Fall 2017 is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory, with a slew of fantastic games coming to all platforms in what seems to be the fruition of the current console generation being past its infancy. Interestingly, first-party exclusives are slim as internal studios at Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo are learning to give their games room to breathe, rather than having their titles lost in the fall shuffle. We’ve seen this with Zelda, Splatoon, Horizon, and Halo Wars 2 this year alone. Regardless, this fall is going to be a great time for gamers of all platforms. As a prelude, know that my platforms of play are PC, Xbox One, and soon to be a Nintendo Switch. I do not own a PS4, so you will not notice any PS4 exclusives on this list. Take that as you will. FYI – Crackdown 3 was going to be on this list, but it has been delayed to Spring 2018…probably for the best. This list is in no particular order.
Call of Duty: WWII – Activision & Sledgehammer Games
For the first time in nearly a decade, I am excited for a Call of Duty game. I’ve grown tired of the series after years of futuristic, wall running, ridiculous Call of Duty titles, and the return to classic “boots on the ground” World War II gameplay is refreshing, and fits the theme of 2017 being “what is old is new again”. I tried a few hours of the multiplayer beta on Xbox, and while I was atrocious having not played a Call of Duty game in years (aside from the odd Black Ops 2 match), I was instantly brought back into my teenage years, playing World at War and, even before that, Big Red One with friends. Equally refreshing, the campaign seems to be taking a grounded, historic approach to World War II. Some of the best and most unbelievable stories happened in real life – there is no need to make up anything when the largest and deadliest war in human history took place. It tells the story for you. I’m ready to be immersed back into World War II, and to get back into Call of Duty once again.
WWE 2K18 – 2K Games
This one might surprise people, but as a rabid wrestling fan I’ve always been infatuated with the yearly WWE games. Recent years the game has grown stale, using an out-of-date engine and relying on DLC to pad the small roster. This year, the game has a gorgeous new next-generation engine (finally) and has the largest roster in the series history. Not only that, it looks to expand on all game modes, mechanics, and has revitalized the commentary which has been terribly broken for years. I can’t wait to make my in-game wrestler and Batista-Bomb Roman Reigns through the top of the Hell-In-A-Cell. This year’s installment looks to bring incredible value and replay-ability, something I can certainly get behind, and that’s the bottom line brother brother.
Super Mario Odyssey – Nintendo
I’ve been waiting for a Super Mario 64/Sunshine style Mario game for a long time. It’s incredible that they have waited this long to go back to this style; either way I am excited to see what Nintendo does with this game. Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine are two of my all-time favourite games and if this game is anywhere near as good as those two we are all in for a special treat. The hub world of New Donk City is a new take on the franchise with actual humans being there, and some of the new levels we saw looked beautiful and hopefully possess plenty of challenge, charm, and content. They key to this game’s success is the replay-ability. 64, Sunshine, and even the similar-but-different Galaxy & Galaxy 2 have all found great communities in speedrunning, hopefully Odyssey follows suit. It will come down to mechanics and a high skill ceiling; I am confident in Nintendo delivering a world-class experience and hopefully delivering a game as well designed as Sunshine. Only a few games come to mind when thinking about purchasing a console just to play it (Halo, Civilization, and Uncharted); Super Mario Odyssey will make me purchase a Switch.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 – EA & Dice
Funny how things work out sometimes – everyone hates the prequels but as soon as they are added into the new star wars game everyone rejoices. I’ve always been of the mindset that it is more fun playing within the prequels rather than watching them. The addition of prequel maps and factions to play as is a very welcome addition in my opinion, and I cannot wait to gear up as a super battle droid and use my wrist-rockets to destroy the republic. It looks like they are semi-adding space battles as we all used to know them in the original Battlefront 2, and with the refined gameplay, class system, and hopefully unlock system, Battlefront 2 can hopefully stand beside its much older brethren rather than be in its shadow. Please EA & Dice just add a galactic conquest mode, and I’m sold.
Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare – Microsoft/343 Industries & Creative Assembly
Halo Wars 2 does not get enough credit – it’s a fantastic game with excellent polish, an interesting campaign, balanced gameplay, and a great train of DLC that has followed since its release. Unfortunately, Awakening the Nightmare is not included with the season pass, but the expansion is a big one. It adds an entirely new single player campaign where for the first time in Halo Wars you can play the campaign as the Covenant (or Banished as they are called in Halo Wars 2) as you accidentally discover the Flood deep within the Ark, and must try to contain them before it’s too late. The return of the Flood in halo for the first time since Halo 3 is a big deal in itself, but it also adds new leaders for multiplayer, new multiplayer maps, as well as a horde-style mode where you hold off the Flood for as long as you can. This expansion is adding so much interesting content it is hard not to be excited for it. Since Halo Wars 2 takes place shortly after the events of Halo 5, I wonder if this will have any implications on Halo 6.
Honourable Mention – Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds – Microsoft & Bluehole
I already own this game on PC, which is why it is not on my top 5, but I think it deserves a nod. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds has exploded on PC, quickly becoming the most popular game in the world and for good reason. There have been many other games to try it (DayZ & Rust come to mind immediately), but Battlegrounds feels like the first game to nail it. The game is so dynamic, interesting, and smart that it keeps you coming back for more. No two games are the same, each situation is unique, and the massive 100-player matches are an absolute joy to play. Microsoft scored a huge win when it announced that the game will be coming to Xbox One first, and that they are publishing the game for Bluehole. I, for one, will likely purchase it for a second time on Xbox One just to play with friends who don’t own a gaming pc. The game is too good to pass up, and while the hype surrounding this game is nearly unbearable at this point, I can safely say that it is well deserved. As a person who has avoided Game of Thrones like the plague (seriously, I haven’t watched it ever), and waited until Breaking Bad was finished to watch it, due to the never-ending hype surrounding both of those series, this game is an exception to my usual rule of waiting and seeing how it all turns out. If you haven’t tried the game, just watch some entertaining people play it on Twitch, or better yet, watch the fantastic Lets Play put together by everyone at Rooster Teeth. It’s entertaining as hell, and gives you a good window into how good the game can be. If you want a good window into a newbies perspective, watch the Kinda Funny series. If you want a sillier experience, watch Funhaus/Achievement Hunter’s makeshift squad of 8. Both are extremely entertaining.