Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild brought an already iconic franchise back in a major way. There’s easily more than 40 hours of gameplay for anyone looking to only make their way through the main story but Breath of the Wild has even more to give than just that. With additional downloadable content and plenty of side quests to dive into, Breath of the Wild dishes out more than 90 hours total for you to enjoy. And that’s not counting all the time you can spend just exploring the most gorgeous world the entire franchise has seen yet. This is a fantastic open world game that allows you to explore every inch of its sprawling canvas, finding meaningful and entertaining ways to spend your time. Breath of Wild is filled with charm, humor, challenge, and a great narrative that keeps you constantly coming back for more.
Once the credits roll, there’s always more to do in the form of hunting down the 120 shrines and all 999 Korok seeds if you’re up for that.
Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris DLC didn’t provide much extra play time with its addition to the game’s campaign but, in all honesty, it didn’t really have to. The base game alone has a campaign that succeeds in far more ways then the original game’s campaign did and it accomplishes something very simple but meaningful. It lays the groundwork necessary for the game’s lore to exist beyond the campaign. Embarking on different Adventures in Destiny 2 allows you to continue exploring the various heavenly bodies in the game and uncover the lore that has been sprinkled throughout this entire galaxy. But the real reason plenty of gamers will still supporting Destiny 2 well into 2018 is for the great multiplayer aspects of the game.
From improved Raids to the variety of Crucible game modes to great new social spaces, Destiny 2 fosters a sense of community that encourages its players to keep coming back for more. With more new content headed to the game and weekly resets, there are plenty of reasons for Destiny 2 players to keep logging in throughout 2018.
Splatoon 2 launched on the Switch back in July and it has still managed to maintain a solid player base that can’t get enough of the game’s vivid personality and unique gameplay. While the game didn’t necessarily add a ton of new content compared to its predecessor at launch, continued support of the game now has Splatoon 2 filled with plenty of new content for players to enjoy. Splatoon 2 has added tons of new gear since launch with its largest update introducing 150 new pieces of gear.
In addition to new gear, the game now has an impressive collection of soundtracks, hairstyles, and plenty of quality of life updates like being able to switch into new gear without having to leave the multiplayer lobby. With Splatoon 2 being such a great fit for the Switch, a great party game for when friends come together, and an ongoing stream of new content making its way to the game, Splatoon 2 players certainly have a bright future to keep looking forward to with this game.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, most commonly referred to as PUBG, is easily the most popular battle royale game around right now. Before it even left early access it was garnering a massive player base and proved to be one of the best new entries for the genre in quite some time.
Since then, PUBG has rolled out of its early access phase on PC and is now also available for Xbox One. There is still a ton of new content and quality of life updates on the way and the game has already soared beyond the 30 million player mark across PC and Xbox One. With such sprawling maps playing as the backdrop to a battle royale between 100 players, PUBG offers a gaming experience that feels new and unpredictable with every match. The fact that the game is only going to get better from here with new content, features, and quality of life improvements in the works all but guarantees that PUBG will be able to continue riding its massive wave of success through 2018.
Just like PUBG, Fortnite also pushes the idea of what an early access game can be to its limits while also cashing in on the battle royale craze that seems to be at an all-time high. Fortnite’s battle royale mode is just one of the ways you can decide to play the game although it certainly seems to be the most popular mode so far. What makes Fortnite different from other battle royale games available right now is that having the ability to build forts and place traps at a moment’s notice are a key part of the gameplay. Players can quickly build stairs to reach high ground that wouldn’t be available otherwise. Players can discover a great home to hide in and fill it with traps to discourage other players from following in their footsteps. And just as much as they build, players can also destroy by hacking around at the landscape and scavenging entire walls, cars, trees, and pretty much anything else in the game to get valuable resources.
