Gamescom 2018: The Best New Games And Reveals
Let's jump right into some of our highlights from the Cologne expo
6Gamescom this year might not have delivered as many jaw-dropping reveals as E3 did, but that's not to say that it was a disappointment by any stretch. Most major publishers were content to double-down on the big games they revealed back in June, meaning we got a load of great new insight into some of our most anticipated titles. In the interest of not repeating ourselves too much from our E3 round-up, though, we've elected to focus primarily on other games (with one notable exception), but the likes of Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry V, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and all the rest of the E3 hotness were out in force as well, though those should hopefully already be on your radar. Some of these, however, might not be just yet, so let's jump right into some of our highlights from the Cologne expo.
Life Is Strange 2Developer: Dontnod
Publisher: Square Enix
ETA: 27 September
We got a sneak peak at what kind of tone and feel to expect from Dontnod's anticipated narrative adventure sequel earlier this year in the form of heartful freebie The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit, and it was every bit as intimate and affecting as we hoped. Now, though, we've seen our first glimpse of the actual stars of the sequel in context, and know that it centres around teenage brothers Sean and Daniel leaving their Seattle home and heading for Mexico, for reasons that will no doubt become apparent in the full game and that we didn't really want spoiled for us before then anyway. It's shaping up to be another emotional roller coaster, and the first episode is only weeks away... bring on the emotions.
SoulCalibur VIDeveloper: Project Soul
Publisher: Bandai Namco
ETA: 19 October
Bandai Namco has hit top gear in its announcement cycle for this weapon-based fighting game sequel lately, and while there have been a few missteps (announcing a DLC character before we even know the full roster isn't a great look), most have only served to make us even more excited to return to the stage of history. Libra Of Souls is the latest mode to get our attention – a checklist of all the fan-favourite features from previous games rolled into one mode, where you create your own custom fighter, travel the world taking on various opponents under unique conditions, and grow your abilities. The pre-release tourney at EVO earlier this year was a great watch and we can't wait to grab a ludicrously large sword and batter some folks.
Dying Light 2Developer: Techland
Publisher: Warner Bros.
The original survival sandbox adventure proved to be one of the surpise hits of 2015, rolling up in January to fairly minimal fanfare but blowing players away with its unique fusion of parkour, brutal melee and zombie armageddon – a nimbler, scarier and generally better version of Techland's own Dead Island, basically. The sequel is looking to double down on what made the first game so entertaining, while pushing harder in new directions. Legendary writer and designer Chris Avellone joining the team means that writing and narrative might actually be worth a damn this time, while a more intense twist on the day/night cycle will see lighter dustings of dead dudes during the day but tidal waves of shambling corpses smashing into the city when the sun goes down.
Ori And The Will Of The WispsDeveloper: Moon Studio
Oh Ori. We can't think of another game that gave such a full workout of head, heart and hands, with its complex movement tools demanding quick reflexes, practical world puzzles to test the brain, and heartstring-tugging narrative and simply beautiful look and feel. As with all good sequels, Will Of The Wisps will be a case of 'more of all that good stuff and then some', and it's the 'and then some' part that has us frothing after Gamescom – Microsoft showed off a new Spirit Trials mode, akin to the time trial challenges in recent Rayman games, but inherently much faster and more complex due to the game's more plentiful movement tech. The only downfall the first game had was replay value, so this endless chase for leaderboard glory should right that wrong and deliver a much more rounded package.
Dark PicturesDeveloper: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Like Dying Light, Until Dawn was a massive – Supermassive, if you will – and pleasant surprise at launch, not least because we'd played a bit of it at preview stage and it felt pretty rough. The full release, however, turned out to be a fantastic teen horror choose-your-own-adventure-style game, and the team is back with an anthology series, the first part of which is scheduled for early next year. The debut entry, Man Of Medan, sees a group of divers get stranded on a ghost ship where obviously nothing terrible could ever happen, with the same Until Dawn levels of player choice and character mortality. It looks to be slightly more mature in tone than its predecessor, but the standalone nature of each of the Dark Pictures releases that follows gives the team the opportunity to mix things up in that regard as the series continues.
