Ah, spring! The bees are buzzing, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and the gamers are…still pretty much staring at their screens. Can you blame us? The weather might be improving, but so are the games.
Spring is a time of rebirth, and for the games industry, a great time to launch a huge product or three. Here are the coolest games coming out over the next three months. Note: Only games released between March 20 and June 20 are included. You know, spring!
“God of War” (April 20 | PS4)
Angry god-killer Kratos shows a softer side in this heavily-anticipated reimagining of Sony’s flagship franchise. Now a father, Kratos must mentor his young son and manage his legendary temper as the two explore a strange Scandinavian world. “God of War” is a total refresh, offering a more intimate camera, brutal new weapons, and an emotionally-charged story of parenthood and acceptance. Early looks (including one by Yahoo’s own Daniel Howley) have been magnificent. If you own a PS4, go ahead and clear your calendar on April 20.
“Sea of Thieves” (March 20 | Xbox One, PC)
Every day is Talk Like a Pirate Day in this swashbuckling online game from Microsoft and developer Rare. “Sea of Thieves” lets you and a crew of your best mateys pillage and plunder across a massive world. Teamwork is tantamount; virtual buccaneers need to work together to steer galleons, take down skeleton armies and dig up treasure chests while fighting off other pirates. Though some critics consider its waters to be a bit too shallow, “Sea of Thieves’” remarkable graphics and co-operative fun make it worth a look.
“A Way Out” (March 23 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)
You’ll need a friend to truly appreciate this co-operative jailbreak from the creator of the critically-acclaimed fairy tale “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.” Considerably darker, “A Way Out” lets two players help inmates Leo and Vincent bust out of the hoosegow and survive car chases, shootouts and other unpleasantries as they search for freedom. Playable side by side or online, “A Way Out” has been lauded by critics for its smart storytelling and excellent look.
“Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom” (March 23 | PS4, PC)
Fans of beloved filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki flipped over the first “Ni No Kuni,” and will likely flip over the sequel. Stunning graphics and a sweeping score set the stage for another deep role-playing game, this time featuring a new mechanic that lets players build their own kingdom from scratch. As adorable as it is addictive, “Ni No Kuni II” offers a much-needed burst of color to your spring gaming.
“Far Cry 5” (March 27 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The latest version of Ubisoft’s open-world shooter is the first to take place on U.S. soil. Set in Montana, it spins a fictitious yarn about a militia-like cult and the sheriff’s deputy (that’s you) tasked to bring the lunatics down. Mostly, that means getting up to the kind of open-world hijinks that has defined “Far Cry”: stealing a car, running over a bad guy, crashing into a tree, taming a bear and rampaging through an enemy outpost with your new bear buddy. Sign us up!
“MLB The Show 18” (March 27 | PS4)
Sony’s “MLB: The Show” franchise is the Cal Ripken Jr. of sports games: consistently great and constantly improving. In addition to improved graphics and audio, this year’s model includes a new batting stance editor and an overhauled Franchise mode interface. Score another one for Sony.
“Nintendo Labo” (April 20 | Switch)
It happens to every parent: you buy your kid a sweet toy and they wind up playing with the box it came in. Nintendo’s (NTODY) taking that love of cardboard a step further with “Nintendo Labo,” cardboard construction kits that transform your Switch into a DIY toy. Players fold cardboard cutouts into fishing rods, pianos and more, which interact with the Switch via the system’s array of motion controls and infrared sensors. Clever, creative and shockingly fun, “Labo” looks like another quirky hit from the current king of the consoles.
“Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire” (May 8 | PC)
Released in 2015, the original “Pillars of Eternity” was a love letter to classic isometric role-playing games like “Baldur’s Gate” and “Icewind Dale.” It was also one of the highest-rated games of the year. The sequel hopes to add to this legacy by expanding the size and scope of an already huge game. In addition to ridiculously deep combat and lore, “Deadfire” introduces a pirate theme, letting players captain a ship as they sail across a fantasy world chasing down a rogue god. If painstakingly-crafted party-based role-playing is your bread and butter, be prepared for a serious feast.
“State of Decay 2” (May 18 | Xbox One, PC)
Looking for a little more brains in your zombie game? “State of Decay 2” has plenty. The sequel to the under-appreciated 2013 original challenges players to survive an undead outbreak. That means scavenging items and weapons, fortifying buildings, and even dealing with the mental and emotional hangups of your band of survivors. With a four-player co-op mode built-in, that might mean dealing with the hangups of your real-life friends, too.
“Detroit: Become Human” (May 25 | PS4)
Solve murders, ignite a rebellion and contemplate the nature of your existence as a trio of androids in this mysterious thriller. Penned by game auteur David Cage (“Heavy Rain,” “Beyond: Two Souls”), “Detroit” lets players shape their story through branching dialogue trees and difficult moral choices. Like developer Quantic Dream’s past work, it’s a lock to look amazing. We’ll find out if the gameplay and story are equally impressive when it launches in May.
“Dark Souls Remastered” (May 25 | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
The video game industry loves remastering things, and in this case, we’re loving it, too. Released in 2011, the extremely challenging “Dark Souls” was an immediate hit, nabbing several Game of the Year awards and ushering in the era of “hard games.” The remaster keeps its core intact but gives it a much-needed graphical boost. While it’s bound to look best on the PC and the burlier consoles, the Switch version is particularly exciting, marking the first “Dark Souls” appearance on a Nintendo system.
“Jurassic World Evolution” (June 12 | PS4, Xbox One, PC)
If we’ve learned anything from the “Jurassic Park” films, it’s that a theme park filled with dinosaurs is a categorically terrible idea. Nevertheless, gamers can try to calm the chaos by managing their very own dino park in this upcoming simulation. Led by the soothing voice of Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum), players will build attractions, manage visitors and even create their own friendly dinosaurs, which will undoubtedly go exactly as planned and not result in an aggressive 60-foot tall eating machine with the brain of a chess grandmaster.
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Email Daniel Howley at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.