With 2013 in the rearview, it’s time to look ahead to 2014 and the promising games it will bring. Regardless of which system you own (PC users included), there are quite a few impressive-looking titles that should make this year one to remember. That said, here’s a glimpse of what you can expect in the months ahead.
Release dates are always subject to change, and let us know which games you're looking forward to.
Titanfall (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC- March 11)
It's difficult to recall a first person shooter that was more hyped than Titanfall. That's saying a lot considering these are the days of Call of Duty and Battlefield. What sets Titanfall apart from these is that it is a true next generation game. Rather than meeting technical restraints with code and pushing towards a release at the end of the current generation's life cycle, the folks at Respawn Entertainment decided to focus on the next generation. Vince Zampella and crew also took advantage of Microsoft's cloud computing services to offload non-player activity to servers and free up the home computer -- Or Xbox One/360 -- for graphical performance. We here at Prima Games realized just how big of nerds we can be when that last statement got us excited.
InFamous: Second Son (PS4- March 21)
There's no question that one of 2014's most anticipated games for PlayStation 4 is InFamous: Second Son. The third chapter in Sucker Punch's super-charged saga strays away from the usual hero, Cole McGrath, in favor of a new face tearing his way through Seattle using a number of extraordinary techniques to decimate enemies.
Delsin Rowe has plenty of powers to his credit, mostly fire and ash based. He can transform into a powerful dive bomb and destroy bad guys within range, or teleport through pipes from one area to another, beating up enemies with smoke-based combo attacks. His ability to change from physical form to smoke and back is uncanny, yet highly effective. He'll need these powers, as the DUP – Department of Unified Protection – will stop at nothing to finish him off.
Dying Light (PS4, Xbox One, PC- March 31)
Dying Light is an upcoming first-person perspective survival horror game developed by Techland, to be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. If you don't know about Techland, perhaps you will recognize a few of its games. They are responsible for the Call of Juarez and Dead Island franchises. As impressive as that is, Dying Light will be their first game to release across all five major platforms.
Set in a massive open world, players can choose to play in either single-player or co-op mode. During the day, they must traverse an environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging for supplies, crafting weapons and defending themselves from a growing population of infected. Once the night falls, "the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become more aggressive and more dangerous." Volatiles, a predator only active at night, will communicate with others in the pack and climb faster.
Thief (PS4, Xbox One, PC- February 25)
Although the Thief franchise has been around for quite some time, the latest installment will only be the second of four games to reach consoles, and the first to hit the PlayStation platform. Developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix, Thief is an action-adventure stealth game where violence is a minimally effective last resort.
After spending some quality time getting to know the game, we found the dark themes to be somewhat comparable to Dishonored. If you enjoyed that, you might want to take a closer look at Thief. Of course, the mark of a great game always comes down to the gameplay. One of the most hyped features will be the artificial intelligence. The game will be aware of level design and know of potential places where players can hide.
Players will control Garrett, a master thief who carries a blackjack collapsible compound bow -- used for both combat and non-lethal purposes -- and a claw used as a grapple. In addition, money earned can be used to buy supplies and equipment.
Destiny (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360- September 9)
There's been a lot of talk recently about first-person shooters becoming cookie cutter. Perhaps that's why there is so much hype surrounding Bungie's upcoming shooter, Destiny. Set 700 years into the future in a post-apocalyptic setting, Bungie avoided calling its title an MMO or massively multiplayer online game, as it lacks many of the features of a traditional MMO. Instead, Destiny has been referred to as a shared world shooter. Bungie emphasized that the universe will be alive, and events that take place in-game may not be controlled or even planned by the developer. OK, you have our attention.
If you're looking for a reason to drop some money on a pre-order, consider that Destiny is being developed by the same people that created Halo, one of the pioneer games of the first-person shooter genre. Oh, and don't forget that they teamed up with Activision, the publisher behind perhaps the most successful FPS franchise in history, Call of Duty. Just in case that wasn't a strong enough resume, one of the composers for Destiny is Paul McCartney. Let's recap real quick. A first-person shooter made by the studio that brought you Halo, published by the same folks as Call of Duty with music by a guy who was in the Beatles. Sold!
DriveClub (PS4- April 1)
When DriveClub was delayed, it left Need for Speed Rivals as the only racing game at launch for PlayStation 4. Need for Speed is a great game, but one of the aspects that made DriveClub so anticipated was that a version of the game will be free to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Since PS+ is required to play games online, it basically means that a good number of PS4 owners would be able to play a version of DriveClub for free. Of course that will still happen. We just have a wait a few more months.
