Video Gaming Genres Spotlight: Action Games

As the video game industry continues to grow and evolve, so do the variety of experiences it has to offer. One of the most popular categories out there is the action genre with titles that will test your skills. The high-octane genre spans over quite a few subcategories from fighting games to survival experiences. We’ll explore some of the best action games out currently and take a look at what’s coming soon.

Let’s dive into one of the largest gaming genres out there and find an experience that’s right for you!

Fighting games

Nothing says action like a knock-down-drag-out fighter that depends on hair trigger reflexes to emerge victorious. The classic two player showdown first established itself in arcades across the globe in the 1980’s. Now all of these brawlers, and more are available on a home console near you. Fighting games boil down to combat between two or more opponents that attack and defend. Using various combos and other offensive tactics you chip away at each other’s health bar until someone reaches zero and is KO’d.

This formula has created some legendary showdowns in classic franchises like Dead or Alive, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat, Soulcalibur and Tekken. Sport prize fighters like EA’s UFC offer ultra-realistic graphics and authentic moves to give you a taste of action in the octagon.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate final character reveal

A modern action fighter that puts a focus on multiplayer brawls is Super Smash Bros Ultimate and it enjoys a massive following. It’s a great party game and features classic characters like Mario, Link, Banjo-Kazooie and more. Recently, Nintendo revealed the final character update with Kingdom Hearts’s Sora joining the roster.

Be sure to pick up the latest Smash Bros. Fighters Pass to stay up-to-date!

Whether you are a fan of 1v1 or 4v4 there is a ton of fighting action available for both beginners and veterans alike.

Top heavyweight fighters out nowNickelodeon All Star Brawl

Release Date: Available now for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

Face off against some of your favourite characters of all time in Nickelodeon All Star Brawl for Xbox Series X and Xbox One. It’s packed with the stars of iconic shows like SpongeBox Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rugrats, and more, each with their own unique play style and familiar personality.

Buy Nickelodeon All Star Brawl

Mortal Kombat Ultimate 

Release Date: Available now for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and StadiaFull Review | Overall Rating: 4.3/5 (86%)

The definitive edition of the most visceral fighter out there has arrived! Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is the definitive experience that packs even more action with 3 new characters and all previously released DLC. Whether you are a veteran to the series or just stepping into the ring, this is the best version of the game to start your kombat journey.

Buy Mortal Kombat Ultimate

Platforming Games

Some of the most iconic characters and games ever created have come from the platforming genre. Legendary names like Crash Bandicoot, Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man hopped, skipped and jumped their way into stardom.

The general formula for these titles has you controlling characters who traverse platforms and other obstacles while facing off against enemies. Modern titles are still reinventing themselves decades later with incredible graphics, mind bending storylines and challenging levels. Must play games like Astro’s Playroom (free on the PS5), Crash Bandicoot 4, Sackboy’s Big Adventure + Ori and the Will of the Wisps showcase the incredible experiences platformers have to offer.

Must-play platformersPsychonauts 2 

Release Date: Available now for Xbox Series S|X and Windows PC

Enter the world of psychics and spies in Psychonauts 2! Raz has finally joined his dream espionage company, Psychonauts, but quickly realizes that his fellow psychic super spies are in danger. Help him solve mysteries and find out the mole within the headquarters in a thrilling and joyous gameplay.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Release Date: Available now for PlayStation 5Full Review | Overall Rating: Overall Rating 4.9/5 (98%)

Get ready to manipulate time with the dynamic duo of Ratchet and Clank as they work to stop an evil empire. Battle through cross-dimensional worlds with an outrageous arsenal of weapons. New and old friends await on your adventure as you fight to protect your universe.

Purchase Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Sackboy A Big Adventure

Release Date: Available now for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.7/5 (94%)

Sackboy is back! Take him on an epic 3D platforming adventure with your friends in Sackboy: A Big Adventure for PlayStation 5 and continue the journey of LittleBigPlanet. Creative characters, levels and an excellent soundtrack will have you in stitches!

Buy Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Release Date: Available now for Nintendo SwitchFull Review | Overall Rating: 4.5/5 (90%)

Dive into the world of Mario with Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury for Nintendo Switch. It features the same great co-op gameplay, creative levels, and power-ups as the original game and more! Use the play style of each character in Super Mario 3D World and recruit Bowser Jr. in Bowser’s Fury to bring his big, bad dad back to normal.

