When you find yourself with a break from schoolwork in 2016, consider one of these new releases to fill your time.

With a new year comes another slew of new gaming titles, but some are worth more attention than others. With yearly events such as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, we are made aware of upcoming games far before they are finished and then just left to wait until their eventual release. This list, while not helping with the agony of restlessly waiting for this year’s titles, will at least give an idea of what to expect and particularly pay attention to in 2016.

1. No Man’s Sky

Release Date: June 2016

Platforms: PC, PS4, (with talk of an Xbox One release)

Advertised as having a “truly open universe,” No Man’s Sky, developed by Hello Games, has the potential to redefine “sandbox” gaming. Up until recently, open-world games were, for the most part, limited to one planet. Minecraft, a crafting-centered open-world sandbox game, features a procedurally generated map, meaning the map is created on the spot as the player moves further out into the world. No Man’s Sky will contain the same feature. Gameplay videos showcase that, showing players flying to new and previously undiscovered planets, which are inhabited by similarly new and undiscovered forms of life. There’s more to do than just explore, however, with mining, trading and other elements to be expected. That, coupled with the multiplayer aspect, will hopefully help the game live up to the very high standards already set for it.

2. Tom Clancy’s The Division

Release Date: March 8, 2016

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

A third-person multiplayer RPG, Tom Clancy’s The Division is set in a semi-futuristic New York city in which a deadly virus has erupted. Players are part of a government agency sent to restore order to the area. The gameplay is centered on open-world exploration and combat, with players working together to survive both against the environment as well as enemies. As they progress, they will unlock better equipment, skills and additional areas of the map. A bleak, snowy and isolated New York is the stage for this title — which doesn’t differ much from the real aside from the lack of people — and should hopefully create an atmosphere sought after by so many other open-world “survival” games that have recently saturated the market.

3. The Legend of Zelda

Release Date: 2016

Platforms: Wii U, Wii

Originally showcased at E3 in 2014, this is Nintendo’s open-world, next-gen version of its immediately recognizable classic. Following the theme of  “open-world” games to be released, the HD Legend of Zelda game is not just a remake of the title that many grew up with and came to love. Rather, some key gameplay elements have been retouched in addition to a complete graphical overhaul with soft, colorful and HD graphics. Instead of the more linear nature of previous Zelda titles, this release will allow the player a little more agency with where he or she chooses to go and in what order “dungeons” are completed.

4. Sub Rosa

Release Date: 2016

Platforms: PC, Mac

Set in a heavily pixelated city in the 1980s, Sub Rosa is a title in development by the indie developers Cryptic Sea. What the game lacks in graphics, it makes up for in gameplay. The premise of the game is that players choose an “employer” from one of four organizations in the city. From that point, players are dispatched on “missions,” pitting them against other players to steal important documents, execute heists or occasionally make deals in person with one organization to exchange stolen documents from another organization. The system requirements for the game are low, meaning it can be enjoyed even on entry-level, non-gaming computers.

{{tncms-asset app="editorial" id="ac438d30-afcf-11e5-a478-1fb0e8c04dfe"}}

5.  XCOM 2

Release Date: Feb. 5, 2016

Platforms: PC, Mac

The sequel to the successful release XCOM, XCOM 2 is set 20 years after its predecessor. The previous title focused on an alien invasion of Earth, placing players in charge of a group of soldiers and tasking them with ceasing the invasion. The gameplay takes place from a top-down perspective, with the player giving the soldiers commands rather than actually controlling them. The new release boasts “guerilla” tactics including stealth and concealment, five soldier classes with unique skill trees, new types of enemies, as well as the tools needed to create “mods,” or third-party modifications of the game that can introduce new missions, enemies, etc. The game can either be played against a computer AI or against other players online in randomly generated maps.

@seanthomaswolfe

sw399914@ohio.edu