Fall pre­view: 15 games we’re ex­cited for in 2018

From Bard’s Tale IV to the Walk­ing Dead’s fi­nal sea­son.

PCWorld (USA) - - News - BY HAY­DEN DINGMAN

The bad news: Two of the mosthyped games this fall aren’t com­ing to PC. Not yet any­way, and maybe not ever: Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2 and In­som­niac’s Spi­der-man. But now for the good news: A stag­ger­ing num­ber of ex­cel­lent games are com­ing to PC this hol­i­day sea­son. Like se­ri­ously, too many for any one per­son to play.

We’ve rounded up 15 of the PC games we’re most look­ing for­ward to this fall. While a few of the usual heavy hit­ters make the list (Forza), we’ve also tried to pick out a few sur­prises, or games you might not have heard of, like The Oc­cu­pa­tion. Be­cause hey, you def­i­nitely know Shadow of the Tomb Raider

( go.pc­world.com/shtr) is com­ing out this fall, but have you heard the good word about Outer Wilds?

Read on for more.

1. THE WALK­ING DEAD: THE FI­NAL SEA­SON

Re­lease Date: Au­gust 14

Six years ago when Tell­tale put out The Walk­ing Dead, it felt like a rev­e­la­tion. Why not take the story parts of an ad­ven­ture game, present it cin­e­mat­i­cally, and leave out most of the puz­zles and the usual ad­ven­ture game busy­work?

The for­mula’s been done to death since, not least by Tell­tale it­self, but all these years later I’m ex­cited to see what a “Fi­nal Sea­son” of The Walk­ing Dead looks like, and what that means for fan-fa­vorite pro­tag­o­nist

Cle­men­tine. It’s been a long and tough jour­ney, and I hope Tell­tale can pull out a proper send-off.

The Walk­ing Dead: The Fi­nal Sea­son ($20 on Hum­ble, go.pc­world. com/wkdd) started on Au­gust 14 and pre­sum­ably goes through the end of the year, or per­haps early 2019.

2. TWO POINT HOSPI­TAL

Re­lease Date: Au­gust 30

The late ‘80s and early ‘90s were this weird and won­der­ful time where it seemed like ev­ery­thing was ripe for a PC sim­u­la­tion. Cities? Sure, we’ve got Simcity. Ants? Si­mant. El­e­va­tors? Sim­tower.

Then there was Theme Hospi­tal, one of

Bull­frog’s (RIP) best games, and a cult clas­sic worth re­vis­it­ing. Or even re­mak­ing, as two decades later some of the orig­i­nal Theme Hospi­tal tal­ent is back working on a spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor called Two Point Hospi­tal ( go. pc­world.com/ho2p; $35 on Hum­ble, go.pc­world.com/by2p).

And…yup. It’s Theme Hospi­tal. Fully 3D now, and with a much bet­ter in­ter­face, but you’re still build­ing up armies of nurses, doc­tors, re­cep­tion­ists, and jan­i­tors to cure out­landish dis­eases like “Cu­bism” and “Light-head­ed­ness.” And yes, in the lat­ter the pa­tient’s head does turn into a light bulb. It’s good fun, and a great up­date to a PC clas­sic.

3. DES­TINY 2: FOR­SAKEN

Re­lease Date: Septem­ber 4

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me how­ever many times Des­tiny 2 has fooled me and—wait, why is this on the list again?

I hon­estly am look­ing for­ward to Des­tiny 2’s mas­sive For­saken ex­pan­sion ($40 on Bat­tle.net, go.pc­world.com/byfs) though. Maybe it’s naive, but ev­ery­thing Bungie’s shown so far has been heart­en­ing, from a shorter time-to-kill to more flex­i­ble load-outs to the cre­ative Gam­bit mode we tested at E3 ( go.pc­world.com/gbmd). The lat­ter is the most fun I’ve had with Des­tiny 2 in ages.

As­sum­ing Bungie can pull off a half­way de­cent story, this has all the po­ten­tial to be the Taken King–style re­boot Des­tiny 2 needs. And sure, that’s a huge as­sump­tion. I’m hopeful though.

4. BARD’S TALE IV

Re­lease Date: Septem­ber 18

In­spi­ra­tion is cir­cu­lar. A few years back, Legend of Grim­rock drew upon Bard’s Tale and other long-dor­mant dun­geon crawlers of old to res­ur­rect the genre for a mod­ern au­di­ence, com­plete with graph-paper map. And now? A few years on, and Bard’s Tale IV

( go.pc­world.com/byb4) is clearly draw­ing from Legend of Grim­rock to cre­ate its own mod­ern­ized se­quel.

