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Luke is excited

It’s 2016 now, so with the new year ahead comes a bunch of highly anticipated video games. Sit close and listen…. or read your screen with your eyes really close to it because I’m going to list the five highly anticipated video games I’m most excited for this year.

  1. XCOM 2

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Release Date: February 5, 2016

It might be around two weeks away from release but damn am I excited for this one. XCOM: Enemy Unknown was unquestionably one of my favourite video games of 2012 with its sharp and challenging turn-based combat I played the hell out of it. Then came 2013’s Enemy Within, an expansion for Enemy Unknown which basically broke every tactic and style I used in the vanilla game. That’s a good thing though, because it gave me plenty of tools to try and fix everything it broke, once again still a good thing.

XCOM 2 looks fresh and exciting because it’s flipped the script this time, the story is that XCOM didn’t repel the invaders and instead went underground while the rest of the world was forced to co-exist with the newly formed alien regime leading the world. So this time, you’re the attackers, using guerrilla tactics to free earth from the new alien overlords.

Naturally, with a new threat comes new ways to fight it. New character classes will feature in XCOM 2 such as the ranger that carries a machete alongside normal weapons so he can go all Danny Trejo on some alien scum. The Specialist brings drones into the fight that can scan the map and event hack robotic enemies and make them fight for you. There’s new aliens too, such as a snake-headed dude that can pull your units out of cover and spit acid at stuff. Not fun.

I’ve already got XCOM 2 pre-ordered and just sitting there on my steam account waiting for the game to unlock. It makes me a little sad that its there in my game list but I can’t do anything with it, but once I can… Don’t bother trying to get in touch with me for at least a week. I’ll be fighting alien scum. If you are a mods fan, then check out our XCOM 2 Mods list.

  1. Quantum Break

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Release Date: April 5, 2016

Remedy’s upcoming time-travel third-person shooter Quantum Break has been on my watchlist since its announcement, mostly because It’s Remedy and I love their work. Max Payne 1 and 2 and then Alan Wake… oh man Alan Wake. That’s a game I can talk about for ages. None-the-less, Quantum Break looks fantastic. Time manipulation powers is a rarely seen mechanic because it’s a tricky one, the last game I remember playing that featured those mechanics was TimeShift… and well. Quantum Break looks fantastic, Remedy have a knack for writing narrative stories that can twist and unravel into something deeper yet still include action heavy set-pieces without disrupting the flow of the game’s narrative so I’m incredibly excited for this one. Hopefully I won’t be late to the party like I was with Alan Wake.

Punching dudes in the face with time manipulating powers will be endless amounts of fun. and this is one of my most anticipated game releases in 2016.

  1. DOOM

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Release Date: May 13, 2016

Does it make me a bit hipster-ish that I love Doom despite the fact that the original came out in 1993, the year I was born? If so I don’t care, the grand-daddy of FPS games is making a huge comeback baby! The gameplay they released during Bethesda’s E3 conference looked great. It’s the ultra-violent, fast paced gorefest I’ve been waiting for this a long time.

Chainsaws, double-barreled shotguns and violent, violent beatdowns such as a curb stomping a demon with its own foot seems like the childish, gorish fantasy that’ll make this game incredibly entertaining and hopefully the old-school arena styled multiplayer action will hold up too. Doom looks like an absolute blast and I can’t wait to whip out the BFG 9000 one more time.

  1. Gears of War 4

gears-of-war-4

Release Date: May 11, 2016

There’s always a ton of cynicism whenever it comes to the Gears of War franchise because of its overly macho characters and the lark but these games hold a firm place in my heart. Gears of War 3 is one of my personal favourite multiplayer experiences in any of gaming, but er… let’s not talk about Judgement OK? Good, anyway. Gears of War 4 doesn’t have a release date set other than Q4 of 2016 but none-the-less I’m excited.

When the news first broke that Microsoft had acquired the licence, I was hesitant about it because the Locust war ended. We won so what’s the point in dragging it out? So when the E3 reveal came about a lot of my initial fears went out the window. It’s great to see the newly named Coalition are exploring new grounds with the franchise moving on from the locust war and introducing new characters, but is the whole game going to be along that same dark horror theme? I always really enjoyed Gears of War’s over-the-top violent yet self-aware nature. Ripping a dude’s arm off and beating him to death with it was a hallmark of the comedic violence of that game.

None-the-less. I’m optimistic about the release of Gears of War 4 and hopefully, it’ll be a strong return to form for one of my favourite gaming franchises.

  1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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Release Date: August 23, 2016

Possibly my most anticipated game of 2016, sadly delayed by 6 months but for the right reasons. The developers wanted more time to make sure the game is the best it can be, so I guess I can’t complain.

The initial announcement of Dues Ex: Mankind Divided had me bouncing off the walls with happiness. I simply adored 2011’s Human Revolution for it’s deep, character focused storytelling, rich background lore mixed with strong stealth/combat oriented gameplay. Punching dudes in the face was super fun.

The game a few flaws though but it seems like the developers are set to fix those, promising there won’t be any of the stupid, completely out of place boss fights Human Revolution featured. One dev even suggested you’d be able to avoid combat with certain characters all together if you could choose the right dialogue options.

The change in storyline in Dues Ex: Mankind Divided is extremely interesting too, this time around those with cybernetic augmentations face heavy discrimination being treated poorly wherever those augmentations were asked for or not. Naturally this leads to tensions between those who have augmentations and those who don’t. So heavily augmented Adam Jensen finds himself working with Interpol to bring down Augmented Terrorists but the early trailers suggest that these “terrorists” might just be augmented folk sick of the discrimination. Maybe I’m just an augmented terrorist sympathiser?

Regardless. I’m incredibly excited for the release of Dues Ex: Mankind Divided. However, I’m not excited at the possibility of an excessive amount of Augmented August puns, but I’ll suffer for it. It’s also worth noting, Deus Ex. Human Revolution is currently free on Games with Gold for 360 owners and its backwards compatible with Xbox One too.

So that’s about it for my most anticipated list of game releases of 2016, XCOM 2 is roughly two weeks away and I cannot wait to start the 2016video game season with that one. I’m sure there’s more popular video games to come this year that’s currently unannounced as well as a couple of things that we haven’t quite seen much of yet but these 5 games are what I’m initially excited for going into 2016. As for now, I am going to hide for a while before I find out another famous person I liked has died. We’ve already lost Bowie, Lemmy, Rickman and Frey. I fear to find out who is next.

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Luke is a 20-something English man-child who is fantastic at doing nothing, he is currently under investigation for saying mean things about child stars. Find him on Twitter as @HightowersWorld
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