We at IRBGamer play a lot of games, and 2013 gave us some of the most memorable games of the past console cycle like The Last of Us and BioShock Infinite. But as we begin a new year, we do so with a new console generation, with promises of grander tales and new worlds to explore, the likes of which we could never have imagined before. Trying to mention all the games we’re excited for in 2014 is beyond staggering, so to narrow it down we decided to list our top 10 games that we are looking forward to!
We needed a few rules in place to help us pick our top titles:
- Requires an actual release date, or a solid release window (e.g. Summer 2014) at the time of our decisions
- Information regarding the game must be enough to give us a good generalization of the game
- How excited we are for the title
- Games we believe will be a cut above the rest
The classic vampire-slaying series received the 3D entry it deserved when Mercury Steam released Castlevania: Lords of Shadow in 2010. Meeting critical and player praise, its visually stunning environments, fluid combat, and story of vengeance that ends with an unexpected twist left players completely dumbfounded. Lords of Shadow concludes the tale of Dracula with a final showdown with Satan that will determine the fate of the world. Bigger world, stylish combat, and the final battle of evil vs. evil-ish will be one we are looking forward to.
9. Alien: Isolation | Q4 2014 | PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
We’ve had plenty of Aliens games that involved hunting marines and blasting Xenomorphs with pulse rifles, but we don’t recall an Alien game that focused on pure survival. Amanda Ripley, whom some may remember being mentioned in Aliens, will search for clues regarding her mother’s whereabouts aboard the Nostromo in this harrowing sequel to the original film. Since the announcement of Alien: Isolation there are decent amounts of gameplay videos that highlight impressive lighting, audio, and atmosphere that builds up unnerving and terrifying tension inside. Unlike most horror survival games found on consoles this one is all in first person; with no HUD, Isolation forces you to use your wits and senses to survive this cat and mouse chase. Creative Assembly painstaking recreated the Nostromo in all of its glorious “70’s vision of the future” and uses the original film’s soundtrack to give us the most authentic and terrifying Alien game ever.
8. Thief | February 25th | PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
It’s been nearly a decade since Master Thief Garrett has emerged from the shadows in his last adventure, Deadly Shadows. After being away from his hometown Garrett returns to The City, a once prosperous industrial metropolis that has now found itself decimated by a crippling plague and under the rule of the tyrannical Baron. But Garrett isn’t a hero looking to save his city; he’s a thief that will use the chaos to claim treasures off of the unsuspecting elite class. Thief is a game full of choices and how you want to go about getting info on the locations of valuables, if you want to get by with brute force, stealth, a hybrid of both, and which tools you want to use. The fourth entry in the series serves as a reboot and reimagining as developer Eidos Montreal has fine-tuned the first-person stealth gameplay to a science, giving players a true sense of being in the boots of a master thief.
7. Dying Light | August 26th | PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
From the developer that brought us Dead Island, Techland looks to once again put a new spin to the zombie genre. Dying Light has similar elements to its brethren, however, two major differences sets Dying Light apart from its predecessors: the freedom to go anywhere with parkour, and nighttime gameplay that dramatically changes your play style. With your skills as a runner nothing is an obstacle and anything can be used to gain vantage, even the undead. Customizable weapons make a triumphant return, helping players keep zombies at bay. However, zombies this time around are deadlier, smarter, and more tenacious than previously seen in Dead Island – that is, until darkness falls. The advantages you had in the daylight vanish as the zombie’s numbers grows and they gain the ability to run and climb just as well as you can. To make matters worse, a new threat emerges only at night and is more powerful than a single man can handle. Dying Light offers an open-world experience that mixes Mirror’s Edge with Dead Island and produces a fast-paced Action-Survival title where using mobility to your advantage can be the difference between life and death. Just don’t get caught out after dark.
6. Watch Dogs | June 30th | PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U
Ubisoft Montreal unveiled Watch Dogs at E3 2012 and left quite the impression on audiences and critics, walking away with such awards as “Biggest Surprise” and “Best New Franchise”. Since then we have learned more about Aiden Pearce, a skilled hacker and former thug, who uses his exceptional hacking abilities to track down criminals after his past led to a violent family tragedy. With Chicago being controlled by a super computer, Aiden can easily access personal information on virtually anyone, hack security cameras, change traffic signals, set up road blocks, and even cause a blackout using nothing more than his phone. The entire city of Chicago is your weapon and everything is under your control in this open-world sandbox game. Aiden is sort of like Batman: a crime resulting in the death of loved ones has led them to vigilantism – except Aiden doesn’t have any convictions against killing, or whether it’s delivered at the end of a barrel of a gun or the broad side of a baton.
5. The Elder Scrolls Online | April 4th (Mac & PC), June 30th (PlayStation 4 & Xbox One)
Fans of The Elder Scrolls (us included) have always wondered what an Elder Scrolls game would be like if they included multiplayer, and ZeniMax Online Studios took that idea a step further. The Elder Scrolls Online is a MMO featuring the majority of Tamriel to explore (with some regions locked for expansion content), three factions to join, the wide customization options players have come to expect from the series, an Elder Scrolls twist to the traditional MMO combat system, and a streamlined UI that makes accepting and completing quests all the more enjoyable. The Elder Scrolls Online will have familiar MMO elements such as raids and the like, but what really sets ESO apart from the rest is the open-world, faction-versus-faction endgame PvP focusing around central Cyrodiil and players fighting for the chance to be crowned Emperor of Tamriel. The PlayStation 4 version of The Elder Scrolls Online is confirmed that it does not require PlayStation Plus to play, hopefully the Xbox One will follow suit.
