Games to look forward to in 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight.

Here are the button-mashing titles you can get your hands on this year.

Batman: Arkham Knight
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Launching June 2

Projected to be the final instalment of Rocksteady Studios' Arkham series, Batman: Arkham Knight is one game to look out for this year.

It is set a year after events in Batman: Arkham City, the second game in the franchise, and follows the titular character as he confronts the antagonist, Scarecrow, as well as new villian Arkham Knight.

Many game elements return in Arkham Knight, from the famous batarangs the caped crusader hurls at enemies, to the ability to fly around Gotham City. The Batmobile is not ignored either and players are able to manoeuvre it in two modes - Battle and Pursuit.

Production quality and storytelling are the game's strong suits, as in the earlier two entries.

Players can look forward to a map that is five times bigger than the one in Arkham City and split into three distinct islands with unique districts, such as a neon-lit Chinatown and an industrial shipping zone.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Launching May 19

In May, fans will finally be able to play the last chapter of the Witcher fantasy series. The highly anticipated third part of the action role-playing game series has been delayed twice. Developer CD Projekt Red cited its scale and complexity as the key reasons.

Touted to have more than 100 hours of gameplay, the Witcher 3 has an open-world concept (up to 30 times bigger than the previous game) that lets players explore the world at their own pace. There are reportedly 36 possible endings that depend on your character's decisions.

Halo 5: Guardians
Xbox One
First-person shooter
Launching in Q3

It seems that gamers simply cannot get enough of this futuristic gunslinger. This is the ninth instalment in the Halo franchise.

The game appears to be a blend of earlier spin-off, Halo: ODST and the main Halo game. Instead of the famed Master Chief, you play a character, named Spartan Locke. Your job is to hunt down Master Chief and solve a mystery that threatens to destroy the universe.

The multiplayer beta phase was completed recently and teasers were doled out in the form of new maps, new game modes and even new Spartan Abilities.

One can argue that the multiplayer mode is the true meat of the game rather than its main story.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
PlayStation 4
Action-adventure, third-person shooter
Launch date to be announced

Set several years after Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, the latest title in the series looks to delve deeper into the backstory of the protagonist, Nathan Drake.

Naughty Dog, developer of the franchise, promises that Uncharted 4 will be "his greatest adventure yet". Several improvements have been shown already. They include a larger game world and a new rope and grappling-hook mechanic, making it easier for players to go from place to place.

Fans can look forward to the game's narrative keeping its trademark humour while adding layers of depth to the story.

PlayStation 4 exclusive
Launching March 24

From Software - the folks behind Demon's Souls and two Dark Souls, action role-playing games notorious for their difficulty and their deep and obscure plots - has delivered its latest game, Bloodborne.

Unlike the mediaeval fantasy setting of earlier games, Bloodborne is set in a brooding, Victorian gothic world filled with twisted and nightmarish creatures. Early gameplay footage reveals that your character has access to weapons ranging from pistols to cleavers.

One thing is for sure: There will be tears. Bloodborne will likely be as unforgiving as From Software's other games. But that just means victory will be much sweeter when you finally overcome its challenges.

Galactic Civilizations III
Turn-based strategy
Launching in April

Last year's Civilization: Beyond Earth sent you into outer space to colonise a new world. But take away those sci-fi trappings and it deviates little from the original Civilization game.

For those who wish to rule the universe, Galactic Civilizations III is the answer. This latest instalment of the turn-based strategy game adds features such as online multiplayer support, a first for the series.

But the core game remains the same.

You start with a single planet and build a galaxy-spanning empire. You will encounter other races (eight to choose from, so far) which will take all your diplomatic or warring skills to conquer.

Players can research new technologies and even design their own spaceships.

Star Wars Battlefront
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Launching in Q4

Disney is doubling down on the Star Wars franchise this year.

A new sequel, The Force Awakens, will be out in December, accompanied perhaps by Star Wars Battlefront.

Developed by Dice, the Swedish company behind the Battlefield franchise, The Force Awakens will be a first-person shooter game, a genre that Dice specialises in.

Not much is known about the game beyond a short teaser trailer released last year.

The developers travelled to the locations where the original Star Wars was filmed to get a feel of the environment.

