11 Video Games Launching Next Week: ‘Gears 4’ Beta, and More

Looking for a new game to play? Let’s say you’re ready to move past recent releases like the challenging yet compelling Dark Souls 3 and the “game based on a movie based on a game” Ratchet & Clank. Next week, a whole new crop of great-looking titles is set to launch. To help you sort through them, we’ve gathered all the information you need right here. Read on to find out about all the biggest games launching the week of April 25, 2016.

1. Gears of War 4 open beta

Platform: Xbox One
Date: April 25 – May 1

One of the premier Xbox franchises, Gears of War is a gritty cover-based shooter that has you and your fellow soldiers using high-powered weapons and chainsaws to tear through hordes of hostile aliens.

This beta test is open for everyone with an Xbox One. It focuses on the multiplayer side of things and features two modes (Team Deathmatch and Dodgeball) and three maps (Harbor, Dam, and Foundation). It’s totally free to play, and if you reach level 20 in the beta, you’ll unlock an exclusive character model, emblem, and weapon skin in the full game, which launches October 11.

2. Hitman – Episode Two: Sapienza

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
Release date: April 26

Some fans weren’t crazy about the episodic launch of this series reboot, but once I got my hands on it, it made sense to me. While the first episode had players committing murder in fashion-forward Paris, this new chapter brings us to Sapienza, a coastal town in Italy. Here, a bioengineer is working on a super-virus that could spell doom for all humankind, so it’s up to you to stop him. Along the way, you’ll find a whole new set of challenges and creative ways to kill in this sun-drenched city. And if you’re looking for help, be sure to check out these eight tips for playing Hitman.

3. Tales from the Borderlands

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
Release date: April 26

I don’t think even diehard Borderlands fans expected much when developer Telltale announced it was making an adventure game based on this Wild-West-meets-science-fiction franchise. So it was a huge surprise when it turned out to be one of the best games released last year. If you missed it in its initial digital release, you can now buy it on disc. Be sure to check out our Tales of the Borderlands review for more information.

4. Alienation

Platform: PlayStation 4
Release date: April 26

Developer Housemarque is studio that’s been making exceptional games for years, including Super Stardust HD, Dead Nation, and Resogun. Its latest is Alienation, a fast isometric shooter that’s drenched in neon. The setup is simple: Aliens have come down from the sky and are wreaking havoc on Earth. It’s your job to stop them, using an impressive array of upgradeable weaponry. Better yet, you can team up with friends to confront the onslaught co-op style. Just watch the trailer above and try not to be impressed. Bet you can’t do it.

5. Dungeons 2

Platform: PlayStation 4
Release date: April 26

In traditional dungeon-based games, you play as a hero hacking your way into the depths of a cavern to collect all the loot you can carry. Not in Dungeons 2. Like in Dungeon Keeper before it, you play as the villain in this game, creating dungeons from scratch and populating them with monsters and traps to keep those pesky heroes at bay.

What’s new this go-round is that you can bring your army of beasties up to the over-world to ransack human cities. It’s all in good fun, though, as the game has a dark sense of humor and is peppered with geeky references. The game launched to decent reviews on PC last year, so check those out if it sounds like fun.

6. King’s Quest – Chapter 3: Once Upon a Climb

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
Release date: April 26

King’s Quest is a series of point-and-click adventure games that came out for PC between 1984 and 1998. This reboot wipes away the dust of history and attempts to revive the classic franchise as a modern game. So far it’s largely been successful, even if the second chapter wasn’t quite as good as the first. In fact, the biggest problem might be that the chapters are coming out so far apart, with months between releases.

Still, if you want to explore a fantastical land of dragons and swashbuckling knights, this game offers a good way to do it. Check out the trailer to get an idea of what’s in store.

7. Sega 3D Classics Collection

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: April 26

Fans of Sega’s long history of games will want to scoop up this collection of games that have been remastered especially for the 3DS’s multi-dimensional screen. Some of the games in the collection, like Sonic the Hedgehog and Altered Beast are already available on the eShop, but others never made it to Western shores, or haven’t been released yet as individual purchases. Check out the full line-up of titles included to see if it’s your kind of thing.

  • Altered Beast
  • Fantasy Zone 2: The Tears of Opa-Opa
  • Fantasy Zone 2 W
  • Galaxy Force 2
  • Maze Walker
  • Power Drift
  • Puyo Puyo 2
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Thunder Blade

8. Severed

Platform: PS Vita
Release date: April 26

Guacamelee! was a fantastic 2013 game that had players pounding through all kinds of monsters based on Mexican folklore. Developer Drinkbox Studio is back with Severed, a Vita exclusive (at least for now) that has you use the touchscreen to put a hurting on bad guys.

You play as a one-armed adventurer whose sword is somehow alive. You gain new abilities by defeating bosses and equipping the pieces of armor you get from them. You can also chop limbs off of enemies (hence the game’s title) and use them to upgrade your equipment. If it’s as fun as developer Drinkbox Studios’s last game, Severed will be one to keep an eye on.

9. Stranger of Sword City

Platform: PS Vita
Release date: April 26

Be still my beating heart: two Vita games in one week? What is this, 2012? It’s been clear for a while now that the Vita is a dying console, thanks to Sony abandoning it not long after launch. Nowadays we can go weeks and even months without seeing a noteworthy game hitting the system.

Anyway, if you like dungeon crawlers — games that send you into monster-infested environments to collect awesome loot and level up your team — you’ll want to take a look at this one. You play as a the sole survivor of a plane crash who finds himself in a mysterious new land called Sword City. As often happens in these games, you become the Chosen One who must fend off the forces of darkness.

10. Lost Reavers

Platform: Wii U
Release date: April 28

Wii U owners are starving for new games as Nintendo has shifted most of its developers to work on titles for the upcoming NX console. Thankfully, Bandai Namco has our backs this week, with a free-to-play game that has players slice and shoot their way through levels to find treasure. You’re only halfway done once you find it, because now you have to fight your way back out. Lost Reavers doesn’t look like typical Nintendo fare, but that’s all the more reason to check it out — especially since it’s free.

11. Mini Mario & Friends: Amiibo Challenge

Platforms: Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
Release date: April 28

Collectors of Amiibos, Nintendo’s toys-to-life figures, will surely want to check this one out. It’s a free game based on the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, which offers Lemmings-style gameplay, with characters who move through the level automatically, while players have to manipulate the environment to deliver them safely to the exit. In this game, tapping one of the compatible Amiibos on your Wii U or 3DS’s NFC reader will load that character into the game. It’s free, so if you have the hardware, there’s no reason not to try it.

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