13) Nier: Automata
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release Date: March 7th
This spot on the list was originally going to go to Scalebound, but after the sad news of its cancellation, we’ve had to steer the ship towards new waters. Enter Nier: Automata, an action RPG and the long-awaited follow-up to the 2010 original. Ironically, like Scalebound, this one’s a PlatinumGames title too, but we’re confident it’ll reach store shelves unscathed.
You play as 2B, a female android sporting an enormous sword and aided by another robot in a dystopian otherworld-y setting. The dress is short, the sword is oversized and the suggestive symbolism is in full effect here.
Automata sports the series’ characteristic dark, foreboding atmosphere but expands the world beyond the linear confines of the original with a sandbox to explore allowing for “seamless transition.” There are the customary RPG mechanics, full-bodied action to boot and a desire to break ground with this one.
Look out, because Automata is shaping up to be a true sleeper hit.
12) Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
Release date: 7 March
A new Tom Clancy game is set for release in 2017 in the form of Wildlands, an open-world romp situated in the forests of Bolivia. You’re an elite soldier in charge of a small team of crack commandos deployed to disrupt the big bad cartels. Surprise, surprise, the smugglers are colluding with shady government agents, resulting in bloodshed aplenty.
Directed by Dominic Butler, lead level designer on Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Wildlands is a slice of open-world fun that, while not inherently original, is worth looking out for in the year ahead. There’s the opportunity of wading into battle with squadmates at your side and issuing commands on-the-fly as you experiment with gameplay styles, and thanks to an enormous open world – a veritable playground – you’re sure to brush shoulders with emergent gameplay moments.
Wildlands might not be too unique, but it’s shaping up to be good old fun, and sometimes, that’s all we really need.