Traditionally, the end of the summer and start of autumn marks the beginning of the games industry’s build-up to a manic release schedule around Christmas time. And if this autumn’s release schedule offers any indication, 2017 should go down in history as a vintage year for games.
This month, gamers can avail themselves of a slew of fine, blockbusting games. But why pay over the odds for them? Much better to head to Kinguin.net, where you will find the cheapest prices available, no matter what your favoured platform may be. Here are Kinguin’s top tips for the most unmissable games.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 (released 14 September)
PES may have lost out to FIFA in terms of success in recent years, but it has still remained the football purist’s game of choice. It’s all about the feel you get on the pitch – nailing those long, inch-perfect passes, or almost feeling the crunch in each tackle. There’s no doubt that it offers the most convincing virtual approximation of the beautiful game. PES fanatics would argue that its substance is far more important than FIFA’s style, and if you can get past PES 2018’s lack of officially licensed clubs, it’s the football game for you.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (released September 15)
This standalone expansion for the steampunk stealth-em-up picks up the action in Karnaka, a few months after the events depicted in Dishonored 2, and sees protagonist Billie Lurk teaming up with the legendary assassin Daud before embarking on a mission to kill the Outsider, source of all the chaos besetting the Empire. New powers and abilities derived from artefacts and gadgets offer a new slant on Dishonored’s fabled play-how-you-want vibe, and new mechanics like Contracts should make Death of the Outsider a pretty meaty extension of the Dishonored universe.
NBA 2K18 (released September 19)
2K Games’ basketball sim is renowned for its thrillingly realistic recreation of the NBA, with all its pomp and circumstance, and this year’s instalment looks set to ramp up the realism even further. As ever, it’s all about living out your fantasies of pursuing a virtual NBA career but now, you’ll be able to do that in what 2K Games calls The Neighbourhood: a whole city area in which you can improve your character by going to the gym, shopping or hitting the barber’s. Improved physics should make the on-court gameplay silkier than ever.
Project Cars 2 (released September 22)
The second iteration of Slightly Mad Studios’ racing game has even more rigorous motorsports credentials than its hugely successful predecessor. As well as adding rallycross, ice-racing and officially licensed IndyCar action, it has way more cars and tracks than its predecessor. And those cars and tracks are staggeringly realistic: with the help of real-life drivers, Slightly Mad Studios has tweaked aspects like tyre physics to make sure the cars really do drive exactly like their non-virtual counterparts. Whatever your taste in motorsports, Project Cars 2 will let you carve out the virtual racing career of your dreams; yet it still manages to be accessible for those whose driving skills don’t exactly rival those of Lewis Hamilton.
Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire (released September 22)
The second expansion for NCSoft’s hugely popular, cutting-edge MMO sees the rogue god of fire and war, Balthazar, threatening the very existence of Tyria. As you fight his legions, you’ll get to explore vast new areas of Tyria – most notably the Crystal Desert – and discover huge amounts about its history. Countless new gameplay elements – including mounts for you to ride and elite specialisations – should make Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire the most essential destination of the year for MMO cognoscenti.
Total War: Warhammer II (released September 28)
The second instalment of Creative Assembly’s depiction of the much-loved Games Workshop fantasy universe is set to be epic. With at least four playable races – Lizardmen, High Elves, Dark Elves and Skaven -- a more narrative-oriented campaign and a vast four-continent play area that seamlessly meshes with the map from the first game, it will offer vast amounts of gameplay. Creative Assembly promises that its much-loved gameplay mix of turn-based strategy and real-time tactics won’t be radically different from that of the first game. A must for gamers who love to immerse themselves in fantasy worlds.
FIFA 18 (released September 29)
The most successful football game on the planet needs little introduction. But this year’s version has an awful lot to offer. It looks jaw-dropping: it’s the second FIFA game to use EA’s Frostbite engine, and any of last year’s visual glitches have been ironed out. A new animation system leads to more fluid, realistic-feeling football, crossing has been overhauled and Journey, the single-player mode, has been extensively and effectively tweaked. Cristiano Ronaldo was motion-captured for it. And you know all your mates will be playing it…
Middle Earth: Shadow of War (released October 10)
2014’s Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor stunned gamers with its willingness to experiment, winning huge plaudits as one of the most ambitious open-world games ever, with the sublime Nemesis system giving the game’s hordes of orcs bags of personality. Shadow of War takes us back to the setting of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books in even more stunning style, with countless fortresses to siege, orcs to fight or recruit and bosses to overcome. Unmissable, whether you’re a Tolkien fan or merely want to experience the cutting edge of open-world third-person action games.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins (released October 27)
As the name suggests, this iteration of the much-loved time-jumping action-adventure game provides an origins story, taking us all the way back to ancient Egypt. Pre-release hands-on with Origins suggests Assassin’s Creed has hugely benefited from taking last year off. It boasts a beautifully revamped combat system, hunting reminiscent of Far Cry, vast numbers of story and side-missions and an absolutely stunning, huge open-world environment that teems with life and personality.
Call of Duty: World War II (released November 3)
The fourteenth (count ‘em) instalment of the blockbusting first-person shooter returns thrillingly to the Second World War, focusing on the exploits of the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division on the Western Front. In keeping with the setting, it promises a more “boots on the ground” approach than recent iterations, abandoning the likes of double-jumps and meaning you’ll have to call on medics in your squad to regenerate health. The multiplayer side includes a new Headquarters social space and the much-loved Zombies mode also returns – this time around, naturally, in the guise of Nazi Zombies.
Need For Speed: Payback (released November 10)
It has been two years since the last outing for Electronic Arts’ massively popular arcade-style driving game, so prepare yourself for lashings of Hollywood-style spectacular driving sequences. Although Payback is set in a huge open-world environment, unlike 2015’s rebooted Need For Speed, you can play its single-player campaign without having to be online. Sure to be over-the-top and eye-popping.
Football Manager 2018 (released November 10)
Yes, it’s time once more to channel your inner Pep Guardiola or Mauricio Pochettino, thanks to the return of the world’s finest football-management sim. As per usual, developer Sports Interactive is playing things secretively as far as new features are concerned, but we have been promised the likes of a new graphics engine, AI and tactics improvements and a completely revamped scouting system. It all looks set to be even more entertaining than the real-life football season currently under way.
Star Wars: Battlefront II (released November 17)
Dust down your light-sabre: EA DICE’s awesome-looking, epic shooter set in the Star Wars universe is set to make a hotly anticipated return. And this time around, the big news is that it will have a full single-player campaign. Playable heroes will include more recent additions to the Star Wars canon, such as Finn and Kylo Renn, and the single-player storyline will chart events leading up to those depicted in The Force Awakens. So you’ll be able to play as Luke Skywalker, among others. The multiplayer side will see the introduction of character classes. The Force soon with us will be, as Yoda might say.