We’re not the first ones to say it, but it’s already been an unbelievably good year for video games.
After what felt like a non-stop onslaught of top-tier releases – so many that it was physically impossible to play them all – we come to the time of year when it traditionally starts to quieten down. All-day gaming binges are trickier to justify when the sun starts to make an appearance more regularly. At least that’s what people tell me.
That said, there are some very promising-looking games out this month. We’ve picked five to keep an eye on.
Prey – PS4, Xbox One, PC (Out 5 May)
Arkane’s Prey is a ground-up reimagining of the 2006 game with which it shares a namesake, and a spiritual sequel to legendary ‘90s action RPG, System Shock. You play as Morgan Yu, who finds himself trapped in a space station overrun with a particularly unfriendly alien species called the Typhon. Not keen on sticking around, you’ll have to develop your combat skills and weaponry in order to fight off the murderous extra-terrestrials, while exploring every inch of the huge map. A demo released last weekend made a splash for the right reasons, so unless you’re a massive wimp, this could be one of the surprises of an already fantastic year.
Farpoint – PS VR (Out 17 May)
After the initial “holy shit the future of technology is here” hype died down, it’s been a bit of a slow start for PlayStation’s first virtual reality headset, with only a handful of releases that have been worth the outlay (although we hear Resident Evil 7’s VR mode is the definitive way to experience the game, if you can hack it). Upcoming FPS Farpoint isn’t being lauded as an irresistible system-seller just yet, but it’s looking promising. Another game that sees you dumped in space with only hostile aliens for company, the mission is to find a crashed space station – The Pilgrim – and any of its survivors, in an attempt to make it home in one piece. The game is bundled with Sony’s light-gun controller (PS VR Aim), so if they get the basics right and, crucially, find a way of making it playable for those who have found a lot of VR games so far to be instantly puke-inducing, this could be a uniquely immersive shooter experience.
Injustice 2 – PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android (Out 16 May)
Do you like the sound of taking some of the most recognisable characters from the DC Comics roster and throwing them into what is essentially a superhero (or villain) fight club? Of course you do. In Injustice 2, set in a dystopian DC universe, Bane vs. Wonder Woman can totally happen. Superman vs. Green Arrow? Go for it. Batman vs. Robin? Awkward, but sure. Like its bonkers 2013 predecessor, Injustice: Gods Among Us, the game promises an engrossing narrative and the ability to personalise your chosen fighter’s combat repertoire. In the sequel, you can also choose how they look.
NBA Playgrounds – PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch (Out 9 May)
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the imminent NBA Playgrounds for a a brand new instalment of the legendary NBA Jam series. It’s got everything that has made those games so popular since the first entry way back in 1993: over-the-top, physics-ignoring arcade gameplay, addictive multiplayer, gloriously colourful courts and comically massive heads. It is, though, a brand new game, boasting officially licensed NBA teams, as well as playable legends of the sport from years gone by. Games are 2 v 2 (as opposed to Jam’s 3 v 3) and will support four-player local multiplayer at launch. Developer Saber Interactive told Polygon in a recent interview that they’ve included a mind-boggling 300 dunks (each presumably more ridiculous than the last), so there’s depth here. No UK release date has been announced so far, but we’re hoping it’s the same day as the US (9 May). We genuinely cannot wait for this one, especially as it’s coming to the Nintendo Switch, too.
Rime – PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch (Out 26 May)
A cel-shaded third-person adventure game that has drawn favourable visual comparisons to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Rime has been in development for some four years, and it’s finally nearing release. You play as a young boy who finds himself shipwrecked on an enchanted island. To uncover its mysteries, you’ll need to solve environmental puzzles and explore long-forgotten temple ruins, befriending an amiable fox along the way. For anyone on a bit of a post-Zelda: Breath of the Wild comedown, this could be exactly what you’re looking for. It sounds like it’s going to be worth the long wait.