Oddball Games of E3 2018

E3 this year was absolutely packed with game announcements, many of which were highly anticipated by fans over the years. Among many sequels, Cyberpunk 2077 reveal that easily stole the show, and games we won’t get to play for a good few years, E3 2018 also included some really strange games. Either their design idea is out of the ordinary, or the setting these games take place in is unlike anything normal we have seen in the past, making them stand out from the crowd. A few of these games feature totally absurd ideas to make them really oddball from the E3 lineup, which I’ve put together in this list. Whether these titles have potential to surprise us, or simply give players an interesting concept to explore, they each deserve a spot on this list for doing something new and are still worth looking forward to.

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Most exciting games of E3 2018

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With E3 2018 about to pass by and already extensive media coverage of game announcements, there are plenty of titles to get excited about for the years 2018-2019. All major publishers accounted for, games revealed cover a wide selection of genres, and while at this point in gaming most are classified under sequels, many are genuinely interesting continuations. Although frankly a good few games were leaked by a Walmart games posting a month before the E3 event, the full reveals during the expo actually showed us trailers and gameplay. Confirming with a few sequels I expected to happen, the E3 showcased many games that I’m really excited for in the coming years. Most of these are bound to become huge successes, and greatly expand on the ideas of their IP, although it is always worth exercising caution before pre-ordering as the industry has taught us over the years. Most of the entries on this list came announced with gameplay trailers aside from a few, and following the press conferences with the gaming media, there is lots of information already available for many titles. To note, this is my personal list of all games that I’m excited about and won’t reflect everyone’s opinion of the games announced over the course of E3 2018.

 

Cyberpunk 2077

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CD Projekt Red/Windows Central

We knew this one was coming for a long time, and CD Projekt Red finally showed a trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 2018. With a wider range of details available through large gaming media sites, there is a lot to know the following days after its reveal. What surprised me the most (and I think I’m far from the only one) is that it’s shaping up to be a first-person RPG shooter. From a studio known for its fantasy Witcher RPGs, this is a bold step into new territory, although if anyone can pull off a massive open world shooter, I wouldn’t doubt it would be CD Projekt Red with their extensive attention to detail. From what’s known so far is that it would feature most elements we’ve come to expect from the developer’s games, with branching story, huge interactive world, and a layer of lore from the Cyberpunk tabletop game. Cyber augmentations will allow players to improve their character, which can be either male or female and customized to a degree. It may be far off from release, expected to land somewhere in 2019-21, but it’s a title i’m genuinely excited about. The trailer already shows extensive detail, and I don’t doubt that CD Projekt Red can really pull this game off.

 

Doom Eternal

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Bethesda/id Software

Given the huge success of 2016 Doom revival, a sequel was bound to happen sooner or later, and it looks like it’s already in the works. Bethesda announced Doom Eternal, and showed us a cinematic trailer full of gore, a dark setting, and of course, even more demons from the look of it. No gameplay was showed, but it is a good guess it will be largely the same to 2016’s Doom, which was an excellent FPS to begin with. Doom Eternal promises a more powerful protagonist, as well as a greater selection of demon enemies. And based on the environments featured in its trailer, the game looks to be taking us to Earth if the collapsing skyscrapers are anything to go by. Gameplay will likely be shown at QuakeCon later this year, and based on the old-school action success of Doom reboot, Eternal is worth getting excited for. As it stands right now, there isn’t much to go by on this title, but who doesn’t like killing waves of demons, right?

 

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

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Ubisoft

After successfully reinventing the Assassin’s Creed franchise with 2017’s Origins, Ubisoft was bound to return to a yearly release schedule for its biggest series, which is what happened with Odyssey. Successfully leaked roughly a week prior to E3 by a photo of a keychain, the game’s reveal wasn’t very surprising, as it was also rumoured the game will be set in Ancient Greece. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey looks to continue the many game improvements that Origins brought along for the franchise, although would expand on some aspects. In Odyssey, players can choose between two characters, a male and a female, and the story will feature dialogue options for the very first time in the series, which should make the story more engaging. Ubisoft Quebec also promises those dialogue choices to impact the world around players, although it isn’t known to which extent it’s bound to happen. The game is set in Ancient Greece 400 years before Origins, which makes it the oldest entry in terms of its timeline. Taking place during Peloponnesian wars, Odyssey promises lots of action gameplay, as well as a bigger emphasis on naval combat. It will be interesting to see whether it will simply feature the same ship system from Origins, or if it will expand the combat further and resemble that of Black Flag. The gameplay looks to mostly remain the same to Origins, and Odyssey doesn’t seem to expand any of the combat options apart from a more refined skill system. Loot will be further expanded with individual armour pieces to impact character stats, but otherwise Odyssey looks very familiar to its predecessor in all aspects. With gorgeous environments, however, the world should be a joy to explore.

 

Rage 2

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id Software/Bethesda

For Rage 2, id Software teamed up with Avalanche studios – the makers of the Just Cause series and a successful hit on the Mad Max movie tie-in. Despite the lackluster sales of the original IP released back in 2011, Rage 2 was bound to happen at one point in time. The gameplay trailer showed plenty of fast-paced combat against colorful groups of bandits, and a reveal trailer prior to that indicated diverse locations to explore. There would be mutants as well of course, and the Authority is likely to make an appearance also. Rage 2 reveal prior to E3 as part of the leak through Walmart, also showed vehicular combat, which is where I’m guessing Avalanche will assist in production, as the first Rage wasn’t particularly exciting in that merit. Hopefully id Software can make Rage 2 as fun to play as it’s recent Doom and Quake Champions titles, and the game’s open world should offer more diversity in terms of combat options. With a large selection of weapons and vehicles, Rage 2 shapes to be a quality shooter, but time will tell just how good the game is really going to be. While the original game had many flaws and wasn’t particularly interesting, I’ve had some fun with it and it will be very interesting to see if Bethesda can deliver a successful entry in this post-apocalyptic universe. With gameplay that looks a lot similar to pacing of 2016’s Doom, Rage 2 has lots of potential to be a successful release.

