The Upcoming Action Games in 2017

by on January 25, 2017

 

                Action
games tend to mix the most gameplay elements from other genres and it’s only
natural that they represent the strongest roster of the year. New beginnings
and returning franchises mark an action packed 2017, let’s have a look:
Resident Evil 7
Release Date: 24 January
                The
Resident Evil series is not rebooted, but it is taken into a different
direction. While the two Revelations games and the remakes have brought the
series to a more balanced gameplay, the main titles have gone off the rail with
a more action oriented approach. Resident Evil 7 returns to the roots of the
series using Outlast and the famous PT demo as inspiration for its new first
person horror. Set after the events of Resident Evil 6, we will take the role
of a new protagonist trapped in a farmhouse haunted by the weird Baker family
and other horrific creatures. While the first-person gameplay is going to be a
hit or miss with the diehard fans of the series, the focus on survival horror
and puzzles instead of combat should ease up the transition. Capcom has confirmed
the game ties up with the whole Resident Evil universe and even familiar
characters might be met and I’m quite curious to see how this turns out.
Resident Evil 7 is a strong year
opening and for those wondering how the new changes work, there is a demo
available on Steam.
Diluvion
Release Date: February 2
                Diluvion
is a Jules Verne inspired action game in which players take the captain’s
mantle of submarine to explore the depths of the sea fighting anomalies and
forgotten creatures.
                Players
will be in charge of an upgradeable submarine and its crew managing resources
and recruiting new members to face the horrors of the depths and uncover long
lost secrets. The game will have 9 submarines to choose from and a variety of
characters, each with their own specialization, skills and personalities. A
home base will house all the off-duty personnel and the old submarines while
providing various opportunities from visiting NPCs.
                Diluvion
promises 10 hours of action combat, thrilling adventures and a unique
exploration in a lovely combination of 2D and 3D graphics.
For Honor
Release Date: February 14
                For
Honor is a medieval action game focused on melee combat and presenting a three-way
war between cultures that haven’t been in a historical conflict. The game has
three campaigns featuring samurais, Vikings and knights and a progression based
online PvP in which players get to choose between multiple classes for each
faction. The gameplay is combat oriented using a control system called the Art
of Battle which has a locking on target system which allows attacking and
defending from the target using stances.
                                My experience in the Alpha tests
of Ubisoft’s For Honor wasn’t great. No dedicated servers, poor mouse support,
clunky multi-target combat and a hideous UI have taken a good deal of enjoyment
out of the game. But there is still time to turn around some of these issues.
On the bright side of things, For Honor seems to have a lot of content in store
for the players and more coming freely after launch in a similar way with
Rainbow Six Siege. The problems met during the test phases remind me of The
Division, but medieval action games are a rarity nowadays and for that reason For
Honor better turn out good.
Sniper Elite 4
Release Date: February 14
                World
War II doesn’t seem to end for Karl Fairburne as he is sent to fight in yet
another mission now helping the Italian resistance to overthrow the Fascist
leadership.
                Sniper
Elite 4 will have the players engage in a singleplayer or 2man co-op campaign
to help the Allies from the shadows by eliminating targets from afar while enjoying
the x-ray kill camera and sneaking through intricate levels which allow various
approaches adding to the replay value. The game will also feature an
adversarial multiplayer for those that feel the need for competition.
                Sniper
Elite 3 was a big improvement for the series and the 4th installment
is building up on that with bigger levels, a more refined gameplay and better
graphics to deliver a sniping experience which can be either arcady or a more
simulator oriented based on the player’s preferences.
Berserk and
the Band of the Hawk
Release Date: February 21
                Following
on the footsteps of Attack on Titan and Steins;Gate, the popular manga Berserk which
was adapted in a short but awesome anime is receiving its own game.
                Berserk
and the Band of the Hawk, which has already been released for PS3 in Japan, is
a Hack & Slash action game following the manga’s story starting with the
Golden Age Arc. Players will be able to choose between characters, each with
their own special abilities, and fight in large arenas against hordes of demons
and various other enemies including epic bosses.
                Berserk
and the Band of the Hawk will follow Guts’ story as well as feature an endless
survival mode with Infinite Eclipse in which players can test their skill
against endless waves of enemies.
