With the year 2016 coming to a close in only a handful of months (it’s already the end of August, folks!), it’s almost that time of the year which has gamers panicking at the realization that some of the year’s most anticipated games have yet to come out. The end of the year is always a big time for video game releases and when it rains, it pours video games that strip our precious bank accounts of all that money we’ve been saving throughout the year. There are still a lot of video games I want to buy this year, some that have already passed me by and some that have yet to release. Looking through my gaming “want list” and realizing that it’s almost September yet I haven’t even scratched the surface of progress in working through the backlog of games that I want but don’t own yet is shocking. It’s even more shocking to scroll down my list and see that this year still has a lot to offer, making my backlog even grander. With so much already behind me, I’m trying to focus on what I want most and what has yet to be released. What games are must-haves for me as the year 2016 draws to a close?
Bioshock: The Collection (September 13, 2016)
The Bioshock Collection had been heavily rumored long before its official announcement, but nonetheless I was ecstatic at the news of a remastered Bioshock Collection officially on the horizon. Of course, this isn’t always the best of news. We’ve all seen remastered games that look barely touched up and feature nothing of note other than a higher resolution version of the older game. Thankfully that wasn’t the case with the Bioshock Collection. The evidence lies in the recently released comparison trailer, seen below.
That, folks, is how you remaster older games. My overjoyed disposition due to the fact that one of my favorite video game series of all time is getting a remastered collection on current gen consoles was only given new life by the footage seen in this trailer. With that, I am eagerly awaiting September 13 – which is also the day ReCore comes out, which I plan to buy but am not nearly as excited for.
Also, now’s the time for my all time favorite game series to be remastered as such in the near future so here’s looking at you Bioware *nudge nudge*.
Overwatch’s New Map, Eichenwald, and Ranked Season 2 (Release date TBA)
Sure, this isn’t a game per-se but given my overwhelming love for all things Overwatch it is definitely a must-have nonetheless. A couple of weeks ago at GamesCom 2016 Blizzard announced a new map, Eichenwald, for Overwatch and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Check out the beautiful trailer for it below.
The release date for Eichenwald is still unannounced but they said it would be “soon” so I am hoping it comes out around the time Ranked Season 2 goes live in September. Season 2 of Ranked play is another thing I am really excited for. The Overwatch team recently posted a video which detailed many of the changes and updates involved in Season 2. Given that I had a lot of beef with Season 1 it was nice to see that a lot of the things I was upset about are being changed in great ways, so that’s a huge plus for me. For more details on Season 2 check out the video below.
Gears of War 4 (October 11, 2016)
Oh man, Gears of War 4 is another title I have been eagerly awaiting. You know, when the Xbox One was originally announced I claimed that it was unlikely that I’d ever buy one unless a new Gears game was to be released. I bought one long before Gears 4 was even announced, which is great because that allowed me to play Rise of the Tomb Raider, but the fact that the only game I really wanted at the time for this platform was a Gears game should tell you a bit about my excitement for the new title in this series.
I am really digging that we are to play as JD Fenix, son of Anya and Marcus Fenix, in this game. The setting and plot (from what little we know) seem pretty cool too. Plus, there are some interesting new companions which appear to rival even the past greats like Dom and the Cole Train. I was able to play the Gears 4 multiplayer beta earlier in the year and it was so brilliant. I found that it played a lot more like Gears 3 than like Judgement, which was an initial concern of mine given that I didn’t much care for Judgement but loved the gameplay in Gears 3. Overall, this game is definitely on my must-have list for obvious reasons.
Rise of the Tomb Raider on PS4 (October 11, 2016)
Speaking of Rise of the Tomb Raider, another must-have for me is the upcoming PS4 release of the game which is aptly titled “Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration” due to the fact that this year is the 20th anniversary of the first Tomb Raider game. This edition of the game comes with all kinds of goodies such as skins from previous games for Lara and even new DLC content which allows you to explore Lara’s infamous mansion as well as fight the undead!
Even after having already played the game multiple times on the Xbox One, I am still excited for the PS4 release of Rise of the Tomb Raider. More details for what is included and whatnot can be found on the PlayStation Blog.
The Last Guardian (October 23, 2016)
Firstly I’d like to issue a semi pre-mature “IN YOUR FACE!” to all the people who have told me to give up hope on The Last Guardian over the years. I never stopped believing that it would be released one day, regardless of how long it took for that day to come, so all the haters can have a taste of just desserts come October 23. Alright, now that I’ve said my piece in those regards on to my thoughts about this must-have game.