If you have already had your fill of battle royale games, Fortnite also has a campaign you can play through to learn a bit more about why your world has been overrun by zombies in the first place. Storytelling isn’t really Fornite’s strong point but it has a comical robot sidekick and plenty of fun missions you can run through with a team of friends. Fortnite is still in paid early access and will become a free-to-play game next year, which means there will likely be plenty of new patches and updates headed to the game. Fortnite has become a popular game while still in its early access and its hype train doesn’t seem like it will slow down much before its full free-to-play release in 2018.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
2017 marked a strong year for returning franchises and Xenoblade Chronicles was no different. The fact that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was released relatively quickly after Xenoblade Chronicles X seemed to be reason to worry at first. It seems unlikely that an RPG of this size had received another title in just two years after releasing another massive game. Rest assured, however, there is no reason to fear.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 introduces a complex battle system that is actually pretty fun to navigate once you get past all the tutorials and a great story with a dynamic cast of characters at the helm. Whether you’re sticking strictly to the campaign or spending time exploring this vast open world, there is a lot to enjoy and keep coming back to. Beating the campaign while also embarking on side quests, getting happily side tracked exploring, and collecting items throughout the game will provide most players with more than 80 hours of gameplay. Since the game recently released at the start of December, there will likely be plenty left to discover in Xenoblade Chronicles for most players who are looking to keep diving back into the game in 2018.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed has gone even further back in history than ever before with Assassin’s Creed: Origins. This time around players are exploring gorgeous Egyptian landscapes and in a world that actually finds a great way to provide varying views. You can dive into the game for well over 50 hours and still find yourself getting distracted by a new, beautiful sight that you just so happened to stumble upon.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing games of 2017 and the best looking game of the entire franchise. Following Bayek’s journey to help others in his own vigilante way while also seeking to satisfy his own thirst for revenge never gets old or too predictable. While the gameplay itself doesn’t always manage to be as unforgettable and impressive as the game’s setting and story, it’s still enjoyable and easy to get lost in for hours. There are currently two DLCs scheduled to release in 2018 so if you have managed to step away from the game for a while, the new content will likely be enough to coax you back into a journey through ancient history once again.
Call of Duty: WWII
A new Call of Duty game may release like clockwork every year but until November rolls around again this iconic shooting franchise maintains a solid player base, drops new content into the game, and has some of the most intense and lively multiplayer gameplay you can possibly get out of an FPS. Call of Duty’s community is strong, which is enough to ensure any of their games thrive throughout a new year.
The latest entry for the franchise, however, has even more advantages under its belt to ensure its popularity throughout 2018. Call of Duty: WWII bring zombies back in a major way. Nazi Zombies is perfectly creepy, sinister, and an incredibly entertaining co-op experience. Call of Duty has a strong community that keeps its multiplayer game modes full of life and it’s not likely that WWII will break that trend.
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
Even after you reach the end of the main story in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the Pokemon franchise still keeps a bag of its usual tricks to keep you coming back for more. The sheer amount of Pokemon available to be caught in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is enough to keep players engulfed in the game if they are Pokedex completionists. It’s also nice that Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon has great post-game content that not only incentivizes you to continue exploring Alola, but it also further fleshes out the game’s story.
If you’re not necessarily interested in catching ’em all but you do want to prove that you’re the very best, you’ll likely find yourself spending a lot of time running ranked battles with other trainers. The ranked battles and all the new and returning Pokemon that are scattered throughout Alola provide a lot of incentives to keep playing the game even after you have beaten the main story and run through the end game content as well. So fingers crossed that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will last long enough to carry us over to a debut Pokemon RPG for the Nintendo Switch.
The idea that Injustice 2 will be able to thrive throughout 2018 is a bit of a risky claim simply because fighting game players are all too aware of NetherRealm Studios’ treatment of any game that’s not Mortal Kombat. The devs seemed to turn their back on Injustice: Gods Among Us once it was time to prepare for the next Mortal Kombat game. This time around, however, it seems like Injustice 2 may actually have a more significant lifespan. New DLC content is headed to the game next year, more major tournaments have kept some attention on the game, and there seems to be far more concern about the balancing of certain characters in the game.
While the efforts to balance some characters hasn’t been without flaw, the efforts from the NetherRealm Studios team seem meaningful and suggest that they don’t want Injustice 2 to just fizzle out in Mortal Kombat’s shadow this time around. That’s great news considering the fact that there a lot to praise about Injustice 2. Injustice 2 is a great improvement to its predecessor with a solid character roster, new mechanics that add more layers to gameplay, and the addition of the Multiverse Mode that offers various new challenges for players to conquer. Injustice 2 has everything it needs to remain a strong fighting game title throughout 2018 if it can continue to foster a sense of community and make efforts to balance out certain characters.