 

Dying Light 2

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Techland/Microsoft

I saw this one coming at one point or another, and for a good reason. Since abandoning their weak Dead Island series, the developer Techland brought a different take on the zombie survival genre with Dying Light. The IP was widely successful, and spawned 2 years of updates, many DLC packs, and even a massive standalone expansion The Following. It only made sense for them to return to the world of Dying Light once more, and the E3 gameplay trailer is juicy on gameplay details. Once again, players are thrown into a zombie-infested world they can parkour around, and while the reveal largely showed movement mechanics, I expect combat to remain fairly similar to the first title, where Techland already nailed it. The parkour looks to be expanded with a wider set of moves, and the character is able to leap greater distances in reaching new heights. The game promises to include numerous factions for which to undertake quests, and there will be most likely a lot of exploration and loot involved as well. While we can’t really see at the moment about the enemies, there will definitely be both zombies and humans involved, and the night cycle will probably deliver even deadlier forces than the first game’s volatiles. The key feature seems to be a world shaped by player choices, and can visually change from certain decisions. To what extent this will affect gameplay is unknown, and it’s too early to tell whether those choices will be really meaningful, but it looks to be a very interesting feature. With Dying Light being one of my favourite games of all time, I’m definitely excited for its sequel which looks to be even bigger.

 

Forza Horizon 4

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Playground Games/Microsoft

Alternating with the Forza Motorsport series by Turn 10, Playground Games was definitely bound to announce the next entry in their arcade series with Horizon 4, which happened with a stunning reveal trailer. Taking us to yet another beautiful location, set this time in England, Forza Horizon 4 will continue in similar ways to its predecessors. From the moment I’ve seen the reveal trailer featuring a McLaren Senna, it is one of the games I’m most excited about, partly from the vast enjoyment I’ve had with Horizon 2 and 3. The fourth title looks to shake things up a little, however, by introducing dynamic weather seasons that will alter simultaneously for all players. This looks to be a really interesting feature that will likely be powered by some form of Cloud computing and will require a persistent internet connection, which here is understandable unlike in the Horizon 3 where I’d be perfectly content playing offline in single player. Furthermore, Horizon 4 will have the world populated by other players you can run into and challenge, with is a vast improvement over the driver profiles that would be uploaded into your world in the past titles. With gorgeous graphics, a 250+ selection of cars and changing seasons, Forza Horizon 4 is well worth getting excited about, especially if you’re a series’ fan. The gameplay will likely remain very similar to its predecessors, but with excellent driving that is more fun than serious, lack of changes is a very good thing. Playground Games have no need to fix what isn’t broken.

 

Just Cause 4

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Avalanche/Square Enix

Apart from teaming up with id Software on Rage 2, Avalanche are also currently working on a sequel to Just Cause 3. The upcoming Just Cause 4 promises to be even bigger, although will structurally remain the same to its predecessors. Avalanche are working on expanding Rico’s arsenal even further, as well as introducing new and interesting elements to the world. Those would hopefully bring diversity to avoid the very repetitive structure of Just Cause 3, although with its gameplay framework, the series can’t go very far in doing anything else but blowing stuff up. The few things shown in the trailer indicate the presence of weather effects, as shown by a massive tornado. This should allow for some interesting gameplay options, and Avalanche mention that players will potentially be able to use weather to their advantage. With the brand new Apex engine the game is getting built on, we should be able to experience stunning weather effects with a high detail of physics to boot. This being a Just Cause game, we should also expect an even bigger level of destruction that ties in with the weather. As for Rico Rodriguez, he will be going up against the “most powerful private army in the world” known as the Black Hand, who should make for a formidable force players would go up against. The use of expanded tools will probably be necessary to eliminate these forces, and the developers also promise an engaging real-time war between the Black Hand and rebel forces, where player actions are expected to directly affect the state of this conflict.

 

Skull & Bones

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Ubisoft

Ubisoft is aiming to have a go at another pirate adventure with its Skull & Bones title. It looks to resemble the structure of Sea of Thieves, but has enough distinct elements to compete with it, which in itself isn’t a bad thing, although certainly has enough elements to distinguish itself from Rare’s pirate adventure. The ship gameplay takes design elements from Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and a full out pirate game with Skull & Bones has many people looking forward to its release. The gameplay shown at E3 looked very impressive, and gives us a glimpse of ship combat and exploration. It looks very impressive visually as well, which makes the adventure on high seas all the better. The game will be heavily based on co-op gameplay like Sea of Thieves, however players will also have the option of doing it all alone if they choose so. Skull & Bones will probably release in 2019/2020, and there will be plenty of details to come out following it’s E3 showcase.

 

The Division 2

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Ubisoft Massive/Ubisoft/Gamespot

I didn’t find The Division to be an interesting shooter the first time around, although The Division 2 looks a lot more promising. The original improved significantly over the years since release, and Ubisoft looks to take those onboard with the new one. The Division 2 will be set in Washington D.C., which makes for a cool setting that is rarely used in gaming so far, and its gameplay model will be largely similar to its predecessor. The game levels look more open based on the gameplay demo, which is an improvement over the mostly linear The Division. Apart from lush environments of Washington, The Division 2 looks the same as its predecessor, and will most likely feature similar gameplay, quests, and progression. The setting alone makes it an exciting sequel, and hopefully Ubisoft eliminates the shoot and loot grind with more interesting objectives to pursue.

 

The Elder Scrolls 6

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Bethesda/PC Gamer

For The Elder Scrolls 6, Bethesda showed us only a very short teaser showcasing a mountain range and the game’s title. We could only speculate about the setting at this time, and the game is still far from any gameplay reveal due to its early production stage. Bethesda hasn’t indicated any details regarding the setting, story and any other elements, but this being their very popular RPG series, we can expect a lot of care to go into this title. While too early to say, I would at least be guessing the developer are bound to use a brand new game engine. Fallout 4 looked fairly impressive running on Bethesda’s aging RPG engine, but at this point players expect some extensive innovation to be put into the Elder Scrolls. We can surely expect a very large open world map, however, as well as hundreds of quests and dungeons. Anticipation for this release is very high, although it isn’t likely we’ll see it anytime soon, given that Bethesda expects to release its new IP Starfield before The Elder Scrolls 6 comes along. For this year, expect Fallout 76 to come out in the fall, which looks to take on a shared multiplayer experience the first time for a Bethesda RPG.

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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Eidos Montreal/Square Enix

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was announced way before E3 this year, although that doesn’t make it any less exciting. Set to culminate Lara Croft’s origin trilogy, the game will have her chase yet another relic, although by acquiring it, Lara sets off destructive forces that will end the world. Her journey in Latin America will involve a lot of tombs, ancient temples, and dense jungle forests, where she will face forces of Trinity yet again. Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks to feature bigger hub areas, one of them being a large city. Gameplay-wise, the title will feature most of the similar mechanics to Rise of the Tomb Raider, but will probably expand on some features even further. With developers retaining the action adventure experience of the Tomb Raider reboot series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks to be a very exciting experience. It is slated to release later in 2018, which makes it one of the games we’ll get to play sooner rather than later.

