Now that the massive holiday rush is over, the game industry gets to enjoy some relative peace and quiet before the near-holiday-like pressures come back in March. It is a fitting time to all sit down and get excited for some games that are coming out this year. Sure, some games may have “expected launches” this year, and could as easily be delayed to next year. As of the time of this writing, I have confidence that most of these games will happen this year. So, with portables established their presence, new consoles moving forward into the post-launch time period, and the PlayStation 3 still getting supported, here are the ten games I am most excited for and hoping will come to 2014.
10. The Elder Scrolls Online – Fifty percent of me really wants to not like this game. Another forty-nine percent is totally ok with the game’s existence and is willing to give it a chance. The last one percent is thinking that this game will be the next big thing for MMOs and I will be forced to join in because all the people I know will. Whether that one percent will happen will not be determined until the game is released, but the forty-nine percent is why ESO is on this list. ESO has so much potential. Cyrodill was huge, and Skyrim is probably a bit bigger. Can you imagine adding Hammerfell, Morrowind, Elsweyr, Valenwood, and the Summerset Isles to that list? The land size is colossal. There is endless potential to be had here. Now, quantity is nice, but quality is where my concerns are. I might be proven wrong and the game may actually be good. That is also a concern, because if I really like ESO, I now have two MMOs devouring my soul…
9. Bravely Default – The only pre-PlayStation Final Fantasy game I played was a Nintendo DS remake of Final Fantasy IV, which I liked a lot. Bravely Default is a spiritual successor to the spinoff Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, with combat and job system similar to Final Fantasy V. Having played neither of those games, I can’t really say if this game is quite similar or not. Having played the demo though, it has the feel of an older, traditional Japanese RPG, with menu-based combat, and an overhead world view. It should be interesting.
8. Dragon Age: Inquisition – I have liked BioWare quite a lot less as the years went by, but I still am forced to care because I still like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, mainly because of the old games. It feels like a hostage situation. Even though Dragon Age II was disappointing, I am still very confident in BioWare’s ability to continue good story writing. They say decisions will have bigger impact, but implementing such ideas is quite time consuming if you are planning more than three different endings. DA: Origins did pull such an idea off, so maybe they can pull it off again. They say the gameplay is more tactical, which is nice. They also say that you can choose between three different races, much like DA: Origins. It all sounds like more like DA: Origins, which is wonderful because I love that game. However, it remains to be seen whether the development team actually makes the game feel unique and special, like DA: Origins did.
7. The Sims 4 – I like The Sims, love The Sims 2, and think The Sims 3 is really mediocre. Even so, there was multiple times in The Sims 3 where I would spend endless hours getting my Sim out of poverty and to the point where he could afford a decent-sized backyard pool. I do not know much about what is going to be new in The Sims 4, but I do hope they bring back (or most of it) the open creativity that the Sims 2 gave, where you can design your own neighborhood from scratch and where things do not run as cumbersome as they do in the third game. I’m not looking forward to the many expansions they will shove out, but I am looking forward to more entire days lost to life simulation.
6. inFAMOUS: Second Son – Past inFamous games were about an electric (literally and figuratively) super hero. Now that has been expanded with the ability to steal powers from other people. That brings quite a lot of variety to a game that already features some really nice city traversal, cool power effects, and emotional endings. Speaking of endings, I am really curious what they are going to do with the story of this one, now that Cole MacGrath died in the canon of the game.
5. X – Not much is known about this game, so not too much to get excited about yet. What is known is this game is made the same people as Xenoblade Chronicles. Xenoblade is a really difficult and super hardcore RPG with one of the most beautiful open worlds I have ever seen and one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard. Ever wondered how beautiful Xenoblade could have been if it ran on hardware like the PS3? X on the Wii U is going to be gorgeous. Also, you get to travel in a mech in an open world, really cool. I just hope I can finish X, because Xenoblade was hard to the point where it was difficult for me to fully support it.
4. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes – This game is a prologue to the actually Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain game, and it was stated that this game will not be very long. The combination of a prologue and short length is suggesting to me that it likely not be anywhere near as good as Phantom Pain, but it will be cool to experiment with some of the stealth gameplay that will be in the part two MGS V. After Metal Gear Solid IV, I am hoping for this game to be a tech masterpiece, or at least very close to one. As for story…well, they say that they are cutting down on cutscene length, but if I can still eat dinner and it’s still not over, then mission not accomplished.
3. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U – I am not as crazed about Smash Bros. as I was back in the days before Brawl came out, but it is still my kind of fun fighting game. While all the updates are telling me it is nowhere near as much of a leap as Brawl, I still am looking forward to purchasing the game twice, for both of my Nintendo systems. Imagine, having a portable Smash Bros. that you can play with people while standing at a midnight launch is going to be awesome! And it is Smash Bros., probably one of the best party games I can think of. Yeah, I hope the roster list has more new characters, and that the game is more than just Brawl for 3DS and Wii U, but I still am excited to have some fun action with friends.
2. The Walking Dead: Season Two – It is quite interesting how some of the best-told stories in gaming in the last two years just happen to both be in post-apocalyptic zombie environments. With the surprise of Season One gone and The Last of Us telling arguably an equally good story, it will be interesting to see how Telltale games will make Season Two better. From the looks of Episode One, Telltale is going in quite aggressive by doing grueling things almost immediately, which may or may not be a good thing. However, things are looking great so far, and Telltale is getting a lot of credibility. I think they will pull off a great Season Two.
1. Destiny – I don’t pay much attention to Destiny, but there are two things that keep me very interested in this: It is made by Bungie, and everybody is talking about it as if it was to be the signature game of this year’s holiday season. Bungie managed to make me a fan of Halo: Reach, even though I usually ignore just about every shooter in existence. I watched a video about the classes of characters, and noticed the world seems to have this animated quality about it. It is an online game, defined as a “shared world shooter”, so it is something that would make for great fun with friends, and there are no subscription fees. Since it is made by Bungie and many people, including my friends, are likely to play it, it might make me buy a PlayStation 4 earlier than I think.