Hitman 2Developer: Io Interactive
Publisher: Warner Bros.
ETA: 13 November
It's great to see the hard work of Io pay off and after the studio surprisingly got the chop from previous publisher Square Enix and bailed itself out, it was unclear what the future would have in store for Agent 47. Now, though, the developer is working with Warner Bros. to deliver a more traditional (read: non-episodic) Hitman game, with the vast maps and plentiful assassination options of the well-received 2016 game intact, but with everything right there for players to enjoy from day one. Expect lush landscapes and creative kills galore, as the freeform mission structure allows you to approach your singular goal in all kinds of of-the-wall ways as well as straightforward ones. Don't let the title confuse you, though – unlike Resident Evil 2, this isn't a remake of the classic from yesteryear of the same name.
Cyberpunk 2077Developer: CD Projekt RED
Publisher: CD Project RED
So here's the exception to our 'no games from the E3 round-up' rule, and with good reason. You see, while CDPR didn't show a whole lot of new stuff at Gamescom, they showed what they had – which was largely what E3-goers were lucky enough to see back in June – to everyone. The world can finally see what had so many gaming writers so enraptured, and there's close to an hour of gameplay right there on YouTube to serve as a meaty preview of this first-person cyberpunk RPG from the team behind The Witcher. And it is glorious, laying out exactly the kind of player choice and absurdly large open world you'd expect if you played Wild Hunt, while remaining in keeping with the tabletop RPG from which it derives its name. Still no release date yet, but fingers crossed it'll be ready by next year...
Streets Of Rage 4Developer: Lizardcube
Yeah, so we're cheating a little bit with this one as well. Streets Of Rage 4 wasn't technically announced at Gamescom, rather announced around it. Still, the simple fact that it's Streets Of freaking Rage 4 means we'll bend whatever rules it takes to talk about it. The series has been dormant since way back in the 16-bit era (the last release will have been a quarter of a century ago by the time this game arrives) but Axel and Blaze are back to kick the asses of countless identikit bad guys in a scrolling fighter that stays true to its roots. The hand-drawn graphics have divided the fan base somewhat, but we still have faith in the project – classic Sega brands are trading really well off nostalgia coming of the back of Sonic Mania and the recent Shenmue re-releases, and the devs here were the same ones behind the awesome remake of Wonder Boy 3 so their nu-retro chops are in no doubt.
Call Of CthulhuDeveloper: Cyanide
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
ETA: 30 October
Lovecraft-inspired games are common enough, but few games are bold enough to take on the cult writer's actual works. One prominent game to do so was 2005 obscurity Dark Corners Of The Earth, a first-person horror adventure based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and its our love for that slightly janky slice of Lovecraft greatness that fuels our interest in this also seemingly slightly janky slice of Lovecraft greatness. With players taking the role of a PI investigating a suitably spooky manor, this is an investigation game with a twist, since the more clues and occult knowledge you pick up, the more your sanity and grasp on reality begin to crumble. It looks really interesting and the mythos is naturally incredible, so hopefully the team can make that choice between uncovering the truth and retaining some semblance of sanity a satisfying and arresting one.
Battlefield VDeveloper: DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
ETA: 20 November
DICE's games are always visually incredible, though the video produced to show off the stunning ray-tracing lighting tech capable with Nvidia's new graphics cards takes this to the next level. Reflections and dynamic lighting are simply out of this world and while it's not tech that console players are likely to see for several generations, the self-appointed master race who like to keep their PCs at the forefront of performance certainly have a lot to look forward to. BFV's release was recently bumped back a month, so you'd like to think that extra time in the oven will give the team time to respond to feedback to the imminent beta, and possibly even to get the promised battle royale mode into the game in time for launch – the latter needs to happen sooner rather than later, as a downtick in numbers for PUBG and Fortnite looks to suggest that the absurb popularity of the genre might have already peaked.
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