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The 20 most anticipated games of 2018

How do you possibly top a video game year as flat-out awesome as 2017? You probably don’t — the past year was an all-timer, right up there with 2007 and 1998.

But no one loves a challenge like a game maker, and the men and women who toil to build amazing gaming experiences have their eyes set on 2018. While we’re sure to get countless surprises between now and next December, the year to come is already shaping up to be another one for the record books. A new “Red Dead,” the return of Kratos, another “Last of Us,” that crazy looking “Far Cry” — a ton of heavy-hitters are slated for release in 2018. Here are 20 worth watching (and playing, eventually).

Note: Only games with currently confirmed 2018 release dates are included. All release dates subject to change/delay.

“Red Dead Redemption 2” (Spring 2018 | PS4, Xbox One)

‘Red Dead Redemption II’ is easily the most hotly anticipated game of 2018.

Few companies can raise their stock price 6% simply by tweeting little more than their logo against a red background. But Rockstar Games, which is owned by Take-Two Interactive (TTWO), isn’t just any company. Best known as the mad geniuses behind “Grand Theft Auto,” Rockstar also happened to make the best Old West video game of all time in 2010’s legendary “Red Dead Redemption.” First hinted at by a simple tweet back in October of 2016, the prequel follows nefarious new protagonist Arthur Morgan and his gang of outlaws as they rob, cheat and steal their way across the American Frontier.

“The Last of Us: Part II” (TBD 2018 | PS4)

‘The Last of Us II’ has a lot to live up to, but there’s high hopes for Naughty Dog.

Emotions ran high in the post-apocalyptic hellscape of the PS3 giant, “The Last Us.” So did the game’s score, coming in at a staggering 95 on Metacritic. The sequel, naturally, has a lot to live up to, but with ace developer Naughty Dog on the job, we’re expecting another masterpiece. Taking place a few years after the original, it lets players guide a 19-year-old Ellie through a world somehow more violent and dangerous than before. We simply can’t wait.

“Anthem” (Q4 2018 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)

We’re not entirely sure what to expect from ‘Anthem’ yet, but based on developer Bioware’s pedigree, we’ve got high hopes.

Look out, “Destiny”EA (EA)and Bioware are prepping an online shooter of their own. We think. It’s actually hard to say for sure at this point. Outside of an outstanding trailer shown at EA’s pre-E3 press conference in June, precious little is known about Bioware’s take on online multiplayer action. Players don customizable exosuits to fly, shoot, and chat through gorgeous sci-fi worlds. So yeah, sounds like “Destiny.”

“God of War” (Q1 2018 | PS4)

God of War transports Kratos from ancient Greece to the frozen wastes of Norse mythology.

Deity-defying madman Kratos returns to action in 2018, but he’s changed quite a bit over the years. Now a dad, the god killer is tasked with teaching his son how to survive a harsh new land while keeping his epic anger in check. With a new camera, deeper RPG elements, and a brand-new signature weapon (goodbye chains, hello axe), “God of War” will offer a fresh perspective on an old anti-hero.

“Far Cry 5” (March 27 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)

‘Far Cry 5’ looks to reinvent the franchise, forcing you to confront religious zealots on U.S. soil.

Ubisoft (UBI.PA) takes its chaotic open-world shooter to a fictional town in Montana run by a brutal doomsday cult. Your job? What else — unite the town’s residents, deal with the crazy cult leaders, and try not to get eaten by a bear. Touching on hot-button ideological issues like religious fanaticism and domestic terrorism, it’s a controversial move that should help “Far Cry 5” inject new life into the popular series.

“Kingdom Hearts III” (TBD 2018 | PS4, Xbox One)

After years of anticipation ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ will land on consoles in 2018. As long as it’s not delayed … again.

Fans have been wishing upon this particular star for roughly a decade now, but they’ll finally get their heart’s desire in 2018. This long-awaited RPG returns players to the bizarre, mashed-up universe of Square and Disney, dropping them into the boots of series star Sora as he attempts to stop a second Keyblade War. With appearances by countless Disney (DIS) characters and a new “Attraction Flow” move that lets players summon attacks based on Disney rides, it’s sure to thrill die-hards. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get delayed again.

“Monster Hunter World” (January 26 | PS4, Xbox One)

‘Monster Hunter World’ is the most ambitious entry in the series yet.

Capcom’s hugely popular beast-tracking action game embraces the open-world craze, and the result is shaping up to be one of the biggest early releases of 2018. You’ll still spend hours chasing down massive creatures, but with no load screens to break up the fun. It’s also fully online and boasts far and away the most impressive “Monster Hunter” graphics yet. If you’ve never given it a chance, this might be the time to start.

“Sea of Thieves” (March 20 | Xbox One, PC)

‘Sea of Thieves’ drew plenty of attention when it debuted at E3 2017. We’ll find out if it’s worth the hype in 2018.

If you wish every day was Talk like a Pirate Day, batten down the hatches and sweep up the poop deck: Microsoft’s (MSFT) got some sweet, sweet booty headed your way. This swashbuckling co-op game lets you and a few friends plunder, pillage, and probably sink your way across a huge open world. Early looks have been positive — getting three people to properly hoist sails and steer a frigate is riotous fun — but we won’t know if we’re looking at treasure or fool’s gold until “Sea of Thieves” docks this March.

“Psychonauts 2” (TBD 2018 | Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac)

After 13 years ‘Psychonauts” is back. And we’ll find out if it was worth the wait in 2018.