In addition to the free aspect of the title, you can customize the races. You can adjust the weather if you want to, making it a cloudy night race that should be more challenging compared to typical daytime races. MotorStorm was a lot of fun for a wide range of people on the PlayStation 3, and now that the developers have focused their aim on a the super cars of DriveClub, it looks like we'll be in for a treat when it hits next year.
Watch Dogs (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC- June 30)
The online component of Watch Dogs is huge, and if Ubisoft can make seamless online play happen, it will be really big for this title. At E3 we saw demonstrations of people on your friends’ list joining your game without your knowledge and getting into hacking wars. Dead Rising 3 has a similar feature, so it shouldn't be too difficult for Ubisoft to implement this into Watch Dogs by the time it hits store shelves.
Aside from the online component, Watch Dogs will be one of the first titles to have a proper development cycle on next-generation hardware. While it disappointed more than a few gamers, the delay will almost certainly make the game significantly better compared to a launch title. Will the visuals surpass those of RYSE: Son of Rome? Will the gameplay be flawless? We should have answers to these questions in 2014.
Dark Souls 2 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC- March 11)
Entry level difficulty aside, Dark Souls is a game that plays two different ways. Novice players will struggle through the game as they simply try to beat it. Hardcore players will take the gameplay to an entirely different level and do things novice players would not have thought possible. It's very similar to fighting games in that there's a higher level of play that can be attained if you work hard enough. This is what really has us excited about the 2014 release of Dark Souls 2.
Fable Anniversary (Xbox 360- February 4)
2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Fable, Lionhead Studios’ epic action RPG for the original Xbox. To celebrate and appease fans around the world, the developer will re-release its classic adventure on Xbox 360 in the long-awaited Fable Anniversary.
The core elements will remain intact. You’ll build a hero or villain from the ground up based on your interactions with this beautiful and immersive world. How you treat others will determine the sort of character you’ll become. You’ll recruit allies and make enemies along the way, get married and even own a home.
Based on that description, been there, done that, right? Not exactly. Fable Anniversary comes with all-new Achievements, Xbox SmartGlass support and even The Lost Chapters. In addition, you can expect a new lighting system and textures that will bring Fable into the HD generation.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U- February 21)
You’ll once again control Donkey and Diddy Kong, this time through six enemy-packed worlds. In addition, Dixie Kong and other characters (Cranky Kong!) will make an appearance in Tropical Freeze, and it’s a safe bet that numerous collectible items will keep us busy for hours.
Beyond that, Nintendo took full advantage of the 3D graphics to provide different perspectives on the action. Although the game plays like a 2D side scrolling adventure, the camera will often shift as DK and friends blast off to different barrels, among other action-packed scenes.
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U- Spring 2014)
Now that the Wii U has been available for over a year, Nintendo can settle in and release a plethora of games based on its iconic franchises. We already received new entries for Mario and Pikmin. Now it’s Mario Kart’s turn, as the highly anticipated Mario Kart 8 will speed its way to retail next spring.
Why do we need this game? It’s Mario Kart, for starters, but part 8 goes well beyond the familiar staple of hurling red turtle shells at unsuspecting opponents. The newest chapter in the series features anti-gravity vehicles that allow players to ride upside down. Considering the new tracks have rollercoaster-inspired loops, this may allow for more exciting races.
In addition, the game will support a variety of control types for motion/classic enthusiasts, while the new Mario Kart TV lets fans upload videos to Miiverse. There’s 12-person online multiplayer, and Waluigi and Toadette rejoin the cast.
The Elder Scrolls Online (PS4, Xbox One, PC- Spring 2014)
This latest entry says it all in the title – Online. That means you'll be able to work with others – and battle with them – through an MMO (massively multiplayer online) set-up. There is a small monthly fee that comes with this, but it's a small price to pay when it comes to the awesome quests and hours of gameplay that awaits.
In the game, there are various factions you can choose from, including the Aldmeri Dominion, the Daggerfall Covenant and the Ebonheart Pact. To further deepen the experience, you can take advantage of an elaborate, feature-laden character customization system, choosing between hundreds of small settings that allow you to make the perfect warrior. It really is something to tinker with, and you can always go back and try something fresh if your own personal warrior isn't getting the job done.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (PC, Mobile- Release TBA)
Heroes of Warcraft lets fans select from nine different characters from franchise lore: Mage, Priest, Warlock, Paladin, Hunter, Druid, Warrior, Rogue and Shaman. The online-enabled Arena mode lets users go head-to-head to see whose deck is strongest (after building a deck from an assortment of random cards in the Forge), and purchase booster card packs using real currency.
The game was designed in such a way to appeal to both newcomers and longtime World of Warcraft fans. Its pick-up-and-play nature is one of several reasons why the beta captivated the gaming community, and we look forward to playing Hearthstone when it releases on PC, Mac, iPad and maybe Android next year.