The most exciting games of 2018

23 of 31

Phoenix Point

Snapshot Games, TBA

Adam: You don’t really need me to tell you why having the creator of the original X-COM returning to the tactical alien-smashing genre is exciting. Gollop and his team aren’t trying to hang their hat on past glories though – with its truly unknowable semi-procedural enemies and all kinds of inter-faction dealings, Phoenix Point could be a much stranger and more complex game than I ever expected when it was first announced.

With Frozen Synapse 2 and Phoenix Point both coming out next year, and both exploring the possibilities of a world with simulated factions rather than abstract mission generation, 2018 is going to be an exciting time for fans of turn-based tactics and high-concept strategy.

Read more: Everything you need to know about Phoenix Point, an interview with creator Julian Gollop.

78 Comments

  1. Beefenstein says:

    I am excited for more games even though I don’t have time to play the ones I do have, and this problem goes back years.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    • napoleonic says:

      I recommend losing your job. An excellent incentive to play through your backlog, I’ve always found.

      • EmilyMoore says:

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  2. wombat191 says:

    Yeah I don’t honestly expect Cyberpunk out before 2020 at this point

  3. Sp4rkR4t says:

    It’s the little things that make me most likely to murder everyone, and the fact the header image for each page is a slightly different height making move the mouse up and down to find the next button has already made 2018 the year most likely that my own personal purge begins.

  4. Suits says:

    Actually, I did finish Darksiders 2 to completion just because it’s right up my alley. (and no I wouldn’t want to collect everything again) I have to agree the early Darksiders 3 footage they threw out after the leak was disappointingly lacking impact. But it seems like they knew this all along and it’s getting better every time I see it.

    • Crafter says:

      I did finish it too !

      Although 2 is the lesser DS game for me, it was still nice to return to this world.

      I think my main gripe is that I largely prefer War to Death as characters.

      That and the rando loot system did not click with me.

      • durrbluh says:

        I finished it a second time (sans collectibles) when the Deathfinitive Edition was released. That said I was a little underwhelmed by the “additions”, so I think I’ll stick to the GOTY version of Darksiders 3.

  5. LearningToSmile says:

    Not very many games I’m particularly excited for myself, but thankfully I got a sizeable backlog to get through. Some interesting stuff I overlooked made the list though, so I’m happy for that.

    Couple thoughts: seems weird to talk Anthem without even a hint of caution about monetization practices. The whole idea of making a Destiny-like seems to me to be about extracting money from players by getting them to invest more time than they would in a single player Bioware game, and it’s quite likely to hurt the end product just as it hurt Destiny 2.

    Second, as to Cyberpunk 2077 – I find it very unlikely to be “Witcher, but sci-fi”. Or rather, I hope it won’t be one. The core thing that made Witcher the Witcher for me was the set protagonist and existing cast of characters and their relationships(though I might be biased as someone who read all the books as a teenager in Poland 15 years ago). I don’t think the Cyberpunk game will go the same route, since the source material doesn’t provide the same opportunity.

  6. Stepout says:

    Looking forward to Pillars of Eternity II and Pathfinder: Kingmaker bringing party-based, RPG goodness. Also two games I hope maybe, might, possibly get released are Chasm and Bard’s Tale IV.

  7. aoanla says:

    At the moment I’m finding it hard to be excited by new games, not particularly due to their fault but due to the fact that I barely seem to manage to play more than 2 games a year (until the current holiday period, where I might play another 2).

    Spelunky 2 and Phoenix Point might end up being my two games I get excited by this year – but I might also just end up playing games from years ago that I’ve not gotten around to yet…

  8. sunahe says:

    Please, please, please fix these arrows so they move forward one step at a time on Safari mobile.
    I love these lists so it’s a shame that navigating through them hurts so much.

    • Fallingbadgers says:

      Same issue with Safari on the desktop :(

    • Stijn says:

      Yes, and it’s not just Safari Mobile that has issues with it. I know RPS consists of writers rather than tech people but this has been an issue for over a year and it’s preventing me from being able to read what you write! Please fix this!

  9. Tomo says:

    Surprisingly few games I’m really that bothered about. More PUBG it is then!

  10. Syrion says:

    What about this game in which you invade a village run by some 80s sect or so, mixing stealth and action and diplomacy? There was a trailer several months ago and I have no idea what it’s called, but it looked interesting!

