In Frontier Developments’ title Planet Coaster, players build and manage an amusement park. The game offers over 700 pre-made objects across categories such as coasters, facilities, and scenery, and additional player-created objects can be downloaded from the Frontier Workshop.
Planet Coaster has been out on Steam since 2016 and is just now launching on current and next-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles. The pre-order bonuses detailed below apply specifically to this upcoming Console Edition of the game.
Developed by the two-man team of Edelweiss, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a cross-genre title that combines side-scrolling combat with a crafting and farming simulation. It follows a young harvest goddess Sakuna, who is banished from the celestial capital, where she lived in lazy luxury, to an untamed island teeming with demonic beasts. There, she finds her calling farming rice and bettering the lives of the mortals in the local mountain village. The game is inspired by Japanese mythology, albeit with some original twists, and features a charming cel-shaded art style.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the seventh installment in Sega’s Yakuza franchise set in modern-day Japan. The game introduces a new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, who after taking the fall for a crime he didn’t commit, serves his time in prison and gets out expecting to be welcomed as a hero. Instead, he is shot by his patriarch and left to die. Waking up in a dumpster in the port city of Yokohama, Ichi sets out to discover the truth behind the betrayal.
Like a Dragon retains the quirky energy and over-the-top minigames the series is known and loved for. However, it does bring a major change to combat: instead of real-time brawling, it uses a RPG style turn-based system. Ichiban fights alongside up to three recruitable party members, each with their own class and abilities.
The game comes in three different editions with some nifty pre-order bonuses attached. Let’s take a look at these in order.
XIII is a remake of the 2003 first-person shooter based on an eponymous graphic novel. You play as an elite soldier Thirteen, who wakes up in a deserted beach without any memories but still in possession of his skills. As you set off to uncover your past, you soon learn that you played a role in the murder of the President of the United States of America.
True to its comic book heritage, XIII features a cel-shaded art style, onomatopoeia sound effects, and speech bubbles. The game’s solo campaign includes a total of 34 levels, and there is a PvP multiplayer mode as well.
Norse-themed Assassin’s Creed Valhalla brings raiding, settlement building, and more advanced RPG elements to the franchise. The game’s story centers around Eivor: a fierce viking raider and member of the Assassins, who alongside his or her clan sails from the harsh Norway in search of richer lands. Arriving on the shores of England, Eivor’s clan establishes a village that will prosper and grow as a consequence of the player’s efforts. From this settlement the Vikings can launch brutal raids against Saxon fortresses throughout the lands.
While Valhalla is a single player game, it does have some online components. For example, it is possible to create and share custom mercenaries – Jomsviking – that can then be recruited by the player’s friends and fight alongside them in their campaign.
Fuser is an upcoming rhythm game from Harmonix, the makers of titles like Rock Band and Dance Central. Players step into the shoes of a DJ and make mixes for a virtual audience, scoring points when they add new tracks in time to the beat and play songs requested by the audience.
The game features multiple modes: Campaign Play, Freestyle Play, Multiplayer, and Social Sharing. Over 100 songs across various genres are included in Fuser, and three more are added as a pre-order bonus.
Dirt 5 is the latest off-road racing game from Codemasters. Players can race rally cars, stadium super trucks, and off-road buggies in diverse environments and terrain around the globe. The weather and time of day are dynamic, making for unpredictable and different race conditions each time.
The Career Mode is said to be the biggest yet and follows the player’s rise from obscurity to infamy. The story is divided into five chapters with 9 race types and 130 events scattered around the world. The career is covered by an in-game podcast and features 20 real-world brands that will sponsor the player. This mode can also be played in split-screen with up to four players as a drop-in, drop-out experience.
Little Hope is the second standalone installment in Supermassive Games’ horror game anthology The Dark Pictures. It centers around four college students and their professor, who get stranded in an abandoned town of Little Hope following a bus accident. The town is surrounded by an impenetrable fog that is filled with nightmarish apparitions.
The Dark Pictures: Little Hope can be played alone, in Shared Story mode with a friend online, and in Movie Night mode where up to five players can pass the pad to each other controlling each of the game’s characters. Much like its predecessor, Man of Medan, the upcoming game has a Curator’s Cut that enhances replayability, and early access to this mode is offered as a bonus to pre-order customers.
Watch Dogs Legion is an open-world action-adventure game from Ubisoft. Taking place in a dystopian near-future version of London that is swarming with surveillance drones and deportation squads, it involves recruiting ordinary people into the hacktivist group DedSec to take a stand against the authoritarian government and greedy corporations.
An ambitious system called Play as Anyone allows the player to recruit and play as any procedurally generated NPC – be they an old lady or a hulking gangster. Each recruit possesses their own unique backstory and skill set, and can be swapped between according to mission requirements.
Ghostrunner is a first-person hack and slash game developed by One More Level. It is set in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world where the entire humanity shelters in an enormous megastructure called the Dharma Tower. The player assumes the role of a cyberninja equipped with a monomolecular katana and slices their way from the tower’s bottom to the top to confront its tyrannical Keymaster.
