Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Release date: October 2, 2020
Platforms: PS4, XBO
If you are anything like me (which I doubt you are), you still strongly associate Crash Bandicoot with Naughty Dog, its legendary original developer and an all-around massively successful studio. But then you find out that ND actually hasn’t had anything to do with the franchise since 1999 (I know!) and this particular installment is brought to us by Toys for Bob (of the Skylanders series). Reviews over the past week praise the game for well-balanced levels, new ideas, and yet that truly old-school vibe that, let’s face it, we are actually all here for. There’s, perhaps, no better way to survive the ever-changing reality of 2020 with a renovated but still trusty old friend who knows exactly how to cheer you up – CZ.
Release date: October 4, 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Having cut their teeth developing the starfighter sections of Star Wars Battlefront II (2017), Motive Studios is now going all-in with this space sim. Although the game features an approx. 7-hour single-player campaign set in the Star Wars canon timeline, its main focus is undoubtedly the multiplayer. Forget SW:BFII’s simple ship combat – Squadrons aims for the full space jockey experience with a steep learning curve, allowing players to control energy distribution between ship systems and heavily customize their loadouts. And notably, no microtransactions! This time, it’s truly just like the simulations – VG.
Baldur's Gate III
Release date: October 6, 2020 (early access)
Platforms: PC, MacOS, Google Stadia
The original Baldur’s Gate is at the foundation of our current views on RPGs and it has naturally served as inspiration for many a developer, including the famed CD Projekt Red as mentioned later in this review. With the current ranking of 8/10 on Steam, the awaited third installment in the series looks like it will appeal to both hardcore fans and newcomers in for the spirit of an “honest” role-playing game – as a single character or a party of several warriors. Naturally, the game maintains the D&D traditions at its roots, and who doesn’t want to have a pandemic-approved game night choice at the ready? – CZ.
Release date: October 20, 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, MacOS
Did you know that horrors can actually be a great way to shift your perspective on life? Just think, here you are running from monsters, encountering closed doors with your life hanging by a thread, your hands sweaty and your heart beating fast – and not a minute ago you were panicking over a test coming up (which I am sure you’ll ace). It kind of makes you appreciate the little things in life, you know. But in all seriousness, this is a return of the legend, the Half-Life of horror, brought to you by the studio practically specializing in the genre. The gameplay trailer (released last week) alone was enough to give me the heebee-geebees – and I haven’t even touched the gamepad yet. I am sure this is going to be another triumph for Frictional Games – CZ.
Watch Dogs Legion
Release date: October 29, 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, PS5 (November 24, 2020), Xbox X/S (November 10, 2020), Google Stadia
You probably know about the series already, but just in case you don’t – it’s set in a world not unlike our own (this time you will get to roam a version of London) that proves to be extremely hackable. That’s right, you get to be a member of DedSec, a hacker group set to free the inhabitants of the city from a surveillance state tormenting their lives. While perhaps exploiting a rather cliche premise, the game still has a novelty to offer – this time, you will have the opportunity to recruit any character you meet on one of your missions around the city and switch between them later as you move through the plot (hence the name Legion). It might revolutionize single-player or it might not, but luckily it’s us who gets to decide that in gaming – CZ.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
Release date: October 30, 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Some criticise interactive dramas because they’re not “true” gaming – what with only being in control of the dialogue options, while others say it could be the future of storytelling. Whichever side you are on, you have to agree that a good horror for your Halloween night is a rare find. This one ticks off all the boxes, presenting you with a creepishly-comfortable library setting with a trusted (or not?) narrator who transports you into a story of Medieval witch hunts, paranoia and fear. As the plot acquires multiple timelines, playing on the idea of every action having its consequences, you might want to hold on tighter to your gamepad – it will sure get scary. And if the first run isn’t enough to tickle your nerves, the game is made to be replayable, with different scenarios up its sleeve. It also features a Movie Night mode, which allows you to play as a team and see just who will survive at the end – CZ.
