2016 is shaping up to be a very strong year for just about every home console and handheld, and the Xbox One is no different. For 2016, Microsoft is pulling out the stops with a host of exclusives that offer some intriguing new concepts and art styles, while also continuing some of their existing franchises in a big way.
Gears of War 4
One of the most popular shooters of the previous generation was Gears of War. Just about every game in the series was well-reviewed by critics and well-received by the gaming public. While previous games in the series followed protagonist Marcus and his comrades as they battle the Locust and Lambent, the newest game takes place after those races have been wiped out, resulting in a game that will focus on new enemies and storylines. This makes Gears of War 4 great for veteran players of the series as they can see where the world they love has gone after the events of the last three games, but it also provides a great entry point for new players to jump right in without feeling like they are missing out on vital backstory.
If the fact that previous entries in the series have been famous for their smooth and precise cover-based shooting mechanics is not enough to get you excited for this game, then the various multiplayer options should help. For example, Gears of War 4 is going to offer couch-based split-screen multiplayer, which is refreshing when you consider that the feature has been removed from the Halo series with its upcoming entry.
The next installment in the Crackdown series is a very interesting entry in the Xbox One’s lineup as it offers massive environments, RPG elements, and an amazing multiplayer concept. Crackdown 3 is going to embody the open-world environment that has become so popular in recent years, with the player being able to go anywhere in the world that he or she can see. If you see a massive building in the distance, you can not only reach it, but you can also climb or attempt to jump to the upper levels. This not only offers interesting strategies and tactics for single player gameplay, but it is sure to make for some very creative ideas when you get into the multiplayer component of the series.
Now, one of the things that should make you very excited for this entry is that the open-world environment becomes fully destructible once you enter the online-only multiplayer. This means that you and fellow gamers could theoretically level entire city blocks, or the entire city, if you so choose. Imagine being able to bring an entire building down that is harboring a sniper, or bringing an entire building down on an opposing team with explosives, and you can see the wealth of exciting possibilities that this will offer.
The next game in our list of great Xbox One exclusives for 2016 is not a new entry in an existing franchise, but a IP entirely. While not a lot it known about this game thus far, the trailer for ReCore shows a woman and her robotic dog wandering a desert. The trailer ends with the dog sacrificing itself to save the young woman, who then removes the glowing orb (core) from the destroyed robot dog and placing it inside a new robot.
This ability to switch the core between robots that you find in the desert (and other possible environments) opens up a lot of potential for gameplay. This functionality could be used in combat to handle a variety of different encounters. In addition, this feature could make for some interesting puzzles in which you need to use a variety of different robots to progress.
Another original IP to keep an eye out for comes from Studio MDHR, an indie developer. Cuphead deserves your attention this coming year because it has one of the most unique art styles of any game in the Xbox One’s lineup, and potentially the lineups of the competition as well. Cuphead is a side-scrolling platformer that utilizes an art style inspired by old cartoons from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Think 1928’s Steamboat Willie from Disney and you will have the right idea.
While the art style is based on cartoons, the storyline is definitely not as the game begins with your character making a deal with the devil. In addition, this game is set to have 30 boss battles over the course of the game.
The final game on the list is sure to appeal to everyone who has ever read a fantasy novel or played a game in a fantasy setting and dreamed of having his or her very own dragon. Scalebound is set to make those dreams come true by allowing you to have a customizable dragon that will fight alongside you throughout the game. Your protagonist is a bonded to a dragon that will follow your orders in combat, whether those orders are to destroy buildings from which enemies are spawning, or to attack one of the many other giant creatures that exist in this world.
In addition to having a dragon at your disposal, your main character is also going to be more than capable of taking on opponents on his own, with the ability to use a variety of weapons, items, and even a half-dragon form. For multiplayer fans, Scalebound will allow up to four player co-op, which will be made even more awesome by the fact that you will get to see and fight alongside your friends’ dragons. Finally, this game will make for a strong addition to the Xbox One’s 2016 lineup due in no small part to the fact that it is being developed by PlatinumGames, the studio that gave the world the truly fantastic Bayonetta games, so you can pretty much expect this game to continue the studio’s trend of releasing quality games with addicting gameplay.
While all of the consoles are set to have great games in 2016, Microsoft has really raised the bar for exclusives, mostly due to the unique new IPs being introduced.
Leave a comment and let us know what you think of the games on this list or share one that you are looking forward to that we may have overlooked… which is very possible when you consider the massive number of new games being released in 2016.