4. Dark Souls II | March 11th | PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
FromSoftware delivered onto us the two most insanely difficult, yet satisfyingly rewarding games of the past generation: Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. Games today like to hold your hand; if you don’t know where to go then there’s a nice arrow pointing the way. Don’t know how to do something? A convenient hint box pops up. Not with these gems [Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls]. Dark Souls II continues this formula of unyielding difficulty, met with a great sense of accomplishment when you’ve overcome a daunting obstacle that impedes your progress. The universe itself is full of interesting character, gruesome creatures, bosses, and a deep rooted philosophy that is heavily prevalent throughout your travels: “Prepare to Die”. With a world full of things and traps waiting to kill you, that philosophy holds especially true in Dark Souls II.
Dark Souls II is very brooding, and for good reasons; there are no happy stories to be told and even your own goals may not result in a happy ending. But it is this type of storytelling that is sorely missing in games today, one that masterfully blends narrative, gameplay, and atmosphere into one whole and not just into separate elements. Why would people put themselves through such an emotionally draining game? Being masochists may be one answer, or it’s more than likely that this series is unlike any other. It grants us empowerment in succeeding, insight in deeper meanings, and beautifully shows that death is just another obstacle to conquer.
3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt | September 2014 | PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Geralt of Rivia is a superhuman monster slayer known as a witcher. CD Projekt RED has told the witcher’s story of loss, redemption, and secret conspiracies; now at the end of all things they are ready to send him off with a bang in one of the most anticipated RPGs of 2014. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a technical marvel as it boasts the new REDengine 3. Made specifically to deliver a vast open-world game that threads together a complex, multi-thread story, the REDengine 3 does all this without sacrificing visual fidelity and eliminates the need for loading screens.
The Northern Kingdoms is a vibrant land ripe for exploration, filled with colorful character, monstrous beasts, and the fact that you can experience all of this with no loading screens is absolutely amazing. Even with a war being waged between Nilfgaard and The Northern Kingdoms, a more menacing threat will descend upon them: the spectral horsemen known as the Wild Hunt, harbingers misfortune and death. These ghostly riders have been haunting/ hunting Geralt since the beginning, but Geralt does not fear them and seeks to eliminate the Wild Hunt once and for all. With the dynamic and intuitive combat system, stunning visuals, and a game world 30 times larger than previous Witcher titles, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a true next-gen RPG.
2. Titanfall | March 11th | PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One
After a terrible falling out between Activision and Infinity Ward, several people left and decided to form a new development studio. From that day forward history was made. Vince Zampella and Jason West founded the new Respawn Entertainment studio and with much of the creative team that made the first two Modern Warfare games, a new IP emerged, Titanfall. When it was unveiled at E3 2013 the reception for the game was simply astronomical. Titanfall received over 60 awards, including a record-breaking six E3 Critics Awards: Best in Show, Best Original Game, Best Console Game, Best PC Game, Best Action Game, and Best Multiplayer Game. Unlike the generic military shooters that have conquered the genre in recent years, Titanfall is a 6v6 online multiplayer game set on a war-torn planet that, as Vince Zampella describes, brings “scale, verticality, and story” to FPS multiplayer gaming.
Even after E3, the buzz about Titanfall has not waned; all who’ve gotten to play the game first-hand have sung only of its praises. When someone is legitimately excited about something, that excitement becomes contagious, and you end up wanting to learn more about what makes that particular something so awesome that it’s causing this person to gush non-stop. That’s exactly what is happening with Titanfall. Everyone who has had the chance to play it speaks so highly of it that their excitement is fueling and being added to our own until the day when we can finally get a copy for ourselves. Titanfall can’t come soon enough.
1. Destiny | September 9th | PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
In 2010 Bungie completed their final Halo title, Halo: Reach, and has passed the torch to 343 Industries to oversee the franchise. Bungie ended its partnership with Microsoft and headed toward a new path with a new publisher. For a time people were unsure what ventures they would take or if they could succeed outside of Halo. Bungie kept their newest project on lockdown for awhile, only dropping trickles of cryptic hints, messages, and the working title. All throughout 2013, a plethora of information started streaming from the studio and at E3 2013 audiences got to set their gazes on the living, breathing universe of Destiny: an ambitious MMO/Shooter hybrid that mixes the social interactions of massively multiplayer games, with RPG leveling, in first person perspective, and the combat of a shooter. The universe of Destiny takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has been pushed close to the brink of destruction. Only one city on Earth survived the devastation caused by “the Collapse”. A massive spherical celestial construct of unknown origins shielded this last remnant of humanity and has granted a select few to become “Guardians of the City” – champions and defenders of the human-race, tasked with reclaiming our lost lands from the alien species that seek our annihilation.
You cannot easily describe Destiny; it is a culmination of completely different components from completely different genres that create this truly unique experience. Bungie approached Destiny with the intention of “building a universe” that would “take on a life of its own”, so much so that events may happen in-game that were not necessarily controlled or planned by Bungie. On top of all this is the freedom to travel around the solar system in your own ship and land on locations like the moon or Mars with a small group of friends, or solo if you wish. Bungie has identified underlying elements to make the game appeal to as many people as possible: available on nearly all major platforms, accessibility to all kinds of gamers whether you’re a casual, hardcore, or novice gamer, and literally gave us an entire solar system to liberate from menacing foes. The sheer possibilities this game presents is staggering, and to play who you want, how you want, where you want, with whom you want is like giving a kid a weekend long slumber party with all his friends, inside of an amusement park, with all the junk food and soda they could handle. It’s hard to describe what Destiny is, but what we do know for certain is this – Destiny is our most anticipated game of 2014.
There’s a lot of games coming out that we excluded, but we want to know your top 10 games in the comment section below!