Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians Box Art

Halo 5: Guardians is the next installment in Xbox’s flagship franchise, and the second title in the Reclaimer saga. The story of the game takes place 8 months after the events of Halo 4. Humanity’s colonies are under attack, and to make matters worse, Master Chief has gone AWOL. Jameson Locke, a newly-made SPARTAN-IV, is tasked with hunting him down.

Both Agent Locke and Master Chief are playable in Halo 5. The protagonists are accompanied by three squad members who each have their own loadouts and specialties. These companions are controlled by the AI or other players in case of cooperative play. Halo 5 does not feature a split-screen mode, and Xbox Live Gold is required to play with your friends online. The game does come with a two week Gold trial, however. As for competitive multiplayer, there is a new Warzone mode with AI Units and up to 24 players on the map.

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NBA 2K16

NBA 2K16 Box Art

NBA 2K16 is a basketball simulator developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports. Compared to its predecessor, it features more lifelike crowds, better player movement animations, and even more realistic shoes – all changes aimed at making NBA 2K16 “the most authentic NBA gaming experience yet.” It is also said that the game improves post play and allows taller athletes to use their height advantage over the smaller defenders when close to the basket.

Stephen Curry, James Harden, and Anthony Davis all get their own individual NBA 2K16 covers; the distribution is entirely random. That being said, the game comes with a folded insert featuring all three famous NBA players, so you can choose the star to grace the cover of your copy.

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Madden NFL 16

Madden NFL 16 Box Art

Madden NFL 16 is an upcoming football game developed and published by EA. It runs on both current-gen and last-gen consoles using tried-and-true Ignite and Impact graphics engines, respectively. The title introduces reworked receiver and defender controls, as well as new quarterback mechanics like body-relative throws.

Other features include a streamlined Connected Franchise Mode, an overhauled scouting and drafting system, and improved camera to give the game a more realistic feel. EA Trax program is also making a return in Madden NFL 16, and is said to bring back fan-favorite songs from the past installments.

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Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9 Box Art

Mighty No. 9 is a side-scrolling platformer developed by Inti Creates and Keiji Inafune’s Comcept. Touted as a spiritual successor to the Mega Man franchise, the game raised $3.8 million on Kickstarter and was developed with significant input from the Beckers (a pun on the protagonist’s name). According to the developers, they intend to bring the best elements of the classic 8- and 16-bit era titles to the modern gaming platforms.

PlayStation owners will be happy to learn that Mighty No. 9 features Cross-Buy across PS4, PS3 and PS Vita. The game is 3D-enabled on the 3DS, and supports Wii U’s GamePad. The system requirements for the PC version have also been announced, and can be found on the official website.

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Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Assassin's Creed Syndicate Box Art

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is a historical action-adventure game set in London during the Industrial Revolution. It follows Jacob and Evie Frye, a pair of gangster twins who lead a crime syndicate known as the Rooks. Both of the siblings are playable and have their own story missions as well as skill sets; Jacob specializes in brawling, while Evie is a more traditional assassin with a focus on stealth. Players are tasked with taking on enemy gangs and uniting London’s underworld in order to wrestle control of the city from the Templars.

The ninth major installment in the series does away with multiplayer, focusing entirely on the single-player campaign. The game’s open-world map is 30% larger than that of Unity, and features traffic – horse carriages – for the first time. The updated weapon arsenal reflects the era in which AC Syndicate is set and includes a six-shot revolver, brass knuckles, and a sword cane.

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Mad Max

Mad Max Box Art

Mad Max is a vehicular combat game set in an open world based on the popular post-apocalyptic movie series. It follows the titular character on his journey across the Wasteland to reclaim the V8 Interceptor that was stolen by Scrotus and his marauding gang of warboys. In order to accomplish this, Max teams up with an oddball mechanic Chumbucket, who helps him build the ultimate combat vehicle – the Magnum Opus.

As most of campaign is spent with the main character behind the wheel, the game offers extensive customization for the Magnum Opus, which can be upgraded by scavenging for materials or hijacking enemy cars. Max’s armor and weapons can also be improved, which will come in handy in those brutal melee fights. Mad Max is said to feature a freeflow combat system similar to that found in Batman: Arkham franchise. Players also have the option of taking down an enemy silently with a knife, although frenzied action, rather than stealth, is the overall focus of the game as expected.

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Star Wars: Battlefront

Star Wars: Battlefront Box Art

Star Wars: Battlefront is an upcoming reboot of the original series sharing the same name. Developed by EA’s DICE, it focuses entirely on multiplayer, offering competitive game modes with up to 40 people as well as online and offline co-op missions. Those who prefer the single-player experience need not despair, however, for the new title allows them to complete the aforementioned missions with the help of bots.

Much like its predecessor, the new Battlefront also features several planets like Hoth, Endor, and Tatooine, iconic Star Wars vehicles like speeder bikes, AT-ATs, X-wings, TIE fighters, and more. Certain things like space battles and the Galactic Conquest modes from the old Battlefront games won’t be available at launch, although the developers don’t seem to discount the idea of adding the former some time in the future. As for gameplay, there will be both first- and third-person perspectives, presumably changeable on-the-fly.

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