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Stadia: All the Launch Titles

With Stadia just around the corner, we thought we would take a look at all the games available from launch.

Google Stadia is close and we thought, what better way to bring in its launch than by having a more in-depth look at the games available from the start. Following on from our article Everything You Need to Know About Google Stadia, here we will focus on the 12 games that will be streamable on November 19, recapping some information about the games and giving you a look at what's on offer.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

2018's Assassin's Creed Odyssey took us into the middle of the Peloponnesian War. Players were able to choose their character between the siblings Alexios and Kassandra, Greek mercenaries and descendants of Leonidas. Odyssey once again saw Ubisoft stick with the heavier RPG aspects, giving fans a more expansive world, more in-depth missions and updated combat system with new abilities. As well as this, we also see the return of naval combat giving players control over Hellenistic-era warships. We were also introduced to a new 'War System' that allowed players to get involved in large scale battles between Athens and Sparta. Assassin's Creed Odyssey also gives us the largest map in an Assassin's Creed game to date and with multiple different endings, the around 40-hour base campaign has plenty to do and even more to explore. Here's what we said about the game in our review:

"Assassin's Creed Odyssey hasn't just reminded us that the franchise is more than running around killing people, it also shows us that the core concept is still lingering under the surface just waiting to break through with full force sometime in the future."

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Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle

Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle is A.O.T. 2 plus the Final Battle expansion, which was collected together and released as one package earlier this year on console. This hack and slash series is based on the famous Japanese Manga series and it has players battling giant monsters as they protect humanity from potential extinction. If you're looking for epic boss battles on your Stadia, then look no further than this. Some of the games landing on Stadia at launch are classics, alas A.O.T. 2 is not quite at that level, but as we wrote in our review, this sequel has plenty of thrilling moments:

"We still loved whizzing across the environment and dismembering the giant beasts that tried to stalk us, but these moments were surrounded by plenty of frustration."

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Destiny 2: The Collection

Released back in 2017, Destiny 2 was set to bring a larger more expansive world than its predecessor. Destiny 2 delivered a much deeper and more impressive story, with larger areas to explore and more items to find. Now in its third year of content Destiny continues to grow, with more missions, brand new PvP maps, new raids, more weapons, armour and skins than ever before. At its core, Destiny 2 is still an online-only first-person shooter with three different Guardian classes to choose from; you will find yourself fighting an array of enemies across a number of planets in the PvE and have the option to test your skill in PvP. Here's what we had to say in our review of the game's latest expansion, Shadowkeep:

"The centrepiece of Shadowkeep (much like the previous Destiny expansions) is the new Raid, called Garden of Salvation. It ties together with the story and it's truly a spectacle. We won't spoil anything for you, but we'll say that the Raid keeps with the same standard that we've grown used to with Destiny."

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Farming Simulator 19

Farming Simulator 19 is the latest entry in the franchise that lets you build a farming empire for the ages. With both European and North American locations, as well as more vehicles than you can shake a Massey Ferguson at, this is the game you might turn to if you're after a more relaxing, sedate experience on your Stadia. You can even head online and grow your farm with fellow green-fingered players if you want to harvest the experience for all its worth.

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Final Fantasy XV

This is one series that probably doesn't need an introduction, but we're being thorough on this occasion. Final Fantasy XV is the latest entry in the long-running JRPG series, and in terms of scope, there are few adventures that can rival it. Things start off more like an exciting road trip for Noctis and his chums, but it soon turns out that the group are on a date with destiny as they seek to take down the warmongering Niflheim. On their journey, the group engages in furious real-time combat, meets an extended cast of characters, and discovers a wealth of stories from the world of Eos. Here's our original review of the game if you want to know more.

"Final Fantasy XV is both epic and grand, offering not only wistful moments and crazy humour, but also brilliant music that regularly soothed our eardrums, and monumental boss fights."

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Football Manager 2020

Every year Sports Interactive delivers us a new and endlessly detailed simulation of what it's like managing a professional football team. Football Manager 2020 is the latest entry in this series, and we loved this year's edition, thanks to the various additions that been made. Notable changes include a greater focus on delegation, youth training, and player negotiations, but our favourite update is probably the new Club Vision, a system that gives your extended career progression more focus. Thanks to its staggeringly detailed database, FM2020 is the place to turn to if you want to feel like you're the manager of a top team. Check out our review for more on this year's entry in the series.

"This year's Football Manager innovates in all the right places and we like the new-found flexibility it offers. Old or new player, Football Manager 2020 will continue to kill your time."

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Grid

Every console lineup needs a racing game and Stadia is no different. But who to make it? Well, if there's one studio that knows how to race, it's Codemasters. The high-speed specialists were back earlier this year with another entry in the Grid franchise, which reboots one of the developer's most popular series. Grid brings a number of racing disciplines to the table along with some crisp visuals, and while it's not the finest racer on four wheels, if you're feeling the need for some speed, this is your option at launch. Here's our review:

"When compared to other racers, even from Codemasters themselves, Grid falls short of expectations."