 

Trials Rising

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RedLynx/Ubisoft

It’s been a while since Trials Fusion came out, which doesn’t make this one quite a surprise reveal. We were bound to see a Trials game sooner rather than later, and the E3 2018 announcement gave us Trials Rising, which shapes to be another fun entry in the extremely difficult motocross titles. The game will very much feature the same fun gameplay the series is known for, with increasingly challenging levels that you’re bound to fail at time and time again. Rising looks to shake things up a little, however, with the introduction of co-op gameplay. When I say co-op, I don’t mean four-player online races, but two players controlling one bike. This should make an interesting spin on the formula, as players have to work in good synchronization to avoid a lot of pitfalls. If players perform opposite actions, they would cancel each other out, while doing the same ones will double up the effect. This co-op feature will likely introduce even more yelling at the game as failure rates could shoot up dramatically, but it will also make the game a lot of fun to play with your buddies. Regardless, Trials Rising is an exciting announcement, and I can’t wait for the game to come out.

 

Anthem

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BioWare/EA

BioWare’s Anthem has been in development for quite some time now, announced multiple years ago, and looks to set a new direction for the developer. That said, it will still be a distinctly “BioWare game”, although we’ll have to see to which extent their traditional storytelling will integrate into a persistent online experience. Anthem will be more focused on combat, although will include varying character classes and quests, which should make for an engaging experience. It will be online only, even for those who choose to venture into the world alone, but will be best played in co-op from what it seems. Anthem looks very stunning visually, and will hopefully avoid the “faces problem” that the Mass Effect: Andromeda community went wild about, and BioWare is set to harness the most out of EA’s Frostbite 3 engine. Time will show just how successful the release would be, but it is exciting to see a new IP come out of BioWare for a long time, with Casey Hudson at the helm as the general manager. Anthem is set to release in early 2019, and its delay should deliver more polish to the game.

 

Metro Exodus

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4A Games/Endgadget

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Metro FPS series, based on a very successful Russian novel by the same name. The last time the series came around was with the remake of Metro 2033 on the developer 4A’s new engine in 2015, as well as a remaster of Metro: Last Light. Exodus promises to expand the series to another level, and will feature a year’s long journey across the vast Russian country There is plenty to get excited about, as the developer 4A promises a host of improvements to come with its new story premise. For once, the game takes place in the radioactive wasteland above ground, making it a huge departure from the metro-based story of previous games. While in those we’ve seen some open air gameplay, Metro Exodus will expand this into a full game. Players will take the role of the same protagonist once more, and will travel across the continent using a train. This element shows to allow players to recruit survivors into their crew, although NPCs won’t be joining us much in the adventures. There will also be changing seasons, although that will change as we move on to different locations and won’t be integrated real-time into the game. Further, levels look to be much more open, although 4A Games say there won’t be any fetch quests, and Metro Exodus will remain a fairly linear experience. The larger locations will be very explorable, and players can easily go off the designated path wherever they are able to explore and gather supplies. The above ground setting will require careful management of the air supply, and there will be many encounters against human and mutant players. Gameplay doesn’t look to change much, but that is not a bad thing whatsoever. With expert attention to detail and world building, 4A games will no doubt deliver an excellent story-driven shooter. Metro Exodus definitely has my attention for its release in early 2019.

 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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FromSoftware

I’m generally not a fan of games made by From Software, mainly because of their sheer difficulty that I simply have no patience for, but Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice genuinely has me intrigued. Taking place in 1500s feudal Japan, Sekiro features plenty of Samurai, as well as more supernatural enemies we’ve come to expect from the Dark Souls series, however this isn’t the only interesting highlight of this title. The game will be a radical departure from the Souls series and From Software’s Bloodborne, which while will no doubt upset many hardcore fans, is a necessary step for the developer to release something new. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be more action-focused, and the trailer showed fast-paced combat, aerial leaps and even a grappling hook. If this already sounds like a huge departure, there’s even more to come: Sekiro won’t feature the typical RPG experience of the Souls series, although world exploration is still largely present. There will be no loot to speak off, but the main character will instead unlock augments for his metallic arm, ranging from a secondary weapon with his main katana sword to a grappling hook that allows for spectacular leaps and will also aid in combat. Coming from the game’s title, Sekiro will also include an interesting spin on a death mechanic, where players can instantly revive themselves on the battlefield to finish off unsuspecting enemies. This will be limited, of course, and the game wouldn’t be easier than Dark Souls by any extent. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has me really intrigued, and quicker gameplay makes it more appealing than its Souls predecessors, although I don’t doubt I’ll be dying over and over again in this game when I play it.

Best Racing Games on PC

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The Racing genre has existed on PC since the inception of video gaming (not quite right at the start, but a little bit past Pong), and always offered a diverse set of disciplines and gameplay types. This genre covers about every racing discipline taken from the real world, ranging from illegal street racing to tough-as-nails Spa 24 hours competition, and beyond that, there are many futuristic and other creative titles to make the genre as widely available as possible. Now you can even play car soccer in Rocket League, or drive massive 18-wheelers in likes of Euro Truck Simulator 2 – the genre has it all for everyone. Among the endless games and disciplines, however, the racing genre can be quite overwhelming with hundreds of games to select from, although only the very few make it among the best racing titles: those that focus particularly good on the specific thing they do. I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorite picks that are completely worth gamers’ time and money investment, and these titles represent the best in video game driving and competition. Here are my best picks for the best racing titles on the PC platform.

Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box/Remastered

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Burnout Paradise is an incredibly fun racing playground that doesn’t hold players back through endless cutscenes. I really enjoyed its free world design, as instead of endless sub menus, Burnout Paradise does everything directly in-game. As the series was already popular and known for its high-speed racing and spectacular crashes that Criterion Games are so good at, setting Paradise in an open world with diverse sets of events and collectibles created one of the best open-world designs at the time of its release (2009). Burnout Paradise was unique for those elements, and very few if none racing releases have offered gamers anything similar to the charm of blasting through Paradise City to then get taken down or crash into a wall you failed to see seconds before. With high-speed cars and intense fun, Burnout Paradise continues to shine to this day as one of the best racing games. On PC, The Ultimate Box edition still holds up really well with high-res textures and stellar framerates, now we just have to wait for the Remastered version to pop up on Origin. From what I’ve read so far from PS4/XOne reviews, Criterion have nailed the remaster perfectly, and I can’t wait to see how the PC version shapes up.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)

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If you want to experience high-speed chases between racers and the police, 2010’s NFS Hot Pursuit is your best game to go for. Sorry NfS Rivals, but you simply didn’t live up to the promise despite your Frostbite 3 engine. Hot Pursuit still holds up really well too, and Criterion’s signature crashes are more spectacular than ever in this title more so than in their other releases. Hot Pursuit offers two separate single player modes, however there is no story to be found here, which worked excellently as NFS games tend to be bad with plot anyways. With wild police chases across the gorgeous Seacrest county, you’re always guaranteed to have fun, and Criterion Games’ signature crashes are still spectacular to this day. Within the two career paths available, the map is dotted with racing events, and packing a diverse set of cars, Hot Pursuit still holds as my favorite in the series so far. The Seacrest county police department are insanely equipped with most exotic cars, which always brings fun to race events, and not only would players get to use them, but also go up against them in pursuits. NfS Hot Pursuit is still spectacular, and it is a shame it’s open world is completely void of activities, however for the single player, it is absolutely worth getting.

