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30 Games to Look Forward to in Holiday 2017

One of the worst years ever is finally almost over, and it's a packed four final months. At least there are some cool games to look out for.

Feature by Caty McCarthy, .

It's Autumn now. Well, nearly. I suppose we're still closing out on Summer.

Nonetheless, it's arguably one of the busiest times of the year for video games. Yes, even after a year that's given us a brand new Legend of Zelda game, a new Nintendo console, a new Persona, and more than a few surprise successes. To commemorate the upcoming end of this hellish year of 2017 where bad things happen on a minute-by-minute basis, we've accumulated a list of 30 can't miss games rounding out one of the most stuffed years of games in recent memory. Hopefully your backlog isn't too bad to make additional room.

Also before you get on my case, I know that some of these games are already out. But hey, September is a month still. Plus, we're not even two weeks in here. So, Destiny 2, Tokyo Dark, and a few others still make the cut. Deal with it.

Destiny 2 - September 6th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One; October 24th on PC

Arguably, the shared-world first-person-shooter Destiny 2 is the last big, big, big game of the year. It's the highly anticipated sequel to the first post-Halo project Bungie ever tackled. It's bigger, better, with more shine and loot than ever before. As our own Mike Williams wrote in his review-in-progress, "Destiny 2 doesn't necessarily feel like full sequel to Destiny, but it doesn't need to." If anything, Destiny 2 confirms the promises Destiny 1 made and failed to keep.

Worth looking into if you like: Space wizards, space friendship

Tokyo Dark - September 7th on PC, Mac

Published as a part of Square Enix's indie initiative Square Enix Collective and funded on Kickstarter in 2015, Tokyo Dark has finally made its way to release. The Cherrymochi-developed game is a murder mystery by way of visual novels, meshed with Western point-and-click adventures. The mix proves itself to be a successful one, marrying its anime art style with heavy noir vibes.

Worth looking into if you like: Dark anime, noir-inspired fiction

Divinity: Original Sin 2 - September 14th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

For years now, Divinity: Original Sin 2 has been around. Yet it's been "out" only on Steam Early Access; incomplete, unfinished, forever tweaked. On September 14th though, the game is out at last. Its story mode will finally have a third act. Its long-promised Game Master Mode which shifts the RPG into what amounts to a tabletop game will be available for players to create their own stories in. Divinity: Original Sin 2's release may not feel momentous because it's technically been in our Steam libraries for quite awhile, but its full release is something not to be missed.

Worth looking into if you like: Tabletop RPGs, Old school fantasy

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider - September 15th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

By way of Uncharted's standalone adventure earlier this summer, as comes Dishonored's own not-quite-DLC post-Dishonored 2, with Death of the Outsider. Death of the Outsider is a standalone adventure in the Dishonored universe, starring the familiar (but before now, unplayable) Billie Lurk as she seeks to assassinate—yup, you guessed it—the Outsider. The standalone journey will put an end to "the Kaldwin era."

Worth looking into if you like: Assassinating folks in a non-Assassin's Creed game, shorter games (a blessing in disguise sometimes)

Metroid: Samus Returns - September 15th on Nintendo 3DS

Metroid has had some quiet years recently. The last Metroid game to grace us with its presence was Metroid: Other M in 2010. (Wait, there was another one last year? Just kidding, we don't talk about that one.) Fortunately now, MercurySteam has returned with a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, the 1991 Game Boy classic. Samus Returns isn't a complete retread though, as our resident Editor-in-Chief Kat Bailey noted in her impressions, the game wholly reinvents combat, and it's all for the better.

Worth looking into if you like: Metroid, heroic comebacks of long-forgotten franchises

ECHO - September 19th on PlayStation 4, PC

Developed by Denmark developers Ultra Ultra (made up of a lot of former IO Interactive developers), ECHO is a third-person science fiction adventure game that remembers your every waking move, and uses it against you. Literally. The only enemy are carbon copies of you. After the success of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, ECHO might be the next AA game to catch the gaming world completely off guard.

