*Note that this list is purely my own opinion. I’m basing it off of originality, past performances by developers, and released content thus far.
Just Cause 3 – Avalanche Studios (PS4, Xbone, PC) 2015
Just Cause 2 was one word: chaos. Heck, the currency system collected by destroying a dictator’s military facilities was even called Chaos. The series is an open-world, action adventure game, and the previous game’s map of islands took about 50 minutes to drive from coast-to-coast depending on the vehicle and route. The combat is easy and action-packed. Any gamer who just wants to blow off some steam and help usher in the collapse of an evil dictatorship will enjoy this series. The new game with be set in the Mediterranean Sea and will star the games protagonist, Agent Rico Rodriguez, who works for an agency similar to the CIA. There is no doubt this game will be fun to play but it will more than likely lack a decent story. But this is Just Cause, when has story ever really mattered?
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege- Ubisoft Montreal (PS4, Xbone, PC) 2015
The Rainbow Six series has always been tactical; players require the utmost communication and precision in their squad if they want to complete a mission. Rainbow Six: Siege takes this idea and goes deeper—Siege‘s headline feature is its 5 v 5 multiplayer which pits 5 counter-terrorist soldiers against 5 terrorists, who in the premier gameplay trailer take a hostage which the good guys need to rescue. The catch? You only have one life. At first this seems like a Counter Strike Spin off; yet as revealed in the trailer, the entire environment is destructible, including ceilings, walls, stairs, etc. The gameplay and interviews provided by Ubisoft don’t show that much, but knowing the Rainbow Six series, this game will be difficult and will require a ton of communication between teammates if you want to win. Trailer for the gameplay is here.
Batman: Arkham Knight- Rocksteady Studios (PS4, Xbone, PC) June 2, 2015
The final game in the Arkham series looks quite promising. I myself still find the first one to be the most memorable but from what gameplay gamers have seen thus far, combined with the fact that Rocksteady Studios is developing this one (unlike Origins which was a let down), gives me high hopes for this installment in the franchise. The combat engine has been redone and will play a lot like Shadow of Mordor when it comes to combat since the two games share the same quick time combat system. If you weren’t a fan of Mordor‘s combat I would stay away from this game. From the trailer it seems that Gotham is in a state of utter anarchy and it’s up to Batman to save Gotham one last time. If you enjoyed the combat and can’t wait to drive the Batmobile through Gotham, I suggest picking this game up as soon as it drops exclusively on the next-gen—which I guess is now the current gen. Here is a link to an awesome cinematic trailer.
Rise of the Tomb Raider- Crystal Dynamix ( Xbone, PC, PS4?) 2015
The newest reboot of the Tomb Raider series was one of my favorite games of 2013, with gameplay that mimics the Uncharted series but far more gruesome and brutal. The combat and stealth, not to mention the sick use of a bow and arrows, made the first game in this reboot set it apart from other action games in 2013. It was my second favorite game after the DICE 2013 game of the year, The Last of Us. Yet Tomb Raider gave players a new origins story for Lara Croft. Over the course of the first game, players see her transformation from a naive archaeologist into a ruthless killer as she kills hundreds to get off an island. However, the trailer for this game (here) shows that Lara apparently suffers from PTSD after the events of the first game. Not much is known about the story but if it is anything like the previous one, this game will be a contender for one of the best action adventure games of the year.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt- CD Projekt RED (PS4, Xbone, PC) May 19, 2015
I personally would have put this game farther up on the list since it looks the most finished and ready for release, but few at Jesuit have heard of this franchise. This series, in a few words, is The Elderscrolls V: Skyrim on steroids. The game is far more difficult and complex and makes the latter seem like child’s play. Players will find themselves controlling the series’ protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, for the third time in the massive world that is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I don’t want to spoil any plot elements but this game’s action RPG-style combat and story will provide players with a memorable experience. It also has a nice spring release right before the summer. Here is a link to a trailer (Mature Content, you are warned)
Star Wars Battlefront- DICE (PS4, Xbone, PC) December 2015
Star Wars Battlefront I & II were incredible games that came out on the original Xbox, PS2, PC, and the PSP. The games allowed players to engage in battles of 16 v 16 (32 v 32 on PC) throughout the Star Wars universe. Its 3rd person and 1st person action felt a lot like the original Battlefield, which is ironic since the new Battlefront is being developed by Dice, the people behind the series’ “Frostbite” engine that allows the games to have destructible environments. Imagine Battlefield 4 re-skinned and debugged combined with the Star Wars universe, forming a Battlefield-Battlefront hybrid. Since no non-alpha gameplay has been shown to the public, all we know about this mysterious yet promising game is that it will play like Battlefield. Teaser Trailer here.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End- Naughty Dog (PS4) 2015
Naughty Dog has been busy since they finished The Last of Us,which was the DICE game of the year in 2013. Since then, and probably before then, Naughty Dog has been working on Nathan Drake’s next adventure. Taking place 3 years after Uncharted 3, Nathan Drake (voiced by Nolan North) is approached by his older brother, Sam (voiced by Troy Baker), who he believed to be dead. Apparently, Sam needs Drake’s help in order to obtain a treasure for an unknown third party. The game itself will play a lot like The Last of Us but will be far less brutal. The series is known for its lighthearted humor, and Nathan Drake is almost like a modern-day Indiana Jones so he won’t suddenly become a cold blooded killer like Joel in The Last of Us. The same writers are also working on the game, so expect an amazing story, and not to mention the 2 best male voice actors. Both Nolan North and Troy Baker have hundreds of past noteworthy rules in video games, cartoons, and anime, including Troy Baker as Joel in The Last of Us. And besides being Nathan Drake, Nolan North was Desmond Miles in the Assassins Creed games. So expect an incredibly detailed and action packed adventure. Here is a link to some gameplay.