Trackmania Turbo

Trackmania Turbo appeals to a certain niche of racing game fans, particularly those who enjoy competition and actively engage in the modding community, and Ubisoft’s racing series has developed a steady fan following. While I haven’t played any game prior to Turbo, its refined experience and unique design offers something new to those seeking a more challenging racer than their Forza or GranTurismo. Trackmania Turbo is all about racing against the clock on tough tracks, and only after I’ve transitioned to the more difficult levels, did I discover just how painfully challenging this game can be. Finishing just within a split second past the gold medal can and will be infuriating, especially after 20 or so prior tries, however Trackmania enables quick restart at a press of a single button. It doesn’t offer a traditional racing experience, but don’t be quick to dismiss the game for a bad racer. For those who enjoy competition against the clock and their friends’ times more so than the single player AI, I’ll definitely recommend picking Trackmania Turbo up.

Trials Fusion

Trials Fusion is not a conventional racing game in a sense, although I’ve enjoyed it far more than most games out of this list. RedLynx’s motocross racer (if it can even be called that) is a unique blend of fast-paced racing and increasingly complex difficulty curve, which has always been a staple of the series in the past. Fusion is not only the best looking game in the series, but also its most refined and complete experience yet. Set in a futuristic dystopia, Trials Fusion has a surprisingly interesting plot, and while the background dialogue is limited at its best, it fleshes out more about the events in the world. Along with that comes some of the best visual design I’ve seen in gaming in general, and by that I don’t mean the graphics, but rather the excellent art design the team over at RedLynx created. To add, Fusion features a brand new trick system for the series, as well as diverse motorcycles and even a quad bike, and its DLC content is an excellent addition to the basic tracks available. With lots of challenge, but also fun to be had, Trials Fusion shines, and while the studio had a large misstep when they released Trials of the Blood Dragon (see what they did there?), I hope the studio comes back strong with a better successor for the series.

Project CARS 2

For motorsport purists, Project CARS 2 offers one of the most authentic racing experiences in video gaming, and with about 30 licensed tracks and 150+ cars, there is lots of challenge to be found. While it doesn’t have a straightforward career mode, Project CARS 2 gives players opportunities to create their own racing seasons spread across multiple racing disciplines. It isn’t a juggernaut of Forza Motorsport, but the quality of production Slightly Mad Studios came up with is spectacular, and don’t forget the studio has dabbled in EA’s NfS Shift games in the past. Project CARS 2 also has more option for steering and handling than most could handle, but that’s the beauty of it – you can make the experience as easy or hardcore as you like, although I’d still recommend playing it with a steering wheel setup rather than a controller. All in all, Project CARS 2 is a worthy contender to likes of Forza and GranTurismo, and offers racing fans something a little more extensive than 800+ car lists, and succeeds on those merits as with fewer cars, it is more focused on individual handling and the racing experience.

GRID Autosport

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For those who can’t handle the serious racing model of Project CARS but still want to enjoy a competitive motorsport experience, GRID Autosport is the next best thing and offers a slightly less complicated ride. With Codemasters’ expertise in arcade-style sims, GRID Autosport delivers a fun racing experience spread across 5 distinct racing disciplines, some of which aren’t featured in racing sims far too often, and of course, GRID still offers closed street tracks. With a diverse selection of cars, GRID Autosport is a very accessible racer with competent single and multiplayer modes, and even has split-screen on the PC which is an extremely rare occasion on the platform. The studio has since focused on its excellent Dirt and improving F1 series, although GRID is not off the table in the future. It was a hard one to choose between GRID 2 and Autosport as they’re very similar in visuals, gameplay and handling, however this title takes the list as the better racing title in the series. All GRID games are excellent really, and you can often find them at really cheap prices. At this point, I’d be hoping to see another entry in the series at some point soon with an even better experience.

Forza Horizon 3

Have you ever wanted to go off-roading in a Ferrari but that’s too expensive in the real world? Forza Horizon 3 has you covered, and it is the ultimate racing playground for the kids in us (with the Hot Wheels expansion that’s literally what happened). Set in beautiful Australia, Horizon 3 is an entirely open world, so you’re free to go anywhere in any car available to drive, and with plentiful of side activities and hidden collectables, trying to 100% the game would take at least about 40 hours or so. Featuring some of the world’s most exclusive cars that can be driven across vast beaches, busy cities and gorgeous rainforests, Horizon 3 is the ultimate arcade racer, and features a large map full of things to find. Available on both Xbox One and Windows 10, Horizon 3 gave PC gamers one of the best racers on the platform, even if the game’s exclusivity to the Microsoft Store takes a drag when something doesn’t work. Knowing Windows 10, I’ve ran into those quite often by myself, and the game won’t let you proceed at all past the starting menu simply because it failed to log into Xbox Live. But aside from those gripes, Horizon 3 is an excellent sandbox racer and there simply isn’t a better open world game currently on the market.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)

In the street racing world, EA has failed to topple the success of its 2005 Most Wanted title for years, and while the game certainly shows its age and can’t be digitally purchased, for those who held on to the game might still be able to play it on modern systems. Yes, the resolutions would be low, but NfS Most Wanted is a better street racer than older Underground or newer games like 2015’s NfS reboot (still decent but it had frustrating flaws). With a nicely done career mode and a diverse set of cars, which to be fair are more limited than most gamers will be used to, but with each customizable car and a fun city to explore, there’s plenty of charm and personality in Most Wanted, and the soundtrack has some of the best music selection in an NfS game. Taking down the bosses and outrunning the cops was entertaining, and the plot had some nice twist points presented in quality cutscenes. Ah, the good old days. It’s a shame they haven’t come up with a better street racing game since then, although EA could greatly benefit from a remaster for this title.

