For Honor – Metacritic Score: 78 (Average)
For Honor gives players the chance to choose between the Vikings, Knights, and Samurai as the faction they will fight for. In the competitive multiplayer-focused title, players take each other on in duels, or larger fights, to determine which faction comes out on top each in-game season.
The main strength of For Honor is its deep combat system that requires precision, timing, and constant attention. You need to block, parry and attack, all whilst keeping an eye on what is going on around you and the overall objective. The multiplayer is well balanced and the stunning visuals carry over from the robust single player. Some critics had issues with the unreliable servers and unfair nature of some mismatched battles, but the reception of Ubiosft’s game was largely positive. You can read our review here.
Candleman – Metacritic Score: 79
Candleman is a 3D platformer that uses light and and shadows to enhance its action adventure gameplay. It also tells a coming of age story that is surprisingly charming. Critics say that Candleman is an atmospheric game with great design, in both its visuals and levels.
The puzzle platforming is excellent, even if the occasionally unruly camera makes it more of a challenge than it should be. It is a relatively short experience, but it might fit in well with some of the fantastic platformers that have released over the past few years.
Halo Wars 2 – Metacritic Score: 79
The sequel to the popular Halo-based RTS game released in February exclusively on Xbox One. It features huge battles, fast-paced strategic action, and a unique Halo story. Console RTS games haven’t always matched the quality of those on PC, but the first Halo Wars showed that console RTS’ could work.
Halo Wars 2 has been praised for being simple and easy to understand for players that are new to RTS games. The gameplay is solid, the AI is intelligent and challenging enough, and the new Blitz mode is a great addition. However, many critics have been disappointed that 343 Industries haven’t added much to the series, instead deciding to stick to the tried and tested formula that made the original so popular. You can read our review here.
Sniper Elite 4 – Metacritic Score: 79 (Average)
The third-person tactical shooter heads to Italy in World War II for the fourth game in the series. Once again, you can take out bad guys in gruesome detail as their bones shatter and organs burst from a well-placed long-range shot.
Every movement counts in Sniper Elite 4 and you have to keep your wits about you as you creep around corners, hide on rooftops, and disguise yourself in bushes. The maps are bigger than they have ever been, the options for taking people out are more varied, and the gameplay is improved. Sniper Elite 4 might be the best entry in the series. You can read our review here.
Forma.8 – Metacritic Score: 80
Forma.8 is a Metroidvania game that tells the story of an exploration probe that becomes stranded on an alien planet. To escape, it needs to find a power source hidden deep below ground before it is too late. As Forma.8 you will explore this foreign planet, solving puzzles on your way as you attempt to return to your companions.
The game was praised for its gorgeous but minimalist visuals, challenging but rewarding puzzles, and excellent design. The backtracking is implemented well into the exploration and puzzles, creating a mysterious but intriguing atmosphere that lingers throughout its duration.
Stories Untold – Metacritic Score: 82
Presented as a game within a game, Stories Untold is an experimental text adventure, told in four parts. Each of the stories is told using a retro aesthetic, putting players up against puzzles as they work their way through the tales.
The game has been praised for telling fascinating stories that work perfectly with the way Stories Untold presents them. As you sit at a desk, reading text on a computer screen, you work your way through the stories. The tales are creepy and fascinating, the presentation makes them even more powerful, and the puzzles that are interwoven are very well designed. It’s only four hours long, but critics generally agree that Stories Untold is a game that should be experienced.
Torment: Tides of Numenera – Metacritic Score: 83
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a single-player role-playing game which continues the themes of the critically acclaimed Planescape: Torment by forcing players to contend with complex choices that test their morality. Their decisions can influence the world in which the game takes place in dramatic ways. You play Last Castoff, a human that was once inhabited by a powerful being, but is now free, albeit without memory of what happened before.
Tides of Numenera focuses on narrative and text based storytelling, rather than combat and loot. The game is deep due to its detailed plot and interesting setting but it isn’t bogged down by a complicated RPG system. Critics have said that Torment is a great choice for anyone that wants an RPG that doesn’t focus on gameplay, but be aware that it starts slowly and relies heavily on text based storytelling. You can read our review here.
Night in the Woods – Metacritic Score: 86
After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, Night in the Woods finally released in February and was met with widespread critical acclaim. It is a 2D adventure game that follows Mae Borowski, a young cat who has dropped out of college and returned to her struggling hometown. As Mae, you choose how to spend your day, and who with – learning things about the inhabitants of Possum Springs, and Mae herself, in the process.
Praise centered around the superb writing that made you truly care about each of the fully realized characters. The conversations can be hilarious and devastatingly sad, but each little moment is memorable and they are what make Night in the Woods so special. You can read our review here.
Nioh – Metacritic Score: 87
With the popularity of Bloodborne and the Souls games, Team Ninja felt now was the perfect time to combine what makes those games great with the fast-paced combat their Ninja Gaiden series is known for. Nioh is the game they created, which has proven to be a hit critically and commercially. It is another excellent PlayStation 4 exclusive to release in the first few months of 2017.
Critics have praised Nioh for combining the structure and design of the Souls game with gameplay nuances of its own. When you are faced with a particularly challenging enemy, you work out how to use their weaknesses for your benefit. Through repetition, you improve, and it is that gameplay look that makes game’s like Nioh so great. The gameplay is deep and rewarding but make sure that you are ready to put your skills to the test. Check out our review here.
Horizon Zero Dawn – Metacritic Score: 89
Guerrilla Games has decided to step away from the gray, linear Killzone series and have instead developed Horizon Zero Dawn, a beautiful, open-world action game set in a future where Earth is full of robot dinosaurs. Playing as Aloy, your mission is to discover what happened to the world and how the machines came to have so much power.
Horizon is one of the best open world games in recent memory and is comfortably one of the best PlayStation 4 exclusives. The world is stunning, the story is compelling, and the combat is deep and challenging. Exploring the world, unaware of what might be around the next corner is without a doubt one of the best experiences of the year. Horizon promises to be one of Sony’s next big franchises and Zero Dawn will undoubtedly be in conversations for game of the year when the time comes. You can read our glowing review here.