Worth looking into if you like: Creepy sci-fi games like Soma or System Shock, games where you have to think on your toes

NBA 2K18 - September 19th on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, PC

Visual Concepts is once again keen on dunking on their competition with this year's iteration of their basketball sim. In keeping with this year's streetball theme, NBA 2K18 introduces a new area called "The Neighborhood"—an online hub where you can get a haircut, buy new shoes, and even occasionally play some pickup basketball (if you're into that sort of thing). NBA 2K has proven to be one of the year's top sports sims time after time, and this year doesn't look to be any different. Just beware of server trouble at launch.—Kat Bailey

Worth looking into if you like: Throwing basketballs, dribbling, getting haircuts

SteamWorld Dig 2 - September 21st on Nintendo Switch; September 26th on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita; PC, Mac, and Linux releasing 2017

SteamWorld Dig 2, the fourth entry in the SteamWorld series, was surprise announced not too long ago during Nintendo Switch's "Nindies" Direct. SteamWorld Dig 2 is a direct sequel to the 2013 modern classic, an action-platformer in the same vein as Metroid and Castlevania. In the sequel, SteamWorld Dig 2 is putting an even bigger emphasis on platforming and backtracking this time around.

Worth looking into if you like: Mining, clever platformers

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony - September 26th on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a sort of new beginning for the twisted teens-murdering-teens visual novel franchise. As with past entries in the series, Danganronpa V3 pins you as a gifted student granted entry into a prestigious school. Only the school turns out to be fraudulent, and instead the students are all stuck playing a sick game: if one successfully murders another and can make it through a trial without being convicted, then they earn the right to go free. And everyone else dies as a result. Excitingly for the first time in the series (not counting its odd spin-off shooter entry), the main character is a girl. According to writer Kazutaka Kodaka, Danganronpa V3 will be the first entry to standalone from the prior entries of the franchise, which directly tie into one another. In a way, Danganronpa V3 is a fresh start. But at least we can count on the murderous bear Monokuma to be along for the ride.

Worth looking into if you like: Evil teddy bears, being a spontaneous detective

FIFA 18 - September 26th on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, PC

FIFA 18 is still the most popular sports sim around, but it has plenty of questions to answer in the wake of its middling transition to the Frostbite Engine. Happily, this year's version already looks much-improved, bringing with it big improvements to career mode (thank god) as well as the second season of Alex Hunter's story. Despite strong sales, FIFA has struggled to build up much momentum this generation. Maybe that will change with FIFA 18.—Kat Bailey

Worth looking into if you like: Representing in the Norwegian soccer league; go forth and conquer the Tippeligaen!

Ruiner - September 26th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

What if Hotline Miami got a cyberpunk makeover? That's essentially what you get with Ruiner, the upcoming "brutal action shooter" from Reikon Games. Ruiner slaps a Daft Punk-like helmet on you, hands you some weapons, and lets you wreak havoc in a gritty, neon-lit world. Between Ruiner and Tokyo 42 from earlier this year, it's looking to be a good year for action shooters that bode well on repetition—and harsh difficulty.

Worth looking into if you like: William Gibson novels, the soundtrack for Nicolas Winding Refn's film Drive

Cuphead - September 29th on Xbox One, PC

I feel like we've been waiting all our lives for Cuphead since it's been delayed time and time again. But at last, Cuphead will be out in late September, its 1930s animation style dancing onto our screens. Cuphead is essentially an old school, surreal cartoon from the 1930s in action, morphed into a gruelingly difficult platformer (at least, from when I last played a demo of it last year). In action, it looks visually impeccable though, even if its bosses will probably make us all weep in frustration.

Worth looking into if you like: Max Fleischer cartoons, making deals with Satan

Star Fox 2 - September 29th on SNES Classic

Okay, so only about the hundred or so people that were able to actually land a SNES Classic will be able to play the made-but-never-released sequel to Star Fox that was lost to time. Nonetheless Star Fox 2, after decades left for dead somewhere in Nintendo, is finally seeing the light of day on the limited time retro console, the SNES Classic. Recently we learned that Star Fox 2 was even fully localized back in the day, before Nintendo opted to never release it because the player base was already moving onto bigger and better things (read: consoles with 3D capabilities, like the Sega Saturn and first PlayStation).