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Gylt

Gylt is a game that will be new to us all when it launches alongside Stadia. Exclusive to Stadia, Gylt will see players face their fears and overcome challenges in a stealth-focused adventure. On the hunt for her cousin, players will take control of Sally as she progresses through haunting environments with little more than a high powered flashlight. Running away from her bullies, the monster faced in this game will be a manifestation of her own fears, and players will need to use a mixture of stealth and strategy as they battle through this brand-new adventure.

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Just Dance 2020

Celebrating the game's 10th anniversary, Just Dance 2020 was released on consoles this month. Like the other titles in the franchise, 2020 will see fans continue to mimic the moves of AI dancers on screen. Returning to this year's release is Just Dance Unlimited, the game's subscription-based service, which will give players access to a larger library of songs, with a mixture of new and returning tracks. Just Dance 2020 will feature 40 songs in the main game with a further 500+ being available to subscription holders.

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Kine

Created by Gwen Frey, Kine is a musical puzzle game that will have players take control of three separate musical robots as they progress through an array of challenging puzzles. Each robot has a unique movement mechanic that will test players as they try to overcome the challenges ahead. No doubt having taken inspiration from games like Fez, Kine also has the ability to rotate the world, giving players that extra level of interaction. With bright colourful world design and a selection of whimsical characters, Kine brings a unique take to the puzzle game genre.

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Metro Exodus

Arguably one of the more successful video games adapted from novels, the Metro series expanded its horizons significantly with Metro Exodus. Whereas the games that paved the way for the latest instalment were relatively linear experiences mostly confined to the metro tunnels under Moscow, Exodus offered a selection of different open-world maps (each depicting various seasons) for the players to explore, each holding fun secrets for those willing to comb through the areas before moving on with the main story. Metro Exodus also expanded upon the customisation aspect, letting players adjust and take care of their weapons, upgrading the lethality of them and thus, helping them on their journey across the monster- and hostile-ridden post-nuclear wastes. Read our review here for more:

"With a heart-pounding narrative, fantastic environments, great action, reasonable survival elements, and the depth of the crafting and customisation systems, Metro Exodus is an experience that action players will enjoy and Metro fans will adore."

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Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 is yet another brutal, gruesome bloodfest of a fighting game. With this release, we saw the introduction of some new features and plenty of returning ones that fans have loved throughout the years. One standout feature that NetherRealm carried across from another of their fighting games (Injustice 2) was the character customisation option. This allowed players to unlock new attire for every character in the game and choose the look that they prefer, making these characters unique to them. Another change made was the removal of X-Ray attacks, these moves have been replaced with fatal blows, an attack that can be made when close to death as an attempt to balance out the fight. It sticks with the cinematic heavy single-player mode that many loved from its previous releases and keeping the game just as brutal as fans of the series have always known it. Here's what our review had to say:

"The gameplay, again in a 2D plane with 3D graphics, is superb. It is a relatively accessible fighting system that also allows for some impressive depth."

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NBA 2K20

2K's NBA series is one of the most popular sports franchises in gaming, and when you get your hands on it the reason why quickly becomes clear. In terms of depth and control, this officially licensed game blows all of its competitors out of the water. What's more, it looks absolutely stunning, especially in 4K, which no doubt will make this a tempting game for people to try on Stadia. We have one significant problem with the game, however, and it's a bit of a biggy: the microtransactions. If you can look past them, there's a great game waiting for you. Here's our review:

"It's such a bummer that the core of the game has such a hard focus on making the player spend money. NBA 2K20 is a really good basketball game with fun gameplay during matches, but it's all wrecked by always getting prompted to spend money."

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Rage 2

If you're after something action-packed to play on your Stadia, look no further than Rage 2. This game saw a combined effort between original creators id Software and Just Cause-devs Avalanche Studios. To the game's detriment, it was a little light on meaningful content at launch (although, in fairness, much has been added since then) and the whole thing was over too soon for our tastes. Frustrations aside, the excellent gunplay and some solid world design make Rage 2 an interesting proposition worth considering. Check our review for all the details:

"There's fun to be found, especially when it comes to the gameplay, and at times we really enjoyed clearing out enemy camps and experimenting with the game's arsenal of weapons, but it starts feeling repetitive rather quickly and the main story is over far too soon."

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Red Dead Redemption 2

Arguably one of the biggest games of 2018, RDR2 has just released on PC with one of the largest maps we've seen from a Rockstar game. Red Dead Redemption 2 had it all, a powerful narrative, thrilling characters, plenty of missions, side quests and oodles of action. Most memorable would be the character progression of Arthur Morgan, the outlaw, gunslinging bounty hunter, and from his very first moment on screen, Arthur was an instant crowd favourite. Throughout the campaign, friendships are made, others are broken and a whole rollercoaster of emotions are thrown your way. It's a game where there is so much going on in the world that we found time would just fly by, whether it's spent robbing banks, fishing, hunting or chasing down bounties on horseback. This is a must-play game when it launches on Stadia, as our original review explains (we have a PC-focused review too, if you prefer):

"Red Dead Redemption 2 is a watershed moment, an instant classic, it's both another high point for a studio which has constantly delivered them for decades, and yet it's also a culmination of a journey, a journey to not only create a world that's interesting and brimming with content but a world where you can get truly lost."

