The best upcoming games of 2018 (and beyond)

Hollow Knight 

Platform(s): Switch (out now on PC)
Release date: Q1 2018

Hollow Knight is a modern Metroidvania masterpiece - but if you don't game on PC, you might've missed it in 2017. Fortunately, Switch owners will be getting a portable version of this lavishly illustrated, beautifully crafted journey later this year. You play as a diminutive warrior wielding a sharpened nail, exploring the treacherous nooks and crannies of the expansive Hallownest, an insect kingdom that's fallen into ominous ruin. This 2D platformer has it all: gripping combat, phenomenal hand-drawn artwork, enchanting music, rich lore, and a world full of fascinating NPCs and enemy designs. You'll wonder why you didn't do everything in your power to play it sooner. 

Wargroove 

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

It seems Nintendo isn't about to revive Advance Wars any time soon; thank goodness developer Chucklefish stepped up to the plate to bring back turn-based strategy featuring delightful GBA-style sprites. The overworld map and battle animations perfectly mimic the charming aesthetic of the Advance Wars series, set in a high fantasy world full of knights, dragons, skeleton dogs, and witches. As one of 12 unique commanders, you'll wage war over land, sea, and air to establish dominance over the map, one little square space at a time. With online and local multiplayer for up to four players, custom map creation, and loads of adorable unit types, Wargroove's got everything an Advance Wars fan could ask for.  

Days Gone 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: Early 2018

If you think zombies have been done to death, well... you're right, but that isn't stopping the PS4-exclusive Days Gone. The enemies in this open-world post-apocalypse aren't technically undead - the so-called 'Freakers' are actually infected humans who have gone feral and seem eager to devour our hero Deacon (voiced by and modeled after Sam Witwer, who you might recognize as Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed). What really sets the Freaker horde apart is just how many can be chasing you at once; there are times when they're practically flooding out of the environment, and all you can do to survive is simply run.

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. 

Detroit: Become Human 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: Spring 2018

As is the trend nowadays, Detroit: Become Human is a choice-driven adventure revolving around androids achieving sentience. Remember the Kara tech demo Sony showed off years ago? She's back as one of three playable androids in a futuristic Detroit, along with detective 'bot Connor and the aspiring revolutionary Marcus. It’s a game of staggering ambition - it took David Cage two years to write the script, and hundreds of actors have done mo-cap work for it.

State of Decay 2 

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

If The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it's that forging bonds between survivors and building up a community is essential to surviving the zombie apocalypse. State of Decay 2 takes those values to heart with co-op for up to four players, provided you all agree to work together instead of backstabbing one another for precious supplies. To build up your customizable encampment, you'll need to scavenge on foot or four wheels, splattering the skulls of countless undead along the way. And if someone's unfortunate enough to get bitten, their allies will have the tough choice between curing them with a limited supply of medicine, or ending their impending suffering with a bullet to the brain.

The Crew 2 

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

Despite strong sales, Ubisoft's open-world racer The Crew didn't seem to make much of an impact in 2015 - but there's a dedicated group of players still roaming its virtual USA roadways to this day. Hopefully The Crew 2 will entice them to make the jump and bring in droves of new racers with its expanded scope: now you can get behind the wheel of boats and planes in addition to the first game's souped-up luxury cars and off-roading rides. You'll be speeding around gigantic slices of world-famous American cities like Las Vegas and New York, taking on plenty of cooperative driving missions as you bond with your crewmates across land, sea, and air. 

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 on the horizon - Ubisoft's Skull and Bones is also setting sail for 2018, 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.

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