The Division didn’t reach the same heights that Destiny, its main competitor, managed to, but there was still a lot to love. Manhattan was incredibly fun to fight through, especially with friends, but once players finished the main story and took on the first several raids, there wasn’t too much else to tackle. However, Ubisoft wasn’t about to let its newest IP flop out of the gate. New expansions and raids continued to release throughout 2016 and will continue into 2017.
The most notable release is the upcoming final expansion titled The Last Stand which will mark the end of The Division’s first year. We still don’t know what the Last Stand will entail but there are hints that the Statue of Liberty is involved in some way. Regardless, there will still be plenty to do in The Division throughout 2017.
Many were skeptical about the episodic release of Hitman last year but the game turned out to be the series’ best entry in years. Each map was lovingly crafted with dozens of possible assassination routes to exploit, outfits to try on, and characters to take down. The slow release of the maps also encouraged players to spend more time with each location, learning every secret passageway and clearing every challenge.
While the developers at IO Interactive are getting started on Hitman Season 2, there will still be plenty for fans of Season 1 to do. And for those who were waiting on the entire season to conclude before hopping in, there is now a full game to dive into. The elusive targets that were slowly rolled out over the course of 2016 will once again be available in the new year after the release of the full game, meaning that new players don’t have to miss any content. Additional challenges will also roll out, giving players a myriad of different ways to tackle each target, working through the insane amount of content.
Nathan Drake’s journey came to an end with Uncharted 4 but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more climbing, shooting, and swinging to do. The multiplayer is still evolving, with new modes such as the wave-based cooperative Survival mode giving players something to do outside of the single player campaign. This new mode was even added for free, ensuring that the player base wasn’t split. It also gave players who aren’t into competitive multiplayer a fun alternative. Because the mode was just added, and with 50 waves of enemies to combat, there is still a lot for players to do.
We’re also getting story DLC for Uncharted 4. The Lost Legacy will focus on Chloe and Nadine as they embark on their own journey, and there is still another story to be told. The Lost Legacy is a standalone experience, building on the gameplay and story of Uncharted 4 but Naughty Dog is stressing that it is still its own adventure. It will simultaneoulsy feel like an extension of the series and something completey different. Regardless, there will be a lot of Uncharted still to come in 2017.
Overwatch started to gain a following from the minute it was released and its popularity only rose. Blizzard made a smart decision putting a price on the game instead of going the free-to-play route because now they can release all the DLC for free. And there is sure to be a lot of new content coming. The game released in May and by the end of the year we already had two new characters and a new map.
Additional characters have already been teased. Blizzard likely has big plans for Overwatch. Many are hopeful that the long rumored Doomfist will be announced. Actor Terry Crews has expressed interest in voicing the character if he is to be included so hopefully the enigmatic hero will finally be added to Overwatch. The game will be viewed as a platform, with new features and content coming out every couple of months for years. The competitive scene continues to develop and evolve, and the game will evolve alongside its burgeoning player base.
Titanfall 2 is another game that is giving its players a wealth of extra content at no extra cost. The game was incredibly well received upon release thanks to its stellar single player campaign and diverse suite of multiplayer modes. Respawn Entertainment has put microtransactions into their mech combat game, still bringing in some extra revenue and letting players jump into new maps without having to dig into their wallets.
Specifics are still up in the air but new game modes, maps, and maybe even Titans could really change things up, giving players more to explore. The gameplay of Titanfall 2 is fantastic on its own, so extra content will give a lot of players a reason to return to the title in 2017.
Final Fantasy XV
The story of Final Fantasy XV can be completed in roughly 30 hours, but if you want to get the most out of the game, you’ll need to play much more than that. Some of the late game missions and bosses in Final Fantasy XV can only be attempted at the maximum level of 99. These foes are no pushovers and getting your team ready to fight them is no easy task. You’ll need to take on a lot of side missions, earn thousands of Gil, and master the game’s versatile combat system.
Not only can players spend dozens of hours with the base game in 2017, but the team at Square Enix is also currently preparing a lot of DLC for the title. Chapter 13 will be expanded with new story cut scenes, the ability to play as characters other than Noctis. Final Fantasy XV is far from over. The game will only continue to grow in the coming year, becoming more complete and fleshed out as features are continually added.
Stardew Valley is a game that seemingly never ends. Taking over your grandfather’s farm and integrating yourself into the local community isn’t as easy as it sounds. You need to upkeep the farm and your relationships with others, both of which can take hundreds of in-game days. Even the most skilled players will still have things left to do after they play through the majority of the game.
Updates continue to roll out, refining the overall experience, adding new jobs and content, and giving players more to do every time a patch appears online. Stardew Valley beautifully combines the carefree farming of Harvest Moon with more action oriented titles like The Legend of Zelda. The more of this game we can get, the better.
Street Fighter V
Street Fighter V did not have a great launch in 2016. Multiple modes were missing; the online servers were a mess and there wasn’t even a simple way to play a match against an AI opponent without jumping into one of the game’s lackluster arcade modes. Each character received their own series of stages to fight through but they didn’t impress. But after some time has passed, the cinematic story experience has been released alongside a slew of other features that vastly improved upon the base game. Not only are the online stores up and running, options for playing against A.I opponents are now much more diverse. The new content slated for 2017 will hopefully only serve to help Street Fighter V reach new heights.
The gameplay is still fantastic. The new characters feel like they fit the series, while returning characters are different enough that they are still interesting. The next round of DLC will include several new characters to master and potentially new stages and modes to try out. The competitive scene is still very much alive, which will keep players flocking to the game for years to come.
After the massive success of XCOM: Enemy Unknown bringing the series back into the limelight, many were excited to see what a sequel would bring. It delivered on all fronts, setting up a strong story and adding meaningful new mechanics and classes. Each one of XCOM 2’s missions are randomly generated, meaning that the player can tackle the same objective multiple times with different results. On top of this, there are multiple difficulties to master, strategies to learn, and troops to build up. Each new playthrough is met with a different result, but a trail of dead soldiers is almost always present.
The XCOM 2 community is also still creating mods for the game, expanding its life cycle and creating new ways to approach the brutally challenging turn-based strategy title. The Long War mod for the original XCOM: Enemy Unknown was loved as much as it was due to how it deepened an already fantastic game, and alterations to XCOM 2 are still in the works. A follow up to the Long War mod, appropriately titled Long War 2, was recently released and is being fully supported by XCOM 2’s development team, working to integrate it further into the game. There are also two DLC packs available adding missions and other new content, expanding on the game even further, meaning there is plenty for players to test out in 2017.
Pokemon Sun and Moon
The newest titles in the Pokemon series are the best in years. Not only does the new setting of Alola feel fresh and brimming with life, but the revised structure also switches things up for the better. There is a lot to see and do in Alola but even defeating the Elite Four only scratches the surface. The games could be evolving in 2017 with new events and possibly a third iteration, but there are still hundreds of Pokemon to track down and capture.
The Alolan Pokedex is the largest one yet, featuring exotic creatures from the entire series. Wandering through the grassy routes, plains, and caves of Alola reveals secrets about the tropical paradise and also Pokemon in the process. It’s not just about catching Pokemon, though. You can also collect Zygarde Cells – small creatures that combine to form a larger beast once 100 are found – and complete various side missions across the islands. You can also hop into the game’s thriving online scene. Trainers are constantly battling and trading with one another, testing their teams and learning more about the incredibly complex systems that make up the latest Pokemon game. Sun and Moon are incredibly deep adventures and there is still plenty to do in the new year.