2020 might not have been a brilliant year for many things, but it's been a great year for video games.
We're moving rapidly toward the end of the lifespan of the current generation of consoles now, but the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are going out in style with some of the games that have been designed to be played on them, and the state of PC gaming isn't bad either. We've even seen some encouraging signs that Stadia, the new video game streaming platform, is starting to catch on as an idea. There's no sign of things slowing down as we head toward the end of the year either, because there are some eye-catching big-name titles on the horizon!
While we could just take the easy route of listing everything that's going to be released in the next four months and letting you pick through the details yourself, we've decided to highlight a few 'stand out' releases instead. These are the games that we think are likely to attract the most attention when released and the most likely to be fun to play. After all, that's the whole point of gaming!
Whether you play your games on an Xbox, a PlayStation, a PC, or something else, the coming season has something in store for you. Let's cast our eyes over those headline releases.
Formerly known as "Avengers: A Day," this is likely to be the biggest game of the year when it's released in early September for the PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Stadia. Some lucky reviewers have had the chance to play-test the game already, and the early signs are encouraging. The game might not feature the likenesses and voices of the actors who played the "Avengers" superheroes on the big screen, but the characters are the same, and they're all beautifully-realized in this big-budget Square Enix production, which has taken literally years to put together. This is guaranteed to sell in huge numbers purely because the film series has so many fans, but the fact that it appears to be an instant action-adventure classic with a movie-worthy plot means that those who buy it are likely to get their money's worth. As a nice touch, anyone who buys the current-gen console version will get a free upgrade to the next-gen version when it becomes available.
Gamers of a certain age will have vivid recollections of playing the first "Tony Hawk" skating games on the PlayStation One and the Sega Dreamcast. Even people who'd never skated in real life and never heard of Tony Hawk found themselves enthralled by the game, and real-life skating enjoyed a popularity boost because of the game's existence. Tony Hawk himself became a global celebrity because of the game. Several sequels were released to the original game, but it's the first two that have stood the test of time better than anything that came after it. Now those first two-games have had a fresh coat of paint applied to them, and they're being reissued in a format that's fit for the modern age. Nostalgia will be a powerful factor in people's decisions on whether to buy them or not, but if they're as playable as the games they're based on, they'll be just as popular.
We would normally hesitate to recommend EA Sports' annual soccer game because of its reliance on loot boxes, but this year EA has finally consigned loot boxes to the trash can of history. They've been forced into that stance by governments and regulatory bodies across the world, who have drawn an equivalence between loot boxes and online slots. We can't say they were wrong to do that. The premise of playing online slots is to risk money for a chance of a greater reward, and loot boxes work the same way. The bone of contention is that only adults are allowed to access online slots websites; children can buy FIFA. With the loot boxes gone, this promises to be the most slick, realistic, and detailed incarnation of the FIFA franchise yet, with significant alterations to some of the more dated aspects of the gameplay mechanics.
Like the "Avengers" game, this is a release bound to sell in big numbers purely because of the name attached to it. "Star Wars" games have a patchy history in terms of quality, but we have a good feeling about "Star Wars: Squadrons," and that's not just because Electronic Arts have gone out of their way to pack it full of multiple highly-detailed renditions of iconic spaceships from the "Star Wars" franchise. This game, which is slated for release in early October, promises to be part space combat game and part flight simulator, with realistic physics and out-of-this-world graphics. In terms of timeline, it's set in the immediate aftermath of 'Return of the Jedi,' which is still the most popular period in terms of fan interest. We're a little alarmed that there won't be a next-gen version of it, but that shouldn't worry the PS4, Xbox One, and PC gamers who can pick it up and play it.
Coming right at the end of fall (so long as there isn't a delay), "Assassin's Creed Valhalla" is the latest installment in what's become one of the biggest-name franchises in all of gaming. This is the twenty-second linked Assassin's Creed game and the twelfth 'standalone' title in a series that goes all the way back to 2007. With all of history to play with, the series has gone to many different eras and settings, but this time we're in the 9th century, and we're dealing with the Viking invasion of Britain. You'll be on the Viking side of the conflict, and there will doubtless be much murdering and pillaging to do. You'll also come up against the Knight's Templar, which will be a bonus to conspiracy theorists and fans of Dan Brown novels. "Assasin's Creed: Valhalla" is expected to become available on November 17th, and keep fans occupied all the way through until Christmas.
Those are our top five picks for the gaming months ahead, and if you decide to pick any of them up, we hope you enjoy playing them. Thanks for stopping by the site today, and we hope to see you soon!
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