Purchase Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Hotly anticipated upcoming platform gamesKirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)

Release Date: Spring 2022

Go on a journey full of surprises with Kirby in Kirby and the Forgotten Land for Nintendo Switch. Play as the powerful pink puff ball Kirby, and while the journey unfolds, step into a 3D platforming world featuring abandoned monuments, remnants from a past civilization.

Preorder Today!

Shooters

The biggest and most popular part of the gaming industry as a whole are shooters. These games range from military style conflicts to run and gun side scrollers (and everything in between). The commonality between all these titles is a player-controlled character with a fireable weapon. The perspective in which these games are played come in multiple forms; from the first person perspective, over the shoulder third person perspective to hero, and tactical shooters. 

First person shooters

First person shooters (FPS) give you the in-game character’s field of vision while playing. This places you in the shoes of the protagonist adding to the game’s immersion. Some of the legendary pillars that make-up the FPS experience are games like Bioshock, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, Doom, Half-Life, Halo, Quake, TitanFall and Wolfenstein.

Best in class first person shootersBattlefield 2042

Release Date: Available now on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5

Featuring matches filled with up to 128 players, Battlefield 2042 brings an unprecedented scale on massive battlegrounds across the globe. Players will need to adapt and overcome in a new-future world transformed by disorder.

Purchase Battlefield 2042

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Release Date: Available now on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5Full Review | Overall Rating: 3.8/5 (76%)

Experience World War II combat like never before. You’ll play a pivotal role and change the face of history through a deeply engaging single player campaign. Explore a thrilling Zombies experience and full Warzone integration with new maps, modes, seasonal events, and more in Multiplayer mode.

Purchase Call of Duty: Vanguard

Deathloop

Release Date: Available exclusively on PlayStation 5Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.6/5 (91%)

It’s up to you stop villains who are manipulating time travel. Every time you die the game hits reset and you are looped back through the experience. Learn from your mistakes or be doomed to repeat them over and over again.

Purchase Deathloop

Far Cry 6

Release Date: Available now on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Xbox One and PS4 Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.1/5 (82%)

Yara has been overtaken by dictator Anton Castillo, and as local revolutionary Dani Rojas, it’s up to you to stop his regime in Far Cry 6. Make use of makeshift weapons, vehicles, and animal companions as you liberate the nation from Anton’s brutal grip.

Buy Far Cry 6

Halo Infinite

Release Date: Multiplayer available now on Xbox Series X|S and Windows PC

Experience an epic adventure and explore the massive scale of the Halo ring. When all hope is lost, Master Chief is ready to confront the most ruthless foe he’s ever faced. Step inside the armour of humanity’s greatest hero.

Purchase Halo Infinite

Third person shooters

Third person shooters give you a full body view of your character with “over the shoulder” aiming mechanics. They create immersion through the shared experience between you and the on-screen avatars. Some of these games follow a linear path like the Tomb Raider series while others have a more open world approach like Grand Theft Auto V.

Must play titles in the third person shooter category are Devil May Cry 5, Gears of War, Red Dead Redemption 2 and the Uncharted series.

Not all shooters are necessarily for mature audiences, Nintendo’s Splatoon 2 is available for some family friendly, light-hearted fun.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition

Release Date: Available now on PS4, Xbox Series X|S + Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Revisit Grand Theft Auto’s three iconic worlds in Grand Theft Auto : The Trilogy – The Definitive edition. The game includes the updated versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with enhanced features, such as brilliant new lighting and high-resolution textures and more.

Purchase Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition

Guardians of the Galaxy

Release Date: Available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4,  Full Review | Overall Rating: 4.4/5 (88%)

Turn your band of outlaws into legendary heroes on a wild ride across the space with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. In this action-adventure game, you become Star-Lord and call the shots for Guardians in and out of battle.

Get Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Tactical shooters

If you are looking for a more realistic, strategic experience in a shooter you might want to go tactical. These games avoid the common tropes of arcadey-style action shooters, instead taking a more methodical approach to combat. Tactical shooters require you to carefully plan movement, provide limited health and rely heavily on your squad mates. A pinnacle of the squad-based experience is Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six series, offering challenging combat and thrilling “breach and clear” moments. The current game in the series, Rainbow Six Siege features tense multiplayer moments and a big focus on team-based strategy.