Worth looking into if you like: Video game history, games you never thought you'd ever play

Forza Motorsport 7 - October 3rd on Xbox One, PC

The Forza series has consistently been the best looking (and playing) driving game for years and years. It's earned such a dedicated fanbase for good reason. Its latest entry, Forza Motorsport 7, is a return to the Motorsport proper franchise after last year's more lively Forza Horizon 3 (hell, it had a Hot Wheels expansion). If you only have a PlayStation 4 in your midst, Gran Turismo Sport is heading to that console on October 17th.

Worth looking into if you like: Good looking cars, sharp driving games

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War - October 10th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Back when Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor came out, players all around noted its groundbreaking Nemesis system—where smart AI remembered players killing them, and returned for blood repeatedly—would be the next "it" thing to be copied all around. Somehow, it wasn't. The closest other developers got to it was XCOM 2's War of the Chosen expansion. Regardless, Shadow of War is back to reclaim its crown, expanding its Nemesis system to vast Fortresses in the sequel. Also giant evil spider Shelob can turn into a lady in it, just because.

Worth looking into if you like: Lord of the Rings fan fiction, making Orc friends and Orc enemies

The Evil Within 2 - October 13th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami's return to horror didn't go as anticipated back in 2014. Critically it got high to middling reviews, but it never seemed to get too much fan fare. Its sequel will hopefully right the wrongs of the original though, as evidenced by its delightfully surreal trailer that premiered back during Bethesda's E3 showcase. At the very least, it's another horror game from Mikami, and that alone is intriguing news.

Worth looking into if you like: Shinji Mikami-infused horror, Death Stranding-style black ooze

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition - October 19th on PC

Age of Empires will be officially 20 years old this October, and since that time has influenced decades of other real-time strategy games. To commemorate such a feat, Age of Empires is getting overhauled for its 20th anniversary. 4K graphics are on the horizon, improved gameplay is in the works. Essentially, as Microsoft Studios announced earlier this year, Age of Empires is going to be better than ever before, while preserving the original's undying legacy. Whether you're a fan of the series or have never touched an Age of Empires game in your life, it might be worth taking the dive into the true definitive edition.

Worth looking into if you like: Games themed after ancient civilization, 4K baby

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows - October 24th on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC

Last year the Japanese survival horror Yomawari: Night Alone snuck up on me, like a ghost in the dead of night. In the game you were a little girl trying desperately to find her missing dog and sister in town. Only her town had changed in the night; there were monsters about. The game's sequel, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows, switches up the formula, as the player will take turns between two different characters and their perspectives as they evade terrors.

Worth looking into if you like: Japanese indie games, unsettling horror

Assassin's Creed: Origins - October 27th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Assassin's Creed took a year off last year. With the news of Origins changing a lot about the standard formula, it looks like it might have been worth the wait. Assassin's Creed: Origins takes the series farther back in time than ever before: all the way back to Ancient Egypt, with Cleopatra vying for power, Assassins and Templars as we know them not even having a name yet. The game also has made tweaks to its combat system, making everything slower, more deliberate, and in terms of progression, more like an RPG. With the team behind fan-favorite Black Flag behind the game, Origins might be the step forward Assassin's Creed so desperately needs.

Worth looking into if you like: Frolicking around history, reinvented AAA franchises

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus - October 27th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Wolfenstein: The New Order had a quietly groundbreaking campaign back when it released. A reboot of sorts of old school Wolfenstein, The New Order blended pulp and serious themes with a deft hand, had one of the most realistic and sweet romances of gaming (who woulda thought, in a Wolfenstein game of all franchises), and made it ridiculously fun (and maybe cathartic) to shoot Nazis in too. The New Colossus has some big shoes to fill, but with it taking place in America (B.J. Blazkowicz's homeland) this time around, it'll be endearing to see how MachineGames' imagining of a Nazi-controlled U.S.A. shakes out.

