Darryn Bonthuys of Lazygamer outlines some of the top gaming titles to be released this year.
The last couple of years have seen plenty of great game releases, and a tonne more of them delayed into 2014. Time to chuck those sour grapes away though, buckle down, buy cheap toilet paper and sell the kids for medical experiments, because 2014 is going to be just as equally massive.
If there’s one game that the Wii U needs in order to attract the attention of a crowd that regards the brand to be too kid-friendly, it's this one. The cult hit game finally gets a sequel, that sees the infamous witch take on all new enemies in a game that was built specifically to show off the Wii U hardware.
And it shows pretty damn well so far.
Tim Schafer and Double Fine studio are back with a new game, this time paid for completely by fans and allowing the Lucasart veteran to create the kind of experience that he wants to. Crawling with big voices and even bigger personalities, Broken Age could be the one game that all Kickstarter titles will be measured against.
The game series that your mother and Germany warned you about is back, faster and bloodier than ever. New racers, new tracks and all new ways to spread more red on the road than an overturned paint truck herald the return of this iconic and notoriously violent racer.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
Bigger, bolder and with twice as many whips, Castlevania returns next year to put those damn sparkly Twilight vampires in their place and show them what a real lord of darkness can do. Tackling many of the problems that plagued the first underrated game, expect this tale of a Belmont gone bad to hog plenty of the spotlight.
Child of Light
If there's one game that is already a contender for the prettiest newcomer on the block, it has to be Child of Light. An RPG from the house of Ubisoft, players will get to step into the shoes of Aurora and bring back some much needed sunshine in this page three stunner of a game.
When you think of Ubisoft, you most likely don’t think of the racing genre. But that studio is back behind the wheel of a new racer in an open world, that combines new hardware with the DNA of Test Drive Unlimited.
Dark Souls II
Harder than nails and twice as unforgiving, the Dark Souls franchise returns to kill scores of players all over again. Reworked to be more accessible and less of a grind, the sequel won’t let up on any of its trademark difficulty, throwing several new ideas into the mix that’ll have players facing not only the worst that hell can throw at them, but each other as well.
After a decade behind the wheels of Microsoft’s flagship gaming franchise Halo, Bungie is back and ready to lock 'n load with Destiny. Think Borderlands meets Starship Troopers, throw in a massive dash of an established mythology and turn the visuals up to 11, and you have your Destiny ahead of you.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
Achieving the impossible, Diablo 3 proved that a PC game could be perfectly translated to console when enough care and time was taken. Fast forward a couple of months, and gamers naturally want more. Reaper of Souls scratches that itch, with a new character class and a new act that will have you staring down the angel of death himself.
Don Bradman Cricket 14
Delayed into a year that it's actually based on, Don Bradman is your only real cricket game for the foreseeable future. But it looks bloody smashing, yes it does.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
Dragon dragon, block the dragon, Dragon Ball Z! Goku and pals are back for pretty much more of the same this year, but with some much needed new story content in the form of the recently released film that saw the Super Saiyan achieve a new form of power.
Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey
Who says that point 'n click games are dead? Dreamfall returns with a crowdfunded bang in 2014, that'll see some nostalgic gameplay re-emerge in this upcoming sequel that sees main character Zoe looking to regain her purpose in life. Kind of like our Zoe after her favourite TV series ended in December.
Originally due for release in 2013, Sony delayed their free to play driving game for 2014. It may be free to play, but Sony and Evolution studios are still taking a big gamble with a game that is promising realistic racing with vast tracks and gorgeous scenery.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Nobody expects the Dragon Age Inquisition! Our two chief weapons are franchise legacy, the development skills of Bioware and nice shiny armour! Three! Our three weapons in our arsenal happen to be …
Deep Silver created something special with Dead Island, but now they’re looking to take the idea of surviving a zombie apocalypse one step further in Dying Light. The catch? While you may encounter your run of the mill zombie hordes during the day, you’ll have to switch out from predator to prey when the sun sets and the real monsters emerge.
Tense, beautiful and atmospheric, Dying Light could set a new benchmark in the zombie game genre.
EA Sports UFC
EA only had one previous chance to make an MMA game, and it was a cult hit for years to come. With THQ dead, it's up to EA to carry the UFC license, and they're looking to do so with new console platforms that makes the sport look less like two dolls grappling and more like two okes bliksemming one another for real.
The Elder Scrolls Online
One thing that the Elder Scrolls franchise is notable for, happens to be big worlds in a single-player genre. Well no more of that, as the Elder Scrolls are going online next year. It's a more social Tamriel this time around, and you can bet there'll be plenty of dragons to slay. Fus-Roh-Tadaa!
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
PC gamers don’t get a tonne of exclusive titles, and it must felt like Sony was rubbing salt in their fresh wounds when they snagged this little darling away from them. Six characters, six stories and a tonne of interconnectivity are the key selling points of this apocalyptic PS4 exclusive.
The Evil Within
Survival horror was all but dead over the last couple of years, but with genre innovator Shinji Mikami back behind the wheel to create something terrifying, you just know that no one will be sleeping well ever again after playing this game.
