We’ve already filled you in on our favorite video games of the year so far. Now, below, check out just a few games to get excited about for the back half of 2017.
1. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, August 29
Ubisoft’s strategy mash-up title is important for a variety of reasons. One: the rumored crossover title that was finally unveiled at E3 saw Shigeru Miyamoto triumphantly skip onto Ubisoft’s press conference stage, wielding a hand cannon and wearing his most delighted grin. This will forever go down in video game history as adorable Miyamoto moment #5227.
Two: it signifies Nintendo’s unlocking of their IPs. Nintendo is typically precious about their characters and their worlds, but unleashing Mario and friends in a grid-based strategy environment like this is unprecedented for the company. And, of course, three: the game is shaping up to be pretty good. Imagine it as XCOM lite, featuring a weird amalgamation of Mario characters and Rabbid-ified Mario characters.
2. Destiny 2, Sept. 6
The successor to Bungie’s 2014 sensation arrives on Sept. 6 and fans couldn’t be more excited. For all the changes that players will pore over and debate on Reddit, Destiny 2 nails the most important aspect right off the bat: it’s more Destiny.
Whether you’re someone who invested 1,000-plus hours in the original or you’re coming to the sequel as a noob — or “Kinderguardian,” as fans are fond of saying — you can expect one of the most satisfying first-person shooter experiences available today.
3. Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Oct. 10
The great thing about Middle-earth: Shadow of War is that its core is very similar to that of its predecessor, Shadow of Mordor, which is really what everyone wants. The combat, mission progression, and nemesis system that made Shadow of Mordor so successful are back in Shadow of War with the addition of fortress sieges, loot, dragons, and colorful new orc friends.
Shadow of War dives further into the lore of J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe, introducing a new ring of power and the Nazgûl as protagonist Talion raises up an army to fight against Sauron before the events of Fellowship of the Ring. If it’s just as good as Shadow of Mordor, that’s enough to put it in contention for one of the best games of 2017.
4. South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Oct. 17
South Park: The Stick of Truth turned Comedy Central’s hit series into a fantasy RPG inspired — in part, at least — by The Lord of the Rings. Its sequel, The Fractured But Whole, riffs on yet another present-day pop culture icon: comic book superheroes and the cinematic universes that they dwell in.
The Stick sequel puts more of a tactical spin on combat, but it otherwise builds on the successes of the first game with a new, Parker/Stone-crafted story about the New Kid and their interactions with Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, and the rest of the gang.
5. Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Oct. 27
Ubisoft’s decision to step away from Assassin’s Creed for a full year seems like it’ll pay off this fall. The last game, 2015’s Syndicate, was fine but the series is long overdue for a re-think.
Origins does exactly that, and it’s not just the new ancient Egypt setting. This is a game that redefines what an Assassin’s Creed can be. It’s a full-on action-RPG now, complete with experience levels, loot rarity, tactical combat, boss battles, and a revised quest system. This is not the series you remember.
6. Super Mario Odyssey, Oct. 27
Mario is heading out into the open world again in Super Mario Odyssey, but in lieu of classic Super Mario power ups, the Goomba-stomping plumber possesses other living beings with his sentient hat named Cappy.
Yep. Odyssey takes the 3D Mario exploration we know and love and jazzes it up with some good old fashioned body capturing, allowing Mario to turn into a bullet bill or hammer bro at the drop of a hat. Mario uses this unique skill in a wide range of kingdoms including the metropolitan New Donk City, a dinosaur-themed kingdom (where Mario can capture a T-Rex), and more. Odyssey looks like it will be a fun departure from the relatively subdued platforming of Super Mario 3D World.
7. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Oct. 27
In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus you take on an army of Nazis — and their Klansmen friends, according to the debut trailer — in an alternate version of the 1960s. The world is still held in the grip of a fascist dictatorship, with B.J. Blazkowicz — the series’ hero — branded as a terrorist, Terror Billy.
Its predecessor, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a very good first-person shooter with an expertly told and deeply affecting story layered on top of it. From the little we’ve seen so far, it looks like we can expect the same from Colossus.
8. Star Wars Battlefront II, Nov. 17
Star Wars Battlefront II addresses one of the stupidest and most mind-boggling omissions from the 2015 game: the lack of a story mode.
The sequel seems to deliver the same jaw-dropping audio/visual fidelity and action-figure wish fulfillment of the original’s PvP mode, but it adds in the story of an elite Imperial soldier who takes the fight to the Rebellion following the death of Emperor Palpatine. Finally, we get to see what happened during the mysterious period between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.