Worth looking into if you like: Killing Nazis, solid shooter campaigns

Super Mario Odyssey - October 27th on Nintendo Switch

With just the flick of his sentient hat Cappy, Mario can possess anything in his upcoming 3D adventure Super Mario Odyssey. As Mario's first odyssey on the Nintendo Switch, the 3D adventure has a lot to live up to. Luckily every glimpse of the game looks to be the same charming and sweet plumber (or no longer plumber?) that we know and love. The Nintendo Switch is having a pretty swell debut year, and Super Mario Odyssey will surely be the cherry on top of it.

Worth looking into if you like: Games on your Nintendo Switch, possessing things with glee

Call of Duty: WWII - November 3rd on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

It seems Call of Duty got the memo from Battlefield 1's runaway success last year: classical war-based shooters are back, baby. Call of Duty: WWII takes the annual series back to World War II, essentially back to its roots. This time around Call of Duty: WWII is putting an emphasis on its campaign, which features Transformers star Josh Duhamel. (Past Token Celebrities for Call of Duty games include Kevin Spacey and Game of Thrones' Kit Harington). For Battlefield 1 fans or old school Call of Duty fans, WWII might be the entry worth diving into. (And don't worry, it'll still have a Zombies mode.)

Worth looking into if you like: WWII shooters, first-person-shooters

Need For Speed: Payback - November 10th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

The latest in the Need For Speed franchise is taking a page out of one of the biggest action franchises in the world: The Fast and the Furious series. From demos to gameplay trailers, Need For Speed: Payback seems to have the most in common with the Vin Diesel-starring action series, with cars pulling off crazy stunts in the midst of more typical street racing. After the releases of more standard racing games Forza Motorsport 7 and Gran Turismo Sport, Payback looks to be the sillier, looser entry in the racing game genre this year. It's a rich year in general for racing games, but how many racing action games do we truly have in this post-Burnout era? Not many. But Payback may be trying to fill that void.

Worth looking into if you like: The Fast and the Furious franchise, racing games that ease up on the actual racing

Pokémon: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon - November 17th on Nintendo 3DS

It's only been a year, and there's already a new Pokémon game coming out. Pokémon: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are polished, spruced up versions of regular Sun and Moon, which both came out last year in 2016. As the second best-selling 3DS game ever (behind Pokémon X and Y, of course), it's easy to see why Nintendo is revisiting its success with a sorta sequel. The game takes place in the same land as the original Sun and Moon games, only with an alternate storyline and featuring new Pokémon not available in its predecessors.

Worth looking into if you like: Catching them all, you enjoyed your time with Pokémon Sun and Moon

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 - November 17th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Star Wars: Battlefront 2, much like this year's Destiny 2, wants to make good on all the promises the game before it failed to keep. For starters, Battlefront 2 is introducing a campaign, a campaign that is allegedly canon in the Star Wars overarching narrative. (Meaning, it's not basically fanfiction.) Battlefront 2 also wants to combine all the generations of Star Wars into one single universe; the original, the prequels, and the new entries. Releasing a month before the next Star Wars movie hits theaters, it's easily never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan.

Worth looking into if you like: Saving the galaxy, role-playing as your favorite Star Wars heroes and villains

The Inpatient - November 21st on PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR

Supermassive Games' Until Dawn is one of the most underrated games of this console generation; a homerun for the interactive movie formula paved by David Cage's flawed Heavy Rain. Until Dawn was campy, fun, and it lived and died by your choices. For the game's upcoming prequel set 60 years before the events of the interactive-slasher, The Inpatient is instead a first-person survival horror where even the player's actual voice causes non-player characters to interact with you. Like Until Dawn though, choices are imperative, and they very well might spell life or death.

Worth looking into if you like: The choice-driven nature of Until Dawn, using your PlayStation VR headset that might be gathering dust

Vampyr - November on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

There's no concrete date for Dontnod's follow-up to Life Is Strange other than a vague "November 2017." Regardless, Vampyr is a new action-RPG where players play as a newborn vampire in 1918 London. In terms of feeding (you are a vampire that sucks blood after all), whoever the player chooses as their victims will inevitably have direct repercussions to other citizens in town. Essentially, choosing who to murder is integral to the outcome of the entire game.

