9 new video games you should play now
This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.
One of the hardest things to do in the video game world is staying on top of the latest games.
While you have all sorts of intentions to play them, real world demands or high-quality downloads can be distracting and cumbersome. And by the time you’re ready to move on, there are a half dozen newer titles vying for your attention.
If you’re looking for something new to play, there are a number of new and fairly recent titles worth your time, but they might have either slipped your mind or not yet pinged your radar.
Allow us to offer a few suggestions.
Ubisoft’s just-released action/fighting game pits knights against samurais against Vikings in an all-out slug-and sword-fest (with a few axes and spears tossed in for good measure). It targets the bloodlust instincts of action gaming fans and delivers a complex melee system that keeps things from getting stale. Ultimately, winning a fight (whether against a human opponent online or the game’s AI) comes down to patience and studying your enemy’s moves rather than just mashing a lot of buttons and hoping for the best — something that’s all too common in many fighting games.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Sony’s big spring release for the PlayStation 4 (due out later this month, but available for pre-order now) sets a hunter/archer loose in an open world overrun by robots. You’ll have to defeat and then loot these mechanical beasts to collect resources and improve your weapons. Different tribes encountered through the game will also send you on quests, which encourage exploration of the huge environment.
Halo Wars 2
It’s not a continuation of the saga of the Master Chief (that’ll likely come either later this year or next), nor is it the familiar first-person shooter for which the franchise is known. But that doesn’t make this real-time strategy game any less fun. A sequel to 2009’s Halo Wars, this entry puts you in a general-like role, controlling the movement and attack time of various units. That’s layered upon the rich Halo universe storyline, folding in card game mechanics that can give your troops an extra boost. Strategy games, on the whole, have been on an upswing lately, so fans are hoping this title continues that trend.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Like being scared? Seriously scared? This could be the game for you. Resident Evil, of course, has a long history in the horror gaming genre, but this latest installment has been terrifying even veteran players since its late January release — and they’re loving every minute of it. Horror and exploration are the focus this time around, rather than the game being an action title with scary enemies. And it’s a first-person game, so you’re seeing the game through the eyes of your character — not over his shoulder. If you’ve got a PlayStation VR headset — with which the game is fully compatible — it becomes even more terrifying.
Speaking of virtual reality, this unusual entry didn’t get the focus some other releases did last year, but it’s absolutely worth your time. You’ll take to the sky as an eagle over an abandoned Paris, either exploring the city with other players or competing against them in a capture-the-flag-like contest. While you might fear that swooping and soaring around the skies could cause motion sickness, the gamemakers were especially careful when designing the $40 game, meaning you get the thrill of flight without the need for an air sickness bag.
For the past 25 years, there has been no video game series as addictive as Civilization. Happily, it keeps that streak alive with this latest entry, which came out last October. Once again, try to conquer the world in one of five ways, ranging from militarily to establishing a dominant religion. This time, though, you have more control over how your cities expand, and the diplomatic settings with other civilizations are more refined. Whether you’ve played previous installments or are brand new to Civ, you’ll quickly find yourself promising yourself you’ll stop — after just one more turn.
Action games don’t tend to offer a lot of real choice. But like its 2012 predecessor, this Bethesda Softworks release not only lets you decide how you want your character to play (stone blooded killer? non-lethal pacifist? master of stealth?), and then adjusts to those decisions. You’ll also have a number of magical special abilities, which are fairly customizable. It’s rare to find a single-player game that is engrossing enough to play over and over again.
Hitman: The Complete First Season
This franchise doesn’t have the cache it once did, which means many people missed out when the episodic prequel to the series came out last year. That’s a shame because it was a well-paced action ride with good storytelling and filled with surprises. It might have been one of the best gaming surprises of 2016.
2010’s Limbo was a bleak, black and white, side-scrolling game that quickly captured people’s attentions and earned a near-endless stream of critical adoration. Developer Playdead’s 2016 follow-up received — if possible — even more love from fans and critics. Like Limbo, it’s a puzzle game fraught with lethal hazards. And like Limbo, it’s monochromatic. But the $20 Indie game moves everything forward, which is why it earned so many nominations and awards for the year’s best game.