It has to be said that 2017 was a monster year for gaming. Destiny 2 looked absolutely stunning on PC and had the distinction of being well-optimised for a wide range of PCs. Then there was the staggering Forza Horizon 3, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Call of Duty: WWII and Star Wars: Battlefront 2, all of which looked their shiniest on a high-end PC.
We were truly and wonderfully spoiled.
So here’s a question for you: was your PC up to the task? Was it speedy enough to cope with a droid assault on Naboo? Could you crank up the resolution to 4K for CoD’s D-Day landings? Was there a judder as you raced around Surfers Paradise in an 1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale?
More important than that, will your current PC cope with the biggest games of 2018? Because we’re talking titles like…
The trailer for the newest Metro game looks stunning. Exodus takes the highly-regarded survival horror FPS series up out of dark tunnels and into a gloriously deadly open world, set in a snowy, post-apocalyptic Russia. If it wasn’t bad enough coping with radiation exposure and poisonous air, mutated monsters are out to kill you at every turn. Official specs aren’t out yet, but expect a CPU from the last few years to make the most of it.
If you want a real test of gaming performance, go with a CPU-intensive world-building game like Anno 1800 (pictured top). After the success of the sci-fi Anno 2205, this good-looking, Civ-style title takes you back to the 19th century and early industrialisation — an age of steamships, hansom cabs and great exhibitions. Build huge cities, trade with your rivals, explore and wage teeny-tiny war.
Far Cry 5
You should know what to expect in a Far Cry game by now — a lone hero lost a vast open world littered with aircraft you can fly, cars you can drive, buildings you can explode, and bad guys you can fight. This time, the action takes place in a sunny, cult-controlled Montana and you’ll be able to call upon AI allies to help you in your fight against the devotees of Eden’s Gate.
The development team behind The Witcher series has turned their epic attention to Mike Pondsmith’s 1988 Cyberpunk RPG. Rocking a dark and gritty Blade Runner vibe, Cyberpunk 2077 embraces the bio-hacking futurism of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, with augmented characters and tactical gameplay. Check it out in the video below.
Acclaimed X-COM designer Julian Gollop returns with his own take on turn-based, isometric alien-battling. If Gollop’s involvement doesn’t get you excited on its own (the man is a gaming legend), then perhaps the promise of bickering factions, unpredictable procedural levels and advanced AI (that will adapt its tactics to the way you play) will.
Remember the original Crackdown on the Xbox 360? It cast you as a futuristic cop, bounding Hulk-like across a high-rise cityscape controlled by a gaggle of heavily-armed criminal gangs. So did Crackdown 2 and, guess what, ditto Crackdown 3, albeit with spectacular destructive environments that let you cause mayhem on a massive scale.
Red Dead Redemption 2
No ‘biggest games of 2018’ round-up would be complete without a Rockstar title. More than just ‘GTA in the Wild West’, Red Dead Redemption was the 2010 follow-up to 2004’s Red Dead Revolver. Red Dead Redemption 2 is part open world interactive Western, part heroic adventure story, a prequel that is boosted by some spectacular graphics and a chance for gamers to live out their gun-slinging, horse rustling, train robbing fantasies.
Think Destiny meets Mass Effect. With rocket boots. This open world, multiplayer shooter ditches the finer points of plotting for flying, swooping and shooting. While Bioware’s last game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, underwhelmed, the studio is surely still a force to be reckoned with. From what we’ve seen so far, Anthem looks like a return to form.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
This RPG prequel to the 2003 original looks epic in its scope, promising players a shared galaxy to run amok in. Starting as a nobody on the bottom rung of the game’s sci-fi social ladder, you’re challenged to work your way up, up and up to become a starship captain, ultimately leaving your home planet behind to explore the stars.
If you’ve found yourself wondering what Crytek is up to these days, look no further than Hunt: Showdown. Described by Eurogamer as a “swamp-based bounty hunting horror game,” it mixes PVP and PVE elements as multiplayer teams go monster-hunting. But defeating a beast is only half the battle. Once you bag a bounty, you’ve got to escape the map with it, hunted by the other teams.
All of the biggest games of 2018 should run on a reasonably modern PC. But, as always, the newer, faster and more potent your machine, the smoother they will play and the sharper they will look. A new 8th generation Intel Core processor could be the difference as you ride across the Old West’s Great Plains, monkey around a futuristic alien city and creep through a creepy, darkened swamp.
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