Samurai Shodown

More than a decade of inactivity ended when SNK released the unexpected reboot of their Samurai Shodown franchise earlier this year. The heavily upgraded fighting game returns with brand new graphics, updated character models and a much faster more fluid fighting style. Blocking and countering the opposition is vital in this game if you're to have any hope of winning on the higher difficulties. Choosing the right move at the right time is also key to ensure you take away as much health as possible. Light, medium and heavy attacks all affect the opposition differently. Used correctly, these moves can be the difference between winning and losing, and with a mix of classic characters and some new faces, this reboot will entice old fans as well as newcomers. Check out our review if you want to know more:

"This reboot sports some of the most effective visuals we have seen from the genre to date and we found each of the new additions to its ensemble of characters to be memorable."

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Thumper

The self-proclaimed "rhythm violence game" sees players take control of a metal space beetle as it progresses through a number of increasingly difficult challenges and rhythm-based levels. Flying down the track at very high speeds is where the real challenge comes into the game, mastering when to jump, land, turn and hit notes is key to beating this game. The ever increasing intensity of the music and speed adds to the pressure of the game. With bright visuals, Thumper is a nice game to look at. Bosses add an even harder challenge as you have to hit a sequence of notes in quick succession to beat them. The scenery really takes centre stage in this brutal yet incredibly fun rhythm game. Here's our review:

"Thumper impresses most on the visual side of the experience. The whole game takes place on an infinite stretch of track and, although there isn't much time to examine things in detail, ethereal and dreamlike things come off of and surround the track at different points."

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Tomb Raider / Rise of the Tomb Raider / Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Another returning game - well, three games - on this list is Tomb Raider and its two sequels. This reboot started an incredible trilogy with stunning visuals, engaging combat, beautiful world design and a hefty selection of skills to choose between. The origin story allowed us to experience Lara's evolution via a gruelling expedition across the island saving fellow castaways and defeating the enemies that get in your way is both brutal and satisfying. Here's our original review.

The second game released in the remake saga, Rise of the Tomb Raider, was a slightly larger version of its predecessor. It built on some of the features introduced in that game and added some of its own. One feature that stood out to us was the Challenge Tombs, a total of nine tombs were spread out across the game, not the most challenging of puzzles but thought-provoking. Here's our review of Rise.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the final game in the trilogy. Combat once again relies on stealth as you assist Lara through challenging areas, puzzles that will provoke thought, and a lush jungle environment to explore. While there are more skills to unlock and new features to experience, the jungle landscape, in particular, brings a whole new feel to the trilogy. Here's our third and final review.

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Trials Rising

Over the years the Trials series has made a name for itself by offering some of the most fiendishly challenging platforming in the business. It's not your usual platform game either, as Trials puts you on a motorbike and then tasks you with getting from one end of a course to the other. That's not always super-difficult because you can restart your run from generously positioned checkpoints if you don't mind having a personal best that reads like a cricket score. The real challenge comes from executing a perfect run, landing each jump, and then crushing the best scores posted by your friends. As we wrote in our review of Rising, the newest game in the series, that spirit remains strong, even if there are a few avoidable niggles to contend with:

"There's a tangled mess of little annoyances that don't encourage further play. On the other hand, it could very well be the best Trials game so far in terms of playability, variety and physics. Just remember to take a deep breath every time the game tries to drive you crazy and you'll definitely have lots of fun.

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Wolfenstein: Youngblood

The collaborative project by Wolfenstein studio Machine Games and Dishonored devs Arkane Studios, released earlier this year as a spin-off in the Wolfenstein saga, offering some co-operative play for those looking to hop into the Nazi-killing business with a friend (although you can venture into the fray solo with an AI companion at one's side). Switching the iconic Wolfenstein protagonist BJ Blazkowitz out for his two twin daughters Zofia and Jessie, Youngblood changed things up in more ways than one. Not only did it split the gameplay and offer co-operative multiplayer, but it also upped its world-design game, having Arkane Studios lend its world-building expertise to the franchise, creating an array of options when traversing through the streets of Nazi-occupied Paris. The series is known for its exceptional gun-play, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood is no exception, making the game a great addition to the Stadia launch lineup. Does this sound interesting? Read our review here:

"Wolfenstein: Youngblood is an interesting addition to the rebooted franchise, and if you have a friend to play with we definitely recommend that you check it out. However, if you're planning on going solo, be aware that it will get more grind-heavy towards the end and not having any company may lessen the experience."

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We'll be back soon with more impressions of Stadia soon, meanwhile, check out our recent primer for more details about Google's streaming platform, including more details about the games that are coming to the service.



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