Top Five Games To Surprise You In 2018

When you work in videogames journalism, you stay plugged in for your work. By that, I mean you keep the industry and all its cards right there in your jacket pocket. Yet, there are so many things at play that may be of interest, you’ll only end up covering something like 10% of it at any given time. Somewhere, in the other 90% of what’s going on around you in the industry, you struggle to remember those games that get hardly any coverage. Those special ones that everyone talks about on release day. You say to yourself "Darn, I forgot about that one. And I knew people were going to love it".

Top Five Games To Surprise You In 2018
After a little videogames meditation and a good long hard think, I did my best to pierce into this other 90%. Sifting through the many mediocre titles, which were the ones that media just hadn’t picked up on? Which were the ones that simply weren’t profitable to talk about just yet? After thinking as hard as I could over the course of a quiet week at work, I scraped up five from among the brilliant mess of everything else that was happening.

It’s important to note that the five examples you see below are, well – they’re a couple of things. They’re certainly not my predictions of “top five entries of 2018”, that would be silly. They are five games that, in my honest professional opinion, are without a doubt going to be talked about. They are going to be controversial. Or perhaps just plain good. Most importantly, they will surprise everyone. So as you read this list, try not be like me. Remember them for release day. So when they come out and everybody is talking about them, you don’t discount the discussion because it has nothing to do with you. You jump on into that conversation, tell someone on YouTube their negative opinion is nonsense as you sit firmly aboard the hype train.

5. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

This one comes in first as it’s likely to be the smallest surprise out of these five. The reason for that is the fact that it is already available as an early access title on Steam for PC players. Many have already played it and those who have are naming it the Skyrim killer. The reasons for giving that bold claim seem to make it a pretty strong contender for the title. It has the morality system and branching narrative of the Witcher series. And it has the first person melee combat of Skyrim, infused with a block and strike system similar, and more in depth, than what we saw in For Honor.

On top of all that, Kingdom Come: Deliverance will play more like a docu-drama as we inhabit the shoes of Henry, adventuring through his personal story among real world historical events. From what we know on the trailers, Henry starts out as a nobody living in the Kingdom of Bohemia, now known as the Czech Republic. Wanting to avenge his father’s death, Henry sets out on a mission of personal vengeance and redemption. Players can alter Henry’s story but of course, not what really happens in history.   

For those history buffs out there, the game is replete with rebuilt castle ruins of the real world and boasts an encyclopedia of knowledge for those willing to learn. Everything right down to the plant species in the ground have been painstakingly researched by developer Warhorse Studios and their historian counterparts. When this beautiful Crytek powered game reaches completion in February 2018, it will also arrive on Xbox One and PS4. Upon its arrival to a wider audience, Kingdom Come: Deliverance will be referenced as a benchmark against future open world titles. Make no mistake, Kingdom Come: Deliverance will put Warhorse Studios on the map. 

4. Blood & Truth 

Blood & Truth will have a particularly surprising impact on the VR space. Mainly because the number of PlayStation VR owners has now reached well over one million. That may sound like a lot but what it really means is that people are still just about entering the world of virtual reality. With that, comes a curiosity of what titles are available to them both before and after purchase of the headset.

What will set Blood & Truth apart from its (already) many VR shooter contenders on the PlayStation Store is its history. That history will build it up to be a system seller once it gets talked about enough. What I mean by this is that it is being developed by Sony London Studio. These guys are basically PlayStation’s entertainment experimentation lab. They have already dabbled in PlayStation PlayLink by creating Erica, an interactive story with branching consequences. More importantly, they created The London Heist. 

As a result, Blood & Truth’s London gangster setting feels like a true successor to the painfully short (almost tech demo) London Heist. Although, what we had in The London Heist was extremely functional and undeniably fun to play. Despite its very short run time, London Heist remains one of the top VR experiences currently available second only to standouts like Resi 7. Bearing that in mind and taking all that goodness, then injecting it into a full retail price game of its own – oh yeah, people are going to be talking about Blood & Truth.

No release date has yet been set for Blood & Truth, making it the only question mark on this list as to whether or not we’ll even see it in 2018. Although it would be very surprising if it wasn’t in the PlayStation library by this time next year. 

