Goodbye 2016, you won’t be missed. Yes, it was a year we’d all like to forget on many levels, even for video games.
Yeah, “Gears of War 4” and "Uncharted 4" came out, as did the usual first-person shooter installments, but none were as influential as their predecessors. The indie games were solid as usual, but only numbered a handful (“Firewatch,” “Superhot,” and “Inside,” the best game of last year).
“The Division” was a hot mess when it came out (it has somewhat redeemed itself) and so was “No Man’s Sky” (it hasn’t redeemed itself). “Overwatch” was probably the biggest hit, but I can only play so much of an online mutiplayer-only video game. I need more action. I need more suspense. I need more "Mass Effect."
Good news, 2017 should have all of that in spades. Including “Mass Effect.” Here are my most anticipated video games of 2017 (in no specific order):
“Mass Effect: Andromeda”
March 21 (PS4, Xbox One, Windows)
To infinity and beyond. Literally. Set well after the end of “Mass Effect 3,” humans are searching for a new home. Luckily for the Milky Way inhabitants, there is a neighboring galaxy not too far from us: Andromeda (about 2.5 million light years away to be specific). In the game, you are the Pathfinder, tasked with exploring the alien worlds of the Andromeda Galaxy in hopes of finding a new place to live. Expect mystery, wonder and excitement.
“Horizon Zero Dawn”
Feb. 28 (PS4)
If galaxy-hopping isn’t your cup of science-fiction tea, let the open-world of “Horizon Zero Dawn” fill your sci-fi needs. You play as Aloy, who has been sheltered for much of her life and sets out to explore a world she has been told is filled with danger. This looks like a gorgeous action role-playing game from Guerrilla Games. It has the potential of being “The Witcher 3,” but in a tech-induced apocalyptic world. Also, did I mention it has robotic dinosaurs? Because it has robotic dinosaurs.
“Halo Wars 2”
Feb. 21 (Xbox One, Windows)
Yes, I’m a sucker for real-time strategy games. (And seemingly for sci-fi adventures depending on how this list is going.) To leave out “Halo Wars 2” would be an injustice. The original was my favorite spin-off game from the classic series, proving that you can do strategy game controls on a console controller. Promising an all new story and coming from the current trilogies’ developers (343 Industries) and “Total War” series creators (Creative Assembly), rest assured that this will be the strategy game you won’t want to miss.
“Red Dead Redemption 2”
Fall 2017 (PS4, Xbox One)
Arguably one of the best games on the last generation consoles, “Red Dead Redemption” was an open-world western classic. Little is known about the upcoming sequel. Rockstar Studios released a short sizzle reel of in-game footage as well as imagery harking to “The Magnificent Seven.” If they can marry their story and action-adventure expertise with an updated rugged and brutal wilderness, look out. “Red Dead Redemption 2” has the chance to be an epic for the ages.
March 7 (PS4, Windows)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a game from Square Enix. “Nier: Automata” is an upcoming action-RPG from developer PlatinumGames. Set in a bleak world, humans are nearly extinct and are forced to fight for their survival against machines created by otherworldly invaders. Yes, I know, highly cliché. But what has me most intrigued is the action. In a recent demo, the smooth and varied combat system was the star of the show. If Platinum and Square can avoid being too heavy-handed on the story and let the combat shine, this may be a surprise for 2017.
Honorable mentions (in no specific order)
“Resident Evil 7: Biohazard” — Jan. 24 (PS4, Xbox One, Windows)
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” — TBD 2017 (Nintendo Switch, Wii U)
“South Park: The Fractured but Whole” — Q1 2017 (PS4, Xbox One, Windows)
“What Remains of Edith Finch” — Q2 2017 (PS4, Windows)
“Absolver” — TBD 2017 (PS4, Xbox One, Windows, Linux, Mac)
“Little Nightmares” — Spring 2017 (PS4, Xbox One, Windows)
“Nioh” — Feb. 9 (PS4)
“For Honor” — Feb. 14 (PS4, Xbox One, Windows)