Games of 2017: Action Games

By Rich Stanton on at

The List God has had it with these mealy-mouthed introductions! The List God wants action! He wants only to FIGHT and FEAST, devouring all games before him and luxuriating in the laments of their developers.


Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Ninja Theory | Platform: PC, PS4

The great Ninja Theory returns for another stab at thirdperson combat with Hellblade. Expect flowing battles, incredible environment work, and more than a few twists as you battle through hellscapes manifested and shaped by the protagonist's wounded mind.

Mages of Mystralia

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Borealyis Games | Platform: PC

A sweet visual style overlies this tale of an apprentice mage, Mia, who sets out to train in magic. The hook is the magic itself, which can be combined with runes in countless different configurations to create new spells.

Nioh

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Release date: February 2 2017 | Developer: Team Ninja | Platform: PC, PS4

Team Ninja's first wholly-original thirdperson joint since Ninja Gaiden 3 sees it move away from linear combat games towards an action-RPG approach most obviously influenced by Dark Souls. See what we thought of a recent build here.

Ace Combat 7

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Project Aces | Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

"Breathtaking clouds" is one of the killer features, but perhaps the most breathtaking fact is that it's been nearly a decade since 2007's Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation. Original series developer Project Aces is back in the cockpit so expect this to fly high or, at the very least, go out in a blaze of glory.

Lords of the Fallen 2

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: CI Games | Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

The original Lords of the Fallen was dreck, a Souls clone that copied everything about those games but understood nothing about them. Unsurprisingly, and despite all the technical skill on show, it never held together. If you think this sequel will be any better, I have a bridge to sell you. But given recent silence around the title, it may well be that we never find out.

Musou Stars

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Release date: March 30 2017 | Developer: Koei Tecmo | Platform: PS4, Vita

There's no denying that Dynasty Warriors has a fanbase and, given Koei Tecmo's ongoing partnership with other brands, there are many more of these games to come. Which probably made Musou Stars inevitable, a Dynasty Warriors game that stars lots of Koei Tecmo's other characters - so the Dead or Alive cast, Ninja Gaiden's Ryu Hayabusa, and best of all Opoona from the eponymous Wii JRPG.

Flat Heroes

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Parallel Circles | Platform: PC

You control a small square within a big square, and zip about trying to avoid various incoming projectiles. It may not sound thrilling but Flat Heroes, already available on Steam Early Access and due for full release later this year, is a thrilling platformer in the Super Meat Boy mould: quickfire levels, lots of depth, and simple-but-perfect controls. It even has multiplayer.

Mr. Shifty

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Team Shifty | Platform: PC

A more stealth-focused Hotline Miami is the basic pitch, but what makes Mr. Shifty special is the main man's big bag of tricks. A cross between assassin and magician, Mr. Shifty can zap about levels and through walls, deliver instant takedowns, and deploy an array of gadgets to distract foes.

Off Grid

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Semaeopus | Platform: PC

A stealth adventure based on manipulating your enemies' data rather than weapons, Off Grid also styles itself a satire: an everyman pencil-pusher forced, through unfortunate events, into confronting the world we live in. Perhaps by the time of release we'll be looking back fondly on the days of Snowden, as we die fighting each other over bottled water.

Echo

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Ultra Ultra | Platform: PC

A stealth-action game with a brilliant core twist: the environment is defended by 'echoes' of how the player has been acting. Every so often the whole system reboots, allowing you time to rush around and hit vulnerabilities but, when it comes back up, every enemy is reborn as an echo of all your most recent decisions.

For Honor

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Release date: February 14 2017 | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

A big-ticket item from Ubisoft and another new challenge for them: this time the hack-and-slash genre. Three main classes (samurai, knights and vikings), singleplayer campaign, and online multiplayer should give it plenty of longevity - if the melee combat holds up.

God of War

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Sony Santa Monica | Platform: PS4

God of Four, as it should've been called, is a gameplay reboot of the glowering Playstation icon - though it continues the series storyline. That's why this time Kratos, having violently killed most of the Greek gods, has moved onto fighting the Norse gods - and one of the big changes is that, this time around, Kratos's son Atreus accompanies the player throughout and aids during combat.

Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight

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Release date: March 16 2017 | Developer: Bandai Namco | Platform: PS4, Vita

A crossover battler with a decent twist - the Accel World characters fight on the ground, while the Sword Art Online characters can fly. I tried to find out more about this game's system but the (official) video I found showed a red jaguar flying among the clouds before bashing some golems while screaming in a girl's voice. So I think we'll have to wait and see with this one.

