Well if you have read my last post you’ll see that I firmly believe that gamers were spoiled rotten in 2015. The likes of Metal Gear Solid 5 and Fallout 4 made it a year to remember so when I say that 2016 will be even better you’ll need to take my word for it! This year looks to be a good year for both new IP’s and continuing franchises which is a huge plus for gaming in general. Over the past few years franchises have ruled the roost with a good number of 2015’s best games being continuations of franchises started decades ago.

So with that said I’m glad that this year we can look forward to some great looking new IP’s that seem to have a lot of promise on face value, only time will tell if they can compete with the established big boys. Anyway without further delay here are the games I am most excited about this year. They are by no means the only ones but they are the games I’ll be getting on day one and sinking a hell of a lot of hours into.

X-Com 2

Platform: PC

Release Date: February 5th 

Developer: Firaxis Games

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First I have to admit that I don’t play PC games that much, maybe the odd dive into Civ 5 or Endless Space now and again but the one series I have always followed and enjoyed is the X-com games. I love the concept that you are put in control of a secret organisation to fight an alien invasion and having to capture live aliens and shoot down UFO’s to develop new technologies to fight them. This is as close to being Zed from Men in Black as your going to get.

The great thing is X-com 2 comes on the back of the fantastic reboot that Jake Solomon and the team at Firaxis gave us in X-com Enemy Unknown and the expansion Enemy Within. They brought the turn based game back into the modern gaming scene and injected a new lease of life to a beloved franchise that many of us had thought died a long time ago.

I’m very excited about this game and I’m sure it will be a hit. I’ll be putting my Top Men on this one…. My Top Men.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Platform: Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC

Release Date: August 23rd

Developer: Eidos Montreal

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With the pedigree it had to live up to Deus Ex: Human Revolution did a hell of a good job reinvigorating the series from its PC roots and bringing the cyberpunk role playing game to a new generation. Deus Ex has always emphasised freedom and Human Revolution did that very well, if you ignore the boss fights anyway. It also gave us a good story to build on and a new protagonist in Adam Jensen to craft the new series around.

Mankind Divided takes place several years after the events of Human Revolution and the gravelly voiced Jensen is back to investigate another divide between those with augmentations and those without. Visually the game looks stunning and the art direction carries on from the Cyber renaissance that Human Revolution introduced, an art style I absolutely loved and cannot wait to jump back into. With new weapons, improved combat and new augmentations this looks to be a certain buy for lovers of role playing games and shooters alike.

Really want this game to be here now, I expect this to be a very well received release and will get some good scores.

Far Cry Primal

Platform: Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC

Release Date: February 23rd

Developer: Ubisoft

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Far Cry is one of those rare games that mixes open world with pure shooter brilliance, Far Cry 3 and 4 were perfect examples of first person shooter games done right. They offered a great action shooter experience, a good sized open world to play in and the flexibility that meant you could go in sneaky or guns blazing and either way you wouldn’t be punished for it. It’s very rare today a game gets all 3 of those right. They even offered a half decent story and multiplayer so no wonder they are cash cows now for Ubisoft.

Thankfully despite the success the games have had that hasn’t stopped Ubisoft taking one hell of a risk with Far Cry Primal and for those thinking that taking away guns from a shoot em up is not a risk then you need your head looking into. That being cleared up I think Primal will do just fine. Yes the gunplay in previous Far Cry games has been excellent but better still is the adventure itself, I always purposely try not to use a gun in my Far Cry playthroughs because using my Bow or my machete is just makes for a far better experience.

Primal will place more emphasis on hunting, tracking, outpost capture and crafting that will take us back to the pre historic era. Taming and using wild animals is a new feature I’m particularly looking forward to in the franchises 5th installment.

I cannot wait to stalk Sabertooth Tigers and wooly Mammoths in prehistoric times with a stone tipped spear, I expect big things and i’m confident Primal will deliver.

