What do we want? These games! When do we want them? This year!
Ugh. Mondays, am I right? They're a day that people don't like because you have to do stuff and things after (maybe) not having to do those things, you know? Lame.
Let's reverse the trend and brighten the day with a positive. A list of some of Destructoid's most anticipated games of this, year 2 of Anno Luigi. That's 2014 for you streets behind Luddites still operating in AD.
Titanfall (PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360)
Titanfall is my most anticipated for 2014 for many reasons. The biggest being that I've missed being part of an online first-person shooter community as I just stopped after Black Ops II. The genre has been run into the ground and I simply stopped caring. That was until the Titanfall reveal during E3 where my love for shooters was rekindled with that very first demonstration.
It appears as just another shooter, but there's so much more on offer. From the seamless and intuitive controls that lets you soar through maps, to just how solid the combat is on foot or within a mech, everything about Titanfall represents what the next evolution of FPS games should be all about.
Starbound (PC, Mac)
To be fair, I have already been playing Starbound for about a month now. However, it is in an early beta state, which has involved several progress-erasing character wipes, and is missing a lot of content. Still, what I have played has been utterly breathtaking in its scope and execution.
Space exploration has always been a dream of mine. To visit a previously uncharted world, discover places that have never been seen before, interact with the potentially hostile environment and local organisms, is something I only wish I could ever do in real life. Using procedural generation for just about everything, including planets, biomes, flora, and fauna, Starbound gets the closest that a game has ever come to creating a unique, fully explorable galaxy. Though I will probably never visit another planet, and I may die before humans master interstellar travel, I can spend hundreds of hours exploring the virtual galaxy, and despite its pixelated look, I can imagine myself as a physical entity exploring those alien worlds.
Promised for the full release is a more fleshed out storyline, which will help to lead players through unlocking the mysteries of the great unknown. I cannot think of anything I want more than the mystery, exploration, and discovery that Starbound has in store.
Watch Dogs (every console ever)
This might be a bit of a cheat considering that we wrote this game into our "Most Anticipated" list last year, but let's just say that if Ubisoft hadn't found a reason (a good one from the looks of it) to delay Watch_Dogs and let it come out as planned a couple of months ago, then I'd have a PlayStation 4 by now. Indeed, it was - well, would have been - the reason for me to become an early adopter. I've never met an Assassin's Creed game I didn't enjoy (thank goodness I haven't needed to review them), and early looks at Watch_Dogs pointed at it being the modern-day Assassin's Creed game I always wanted, sans all the Desmond silliness.
Interestingly, the multiplayer and shared-world aspects of the game, what with an almost Dark Souls-like option to enter other players' single-player experiences, blend some of the most fun aspects of Assassin's Creed's current multiplayer with the open-world compulsions that Ubisoft and its teams have down pat. I can't wait so see if Watch_Dogs can finally get us hacking the planet right and proper in 2014.
Super Smash Bros. (Wii U, 3DS)
Gawd do I love Smash Bros. I’ve poured countless hours into Melee, and while Brawl never captured me in the same way, I have much higher hopes for the upcoming installment with Namco Bandai hopefully keeping Sakurai in check. I’ve already got the same excitement that I had prior to Brawl’s release, thanks to the daily screenshots posted on the official website (sort of like the Dojo!). I’m always wondering what new character or item will be shown off next, and anticipating the next video just so I can see it in motion.
My biggest hope for the next Super Smash Bros. is a great diversity of characters, and gameplay that leans more towards the quickness of Melee instead of the floaty-ness and tripping-ness of Brawl. I don’t care if I can wavedash and shffl, but I do want a more competitive game. One with an excellent online mode.
Destiny (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360)
Bungie is most well-known for Halo, and for good reason. It was a technically impressive first-person shooter that combined a narrative-rich universe, various innovations, and tight, addictive arena-based multiplayer that sky-rocketed the popularity of the original Xbox and made itself one of the most successful franchises of the past decade (and probably ever). But now Bungie has cut ties with Microsoft -- and the IP that made it famous -- and it's been almost four years since we've played a new Bungie title. How do you follow up something like Halo?
Well, with something like Destiny. A role-playing first-person shooter in a post-apocalyptic mythic science fiction open world setting sure is a mouthful, but it's the only proper way to describe what the former house of Halo has cooking for 2014. If Borderlands, Fallout, Mass Effect, and Final Fantasy were thrown in a blender, Destiny is surely what the final result would be. But then, it's also doing completely new things that we haven't really seen before with a persistent, dynamic online world controlled completely by player action (described by Bungie as a "shared-world shooter") being of particular emphasis. It's these new ideas with the backing of Bungie's ambition, and their proven history of executing on it, that has Destiny very high on my list of most-anticipated games of 2014.