The trailer also shows the ice planet of Hoth and the forests of Endor, including vehicles such as the giant AT-AT walkers and speeder bikes.

It seems likely that players will be able to pilot these vehicles and blast some storm troopers along the way.

Based on the in-engine game footage revealed, Star Wars Battlefront looks beautiful. It is only available for the latest consoles, a signal that the graphics will be modern and up to date.

Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Xbox 360 and Xbox One exclusives
Launching in Q4

This upcoming Tomb Raider game follows a successful series reboot in 2013. Simply named Tomb Raider, that game introduced a new origin story, which was further developed in a comic book series.

While the reboot was available on all major game platforms, Microsoft has signed with Tomb Raider publisher Square Enix to keep Rise Of The Tomb Raider exclusive to Xbox, when it is launched during the year-end holiday period.

This deal likely means that PC or PlayStation versions of the game will be released at a much later date. Given the relatively short development time, it is likely that the graphics and gameplay will remain largely the same as the previous, critically acclaimed instalment.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PC
Launch date to be confirmed

Last year's Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was a short but entertaining prologue for The Phantom Pain. Ground Zeroes was also the first in the series to introduce an open-world format.

If you skipped Ground Zeroes or need to refresh your memory, you can watch the game's cutscenes on YouTube.

Like all Metal Gear Solid games, the gameplay involves some form of sneaking around the enemy. Players will be able to use cardboard boxes to distract guards.

The open-world concept means that The Phantom Pain will feel less linear than previous entries.

Quantum Break
Xbox One exclusive
Launch date to be confirmed

Quantum Break is not just a third-person action game. Developed by the studio that made the Alan Wake and Max Payne series of video games, this game is an experiment in transmedia storytelling, in which the story is experienced across multiple platforms.

In this case, the Quantum Break video game, an Xbox One exclusive, is accompanied by a live-action TV series.

At certain moments in the game, you will be called upon to make a decision. What you decide will affect the subsequent TV snippet that you will see.

The story features characters who have gained the ability to manipulate time because of a failed experiment. Players will use these time-based powers to fight an evil corporation.

Until Dawn
PlayStation 4 exclusive
Survival horror
Launching middle of the year

If you have ever screamed at characters in a horror movie for making stupid choices that led them to their deaths, here is your chance to prove how capable you can be in the same situation.

Until Dawn follows eight friends trapped in a mountain cabin, as they slowly discover that there is a ninth person stalking the group.

Filled with classic horror tropes (killer in clown outfit) and cliches (teen girl running around wrapped only in a towel), Until Dawn is a campy horror game in which your actions determine the outcome of the story.

No Man's Sky
PlayStation 4
Launch date to be confirmed

Here is a game that is reaching for the stars. No Man's Sky is an open world, or rather, open-galaxy game that sees players attempting to move from planet to planet, and across solar systems, to eventually find the centre of the galaxy.

To complete their quest, players have to explore planets, gather resources and buy new ships that will take them farther away than they have ever been. Players will also battle monsters and alien creatures.

No two players play the same game, as No Man's Sky uses a procedural graphics system that creates content as the game progresses, instead of using pre-rendered artwork.

Dead Island 2
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Survival horror
Launching in Q2

The zombies have left the island of the original game and the infection has made it to shore, as the infestation of the state of California begins.

Taking place in several locations across California, players will attempt to survive the rising zombie apocalypse.

With new weapons, and new weapon combinations and modifications, the series offers a whole new playground for gamers to devise ways to manage the undead population.

Project CARS
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PC
Racing simulator
Launching March 17

At first glance, you would not be able to tell that Project CARS is a crowd-funded project. It has the polish that usually comes with the funds that a commercial game publisher is able to provide.

Its name is a nod to the people who funded the game. CARS stands for Community Assisted Racing Simulator.

The game is clearly for automobile aficionados. Players have access to all tracks and vehicles from the get-go.

The 70-plus vehicles include everything from go-karts to supercars such as the McLaren MP4-12C. Players will be delighted to know that they do not need to plough through the game just to unlock that Lamborghini Reventon they desire.

The game promises both stunning graphics and great playability, being powered by the same engine as the Need For Speed: Shift series.

