The best upcoming games of 2018 (and beyond)

2017 is finally over, and 2018 is bursting with anticipation of all the new games it's carrying. You've probably still got many of the best games of 2017 still to play after Santa's latest visit, but that doesn't mean you can't find a way to be hyped for what's coming up this year. With that in mind, these are the hottest games on the near horizon, from big-name AAA sequels to inventive indies and everything in between. Many of these games will be here before you know it - but we've also taken the liberty of including titles that likely await in 2019 or beyond, because we can't not think about them. Let the eager anticipation commence!

Dragon Ball FighterZ 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: January 26, 2018

Previous Dragon Ball Z games have certainly found their fans, but this 2.5D, 3v3 team fighter from Arc System Works (makers of the legendary Guilty Gear series) looks like it's going to finally tap into the mainstream's powerful DBZ nostalgia. Using the same ingenious, gorgeous art style as Guilty Gear Xrd, Dragon Ball FighterZ's bold, bright 3D models look like they jumped straight out of the anime, courtesy of some clever lighting techniques - and even better, almost every attack animation is a reference to the manga and anime source material. Being able to unite Goku, Vegeta, and Cell on a single team, chaining flashy supers and assists together, looks like the realization of the secret dream we've all been having ever since Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

Monster Hunter: World 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: January 26, 2018

This marks the new era for Capcom's beloved, long-running action series, as Monster Hunter: World trades handheld portability for exceedingly shiny graphics, refreshing the co-op, third-person hunts for the modern market. This new Monster Hunter has you pursuing some very big game - think dinosaurs and dragons - as you lurk through tropical jungles and conceal your approach using foliage-based camouflage. It's all in the name of fancier armor and outlandishly large weaponry, and a new grappling hook should add a new layer to the series' hard-to-master movement and attack options.  

Dynasty Warriors 9 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: February 13, 2018

If you're like me, you loved the mindless beat-'em-up action of the early Dynasty Warriors games, then slowly lost interest over time as sequel after sequel seemed to rehash the same well-trodden Three Kingdoms ground. But Dynasty Warriors 9 looks like a great reason for lapsed fans like me to pay attention and relive those one-warrior-army glory days. The biggest innovation here is the shift to free-roaming in a fully open world, where your soldier of choice seeks out enemy forces across an expansive virtual China. You can also opt to sneak up on troops for a stealthy approach rather than charging at them head-on. Those changes and more - like day-night and weather cycles that affect the AI’s vision - could Dynasty Warriors 9 a potential series reinvention on the same level as something like Metal Gear Solid 5.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: February 13, 2018

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is like a historically accurate Skyrim - this large-scale, first-person medieval RPG takes place in a massive open-world devoted to the real-world history of Bohemia (no Rhapsody here). In some ways, it's even more hardcore, stripping away the HUD indicators and minimap markers you've probably come to expect from giant RPGs. And amazingly, quests and world events will carry on with or without you, adding a real sense of urgency to your hero's actions; stopping to chit-chat with every NPC could mean missing out on the melee battle of a lifetime. Kingdom Come's refusal to hold the player's hand sounds like a refreshing change of pace, and if the finished product can pull off the kind of grandiose living world suggested by our preview, it should be something special indeed. 

Metal Gear Survive 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: February 20, 2018

Hideo Kojima's got absolutely nothing to do with this Metal Gear game, besides its reuse of assets built for Metal Gear Solid 5's Fox Engine - but there's reason to have an ounce of cautious optimism for Metal Gear Survive. This is a third-person multiplayer survival game, taking place in a strange alternate dimension(?) in which the many supporting soldiers on Mother Base suddenly find themselves swarmed by crystal-covered zombies. The production values and core gameplay are nowhere near the pedigree you'd expect from a Metal Gear game, but it's hard to go too wrong with co-op horde modes (complete with crafting and the ability to construct fortifications). At the very least, it'll probably be preferable to a tangentially branded pachislot machine from Konami.

Moss 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: February 2018

Rare is the VR game that ranks among our most anticipated games, but Moss and its adorable mouse protagonist are just that enchanting. Our story follows Quill, who must travel dense woodlands and ancient ruins to save her uncle from an evil presence - but you aren't controlling her alone across this action adventure. Your physical VR presence also acts as its own character: a guiding spirit that can solve puzzles and open up new pathways for Quill using magic abilities. If you loved reading the rodent heroics of the Redwall books growing up, playing Moss should feel positively magical.

Sea of Thieves 

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Release date: March 20, 2018 

Who doesn’t love pirates? The swashbuckling, the loot, the rum, the fabulous hats - most of us have at one time or another wished we could leave our world all behind and run away to sea. The time has come to live out that dream and to bring friends along for the ride. Sea of Thieves is Rare's latest, with first-person pirating (the fun, family-friendly kind) full of cooperative crewmates collaborating in the pursuit of treasure. Competitive types can also try to rule the seas by battling (and ideally sinking) other players' ships.  

A Way Out 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: March 23, 2018

Now you can experience your very own Shawshank Redemption courtesy of A Way Out, a co-op only jailbreak story written and directed by the mind behind the affecting puzzle adventure Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Whether you're playing with a partner on the couch or online, A Way Out is always played in splitscreen co-op, as inmates Leo and Vincent begrudgingly work together to bust out of prison and reclaim their freedom. The persistent splitscreen presentation creates some intriguing opportunities for teamwork; for instance, one player might be locked in a cutscene, while the other can freely move about, planning the duo's next move or viewing critical story scenes from a different perspective. 

Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom  

Platform(s): PS4, PC
Release date: March 23, 2018

With its beautiful, Studio Ghibli-inspired art direction, Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom is unmistakable, and it looks like the sequel iterates on the original's gameplay in all the right ways. Ni no Kuni 2's RPG action is more Pikmin than Pokemon: instead of controlling individually collected Familiars from the sidelines, your party members Evan, Roland, and Tani are always in the thick of each real-time fight, assisted by a horde of cutesy elemental creatures called Higgledies. Though the events once again takes place in the parallel realm of Ni no Kuni, this story has a much grander scope than the first, as the deposed young king Evan endeavors to reclaim his kingdom of Ding Dong Dell after a hostile takeover.  

Far Cry 5

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: March 27, 2018

Far Cry 5 won't take place in some exotic far-off region like Far Cry 4's Kyrat, or an ancient history setting as in Far Cry Primal - it'll be bringing its first-person mayhem to the US of A. The fictional region of Hope County, Montana is thrown into disarray by a cult known as the Project at Eden's Gate, led by the charismatic Father Joseph who advocates religious fanaticism and militia-style stockpiles of high-powered firearms. As Hope County's newest deputy sheriff, you'll have to band with the unturned townsfolk to take down Eden's Gate in the most chaotic ways possible - including aerial dogfights and bombing runs in a pilotable plane, or vicious takedowns using pitchforks, sledgehammers, or trusty animal companions, to name a few options.

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