The game promises fast-paced combat with mechanics such as one-hit-kill, bullet time, and parkour. According to the developer, Ghostrunner is targeted at hardcore players and will test both their reflexes and problem-solving skills.
Like the name suggests, Monster Truck Championship is a monster truck simulator developed by Teyon. The game includes 25 circuits across different cities in the US and game modes such as freestyle, race, destruction, time attack, and a competitive online mode for up to eight players.
The 18 vehicles in the game can be fine-tuned to the player’s liking, and over 50 customization elements can be used to improve performance and style.
NHL 21 is an upcoming installment in EA Sports’ ice hockey simulation franchise. The company promises smarter and faster gameplay, a new Be A Pro experience that allows everyone to live the life of an NHL player, and updated World of CHEL online mode with ranked seasons. The cover star of NHL 21 is Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
As with other EA Sports games, you have several editions to choose from with varying amounts of extra content. Let’s look at them in detail.
FIFA 21 is the latest entry in EA Sports’ popular soccer game series. It includes 30 official leagues, 700 teams, and 17,000 players, and offers more ways to play in the streets and the stadium with the new Volta Squads and enhanced Career Mode. Players can also join forces with a friend in the new FUT Co-Op and play Squad Battles and Division Rivals cooperatively.
FIFA 21 will be available on the next-gen consoles with a plethora of improvements thanks to the more powerful hardware: haptic feedback, near-instant load times, dynamic lighting, lifelike animations, and spatial audio.
RIDE 4 is an upcoming motorcycle racing game from Italian developer Milestone. The game features 176 officially licensed bikes and 31 tracks from around the world reproduced using CAD data and 3D scanning.
The redesigned Career Mode allows the player to choose a region to start in and prove themselves across select tracks in the American, European, or Asian League. There’s also a new Affinity system where manufacturers will call on the player to collaborate as an official tester and reward them with exclusive gear. In addition to single-player, RIDE 4 can also be played online with up to 12 players in a race.
As one might guess from its title, EA’s latest Star Wars game focuses on ship combat. Set after Return of the Jedi, it allows the player to side with either the Empire of the New Republic, strap into iconic X-wings and TIE fighters, and take part in frenetic dogfights, both in single-player campaign and 5v5 multiplayer. Star Wars: Squadrons can be played traditionally or in VR on PC and PS4 with cross-play support.
The starfighters can be customized with components such as weapons, hull, engines, and cosmetic items as the player rises through the ranks. Pre-ordering the game nets some of these items as a free bonus.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is a platformer developed by Toys for Bob and published by Activision. It is a sequel to the 1998 Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. After Neo Cortex and N. Tropy escape their space-time prison and launch an assault on the entire universe, Crash and Coco set out to collect the Quantum Masks and save the day.
The masks are more than just a story element and will grant new powers. The Time Mask, for instance, slows time while the Gravity Mask allows Crash and Coco to walk on ceilings. The game can be played in Retro mode with limited lives or in a more forgiving Modern mode where dying only sends the player back to the latest checkpoint.
The Walking Dead: Onslaught is a survival shooter developed by Survios for PSVR and PC VR systems (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Valve Index). Based on AMC’s hit TV show, the game features an original story that slots in between the show’s seasons eight and nine.
Onslaught is purely a single-player title and involves scavenging for supplies, rebuilding the settlement of Alexandria, upgrading character stats and weapons, and, of course, fending off walkers. The player will have to deal with as many as 30 walkers on the screen and eliminate them using a variety of ranged and melee weapons, with the damage viscerally depicted by the developer’s touted “progressive dismemberment” system.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is a ground-up remake of the 2002 title Mafia that went on to spawn a popular trilogy. Taking place in a fictional city of Lost Heaven during the Prohibition era, the game follows Tommy Angelo, a hard-working cabbie who becomes involved with the Salieri crime family.
The game can be purchased as a standalone for $39.99 or as a part of the Mafia: Trilogy bundle for $59.99. The latter also contains Mafia II: Definitive Edition and Mafia III: Definitive Edition, both of which include all previously released story DLC and bonus packs.
Port Royale 4 is a trading and city-building sim set in 17th-century Caribbean. The player takes control of a small colony and grows it into a bustling city by developing production chains, creating trade routes across the sea, battling fleets of rival nations, and fending off pirates.
In a departure from the previous installments, PR4 features turn-based naval battles. The player may choose to represent England, France, Spain, or the Netherlands, each providing different benefits and gameplay styles. The game includes over 60 cities, 50 different buildings, and 18 historically authentic ship types.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is a cross-genre game developed by Japanese studio Vanillaware of Odin Sphere and Dragon’s Crown fame. It combines side-scrolling adventure with real-time strategy combat in an original sci-fi setting.
The adventure segments lean on dialogue and exploration, and feature thirteen protagonists with intertwining storylines. The combat involves controlling up to six chosen characters, who pilot Sentinel mechs and defend humanity from giant monsters, the kaijuu.