The action category is always a bit of a mish mash: a collection of odds and sods that aren’t as easily defined as other games. 2017’s picks are no different, bringing together a patchwork of open world adventures and just about any game that puts a sword in your hand.
Sadly, we’ll never get to play Prey 2 – Human Head Studios’ now-canned follow up to the 2006 shooter. It’s not all bad news, however, with Dishonored dev Arkane now in charge of the Bethesda license. Needless to say it’s in capable hands, the studio having already slipped rather comfortably into Prey’s sci-fi setting.
It’s making some bold design choices too, combining first person gameplay with a deep focus on narrative, allowing players to sculpt the story around their actions. With Arkane at the helm, there’s bound to be plenty of layers to each environment and there’s more than a few otherworldly powers for the player to harness too… Like turning into a cup.
Prey is scheduled for release on PS4, Xbox One and PC in the first half of 2017.
Rockstar. Enough said, really. Released within the same week, the trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 almost threatened to blot out Nintendo’s Switch announcement. Even if you’re not into Rockstar’s brand of open world action, you can’t ignore the gargantuan shadow it casts.
Despite the painstaking detail of that reveal footage, we can’t say for sure how the sequel will take shape. Chances are, it’ll feature an updated version of GTA V’s shooting mechanics while looking to refine just about every part of the original gunslinging epic, and after the success of GTA Online and the first Red Dead Redemption, a meaty online component also seems like a dead cert.
Keep your fingers crossed for the game to get its planned release toward the end of 2017, for PS4 and Xbox One.
It’s been awhile since Ubisoft last threw itself behind a AAA game that didn’t feature a sprawling open world. More interesting is how For Honor’s melee combat system works, completely detaching itself from the button bashing seen in games like God of War, Devil May Cry, and Dynasty Warriors.
It feels completely foreign yet fresh, combining light and heavy blows with three swappable stances. Each of the game’s warrior archetypes have different weapons and abilities, adding yet another layer of complexity. The payoff, of course, is having a multiplayer melee system that actually works.
The game is out on PS4, Xbox One and PC on 14th February, with a beta test some time before then, which you can sign up for here.
Styx: Master of Shadow had some fairly brave ideas. Mixing high fantasy tropes with a heavy focus on stealth action, it was an intriguing match-up, though one that arguably fell short in several areas. Despite a surprisingly rich setting, Styx felt a little too rough around the edges, not to mention unforgiving.
Hopefully, some of those issues will be remedied when gaming’s favourite goblin returns in Shards of Darkness. The sequel’s setting is far more lavish and vibrant than Styx’s previous stomping ground with more points to traverse and interact with. Whether it takes the series to new heights will ultimately hinge on the fluidity of its stealth mechanics and the tools available to players.
Out on 14th March 2017, it’s coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Whether you call it Berserk and the Band of the Hawk or Berserk Musou, this latest collaboration from Koei Tecmo and Omega Force is exactly what you’d expect from a game with “Musou” in the title. Just like One Piece, Fist of the North Star, Gundam, and the Heroic Legend of Arslan, Beserk is the next in a long line of popular anime/manga series given the Warriors treatment.
Expect huge combat encounters and screen-wiping special attacks wedged between snippets of story. Berserk will break the series’ tradition by featuring a fair amount of blood as the player character dispatches wave after wave of incoming enemies. Although it doesn’t seem to be doing anything drastic with the existing Warriors formula, fans of the anime will no doubt jump at the chance to play out their favourite set pieces in what looks to be an accurate recreation of the Berserk setting.
It’s out on 24th February for PS4, PS Vita and PC.
Yes, we’re talking about Resident Evil 7 again, but in a non-VR sense. Resi fans have had a rough time as of late, with Revelations 2 nowhere near good enough to patch over the laughably bad Resident Evil 6, and there was Umbrella Corps. These failings have only fueled our anticipation for Resident Evil 7 as Capcom have seemingly wiped the slate with a new setting and cast of characters. Love or loathe them, Jill, Chris, Wesker, and the gang were only holding the series back, their own personal stories overshadowing the slowly fading horror element.
Despite two meaty demos, there’s still a lot we don’t know about Resident Evil 7. It definitely seems like more of an intimate affair and one that doesn’t rely on action set pieces and a horde of zombies to supply the scares. As Ethan Winter, you’ll go in search of his missing wife, eventually stumbling upon a run-down mansion and its sinister occupants. From what we’ve seen and played ourselves, it’s definitely a marked change in gear and hopefully one Capcom can sustain throughout.
Enter the mansion on January 24th, on PS4 (and PSVR), Xbox One and PC.
Agents of Mayhem, or “Definitely Not Saints Row” is the next upcoming game from Volition. We joke because, despite the name, it seems to be set in the same universe and even carries many of the Saints Row motifs fans have become accustomed to over the years.
In truth, there are some notable differences between the two. As its name implies, Agents of Mayhem sets you up as a highly skilled operative instead of a jumped up street thug. Instead of sculpting your own freakshow of a lead protagonist, Agents will also have pre-defined characters, each with their own weapons and abilities. There are twelve in total with players controlling a party of three at any time, combining their synergies to wreak havoc upon the forces of L.E.G.I.O.N.
Since its original reveal, it’s all gone quiet on the Agents of Mayhem front, though it’s still intended for PS4, Xbox One and PC some time in 2017.