Forza Motorsport 7

With Motorsport 7, Microsoft again made its juggernaut racing series available in the Windows app store, and while the experience is held back by the now annoying UWP platform, there simply isn’t another racing game with a 700+ car garage on PC. Forza has always been an excellent racing simulator, which up till recently was confined exclusively behind the Xbox platform, and Motorsport 7 improves on many aspects of its predecessors, with better visual detail, effects, and a longer career mode than found in Forza 6 before it. With an extensive career mode across various car disciplines, Forza 7 pushes to be the most accessible game to draw in new players, and with additional challenge of intense rain effects and night time races, the game is at its best on PC especially. Although it comes at a price of 100+ GB download, which is never ideal for gamers with slow internet speeds, Forza 7 visually looks spectacular, and graphics aside, it also offers hundreds of tracks and just about every car variety existing in the world. If you ever want to race a jacked up Ford Transit van on the Nurburgring, consider it possible in the Motorsport 7.

DiRT 4

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Since DiRT Rally released in 2015, Codemasters have been returning the series back to its original Colin McRae roots, and now with DiRT 4, they now offer something in between the serious DiRT Rally and the past arcade entries, which also happens to be their most feature-complete title yet. With two distinct handling models (I’d recommend going for the more challenging of the two), and an excellent track generator technology, DiRT 4 features an extensive career mode with endless possibilities for rally stages and includes around 40 of world-famous rally cars of the last 5 decades. With a sweet multiplayer mode added in for good measure, DiRT 4 is a solid gaming experience that doesn’t just focus on rally events either. For added measure, Codemasters included the TrailBlazer events where you compete in race-spec trucks, as well as the official Rally Cross mode. The only thing missing is the Hillclimb mode from DiRT Rally, which is a shame, but perhaps it wasn’t the developer’s intention to include it in the slightly more casual 4th entry. Either way, I can definitely recommend DiRT 4, as it is easily the best title in the whole series.

Shift 2 Unleashed

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Before Slightly Mad Studios went mostly independent, they worked with EA to produce some of the highest points in the long running Need for Speed series: NfS Shift and Shift 2 Unleashed. The original offered EA’s take on the racing formula established by GRID, which also blended arcade and simulation racing into one to appeal to more gamers and offered a good balance between a solid career mode and intense multiplayer, but released in 2009, has since been mostly forgotten. Shift 2 Unleashed that followed drastically improved the original’s gameplay and structure, including an expanded car selection and a detailed career mode. What I loved the most is you were free to visually customize your car similar to older street-racing titles, and some of the best designs are possible to create with countless modification options. Without clearly defined racing disciplines, and available performance enhancements, Shift 2 Unleashed appealed even more to arcade racing fans than GRID made possible. Slightly Mad’s title played more casual, and with a superb handling model, was one of the best arcade-sim racers on the market. It still holds up well and can be grabbed from either Steam or Origin at ridiculously low prices, which is already enough of a selling point to try out this game. Shift 2 Unleashed remains an excellent racing game, and while the more recent Project CARS titles certainly took the crown with extensive simulation options, Shift 2 Unleashed is fun in its own.

Euro Truck Simulator 2

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Sometimes fierce racing competition can be exhausting and you just simply want to drive down a highway at normal speeds listening to the radio, the Euro Truck Simulator 2 is about the closest driving game that represents the idea. Yes, you’ll be driving a big truck across Europe with a single task to manage your company and deliver goods between urban centres, but the experience is oddly satisfying and the menial tasks actually help unwind as hard as it is to believe. As a PC exclusive, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is extremely customizable, and gameplay can be dialed far back to simply sit back and relax, but at the same time, one could opt for playing this game entirely with manual transmission and on a steering wheel setup. The best thing, of course, is custom music in the radio, which brings your own music to the game, and while you drive across long stretches of road, the feature comes in handy. While it is completely the opposite of arcade racing games, and it can be odd to play a driving game with a certain set of rules, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is an extremely detailed and satisfying experience, with far more depth than just driving a truck.

 

The Best weapons in Mass Effect games

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The Mass Effect series is widely regarded as one of the best sci-fi franchises in the gaming industry, and apart from last year’s Andromeda, the original trilogy is also regarded as some of the best games ever created. In this stellar RPG experience, it is easy to miss out the set of game mechanics the series offers and especially its action, backed up by an extensive set of solid weapons in the arsenal. Although weapons are just a small part of the overall Mass Effect experience and it is easy to overlook them, the arsenal in Mass Effect packs some of the best weapons in gaming, and across 4 entries, the series features some of the best guns to be found in gaming. Across a range of shotguns, sniper rifles, assault rifles and heavy weapons, Mass Effect offers something for every plathrough style as well and with extensive sets for each type, there is something to be found for everyone. This list is formed on my objective opinion only and won’t represent everyone’s picks, but spread across multiple games and weapon types, part of it would tailor to everybody’s taste. These weapons are organized in no particular order, but the 10 chosen are the best weapons in the Mass Effect franchise.

Particle Rifle

The Prothean Particle Rifle obtained from Mass Effect 3’s From Ashes DLC mission is an assault rifle limited only by the heat formed from discharge, enabling continuous firing until it overheats. To add to that, this rifle packs a serious punch and allows to eliminate multiple enemies with ease once you upgrade the ammo capacity, which keeps the fast-paced flow of combat. With its unique design, the particle rifle is one of the best weapons in the entire series and its capabilities overpower most other guns in the arsenal and while heat management becomes crucial at times and introduces an unnecessary micromanagement element, it never interferes in the action. While Mass Effect: Andromeda features a similar weapon in form of the P.A.W. rifle derived from Remnant tech, I never found its punch as satisfying as the Particle Rifle in Mass Effect 3 and the damage of the Prothean weapon is significantly higher than the Remnant rifle in the next entry.

N7 Crusader Shotgun

The N7 Crusader Shotgun has the highest DPI out of all shotguns available and only the Krogan-engineered M300 Claymore rivals the power of the Crusader. The N7 Crusader is seriously heavy and thus most players won’t use it, but the tradeoff can sometimes be worth it. The Crusader eliminates most enemies with a single shot, and especially works best in Charge-based Vanguard builds with its serious damage but short range, giving biotic-light players an opportunity to create a powerful assault build. Equipping the Crusader leaves little room for other weapons, which is one of its downsides and even the highest level of Light Materials upgrade barely fixes that, but its incredible power makes it a serious tool for competitive players, who can still opt to add a pistol and an SMG into their loadout.

Reaper Blackstar

Nothing says “Collateral Damage” more than the experimental Reaper Blackstar. Available in Mass Effect 3 on multiple missions, the weapon can be used in instances against overwhelming odds, and the game is generous enough to let players use the Blackstar on multiple occasions. Although developed by Human researchers, the prototype is heavily based on Reaper tech, which means serious damage is to be expected from it. The Blackstar delivers a powerful punch that can eliminate a brute or a harvester with one shot. The downside is a long charge time before the shot, which makes its timing crucial on missions where this weapon is available as you definitely don’t want to waste its high damage output. The Reaper Blackstar is one of the best weapons in the game, and although Mass Effect 3 removes the opportunity to carry heavy weapons, its limited use is made worthwhile by the sheer power it delivers.