Grim­rock and...hearth­stone? Yes, this is cer­tainly not a tra­di­tional dun­geon crawler, opt­ing for mana-based com­bat and even free-roam­ing ex­plo­ration. Strange. And yet the clas­sic dun­geon crawler feel pokes through, with labyrinthine halls packed full of se­cret en­trances and fake walls and puz­zle af­ter puz­zle. And it’s Inx­ile, so hope­fully we can count on the writ­ing be­ing pretty damn good.

One more for the “Crowd­fund­ing Re­vival” suc­cess pile, hope­fully.

5. PATHFINDER: KING­MAKER

Re­lease Date: Septem­ber 25

Ev­ery time I’ve seen Pathfinder: King­maker ($40 on Hum­ble, go.pc­world.com/path) I’ve come away over­whelmed. On the sur­face it looks like an In­fin­ity En­gine–style iso­met­ric CRPG. On the sur­face.

An ef­fort’s been made to adapt the whole King­maker mod­ule from Pathfinder though, and I mean the whole thing. Not a stream­lined ver­sion, not a ver­sion that cuts cor­ners for the dig­i­tal re­lease. It’s an in­cred­i­bly am­bi­tious project, from the freeform lev­el­ing sys­tem to a story that spans huge stretches of time and al­lows you to re­shape your king­dom as you see fit—and all from a first-time de­vel­oper.

If they pull it off, it could be one of the best CRPGS of all time. That’s a big “if,” though.

6. LIFE IS STRANGE 2

Re­lease Date: Septem­ber 27

“It’s Life is Strange 2!” I thought, when Microsoft ran a Dontnod trailer dur­ing E3— and then it wasn’t. It was a free-to-play pro­logue of sorts, The Awe­some Ad­ven­tures of Cap­tain Spirit ( go.pc­world.com/bycp).

But sur­prise, Life is Strange 2 ($40 on Hum­ble, go.pc­world.com/lfs2) proper was an­nounced scant weeks af­ter E3, and will ap­par­ently in­clude char­ac­ters from Cap­tain Spirit in some ca­pac­ity—though not as main char­ac­ters. What does this all mean? I have no idea, ex­cept that in Septem­ber the se­quel to the best Tell­tale-style ad­ven­ture of the last few years ( go.pc­world.com/lfrv) will roll out its first episode. New set­ting, new char­ac­ters, new slang.

Be­lieve me, I’m hella ex­cited.

7. FORZA HORI­ZON 4

Re­lease Date: Oc­to­ber 2

On the one hand, four en­tries in and the Forza Hori­zon for­mula’s got­ten a bit stale. On the other…well, it’s all we’ve got. The Crew 2 cer­tainly didn’t sat­isfy ( go.pc­world.com/ cwrv) my ar­cade rac­ing needs, and it’s look­ing du­bi­ous whether On­rush ever gets a much-de­served PC port af­ter its dis­mal con­sole sales and a round of lay­offs.

So Forza Hori­zon 4 ( go.pc­world.com/ f4ho) it is ($60 on Ama­zon, go.pc­world.

com­byf4). This year the series re­turns to Europe, or Eng­land to be ex­act. And that’s about all you need to know, be­cause oth­er­wise it looks like busi­ness as usual: Lots of cars, big open world to ex­plore, great mu­sic, and iconic set-piece races against jets or hot air bal­loons or prob­a­bly Queen El­iz­a­beth II rid­ing a dune buggy or some­thing. Who knows?

8. AS­SAS­SIN’S CREED: ODYSSEY

Re­lease Date: Oc­to­ber 5

2018’s al­ready played host to my fa­vorite As­sas­sin’s Creed ex­pe­ri­ence in years, the Curse of the Pharaohs

ex­pan­sion ( go. pc­world.com/ crph) for Ori­gins.

Blend­ing his­tory and myth, Curse of the Pharaohs took the leash off

As­sas­sin’s Creed’s

art team and de­sign­ers and the re­sult was

stun­ning. You might even say oth­er­worldly. (Heh.)