Agents of Mayhem

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Volition | Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Saints Row 4 saw Volition's open-world series jump the shark while wielding multiple dildoes, and so this spinoff picks up after the player in that game more or less destroyed society. The Agents of MAYHEM face off against the terrorist LEGION across what's left. Expect 'hilarious' humour, shonky controls, and commercial success.

Axis Descending

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Mars Ashton | Platform: PC

One of those 2D games that promises, somehow, to be the one that can combine the Metroidvania style with the more recent influence of Dark Souls. Axis Descending is beautiful, the combat looks nice, and it's scheduled for a full release in Q4 2017.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar

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Release date: Summer 2017 | Developer: Airship Syndicate | Platform: Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One

A striking isometric adventure that wears its JRPG influences on its sleeve, how Battle Chasers: Nightwar ended up in the Action List is beyond my comprehension. But the JRPG list has already been published and so the list god devours it whole regardless.

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

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Release date: February 24th 2017 | Developer: Omega Force | Platform: PC

This is another Musuo game, so the only real question is: how much do you like Berserk? If you're an absolute fiend for Kentaro Miura's long-running manga then simply seeing a half-decent hack-and-slasher based on it will be enough. For everyone else, it's just another Musuo game.

Conan Exiles

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Release date: 31 Jan 2017 | Developer: Funcom | Platform: PC

Early Steam reviews are mixed but what everyone can agree on is that Conan Exiles offers players the chance to have one hell of a package. An open-world survival game that offers both singleplayer and multiplayer modes, all set within the Conan mythos, you can read our early impressions here.

Dragon Quest Heroes 2

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Release date: April 28 2017 | Developer: Omega Force | Platform: PS3, PS4, Vita, Switch

With a screenshot like that, this game has justified its existence. Just as well because this is yet another on the production line of Musuo games hitting in 2017. So Dynasty Warriors with better characters and slime-whacking, then, which doesn't sound so bad.

Death’s Gambit

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: White Rabbit | Platform: PC, PS4

Another 2D platformer that, yes, wears the Dark Souls influence loud and proud. But hold! Death's Gambit looks a little more inspired than the usual, and its incorporation of simplified Shadow of the Colossus-style encounters - where you grapple-hook your way around boss monsters larger than the screen - looks like great fun.

Tonight We Riot

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Pixel Pushers Union 512 | Platform: PC

Working class revolutionaries fight against the evil of capitalism, what's not to like? Especially when what this game really looks like is a smudging-together of a 2D brawler style with mechanics from Pikmin (and perhaps a dash of The Wonderful 101). With local and online co-op as well as a banging synth-led OST, this could be a cracker.

Ever Oasis

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Grezzo | Platform: 3DS

Build an oasis-town in the middle of the desert in this action-adventure with light RPG elements. There's a definite Animal Crossing vibe to the hubworld element here, but the core of the game is realtime combat and various loot-filled dungeons. As you get better, enemies get bigger and you have to start making use of character-switching to maximise the party's effectiveness in combat. Looks cute, but might be brutal.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star

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Release date: January 20 2017 | Developer: Marvelous | Platform: PS4, Vita

Another Musuo game! This one, at least, is distinguished by the fact it's not made by Koei Tecmo. Based on the Fate series of visual novels, this is a serviceable but repetitive brawler for the fans.

The Church in the Darkness

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Release date: Q1 2017 | Developer: Paranoid Productions | Platform: Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One

An 'action-infiltration' game based around cults, and specifically the towns they create full of true believers. Each playthrough procedurally generates elements of the game, with characters changing their beliefs and allegiances.

Spider-Man

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Release date: 2017 | Developer: Insomniac | Platform: PS4

As someone who loves a good Spider-Man game, recent years have given us slim pickings. Insomniac's PS4-exclusive take on the wall-crawler isn't tied to any particular comic or film and, outside of a slightly dodgy costume change, might be the first to do the character justice in a long time. It's open world, with an emphasis on parkour and environmental combat, and here's hoping.

Styx: Shards of Darkness

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Release date: 14 March 2017 | Developer: Cyanide | Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

The sequel to 2014's surprisingly ingenious Styx: Master of Shadows promises more ways to bamboozle and confuse enemies than ever before - and hopefully this time a slightly better combat system for when you do get spotted.

State of Decay 2

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Release date: 14 March 2017 | Developer: Undead Labs | Platform: PC, Xbox One

The follow-up to 2013's thirdperson zombie survival hit, State of Decay 2 focuses on adding 4-player co-op and the idea of building communities together. By, you know, killing tonnes of zombies and building fences from their ribcages.

Finally, the list god stops. He sleeps. But the stay is temporary...


Throughout January we're going to be posting lists of games coming out in 2017, to placate the merciless list god. You can find them collected here