Tom
Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
Release Date: March 7
                A game
featuring Tom Clancy’s name doesn’t mean what it used to since Rainbow Six
Vegas was released and based on the gameplay videos of Wildlands, neither does
Ghost Recon. But such is the fate of many franchises which are being used for
their popularity to advertise newer and sometimes different games.
                Tom
Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open world action game set in Bolivia
where a team of ghosts is fighting a 4-man battle against the drug cartels. Following
the current trend, Wildlands will feature a campaign that can be played either
solo with the help of an AI controlled team or in co-op with up to 3 other
players. As there is a brutal battle ahead, the ghosts will use any means
necessary to take down the cartel in a gameplay that allows for total freedom.
Stealth, tactical approaches or guns blazing are options which can be employed
by the players and their team. From the tactical approaches to the drivable
vehicles or the leveling system, the players are in control to do as they see
fit and free Bolivia from the drugs yoke.
                Wildlands
might be a streamlined version of what Ghost Recon used to be and its marketing
campaign has had some ups and downs, but its gameplay and unique environment
can still turn it into  a good game, if
not, the co-op will surely make this worth it for some players.
Styx:
Shards of Darkness
Release Date: March 14
                The goblin
assassin/thief is back and this time around he is not alone. Styx has brought
reinforcements in case he gets lonely as the Shards of Darkness story can be
experienced in solo mode or 2 player co-op.
                Styx’s
new mission will have him traversing the lands of the dwarfs and climbing over
the city of the elves in multilayered open world levels created with the power
of Unreal Engine 4. The goblin has obtained new weapons and powers to deal with
the dangerous task at hand allowing for more creative approaches in any
situation.
                The story
and the world seem to be deeply explored in Shards of Darkness and the new
graphics make it easy on the eye, but the most impactful improvement comes from
the new movement animations which don’t seem share the clunkiness of the
predecessor. Master of Shadows was a first step in the right direction and the
continuation of Styx’s saga is shaping up to be more and more as the
action-stealth game that those growing up with the Thief series are expecting.
Tokyo 42
Release Date: Early 2017
                A
little bit of Grand Theft Auto, a little bit of Syndicate and a clean artistic
direction is the recipe behind Tokyo 42 by SMAC Games
                The
game is about an assassin attempting to uncover a global conspiracy using stealth
or straight up fighting to navigate through colorful and intricately designed levels
populated with NPCs behaving realistically. Controlled jumps, bullet physics
and crowd simulation are mechanics upholding the gameplay that can turn from a
stealth simulation to a frenetic bullet dodging in a moment.
                Tokyo
42 is taking advantage of its clean yet detailed graphics to provide multilayered
levels to deliver a game that is following on the footsteps of its inspiration.
Sundered
Release Date: July
                Sundered
is a Metroidvania action game with 2D hand drawn graphics and a story delving
deep in eldritch secrets from the creators of Jotun.
                In
Sundered we will play as Eshe and explore a vertical ruined world filled with
eldritch horror while battling powerful creatures and bosses using 7 major
abilities. Resist or embrace is the thematic of the game as we can choose to
try and withstand the corruption or embrace it to gain power at the price of our
humanity.
                Sundered
already had a release on sight, but the developers have launched a Kickstarter
campaign this month giving backers access to multiple phases of testing to
narrow down any problems and further enrich the game with content.
EVERSPACE
Release Date: Q2, currently in Early Access
                In the
midst of spatial games hysteria, ROCKFISH Games takes a sidestep creating
something unexpected. EVERSPACE is an action space game launched in Early
Access featuring a roguelite game mode with a persistent progression system.
Currently, the players can choose between 2 ships and use 6DOF controls to
explore a visually stunning galaxy while fighting against various enemy
factions and scavenging for resources in order to upgrade their ships.
                I’ve played EVERSPACE and while
the game severely lacked variety in gameplay, I thought it was a promising
title that could get really good if the developers played their cards right.
The game is set for a release this year and the final version should include a
non-linear story, VR support, one additional ship and a Hardcore mode.
Assassin’s
Creed Empire
Release Date: TBA
                After a
break of almost two years the Assassin’s Creed is ready to come back as part of
Ubisoft’s main games and rumors say it will take us to ancient Egypt.
                The
developers have taken this time to rethink and redefine some of the gameplay
elements of the series which have went deep into action territory with little room
left for stealth. I’m curious to see what this entails for the new game and how
the new setting will turn out, Egypt being a rare sight for most genres other
than strategies.
