2018 has been an extraordinary 12 months for gaming with some of the finest and most complete games being released, with the likes of Spider Man and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey alongside the more recent additions such as Battlefront V and Red Dead Redemption II to name a few. Not only have a lot of blockbusters been released, but so many have been magnificent and certainly have met, if not exceeded, expectations. Despite the bar being raised so high in 2018, the new year does not look to show decline but instead promises to add to the richness of quality. Titles such as Skull and Bones and Anthem are examples of two big releases to look forward to, so here is a taster of what to expect:
Skull & Bones
Teased by Ubisoft since 2017, Skull and Bones promises to be the greatest pirate game themed game since Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. After several trailers being dropped, each subtly different, it’s confirmed that they now have the finished article. The focus of the game is essentially to establish yourself as the most powerful pirate by plundering loot and sinking enemy vessels. However, expect fierce competition from other pirate factions while also taking on a declining Empire who have been attempting to rid the ocean of piracy for years.
The relentless conflict and the tenuous alliances formed certainly live up to the ‘dog eat dog’ environment emphasised in the most recent trailer.
Although it may seem that making alliances is a great risk (which it is), it’s still necessary to dismantle large warships and reach the top of the food chain. The spinelessness of the characters really brings to life the deceitful and uncertain world.
The gameplay mechanics for the sailing are very similar to that in Black Flag, which makes it an easy transition for those who played the 2013 Assassin’s Creed game. Although there is a lot to enjoy from testing out your sailing capabilities, the most absorbing part of operating such a vessel comes when engaged in combat; while canons appear simple weapons, each ship has its own unique ability which can help you use your canons to either damage your enemy or to hinder their capability to return fire. The nature of the game, particularly the combat, is ugly and ferocious, yet the brutality of your actions is nicely contrasted to the sublime scenery that you find yourself sailing around or looting. While looting is central part of the game there is more to it than merely enjoyment. For instance, the loot you take can be spent on the customisation of your own vessel and character. Customising your ship can also go beyond designing your own Queen Anne’s Revenge, as certain customisation options may be more appropriate in specific scenarios.
Ubisoft really have formulated and produced a wondrous game, permitting you to conquer the seas and maraud to your heart’s content. While they kept the best bits of Black Flag, they have innovated wonderfully to create the most complete pirate game to date. They may have taken their time to release this title but, from all the snippets and teasers we’ve seen, I believe it will be well worth the wait.
Anthem is another blockbuster lurking after the new year, and although we know considerably less about this one compared to Skull and Bones, there’s still a lot to get our hopes up about.
Set in an unfamiliar, incomplete new world full of hostile environments and menacing creatures, the game is about a band of human survivors who are struggling to coexist with the dangers surrounding them.
The trailer reveals the world was created by the gods who wielded the power source known as the Anthem and, while creating landscapes, they brought life to multiple beings to occupy their planet. The gods, however, disappear, leaving their work unfinished and leaving the life they introduced to compete in unstable surroundings. The small congregation of humans, known as Freelancers, manage to hold their own against the formidable foes as they have designed protective suits, known as javelin exosuits, which grant them superhuman abilities. The Freelancers are coping in the unforgiving world but there is a sense of being up against the clock as they search for a more sustainable existence. However, their missions in search of this sustainability will introduce them to a darker and even more monstrous enemy and they’ll learn that the fight for survival has only just begun.
Skull and Bones and Anthem are just two of a long list of exciting games to enjoy in 2019 and if half of them can be as awesome as some of the 2018 releases we should be in for another phenomenal year.
by Henry Burgess