A lot of my early gaming was spent playing classic adventure titles from Lucasarts. Day of the Tentacle, Sam and Max Hit The Road, The Secret of Monkey Island, Full Throttle. You know the ones. There are many happy memories spending many hours playing through these games with friends. They had intriguing stories, challenging puzzles and great humour. Then adventure games fell out of style for many years. Decades even.
Until now, that is. Fortunately, someone decided it would be great if they tried to make an old-style adventure game again. And not just anyone, but Tim Schafer from Double Fine Productions, who is one of the forefathers of the genre. So he started a Kickstarter campaign, got buried under a pile of money from people all over the Internet who shouted “shut up and take my money”, and was asked to deliver a modern take on a classic formula.
That game is Broken Age, and it is my most anticipated game of 2014. It’s been a pleasure watching the “warts and all” development documentary, open dialogue between Double Fine staff and backers of the Kickstarter campaign, as well as two great trailers, all of which have increased anticipation for this game. It has all the ingredients: Mystery, beautiful artwork, music, and voice acting from some very talented artists. Can the team at Double Fine Production deliver a game to match the heavy weight of expectation? I can’t wait to find out!
I’ve always hated restrictions. Be it word counts, items at the checkout, or being excited over a specific game release during the forthcoming year. Out of the bunch of games I can’t wait for, and likely will put hygiene and sufficient diet temporarily aside for, there are a few key titles that stand out as the most exciting. While some of these games are new and hugely spectacular, and both of which I’ll be developing RSI over, Fable Anniversary is surprisingly what has me hyped. For a moment, let’s completely ignore the downfalls of the later games, and just appreciate the excellence that is Fable in general. More than anything, I’m looking forward to reliving the story, and rediscovering the world of Albion. To date, I’ve only heard limited information on it, but as a long-time fan, I’ll gladly spend many hours listening to those grating accents, all for nostalgia’s sake, naturally. 2014 looks to be sending some interesting games out into our universe, but to kick off the year, I’ll be looking back, not forward.
With last year having an abundance of amazing games, it goes without saying that 2014 has a lot to live up to. There are plenty of games scheduled for release in 2014, and there is already a lot of anticipation for many of the larger named titles. However, my most anticipated game for this year is Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD for PS3.
Both games were released for the PS2 in the early 2000s, and I remember playing through them with a good friend, being enraptured by the story that was unfolded. I can still remember my surprise when they announced Final Fantasy X-2, the first direct sequel in the franchise and a breaking of the traditional naming convention.
Final Fantasy X is still one of my favourite games of the series, and I was incredibly excited when word of a HD remaster first emerged. I never had the chance to play much of X-2, so it will feel like a new game to me as I don’t have strong memories of the title, but I am excited for the opportunity to play it. Aside from reliving the stories, I’m looking forward to the updated graphics and remixed soundtrack. There is an apprehension from the online community, but I’m reserving judgment until I experience it for myself. I can’t wait for March, and I will definitely be playing it thoroughly to experience the world of Spira again and see what I missed during my first playthrough!
As a huge fan of the InFamous series, Second Son is easily the game I’m most excited to play in 2014. Based on everything that’s been shown so far, all that I know and love about the franchise is present, improved, and expanded on; while there’s plenty of new stuff to keep things interesting. Scaling buildings and blasting wrong-doers with superpowers looks as incredible as ever, but with a new hero, new powers, and a new city to explore.
Delsin Rowe seems like a great character, and I can’t wait to learn more about him. However, what’s most pertinent about him in an InFamous game is that he’s capable of draining other conduits of their superpowers to increase his own arsenal. Using fire or ice powers in InFamous 2, as well as the original electrical abilities, was fantastic, but it seems as if we’re going to have much more to play with this time. The already announced smoke and neon based powers alone are exciting enough, but I can’t wait to see what else the developers have in store. I can hardly imagine a game more fun than unleashing a bunch of superpowers around a beautiful open world!