To get a handle on how highly anticipated the game is, one just needs to look at the number of accolades it has garnered.

Videogame website Kotaku has dubbed it "the world's most attractive racing game" and Project CARS won the Best Racing Game award at gamescom 2014.

First-person shooter
Launch date to be confirmed

Blizzard has long been known for real-time strategy games and role-playing games. Overwatch will be the fabled developer's first stab at a first-person shooter.

The game is influenced by class-based shooters such as Team Fortress 2, and multiplayer online battle arena games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends.

Players will duke it out in teams of six.

So far, Blizzard has announced two game modes: Payload, in which a team must escort a bomb to a delivery point; and Point Capture, in which the attacking team attempts to capture points on the map.

Of the 12 characters you can choose, some are offence-oriented, while others are focused on defence.

Each character boasts its own unique abilities and skills, so players should have no trouble finding heroes that suit their preferred style of play.

American Truck Simulator
Launch date to be confirmed

Have you ever fantasised about living a trucker's life, hauling containers across a continent in your very own custom truck?

It is not a particularly glamorous existence, but it is one which you might find yourself daydreaming about after sinking a few hours into American Truck Simulator.

This title might seem an unusual pick, but Euro Truck Simulator 2, which preceded it, was an unexpected hit. Gamers enjoyed its expansive game world, along with its surprisingly deep and satisfying gameplay.

That game now enjoys a strong cult following, despite its seemingly mundane subject.

Fans will have plenty of driving to look forward to. Developer SCS Software says it plans to include the entire North American continent and more than 100 cities.

Tom Clancy's The Division
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Third-person shooter
Launch date to be confirmed

First announced at Ubisoft's E3 2013 press conference, The Division wowed the crowd with its gorgeous, next-generation visuals and clever combination of open-world and massively-multiplayer gameplay mechanics.

The game is set in the near future, in the aftermath of a pandemic that has swept the United States, plunging the country into chaos.

Players are free to explore a post-collapse New York City and scavenge for loot, while investigating the source of the mysterious infection ravaging the nation.

Characters are highly customisable and you have plenty of skills, gear and weapon combinations to choose from.

The Division will also feature a companion app for smartphones and tablets. The app lets you play the game from a different role and perspective.

Battlefield Hardline
PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
First-person shooter
Launching March 17

Replace Battlefield's warring nations with cops and robbers and this is what you get.

All-out carnage on the streets - except that it is millions of dollars and stolen property at stake, instead of natural resources, territory, or whatever it is that governments wage war over these days.

The game features four new modes, all new to the series. In Heist, the robbers attempt to rob a vault and escape with the money. In Rescue, the cops must try to rescue hostages.

Blood Money plays much like a capture-the-flag game. Cops and robbers fight to seize a large sum of money from the other side.

Hotwire sounds the most exciting. The robbers must capture and defend a stolen car while escaping from the police in a high-speed car chase.

Fable Legends
Xbox One
Action role-playing
Launch date to be confirmed

The last proper game in this action-RPG franchise was released a full five years ago. Lionhead Studios has done some experimenting in the meantime and released a Fable game that took advantage of the Xbox's Kinect tool.

Fable Legends promises a return to form and then some. Lionhead Studios intended the game to have a life cycle of five to 10 years and plans to make full use of the Xbox One's features.

The biggest difference now is that you have the ability to control a party of four characters or even play the villain. It is a departure from the original game's main premise, which requires you to make moral decisions if you wish to play on either side.

Mortal Kombat X
PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Launching April 14

It has been four long years since the last edition of the controversial fighting game series made its entry. In that time, NetherRealm Studios has released only a compilation of older Mortal Kombat titles and an update of the 2011 game.

A Mortal Kombat X trailer showcasing early gameplay footage was revealed at E3 last year. It netted more than 11 million views on YouTube.

Mortal Kombat X aims to refine and add new twists to the series' famously violent gameplay. Think Street Fighter, but with R21 levels of gore tacked on.

Fatalities, the trademark finisher moves of each character, are back - from the classic decapitation and disembowelment to newer, more brutal methods of execution. This is not a game for kids.


This article was first published on Feb 04, 2015.
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