Also in October:
- FIFA 21 (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
- Foregone (PS4, XBO, Switch)
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Release date: November 10, 2020 (November 12-19 for the PS5)
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, PS5, Xbox X/S
With its 12th main installment, the Assassin’s Creed series is making its first foray into the next generation. In terms of gameplay, Valhalla retains the hack-n-slash seen in Origins and Odyssey as well as the multiple-choice dialogue and other RPG elements. As for narrative, however, it promises to come closest to the series’ roots since its reinvention three years ago – that is, if the marketing is to be believed. This time around, we’ll be journeying to the 9th century Scandinavia and England and engaging in pillaging, looting, and Viking rap battles. Entries in the Assassin’s Creed series have always been spectacular successes or spectacular failures, so whichever the case, this’ll be exciting to see – VG.
To offer you another perspective on things, I’d say that in my circle of gamers, the latest installments of the series garnered a rather cold response. The assassins now reside solely in the title, while the previously somewhat historical plots have been swapped for mythical creatures, locations and characters. Some also criticize the present social agenda making it into the game – for example, with the opportunity to pick your character’s gender whenever you please. It is also yet to demonstrate some outstanding graphics kind of expected from a next-gen project. We’ll see where it lands, but I won’t hold my breath – CZ.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Release date: November 12, 2020
Platforms: PS4, PS5
He’s back! In all honesty, no one had even doubted that a new Playstation console would come with a new LittleBigPlanet title. A Big Adventure abandons the series’ usual 2.5D perspective for a more isometric approach, but one thing is abundantly clear – it’ll still be the same charming, heartfelt game that we’ve come to know and love. It might not hold the prime spot on your shelf, but it’ll be the go-to for any party or family gathering – VG.
Release date: November 12, 2020
Platforms: PS5 (launch title)
This is a remake of a renowned game back from 2009 that started a whole series (ever heard of Dark Souls?), though originally it was deemed by Sony to be not good enough to be released outside of Japan – and it was outside of Japan that it gained its main audience and praise. The remake is what it says on the tin: an improved version of the very same game featuring its complicated combat and those glowing next-gen graphics we are all after. It might just take the world by storm for the second time around, and we can make it happen – CZ.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Release date: November 12, 2020 (19 for the PS5)
Platforms: PS4, PS5 (launch title)
It might be a blasphemous thing to say, but I didn’t really know if there was another Spider-Man story to be told before Into the Spider-Verse. After that, though, it became almost the only one I wanted to hear. Now, to get a full next-gen standalone expansion on the character – what else could we ask for? Same-old New York in need to be saved, same-old moral that everyone can be a hero that we crave plus new villains, 3D sound, and real-time ray-tracing to keep the picture as realistic as possible. I don’t know about you, but I would definitely rush to the store for a PS5 right this second if I didn’t have a thesis on my hands – CZ.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Release date: November 14, 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, PS5, Xbox X/S
One of the world’s most known shooters is turning 17 and celebrating it by venturing into the Cold War era, which together with a lot of Russian language in the trailer predictively prompted some in the Russian gaming community to raise their eye-brows and suggest there will be a lot of клюква (cranberry, a term used to describe any cliched representation of the country in popular culture). While it might be true, the game still offers all the typical fast-paced missions, shooting and banging of the genre – this time with the next-gen graphics being the cherry on top. And to spice things up even more, the game will feature multiple endings and even a zombie mode, which is definitely enough to make any skeptic intrigued – CZ.
Release date: November 19, 2020 (with a next-gen release planned in 2021)
Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC
Perhaps the most anticipated game of the year, CD Projekt Red’s next major endeavor after the wild success of The Witcher III is something we didn’t know we needed: a highly-detailed, aesthetic-rich adaptation of the legendary tabletop RPG. The culmination of this decade’s unexplained longing for neon lights and synth music, Cyberpunk 2077 puts a modern spin on the 80s’ “high-tech and low-life” vision of the future – difficult questions of corporate oversight, transhumanism, and digital consciousness included – VG.
CD Projekt Red have been talking about this game for years, which gave some die-hard fans of the studio the time they needed to read all the relevant literature – mainly, Gibson’s Neuromancer, which founded the genre of cyberpunk. For me, the key thing here is the perspective we get on the future that still may or may not be true. As with any sci-fi-ish genre, it’s bound to metaphorise today's problems, presenting them in a different light. This time, we are also bound to get top-notch graphics and unique attention to detail. Let’s send some power to the developers, crunching away as the game is nearing its release – CZ.