Halo 5: Guardians – 343 (Xbone) 2015
Several thousand players already played the beta for Halo 5: Guardians this past break. I, along with multiple other critics, weren’t fond of the changes to the once simple shooter, but all of my criticisms of this series’ past mistakes by 343 could be a review on its on. Anyone who has grown up with the Halo franchise is well aware that what kept people playing the game was the story that is arguably one of the best in the FPS genre. 343 is milking this franchise like a cow when it comes to gameplay, and they have provided some decent story elements that don’t even rival that of Bungie’s entries in the series. Yet this game will finally provide Xbox One owners a reason to own their console, as the graphics are simply amazing. If I wasn’t a Halo purist who enjoys the older games more, I would argue that this game’s gameplay is impressive, although I would never compare it to the Classic Halo games. The scoping-in feature, reminiscent of aiming down the sights, and the quick movements ruins the game. The armor that players wear weighs roughly a thousand pounds according to the lore of the franchise. Halo’s 1-3 took place over a 2 week period in which the Spartans were hulking giants, and only a few years have passed since then. The Spartans have turned into acrobats. It complete tears apart the whole super soldier idea made by Bungie and provides plot holes and questions to players who want to play the story. Despite this, I have a feeling this game will hopefully have a decent story, and if not this is my last Halo game. Reveal Trailer link.
Bloodborne – FromSoftware (PS4) March 24, 2015
From the mind of Hidetaka Miyazaki, the man behind Demon Souls, and Dark Souls I, & Dark Souls II, comes Bloodborne. Taking after his past creations, Miyazaki has created another game that has the Soul’s series’ combat and difficulty. The game itself takes place in a gothic, Victorian-esque town where all of the natives have become tainted and mad. The player attempts to gain a cure for a deadly disease said to be housed deep inside the city, past countless ghouls, monsters and zombie-like natives. Gameplay for the game thus far shows grueling and strenous combat that will provide players with the utmost challenge, and unlike the other Soul’s games, players have no shield to hide behind. Combat will be incredibly fast-paced, on the fly, and absolutely unforgiving. Yet players on this PS4 exclusive will be able to summon other players to help them during their dangerous and epic journey through a town plagued with madness. On a final note, this game is a dungeon RPG that can’t be beaten by normal hack-and-slash since if you run out of stamina, you can’t move and will probably die since this game is all about precise dodges and counters. This is my personal favorite exclusive that will be coming to either consoles. Here is a link to some awesome gameplay.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Kojima Productions (PS4, Xbone, PC, PS3, 360) 2015
Hideo Kojima, the mind behind the Metal Gear, series has been planning this game for about 28 years, and the story he has told through all of the previous games leads up to this final, climactic story intertwined with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This action-stealth game which created the stealth genre in past games of the franchise has a rumored world that is apparently 8 times larger than that of Grand Theft Auto V. The game follows Big Boss, a former green beret turned mercenary, who is out for vengeance against those who killed the people close to him and destroyed the place that he loved in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The game and story will be a tragedy, since from previous games, which take place in more current years than this games early 80′s timeline, we know that Big Boss ultimately becomes the villian through a long and painful transformation that leads to the deaths of thousands, including those close to him. The game will more than likely be rated M for Alcohol, Sexual Acts, Violence, Language, and brutal uber realistic gore and blood; not to mention things such as human trafficking, blood diamonds and child soldiers will all play a role in this game. For more information on the game that I am already betting will when game of the year, check out my Preview Article on The Roundup here and a great trailer here. Fantastic Fan Made compilation trailer here as well.