The best upcoming games of 2018

Knights and Bikes  

Knights and Bikes

Platform(s): PS4, PC
Release date: TBC 2018

This charming top-down adventure game, developed by two Media Molecule alums and published by Double Fine, strives to recapture the sense of wonderment and improvised fun inherent to childhood expeditions. Our two young heroines, Nessa and Demelza, explore their quaint island town brought to life by charming picture-book visuals, battling imaginary creatures with frisbees, water balloons, and all manner of improvised weaponry. Though it's playable solo, the ideal way to enjoy Knights and Bikes is in two-player co-op, where Nessa and Demelza will often devise spur-of-the-moment competitions - like racing their bikes to the next point of interest - that create fleeting moments of giddy rivalry with your co-op pal to see who can lay claim to those sweet bragging rights.

Call of Cthulhu 

Call of Cthulhu

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

The influence of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos creeps across the gaming landscape like the black tendrils of some otherworldly Elder God, so it's about time a game used modern hardware to take those nightmarish, existentially terrifying themes head-on. Made in the same style as 2005's Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, this Call of Cthulhu reimagining is a first-person RPG that's equal parts investigation and delirium. Combat takes a backseat to critical thinking as you poke around the shadows of Darkwater, and all the while you'll need to manage your sanity meter to stave off the madness so commonly associated with Cthulhu-worshipping cultists.  

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Bloodstained

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PS Vita, PC
Release date: TBC 2018  

We were so accustomed to a steady stream of excellent exploration-based Castlevania games for so long that we didn't realize what we had until they were gone. No more! In 2018, the mastermind behind Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Aria of Sorrow, and many others will bring us Bloodstained. Koji Igarashi's first major post-Konami project is Castlevania in all but name, with the same smooth action, gothic atmosphere, and haunted locale spelunking we loved for so long.

Hunt: Showdown 

Platform(s): PC
Release date: TBC (alpha testing starts January 2018)

Hunt: Showdown is among our personal most anticipated games of 2018 for good reason: it's one of the most exciting takes on the survival FPS we've yet seen. You (and a teammate, if you so choose) play as old-timey bounty hunters of all things occult, stalking the nightmarish ghouls and giant spiders that lurk among decrepit shanties and mosquito-ridden marshes. As with PUBG, there's a strong sense of a chaotic battlefield where anything can happen, dressed up in gloriously grimy aesthetics - think Left 4 Dead 2's Swamp Fever campaign, mixed with the graphical fidelity of Crysis. The moment you take down a boss and send their corpse back to Hell, the map shows all the opposing players where you are, and they'll come running to steal your bounty before you can escape with your life. That tension of the hunter suddenly becoming the hunted seems like it'll be genuinely terrifying - and ridiculously replayable. 

A Plague Tale: Innocence 

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

Amicia and Hugo are in a living nightmare. A Plague Tale: Innocence follows these orphan siblings and their struggles in a Dark Age not unlike the first Dishonored, where swarms of supernatural rats have started to nibble at society and citizens' sanity bit by bit. Said rats are the size of footballs, and can devour humans in no time flat; fortunately, you can ward them off with sources of light. As Amicia, you'll have to watch after your little brother while the two of you flee from the fanatical Inquisition, sneaking around danger for some tense stealth gameplay. You'll grow up real fast the first time you take out an Inquisition guard's lamp with a carefully aimed sling shot and watch as he's eaten alive by vermin, screaming all the while.  

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord  

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

If you've not played the PC-centric Mount & Blade games before, they're essentially For Honor on a sprawling Battlefield-sized scale. Whether on foot or on horseback, players take part in massive medieval skirmishes in a giant sandbox world, with intricate melee combat mechanics that take physics and positioning into account. Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord promises the same scope and intense dueling, modernized with a much-needed facelift of its predecessors aging visuals. Anyone with a fondness for chaotic close-quarters combat should love wildly swinging a sword and shield in this sequel's monumental sieges, regardless of which side of the ramparts you're on.

To make the wait for these games a little easier, you should occupy your time by playing the best games of 2018.