Originally known as Dirty Bomb, developer Splash Damage changed the title of that game earlier in 2013. Described as a team-based, objective-driven affair, Extraction is all about destruction and making a clean getaway. And shooting people in the face, I'd guess.
Fantasia: Music Evolved
Laugh all you want, but this might be the one game that really takes advantage of the Xbox One Kinect hardware to create a game that is a full body workout with even catchier music.
Part scavenger hunt, part co-op and perhaps too much zombie chewing on your brain-genre, Fortnite hails from the studio that brought you Gears of War and a graphical engine that has more steroids than Sly Stallone’s secret medicine cabinet.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd
Dammit, stop laughing! I’m allowed to be excited for at least one Japanese game that’ll make people steer even further clear of me than usual!
All hell has broken loose, and your Metallica merch won't save you now. It's co-op on a FPS genre, and you'll be wielding a combination of magic and metal in order to put Beelzebub and his army back in his hole.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Aw crap, someone dialled the wrong number again. After killing more Eastern-European gangsters than a trilogy of Liam Neeson Taken movies, Jacket is back in a game that prequels the original, but also examines the aftermath of his rampage that left the population of Russia in tatters.
Hyper Light Drifter
Imagine of the Legend of Zelda and Diablo did the nasty, waited nine months for their kid to be born and you'd have Hyper Light Drifter,a combination of the two wrapped up in some retro charm and visuals.
Infamous: Second Son
Cole McGrath may be gone, but his rebellious legacy lives on in Infamous: Second Son. New powers, new skills and a new attitude may make this the sandbox game to look out for on the next-gen PlayStation 4.
J-Stars Victory Vs
If anime and manga fans had a watering hole to call their own, you could bet that there’d be plenty of discussions as to who win in a fight. Goku vs. Naruto? Monkey D Luffy vs. Ichigo Kurosaki? I'm not nearly drunk enough to debate this properly, but perhaps J-Stars Victory Vs. can finally answer these questions once and for all.
Jane Jensen's Moebius
The Gabriel Knight franchise may be in cult classic heaven, but the spirit of that franchise lives on in Moebius, a graphic adventure that'll have players investigating mysteries and conspiracies.
Kingdom Under Fire II
Strategy and RPG genres rarely make for good partners, but when done right the result can shine. Kingdom Under Fire II is going for gold with their second attempt in the high fantasy genre, as it mixes those two genres with a further dose of MMORPG for good measure.
A match made in heaven. Avalanche Studios, the Mad Max franchise and an open world where Australia is even deadlier than usual. There’s plenty of just cause to get excited for this 2014 trip into the radioactive outback.
Mario Kart 8
Simply put, there is no other game out there like Mario Kart. Simple to play and more addictive than heroin, it's the kind of game that might just end up defining the Wii U with its family friendly mix of racing and tortoise shells.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Lord of the Rings games haven’t exactly been the most inspired experiences around, but the next game set in that fantasy universe could be the one title to rule them all. An all new storyline, characters and a focus on third-person action make Shadow of Mordor one to keep an eye of Sauron out for.
Might & Magic X: Legacy
More races than you can toss a Dwarf at and following on in the footsteps of Might & Magic Heroes VI, is the tenth instalment of the Might and Magic franchise that has now left me rather confused.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Most detective games stick to the tried and tested genres of point 'n click and casual spot-the-clue in order to weave a mystery, but Murdered: Soul Suspect is going for a different approach. It's a supernatural thriller where you have to investigate your own death and solve the case, or at least avoid the underworld menace that is stalking you in this potential blockbuster.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution
Yes, Naruto is back and much like a Porsche 911, he hasn’t changed much. Plenty of fighters, justus and most likely bugger-all story development await players who haven’t yet learnt their lesson with this lumbering franchise.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!
Pretty much anyone who had access to a Pentium II with 400 megs of hurtz played at least one Oddworld game. And if you haven’t done so yet, then you’ve got no excuse to miss out on this second helping of Abe when the HD remake rolls around.
2014 might just be the biggest year yet for the Persona franchise, as several new games from that distinctly Japanese RPG will be making a debut, with Persona 5 leading the way.
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare
You may have experienced Plants vs Zombies when it first arrived, but nothing can prepare you for this more action-packed take on the franchise. Mixing team-based gameplay with a green thumb and a craving for brains, Garden Warfare is hitting next-gen in 2014 with a vengeance.
Move aside Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo, because there’s a new challenger in the starting grid. Brash, talented and impossibly realistic. It’s a racing game made from a love of the track, and being completely crowd-funded, it easily shows when this game takes a corner.
Project Eternity/Pillars of Eternity
PC Gamers rejoice, for Obsidian Entertainment is bringing back overly detailed RPG mechanics, and it’s all thanks to your crowd-funding efforts. Fantasy with a massively customisable bend to it and none of those stifling Dungeons and Dragons rule-sets, mixed with the tried and tested isometric viewpoint of yesterday.
Rambo: The Video Game
Will the Rambo video game live up to the very little bit of hype that is has managed to generate? Who knows, but if it allows you to loose at least one explosive arrow into a Russian chopper, then that's a win for me.