Worth looking into if you like: Vampires, rad Gothic vibes

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - December 1st on Nintendo Switch

Even after Super Mario Odyssey, the Nintendo Switch has one last big game coming before 2017 wraps up. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the sequel to the much-adored Xenoblade Chronicles originally for the Wii, which released back in 2012 in North America. Despite being billed as a direct sequel to the Wii title, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will feature a whole new cast of characters and a new open world. Perhaps to keep in line with its predecessor, it's probable that the two might share thematic similarities, somewhat like the Persona series. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is also the first JRPG of note to be landing on the console, testing out the genre's strength on a semi-portable console.

Worth looking into if you like: Open world JRPGs, anime-inclined shenanigans

Luna - 2017 on PC, VR

Created in part by Journey's producer Robin Hunicke, Funomena's storybook-like title Luna is a VR game designed with all audiences in mind. Children, grandparents, adults who are already savvy in games. With intuitive controls and an endearing world, Luna tells the story of a lone bird trying to find their way home. As the player, we construct the bird's world in a small space, watching trees grow and water flow as we learn the more about the cute little critter.

Worth looking into if you like: Art reminiscent of Mary Blair, genuinely endearing VR games

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds - 2017 on Xbox One, PC

So technically, technically PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is kinda out already. Yet it's only in Early Access on Steam, despite selling 10 million copies to date. It's the first mainstream entry in the Battle Royale-inspired genre that modder-now-game-developer Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene created. In a round of Battlegrounds, a hundred or slightly less players parachute inwards to an island where they soon gather weapons, murder as many people as they can, and hopefully, win that chicken dinner as the last person standing. The new-ish genre has taken the world by storm, and the game's not even properly out yet. That "full" release—which will include two additional maps, and other improvements—is coming later this year though (hopefully) for both PC and Xbox One. If it gets delayed to next year then it will incite a very interesting end of the year discussion on what should qualify as a Game of the Year contender.

Worth looking into if you like: The book or movie Battle Royale, hiding in bathrooms with a shotgun

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Comments 9

  • Avatar for Vodka-Tonic #1 Vodka-Tonic 2 months ago
    Annnnnd my gaming backlog is going to grow again.
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #2 Funny_Colour_Blue 2 months ago
    @Vodka-Tonic At least you have a gaming backlog, what a weird and awful year this has been.

    The gaming landscape has kind of changed too.Edited September 2017 by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for NateDizzy #3 NateDizzy 2 months ago
    Yep, I think I'm pretty much done with AAA games (does Nintendo count as AAA?). Every title on this list that remotely appeals to me sits firmly in AA or indie territory.
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #4 SuperShinobi 2 months ago
    GT and Forza usually offer a similar experience, but this time it looks like they're going to be pretty different kinds of games. GT will be mostly focused on eSports and a new kind of calendar-based competitive online mode, whereas Forza will offer a more traditional GT/Forza-type experience with a focus on offering as much content as possible. GT will also be offering a VR mode, which is a big deal for a racing game.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #5 yuberus 2 months ago
    Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, Metroid, Mario, Cuphead and Star Fox 2 are the impending games I'm itching to play.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #6 SatelliteOfLove 2 months ago
    #31: Etrian Odyssey V

    #32: Vaporum
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  • Avatar for Sturat #7 Sturat 2 months ago
    I'm not excited about many of the games on this list. The games I have pre-ordered that will come out before the end of the year are Super Mario Odyssey, Sonic Forces, Etrian Odyssey V, and the physical release of Patapon for PS4. It seems like a lot of the best games of 2017 are already out, which is fine with me; I still have plenty left to play in Ys VIII and Everybody's Golf, and then there's always stuff that has been piling up for older consoles...
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #8 Roto13 2 months ago
    @yuberus I love Marvel vs. Capcom as a series, but I'm dreading that Infinite is going to feel half assed. The roster is so small and it plays mostly like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which is a game I love, but I don't need a smaller version of it with a superfluous story mode.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #9 yuberus 2 months ago
    @Roto13 I got to see some folks play it this weekend at a local fighting game event (some store broke street date, I guess) and it looked pretty interesting! The roster isn't great, but Captain Marvel and X are there, so I can roll with it for now.

    If Tempest 4000 is out this fall, I'm really stoked for that one too.
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