Katamari Damacy Reroll
Release date: November 20, 2020
Platforms: PS4, XBO
The original Katamari Damacy might well be one of the most bizarre, chaotic, yet fun games ever made. Even the premise – an interstellar prince having to rebuild the universe from scratch by rolling everyday objects into spheres after his royal father destroys them in a drunken accident – is delightfully insane to the point where you can’t help but accept it. Aside from bumping the game’s 2004 graphics to HD quality, Reroll doesn’t really include any notable new features – but only because the game’s already perfect – VG.
Also in November:
- XIII (PC, PS4, XBO)
- DIRT 5 (PC, PS4, XBO, PS5, Xbox X/S)
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon (PC, PS4, XBO, Xbox X/S; PS5 in 2021)
- The Falconeer (PC, XBO, Xbox X/S)
- Tetris Effect: Connected (XBO, Xbox X/S)
Immortals Fenyx Rising
Release date: December 3, 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, Xbox X/S
What if Assassin's Creed Odyssey was a Saturday morning cartoon? We might just find out soon enough. Developed by the same team as Odyssey, it tackles the same subject in a very different manner. Closer to LoZ: Breath of the Wild in art style and gameplay, Immortals (formerly known as Gods & Monsters) is an open-world adventure game that takes on Greek mythology in all its glory and epicness – think giant monsters, prideful gods, otherworldly landscapes and one scrappy mortal hero to take them all on – VG.
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond
Release date: December 11, 2020
Just when it was finally safe to assume that the MoH series is dead and buried, it emerged back with a new title after an 8-year hiatus. Above and Beyond – a cheeky title that seems to poke fun at its biggest rival – abandons the previous two games’ modern-day setting in favor of the series’ WWII origins. But there’s a twist – A&B is a VR-only game for Oculus devices and Steam VR. Though that might upset some players, the gameplay seen in the trailer is admittedly impressive and creative – who wouldn’t want to knock out a Nazi with a saucepan in VR? The fact that it’s being developed by Respawn, fresh off the heels of their success with Titanfall, Apex Legends, and Jedi: Fallen Order, only inspires more confidence – VG.
Also in December:
- Worms Rumble(PC, PS4, PS5)
- Twin Mirror: Lost On Arrival (PC, PS4, XBO)
- Empire of Sin (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
Next-gen: PS5 and Xbox X/S
The new Xbox is to be released on November 10, 2020, and will also boast two editions: the monstrously mighty Series X breaking all the records with its in-built processors at the price of $499, and a less-powerful Series S to be available for $299.
Apart from the already mentioned Smart Delivery, which lets you purchase a game for Xbox One with a Series X/S game automatically included, according to Microsoft, the new console will support four generations of games, going back to the original Xbox, which has to be good news for the old-school gamers out there. Moreover, some new features might be integrated into the old games when played on the new console thanks to machine learning technologies at the core of Series X/S. Who knew the future was approaching so fast, right?
Even though the console can’t really boast any spectacular exclusives, the Xbox Game Pass subscription gives the players access to hundreds of high-quality titles for Xbox, PC, and Android, which has to be a bonus to consider when choosing your next console for the years to come – CZ.
Sony’s new console, which comes out on November 12, 2020, will be available in two forms: the base version, which includes a UHD Blu-Ray disk drive, and a digital version without one; the two options are otherwise identical, but picking the latter will allow you to save a hefty sum (the retail price for the two is $499 for base and $399 for digital) at the cost of only being able to play games purchased via the PS Store.
Backwards compatibility and cross-gen upgrades:
After Microsoft announced the Smart Delivery program for Xbox X/S, many wondered if Sony would respond with a similar feature. The answer came not long ago: yes, but not quite. Although the decision on allowing players to upgrade their PS4 games to PS5 versions is ultimately up to the individual publishers, it would appear that it’s going to be a near-universal feature for most releases. Do note that upgrading your physical copies of PS4 games to next-gen will require you to opt for the more expensive base version of the console.
In addition to backwards compatibility with PS4 and PSVR games, PS+ subscribers will gain access to the Playstation Plus Collection – a compendium of 18 top hits from the current generation – free of extra charge – VG.
Interested in what the next generation of gaming has to offer? Check out our breakdown of the technologies and history behind Unreal Engine 5. For more video game content, see our list of games for self-isolation, a guide to finding your genre, top games for fledgling Switch users, stories of our favorite winter break games, the best titles to play on Halloween, and a take on what gaming truly means in the modern world.