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Church of Darkness, based among other things on the 1978 Jonestown massacre.

  11. Turkey says:

    Must be nerve wracking to put out something like Into the Breach or Spelunky 2. You just know the fans of their previous works are going to go over every detail with a fine tooth comb looking for faults.

    At least ItB has some leeway since it’s a different game from FTL, but if Spelunky 2 implements a major change from the original, it’ll be deemed as trash by half the fanbase.

  12. fish99 says:

    Definitely looking forward to Monster Hunter World, although not looking forward to waiting for the PC version. Fingers crossed it’s fun solo. Hoping to play a new Elder Scrolls, or a new From Software game, but we may get neither this year. Metro Exodus looks impressive and it gives me a good reason to finally play the first two Metro games.

    Excited for where VR goes this year too since I now have a Rift.

    Maybe I’ll finally stop buying games and work on my backlog. Just kidding.

    • mmandthetat says:

      “May”? We’re definitely not getting either of those things in 2018. Even 2019 is unrealistic for the new Elder Scrolls.

      • fish99 says:

        A From Software game is possible with the speed they banged out Dark Souls 2 and 3. At the very least I hope to hear what they’re working on at E3.

  13. Pulstar says:

    We all know Anthem will be shite.

  14. Seafoam says:

    Hngghgg the fact that Monster Hunter World doesnt have a definitive date for the PC version really bothers me.
    Can’t put that on the calendar and count the days. Theres this intense static hype energy with nowhere to direct it.

  15. ninjapirate says:

    I’m still waiting for something concrete about Borderlands 3.

  16. Jaykera says:

    Now I realise how good of a year 2017 has been.

  17. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I have to say, the dickish goose game does look like fantastic fun.

  18. Eddy9000 says:

    The game with the goose looks lovely, they’ve really got the animation perfect. I like that they haven’t tried to go down the ‘ironic’ or ‘post-modern’ route, just finding joy in the inherent silliness of a goose tormenting a groundskeeper. More Beatrix Potter than Goat Simulator.

  19. Dominic Tarason says:

    Worth mentioning that Ori and the Will Of The Wisps has one extra key developer on board; the creator of AM2R, the fantastic fan-made Metroid 2 remake.

    The studio were so impressed with him that the moment Nintendo started flexing their legal muscle at AM2R, they just hired the guy as a senior designer. The guy has some serious Metroid design chops.

  20. castle says:

    Kentucky Route Zero act 5/finale!

  21. Cederic says:

    You even mention Frozen Synapse 2 is due out in 2018 but it doesn’t make the list?

    Easily one of my most anticipated games of the year – in the top three, with Bannerlord and Cyberpunk (but not expecting that).

  22. kagechikara says:

    Ugh. Now I’m excited for (most) of those games too.

    And I have so many in my backlog…oh well, off to play some games while I’m still off work.

  23. Esin12 says:

    Yes! Really pumped you guys have No Truce on the list; that might be the game I’m most excited about. There’s definitely some really interesting games coming out this year.

  24. KidWithKnife says:

    I’m a bit puzzled as to the RPS crew’s negativity about Far Cry’s stories; I haven’t played 4, but 3 seemed solid and had some really good character development for the protagonist. Maybe this is the difference between them being in Britain and me being in the rural US showing, but I think Far Cry 5 is already as political as it needs to be just by virtue of the premise; maybe you have to live around American anti-government nutters to really feel like a game where said nutters are the villains is a vital and interesting thing.

    • Beefenstein says:

      “but 3 seemed solid”

      In my opinion the story of Far Cry 3 was terrible, with an awfully bland lead character and by-the-numbers ‘black magic sexy’ lady.

      • SenorRoboto says:

        I disliked how Far Cry 3 knew it was doing “White Chosen One with no training saves brown people” and sorta winked at itself but then had no interesting critique or thoughts on it.

        I think it would have been great if it had taken that further than mere lampshading and actually had a message besides “Yup this is a power fantasy for you the player, now go collect more things on the minimap”

        • Robomonk says:

          FC3 to me was more about the lost of innocence (as innocent you can get as a group of “well off” folks) and becoming the monsters he’s fighting against. There were moments where the main character lose himself, enjoying the violence and destruction, as he tries to save his friends. Were the themes, character development and story delivered well? No, they were clunky, messy, cliched and ham-fisted. Though, at some points it did make me ask myself, as a participant, am I really doing the right thing?

