I’m kicking off this new year with a series of articles about the video games 2018 has in store for us. The first genre in line was the best represented genre in 2017 so the expectations are pretty high. Let’s have a look at some of the more interesting upcoming action games:
Release Date: January 23
Iconoclasts is a retro looking action adventure game following the story of Robin, a mechanic set on helping people. The world she lives in has been turned upside down since she picked up the wrench and now she has to fight to protect those she loves. The gameplay is a combination of 2D action platforming and puzzles taking place in over 10 different locations.
Iconoclasts is the work of indie developer Joakim Sandberg and has been in development in one form of another for close to 10 years. I’m hoping for a great game reminiscent of a gaming time gone that will reward the time and dedication put into making it.
A Way Out
Release Date: March 23
Formed by developers who previously worked on Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons, including the game’s director Josef Fares, Hazelight is working on their first game as a studio, A Way Out. This cinematic action adventure has been specifically designed for coop, following the story of two convicted prisoners who break out of prison and are on the run from the authorities. The gameplay focuses on the cooperation between players which will allows for different approaches for the various situations in the game.
While from a technical point A Way Out might not look so impressive, the bonding narrative that’s pushing players into cooperation is a rather unique gameplay approach. But what’s even more unique for the gaming industry is the fact that only one game copy will be required for two friends to play this together.
Release Date: March 31
Extinction is an action game in which the players take the role of the last surviving member of an ancient order fighting against giant ogres to protect humanity. Rescue refugees and defend cities against 150 feet tall monsters bent on destroying everything in their path. The gameplay feels inspired by Attack on Titan with verticality being one of its main aspects. Parkour and grappling will help the protagonist destroy the ogres’ armor opening their weak point, the head.
A story driven campaign with interactive environments and a bunch of game modes make Extinction an attractive package. We’ll just have to wait and see how Iron Galaxy’s new ambitious project will turn out.
Release Date: March
Crossing Souls is an odd beast, an action adventure game with an 80s movies vibe but vintage cartoony visuals. The story takes place in 1986 California when a group of friends discover a stone that allows them to travel between two realms which will throw them into the middle of a government conspiracy. The players will take control of five characters, each with their own skills, in order to solve puzzles and fight monsters within the context of a setting and narrative that ooze nostalgia.
Wizard of Legend
Release Date: Early 2018
Wizard of Legend was crowdfunded through Kickstarter in 2016 rising over $70.000. This rogue-lite action game emphasizes on reflexes using a fast-paced combat system with dynamic spells that can be used on the move allowing players to fight multiple enemies and avoid damage at the same time. So put on your mage hat and face the magical challenges of the Chaos Trial. Collect new spells and customize a magical arsenal fitting for your play style in a quest to achieve glory and become the Wizard of Legend.
SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption
Release Date: April 25
Dark Star Game, a new studio comprised of ex-Blizzard, Konami and Ubisoft developers and based in Hong Kong, is debuting with SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption. As a Souls-like game, this is a big undertake from a new studio, but the developers at Dark Star are putting their own spin on this subgenre, focusing on the boss battle aspect. The twist of SINNER is that before each battle the players will have to sacrifice a part of their stats. In order to compensate for this handicap a plethora of items and weapons will provide options to adapt to the existing weaknesses.
SINNER: Sacrifice of Redemption has an anime inspired artistic direction with a dash of gothic style and a story comprising of horror elements making for some atmospheric visuals. As there never seem be enough Souls-like games out there, SINNER is a most welcomed addition to this growing subgenre.
Release Date: Q3
Who would have thought that one day we’ll explore a medieval world inhabited by fish-powered robots? I for one didn’t, but Feudal Alloy is just that. A metroidvania action game with RPG elements set in a rather peculiar world. The game provides an interconnected world filled with quests, items and skills that will prepare the players for the various challenges ahead including boss battles.
Release Date: TBA, currently in Early Access
The rogue-lite metroidvania, Dead Cells, hardly needs any introduction. The game has been received with an overwhelmingly positive score after its Early Access launch on Steam.
Dead Cells has the players taking the role of a being that keeps coming back from the dead. As an immortal being, the protagonist is stuck in a loop exploring an ever-changing castle with a non-linear progression. Various monsters roam the hallways of the castle and its surroundings and a combat system heavily inspired by Dark Souls provides many means to defeat these opponents. Find new items, skills and weapons to increase your character’s power then die and start over taking advantage of a persistent progression system that will slowly but surely make things easier.
Combining interesting mechanics with a challenging gameplay and a gorgeous artistic direction, Dead Cells is one of the most promising action games coming out this year. Motion Twin must know by now that they have an ace in the sleeve and I’m curious to see what they will do with it.
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
Release Date: TBA
The latest action arcade flight game from Namco Bandai Entertainment is coming to PC. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown makes a return to Strangereal, the alternative universe of the series that’s inspired by our world. The players take the role of Trigger, an Osean pilot during the Osean-Erusea conflict in 2019. As the action takes the players to the skies, the story will be much more grounded presenting the political turmoil through detailed cutscenes. The gameplay will retain Ace Combat’s arcade style with a similar HUD and controls.
We do not know the current release date for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown but the game is expected to come out on Steam sometime this year.
Release Date: TBA
Reborn out of the regrettable Vigil Games, Gunfire Games is currently working on the much anticipated Darksiders III. The game returns to its action adventure roots with Fury as the protagonist as she goes to the post apocalyptic Earth to restore the balance by disposing of the Seven Deadly Sins. Fury is a whip wielding female and magic user, powers that she will have to unleash against the armies of demons roaming Earth. The game will feature an open-ended world filled with secrets that will require back and forth exploration. The combat has been improved taking a few notes out of the Dark Souls pages with timed dodges providing escape from the enemies’ move sets.
Like many others, I wanted the Darksiders series to continue and I’m glad that Gunfire Games has taken up on this task. Darksiders III is one of my most anticipated games of 2018 and I’m hoping it will set up the series for future games.
Release Date: TBA
Metroidvanian action games are leading charge in 2018 and Death’s Gambit is one of them. This action game with RPG elements has the players taking up the role of an agent of Death in a quest to end the eternal life on Leydia, an alien medieval planet. Explore a vast and varied world and fight against beasts, knights and horrors using a precise combat and a wide arsenal of weapons and abilities.
The combination of metroidvania and Souls gameplay mechanics seems to be the new growing trend and Death’s Gambit is one of the more interesting upcoming games based on this recipe.
Release Date: TBA
There isn’t much to say about Spelunky 2 as there isn’t much information out there. But the developers have confirmed the game is coming to Steam and being a sequel to the well received Spelunky we can expect more dungeon crawling and platforming based on rogue-lite gameplay.
Thunder Tier One
Release Date: TBA
Thunder Tier One is a top-down shooter that combines action with tactics. Play as an operator part of the task force Thunder in the late 80s and early 90s fighting the terrorist organization White Octopus in a 10 mission long campaign. Or jump on the multiplayer with a 4 player coop mode against AI or various PVP modes and take advantage of a full customization system using current military gear.
Thunder Tier One is in the works by fragOut Studio using Unreal Engine 4 and it’s coming to Steam’s Early Access this year.
This is a pretty impressive list of action games opening the road for a promising 2018. I’ll be taking a closer look to the other genres soon.