Upcoming shootersTiny Tina’s Wonderlands

Release Date: Preorder now on PS4, Xbox + Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction

Release Date: Preorder now on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5

Survival games

This part of the action genre will leave you on the edge of your seat as you fight tooth and nail for your own life. From battle royales, sims to survival horror, there is an adrenaline filled experience that will keep you entertained for hours. Buckle up, the survival category isn’t for the faint of heart, but will definitely leave you with a few stories to tell!

Battle royale

The battle royale experience has taken the gaming industry by storm over the last half of the decade. These games follow a formula of dropping 80-100 players into an area unarmed, forcing them loot for weapons and duke it out until one champion remains.

This sub-genre began in earnest with Arma III mods that later evolved into their own game in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The popularity and growth of the battle royale category has been explosive ever since.

Following PUBG’smassive success Fortnite appeared on the scene, transcending the game industry to become a pop culture phenomenon. Everyone from professional athletes to A-list celebrities were getting in on the action.

In early 2019, developer Respawn introduced Apex Legends based in the TitanFall universe. It brought its own unique spin to the battle royale landscape introducing hero-style mechanics into the mix.

Many other cornerstone shooters like the Call of Duty series got in on the action releasing their own battle royale modes. Call of Duty: Vanguard has its own battle royale mode that is free to play called Warzone you can pick up starter kits to get a leg up on the competition.

Survival simulators

The gist of survival sims is to channel your inner Bear Grylls and live off of your surroundings. You are left with minimal resources in a hostile environment and it’s up to you to figure out the rest. Mojang’s Minecraft is a great jumping off point if you are interested in this subgenre with its block-style procedurally generated worlds. Other titles in the same vein are Subnautica where you are left alone to fend for yourself in an alien ocean.

Survival horror

The survival horror genre is about trying to live through a terrifying environment filled with nightmarish enemies. Think zombie apocalypse or escaping a haunted insane asylum and you start to get the idea of the terrifying thrills this subgenre offers. Some of my most memorable moments with video games have come with classic horror titles. The “must play” horror games offer experiences that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Hollywood’s most terrifying films. Alien: Isolation, The Last of Us, Resident Evil 2 and RE 3 are stories that offer as many thrills as chills.

Top tier survival horror titlesResident Evil:Village

Release Date: Available now on PS4, Xbox, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 Full Review | Overall Rating: 44.3/5 (86%)

Picking up where the survival horror classic Resident Evil 7 biohazard left off, Ethan Winters and wife Mia are living a peaceful existence, until tragedy strikes. Ethan’s world is thrown into chaos and he finds himself in a remote snow-capped village, facing off against unspeakable horrors.

Buy Resident Evil Village

The Medium

Release Date: Available now on PlayStation 5, Xbox One + Xbox Series S|XFull Review | Overall Rating: 4.3/5 (86%)

Experience two realities at once in The Medium. Get into the role of a medium and explore both the real and spirit world on your quest to discover the truth behind what happened at the Niwa resort.

Buy Last of Us II

Upcoming survival horror gamesDying Light 2: Stay Human

Release Date: Coming February 4, 2022 on PS4, PS5 and Xbox One + Xbox Series S|X

Preorder Dying Light 2 Stay Human

Music games

If you enjoy music and are no stranger to singing or dancing along to a song, rhythm games could be a perfect fit. These titles are all about carefully timing button presses, or matching movements on screen to sync with a musical beat.

Rhythm games come in forms like the 1996 classic PaRappa the Rapper where you follow along with a loose storyline and jam with out with characters by pressing buttons. There are also peripheral based experiences like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Each comes with their own hardware like a dance mat, guitar controller and full band kit. These games prompt you to hit drumbeats, guitar frets or vocal notes with included hardware.

The most popular rhythm games are currently Just Dance 2022 and virtual reality smash hit Beat Saber. Just Dance is wildly entertaining fun either solo or at a party.

Dance to your own tuneJust Dance 2022

Release Date: Available now for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Stadia

High octane action

The action genre is the gaming industry’s biggest by far, offering a wide range of adrenaline pumping experiences. If you are looking for a game that will entertain and put your skills to the test, you’ll surely find an unforgettable title in this category. With dozens of subgenres, award winning titles like Bioshock, Uncharted, Red Dead Redemption 2 and more you’ll find multiple games that rival any Hollywood action experience. Try a title from each category above and see which is the best fit for you!

Let us know what your favourite action game is in the comments below!

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