The best upcoming games of 2018 (and beyond)

Crackdown 3 

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

In Crackdown 3 you’re a super-cop in an open-world city, using your powers to fight crime and smash the whole place up in the process. While there’s still a story campaign to tackle, the online co-op for up to four players is where it's at, letting you and your Agency buddies tear up this futuristic metropolis in chaotic style. You'll be leaping between buildings using your jumpjets in one moment, then raining down high-tech bazooka missiles onto any poor criminals the next. The addition of Terry Crews as a playable character is the perfect cherry atop this city-obliterating sundae. 

We Happy Few 

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

We Happy Few is practically a must-play based on the concept alone, which somehow manages to blend a BioShock-style society of deranged drug addicts and the kitschy 1960s whimsy of Austin Powers into one delightfully creepy survival game. You play as one of several residents of the fictitious English city of Wellington Wells, navigating in first-person through a society where residents are forced to take a daily dose of the hallucinogenic pill known as Joy. You've refused to take your medicine and have been labeled a kill-on-sight Downer, forced to flee from the mind-altered citizens and coppers while crafting and scavenging for anything that might help you survive. All the while, you're taunted and oppressed by Uncle Jack, a live-action TV host who's like a sinister, pill-pushing Mr. Rogers. 

Metro Exodus 

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

Metro Exodus is the third game in this criminally underappreciated post-apocalyptic FPS series, transporting you to the irradiated ruins of modern civilization, now teeming with mutated animals, which somehow still manage to look beautiful (in a bleak, desolate kind of way). You play as a hardened survivor slowly making your way across Russia during a harsh nuclear winter, fending off gigantic rats in abandoned subway tunnels and scavenging for supplies topside. Just be sure to keep an eye out for any radioactive bears that could get the jump on you. 

Skull and Bones 

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

Sea of Thieves isn't the only open-world pirate game out there - Ubisoft's Skull and Bones is also setting sail this year, with a much more realistic take on pirate battles on the high seas. Skull and Bones is basically Assassin’s Creed Black Flag without the Assassins, as it's being developed by much of the same team behind Black Flag, and promises a sweeping solo campaign as you vie for control over the 18th-century waters in the Indian Ocean. But the real focus looks to be player-versus-player ship skirmishes online, where each player controls their very own warship in team-based fleet battles. There will also be supernatural elements amidst all the cannon-fire, like the colossal tentacles of a terrifying kraken lurking in the deep.

Shenmue 3

Platform(s): PS4, PC
Release date: Second half of 2018 

The Shenmue series was never a huge commercial success, but thanks in part to Kickstarter and thousands of fans' hard-earned dollars (plus some generous funding from Sony), the project is fully underway. In Shenmue 3, you'll take the role of a martial artist named Ryo Hazuki as he attempts to uncover who is responsible for his father's murder. The game promises to have gameplay reminiscent of the previous titles, enabling players to take on enemies in hand-to-hand combat, upgrade combat abilities, and explore a living world full of villages, shops, and an active populous.

Spider-Man

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: September 7, 2018

This open-world superhero game should be an interesting departure for Insomniac Games, the studio most famous for the Ratchet & Clank series. You'll be web-swinging between buildings and beating up thugs as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, dealing with the likes of Kingpin and Mister Negative in your efforts to keep the peace in the Big Apple. This game isn't tied to any specific comic or movie, so the creators aren't bound by an existing storyline; here's to hoping we don't have to see any origin stories play out for the umpteenth time.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: September 14, 2018

Lara Croft is another struggle for survival with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third in the rebooted series and seemingly the last part of a trilogy following Lara's origins. Very little has been shown of this new journey so far besides some fleeting glimpses of cinematic action, but you can expect full details during the reveal event on April 27th.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: October 12, 2018

Treyarch is back for another Call of Duty sequel, and will be soldiering on with the tried-and-true Black Ops series featuring near-future warfare. We won't know much about BO4 itself until a massive info drop on May 17, though it looks like Nintendo Switch is getting snubbed for some reason. Until the full reveal, you can have a chuckle at the hilariously unhype logo reveal and the fact that 'IIII' is being used as if in defiance of traditional Roman numerals.  

Red Dead Redemption 2 

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

Red Dead Redemption 2 has a lot to live up to, so it's reasonable that Rockstar Games wanted a generous amount of time to get this open-world, Wild West sequel just right. Set before the first RDR, you're filling the cowboy boots of Arthur Morgan, an outlaw in the employ of familiar villain Dutch van der Linde. Morgan seems to be a rougher, thornier character compared to the stoic John Marston - but we'll surely get to know him better across dozens of hours spent moseying across quaint plains, hunting for wild animals (now with a new bow and arrow combo!) in verdant mountain regions, and carrying out many a high-stakes train heist.

Mega Man 11 

Platform(s): Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: Late 2018

After Capcom all but ignored its legendary Blue Bomber for years, the mainline Mega Man series is finally getting a new entry - and it's looking like a pleasant mix of old and new. Just over 30 years since the original NES game, Mega Man 11 is going fully 2.5D for a charming aesthetic that totally eclipses the lackluster look of failed competitor Mighty No. 9. You already know what to expect from this platforming shooter: new abilities absorbed from defeated bosses, colorful levels full of inventive gimmicks, and oodles of old-school challenge.  

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