Does Shovel Knight bear a striking resemblance to the style and gameplay of Duck Tales and Mega Man? Yes, yes it does. Is this a bad thing? Not at all.
The Sims 4
Get your mouse out, slap on an ego and prepare to play god once again. The Sims are back in town, with new features and most likely enough DLC to drown an entire SimCity in digital expansions.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Toilet humour, badly voiced cameos of celebrities and the ability to cast a fart so smelly, that it is known by the name of Nagasaki. Yep, sounds like a South Park game to us, the first in many years and with Obsidian at the helm of this faithful RPG.
Imagine a universe that is always generating up some new content, but on 2D plane that requires players to constantly scavenge for better arms and armour. Sounds a helluva lot like Starbound actually, and it also sounds plenty decent to me.
Super Smash Bros
It takes a special kind of fortitude to be able to run your way through side-scrolling bullet hell stages of the Schmup variety. It takes even more of that gumption to be able to do so while facing down Cybernetic T-Rexes, asteroids and other threats that are looking to lay the smackdown on the Cretaceous era.
And you’ll need 30 lives worth of that chutzpah in order to survive the time-stream of Super Time Force.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
It’s hard to believe, but ol' Sherlock has been sleuthin' around this particular series of games for over a decade now. The seventh game in the Holmes franchise is boasting a more dynamic tone of play, better visuals and moral repercussions. It’s also going to make you feel like a right buffoon, all over again with those mind-bending signature puzzles.
Hiryu Strider is back, faster and deadlier than ever. Sticking to the 2D roots of the iconic slasher platformer games, Strider has been given a visual makeover to go with his trademark blade and gadgets.
The first game from Respawn Entertainment is finally dropping in from high orbit in 2014, and this could be the game to make or break the Xbox One. High stakes, pure multiplayer action and enough gigantic mechs to rival the entire Transformers trilogy are just par for the course with this shooter.
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure
Back in the day, FMV heavy mystery games were all the rage. Eventually though, those games went the way of power shoulders in ladies jackets and original television content. But in age where you can film an entire movie with your cell phone, Tex Murphy is bringing back the live action suspense in all new thriller based on the cult classic game series.
The Order: 1886
For a game steeped in anticipation, very little is known about The Order: 1886. A mythology of man versus were-beast, steampunk elements and hints towards squad-based action are just some of the rare facts we know about the first of many new franchises headed towards the PS4.
There’s a new reboot on town, and his name happens to be Garret. Drawing a line between faithful to the original and new enough to entice younger gamers, Thief is all about redistributing wealth between the upper class and your empty pockets. Stealth rules, and violence should be avoided in this FPS remake of the classic cult hit.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
You don’t find too many MMORPGs on console, and they pretty much all stick to fantasy when creating their worlds. The Division on the other hand, is staying in the present day, as America faces a plague that has destabilised the nation in a mere five days, leaving survivors stuck in the ruins and faced with ample shortages and all new challenges to stay alive.
From the chaps who brought you Bastion, comes Transistor, a combination of free movement and real time strategy. It’s action with a heavy tactical bend and plenty of gorgeous stylised art that make this one indie game to keep an eye on in 2014.
Ultra Street Fighter IV
Joke all you want about Street Fighter constantly updating, but for fighting game fans, Street Fighter 4 editions are a way of life. The latest version of the game that revived the fighting genre is packed with new tweaks, modifications and balancing acts, while throwing a few new fighters into the arena as well.
Does it suck that Ubisoft pushed Watch Dogs back from 2013 to 2014? Yes, yes it does. But then again, they would have sabotaged their own sales with Assassin's Creed if they hadn't done so. It's a sandbox adventure once again, in a world where your deadliest weapon is sharp wits and a cell phone with unheard of battery life and free minutes. Could Watch Dogs topple GTA V as sandbox king next year? Wait and see.
Carbine Studios has been tinkering away on WildStar ever since 2011, when they debuted the sci-fi MMORPG at Gamescom. It's your usual combat and exploration, but WildStar boasts a more personal touch to customisation, land and even subscriptions, as it heads towards a 2014 release.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Geralt returns once more for the final Witcher game, as he faces demons from his past and in the real world. If you thought the first Witcher sequel was breathtakingly beautiful, just wait until you see the third game in action. It's massive, superb and detailed in ways that should not even be possible.
Xenoblade returns next year, as the Wii U gears up for the one game that could bring back gamers wanting something with more baysplosions and giant vistas than magic mushrooms and screw attacks. The world before you is massive, and the chance to collect mecha is a pretty strong hook in the tentatively titled X.
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
Old school, gory and filled with wacky charm. That's Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, which has you running down hordes of zombies as a resurrected cyborg ninja who has a score to settle with that show-off Ryu Hayabusa. Sounds like a win to me.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
After a disastrous reboot several years ago, the Wolfenstein franchise is back with a vengeance. This time, Bethesda is focusing on the one thing that the last game forgot: Fun.
With more Nazis than you can shake a swastika at, prepare to storm the infamous castle once again and finally put a stop to der Fuehrer once and for all. – Gadget.co.za