The 30 most anticipated games of 2018

UPDATED: These are the must-play games of the year ahead
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Well, 2017 truly lived up to our expectations: it was one of the best years that gaming has ever seen. But we're an optimistic bunch, and we think 2018 can be even better.

It's true! Why? Well for starters, developers are flocking to the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo itself has been delivering knockout experiences. Meanwhile, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One should be well-stocked with greatness from first-party and third-party studios. Oh, and the PC remains the destination for the widest selection of games large and small.

It's early days still at this point and we only know about some of the games that'll grace our devices for the rest of the year, but the initial list is already stacked. We'll update this article monthly to usher in fresh selections, but here are all of the most exciting new releases we've following so far...

1) RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

It's really no surprise at all that Red Dead Redemption 2 is our most anticipated game of the year: it's not only the successor to one of Rockstar's absolute best games of all time, but it's also the studio's next project following the world-dominating Grand Theft Auto V. That's huge.

And in fact, it's a prequel rather than a sequel, making it a pretty ideal starting point even if you didn't play the brilliant Red Dead (which you should fix ASAP). As the trailers show, RDR2 is shaping up to be absolutely gorgeous, and an open-world Western with the ambition and capabilities of Grand Theft Auto V could be truly mind-blowing. We want it bad. But now we'll have to wait 'til October.

Due: 26 October 

2) SUPER SMASH BROS.

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Nintendo just took a page from Apple's classic playbook, tucking a "one more thing" announcement at the tail end of March's Nintendo Direct stream. We expected a new Smash Bros. game for Switch at some point, sure – but this year? And announced already? We must be dreaming.

But we're not: Super Smash Bros. is officially coming to Switch, and as far as we can tell, it'll be a new entry. Splatoon's squid kid Inklings are joining the roster, and we can see Mario, Link, and other familiar faces in the fold. We'll probably get a full reveal around E3 this June, but then it won't be much longer before the fan-service brawler is ready for us.

Due: TBD 2018

3) SPIDER-MAN

Platform: PlayStation 4

Superhero games usually suck, and the wall-crawler hasn't had a great starring role in ages – but we have high hopes for the Sony-exclusive Spider-Man. Why? Well, it hails from Insomniac Games, the studio behind the brilliant Ratchet & Clank and ultra-entertaining Sunset Overdrive.

Also, it looks pretty phenomenal in motion, although we still need to be convinced about how much you'll actually be controlling the webhead during these frantic, spectacular action scenes. The fact that it's not tied into a movie seems like a plus, but we're anxious to get hands-on and see how it feels before we can be sure of anything. The trailers make a fantastic first impression, though.

Due: 2018

4) Shadow of the tomb raider

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Tomb Raider got the reboot treatment a few years back and Rise of the Tomb Raider saw a darker, more confident Lara Croft continuing her adventures – and now Shadow of the Tomb Raider promises to take the heroine to some really intense places.

We went hands-on recently, and while the familiar mix of exploration, blistering combat, and dazzling set-pieces didn't surprise, there were some truly lump-in-the-throat moments along the way, and it's clear that Croft has stumbled into a rather serious situation this time around. Besides, with no Uncharted on the horizon, this'll likely be one of our top choices for action-packed adventure later in 2018.

Due: 14 September

5) Dark Souls remastered

Platform: Switch, PS4, XB1, PC

Dark Souls wherever you want? Sold! While the other console and PC versions might pack a bit more visual pop, we're admittedly most excited about Dark Souls Remasteredon Switch, as the tough-as-nails 2011 action role-player goes portable with a bit more polish in tow.

Every version includes the complete original game with the Artorias of the Abyss DLC bundled in, with a better frame rate and higher resolution – going up to 4K on the non-Switch platforms. It's the same game, of course, but this hardcore time sink should still be plenty appealing.

Due: 25 May

6) DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN

Platform: PlayStation 4

Quantic Dream's next game has been on the horizon for a couple of years now, but we're hoping that this heavily cinematic adventure – about societally oppressed androids that begin acting more like humans – will really deliver on its lofty ambitions.

It's the latest from director David Cage, who has been hit (Heavy Rain) and miss (Beyond: Two Souls) with his last couple of narrative games, and it appears to be a decision-centric, choose-your-own-adventure type game in which each perilous scenario has multiple possible paths to varying finales. It looks super intense, not to mention totally dazzling.

Due: 25 May

7) KINGDOM HEARTS III

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Will Kingdom Hearts III really release in 2018 following years of teases, not to mention a 13-year span of inane spinoffs? We don't know. But that is Square Enix's current promise, and we seriously hope that the fans' agonising wait is finally over.

And wow does this game look marvellous, with Toy Storyleading the charge of amazing new Disney locations that we can't wait to fight through. Other worlds include those from Big Hero 6 and Tangled, and the combat looks dramatically more dynamic and exciting than in the past entries. Hopefully the game makes a lick of sense to anyone who didn't follow the myriad handheld and mobile editions.

Due: 2018

8) PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2019

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Pro Evolution Soccer keeps edging closer to dethroning FIFA as the must-play football sim, and maybe PES 2019 will be the one to do it. Just announced, the latest PES entry promises 4K and HDR support on capable consoles and computers, along with "new, fully licensed leagues," big MyClub enhancements and an array of visual tweaks (like visible fatigue).

Konami will launch this one a little earlier than usual in late August, with Phillipe Coutinho on the standard cover and David Beckham rocking a limited edition release.

Due: 30 August

9) Dreams

Platform: PlayStation 4

Media Molecule blew our minds with LittleBigPlanet once upon a time, and now they're going even bigger with the ambitious Dreams. Following a similar creative ethos, Dreams is both a game and a toolkit, albeit with a lot more flexibility than the studio's earlier experiences.

Dreams lets you use the same creation tools as the developers, which they've used to create these dazzling, elaborate visions seen in the trailer above. Spend a little time with them and maybe you'll be able to design and share your own masterpieces. Or, if you'd rather just play, there's a story mode – and surely a wealth of user-created games to come.

Due: TBD 2018

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