Our most anticipated games of 2018: Alex Connolly

[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, Alex. -ed.]

Highfleet

Nothing gets the blood flowing more than the aesthetic of a Cold War interface. Highfleet, a sequel of sorts to elder indie statesman Hammerfight, is this and more. A romantic retro-futurist Lunar Lander with a czarist flair, I only wish my Russian accreditation wasn’t from the Google School of Translate, because I want to know more! Suffice to say, the combat looks phenomenal and the sliver of strategic map action has me powering up my rocket platform and donning a galloon in anticipation.

  • PC (further details pending)

Frozen Synapse 2

 

Everyone’s favourite Tron-flavoured Counterstrike WEGO is back in the not-too-distant future, and caulk my salivary glands if I’m not hungry for Frozen Synapse 2. Promising a sandbox of faction-filled fun, Mode 7 Games are padding the core tactical goodness with all sorts of Chaos Overlords-esque goings-on. While it’ll be great to jump back into that top-shelf asynchronous multiplayer, I’m just as excited to parcel out the violence in single player.

Run, stop, crouch. Wait. Wait. Wait.

  • PC/Mac/Linux

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2

 

Sacré-Cœur, but with missiles. St. Pauls, but with fighter bays. Notre Dame, but with the righteous cogitation of tech-priests communing with machine spirits. Such remains the appeal of Tindalos’ excellent adaption of Battlefleet Gothic, and it’s exciting to know this dark science-fiction naval game will return in 2018. Publisher Focus Interactive claim it’s going for all twelve factions, deeper systems and an even more expansive campaign. Plus, you know, Necrons. Nothing screams ‘a good time’ more than the collision of ancient Egypt and terminator 800s.

  • PC

Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare

Even with the probability of Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare coming unstuck by the sheer ambition of its ‘Jagged Alliance meets Mount & Blade‘ premise, I’m spellbound by the project and will be there Day One for its Early Access launch. The idea of configuring and commanding ever-growing mobs of troops, as well as being there for boots-on-the-ground ops is mouth-watering. Developer KK Game Studio did have a science-fiction version planned, but confining it to an offbrand Alruco in place of Andromeda just might be the right move.

  • PC

X4: Foundations

While X Rebirth was outrageously premature, and certainly never truly recovered after admittedly consistent patching, the new Egosoft spreadsheet sim should provide what we’ve been missing since Terran Conflict. For the uninitiated, the X series is best described as EvE: Offline. You start small in a living, breathing universe; incrementally trading, mining, manufacturing and murdering your way to corporate godhood. It’s not for everyone, but if they crack the X3 formula and splice in all the systems mentioned above, send food to my home address.

  • PC

Honourable Mentions:

  • Battlezone 2: Combat Commander Redux
  • Aquanox Deep Descent
  • Memory of a Broken Dimension
  • Rogue Aces
  • Depth of Extinction
  • Battletech
  • Metrod Exodus
  • Industries of Titan
  • Outreach
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Notable Replies

  1. Frozen Synapse and Doorkickers are two games I desperately want to love, but I have been stymied by the controls.

  2. Not intuitive for you?

    DK could have offered some more granularity, but I thought FS was perfect.

  3. I don't know what the issue was, but they just didn't click. For the record, I only tried playing on my iPad. I don't think there were enough tutorials.

    I'll have to give the games another shot at some point.

  4. That Chaos Overlords mention now has me searching for a copy that will run on my modern PC.

    Edit: I love you GoG.com

    Edit edit: Doesn't run on Windows 10. Nooooooooooooo

  5. Uhm...that Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 trailer hit me like a frigate.......weighing over 40.000 tons derp

    ...seriously how could I have missed that? I just finished the BFG:A Campaign a month ago and was sad that neither Necrons nor Tyranids were a thing ingame (well for Skirmish battles at least, they did not appear in the true Gothic conflict the campaign mode is modelled after).....now this!


    I need this game now....like right this instant!

  6. Someday maybe we will get another Wargammer game that actually takes advantage of the IP and gives us most of the armies. The original Dawn of War did it, albeit through 3 or so expansions, but what a great way to differentiate yourself from the traditional and over-used cliche of space marines/insect aliens/technologically advanced mystics trilogy that seems to exist everywhere.

  7. you are talking RTS? Because at least as I see it now the BFG 2 gives us a whopping 12 factions.

    Which is good! But lets see how messy MP Balance gets with that said factions.

    I was happy enough with Skirmish and Storymode but the MP crowd as lways is a difficult crowd to please...it is always OP this nerf that...

  8. Yeah, I was talking about that old RTS.

  9. The problem is always how to develop that to please everyone.

    Long wall of te...yadda-yadda regarding the pro's and cons of the different DoW games follows...

    See DoW 1: (note: I didn't purchase the last Expansion so I don't know what that did to the game)
    They had a Story Campaign for Space Marines and added over the course of 3 Expansions a lot of other Armies, but only had one true story campaign the Space Marines. Albeit I played Dark Crusade a lot back then (it added Necrons) the campaign basically watered down to a skirmish-after-skirmish campaign with an overarching map with persisting troops, buffs, etc.

