5 Most Anticipated Upcoming Sandbox Games of 2016 - IGCritic
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5 Most Anticipated Upcoming Sandbox Games of 2016

With more and more huge games demanding our attention, it’s important that we spend our time wisely. Open-world sandbox games are a dime a dozen this generation, which means players have no shortage of epic worlds to explore and conquer.

But which open worlds should you have on your radar, and which games should you be booking time off work for? Don’t lie to yourself – we all know you were ‘ill’ the weekend Fallout 4 came out. We’ve all done it before, and if the following five video game titles are anything to go by, we’ll sure as hell do it again – just make sure you come up with a different illness for next time!

  1. Dead Island 2

Buy Dead Island 2

Dead Island 2, the sequel to the similarly uninspired video title Dead Island, is currently fighting one hell of an uphill battle. It’s currently on track for a 2016 release, despite losing its developer Yager last July. As of writing, UK-based Sumo Digital are hard at work on the title, and it’s shaping up to be a solid open-world zombie slaying adventure.

Dead Island 2 features a sandbox open world that’s spread across 3 cities – San Francisco, Los Angeles, and an as-yet-unrevealed California location. Players can craft items that they can use to combat the zombie infestation, like an electrically charged mini-dagger, and can set fire to foliage in order to clear large areas.

Aside from this, there are a couple of small RPG elements and your traditional first-person shooting, making Dead Island 2 the complete package. If you’ve grown tired of brainless zombie game after brainless zombie game, this won’t do much to change your mind – but it’ll be a fun distraction nonetheless.

  1. Ark: Survival Evolved

Buy Ark: Survival Evolved

If you’ve never secretly wanted to ride a dinosaur, then you’re lying. And by ‘ride,’ we’re referring to the strictly kid-friendly use of the term, with Ark: Survival Evolved allowing players to leap aboard a prehistoric beast and ride it into battle.

You aren’t just restricted to viewing the back of your dino’s head either, the game able to be played in first or third person modes. Survival Evolved will go heavy on the firearms, but it possesses a hefty dose of crafting and weapon upgrades, letting you build a wide array of destructive tools.

Your core task is to build a base, which you’ll then outfit with certain defenses – think fire, and blockades. Players can tame dinosaurs to turn them to the dark side (see: your side), acquiring their abilities such as flight and underwater swimming.

There aren’t that many solid dinosaur games these days – in fact, I can’t think of a single one. Given the success of Jurassic World in 2015, and the fact that dinosaurs are awesome, it’s safe to assume that Ark: Survival Evolved will be a roaring success. Pun intended.

  1. The Tomorrow Children

Buy The Tomorrow Children

Contrary to what the title would have you believe, The Tomorrow Children isn’t coming out tomorrow, and it isn’t about children. Q-Games, best known for the PlayStation exclusive PixelJunk series, are stepping into new territory here with a Minecraft-esque adventure title that contains several intriguing political elements.

The Tomorrow Children, exclusive to the PlayStation 4, looks absolutely stunning, boasting a graphical fidelity that looks like a cross between Mario and Pixar. Much like the aforementioned Minecraft, players must mine resources and explore desolate landscapes, bringing back supplies to their town which can then be used to expand it.

But how is it different? The Tomorrow Children incorporates an interesting economical and political system that should hopefully set it apart from its blocky cousin. Basically, every single action you take in the game is recognised by a governing body – the state. At any time, players can visit the labour office and receive a log of every action they’ve taken. You’ll then be given an income based on those actions, which can be used to buy tools and equipment.

It’s this system that makes The Tomorrow Children an exciting prospect, as a properly functioning economy isn’t something that open world sandbox games commonly feature. Hopefully, it’s built into the core experience and isn’t just tacked on.

  1. Gravity Rush 2

Buy Gravity Rush 2

Gravity Rush, the series that lets you… umm… rush, with gravity, is back – in a big way. Originally released on the PS Vita, the first Gravity Rush was ported to the PS4 in February 2016, with this sequel coming later in the year.

All sounds good, right? Sign me up! Unfortunately – and not for the first time – PS Vita gamers have been left in the dark, with Gravity Rush 2 coming exclusively to Sony’s home console. As a Vita gamer myself, it hurt – but there’s always remote play!

This minor disappointment aside, Gravity Rush 2 is a truly exciting prospect. For the uninitiated, the series revolves around the use of gravity with your protagonist, Kat, able to alter it in order to climb on walls, swooping through the air to take out villains from above.

According to game director Keiichiro Toyama, the main focus with Gravity Rush 2 is expansion. Making the world and the city truly come alive, and feel like a living, breathing system. The team were limited by the power of the Vita the first time around, but on the PS4, they should be able to deliver a truly epic, expansive gravity-based open world sandbox adventure.

  1. No Man’s Sky

Buy No Man’s Sky

The behemoth of anticipated open world (or universe) sandbox adventures in 2016, No Man’s Sky was recently delayed until early August – thanks to some slight polishing issues, according to game director Sean Murray. No Man’s Sky has become something of a gaming legend in the years since its release, the promise of a complete open world universe seemingly proving too good to be true.

But is it? Will No Man’s Sky live up to the promise? Developer Hello Games have used a procedurally generated system to help the game create millions and millions of individual planets, each of which players can land on and explore. If I land on a planet first, I can name it, explore it and make my mark before anyone else in the world.

I can gather resources, slay animals, go for a swim, engage in space battles, watch the wildlife, or climb through caves. The major worry with No Man’s Sky is that it might all get a little repetitive – all the planets might start to blur together, and the gameplay might get monotonous.

But, the good appears to outweigh the bad – come on, an entire universe!? It sounds insane, and wonderful, and crazy. Every game will have some aspects that make us worry in the weeks leading up to its release, and fortunately, we don’t have too long to wait for this open world sandbox game.

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