So far, 2016 has been a pretty stellar year for gaming. With the full realisation and release of virtual reality creating a new world for gamers to explore, the year has been a good one and that’s even before we roll into 2017 – the year where many believe the hardware will prove its full worth. Leaked before, and then fully announced at Microsoft’s Xbox E3 conference, a new and more powerful Xbox is on the horizon next year and with it will come a host of fantastic games. Games like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, For Honor, and Scalebound will ensure that 2017 will be another fantastic year for gaming. Of that, there is no denying.

But we’re still only mid-way through 2016 and there are still plenty of games to get excited about before the year is out. Here are 5 of our most anticipated games still to come in 2016.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole – 6th Dec

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South Park hasn’t really had a good shake when it comes to video games. With the likes of South Park Rally, Chef’s Luv Shack, and more recently Scott Tenorman’s Revenge on the live arcade not really scratching the itch that South Park fans really want, you could be forgiven for not having high hopes for any new game property with the South Park name slapped on to it. Of course that all changed in 2014 with the release of RPG-lite South Park: The Stick of Truth.

Haven’t played Stick Of Truth? That’s ok because, with the release of Fractured But Whole (such a great name), those who pre-order will be receiving a free download code for an Xbox One version of Stick of Truth. Now other than that great bonus, Matt Stone and Trey Parker are still involved so you know the humour is still going to be on point and as sharp as usual.

This time round, the kids have thrown down their swords and bows in favour of playing super heroes, creating plenty of parody and mocking the recently successful Marvel franchise along the way. With more Combo Attacks and a Super Power ability, the combat looks to be more involved and fleshed out this time round giving the player more options through the journey as the new kid.

Titanfall 2 – 26th Oct

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Respawn Entertainment has a brilliant IP in Titanfall. With its fluid movement system that was soon cloned by other shooters, and the inclusion of player controlled ‘Titans’, the original Titanfall was a welcome addition to the first person shooting genre. For the most part it delivered, with the only exception being the exclusion of any form of single player experience.

Titanfall 2 was officially revealed at EA Play 2016 this year, along with the official announcement that yes, Titanfall 2 will include a fully realised single player campaign. Along with it comes a flurry of welcome additions including a more complex and rewarding unlock progression. Coming from the guys who worked on the Call of Duty series, you know it’s going to be something special.

It most definitely looks promising and will no doubt add something a little different to the competition. Our hands-on preview seems to point to that!

Final Fantasy XV – 30th Sept

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You hear that? That’s the sound of people all over the world screaming with delight. Why? Because Final Fantasy XV is finally coming out this year!

Announced by Square Enix in 2006, Final Fantasy XV was originally developed under the name Final Fantasy Versus XIII and as such was intended to be part of the Crystallis series of games, but it got delayed. Well thankfully it did because other than the fact that anything to do with Final Fantasy XIII was generally poorly received, XV looks to be taking the franchise in the right direction.

The demo which originally came packed with Type-0 was just a small taste it seems. Gone are the hours of narrow corridors from XIII and to replace it we get a vibrant open world to explore. The player gets to do this by car or at times, by Chocobo. With the developers boasting that XV has well over 100 hours’ worth of content, as well as an overhauled real-time battle system known as ‘Active X Battles’, gamers around the world should be excited to finally see it release.

Mafia III – 7th Oct

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Nowadays, developers seem to be leaning more and more towards creating full and realised open worlds. Does it always pan out? Well, no. With a lot of open world games, the challenge is to tell a compelling story, while also filling the game with fun and objective side activities. That’s exactly the approach Hangar 13 and 2K look to be taking with Mafia III. Previous games in the series focused on a very tightly co-ordinated Italian mob story, especially Mafia II, where although there was a great and engrossing story, the open world seemed to be in place for nothing more than window dressing.

Developers Hangar 13 know this and thus are taking steps to make the game feel more alive and real. Steps like giving the player the ability to not only use weapons, but also the chance to tackle missions stealthily if they so choose. They’ll also get the chance to build their empire from the ground up in a 1960’s New Orleans, dealing with issues such as racism and identity as they do so.

If you’re looking for something that isn’t just another open world GTA clone then Mafia III looks set to scratch that itch.

Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2- 28th Oct

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Dragon Ball is one of those things where even if you haven’t watched any episodes, there’s a good chance you would have come in to contact with some form of merchandise involving it. Fortunately a lot of Dragon Ball merchandise is good. Unfortunately, the video games don’t have a similar trajectory. Ever since the late 80’s and early 90’s, we’ve had the ability to play as Goku and the other Z-Fighters but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t worked out brilliantly – be it over complicated controls or the fact that every game that comes along just retells the same old story from the anime.

The first Xenoverse changed that with its fleshed out ability to customise and create your own Z-Fighter, semi-open hub and unique time travel storyline. Xenoverse 2 wants to take that solid foundation and run with it. Dubbed as Destiny-like, the bulk of missions within Dragon Ball: Xenoverse are replayable and depending on what you do within the mission, different loot such as special moves and clothing can be unlocked and of course Xenoverse 2 boasts an increased number of missions and even more loot.

But that’s not all. Up will go the frame rate from 30 to 60, which means more fluid and steady gameplay, whilst the overall player size in hub cities means more interaction with players and a whole load more vibrancy in the world. It looks like Xenoverse 2 will bring everything the first game did but with a more fully featured and shinier polished feel. That cannot be a bad thing.

So there we have it. 5 games that should be on your radar for the year ahead. Of course the likes of Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Dead Rising 4, Fifa 17, and Call of Duty 4 Remastered are all shaping up to be great additions to the Xbox One’s library as well, but then we kind of know what we’re getting with those!

Maybe you have a different list? Don’t forget to let us know either on the usual social media channels or by commenting below.

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