    Story-Campaign: Only Space Marines
    Other Folks: Meh (Skirmishes only and only beginning with second expansion)
    Variety: A ton since they added a lot of folks (but no tyranids)

    Now take DoW 2:
    Less RTS more Moba stuff but thankfully still RTS (more like RTS-light+RPG-ultralight)
    Story Campaign: Base Game and first Expansion again Space Marines only
    Other Folks: Got a story campaign in expansion 2 but it was a carbon copy of the Space Marine Campaign, at least I found that pretty insulting and lazy development.

    Overall I liked DoW2 more for 2 reasons, the story Campaigns were ok (IF you like Space Marines that is) the Tyranid thread was very very fun in the overarching Campaign plot (the Chaos one in the first expansion was meh...)
    And second reason: "the last stand" Boy that was fun. I spent tons of time in that mode, more than in the story campaigns and skirmish/ true pvp alltogether.
    Even now I log into it once or twice a month and try to get a game rolling (needs 3 players) even with only 3-500 people online it works most of the times.

    I liked the "last stand" so much that after seeing the first impressions, reviews and youtube videos of DoW3 I vowed to only buy it when they finally do a DoW3 Last stand mode.....which seems to be never.

    The new game seems to fall flat on its face on a lot of ways, no last stand, forced three way royal in the story campaign, no fun dlcs no additional armies....

    It seems to be Relics Mass Effect Andromeda/Star Wars Battlefront 2/Shadow of War...

    Otherwise some people also seem to have way to high and unrealistic expectations.
    See Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
    Everyone and its mother cried for Story Campaigns for orks, Eldars, Chaos, Space Marines, Tau.....I could understand Chaos but none of the other folks were crucial and overly involved in the Gothic Conflict (again aside Chaos) which the whole story campaign is wrapped around.....it seemed to be too much of a bother for everyone to have a short read about the conflict on lexicanum it seems. While I truly enjoyed Campain mode in BFG:A I was constantly shaking my head to all the "gimme" crowd.

    That at least seems to be solved with BFG:A 2.....lots of folks and an conflict which pretty much involved every faction that exists in wh40k

    but...which propably will end the same way DOW1 did with dark crusade (which is ok) or DoW2 Retribution (which is truly truly bad) a skirmish-style campaign mode. Light on the exposition and story/lore of the conflict depicted.

    Also balancing...if Relic of new has problems balancing just 3 Armies in their latest DoW, how will Tindalos manage 12 armies in BFG:A2? Especially after the rocky release of Eldar/Orks/Tau in BFG:A 1?
    Balancing always loses out the more factions are involved.

    Hard to please everyone....release to few factions, the gimmes begin to cry, release to many and everyone cries OMG-balancing sucks!

    If I had a say in it I definetly want good developed single-player campaigns more than a ton of watered down "dynamic campaigns" for every army. If I only get one campaign than so be it, but that one be better damn good! (BFG:A and DoW2:Vanilla come to mind)

  10. I'm looking at it more from a Warhammer outsider. I've never played any of the iterations of the tabletop war games, and I've never read any of the lore. What I do know is that there are quite a few races that appear to be, at least, visually interesting and different from each other. That's cool! Yet I feel like so many 40k games are Space Marines vs a more generic enemy like Chaos Marines or Tyrannids. That's fine, but if suddenly the Tau showed up, or the Terminators (I don't remember what they are called...Necrons, maybe?), that would be cool. Heck, bring in the Eldar, even though they aren't as unique as they used to be given the popularity of StarCraft's Protoss.

    I know that balance and production costs are possibly prohibitive, but when the lore is so expansive, it stinks to sometimes see the same Space Marines and Orks over and over.

    I mean, why not drop both? What if a future title was Tau vs. Necrons or something? Just for variety and more exposure to the universe?

  11. Yes that are the Necrons, Terminators are something you put on when you want to raid a Space Hulk (the ultimative Space Marine Armor, prohibitively expensive to maintain and incredible rare (because Lost-tech).

    It also makes me furious. They have such an rich and expanded Lore about Eldar, Necron even the Tau are nicely shaping up but its always da funny greenskins agains Space Marines.
    It is all because of Popularity. Space Marines (the big tough guys) are the most popular choice by far pretty since day 1. Orks ah da funny choiza, Chaos the evil choice and Imperials the lotsa tanks choice. Because of that and generations of model fans it is hard to sell the newcomers anything else aside the safe bet. Also the Tau "Fire Warrior" game back in the day for PS2 crashed and burned....

    Sometimes I feel a minimum two hour read of Lexicanum or the equivalent wiki/ lorepage for rich expansive lore heavy games should be required by EULA and unskippable while booting up the first 10 times should be enforced :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
    ....would also reduce the dumb questions in steam/reddit/whereever /whatever which are always asked despite easy and expansive lore game info all around.

  12. Freeman is pretty great so far, as an aside. Worth the twelver.

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