Collector Heavy Beam

Back when the player character could carry heavy weapons in Mass Effect 2, the Collector Heavy Beam is the most powerful in the game, and available to those with DLC packs installed. Many no doubt wish it offered unlimited ammo, the limited capacity of the Collector Beam is still enough to get Shepard out of the toughest enemy encounters. Similar to the particle rifle, the Collector Beam fires continuously, however instead of overheating, it is depleted once all ammo has been used up. The damage output significantly increases the more the beam is discharged, which makes it particularly strong against heavy mechs encountered in the game. The Collector Beam is much more powerful than the game’s other heavy weapons, and can also  be used on larger groups, which gives it a lot of versatility, thus earning it the spot on this list.

Black Widow Sniper Rifle

If you actually manage to have good luck with a stealth build, the Black Widow is the ultimate sniper rifle in the arsenal and makes long-range combat a breeze for skilled players. Combined with the cloak ability, the Black Widow is a serious threat to enemies, however the rifle’s heavy weight somewhat limits the ability to use biotics. For ranged combat, however, the Black Widow is ideal, and for those who prefer to stay still, it is an ideal murder weapon, given it eliminates most enemy threats with a single headshot. Its design is military-grade through and through, but there’s some beauty to it, although you won’t be focused on that while sniping off enemy heads and while its limited capacity can prove to be a disadvantage, higher damage is a worthy tradeoff in a stealthy character build.

M96 Mattock Assault Rifle

The conventional Mattock rivals damage levels of the Prothean Particle Rifle, and while it won’t offer unlimited ammo, there are plenty of crates in the world to replenish it. Firing in single-shot bursts, this assault rifle packs a serious punch with each hit and only a few rounds are necessary to eliminate most targets, which makes it another powerful contender on this list. Unlike most weapons on this list, the Cerberus-made Mattock is also available across multiple games, first being given to players in Mass Effect 2 and available on offer in both 3 and Andromeda that followed. The Mattock is extremely satisfying to use and is only one of the few assault rifles out of the broad arsenal that can be considered truly great, which made me choose it more often than not when replaying Mass Effect 2 or 3.

M560 Hydra Rocket Launcher

I’ve always liked the fact that Mass Effect never had conventional rocket launchers and the M560 Hydra proves that at many levels. While the power of its 4 combined rockets significantly lacks behind a single shot of the Reaper Blackstar, it is good enough to eliminate most heavy mechs in the game. Additionally, the Hydra packs in more ammunition which makes it great for multiple discharges in combat, and can easily eliminate Brutes before they even reach the player character. While I’d rank it third among the heavy weapons on this list as the Hydra is not  a particularly impressive rival to those, but its unique attributes still make it a worthy contender among the best weapons.

Sweeper Assault Rifle

The Sweeper assault rifle based on Remnant tech is a sweet weapon players can build in-game and I found it to be one of my all-favorite assault rifles to use in the series. The Sweeper fires in 3 shot bursts and features high damage to eliminate most targets quickly, and generally is among the more interesting assault rifles in the entirety of Andromeda arsenal. The Remnant tech is a research tree worth investing in for all kinds of players and there are multiple high damage weapons available to construct once the blueprints are researched. The Sweeper is among the best Remnant weapons available in Mass Effect: Andromeda and I’ve used it for most of my first time playing the game. With its high damage output and precise accuracy, the Sweeper handles better than the laser-beam P.A.W. Rifle and its satisfying punch makes it one of the best weapons not just in Andromeda, but the series in general.

N7 Hurricane SMG

Among SMG and Pistol categories, few weapons pack a serious punch to grant them a place at this list, but the N7 Hurricane just barely makes it under the requirements. Compared to the rest, its damage is relatively limited, however its precise handling and large ammo capacity make up for that by giving players a light versatile weapon that goes along well with heavy weapon and shotgun character builds, as well as biotic-focused players. The N7 Hurricane is quite far from powerful, and is only worth using on base enemies with no shields, but tackle on a few upgrades, and this Submachine Gun can be satisfying to use as a sidearm.

Omni Blade

It will be amiss of me to avoid including melee weapons into this list, but the Omni Blade is a seriously powerful melee tool that works well with Vanguard Builds and its striking power eliminates melee enemies with ease. While the Omni Blade has been seriously downgraded in Mass Effect Andromeda and is far from enjoyable to use, the Mass Effect 3 version is a stellar melee weapon available by default in the game. The animation for melee hits in particular is very well designed and shows Shepard lunge forward with an omni blade on each hand, making for an extremely satisfying tool available for melee combat.

Inferno Sniper Rifle

The Inferno is highly capable, and similar to the Prothean-based Particle assault rifle, avoids reloading through heat management, which allows for a few high-precision shots to be fired in quick succession. This sniper rifle is not limited by its ammo capacity, which makes it useful in extensive combat sections in Mass Effect: Andromeda, and while its damage output is quite low to compete with Black Widow, the Inferno has its own unique traits to make it a memorable weapon in the entire series, which earns it a spot on this list.

*all images are credited with their original sources

 

Things I’d like to see in the next Assassin’s Creed

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Assassin’s Creed: Origins significantly reimagines the way an Assassin’s Creed game should be designed, and its new RPG direction gave us one of the best games in the entire franchise. It is up for speculation whether Ubisoft intends to release a new game every 2 years on a new schedule or if we’re about to start getting sick of annual releases like in the past, but Assassin’s Creed: Origins lays a solid foundation for future games to follow that might allow Ubisoft to release new and interesting annual releases. So far rumors on a new Assassin’s Creed are very minimal, but one could guess about potential leaks at E3 2018 or the internet. As Origins is still very fresh in the gamers minds’ with Curse of the Pharaohs that was recently released, it is not a concern so far whether we’ll get a sequel in 2018 or the following year, but here are the features many would want to see from the next Assassin’s Creed outing. While the list is mostly formed from my own opinion, the features I speak of are in no doubt wanted by many gamers. Here’s what I’d like to see in the next Assassin’s Creed game.

