No matter where you are in the world, if you listen carefully, you can probably hear the distant screaming of my wallet. We’re about to enter into the most sustained and jam packed period of potentially brilliant video game releases in recent history. From the start of August till the end of February 2019, there’s barely a week that’s not hosting a hot new release.
There’s one catch to this stacked period. Mixed among the hot new pretenders are a lot of sequels; it’s not just Call of Duty and Battlefield either. A number of the most exciting games coming up later this year are follow-up’s, sequels, prequels or parallel stories to games that are already out in the wild. Sure, you could play them without having played their predecessors (and I’m sure there are steps being taken to make them as accessible to newcomers as possible) but if you really want to get the most from these games, you’ll have had to have experienced their other entries.
With that in mind, we took a look at the release schedule to come up with a list of games you must play during this brief lull in releases if you’re to get the most out of the Autumn/Winter Deluge.
What? – Red Dead Redemption
Why? – Red Dead Redemption 2 releases on 26 October 2018
How? – Xbox One Backwards Compatibility, PSNow (on PS4 and PC too) or on PS3/Xbox 360.
Despite many of the rumours prior to release, Red Dead Redemption 2 looks as though it’s going to be a prequel to the PS3/Xbox 360 smash hit Red Dead Redemption. We’ve not had official confirmation that this is actually the case (Rockstar are being their usual stoic self and aren’t dropping much information) but it certainly looks the guy with the cut up face in the trailer for RDR2 is a younger John Marston, the protagonist from Red Dead Redemption and there’s a few other returning, younger looking characters too. There’s obviously some clear links between RDR and RDR2 and it’s common for Rockstar to add in plenty of fan service for their returning players so if you’re looking to get the most out of Red Dead Redemption 2, make sure you’re played its predecessor before the 26th of October.
What? – Darksiders 1 & 2
Why? – Darksiders 3 drops on November 27th.
How? – Both games have been remastered for PC, Xbox One and PS4 (available together in the Fury Collection)
I’ve said “The Darksiders games are some of the best Zelda games” a few times in the past and I’ve only ever been half joking. The series, set during and after the end of the world, has you play as the 4 horseman of the Apocalypse as they navigate the war between heaven and hell which is taking place on earth. Full of deep mythology, top class combat, engrossing mechanics and an art style that looks like it has jumped straight out of a comic book, these games are some of my favourites of all time. The original game (in which you play as War) and the follow up (where you play as Death) are soon to be joined by the third Horseman (Fury) in Darksiders III. If you’ve not played these games, I urge you to give them a go before the threequel drops on November 27th.
What? – The Last of Us
Why? – The Last of Us Part II is coming
How? – Remastered for PS4 or as part of PSNow
The Last of Us is often described as one of the best games ever made. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but for those in its target demographic, it is described as “The Citizen Kane of Video Games”. It’s fair to say then that there’s a fair amount of buzz around the sequel that certainly seems to be turning every dial up to 11. Ground breaking environmental interaction, near photo realistic character models and the kind of action normally reserved for a Hammer horror movie are just some of things we’ve seen in trailers for Part 2 so far. What we’ve not seen much of yet is the plot and that’s one of the strongest elements of the original game that we hope continues in the sequel. If you’ve yet to experience the gut wrenching, tear inducing plot to the original Last of Us, get this played. ASAP.
What? – Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider
Why? – Shadow of the Tomb Raider arrives on September 14th.
How? – Both available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Lara Croft has been through a lot since she got the reboot treatment in 2013. A younger, deeper Lara, we’ve seen her go through difficult times in both Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider with her origins story coming to a close in the upcoming Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Each of these games is a decent stand along adventure for sure but there’s an overarching narrative at play which is likely coming to a head this September. If you’re looking forward to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, make sure you get all caught up.
What? – FIFA 17 and 18
Why? – The Journey mode for FIFA 19
How? – Second hand shop.
“What!?” I hear you cry. “Why do you recommend playing a 2 year old FIFA game?”. The answer is simple. Alex. Hunter. The Journey mode is quite possibly the most interesting thing to come out of football games since online multiplayer. For the past 2 years, the mode has allowed us to experience an abridged version of trials and tribulations of being a footballer (stopping short of getting really gritty). Somehow, giving a football game a personality to get behind offered a new lease on life to a series that long competed with Dynasty Warriors for the annual ‘which game has changed least between releases’ award. Alex Hunter’s journey comes to an end in FIFA 19 and seeing as though you can pick up both FIFA 17 & 18 pretty cheaply second hand these days, it might be worth you giving The Journey mode a punt.
What? – Ori and The Blind Forest
Why? – Ori and The Will of the Wisps
How? – PC or Xbox One
There’s a rumour on the grapevine that Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the highly anticipated Metroid-vania styled sequel to The Blind Forest, will be releasing in early 2019. The original game won more than a few GOTY awards when it released in 2015 and the sequel is attempting to improve upon it. “A lot of what we’re doing with Will of the Wisps is trying to perfect the genre, perfect Metroidvania. We looked at a lot of games that have come out since the first Ori – Hollow Knight, Axiom Verge – and studied them and researched them,” explained Thomas Mahler, CEO of Moon Studios, “Now it’s our turn to take it to the next level. That’s how Ori evolves. We look at what’s been done since the last game, and we push it further. We take it further. It’s pretty bananas!”. If you’ve not played Ori yet, get it done before the sequel “takes it to the next level” and you’re left unprepared.
What? – Telltale’s The Walking Dead Seasons 1-3
Why? – The Final Season releases on August 14th
How? – Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mobile platforms (and Switch soon too).
In terms of narrative design and storytelling, Telltale’s The Walking Dead stands head and holders above its peers. Focusing on the very human aspect of a zombie apocalypse, the 3 existing series’ follow Clem and a host of supporting characters through deadly situations which almost always come with a powerful, emotional punch. The series comes to an end this year when Episode 1 of “The Final Season” launches on August 14th 2018 and if you’ve yet to emotionally scarred by the series, allow us to highly recommend doing so now.
Got another suggest? You know what to do. Head to the comments section and sound off.