The best upcoming games of 2018

Shadow of the Tomb Raider 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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

Lara Croft will be struggling to survive once more in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third and final game in the reboot trilogy following Lara's origins. There's a strong emphasis on stealth this time around, as Lara is greatly outnumbered by Trinity forces in the thick of a South American jungle. She also just so happens to have triggered a li'l ol' apocalypse thanks to her somewhat selfish actions, which seems out of step with her character; hopefully this hardened iteration of Lara will eventually win us over like in the previous games.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy 

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One
Release date: September 21, 2018

Not to be outdone by the revival of Sony's other would-be mascot in Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, everyone's favorite purple dragon Spyro is getting his very own three-pack remaster. Spyro Reignited Trilogy features the first three games in the series (i.e. all the best ones) rebuilt from the ground up with wildly improved Unreal Engine 4 visuals and a refined control scheme. We'd be shocked if this oft-requested trilogy didn't eventually make its way to Nintendo Switch as well, so for anyone who missed them back in 1998, Reignited Trilogy will be a great way to enjoy a beloved slice of 3D platforming history.

FIFA 19 

Platform(s): Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release date: September 28, 2018

EA is constantly iterating on its virtual version of The Beautiful Game, and FIFA 19's major new feature is the introduction of the UEFA Champions League (now that Pro Evolution Soccer lost the rights to use it). The Europa League and Super Cup competitions are also here, along with a substantial Career mode that serves as the grand finale for Alex Hunter, the star of The Journey that started back with FIFA 17. As for the footie gameplay itself, numerous tweaks are being made to give players more direct control, most notably the Active Touch System which allows you to fake trap the ball, and the Timed Finishing mechanic, where you can tap the kick button twice to fine-tune your timing.

Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: October 2, 2018

Even if aren't familiar with the classic manga and anime Hokuto no Ken / Fist of the North Star, you've surely heard one of its best lines: "Omae wa mou shindeiru," or "You are already dead." It's the death knell for any bandit thug who dares to cross Kenshiro, a martial arts master roaming a post-apocalyptic wasteland in search of his lover. Ryu ga Gotoku Studio, the folks behind Sega's fan favorite Yakuza series, are turning an alternate-canon version of Kenshiro's journey into a very Yakuza-looking brawler - which is practically a guarantee that it's going to be amazing whether or not you're a longtime fan. Along with the option for full English or Japanese voiceovers, our version in the West gets extra gore that was deemed too much for the Japanese market, so you can really appreciate people's heads exploding like nitro-filled watermelons after Kenshiro hits all their pressure points with a classic "ATATATATATA!" barrage.  

Forza Horizon 4

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Release date: October 2, 2018

Forza Horizon 4 looks to deliver the same fun, open-world, photorealistic racing you've come to expect from Playground Games, now with a heavy emphasis on the changing of the seasons. As you cruise around the UK in all kinds of high-end rides, the roads and environment will reflect seasonal conditions: icy pavement in winter, fall foliage in autumn, light drizzles in spring, and so on. And in a first for the series, Forza Horizon 4 is primarily a shared-world racing game, so the roads will be constantly be populated by your fellow drivers. You're free to befriend, challenge, or ignore them as you see fit, but there's definitely a push to make Forza Horizon 4 a more social racing experience.

Mega Man 11

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Release date: October 2, 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 lacklustre 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. But there's also a fresh gadget called Double Gear, which lets you briefly slow down time or overcharge the Mega Buster for extra firepower.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: October 5, 2018

If the classic "This. Is. SPARTA!" kick didn't make it clear enough, Assassin's Creed Odyssey takes the series to Ancient Greece circa 431 BC. No matter which protagonist you choose - female Kassandra or male Alexios - your story in Odyssey will be one of redemption after you're cast out of Sparta as a child. There's a bigger focus on RPG elements this time around, with collectible gear, dialogue options during cutscenes, ample combat abilities to choose from, and multiple endings based on your choices. Naval exploration and warfare also make a comeback, and you can now take part in massive 150-versus-150 battles in Conquest skirmishes.

Super Mario Party 

Platform(s): Switch
Release date: October 5, 2018

If you've had a hankering for multiplayer minigames and last-minute star-count upsets, you're in luck. Super Mario Party is bringing Nintendo's storied party game series to Switch, with more brightly colored board game buffoonery for up to four players. The core gameplay gets back to the classics, with a focus on multiple boards to explore and 80 new minigames to mix things up. But a nifty new gimmick this time around is the ability to link up two Switch screens in certain minigames to create an extended level of your own design. And because everyone can easily play with a sideways Joy-Con, two Switches is all it takes to get a full party started.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

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

Treyarch is back with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, dropping you into near-future warfare rife with heavy ordinance and intense shootouts (but without all the jetpack jumps and wallrunning). A huge change for the series this time around is the total lack of a single-player story campaign; in its place, Black Ops 4 will feature a battle royale mode called Blackout (no doubt in response to the massive popularity of Fortnite and the like). Multiplayer brings back the unique characters and abilities of Black Op 3's Specialists, featuring a mix of soldiers old and new, while the Zombies mode chronicles three time-traveling adventures (now with AI-controlled bots if you want to play solo). Ditching the traditional campaign is quite a gamble, so we're interested to see if Blackout mode pays off or the dedicated COD playerbase prickles at the idea of lost value. Black Ops 4 is also following in the footsteps of Overwatch and Destiny 2, as it'll be part of Blizzard's Battle.net platform on PC.

Battlefield 5 

Battlefield 5

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: October 19, 2018

Battlefield 5 is taking the series back to its World War 2 roots, with infantry, tanks, and aircraft aplenty locked in combat across massive multiplayer skirmishes. Choose your preferred class between Assault, Medic, Recon, and Support, then master your role to turn the tide of battle one spawn location at a time. Veterans should be aware of a few key tweaks this time around: now any class can revive downed allies, so no more ignoring cries for help when you're getting your snipe on. The classic spotting mechanic now highlights general areas rather than individuals, encouraging you to seek out enemies yourself without immediately flagging a target for death. And there's a strong focus on Squad play in Battlefield 5, which rewards you for sticking with a designated group of men and women (including your very own customizable soldier). As in Battlefield 1, War Stories provide some single-player action, while the multiplayer does away with the traditional Season Pass in favor of Tides of War, a system modelled around Fortnite's Battle Pass featuring limited-time events.

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