Gaming's best days are still ahead. If you need further evidence, look no further than some of the medium's most hotly anticipated releases. Over the next year or so, gamers can look forward to entries in every genre that promise action, adventure, romance, imagination, excitement and awe. While there are dozens of promising gamesin the pipeline, the Tom's Guide staff has chosen fourteen that stand out above the rest. Whether or not these games live up to their own hype, they've done a great job holding our attention until they come out.
Commander Shepard's story may be over, but the Mass Effect universe still holds many untold tales. Mass Effect: Andromeda will cast players as Ryder, an intergalactic explorer who becomes one of the first humans to visit the Andromeda galaxy. Like previous entries in the series, Mass Effect: Andromeda will feature a fleshed-out sci-fi story, a cast of colorful characters, action-packed gameplay and plenty of tough moral decisions.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is an open-world action game that stars Aloy, a huntress determined to oust the robot overlords of her fertile planet. Armed with a bow and arrow and incredible acrobatic skills, Aloy will hone her skills and explore more of the world around her as she fights progressively more difficult foes. Odds are good that she'll unearth some kind of larger narrative as well.
Kratos is back, but he's just about run out of Greek gods to disembowel. Perhaps the Norse pantheon will provide a more fertile killing field as God of War moves the series north to Scandinavia. Here, the tragic hero (anti-hero? villain?) will do battle with trolls, einherjar and giants as he takes on some of the greatest monsters and most fantastic heroes from Norse myth. Furthermore, a small boy will accompany him on his adventure, acting as both sidekick and ward. For all its over-the-top violence, God of War has always provided thoughtful stories and plenty of classical insight, and this one should continue the trend.
Any comic book fan knows that while superheroes usually fight supervillains, give them even a slight provocation, and they'll take their aggression out on one another. In this sequel to 2013's Injustice: Gods Among Us, the greatest heroes of DC Comics will take one another on in a fighting game equally suited to kicking back at home or rallying at the tournament scene. Featuring characters like Superman, Batman, Supergirl and the Flash, Injustice 2 looks primed to deliver an imaginative story campaign, tightly balanced online game play and a new gear system that lets you create your own custom version of your favorite DC characters.
The original Halo Wars was a strange beast, combining the military sci-fi story-line of the Halo series with the real-time strategy battles of Age of Empires. Halo Wars 2 will continue the story of the human warship Spirit of Fire and its crew. By setting up bases, collecting resources and constructing units, players will be able to play out huge battles between UNSC forces and their Covenant foes.
The Legend of Zelda games have always been big, but the latest installment, Breath of the Wild, looks downright enormous. Channeling modern game design's predilection for open-world adventures, Breath of the Wild will combine free-form game play with more traditional Zelda dungeons, weapons and characters. In addition to a gorgeous art style that resembles a living watercolor painting, Breath of the Wild features riveting music and an inventory system complex enough to keep dedicated players busy for a while. Though this looks like a very unconventional take on The Legend of Zelda, it also looks like one that will be very hard to put down.
No one makes point-and-click adventure games with quite as much emotional punch as Telltale. With Image, Vertigo and DC Comics properties under its belt, the company has now turned its attention to Marvel. Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series will follow Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora and the crew on a new adventure. Chances are, both comedy and heroism will ensue.