Press Start: Five games I can't wait to see in 2016
It's a new year, which means gamers' backlogs are bigger than ever, thanks to the avalanche of games that descends upon fans during the holiday season. But with a fresh year come new games to look forward to, and 2016 is shaping up to be just as exciting for gamers as last year.
Here are the games I'm most looking forward to throughout the year.
Note: This list doesn't include any games with unconfirmed 2016 release dates. Video game delays are far too common to warrant including those without a nailed-down release date in my list.
“Far Cry Primal”
“Far Cry 4” didn't change much of the formula that made “Far Cry 3” such a hit. With an open tropical world to explore, towers to climb and settlements to overtake, players had plenty to do in 2014's entry in the series, even if it didn't feel much different than its predecessor.
One difference, though, were flashbacks to a trippy, ancient world in which the player hunts down enemies with an old bow and a saber-toothed cat companion. Apparently those brief segments sparked the idea to make an entire game set in prehistoric times.
“Far Cry Primal” will tell the tale of Takkar, a hunter who gains the ability to tame wild animals and eventually leads his own tribe. The new setting alone is enough to get me excited. (How many games let you play as a caveman?) But it's “Far Cry's” fun gameplay that will keep me interested once the game releases this February.
Since I first saw the premiere gameplay trailer for “The Division” during E3 years ago, I thought the game might be too good to be true.
After a virus ravages New York City, players are placed into an open world to restore order. What's so enticing is that “The Division's” world seems to be completely dynamic and nearly limitless in the lifelike freedom it grants players.
You can meet up with friends to take on missions, forcing you to either cooperate with or attack any other player groups you come across. It's even possible for your own friends to betray you in the chaos of battle and make off with any goodies for themselves, which I'm sure will be healthy for gamers' relationships.
We haven't learned enough about “The Division” to know if it can live up to what its trailers imply, but I don't care. I'm thrilled, and I can't wait to check this game out for myself.
“Hitman” will be the first main game in the third-person assassination series since 2012's “Hitman: Absolution” and the first entry on current-gen consoles, so I'm obviously stoked for what's in store.
If 2016's “Hitman” is anything like “Absolution,” players will enjoy various levels that play out like puzzles and allow for creativity to reach and take down targets. Whether you're running and gunning or doing your best to sneak through a mission to make an assassination look like a tragic accident, the games' freedom make them so fun to play over and over again.
“Hitman” might not feature many new mechanics, but as long as it's fun as “Absolution,” I won't mind.
“Mirror's Edge Catalyst”
The original “Mirror's Edge” became a cult classic of sorts when it released for last-gen consoles in 2008. It's been far too long, but fans will finally get their hands on a prequel when “Mirror's Edge Catalyst” releases in May.
“Mirror's Edge” wasn't your typical first-person shooter. Set in a futuristic city with inexplicable red accents everywhere, player character Faith parkours her way across buildings and fights through hordes of guards in an attempt to overthrow corrupt corporations that run the city.
The original game featured some gunplay, but most combat was reduced to melee scuffles. In “Catalyst,” shooting has been removed entirely, which isn't a bad thing; the shooting in the first game was honestly its most boring part.
“Catalyst” will feature an open world that players can explore fully, unlike the linear levels of the original entry. I can't wait to run across rooftops, jump between buildings and inevitably fall to my death over and over again when it releases this May.
“Deus Ex: Mankind Divided”
I'm kind of a newcomer to the “Deus Ex” series, but “Mankind Divided” looks like a promising game even for those who have never touched the series.
In a futuristic setting where people enhance their bodies with technology called augmentations, tensions have risen between those who have modified themselves and so-called “normals.” It's up to player character Adam Jensen to help restore order.
The latest game, “Human Revolution,” allowed players to upgrade Jensen's many abilities as they saw fit to play how they wanted. If you're more into stealth, you could upgrade Jensen's sneaking skills, for instance.
Not only did the game allow fans to beat the game their own way, going so far as to make it possible to reach the end credits without killing a single enemy, but the players' actions and choices throughout the story determined the story's conclusion. If “Mankind Divided” is anything like its predecessor, fans will find freedom to play how they want and multiple endings and plot threads to explore, giving the game immense replay value.
Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.