[Right around New Year’s, I’d asked all the writers to pen something about games they’re looking forward to in 2018. I had assumed one or two from everyone, which would lead to a single article with everyone’s picks and that would be it. Instead, each writer sent me a bevy of games making me realize that one article probably wouldn’t cut it. Hey, I love 4000 word articles as much as the next guy, but it’s easy for games to get lost in something that vast. So, I decided to split it all up and give each member of the Stately Staff their own day to shine. Today, Kelsey. -ed.]
The Room: Old Sins
[Yes, that’s a trailer for the last The Room game. Turns out they haven’t released the trailer for Old Sins yet, but the gameplay isn’t far off. Sue me. -ed]
Every game in The Room series has been tremendous; it’s the series people have used for years to demonstrate the potential of the platform. I expect more effective use of varied touch interactivity which helps players solve marvelously designed puzzles without the need for any sort of manual or explanation. So far, they’ve managed to walk a fine line, creepily revealing enough to evoke dread without offering so much detail that the mystery fades and players feel in control of their fate.
The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game
I think literally every Fantasy Flight LCG is at least good, and some are excellent. Like Star Wars, the LotR property seems so well-served that it seems like I ought to be tired of it, but I never quite get there. I tried out the core set of this one in tabletop form, and enjoyed it, but didn’t want to play it often enough to keep up with each new release. But, with no record-keeping, setup, space requirements, or shuffling, this looks very appealing. Perhaps even … precious?
- Coming in 2018 for PC/Mac, iOS, Android
One Deck Dungeon
This is shame. I already own a tabletop copy of ODD, setup is a breeze, the record-keeping is not burdensome (even kind of clever), it’s already more portable than the iPad—I have no excuse for wanting this digitally. I’m flaccid on a couch, like a Dali clock, desperately wanting to watch TV but too lazy to go find the remote. But, man, it looks like a perfect remote. Not some 96-button monstrosity, just everything you want, exactly where you want it, and nothing you don’t.
- Coming in 2018 to PC/Mac/Linux, iOS, Android
Door Kickers 2: Task Force North
The original Door Kickers gave us squad-based combat with a teflon-smooth real-time/turn-based hybrid control scheme. The action felt urgent and thrilling, but still completely under players’ control. Add to that squad management with a robust set of customization options which significantly affect in-game tactical options, and it was an absolute winner. I have some concern that DK2 has been delayed, which leaves me worried about the potential to drop or further delay an iOS version, but with experience in the platform and a superb original, I’m hopeful that any obstacles will be overcome.
- Coming in 2018 to PC/Mac/Linux, iOS, Android
Here Be Dragons
Red Zero Games includes a co-founder of Big Daddy’s Creations, a name which still has some cachet around these parts. They’re bringing us an antique map-styled adventure, in which we’ll be hunting the titular dragons and other monsters which would murder lesser explorers. We’re still speculating somewhat about gameplay, but “swashbuckling cartographer” is a hat I desperately want to wear.
- Coming in 2018 to PC/Mac, iPad and Android tablets
- Impossible Bottles – neat looking puzzles
- Donut County – Katamari Donutcy?
- Photographs – how have 88 Games not learned from 10000000 that one should make searchable names?
- Wartile – if it makes it to iOS this year
- Duelyst – if IT makes it to iOS this year
- Sigma Theory – a Mi-Clos production; last I heard, they employed the artist formerly known as Owen Faraday
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite – Pokemon GO was great for getting the kids to go for walks, and I never really cared for monsters in pockets
Four games which make me wish I wanted to sit at a computer more
- Battletech – Harebrained Schemes look like massive Battletech dorks who understand how to preserve it while giving it an interface that keeps play speedy.
- Overland – long-awaited beautiful low-poly tactical genius wonderfulness.
- Phoenix Point – X-COM creator Julian Gollop has a present for us.
- Into the Breach – The FTL creators do, too.
Solo game about running the USA. I don’t know that I could ever quite muster the will to study political science for real, but put it in a game from GMT, and I tremble with interest. Virtually everything I find hateful about politics seems related to getting elected or public relations, so the fact that most political games seem primarily focused on elections or on multi-party negotiation has turned me off to them. Public policy seems like it would be tremendous if one had no need to do politics to get involved.
Eric Lang. Antoine Bauza. Semi-programmed actions. Evil. Restrictive morality (and clothes). Steampunk. The death of Sherlock Holmes. Massive Hype. That’s about all I know, but Land + Bauza + programmed actions is singing my song so loud the neighbors are complaining.
I’m going to say I want this for my kids. But, while I loved painting the Mice and Mystics miniatures and found the story and setting charming, the game never struck me as mechanically that innovative. Take everything I loved about M&M, but put it in an innovative new structure in which you play in a literal book, and I have a strong candidate for a Christmas gift. You know, for the kids. Totally.