Below
Release Date: TBA
                Below
has been on every upcoming games list I’ve made so far and was supposed to come
out last summer before it was postponed indefinitely. Is this the year it will
finally be released?
                The
game is a neat mix between action, adventure, survival and roguelike which has
the players exploring the procedurally generated depths of an island through an
extremely zoomed out top-down camera that’s inducing a feeling of loneliness
and fear. A small warrior lost in a labyrinthine place has to scavenge and
fight for his survival in a place lurking with mysterious creatures.
                It was
love at first sight seeing Below’s concept and artistic direction in the first
trailer years ago and I’m really hoping this project isn’t lost in development
hell and makes its way to us this year.
Divide
Release Date: TBA
                Exploding
Tuba Studios is working on Divide, an isometric action adventure with a
gameplay that doesn’t hold by the hand. Set in a futuristic world where the
truth is hidden beneath deep layers of lies and misinformation, Divide will
have the players drawing their own conclusions from each text and dialogue.
With the odds stacked against the players, sneaking and hacking seem like a
good way to get past enemies and the large combat areas, but if things get out
of control, advanced side-arms might help in solving the problem.
                Playing
like a sci-fi dungeon crawler, Divide combines action and adventure with an
interesting take on narrative to deliver the kind of gameplay we don’t see
often.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Release Date: TBA
                Ninja
Theory, the creators of DmC: Devil May Cry, have been working for a while on an
action game which has been described as an indie AAA. Hellblade: Senua’s
Sacrifice follows the Celtic warrior Senua in a journey through the Vikings
lands as she has to deal with psychosis which causes manifestation of hellish
creatures in a blurred line between reality and nightmare. Hellblade will focus
on delivering a deep and meaningful story presenting Senua’s struggle as well
as a challenging combat that should remind players of games like Dark Souls.
                The
developers have put a lot of time, resources and effort into making Senua a
believable character with motion capture being a big part of the development
process. The gameplay hasn’t been detailed in any video since 2015 which does raise
some questions, but with the release approaching we might find more about the
game soon.
Hitman –
Season 2
Release Date: TBA
                Hitman,
my last year’s GOTY, is not done yet. While regularly releasing free content
Io-Interactive is going to capitalize on the new successful formula by
expanding the game with a new season. Hitman is already a content rich game
that has a ton of replay value, but the story hasn’t been concluded. There is
an unfinished business in Paris and many other targets left in the world that
will take Agent 47 to new locations with new challenges and rewards.
Hitman Season 2 will continue the
story in the same episodic format and it is safe to assume that it will contain
at least 6 episodes and more elusive targets to deal with.
Ruiner
Release Date: TBA
                Reikon
Games is debuting with an extremely promising title. Ruiner is a violent
isometric action game set in a cyberpunk city controlled by a corrupt system
forcing a sociopath to take a stand. The highlight is a lightning fast combat
system combining reflexes with a tactical slow motion that can provide the edge
during the toughest fights. Players will have to balance a wide variety of
sci-fi gadgets with melee and ranged weapons to strike down ruthless enemies in
the path to uncover the truth.
                Ruiner
is a good looking game with an intriguing premise and a combat system that
looks amazing and frustratingly hard at the same time. So, naturally, I can’t
wait to see what this game has to offer!
State of Decay 2
Release Date: TBA
                Arcady,
buggy and abandoned by the developers, State of Decay is still one of the best
singleplayer zombie apocalypse survival games I’ve played. The idea of a sequel
makes me happy while the possibility of being Windows 10 exclusive worries me.
                State
of Decay 2 is a survival game where players have to take care of a community
and fight for survival in a world ravaged by a zombie outbreak, but not by themselves.
The game comes with the highly anticipated co-op mode with a support for up to
4 players to deal with the zombie apocalypse in a more organized and fun way.
                Building
and fortifying the base, scavenging for resources, character’s progression,
upgrades and a community management system, State of Decay 2 has them all plus
much more and it will hopefully include a Steam launch.
                I’ve
been working on this list for days writing about games I’m expecting, digging
for new ones and remembering some that have been forgotten and the end result
is more than satisfying. Not every genre is as highly represented as this one,
but it’s hard not to find something appealing on this list that can inspire
great hopes for this gaming year.
See also:
Nodrim