Following a month that was light on AAA game releases, May, 2017 looks like it will put us back on the path to best year of games we’ve seen in a long time. From creepy, atmospheric science-fiction to virtual reality action and comic book fisticuffs, there is something for nearly every type of player that could keep you from ever going outside to actually see the May flowers that April brought. The new releases are spread out fairly evenly throughout the month, but any one of them could easily eat up all of your time.
Prey (May 5)
Despite a long development history connecting it to the 2006 cult classic shooter of the same name, Bethesda’s Prey has very little to do with its predecessor apart from its title. Drawing influences from other mysterious science-fiction games like Deus Ex and System Shock, Prey puts you in the shoes of scientist Morgan Yu, whose stay aboard the space station Talos I – a location that reminds us of Alien: Isolation’s Sevastopol — has taken an unexpected turn following the invasion of a “living ecology” with just one mission: kill everything in its path.
Combining traditional first-person shooting controls with role-playing elements, you can customize Morgan with superpowered alien abilities that allow you to turn into anything – even a coffee mug — but our favorite tool has to be the “GLOO Cannon” weapon, which quickly covers targets in a hardening foam that Yu can then destroy for quick kills. Our excitement for creative solutions to missions and an immersive atmosphere is only made greater knowing that Dishonored developer Arkane Studios is in charge of the project.
Birthdays the Beginning (May 9)
A nature simulation game from Harvest Moon series creator Yasuhiro Wada, Birthdays the Beginning is the brightest, craziest game of the year. The story mode begins with the player interacting with a tiny world, devoid of the flora and fauna that one would come to expect. Over the course of three billion in-game years, however, the world multiplies in size and becomes populated with greenery and animals like monkeys, birds, and even dinosaurs, all of whom depend on your work as a terraforming expert for a suitable environment and supply of food – the fate of the world is quite literally in your hands. Organisms even evolve when introduces to new climates, with the Tyrannosaurus changing colors after adapting to an icy environment, and a genealogy system that allows you to study each creature’s “life tree” for hints on how to create new species.
Injustice 2 (May 16)
Injustice: Gods Among Us managed to mix the brilliant combat and presentation of Mortal Kombat with a legendary lineup of DC superheroes and villains, creating something far more interesting than the recent DC films. Injustice 2 turns the dial up to 11 with newcomers like Poison Ivy and Deadshot fighting alongside classic characters like Batman, Catwoman, Superman, and Harley Quinn – all caught up in a conflict that has been manipulated by baddie Brainiac. The combat feels similar to in Gods Among Us, with unique features such as stage-sensitive “transition” attacks allowing fighters to pile on the damage. Injustice 2 is at its most bold between matches: The sequel introduces role-playing elements like stats and customizable loot, which allows each player to tweak their favorite fighter just and stand out from the crowd. These options can be disabled for tournament-level play, however, making Injustice 2 a great choice for both casual brawlers and the competitive fighting game community.
The Surge (May 16)
It’s certainly tempting to describe Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13’s latest game, The Surge, as “Dark Souls but science-fiction,” but doing so would be doing a disservice to the many ways it sets itself apart from other “Soulslikes.” Mixing lumbering, two-handed weaponry with quick, agile attacks and some acrobatic moves we’ve never seen in one of From Software’s games, The Surge requires just as much strategy, and with the ability to target individual components of enemies in order to do extra damage and potentially earn more loot, players will need to keep their brains turned on for the duration of the game. Enemies can be just as resourceful, waiting for the right time to unleash a devastating combo that can kill you before you have a chance to blink.
Farpoint (May 16)
PlayStation VR hasn’t received a whole lot of love since it launched last October, with just a scattering of new releases alongside traditional PlayStation 4 games, but Farpoint looks to change that. The first game from developer Impulse Gear is a full-fledged science-fiction shooter sends the player to a mysterious alien planet as you fight through waves of enemies – many of which look like a cross between the bugs in Starship Troopers and some of Destiny’s enemies — and discover the secrets that the new world has in store. The game features a campaign that offers quite a bit more freedom than what we’ve previously seen from the on-rails shooters built for VR, and you can also bring a friend along for the ride with several cooperative missions. While the game is fully playable with a standard DualShock 4 controller, Farpoint will launch along aside the PSVR “Aim controller,” which replicates the feeling of holding a real gun for more immersive shooting.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (May 19)
Just a year after Fire Emblem Fates, Nintendo and Intelligent Systems have looked to their past for inspiration for what could be the last Fire Emblem game release on the 3DS. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a full-fledged reimagining of the acclaimed Fire Emblem Gaiden, a game that never released outside of Japan. Fire Emblem Echoes will feature some real-time, 3D exploration, atypical for a series that has traditionally focused on turn-based movement, and its two protagonists’ stories connect in a similar way to the Game Boy Advance’s Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. Combat and strategy look to be on par with what we’ve seen from Awakening and Fates, and the game also comes with full Amiibo support. Not only can you summon your favorite Fire Emblem characters like Ike and Marth by using their respective Amiibo, you can also summon temporary monsters by using any other Amiibo – yes, any of them. A limited edition of the game will also be available at launch, bundling with it an art book, soundtrack CD, and three adorable pixel art pins of protagonists Alm and Celica, as well as Marth.
Rime (May 26)
The exploration-heavy “fish out of water” game hasn’t seen much success in recent years, with Fumito Ueda, but Tequila Works’ Rime has the potential to bring the genre back into favor. With an art inspired by Ueda’s Ico as well as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Rime blends in seemingly supernatural elements that change the world around the player and allow for unique puzzle and exploration opportunities. Mechanical creatures living alongside the animals and plantlife also reminds us of the recent The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, though these robots appear far less interested in killing anything. Originally announced as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, Rime will now also release on Xbox One, PC, and the Nintendo Switch.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (May 30)
Star Trek: Bridge Crew promises to make you and a few of your friends feel like real crew members of the Starfleet’s U.S.S. Aegis as you explore the mysterious “trench” in search of a new home for the Vulcans. Each of you take on one of the series’ classic roles, such as Captain, Tactical, and Engineer, and publisher Ubisoft stresses that communicating together with your shipmates will be vital to the success of your mission.
Once you’ve completed Star Trek: Bridge Crew’s dedicated story missions, you’ll have the option to continue your journey for almost as long as the Star Trek franchise has existed with procedurally generated missions that are fully playable in both solo and cooperative configurations. Uncover the mysteries of space, argue with your friends about how to best execute a mission, and pretend you’re actually LeVar Burton as you grow accustomed to the Aegis’ “experimental” technology and see whose fingers can actually do the famous Vulcan salute.