GRAN TURISMO 7
The eighth ‘mainline’ installment of Sony’s popular racing game will be its first on the PS5 and it looks spectacular thanks to the new-gen console’s improved graphics. It’s not the only technological advance the game will take advantage of. PS Europe’s executive VP Simon Rutter has said 3D audio will mean you’ll be able to differentiate engine types and tell where the sound is coming from. The new DualSense controller’s advanced haptic feedback will also mean a variety of pedal tensions and a different ‘feel’ to different road surfaces.
FAR CRY 6
In the sixth installment of Ubisoft’s acclaimed first-person action-adventure shooter, you’ll play as freedom fighter Dani Rojas (a deliberately unisex name, as you can choose your character’s gender at the start of the game), aiming to overthrow the brutal fascist dictator Anton Castillo, who is grooming his son Diego to take his place as El Presidente of the fictional Caribbean island of Yara. Like the previous games, you’ll cobble together weapons from whatever resources you can find while, in a new twist, you can now hire ‘Amigos’ to help you topple the regime.
Online reaction to the demo last year was not promising — the graphics were weirdly underwhelming and the gameplay lacked any real innovation. However, everyone’s hoping that developer 343 Industries will have used the game’s delayed release (it was originally supposed to be a launch title for the next-gen Xbox Series X in November, but has been pushed back to fall 2021) to sort all that out and provide an upgrade to the story of Master Chief that reaches the dizzy heights of some of its predecessors — which have been some of the most adrenaline-inducing action games of all time.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: GOLLUM
Given the fervor that greets all things Tolkien-related in the entertainment biz, it’s a fair bet that this action-adventure by Daedalic Entertainment is going to sell well, no matter how good it is. Thankfully, what little has been revealed so far looks very promising indeed. Gollum — the creature twisted by his obsession with the Ring of Power — isn’t an obvious choice as the ‘hero’ of a game, but the designers have spoken publicly about their efforts to make him a character players will want to prosper. It’s a stealth-driven adventure in which Gollum must navigate Mordor, but also his own split personality.
HORIZON: FORBIDDEN WEST
“Horizon: Zero Dawn” was, deservedly, a hit. Its sequel will likely perform just as well. It certainly looks spectacular. Once again, players control the huntress Aloy as she navigates a post-apocalyptic Utah, Nevada and California filled with lethal machines. This time around, she is charged with exploring the titular frontier in search of the source of a deadly disease that threatens the Nora tribe. The game map is larger than its predecessor and offers a wide array of environments, including underwater ones, to explore.
GOD OF WAR: RAGNAROK
The ninth installment in the bestselling action-adventure series continues the franchise’s shift away from its original Greek mythology to Norse legends. Once again, you play as Kratos (accompanied by Atreus, his young son), and can expect to be tasked with averting disaster once more. “Ragnarok” is, in Norse mythology, a series of cataclysmic events that signal the end of the world as we know it (albeit one that leads to a Utopian rebirth), so the stakes are, it seems, set pretty high.
For the many hundreds of thousands of rabid Harry Potter fans out there, this game seems like wish-fulfillment of the best kind — allowing players to enter the magical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as first-year students, go through the Sorting Hat process to discover which house they’ll be in, and attend classes where they’ll learn to cast spells, brew potions, fight, and deal with magical beasts. All skills that will be needed when exploring the world inside and outside of the school. It’s set in the late 1800s, though, so don’t expect to see Harry himself knocking around.