I have a few reservations about this title, much like I do with Final Fantasy XV, which mostly center around the simple knowledge that it’s atypical for a game that has been in development this long to come out being as brilliant as we all hoped it would be. A lot of that has to do with time and how our minds build things up over time into these grand ideas which may or may not come to fruition. The game may be fantastic but will it live up to the sheer hype that has been building up over the years? We wont know until it is released but I’m still very much looking forward to playing this game. I mean just look at that big dog/bird thing, it’s ADORABLE!
Skyrim: Special Edition (October 28, 2016)
I don’t have much to say about this other than that, like the Bioshock Collection, it looks absolutely amazing. I of course played plenty of Skyrim on my Xbox 360 way back when it originally came out and eventually bored myself to near death with it. That was years ago though and now that I see the game looking so top-notch, I’m interested in buying it again and getting back into the world of Skyrim. Check out the comparison trailer below and tell me you don’t feel the same.
Dishonored 2 (November 11, 2016)
I’ll be the first to admit that I was not as head over heels with the first Dishonored as everyone else seems to be. I thought it was a good game, it had a good story and an intriguing main character with a neat gameplay style, but it didn’t truly blow my mind. That being said, I’m actually surprisingly interested in Dishonored 2. I think a lot of that has to do not only with the new gameplay features and narrative but also with the simple fact that Emily is one of the playable characters. I wont even try to sugar coat it for all the devil’s advocates or anti-diversity folks out there: I enjoy games more when I am given the option to play as a female character. Plain and simple. Being able to play as someone I identify with on that level is important to me. Plus, Emily looks like a really awesome character now that she’s all grown up and kicking ass on her own.
Watch Dogs 2 (November 18, 2016)
Another game I liked but didn’t love was Watch Dogs; though this is one opinion I seem to not be as alone in having. It was a good game, or at least had good parts (most of which had to do with the gameplay), but lacked a lot of staying power. Most of this was due to having one of gaming history’s most boring protagonists leading the entire game. Who is Aiden Pearce, one might ask? One should not really care who he is, to be honest, as he was so one-dimensional and bland that I forget what he even looks like. Once Watch Dogs 2 was announced and showcased a new, more interesting protagonist my interest was immediately piqued.
I mean look at that cast. I don’t even know them and they already look ten times more interesting than anyone in the first game. Plus, let me again refuse to sugar coat this, I really appreciate the fact that the main character is a Black man. Diversity is super crucial and part of what makes games appeal to a broader base of people as well as deliver new points of view and experiences, making video games better. Most of what made Pearce so bland in the first game was that he was the typical, white, “every man” of video game protagonists. His backstory was typical, his motivations were typical (for a video game) and even his appearance (now that I’ve googled him and refreshed my mind with what he actually looks like) was typical. Now for all I know they will make the characters in Watch Dogs 2 just as typical, but given what they have shown I think that is extremely unlikely. After seeing the gameplay trailer they released for the game at E3 I can already tell that these new characters will be a lot more interesting than those in Watch Dogs, so here’s hoping that this game will live up to its “must-have” status on my list.
Hellblade (Release Date TBA)
Hellblade is supposedly releasing this year according to GameInformer’s list of upcoming games, but no official date has been announced. I have had my eye on this title for a while now and even wrote an article awhile back about how Hellblade tackles the heavy topic of mental illness. I went into more detail in that article about why I find this game so interesting so check that out if you are interested.
All I’ll say for now is that I truly hope this game is released this year because it looks really fantastic and I have been looking forward to it for a good while now. Regardless of when it comes out, Hellblade is definitely a must-have game.
Outlast 2 (Release Date TBA)
Another game that is reported to come out this year but has yet to receive an official release date is Outlast 2. This game is one of the must-haviest must-haves on my list as I absolutely loved the first game and have really been amazed at what they have shown of this upcoming title.
I just love horror games and Outlast’s brand of horror (as well as the specific horror sub-genre of the game) is just the tops. Here’s hoping this game does indeed come out this year because I’ll be pretty upset if I have to wait much longer for Outlast 2.
There are plenty of other games coming out this year that I plan on purchasing, but these are just the ones that I will not be passing up come release day. These are the games that I simply must have here in the bottom quarter of 2016. What about you, though? What games are all of you looking forward to at the end of 2016? I could always use some new games to add to my ever-growing list (insert laughing but crying emoji here).