I still haven’t played my treasured copy of A Study in Emerald, the Martin Wallace game based on a Neil Gaiman story based on Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft. But it is treasured, and, some day, I’ll have a group to whom it will appeal [I have an unplayed, cherished copy as well. Both first and second edition, actually. We need to put together StatelyCon to get these out of shrink -ed.]. And, on that day, I’m likely to already have the sequel, AuZtralia, with its Great Old Ones, solo option, economic elements, and exploration. I’ll probably play AuZtralia a lot more, because of that solo option.
I confess, I’m not totally sold on Root. It sounds like GMT’s COIN series for kids, a project to which I’m deeply sympathetic, but it also sounds a little too complicated to play that role well. If that concern proves ill-founded, though, the upside possibility for Root is the beginning of a decade of COIN games with my children. Then they’ll go off to college, where their preparation as nerds will be so complete they won’t do too many drugs or get pregnant or anything.
- Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar – Restoration Games do marvelous work, and games with a significant toy factor are always a draw for younger players.
- Endeavor: Age of Sail – a game which supposedly captures the feel of exploration, long out of print and now the target of game necromancy.
- Tooth and Tail – Fowers, of Paperback fame, making an animal RTS-based board game. Naturally.
- Ghandi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917-1947 – fascinating to see COIN mechanics applied to such a peaceful struggle.
- Imperial Struggle – Twilight Struggle is expecting a younger sibling!
- Rising Sun – Eric Lang again, this time trying his hand at streamlining Diplomacy-style negotiation and war. [Rumor has it Dave received his copy of this yesterday, which means a Cardboard Critique about it should be in the works if he can get off his lazy ass. -ed.]
Console 5 (that is, not the usual Stately Play fare)
A Way Out
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is in my top five Xbox 360 games, which is astounding for such a short game. Its director has a new, exclusively co-op game coming out, and there’s very little else I need to know. Escaping from prison sounds like not really my bag, but fetching medicine for my sick dad wouldn’t really have fired my imagination, either, so I’m going with trust on this one.\
- Coming in 2018 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4
Shadow of the Colossus
I bought a PS4 this Christmas, but it seems like half of what I want to play is PS3 games. I’ve already checked off The Last of Us and Journey, but SotC is a tremendously well-regarded classic I never had a chance to try. The beauty of Ico in a game with moral ambiguity and pathos sounds pretty great.
- Coming in 2018 to PS4
Stardew Valley talent applied to the Advance Wars formula in a fantasy setting. I don’t care for pixel art, generally, but for a solid tactical battler, I can accept it. On the Switch? Even better. Now I just have to get my son to be done with Zelda so I can have a turn.
- Coming in 2018 to PC, Switch, Xbox One, and PS4
Call of Cthulhu
Eternal Darkness, way back on the Gamecube, persuaded me that Lovecraftian horror can work brilliantly on a console. Call of Cthulhu seems set to capture a game which takes the emphasis off the sort of combat which lends itself to a murderous power fantasy, and puts it on exploration and (increasingly horrible) discovery.
- Coming in 2018 for PC, Xbox One, PS4
Far Cry 5
The Far Cry games are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. I never feel much connection to the story—I don’t think I even finished the main quest line in Far Cry 3—but so much else about them tickles me. I love that they make a point of having nice scenery, I find the climbing puzzles surprisingly satisfying, and the combat puzzles presented by each outpost combine planning and action in a way I find oddly rewarding. And the middle finger aimed at white supremacists seems delightfully bold.
- Coming in 2018 for PC, Xbox One, PS4
- Ghost of Tsushima – Feudal Japan is hella pretty. Gameplay is a little vague at this point, probably involving some amount of stealth, but I’m halfway to not even caring, it looks so good.
- Metroid Prime 4 – will probably be great, even though it’s not my style of game.
- We Happy Few – in a world where everybody’s on hallucinogens all the time, would a game with a premise like this seem normal?
- Red Dead Redemption 2 – I dig westerns, but hate horses in games. I’ll probably find a way to suffer through this likely masterpiece.
- Psychonauts 2 – not sure how well this idea will have aged or how they’ll update it, but the original is so beloved it’s hard not to be interested in this one.
- The Last of Us, Part 2 – Or this one.
- Death Stranding – I don’t even know, man.
- Monster Hunter World – another popular series that’s largely avoided my platforms of choice, but its rabid fans make it sound kind of like a job.
- Kingdom Hearts 3/Ni No Kuni 2 – look like they might be fun RPGs to play with the kids in the room telling me what to do.
- Sea of Thieves/Skull and Bones – the video game demigods have decreed that it is time for a pirate game, so I guess we’re doing that, now.