Our 10 Most Anticipated Action Games Of 2016
Last year was a big year for fans of high octane action. Games like Batman: Arkham Knight, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Rise of the Tomb Raider kept us on a roller coaster of adventure. Thankfully, that ride doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon. This year already looks like its shaping up to be another banner year for action games. As a staff, we discussed which of 2016’s action titles we’re most excited for, and these are the results.
Note: This list doesn’t include games already featured in our most anticipated RPGs of 2016, which is why you don’t see titles like Dark Souls 3 and Horizon: Zero Dawn here.
10. ReCore (Xbox One, PC)
After debuting at E3 last year, ReCore quickly established an enthusiastic fan base. Developed by Comcept in conjunction with Armature Studio, the game’s debut trailer showed a young woman exploring a vast desert alongside a robotic, dog-like companion. During a fight with a group of enemies the dog sacrificed itself to save the girl. However, the young explorer was able to pick up an orb left behind after the explosion and use it to power up another nearby robot. We don’t know much about ReCore, but it seems that players will collect these orbs and use them to power a collection of adorable companion robots. If nothing else, we’re excited for ReCore based solely on the heritage of its development teams – Keiji Inafune is an industry legend who created Mega Man and Mighty No. 9, and Armature Studio was formed by a group of ex-Retro studio guys who worked on the Metroid Prime series.
9. Mafia III (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac)
After a long hiatus the Mafia series is back, but it might not be what you’d expect from a Mafia game. Set in a version of New Orleans during the firestorm that was 1968, players take on the role of Lincoln Clay, a mixed-race Vietnam War veteran looking to unite the disparate criminal factions and seek revenge against the entrenched Italian mob. In traditional open world style, players will explore the city, participate in various side missions, and liberate mob hideouts for their own use. Lincoln is accompanied by three lieutenants that represent the various rival gangs, and his relationship with each will change dynamically based on which one he sets up to manage each section of the city.
8. Ratchet & Clank (PlayStation 4)
Release: April 12
Just in time for their theatrical debut, Ratchet & Clank's first outing is being re-imagined for the PS4. Insomniac didn’t want to rush out the traditional HD re-release, so it has taken everything it learned working on Ratchet & Clank games over the last decade plus and re-envisioned the very first entry. This means strafing controls, leveling mechanics, and even popular weapons from other entries have been added into Ratchet & Clank’s first meeting. Fans of the series can also expect entirely new areas and weapons, such as the Pixelizer, which turns enemies into 8-bit doppelgangers. Ratchet & Clank has been around for three console generations, but their adventures are always charming, and this entry looks so good its almost indistinguishable from the film.
7. Quantum Break (Xbox One)
Release: April 5
Developer Remedy has always loved experimenting with the television format, and Quantum Break looks to be the ultimate blending of the two mediums. The game starts out like any one of Remedy’s other story-driven action games, but after a certain point, players will open up the first of four television-style dramas staring Hollywood actors like Shawn Ashmore and Aidan Gillen. What’s more, the choices players make during the game will shape the story of the show. Ashmore plays Jack Joyce a man who discovers miraculous time-manipulation powers after a time travel experiment goes horribly wrong. Now he must use his new powers to combat an evil corporation that is trying to manipulate time and risks destroying the universe.
6. Below (Xbox One, PC)
The creators of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery and Super Time Force have a new game that looks haunting yet captivating. Below’s minimalist art design is stunning, but it’s even more impressive given the fact that the game’s environments are randomly generated. A tiny warrior explores a series of ominous caverns, but if he dies all of his upgrades and items will be left on the cave floor along with his body. Players will be able to pick up again decades later with one of your last character’s decadents, but the network of caves will rearrange themselves and look completely different to help simulate the fact that that particular character has never entered these caverns before. Even if you’re not a fan of roguelikes, you might dig discovering the ancient remains of your ancestors in Below.
Click on the next page for one exciting new IP and several beloved returning series…
5. The Last Guardian (PlayStation 4)
It was beginning to look like The Last Guardian might be a joke that never found its punchline. In development since 2007, The Last Guardian was originally planned for release on the PS3, but has now migrated to the PS4. Thankfully, Team Ico's heritage – working on titles like Shadow of the Colossus and Ico – have left fans hopeful about the project. Players control a boy who is trying to escape the ruins of a massive castle alongside his trusty sidekick, a griffin-like creature named Trico. Similar to Team Ico’s previous work, players will traverse these crumbling monuments and solve environmental puzzles using Trico’s help. This year The Last Guardian could prove that its nine-year gestation was worth the wait.
4. Cuphead (Xbox One, PC)
A stunning achievement of visual design, Cuphead is a completely hand-drawn game modeled after classic Max Fleischer and Disney films of the 1930s. Studio MDHR’s ambitious indie project is a run-and-gun sidescroller with a unique twist: every level is one big boss battle. After the game’s lead character, Cuphead, loses a bet with the devil he must travel through a series of twisted cartoon worlds looking for a way to settle his debt. A second player can jump into the action as Mugman and help lay down a spread of attacks, parry their enemy’s return fire, and slowly build up a devastating special move. Cuphead’s art goes a long way to selling us on this game, but the action also feels pretty good.
3. Dishonored 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
The first Dishonored was a playground of opportunities that let players sneak through, deceive, and dismember their foes, and Arkane Studios’ sequel looks to up the ante in almost every area. Fifteen years after The Dunwall Plague, the empire spirals into disarray yet again as the Empress is dethroned and cast from the palace as an outlaw. Players take on the role of either returning royal protector Corvo or the young Empress Emily Kaldwin. Corvo and Emily will tackle the same set of missions, but will experience them from different perspectives and be able to take different paths through the world. Dishonored 2’s new skill tree will also give players a host of new abilities that allow them to either stealth past guards or use excessive force to take them down.
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PlayStation 4)
Release: April 26
Uncharted 4 looked like it was going to be one of the biggest games of last year, and then it got delayed, so now it looks like it will be one of the biggest (and more polished) games of 2016. Set three years after the events of Uncharted 3, when Nate's presumed-dead brother sudden turns back up and the duo sets off on a globe-trotting journey to discover the whereabouts of the long lost pirate colony Libertatia. Naughty Dog’s storytelling and cinematography has always been at the head of the class, and we love how the studio is showing that these characters are actually aging.
1. The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
One of the oldest and most consistent franchises on the market, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see Nintendo’s heavy hitter on this list. Harkening back to the original Legend of Zelda, Nintendo’s newest take on the franchise features a fully connected overworld where the dungeons will blend seamlessly into the rest of the landscape. As the largest Zelda to date, it will reportedly take a long time to travel across the entire map, but your horse Epona will help you get to where you're going, automatically avoiding obstacles and assisting with combat along the way. We’re still questioning if this legend will be told this year, but until Nintendo tells us otherwise, we’re going to remain excited for this one.