Hitman

Platform: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Release Date: March 11th

Developer: IO Interactive

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Apart from the two disgraceful movies there is not much about the Hitman universe I don’t like. The games give players an incredible freedom that most games lack and the games that do offer it don’t do half as well. How many games give you a target and a free pass to get the job done how you like. Poison the food go ahead, blow up their car sure, disguise your self as a cop then go in guns blazing that’s fine too. Hell if you can think it Hitman allows you to use it as a tactic and I love that in games.

Hitman has always been a thinking man’s game and by all accounts this looks to be exactly how developer IO interactive is building the franchise’s latest installment. Bigger sandboxes to play in and more ways to achieve that all elusive perfect hit are all what are instore for us. One new addition I am looking forward to is time sensitive missions, according to developers these are rare one time hits that are challenging and require all your skills to accomplish. These will be a  sort of free limited time DLC for players that will extend the lifespan of the game.

Cannot wait!

Crackdown 3

Platform: Xbox One

Release Date: TBA

Developer: Reagent Games, Microsoft Studios

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Apparently the game that turns the Xbox One into the most powerful console in the world by utilising cloud computing technology, something that was meant to be apart of the Xbox One framework from the start. Crackdown for those of you who do not know puts you in control of a super cop in the future then drops you into a huge city full of gun toting mobsters with an itchy trigger finger. The latest installment boasts a city that is fully destructible hence the need for cloud computing.

The reason I’m looking forward to this game is to see just what the Xbox One can really do. I have played the previous Crackdown games and they are fun but they are not anything to write home about, nothing in them that other games have done better. Crackdown 3 is a tech demo on a huge scale and the developers are hoping bigger and more destruction is better, weather this is true or not only time can tell.

I have some reservations but i’m looking forward to see where this game might take us and hopefully it isn’t just a proof of concept for cloud gaming, keep an eye on it for sure.

Quantum Break

Platform: Xbox One

Release Date: April 5th

Developer: Remedy Entertainment

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A game where you’re given the chance to manipulate time itself to your advantage, just saying that gets me all warm and fuzzy inside. This was one of the games that was first shown off when Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One and it’s a game I have been looking forward to for a long time. Also it’s a game notorious for the constant and numerous delays that it has seen.

Saying that it is looking like we will see the game in 2016…..fingers crossed anyway.

There’s been a lot of gameplay videos about Quantum Break and they do look very good giving the character you control the ability to use time powers(love saying that) while playing what looks like a solid cover based shooter. As well as the game there is meant to be a live action tv series that will follow the game’s story for another point of view, again it looks pretty good. My only reservation is games like this that have been delayed so much are normally over hyped and while I do think this game is worth playing, I don’t think it will be an absolute masterpiece to justify the development hell it has found itself in.

Looking forward to this one but it’s been a long wait, I hope the game has more to offer than just Shawn Ashmore being the main character.

Mass Effect Andromada 

Platform: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC

Release Date: December

Developer: Bioware

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Those of you who have read some of my previous articles on Throwing Digital Sheep will know just how much the Mass Effect series means to me. Bioware’s epic space opera is a masterpiece and I firmly believe the series showcases everything great about video gaming. It ticks every box for me from a great story, cinematic moments that rival Hollywood, memorable characters and much much more. Ofcourse the series is by no means perfect and to me that helps solidify its greatness, the games are well loved despite the flaws and there are not many games that can do that now a days.

So the fact that I say I am both excited beyond imagination and terrified about the series latest installment is an understatement. Mass Effect Andromada takes place in the Andromeda Galaxy with a whole new ship, crew and main character to hopefully fall in love with once more.

While I do have faith in Bioware to deliver a glorious new Mass Effect era I have my reservations. Most of all being the lack of Casey Hudson the previous trilogy’s point man being out of the picture along with a completely new studio developing the game. Also the fact that Bioware says they will be ignoring the whole backstory of the previous trilogy and Commander Shepard’s sacrifice.

Although I have concerns about a game series I love, Mass Effect Andromeda is the game I cannot wait to play. My top pick of this year, although the release window may push it to 2017 if there are any delays.

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