2014 is shaping up to have more ups and downs than the stomach lining of the neighborhood wino. And amongst what appears to be a revival of the classic “point and click” genre sits The Walking Dead: Season 2 (because apparently videogames have seasons now). I picked the first season up only after it had been released as a complete package (and severely reduced in price), so unlike other players, I experienced it in such a rapid-shot playthrough that the anticipation between episode releases was lost on me. I hungered for the fleshy drama of each new chapter, but I didn’t have to wait like anyone else, and so now I’m spoiled. The Walking Dead Season 2 started out really strong, almost as strong as my confidence in that statement, by quickly inducting Clementine into the misery of life. However, now I have to wait to find out if Clementine and other characters are okay or not. I have to wait for indeterminate release dates to trickle out before I can learn the truth behind what’s going on. I have to wait to see who lives and who dies. The Walking Dead is just incredible, and I can’t stop thinking about it!
Nick: Watch Dogs. Just… That game! I don’t even know why I have to provide a rationale for picking it. Hell, the fact that I’m perfectly fine with it being delayed should give you an insight into how insanely hyped I am for it. Even the utterance of it’s name makes my spine tingle with anticipation, and chances are you’re much the same. There’s something about the “Splinter Cell hiding in plain sight amongst the citizens of cyberpunk’d Liberty City” tone that makes me extraordinarily keen. The scale, detail, and agency the game has teased makes it an easy pick for me. It reeks of a next-gen musk, which by deodorant commercial logic means every gamer within a 5km radius wants to get some, especially me (the really attractive one with huge headphones, clearly). It’s promising mass influence with numerous consequences, and it’s all set in a modern world that understands the technological age we live in. And if it fails to live up to the tremendous hype? Well, we all got over Colonial Marines eventually, right?
Joseph: The game that I am most looking forward to in 2014, without a doubt, is Watch Dogs. In the long line of games that Ubisoft has released in the last few years, each game appears to be getting more advanced, both visually and gameplay-wise. So naturally, Watch Dogs is no exception to this rule, and from what I have seen from the trailers and gameplay videos, it looks to be a fantastic sci-fi open world sandbox. Watch Dogs is also a game where Ubisoft has put a lot of focus on the smaller details to make the world as immersive as possible, and in an open world sandbox, this is a vital key when drawing players in. For me, they have succeeded in doing so. All in all, the moment Watch Dogs is released, I will defiantly be locked away in my room playing it to my hearts content.
For me personally, 2014 is shaping up to be an outstanding year! More often than not, I’m most excited for RPG’s as I enjoy the escapism, as well as the ability to completely lose myself in the lore of another universe. And yet, despite this being a year packed with Final Fantasy, Dark Souls II, and even The Witcher 3, there is another game (from an entirely different genre) which holds my attention more than anything else. That game is The Evil Within!
Survival Horror is another genre which I hold close to my heart, and for different reasons, enjoy losing myself in. However, to say this has been a troubled genre would be an understatement, especially with the constant push to include more action. Silent Hill 2 is my favourite game of all time, and for which I appreciate it’s narrative that transcends conventional storytelling, and an atmosphere that made me want to question my own existence. It is a psychological masterpiece, and ever since, I have yearned for another experience to drag me to hell and back.
When I learned that Shinji Mikami, the grand-father of Resident Evil, was going to be developing an original survival horror game (with the support of Bethesda no less), it blew my mind. In fact, his return to the genre is because he shares the exact same concerns I do. More than anything, I want to experience the adrenaline rush that only this type of game can provide. I want to question my own reality, and also rediscover who I am as a person. This is one of the unique qualities of horror, and why I want to play The Evil Within more than any other.
After a line-up of killer titles that completely exceeding my own expectations in 2013, it’s hard to conjure up the same amount of enthusiasm in the 2014 post-The Last of Us world. A strange thought to have with a bunch of next-gen consoles on the market, a new Metal Gear Solid game and new IPs like Titanfall and Destiny on the way.