It’s been 13 years since gamers spent an extremely weird season at the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, where making friendship bracelets took a backseat to exploring the brains of fellow campers. The sequel sees Raz and friends back at it, using their Psi Powers to save the Psychonauts from being undermined by a nefarious villain. If that means another platform level even half as cool as the legendary Milkman Conspiracy, it can’t get here soon enough.

“Detroit: Become Human” (Q2 2018 | PS4)

‘Detroit: Become Human’ will explore what it means to be alive in a game where your decisions drive the story.

Man meets machine in this neo-noir adventure from the mind of game visionary David Cage. Playing as a trio of androids, gamers grapple with artificial consciousness in a futuristic Detroit. With a branching story shaped by player choice and remarkable graphics, this cinematic thriller is one of Sony’s (SNE) biggest PS4 bets in 2018.

“Shenmue III” (Q3/Q4 2018 | PS4, PC)

It’s taken quite some time, 17 years to be exact, but Shenmue III is finally coming in 2018. We hope.

Ryo Hazuki’s tale of revenge began, amazingly enough, on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999. Thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, it will finally continue in 2018. With series creator Yu Suzuki at the helm, the third “Shenmue” picks up where 2001’s “Shenmue II” left off. That will likely mean tons of plot, a helping of kung-fu, and maybe, just maybe, a forklift.

“Mega Man 11” (Q4 2018 | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

The Blue Bomber is trading in his pixels for some lines and slick moves in ‘Mega Man 11.’

We don’t know much at all about the Blue Bomber’s eleventh game. According to its internet-breaking announcement trailer, it’s coming out in 2018 (at the moment), it stars our favorite weapon-gathering robot boy, and it trades old-school pixels for fresher polygonal graphics. It also looks super hard, which sounds about right. It’s Mega Man!

“Metro Exodus” (Q4 2018 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)

‘Metro Exodus’ returns to Russia’s post-apocalyptic wastes in 2018.

The third game in the tragically underappreciated “Metro” series takes gamers back to the frigid post-apocalyptic Russian wastelands, where they’ll scavenge gear, shoot mutated beasts, and try their damnedest to survive. Based on the other two “Metro” games, that’ll be plenty scary – and hopefully, plenty fun, too.

“Days Gone” (TBD 2018 | PS4)

‘Days Gone’ will have you fleeing seemingly endless hordes of zombies.

Another year, another batch of post-apocalyptic zombie games. When it comes to sheer undead numbers, however, “Days Gone” might take the rotting cake. Waves of walking corpses descend upon our hero in this impressive-looking open-world game, which looks like a creepy blend of World War Z and Sony’s own “The Last of Us.” Here’s hoping the final game is closer in quality to the latter.

“Dragon Ball FighterZ” (January 26 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)

‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’ looks so good, it’s as if you’re actually playing the long-running anime series about people yelling for 20 minutes.

Goku and his spiky-haired pals are back, and unsurprisingly, they look pretty amazing in this new fighting game based on the long-running anime franchise. Featuring a large cast of Dragon Ball characters and a slick, team-based fighting system, it will surely make the fighting game community go super Saiyan when it arrives early in the year.

“Soulcalibur VI” (TBD 2018 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)

‘Soulcalibur Vi’ is bringing the series’ weapons-based combat back for another round in 2018.

The legend will never die, after all. Released back in 2012, the last version of this weapons-based fighting game didn’t exactly set the world on fire. But the franchise’s roots run deep – Dreamcast fans still swear by the first “Soulcalibur” – and with “Tekken 7” producer Motohiro Okubo in charge, there’s reason to believe the sixth installment will recapture some of the series’ glory.

Spider-Man (Q2 2018 | PS4)

‘Spider-Man’ is swinging onto the PS4 in 2018.

Having enjoyed a spectacular big screen rebirth, the webslinger swings over to the PS4 in 2018. Developed by Insomniac, the new Spider-Man sees Peter Parker scurry around Manhattan saving citizens from the likes of the Kingpin and Mr. Negative. Its acrobatic combat and open-world exploration helped it win countless Best of Show awards at E3 2017, and with loads of smart, authentic fan touches (playable MJ! Miles Morales!), it’s shaping up to be the coolest Spidey game since 2004’s seminal Spider-Man 2.

“Crackdown 3” (Spring 2018 | Xbox One, PC)

‘Crackdown 3’ will let you destroy everything you can see, which is absolutely worth it.

Initially planned for 2016, this open-world action romp has run into a few speed bumps on its way to your Xbox One. But when you’re building a game in which every single thing can be destroyed, bumps are bound to happen. Expect ridiculous super powers, intense action, and more busted up buildings than a Transformers movie.

“The Last Night” (TBD 2018 | Xbox One, PC, Mac)

‘The Last Night’ is a stylish platformer that we’re hoping will have equally stunning gameplay.

Of all the indie games shown during Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference, this is the one that had people talking. Blending a 16-bit visual aesthetic with contemporary animation techniques, this cyberpunk side-scrolling game is a stunner. We’re still not entirely sure how it plays – its developers call it a “cinematic platformer” – but we’re anxious to find out.

“Darksiders 3” (TBD 2018 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Want to fight the Seven Deadly Sins while cracking a sweet whip? ‘Darksiders 3’ should be game.

The fate of the third “Darksiders” game was up in the air for a few years there, but now it’s actually happening. That’s a good thing indeed. The first two “Darksiders” were critical hits, big, bold action adventure games each starring one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This time out, we’ll play as Fury, a whip-wielding mage out to destroy the Seven Deadly Sins.

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