          You’re right, in that it doesn’t go deeper in the critique. However, in the end I didn’t go into these games expecting top notch writing and self reflection, but it had the solid core gameplay (excluding the tower unlocks), which I have no complains about.

    • durrbluh says:

      To be fair, all the Far Cry games have had pretty weak stories. Primal, the one I wanted(!) to like the most, was perhaps the most disappointing in that regard.

      Oh well.

    • Robomonk says:

      Like yourself, I’m also puzzled about RPS’s negativity towards Far Cry franchise. At first I thought RPS didn’t like the political message in FC5, but they seemed to enjoy the recent Wolfensteins. FC5 and Wolfensteins both (or at least partially) about fighting against cult-like groups. Or maybe they just don’t like Ubisoft in general, which I sort of can understand, like how some people despise Konami.

      For me, the combat gameplay mechanics are fairly solid. The game engine runs well on my ageing machine. The open world aspects can be repetitive and the story cliched, but I don’t go into these games expecting excellent stories or characters.

      I’m also not sure how they’re getting the idea that FC5 looks worse compared to the previous games. The rural areas and forest looks like it fits the theme of the story – something horrible rising from beneath the serene surface.

      • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

        You realise Far Cry 3 was their game of the year that year, right? They like Far Cry gameplay, just not the storytelling.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        Negativity? I’m always surprised by how positive RPS are about the FarCry games. After all, they’re basically big, dumb, AAA shooters, complete with the patented Ubisoft massive sandbox map full of icons. Which aren’t usually traditional RPS fare (this years advent calendar is a good example).
        That said, I enjoy them too, and I’ll probably pick up FC5 not long after release, even while I feel slightly guilty for not giving that arty looking indie game a chance…
        (Although I’m sure I will be picking up a bunch of arty indie games this year)

        • MrEvilGuy says:

          I agree. Farcry 3 and 4 were trash. I have a soft spot for Farcry 2 but they seem to have abandoned that formula.

  25. Premium User Badge

    Tonny says:

    i m looking forward to Phoenix Point (backer), and …tadaam!…..Iron Harvest ( link to iron-harvest.com ). But i guess both will be late in 2018, IF they succeed. But the artwork from both games i like, especially IH

  26. Papageno says:

    Thoughts:
    I’ll be very gratified if American Truck Simulator includes Oregon as the next state, since that’s where I live (in Portland), but if they do, I sure hope that they include the coastal Highway 101, and the western part of the Columbia Gorge. I-5 alone isn’t going to cut it.
    As to Bannerlord, pull the other one–that’s looking to be released a week before our sun goes nova, at this rate.

  27. Lars Westergren says:

    Whew. Another bumper year for games it looks like.

    As a Kickstarter addict, I’m also looking forward to Jenny LeClue, Pillars of Eternity 2, Underworld Ascendant, Bards Tale 4, We Happy Few, City of the Shroud, Cultist Simulator, Stygian, System Shock 1 remake, System Shock 3, Psychonauts 2. Though several of them will probably be postponed to 2019 (Psychonauts 2 already has been).

    I’m also looking forward a lot to the full release of Subnautica. Thank you Pip and RPS for introducing me to it.

    I had started to lose interest in my Vive and it was collecting dust, but now some adventure-ish games have started to appear and I’m enjoying the games beyond just the novely of it. Rick & Morty, LA Noir VR, Form, The Invisible Hours…. If this keeps up I might get the second generation of VR headsets, if the resolution has been improved.

    • Oozo says:

      As a fellow Kickstartener, there are a few more games I’m waiting for that might come out in 2018. Pathologic being the one I’m most excited about, but there are also:
      Knight & Bikes: won me over with its trailer, and it’s looking better with every update.
      La-Mulana 2: Will definitely come out soonish. A year with a new Spelunky and a new La-Mulana? Didn’t expect to live and see that.
      Southern Monsters: By the guy who did The Domovoi and Beneath Floes. Might shape up to be one of the better text-based games coming out next year.
      Barkley 2: Nobody knows what’s happening to this game, but the devs are still on it, it seems, and the bits that are shown still look great. So… never give up hope?

      There are a few early access-games I figure might hit definite release in 2018, too, like Distance, and isn’t Sunless Skies also up for a 2018 release?
      And then there’s Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, which always looked interesting, and added some really good writers along the way. Might be something special. Oh, and Iconoclasts — that will definitely also finally be released this year, won’t it?