Ok, maybe I’m a little enthused! To clarify, it’s the conclusion of a grand RPG that has me chomping at the bit in 2014, and the return of the White Wolf in The Witcher 3. Despite several failings in the first game, it still turned out to be an amazing RPG filled with interesting characters, a mature fleshed out world, and most importantly: dynamic and game changing choices. The sequel, Assassin’s of Kings, ramped things up with some of the most gorgeous visuals ever seen, and an engaging story. The Witcher 3 promises to deliver an open-world environment (which I have to admit I’m still a little suspect about), the culmination of Geralt’s journey of self-discovery, and most importantly, horses! With that said, I’m most interested to see how the choices I’ve made throughout the series impact the new game, and am hoping to see more game-altering decisions the series is renowned for!
Little is known about this first-person open-world shooter. And yet, Sunset Overdrive has grabbed my attention with its energetic trailer that features cartoonish style characters, fast paced action, and to my amusement; a vinyl record launcher gun! Developed by Insomniac Games, this shooter is set in the wake of a disastrous event that has turned the residents of the city into nasty orange mutants. The remaining survivors must team up and fight for their lives as the deadly threat is taking over the metropolis. The gameplay has been described as an ‘agile combat shooter’ as players must fire and act quickly in an elevated environment. Armed with a large arsenal of super-modified weapons, zip-lines and parkour manoeuvres, this is not your conventional, run-off-the-mill FPS!
However, what makes Sunset Overdrive so intriguing is how Insomniac Games are using the power of the Microsoft Cloud to their advantage. The developers have created an open-world environment that is ever-changing and will offer a new gaming experience daily. With the ability to add new content such as weapons and gameplay features, this imaginative and evolving title is shaping up to be one of the most original games the year.
2014 is gearing up to be nothing short of a stellar year for gaming. With some older series being revisited (TWO ‘Tales’ games in one year? Surely you jest!) along with some compelling new intellectual properties arising (The Evil Within is shaping up nicely!). While I’ve been quietly hoping that it’s finally the year Nintendo would redeem themselves with successful resurrections of some of their greatest first-party titles (I’ve been waiting a good ten years for a new F-Zero game as well as a proper reboot of Star Fox instead of a polished 1997 throwback), I feel that it’s not yet that time, and my inner “Nintendophile” will be forced to seek satiation from another source.
With things as they currently are, I’m actually most stoked for the recently announced, Alien: Isolation. I’ve been a big fan of the Aliens multiverse ever since I first got my hands on Aliens Versus Predator (2000), and the award-winning blockbuster Aliens versus Predator 2 (2001) that surpassed all of my expectations. However, with recent incarnations of the franchise proving to be crushing disappointments, I felt a sense of refreshment upon learning that Isolation features a solitary Alien antagonist in a slow-burning nightmarish survival horror, set amidst the established film canon of the first two films, Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986). This apparently Amnesia-inspired horror experience, set within the Alien universe, is certainly looking promising; I know where I’ll be on launch day!
As we break into the New Year and begin looking forward to what the future holds for us, for me, that future is Star Citizen on the PC. This Sci-Fi spaceship simulator is looking to bring all of our Star Trek fantasies to life and has changed how games can be developed, by having the development process as a completely open book. Fans actually have input, and make regular votes on new content, ideas, and can even submit their own ship designs.
Star Citizen is an MMO with high productions values, which first found life as a Kickstarter project with a simple idea: running a ship with your buddies, and taking on everyone else. Millions of dollars in packing, they’ve proven to us with this unique development process that the public can be trusted to make smart choices. Needless to say, this approach has given hope to future indie developers hoping to make it big. If you haven’t jumped on board, I implore you: buy a ship, find some friends, and get ready to boldly go where no gamer has gone before!