As­sas­sin’s Creed: Odyssey ( go.pc­world. com/odho; $60 on Hum­ble, go.pc­world. com/byod) looks like it might take a sim­i­lar tack, and that’s got me ex­cited. Set in An­cient Greece, there will be the usual nods to his­tory—our E3 demo had us chat­ting up Socrates, for in­stance. But it also looks like el­e­ments of Greek mythol­ogy will be present,

as ev­i­denced by the mino­taur at the end of the E3 trailer. Ex­cited to see how far the series goes in that di­rec­tion.

9. BAT­TLE­FIELD V

Re­lease Date: Oc­to­ber 19

Back in 2016 we awarded Bat­tle­field 1 our cov­eted Game of the Year prize ( go. pc­world.com/ bt16). Sure, it wasn’t the strong­est year for game re­leases, and in most other years I don’t think it would take top hon­ors—but it was a fan­tas­tic shooter nev­er­the­less, and its vi­gnette-style War Sto­ries cam­paign was a won­der­ful de­par­ture from the usual Bat­tle­field bloat.

Take those ideas and in Bat­tle­field V ( go. pc­world.com/ hobv; $60 on Ama­zon, go.pc­world.com/bybv) trans­pose them to the iconic un­der­pin­nings of World War II? Yeah, that’s an easy sell for me, es­pe­cially since Call of Duty: WWII barely scratched that itch last year. And remember: There’s no more Bat­tle­field Pre­mium. All post-re­lease maps and modes will be free this year. Fin­gers crossed what­ever mon­e­ti­za­tion scheme EA

re­places it with doesn’t sink Bat­tle­field V the way it sank Bat­tle­front II last year.

10. HIT­MAN II

Re­lease Date: Novem­ber 13

As I said at E3: I’m not 100 per­cent sure why IO de­cided to brand Hit­man 2 ( go.pc­world. com/hoh2; $60 on Hum­ble, go.pc­world. com/byh2) a full-fledged se­quel and not another “sea­son,” even with­out an episodic re­lease sched­ule. It just feels like “More Hit­man,” full stop.

I mean that in a good way, though. Hit­man was one of 2016’s best games, each level an ul­tra-de­tailed and elab­o­rate puz­zle box where the so­lu­tion is al­ways some cre­ative form of mur­der. When Square dumped IO I feared the worst, but the breakup ap­pears to have been more am­i­ca­ble than any­one could’ve imag­ined, and I’m look­ing for­ward to Agent 47’s re­turn.

11. DARKSIDERS III

Re­lease Date: Novem­ber 27

Another series I feared was lost to time, when THQ shut­tered I as­sumed we’d never see another Darksiders.

And we didn’t, for a long time. This Novem­ber, though, we’ll fi­nally get Darksiders III ($60 on Hum­ble, go.pc­world. com/byd3), telling us what Fury was up to when the Apoc­a­lypse oc­curred. I’m not 100 per­cent sold yet, es­pe­cially since I didn’t love the loot-grind in Darksiders II as much as

the Zelda-like trap­pings of the orig­i­nal. I want to be­lieve though, be­cause I love the Darksiders world and its strange pulp lore, and I’m hop­ing against hope the long wait pays off.

Darksiders might al­ways be a cult clas­sic series, but I’d love it to be a cult clas­sic series that even­tu­ally gets a proper end­ing.

12. JUST CAUSE 4

Re­lease Date: De­cem­ber 4

Let me guess: big­ger map, even more ve­hi­cles and weapons, and a whole lotta stuff to blow up. Some­times you’re just look­ing for the sim­ple plea­sures, and the Just Cause series is one of the sim­plest, an en­tire game pred­i­cated on ex­plo­sives and physics tech. Like Goat Sim­u­la­tor, with a hun­dred times the bud­get.

The gim­mick in Just Cause 4 ($60 on Hum­ble; go.pc­world.com/byj4) is weather. Bliz­zards? Check. Tor­na­does? Check. Sand­storms? I guess that counts as weather, so sure. Also the en­emy AI is ap­par­ently smarter, though it’d be hard not to be—those sol­diers in Just Cause 3 are dumb as bricks. Mostly look­ing for­ward to the old grap­pling hook, para­chute, C4, ex­plo­sion loop though. Like al­ways.

13. OUTER WILDS

Re­lease Date: 2018

No Man’s Sky has been on a sort-of re­demp­tion arc lately, with this sum­mer’s huge NEXT up­date fix­ing many of the game’s per­ceived is­sues. But

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