#40 Dead Island 2 XO PS4 PC
Previous Dead Island games have been okay, but bugs and lacklustre stories kept them from ever threatening to be classified as ‘great’. We are hopeful, then, that the Unreal Engine 4 will solve the former problems, and that Spec Ops: The Line studio Yager Development can provide the special sauce narrative-wise to make this one an apocalypse worth living through.
#39 Broken Age Part 2 PS4 PC Vita iOS Android
Broken Age has hardly enjoyed a smooth development path, but that hasn’t dulled our enthusiasm for the point-and-click adventure. Neither has the warm but hardly gushing reception that greeted the game’s first act last year. Instead, its humourous writing and character depth have us eagerly awaiting its concluding chapter.
#38 Kirby and the Rainbow Curse WiiU
A follow-up to popular 2005 DS title Kirby: Canvas Curse, Rainbow Curse features a unique clay look and seems like it puts the Wii U’s GamePad and stylus to good use. It also features co-op for up to four, and Kirby can transform into a tank. One gripe though: who doesn’t like rainbows? Should be called Rainbow Blessing.
#37 Darkest Dungeon PS4 PC Vita
A gothic-looking turn-based roguelike where your characters develop mental problems (that are sometimes beneficial) based on what they’ve witnessed, Darkest Dungeon has raised the blood pressure of many gamers already. It’s inspired by the traumatised heroes of Aliens and Band of Brothers, and was quite the hit on Kickstarter too.
#36 Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. 3DS
There is already substantial buzz behind this one from Fire Emblem co-developers Intelligent Systems, which mashes up turn-based strategy with third-person shooting. The alien enemies and the game’s fantasy steampunk London setting are pretty cool, but the best part is that you play as iconic characters from American literature including the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, and Tom Sawyer from The Adventures of Some Guy. Your boss? Abraham Lincoln, because of course he is.
#35 Hellblade PS4 PC
Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DmC: Devil May Cry prove that Ninja Theory knows how to make great melee-focussed action games, and the UK studio isn’t straying from its specialty with Hellblade, an “independent AAA” title based on Celtic myth. It promises to take the studios three pillars – ninja-class combat, strong character stories, and a unique art vision – to the next level.
#34 Act of Aggression PC
Wargame developer Eugen Systems has been pumping out dautingly complex yet high-quality RTS titles for a while now, satiating the appetites of discerning armchair generals the world over. AoA is a sequel to its 2005 title Act of War. It’s set in 2020 but draws on RTS mechanics from the ‘90s: that means there’s base-building, resource gathering, three factions, and a couple of campaigns, but also some modern touches like unit experience. Can’t wait (to be confused then quickly overrun).
#33 BattleCry PC
Battlecry is a free-to-play online multiplayer combat game for up to 32 players. It looks very splattery, and we are intrigued by the inclusion of melee combos, as well as excited by the movement options afforded by the game’s grapple and mantle systems. On top of that, Battlecry’s gorgeous art comes courtesy of none other than Viktor Antonov (Half-Life 2, Dishonored), and development is being led by Rich Vogel (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Wars: The Old Republic). If they nail the microtransaction side of things, this one could be big.
#32 Battleborn XO PS4 PC
The genius of the Borderlands franchise is the way it combines FPS play, dungeon-crawler loot systems, and RPG progression into a single delectable meal. Battleborn sees Gearbox take that formula to a new universe, up the player count, and pit players against one another – notably, in one mode that strongly resembles an FPS/MOBA hybrid. Unsurprisingly then, it boasts a massive roster of unique playable characters. Want some MOBA in your FPS/RPG? We do.
#31 The Order: 1886 PS4
Another holdover from last year’s list, The Order has an interesting premise, with a group of ‘knights’ taking on man-animal hyrids that are terrorising the populace of steampunk Victorian-era London. There’s also something of a class war going on. The game’s a very pretty lookin’ thing and the creature designs we’ve seen are suitably terrifying, so here’s hoping Ready at Dawn (Chains of Olympus, Ghost of Sparta) can deliver the narrative and gameplay goods come release next month.