m not outright boycotting these guys (after all, Far Cry 4 did wind up as one of my favourite games of last year). But I am taking every bit of footage they put out with a grain of salt. Actually more of a bucket of salt. What I’m trying to communicate here is I’m extremely skeptical. They messed up last year. Like, bad. While gameplay trailers like this appear nice, you have to keep in mind that it’s all scripted and planned down to the last detail.
Will the final product deliver on this trailer’s promise, or will we have another Watchdogs-level debacle on our hands? Time will tell.
4. Dying Light (Techland, PC/PS4/Xbox One)
This is an open-world survival-horror first-person free-runner. Right out of the gate, it wins for most hyphenated description. So kudos on that.
I don’t know a ton about the story here, except it takes place in Turkey and you’re some kind of undercover operative. But all you really need to know can be summed up in the words “zombie apocalypse.” Ever since the Walking Dead TV show got big, it seems all anyone can think about is zombies. This has led to a market positively stuffed with subpar, cobbled-together horror games. So what sets this one apart?
For starters, the free-running aspect looks neat – sort of Mirror’s Edge-like. You can jump from a pretty decent height and keep on moving, and you can scamper around on precarious platforms. There’s also an emphasis on crafting. Most of the combat seems to be of the melee variety, but there’s all sorts of stuff you can pick up and combine to create different things to defend yourself with.
There’s also a day-night cycle, for added spookiness.
Based on what I’ve seen from some early videos, I’m not totally convinced by the voice acting. But on the gameplay side, I’m sold. I’ll be picking this one up as soon as it comes out, so again I’ll have Let’s Play videos going up on the Geek Infusion YouTube channel soon.
Dying Light is developed by Techland, who are best known for Call Of Juarez and Dead Island. I haven’t played either game, but both were pretty popular. So I’m reasonably confident they’ve got the chops to pull this off.
3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog, PS4)
This is a third-person action/adventure shooter. As the title implies, it’s the fourth game in the Uncharted series, following the (perhaps final?) adventure of globetrotting adventurer/treasure hunter Nathan Drake.
Let me start out by jettisoning a portion of my gamer cred in saying that I’ve never played any Uncharted game. I’ve wanted to, but I never owned a PS3. Damn you, Sony! You and your juicy exclusives…
I do plan on getting a PS4 in the reasonably near future, but if I’m going to get on the Nathan Drake bandwagon, I’ll have some catching up to do. Sony has talked about potentially remastering the Uncharted series for the PS4, much like they did with The Last Of Us. And if that turns out to be more than an idle fancy, I will probably wind up waiting. If this really is the last Uncharted game, I can see them doing a remastered bundle with all four games sporting updated graphics for current-gen hardware. I would buy that in a heartbeat.
While I’ve never played the games, I’ve seen a fair amount of gameplay over the years. And I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen. The Uncharted games are well-written, and Drake makes for an engaging protagonist.
There’s not much to add here. Naughty Dog is best known for, well, the Uncharted series. Between those games and the more recent The Last Of Us, they’ve racked up a lot of accolades over the years. If there’s anyone to put a capper on Nathan Drake’s adventures, it’s them.
2. Rise Of The Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics, Xbox One)
I’ll just copy-and-paste from my description of #4 here: this is a third-person action/adventure shooter. It follows the adventures of globetrotting adventurer/treasure hunter Nathan Dr- … Uh, I mean, Lara Croft…
Right. Obviously there are a lot of similarities here. I remember when the first Uncharted games came out, everyone was like, “Isn’t this just Tomb Raider with a dude?” But to be fair, when the first Tomb Raider game came out, everyone was like, “Isn’t this just Indiana Jones but with a girl with big boobs?”
Anyway, returning to the present… This game follows on the 2013 series reboot, which saw Lara evolve from wannabe treasure hunter to seasoned mass murderer. If I had a problem with the game, it was just that. You start out all meek and stuff, but in like five minutes you’re just killing dudes left and right. I get how this is a difficult arc to portray. The Far Cry series has had trouble with it too. But there must’ve been a better way. Something a bit more gradual.
Well, that’s all water under the bridge now. Lara has killed hundreds of men now and we just have to live with that. The trailer at least nods in this direction, showing Lara in therapy following her misadventures in the last game. Not exactly subtle, but it’s something.
I don’t know much about what the story has in store this time around, but the developers have promised to put the tombs back in Tomb Raider, answering one of the bigger complaints from the 2013 game.
That sounds good to me. Story issues aside, I really had fun with the Tomb Raider reboot. The combat (though somewhat repetitive) was satisfying, I liked being able to upgrade my weapons, and the environments were well laid out and fun to navigate. Give me that game again but with more of the puzzle-filled tomb environments the earlier games in the series were known for? I’m in.
I’ve listed this game as an Xbox One title, but it’s being planned as a limited exclusive. So it might take awhile for Crystal Dynamics to get it to PC, but that’s likely where I’ll play it. Speaking of Crystal Dyamics… Yeah, they’ve made a bunch of the previous Tomb Raider games, as I’m sure you’re aware. I enjoyed the last one quite a bit, so I expect more of the same this time around.
1. Batman: Arkham Knight (Rocksteady Studios, PC/PS4/Xbox One)
This is a third-person action/adventure game. Oh look, it’s the only bit of overlap between my list and Matthew’s! Realistically I could’ve picked No Man’s Sky too, but I want to know more about that game before I get too invested. I might’ve also found a spot for Assassin’s Creed Victory. But Unity sort of killed my excitement for that franchise. But anyway, getting back to Arkham Knight…
This will be the fourth game in the series, taking place after the events of Arkham City. I haven’t followed the story too closely, but for this kind of thing I find half the fun is discovering that stuff as the game progresses. I know Batman will be pitted against his usual rogues gallery of foes. And I know I really enjoyed the first three games in the series. The last one perhaps less so, but even there I didn’t have major complaints.
The Arkham series is all about the combat and the gadgets, coupled with great production values and voice acting. This game looks to have all that, so what’s not to like?
Like Matthew, I’m pretty psyched about being able to interact more with the Batmobile and drive it around and such. This game also brings back Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman. Not to say that Roger Craig Smith did a bad job stepping into his shoes for Arkham Origins. Far from it. But Kevin Conroy is tough to beat.
It’s also notable that Rocksteady Studios are retaking the helm this time around. They developed the first two games in the series, but stayed on the sidelines for Arkham Origins, which was developed by WB Montreal. This means they’ve had a lot of time to put into developing Arkham Knight, which should lead to a polished and well thought out experience. Can’t wait.
Well folks, that’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed reading my list. If you have any games in mind that Matthew or I missed out on, leave us a comment!