The next big thing isn’t coming from Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo. It’s coming from Google. Stadia, the first “console” from the tech giant that knows way too much about you, is set to introduce video game streaming to the masses by allowing players access to the biggest games on any compatible device.
Yes, that means the newest Assassin’s Creed and Doom running at 4K resolution, 60 frames-per-second, on your smartphone. What a world!
Here’s how Google says Stadia works: On any compatible device running Google Chrome — be it desktops, laptops, smart TVs, Google Chromecast, and smartphones (Pixels for now, iPhones and Androids later) — Stadia will run at varying high resolutions depending on internet connection.
At 35 Mbps, Stadia will run at 4K, 60 FPS, 5.1 Surround sound. At 20 Mbps, the resolution will drop to 1080p, and at 10 Mbps, the resolution will be a functional 720p still at 60 FPS and Stereo audio.
Google isn’t the only one to enter the emerging realm of cloud gaming. Sony has been a player since the 2014 launch of PlayStation Now, while Microsoft’s in-development Project xCloud aims to directly compete with Google Stadia with similar features. But Stadia has become a curiosity as it represents Google aiming to be the first major competitor in years to be on the level of the “Big Three” that is Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.
At its reveal event earlier this year, Google announced close to 35 games to be released at launch or after the platform’s launch in 2020. (A pre-order “Founder’s Edition” will be released earlier in November, ahead of the 2019 holiday season.) Though only a few are new new games, including the highly-anticipated Baldur’s Gate III, many Stadia titles are some of the biggest non-exclusive games out today.
Out of the 30+ to be released on Google Stadia, here are six triple-A games on the new platform that may just convince you to leave your consoles behind.
6. Destiny 2
Set to be packaged with the Founder’s Edition, Bungie’s sci-fi loot shooter from 2017 is finally having a moment. While the game endured some hard times after its community complained of a lack of endgame content, Destiny 2 is now chock full of additional story missions, multiplayer modes (Gambit is a favorite of mine), and lots and lots and lots and lots of weapons.
With the upcoming Year Three expansion Shadowkeep, in which players will have to clear out a Moon overrun by ghosts (yup, Moon’s haunted), now is as good a time as ever to enter the world of Destiny 2. Bungie, now free from former parent company Activision, are switching on cross-saves and implementing a newbie-friendly introductory mode, “New Light,” that can get you and your friends up to speed with the other million-ish Guardians online.
The fact that Destiny 2 is packaged with Stadia should speak volumes about its potential to get you playing every weekend from now on.
Bethesda just recently unveiled Doom: Eternal, a sequel to its acclaimed 2016 reboot of Doom that will be released in November 2019 for almost every platform including Google Stadia. But without a definitive release date, it’s unclear if Doom: Eternal will be an actual launch title for Stadia.
With that in mind, make Doom 2016 one of your first Stadia experiences. Everything great about the game was already said three years ago (and again when the Nintendo Switch port came out in 2017), so let’s just leave it at this: If you want to feel ultra-powerful slaying endless hordes of demons at blistering 4K 60 FPS, Doom is exactly the game you need.
4. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creedy Odyssey, a continuation of Ubisoft’s time-traveling Assassin’s Creed games, has been closely associated with Stadia ever since Google announced the platform in 2018. Odyssey was the game Google used to demo the potential of the Stadia to beta testers, and it’s the reason why we’re still talking about the Stadia a whole year later.
If endless shooting just isn’t your thing, allow Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, a breathtaking open-world adventure game set in ancient Greece, to change up the pace of your new Stadia library.
3.Final Fantasy XV
We’ll keep this short: Final Fantasy XV is still the epic, open-world Japanese RPG from 2016 that changed up the formula of the wildly popular Final Fantasyfranchise in big and small ways. While the anticipated remake of Final Fantasy VIIwill be a PlayStation 4 exclusive, Final Fantasy XV is no slouch and will take your breath away as you road trip across Eos on your smartphone or laptop.
2.Mortal Kombat 11
Finish him! And him, and her, and everyone else at your next party. More than any other game on this list, the brutally fun Mortal Kombat 11 is a phenomenal way to eviscerate your friends on Stadia.
It bears mentioning the controversy that’s followed the game. A Kotaku reportinterviewed a NetherRealm developer that experienced post-traumatic stress disorder from reviewing violent “research materials,” and that’s on top of the crunch that plagued NetherRealm contractors who felt like “second class citizens.”The game is still fun, and will probably make a fantastic Stadia experience as a blistering one-versus-one game fit for parties as opposed to the loot shooters and open-world RPGs. Just know what you’re buying.
1.Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition /Rise of the Tomb Raider /Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Since 2013, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have reimagined the “Tomb Raider”in a breathtaking, intricate, and exciting reboot trilogy. It was these games that directly inspired the 2018 movie starring Alicia Vikander, and these games will be available to play once more on Stadia.
Start with Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, a remastered version of the 2013 game that started it all. Then proceed with 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, then complete the journey with 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider.