Ahoy there, Gamer Horizon fanatics! It’s Thursday, which means a brand new Top 5 segment is upon us! This week, we look into our crystal balls and into the future and see what games tickle our fancy that are coming out within the next coming months! Next thing you know, June will roll around and E3 will be here, but are there games between now and then and beyond that we should be looking forward to? Our crew says there are… and they don’t need E3 to be here to know what games they want! So hop on board and let’s see what the crew’s looking forward to in 2014!
5. Dragon Age: Inquisition
I’ll just be blunt and say it: Dragon Age II sucked. It sucked so bad that all those times when I would go back and play Dragon Age: Origins were ruined knowing that my progress would only go to a game that was less than half of the quality that the original had. So, naturally, when Dragon Age: Inquisition was announced, I was skeptical.
And I still am. But I can’t deny that Dragon Age is one of my favorite franchises of the previous generation. And while it’s going to face some stiff competition this year in the form of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I’m still willing to give Dragon Age: Inquisition at least one go. But you only get one chance, Bioware. Make it count.
4. South Park: The Stick of Truth
In case you haven’t noticed yet from my preview from last year’s E3, South Park: The Stick of Truth is easily the most anticipated JRPG style RPG I’m looking forward to this year. It’s got elements from several JRPGs, developed by the folks at Obsidian, and the look of the TV series. What could possibly be wrong with that?
Perhaps it’s the developers. Now, I haven’t been a fan of all of Obsidian’s work. The last games I’ve played that they developed were Fallout: New Vegas, which had great ideas but felt antiquated thanks to the clunkiness of the game engine, and Alpha Protocol, which I liked despite other critics’ complaints about it. But since Matt Stone and Trey Parker have said in many recent interviews that they were more hands on in this game than, say, South Park 64, I’m sure they won’t let this game suck. To quote Matt Stone, “I just hope GameSpot doesn’t give this a 5.”
3. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
When I reviewed Diablo III last year, it reminded me that couch co-op gaming is something that is sorely needed in this day and age. The game proved to me that there is a market for such a product, and I was more than happy to share my experience with Diablo III on the PlayStation 3 with several of my friends.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is a console port of Diablo III that will not only contain the original game, but the brand new Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion as well. And while the game is slated for the PlayStation 4 this time around, I have this little tiny hope that Blizzard somehow finds a way for us PlayStation 3 owners to be able to port our characters from the previous game to this new title. Please, Blizzard. You’re our only hope.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher series quickly filled the void that Dragon Age left me after releasing Dragon Age II. And it helps that the team at CD Projekt RED are some of the nicest people I’ve known since their innocent beginnings at E3 almost a decade ago.
But it’s not enough that the developers are nice and that they gave my then underage girlfriend a beer, not knowing the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, no. The attention to detail CD Projekt RED showed us last year at E3 2013, which has subsequently been only recently shown to you, our readers, is a testament of how incredibly awesome their technologies are for what they want The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to be. It is their magnum opus, a send off to a series that they’ve known for so long. It also promises to be the most immersive western RPG to date, with quests having rippling effects throughout your time in it, as well as having some incredible ways to immerse the player. Let’s hope that they learned from their first console outing, as the interface from The Witcher 2 was quite overwhelming at times.
Unlike Ted, I am very critical of Bungie’s work. I’ve tried liking their games, ranging from their first console attempt Oni, to Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo ODST, and Halo Reach. I just could never get into any of them.
So why is Destiny my most anticipated game of 2014? It’s because Bungie is actually trying to create a world that is not just simply rooted in first person shooters. Yes, you can probably argue that Borderlands as a series has done something similar to what Bungie is trying to do, but the scope of the story of what Bungie is telling spans almost a decade, if they are to be believed. The conflict and struggle within the game will be determined by many of the players that will begin to inhabit Destiny’s world, and while it probably won’t sell as many copies in day one as something like Titanfall, Activision and Bungie are going for a long term play here. Join Destiny early, and you will see more of the story unfold. Sure, you’ll hear stories about it from your friends. But your friends will know what they’ve gone through… the daily struggles to protect their settlements, seeing countless allies fall in battle.
But all these things I’ve mentioned are dream scenarios. Destiny is a take on a genre of MMOs that have all but failed to capture mainstream gamers’ imagination. Will Bungie’s pull be enough for people to be excited for this game? It’s sure captured mine… and I can’t wait to see what wonders Bungie’s new world will offer.
I would have loved to have put Persona 5 on this list, but I think it’s fairly unlikely that we will see a North American release of it in 2014. I also seriously doubt we’ll see Final Fantasy XV or Kingdom Hearts III this year. I guess we know what next year’s list is going to look like.
This week’s honorable mentions go to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and The Sims 4, though I use the term “honorable” with a somewhat sarcastic voice. Though I am honestly looking forward to both games, I am doing so with trepidation. The state of Maxis after the SimCity launch disaster still remains fresh on my mind as we approach the one year anniversary, and I’m furious with PopCap Games right now for refusing to communicate with their fans about when and if Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time will ever come to PC and consoles. At this point their silence is nothing short of insulting, and I can’t help but to look up towards the EA umbrella that looms over Maxis and PopCap Games and wonder if I should just stop caring about their games entirely. Alas, my dedication to their franchises prevents me.
Oh… and here’s a real honorable mention: Infamous: Second Son, which at this point is the only game I can think of that might justify my PlayStation 4 purchase. I cannot believe how much dust has settled upon that system already. I’m getting more use out of my Vita! Anyway, on to the list proper!
5. Defense Grid 2
I love my tower defense games, and Defense Grid: The Awakening is my favorite out of all of them. When I heard about a Kickstarter campaign to fund both a new DLC campaign for Defense Grid and a full on sequel, I jumped on board at once. As I mentioned in The Top 5: Game Mechanics, Defense Grid: The Awakening features a clever checkpoint system that allows you to rewind to any of your previous check points in order to make different decisions or correct your course, taking a lot of the frustration and tedium out of the genre. Between that, some great level design, a ton of fun towers, and plenty of monsters to slay with them, to say that I am looking forward to the sequel is an understatement. I want more Defense Grid, and Defense Grid 2 is easily one of the games I am most looking forward to in 2014.
4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
At E3 2013, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was one of only a few RPGs that left a lasting impression upon me. I’ve always enjoyed the series, though for some reason, I never quite reached the end of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, which has been a staple of my must-play backlog of games for years now. Nevertheless, the thought of taking that series in an open-world direction is exciting to say the least. I always felt constrained by the enclosed zones of the earlier titles in the series and considered it a compromise which allowed the developer to focus on dense, quality content as opposed to a larger, but sparser game. I can only assume that CD Projekt RED has grown considerably over the years and that they no longer have to limit themselves or their imaginations in any way. If they can succeed in creating an open-world title that’s as dense in content as their previous games, then The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt could very well be their masterpiece. Well, assuming they get most of the bugs out before release this time, otherwise we might have to wait for the inevitable “Director’s Cut” to really heap our praise upon it.
Somehow, Watch_Dogs has become one of the most talked about games of the next generation, though to me, it doesn’t feel that way, since I will be playing it on PC. But that doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to it any less. I guess the simple reason that I care about Watch_Dogs so much is that it seems like something new and different. Lately it has been the indie developers driving innovation, but in this case, Ubisoft is paving their own way, and I got completely swept up in the hype. It remains to be seen whether or not they will deliver on all of their promises, but I for one am glad that the game got delayed into 2014. I’d rather a game be well done than raw–as long as it isn’t burnt to a crisp.
2. South Park: The Stick of Truth
I’m a huge fan of South Park and RPGs, so it should be no surprise that South Park: The Stick of Truth has placed so highly on this list. But the real reason I am excited about this particular South Park game is that South Park Digital Studios is working in collaboration with Obsidian Entertainment, or to be more specific, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have a huge hand in this. They wrote the script, they voiced the characters and they are overseeing the entire project. There can be no better endorsement than that! I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on this game.
1. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
I suppose I’m a glutton for punishment. But despite all of the complaints and internet uproar over Diablo III and its various shortcomings, I played hundreds of hours of the game, and consider it to be a quality product overall. But as much as I enjoyed Diablo III, I cannot completely disregard the criticism posed against it. Though I enjoyed using the auction house, I will not miss it, and fully acknowledge its detrimental effect on the game, and how it diminished the joy of searching for loot and collecting gear. In fact, I might go so far as to retire my old characters, just so I can re-experience the game as it would have been had the auction house never existed.
But that’s just one small part of why I am looking forward to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Personally, my biggest issue with the original game was that it did not feel random enough, and that playing through the game again and again and skipping through storyline sequences made the game feel tedious at times. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls promises to put the random back into Diablo in a variety of ways, the most interesting of which is the new Adventure Mode. Blizzard describes Adventure Mode as a “sandbox mode, where players have the freedom to explore and play the game however they like.” It unlocks all the waypoints, allowing the player to completely ignore linear progression and redundant storyline elements. It also includes two of the game’s new features: Bounties (randomized objectives) and Nephalem Rifts (randomized dungeons), which both promise to further diversify every playthrough. Personally, I can’t wait to play Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.