  28. Pink Gregory says:

    So far, I’m hoping that untitled Goose Game will adopt something along the lines of ‘The Goose is Loose’

  29. Vasily R says:

    I’m surprised Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t on your list. It should come to PC considering that GTA V did. My most anticipated games of 2018 are Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Pillars of Eternity, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Mount & Blade Bannorlord, Days Gone, and State of Decay 2.

    • Gomer_Pyle says:

      I really do hope Bannerlord comes out this year, I’ve been waiting so long already.

  30. Killy_V says:

    In this ocean of preview I think one game was one my radar (pun intended) but I can’t remember the name :
    It was a kinda submarine control with sonar and whatsnot. I saw a video where they made their own interface… Can’t remember the name of it.

  31. LW says:

    It’d be nice if Below reappeared. Capy isn’t so hot at communication, but it was looking pretty complete when I last saw it.

  32. FordTruck says:

    Surprised “My time at portia” keeps getting passed up I personally think its more inspiring than Ooblets

  33. Mark Schaal says:

    I would also add La Mulana 2 and Treasure Adventure World.

  34. SaintAn says:

    Vympyre, Cthulhu, and some game about plague with rats are some not on this list that I’m looking forward to.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Ohh, good choices. “Plague with rats”? And it’s not Pathologic 2?

  35. biggergun says:

    Furies looks interesting. The rest doesn’t really do anything new and/or exciting (or maybe I’m just old).

  36. Malcolm says:

    I’m rather hoping Crackdown 3 ends up with a great single player game and not some afterthought bolted on to the multiplayer destruction fest they’ve primarily trailed. I’m probably going to be disappointed though.

  37. Ztox says:

    I’m super hyped for Full Metal Furies! Just over 2 weeks to wait now…

  38. stryker777 says:

    ATS has had Oregon road signs for quite a few iterations.

  39. aben.aben says:

    Looking out for Apocalypse Cow, Once Upon a Coma, Juicy Realm, TSIOQUE, Praey for the Gods, Detective Gallo, Feudal Alloy, Super Daryl Deluxe (the gangliest of run animations :D), The Last Night & Minit.

    Also Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries to be completed (currently in Early Access).

    How many of them actually hit 2018, we’ll find out 2019…

  40. Rince says:

    Oh, I didn’t knew about Mineko. Looks nice!
    Besides that one, I’m waiting for Ooblets, Monster Hunter and Mount and Blade 2. Hopefully this last one will not slip into 2019…

  41. Raoul Duke says:

    I don’t get the love for Final Fantasy. Looks like the absolute worst of all the stuff that is bad about Japanese games, only with nice graphics. Interesting that both writers praising it seem to focus on ironically liking its stupidity…

  42. hfm says:

    Cyberpunk is in there as filler.. come on there’s ZERO chance of that in 2018. I wish they would have pulled a Bethesda and announced it like 5 months before releasing it. Instead we have to see it littering lists for 6-7 years before it’s out. I mean the teaser announcement trailer is like FIVE YEARS OLD now.

  43. Dust and Cobwebs says:

    I’m most excited for The Fall part 2. Part 1 was a fascinating interplay of AI characters, each developing and growing past their programming in their own unique ways. I can’t wait to see how the theme develops. Answers to the mystery of why A.R.I.D. was even there in the first place would be nice too, but there’s a third game planned so I won’t expect too many revelations quite yet.

    Hellhunters looks like the supernatural forensics/monster-hunting game I’ve wanted for basically my whole life. I haven’t seen much of it since the Kickstarter failed, but the devs have been working away and last I heard they’re back on track for a release this year. Here’s hoping they’re able to do their vision justice!

    And Phoenix Point. And The Church in the Darkness. And the final touches on Kentucky Route Zero and CrossCode. And Iconoclasts. And… My, the coming year is looking good!

  44. KillahMate says:

    The Last Night’s most recent trailer looked exponentially better than I expected, so that’s high on the list. Also of course No Truce With The Furies, which is shaping to become a classic, and Pathologic which already is a classic.

    But as far as action RPGs are concerned, Little Devil Inside seems like it has a shot at 2018:

    • aben.aben says:

      LDI – wow! I didn’t know of this game before – looks very nice!