3. Oddworld: Soulstorm

That’s right. Incase you missed it, Abe is returning to us, topping us up with a much needed injection of the weird and wonderful Oddworld. Continuing the reboot series that was kicked off by New’N Tasty, Soulstorm will be a reboot of Abe’s Exodus. “Why a reboot?!”, I hear you complain. “Why not a new game altogether?!”. Well the good news is – Oddworld: Soulstorm will be so much more than just an old game in new clothes.

The biggest surprise of this year’s EGX in Manchester, UK, was that we got a hitherto unannounced talk from Oddworld Inhabitants’ CEO, Lorne Lanning. He explained that he and his team recognised how Oddworld: Soulstorm needed to be more than just a shiny version of a game we played years ago. We got no gameplay footage as it’s apparently not ready yet. But Lanning informed us that we could carry over our rescued Mudokons from New ‘N Tasty into Soulstorm. They could be stacked on top of the ones rescued this time around and even given orders to carry out “the Mudokon revolution elsewhere in Soulstorm Brewery”, as you lead Abe in the fight against the slaver Glukkons. 

With this stronger direction in narrative, so too comes a darker aesthetic for the game. Lanning showed us a dark and moody teaser trailer as well as moody concept work for the antagonist Glukkons. When questioned on whether Oddworld: Soulstorm would remain a side scroller, Lanning chose not to disclose the answer…

Top Five Games To Surprise You In 2018 - Oddworld Glukkon

Oddworld: Soulstorm has no specific release date as yet. However, Oddworld Inhabitants assure us that 2018 is a perfectly realistic target.

2. Agony

At the start of this article, I mentioned controversy. Of our five entries here, Agony will doubtless stir it up in spades. The setting of the game is fairly simple. We play the first person survival horror as a damned soul with no memory of life before its existence in Hell. Its only drive is to find the Red Goddess.

As we have seen from existing footage of the game, this could well be the most intricately designed Hell ever portrayed in a videogame. For that, it garners big points on artistic direction. It is incredibly morbid, unsettling, sexual and fascinating. Walls become rows of teeth, moving around us unpredictably. Limbs protrude from the walls and everything is dark. Making use of light is not just an environmental quirk but core to gameplay. Where the controversy will surface is when people begin to notice a scene that apparently echoes the events of The Book of Job… The killing of babies. Will this game be a step too far? I guess we’ll find out when everybody is debating it on our YouTube channels and news outlets. 

Top Five Games To Surprise You In 2018 - Agony demon powers

Agony was originally set to release summer of this year. However, the title has been delayed for further polishing at Madmind Studios and the new date sits at March of 2018

1. Scorn

It was tough to figure out whether Scorn or Agony would take top position. So what put Scorn here? Recently I was discussing the Death Stranding trailers with someone who was frustrated at how confusing they were. I said to them 
“Remember the first time you saw a trailer for Bioshock? It was so weird. You saw a man spewing bees out of his arms and trying to beat up little girls. None of it could be explained until after the game came out. Now, if you see similarly confusing things in a game trailer, it only means one thing. You’re in for a great experience. What you’re looking at is so confusing because every part of it is nothing but original. Something new. As such, Bioshock was considered one of the great works of art of our time”
I believe the same will one day be said of Scorn and that’s what puts it in number one position.
Top Five Games To Surprise You In 2018 - Scorn's living world
Everything in Scorn is fleshy. It’s all alive. Doors, keys, enemies, walls, weaponry. It all writhes and it all bleeds. The game appears to be very bleak indeed but after watching all the available footage for it, I admit – it’s fascinating. What kind of story will be incorporated into this game? How heavily will it focus on environmental puzzles, as the official site describes? How heavily will it focus on gunplay and experiment with living weaponry? Is this a planet or a giant lifeform? These are all questions that are fun to ask and theorise about. 
What’s more, despite it’s grey colourless overtones, Scorn is visually arresting. Its creepy hallways reek of inspiration from things like the Alien franchise and Farscape. Which can certainly not be a bad thing. For now, developers Ebb Software only plan on releasing the game to a PC audience but after reaching out to them myself, I have learned that, pending success they may port the game onto consoles. I’d be very surprised if, after the game is released, we don’t see crazy lets plays online and commentary pieces from the likes of Forbes and Ars Technica.

Scorn’s release date is the same story as Oddworld: Soulstorm. No specific date yet but its Steam listing simply states 2018.