*all images used have been captured in Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Setting – Ancient Greece

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Assassin’s Creed: Origins has perhaps the best-designed world in the entirety of the series and its ancient Egypt setting has been flawlessly executed as the game transitioned from Action to an RPG with character progression, numerous quests and diverse gear. Following on from Origins, the next Assassin’s Creed could explore settings like Ancient Greece or Rome with similarly vast and diverse worlds that Ubisoft can build in a similar way to Origins. Ubisoft could potentially follow up with a direct sequel to Origins set in ancient Greece, although introducing completely new characters is also a great option to keep the series fresh. A similar gameplay format to Origins would be ideal for the sequel as well, although I’ll talk about it in detail later in the list, and we can have another excellent Assassin’s Creed on our hands. Ancient Greece serves best as a setting, and can potentially introduce a better overall plot more involved with the world’s politics and struggles, but regardless of which setting Ubisoft chooses, a sequel to Origins can prove to be another excellent game in the series.

More Ship Gameplay. Give players their own ship.

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We haven’t seen a ship-based Assassin’s Creed game since Rogue in 2014 that was essentially a copy-and-paste game formed from Black Flag, although AC Origins features multiple naval missions that involve similar gameplay to the adventures of Edward Kenway, however still lacked personal elements such as ship customization or diverse missions based on the gameplay. The new Assassin’s Creed could bring back more sea-based gameplay and even give players their own ship perhaps. Set half the game in the Mediterranean Sea and islands allied to ancient Greece and we can have a really excellent game that blends AC Origins and Black Flag into a one well-designed game. Ubisoft could also give players the ability to dock in multiple cities and then free roam a large portion of the world on a mount to complete quests. Switch it up with sea-based exploration and gameplay both in the open world and the game’s plot and we can have a really interesting game on our hands and perhaps the strongest Assassin’s Creed yet. With that said, ship combat is also one of the best gameplay systems in the entire series and many gamers no doubt would want to see another Assassin’s Creed game based around naval exploration and combat.

Meaningful skill system.

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The skill tree in Origins wasn’t particularly interesting

With the new RPG direction, Ubisoft nailed about everything in Origins apart from the skill system, which was mostly composed of XP bonuses and various other dull abilities and only gave players a few really interesting skills to play with. In the sequel, Ubisoft really needs to improve upon the skill tree by giving players more interesting attributes to invest in. Perhaps give us a better skill system through numerous passive abilities or more interesting actives like the Charge Attack in Origins, and the skill tree can be much perfected. Another ancient setting also begs for more interesting tools that the main character could use and introducing an entirely separate skill tree dedicated to passives and gear wouldn’t be a bad idea. The goal would be to eliminate the endless boring skills seen in Origins and give players a more meaningful progression and skill systems to create an even better game than the already excellent Origins.

Keep game design from Origins

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AC Origins has the strongest game design of all releases in the franchise, supported by relatively high review scores across the board, and keeping all of it intact would be crucial to create a sequel just as good as Origins. RPG gameplay has proven to work really well in the framework of Assassin’s Creed and is one of the highlights that make Origins very enjoyable across 60+ hours of gameplay, which makes sense to follow up with a similarly-designed game in the future. There are very few flaws in the gameplay of AC Origins and the involving combat was also one of the strongest points in the entire game, giving players something more challenging than a counter-hit formula of its predecessors. Having taken 2 development years to overhaul many of the game’s systems, Ubisoft should stick with the formula they came up with and only focus on improving these gameplay systems. The RPG design also made up for some very interesting side quests that fleshed the world out and as such, it only makes sense to stick with the new direction for at least a few games moving forward. AC Origins’ game design was one of the strongest points in the game, which allowed the game to secure high scores across the board in gaming media, and Ubisoft should retain all of the Origins’ systems to secure commercial success for the series.

World Size Same or Bigger than Origins

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With Origins, Ubisoft have created the biggest open world yet for the series, giving players a large varied world with multiple major cities to explore. For the sequel, the developers should focus on changing some exploration systems such as collectibles, that haven’t been all that engaging in the form of animal nests and relic locations, as well as on further expanding the size and density of the game’s world. If we were to stick with the ancient Greece setting, this will allow developers to create large-scale cities and various villages with the overall world size similar to Origins if not larger. AC Origins has lots of interesting locations to visit and explore, which makes up for a lot of the fun during gameplay and the diversity ensures players don’t get bored of exploring these regions for treasure, viewpoints or enemy camps. A sequel should follow up on the same structure and give players a multitude of locations contained within an overall world map. Given the scale Origins achieved, Ubisoft already has a solid foundation for game world design and can build upon it further in the sequel.

Retain Meaningful Side Quests

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Side quests in Assassin’s Creed: Origins were one of the strongest points in storytelling, putting the drama of the main plot to shame, and significantly fleshed out the world of ancient Egypt through dialogue that provided backstory on the struggles of Egypt, additionally introducing new characters that the protagonist already knows in the game. Side quests provided for numerous laughs throughout their completion, and the amount of thought placed into these can sometimes be staggering. For example, in Origins, side quests ranged from exploring depths of ancient tombs to reflecting the struggle of Egyptians against unofficial occupation by Greece, to solving murder mysteries and so on. The constant variety in side quests always introduces something new to the game, which makes completing those missions not only compelling, but sometimes satisfying with the outcome. A sequel should thus just follow a similar template and expand even further on the diversity of side quests available in the game, which would make for even stronger game design, but again, Origins already set the bar quite high for the series moving forward.

Expand gear variety

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Origins has a pretty much perfect weapon selection for its gameplay design, but we could always go for more and more variety and content. Weapon selection worked really well in Origins and covered every gameplay style available to the player, which made experimenting with builds really satisfying. One major improvement to add would be multiple build slots to allow players an easy switch between multiple character presets. With diverse weapons such as bows, swords, spears, two-handed axes, two-handed swords and various other blunt weapons and sharp pikes, Origins had a perfect weapon variety to cover both heavy offence and stealth builds. Giving players multiple build slots in the sequel would allow players to easily switch between multiple presets, and the sequel would need to expand its weapon variety to a significant extent. Depending on the game setting, we might just see even more weapons in the sequel.

10 Best Open Worlds in Video Gaming

The open world format has become widespread across countless game series, becoming almost a standard for a sales success. Unlike the restrictive nature of linear gaming, open worlds allow the developers to go full out in creating expansive and interesting gaming worlds. However, this also means each publisher has to strive to create something new that has never been seen in gaming. We’ve seen this trend increase with Ubisoft’s open world output, and EA follows closely behind. Not every developer succeeds at creating a great or unique world, as it is a difficult process. Across the more recent games I have picked out 10 open worlds i consider to be both some of the best and also those to feature unique and interesting content. These 10 open worlds offer countless hours of entertainment, which makes their respective games a worthwhile buy for any gamer.

