Must-have games for summer 2016

Why go outside during those sweaty summer months when you can stay inside, crank the air conditioner, and disappear into the wide world of video games? You don't need sunscreen to protect you from the glow of the television, and the ocean is full of sharks and crabs anyhow. The summer of 2016 promises a ridiculous bounty of digital delights, so get your butt back on the couch and check out these upcoming summer games.

No Man's Sky

Undoubtedly, No Man's Sky is a game-changer, not only for the magnitude of your summer sloth, but for gaming in general. No Man's Sky promises to deliver a collaborative, multiplayer universe so vast that a player may never actually encounter another player in their travels, which will either be very isolating or very liberating, depending on how much you like people. Spend your entire summer jaunting between star systems, discovering new animals, and mining for minerals. And then spend the rest of your life trying to explore the entire the game universe. Spoiler alert: it's impossible. Completists, prepare to go insane.

Battleborn

One of at least two MOBAs that promises to be a Team Fortress 2-killer, Battleborn features a chaotic first-person fighting arena, randomly-generated loot packs full of cool junk, a complex levelling system, and, if all that weren't enough, it's got a fighting mushroom man. If you're not sold already, there will also be a ton of other selectable characters, including an adorable penguin in a mech suit. Players have been rabidly jonesing for more since the open beta, and the game's cheeky sense of humor promises to keep things entertaining, even when you're being smashed by fancy steampunk robots. Long respawn times are a bit annoying, but it's all worth the wait.

Overwatch

On the other hand, there's Overwatch, which bears a striking similarity to Battleborn in many ways. The summer is going to be a fight to the death between the two, with both of them even jockeying their scheduled release dates to try to emerge from the digital womb first. While Overwatch's cinematic trailers have the warmth and heart of Pixar, it'll all come down to how satisfying the game play is, since both games offer a pretty great range of bizarre characters and interesting arenas. Overwatch may also take itself just a little more seriously than Battleborn, so it'll be interesting to see who wins the war. If nothing else, its Blizzard Entertainment pedigree gives Overwatch just a tad of an edge over Battleborn from Gearbox. But only a tad.

Doom

There's more blood in the Doom trailer than in that elevator scene from The Shining, and the whole ordeal ends with the player's legs getting casually ripped off by an enormous demon. So if that's your thing, go for it. The summer will have no end of first-person shooter games to play, and this reboot of the classic series looks like a perfect mix of a traditional first person dungeon crawl and a horror game. Yes, it has multiplayer, and even better, the game includes the ability to make your own hellacious maps, so start contemplating your sniper nests now, monster-blasters.

Paragon

Yet another MOBA? If you're not into the animated style of Overwatch and Battleborn, and Doom's getting too many alien guts on your shoes, Paragon might be the answer. Gameplay trailers make Paragon the undisputed champion of these games when it comes to sheer beauty, appearing to be a cross between Lord of the Rings and Tron—and we're talking the IMAX versions, not the video games. Preferences will surely come back to the individual players, but every single one of these MOBAs has its fair share of appealing merits. And unlike most other games in the genre, Paragon only rewards players who actively play, and not the dreaded wallet warriors.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst

Remember parkour? It's back, in Mirror's Edge form. The Mirror's Edge series launched in 2008 and was quickly praised for having interesting graphics and a great sense of fluidity, even if the whole "totalitarian future government" sci-fi schtick was already a bit tired. Catalyst was originally announced as a prequel, but has since been reclassified as a reboot of the Mirror's Edge universe, which will open up the free-running world even further and elaborate on the role of the Runners, who manually deliver messages and gather sensitive information to avoid digital government intervention. The game has no real multiplayer to speak of, so if you just want to play by yourself for a while, Catalyst is your destination.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

If you're into the cyberpunk mythology of the highly atmospheric Deus Ex series, Mankind Divided marks the third part of a prequel trilogy that you shouldn't miss. While the very words 'prequel trilogy' paralyze most nerds with Phantom Menace-induced spasms, Mankind Divided continues the story of Adam Jensen and his cyborg body...even if you got one of the non-canon, not-so-hot endings in its prequel, Human Revolution, that might suggest otherwise. It's a pretty mature, gritty scenario, so don't expect to be uplifted as much as constantly reminded of the world's multitude of problems, but hey, no one's criticizing you if you want a bummer summer.

I Am Setsuna

It's not always easy for English speakers to get their hands on a good Japanese-style RPG like the classic Chrono Trigger, but I Am Setsuna seeks to change that. The game's literature admits up front to borrowing from Chrono's signature fighting style, adding a "heartrending" storyline about a girl who must become a human sacrifice, and a gentle graphical and musical scheme—kinda the opposite of the blood-soaked, noisy games we usually get in the US. It all sounds like a perfect recipe for a summer chill.

We Happy Few

While only on PC and Xbox One, We Happy Few is a pretty fun exploration into both 1960s psychedelia and truly classic sci-fi themes. Launched on Kickstarter in 2015, the game quickly reached its goal and allowed players into a closed beta, but will open up to casual players this summer. As a survival kinda-horror game, you must make your way through a world where citizens are forced to consume Joy, a drug that keeps local order, but saps citizens of their will. You, of course, abstain from using the drug, and that fact alone seems to be harshing everyone's mellow, man. Survive as long as you can in an ever-changing, procedurally generated world that looks like an Austin Powers nightmare.