If you asked me a year ago if I were ever going to be excited about a Diablo game, my answer would’ve been no. But playing through Diablo III on PlayStation 3 made me really look forward to another trip to Sanctuary, and Ari is right on board for the PC version.
I decided to keep my list strictly with games that are confirmed for this year.
5. Wolfenstein: The New Order
I had the pleasure of going hands on with MachineGames’ Wolfenstein: The New Order last year just prior to E3 and was impressed with what I experienced. Mixing parts of old school Wolfenstein design – health packs, armor, tons of weapons at once, secret stashes – with modern shooter controls and design – ADS, leaning out of cover, verticality to levels – the results were 60fps of pure, difficult shooter joy. I’m really hoping fans of the series take to this game because it’s very clear that MachineGames cares about the series but at the same time want to bring it to the modern shooter space without the kicking and screaming usually associated with modern updates of classic games/genres. Though I have a feeling the old-school design might put off those weaned on Call of Duty this past generation.
While I admit that I’m not the biggest Bungie fan (I don’t really think anything involving the word “Halo” is all that interesting or fun to play) I am a fan of what they’ve been showing of their new game. It looks ambitious, gorgeous, expansive and most of all, fun. I’m also a fan of them including ADS into the controls. Looking forward to partying up with some PS peeps and exploring this world.
I’m still impressed by the showing this game has had. I love the concept, the look, the setting, the genre, all of it. I also really like Ubisoft as they’re one the most ambitious big publishers out there, using their franchises’ success to fund new IP like this. I also respect that they won’t release a product they feel isn’t up to snuff just to make a release date. Sure, not having this at the next gen launch kind of stung a bit, but knowing how well Ubi takes care of their games, I’m confident it will be all for the better.
2. inFAMOUS: Second Son
I’ve been pretty lukewarm on the inFAMOUS series thus far. While I have found the games fun to play, I’ve felt the stories and writing has been pretty uninspired and generally forgettable. And the voice acting? Ooof. Cole McGrath is one of the most grating protagonists I’ve ever played. Why on earth Sucker Punch would think this put on gravely voice would be interesting or fun to listen to for hours on end is well beyond the limits of my understanding.
That said, at the very least, they’re doing a much better job with the voice acting this time out by casting the vocal chameleon, Troy Baker, in the lead role of Delsin – a character that actually seems to be enjoying his super powers. Time will tell if the story is any good, but man, does this game look gorgeous. This is easily the first showcase of “next-gen” tech available on any platform and I can’t wait to have it in my eyeballs.
I’m buying an Xbox One just so I can play this game.
I am a Bungie fan and have been since 1993. They tend to take a genre and revolutionize it. See Marathon, Myth, Halo. Destiny might be another shooter, but Bungie is free to try something new. To me, Bungie is a Blizzard, a developer that takes existing mechanics from other games and polishes them to a fine sheen. Let’s see what they have to offer at the end of this year.
4. South Park: The Stick Of Truth
This one just looks better and better. With the whole thing written and voiced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, this one looks like it could be one long episode. Very loosely based on the recent “A Song of Ass And Fire” trilogy from the latest season which was one of the funniest things they’ve ever done, this game will write the wrongs of South Park 64 and Chef’s Luv Shack.
3. Super Smash Brothers For Wii U/3DS
This has to be better than Brawl. Already, through the small previews that Nintendo has released, Sakurai and his team appear ready to make a more technical, core-friendly fighting game. There’s a lot of surprises left, but this should hopefully be worth the wait. I want it to be, anyway.
2. Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney
No. Shut up. There’s no way this game would ever be made. Oh snap, wait. Yes, it’s real, and it’s coming to 3DS in 2014. I just love the bejeezus out of both of these franchises. Yes, I know crossovers tend to be fanboy bait, but I am a fanboy who is ready to be baited. I can’t wait to see how the mechanics of these two games come together.
1. Ultra Street Fighter 4
As I was sitting in Super Arcade playing a location test for Ultra Street Fighter 4, it dawned on me two things, that this game was very much like the other Street Fighter 4 games I had played in the past, and that I totally didn’t care and I am ready. When this comes out, it’s going to reinvigorate the playerbase, and I’m getting in on the ground floor, to play with a bunch of other excited people.
What a wide variety of games, folks! Did anyone mention games that you personally are looking forward to? How about games that you might want to see in 2014? Sound off on the comments below!