Wasteland – Mad Max

Mad Max by Avalanche studios gave us a glimpse of a violent apocalyptic world where oil and scrap essentially serve as currency. The designers’ vision created the best representation of a wasteland occupied by forces of a powerful warlord with the end result accomplishing the death of said warlord. However, Mad Max at its release seriously experienced open-world fatigue players developed through endless sandbox game releases. But apart from the game’s repetition and some gameplay flaws, Mad Max’s desert world truly stole the prize. The game’s large map provides plenty of diverse environments and unique landmarks to discover, although its melee combat could be much expanded upon. Eliminate endless outposts, scrap collection and retain the excellent car combat, and Avalanche studios has potential to further flesh out the world. Mad Max’s beautiful but deadly desert is a place worth revisiting with the good old Interceptor vehicle.

Seoul – Agents of Mayhem

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Volition gave us something new with their futuristic setting in Seoul for their Agents of Mayhem release, and the city’s existence in this list is based upon its unique futuristic setting that we rarely see in video games (Mirror’s Edge is the only example I can think of). Although we would have loved to be able to use the superpowers of Saints Row 4, Volition needed to ground the series back in reality with an open city to explore. Agents of Mayhem may not have lived to its hype, but it is a solid open-world action game and its unique setting makes it one of the best gaming locations to experience.

Hong Kong – Sleeping Dogs

Back in 2012, Square Enix published the most unique setting in video games at the time – a city far distant from the regular fare of US-based locations. Its detailed representation of Hong Kong culture allowed the game to be as immersive as possible. It is always fun to explore new cities, and Sleeping Dogs is a perfect game to delve into Hong Kong’s culture with both its story as well as its beautiful setting. Add to that the HD resolution textures given to us on the PC, PS4 and Xbox One releases, and Sleeping Dogs still holds up graphically well since its release in 2012. Although Sleeping Dogs 2 is unlikely to ever happen, other developers should explore unique cities, perhaps Singapore or Dubai as emerging settings to create genre diversity.

San Francisco Bay – Watch Dogs 2

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Gamers don’t often see a representation of San Francisco in gaming, but Watch Dogs 2 did the best one yet when it delivered a sizeable map of the Bay area to explore. We further got to see famous landmarks and cruise down wide roads while completing an entertaining plot that also carries a series tone about our increasingly digital world. The original Watch Dogs also deserves a mention for its Chicago setting which goes unused, but it is definitely the sequel that gave us one of the best open world games to get immersed in. The Bay area in Watch Dogs 2 accurately represents the digital world and contains plenty of quirks to reference the darker side of Silicon Valley.

Los Santos – Grand Theft Auto 5

No one is capable of creating the massive cities to the scale Rockstar are masters at, and GTA 5’s Los Santos and the surrounding county prove the point perfectly. Los Santos still shines in detail on current platforms, especially if you option for the PC version which looks spectacular. Rockstar went multiple steps further, and crammed in as much detail as possible to produce one of the most intricate open worlds where its easy to get lost for a full day’s worth of a gaming session. The expansive nature of the game’s world and of course the series signature gameplay still make Los Santos an entertaining trip to return to. That is unless you concurrently play GTA Online and are permanently stuck in the wacky world of Los Santos.

Australia – Forza Horizon 3

Didn’t you ever want to blast across Australian outback in a hypercar the likes of Lamborghini Aventador or cruise by the beach in a BMW M5? Regardless of the answer, Forza Horizon 3 has the best racing playground in the entire history of arcade racers. With diverse environments, weather effects and a ginormous fleet of cars to take out for a spin, Australia shines in Horizon 3, and also happens to be another underused setting for video gaming worlds. For a racing game, Australia is an absolute paradise to navigate around, and Horizon 3’s extensive career mode will sink many hours of free time into driving around a diverse and beautiful island. Paired with 4K and HDR (if your rig can handle it), Forza Horizon 3 is up there with the best looking games in 2018.

Rook Island – Far Cry 3

The setting of Far Cry 3 still remains memorable, and Ubisoft haven’t given us a better setting for its explosive shooter series since (perhaps the state of Montana will be a more fun playground). Rook Island is a joy to explore and still looks good in 2018. I had a hard time deciding between Far Cry 4’s Kyrat and Rook Island, but Far Cry 3 still remains the best title in the series to this date and continuously returning to it, I have yet to get bored from replaying the game. Whether you explore it at day or at night, Rook island is filled with enemies and wildlife, but thankfully the player is provided with some really effective means of personal protection. Time to stock up on some sweet firearms and make another trip to Rook Island just in time Far Cry 5 takes us into the depths of Montana.

Entire world – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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I use part of Velen’s map to show the detail crammed into the world

It is simply staggering how much detail CD Project Red have been able to integrate into the massive world of Witcher 3, which currently boasts the largest gaming world in gaming outside of the MMO crowd. Prior to its release, most wondered if the developer could deliver on their original promise of an expansive world, excellent story and meaningful side quests. They’ve not only done just that, but also gave us one of the most diverse and graphically beautiful worlds in gaming, especially if you happen to own a powerful gaming rig. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt still shines after its release, and the expansion packs that followed gave us a new setting of Touissant and further made the game extremely replayable while we sit around in the wait for Cyberpunk 2077.

Andromeda Galaxy –  Mass Effect: Andromeda

The Andromeda Galaxy combined not only gave us one of the prettiest locales to look at, from the excellent space effects to detail of each of the game’s open world locations, but also transitioned the Mass Effect series into the Frostbite 3 engine, which gave designers ample of room to create an expansive RPG while retaining Mass Effect’s core gameplay and story elements. Although its execution was not ideal, and Mass Effect: Andromeda suffered from tech issues as well as from the lack of depth of its open worlds, the experience combined gave us a glimpse of a potential direction for the series to follow, as soon as EA can perfect its Frostbite 3 engine. Andromeda is not only a new galaxy for gamers to explore, but its worlds offer a certain level of appeal that is bound to differ between gamers. The Andromeda Galaxy makes it on this list because of its unique lore, but mainly due to the combined beauty of its open worlds that create a great-looking game.

Egypt – Assassin’s Creed: Origins

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Only a small part of the vast AC: Origins map

Ubisoft finally gave us a setting most of the series fans were dying for – Ancient Egypt – and what a marvelous world it is. Accessible from the get-go, you can travel from the great city of Alexandria all the way to Memphis, however the game’s RPG focus effectively constraints the map based on character level. Still, unlike the ironically ghostly map of Ghost Recon: Wildlands, AC Origins boasts a detailed representation of Egypt with all its landmarks and secret, which enhances player immersion by providing a wealth of content. Yes, AC Origins inherits the enemy outposts found in Far Cry series, but they are still fun to do and the beauty of Ancient Egypt takes away from all that hassle. Luckily, Assassin’s Creed Origins features a robust photo mode to take beautiful screenshots of its breathtaking world.