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Mario Kart 8 is quickly becoming the game I simply can not wait to be released. Each screen and video they show has me literally frothing at the mouth trying to quickly spy where short-cuts and tricks are on each map and course. I love playing these games with friends, and my wife and I get very competitive with this series, so this looks like another chance for us to try to one-up each other (no pun intended). There seems to be a lot of variety with the vehicles as well, with some karts looking more like ATVs, the flight or glide abilities from Kart 7, and...is that a hover conversion? The character selection is also great, though I still don't understand how Baby Mario and Adult Mario can exist in the same game. That's gotta be some sort of time-paradox or something.
The way the karts change and adapt to each new terrain; from gliding through the air, to riding on the walls, even upside down, has me excited to play this with friends. Whether online with buds or at home with various controllers on the couch, the series has always been a mainstay of parties in my house, and I'm looking forward to continuing the tradition in HD. And everything looks amazing in this game too. I've been absorbing every detail, screenshot and trailer out there, hoping to see more, and every time I'm in awe of how damn gorgeous the game looks. It can't get here soon enough.
Infamous: Second Son (PS4)
Infamous: Second Son is my most anticipated game of 2014, but not what I'm most hopeful for. In many ways, it's this doubt that make me most eager to get my hands on it; impatient for its release. You see, I've always had this on and off love affair with the Infamous series.
Infamous was a perfectly serviceable open-world game, but was mired in a story with awfully dull characters, and a twist ending that felt purely random and uninteresting. Infamous 2, however, almost turned me into a fan. The platforming was tighter, the new fire and ice powers made everything more interesting (Ice Launch + Lighting Tether = Awesome Sauce), and the story was wonderfully crafted tale light years ahead of the first, with gloriously gut-wrenching endings awaiting you whether you chose good of evil. It also helped that New Marais was a far more interesting setting than Empire City. I'll take swamp lands, flooded districts, and French quarters over a generic concrete jungle any day.
Now with Infamous: Second Son, I'm hoping that love will keep burning. Delsin's ability to collect superpowers Peter Petrelli-style looks interesting, and so far I'm digging the story's X-Men style government vs. conduits set up. Seattle is an interesting enough setting, if for no other reason than that games have never really explored it in any big way. I do hope though that there will be more woodland and forest environments to play in. The Pacific northwest has some truly beautiful scenery, so it'd be a shame if Second Son relegated itself to city streets and sewers. Also, neon is somehow a super power. Either something is going very right or very wrong.
Ultra Street Fighter IV (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Casual or non-fans of Street Fighter might have heard about the announcement of Ultra Street Fighter IV, the fourth update of game, and thought, “Oh, here comes Capcom just cashing in on the loyalty of their fans.” While the game has been both great to play and watch for the past two years, this is a much-needed update to a game that was beginning to lose its edge. The current version of Street Fighter IV has been the same since late 2011. For once it seems that the people at Capcom have been listening to the fans and have begun to implement changes that fans have been wanting for years.
The changes that have been announced are as specific as adjusting frame data and damage for certain characters, as well as broad updates that will change how the game is played as a whole. One of the most important of these is the addition of a delayed wake-up mechanic. This will change the meta of players relying on mixups and unblockable setups and reward more of a footsie-focused game. No longer will characters like Akuma be able to make rounds seem like guessing games. They have also announced the addition of past Street Fighters Hugo, Rolento, Elena and Poison; as well as a fifth character that is female and “has never been playable in a Street Fighter game.”
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS3, Xbox 360)
If you guys know anything about me it’s that I love Metal Gear. Without a doubt it is my favorite video game series above all others, so when Metal Gear Solid 5 was announced you better believe I was beyond excited. I have admittedly spent more than my fair share of time dissecting every trailer, tweet or whatever I can get my hands on to formulate all sorts of crazy theories on how Metal Gear Solid 5 is going to pan out.
Ground Zeroes, takes place in 1974, right after the events of Peace Walker. After receiving word that Paz, the double agent working for the Patriots, is being held in an American camp in Cuba called Camp Omega along with Chico who tried to rescue Paz himself, Snake gets tasked with sneaking into the aforementioned camp to get them out. It is during this time away that Mother Base gets attacked and taken out eventually leading to Big Boss being knocked into his coma, which forces Major Zero to begin the “Les Enfants Terribles” project and leads players into the Phantom Pain.
Beyond the actual story setup I have just described, Camp Omega seems like it can easily be re-purposed into many different mission scenarios. We have seen with not only different mission setups at different events, but also the Sony and Microsoft exclusive DLC “Déjà vu” and “Jamais Vu,” which not only change objectives, but game aesthetics as well. Between this and the real-time day and night cycle changing how enemies are placed and how they react, Ground Zeroes is shaping up to be a pretty great package that is budget priced as well as available on most platforms. Rest assured I will either be streaming or YouTubing the crap out of this once it comes out. Now to just finish my Metal Gear series playthrough before March.
The Division (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The reason I'm anxiously awaiting Tom Clancy's The Division is two-fold. On one hand, I'm fascinated by stories of urban deterioration and social collapse. The Division's approach to this through the use of procedural destruction and dynamically-unwinding narrative has it poised to possibly be the most convincing of apocalyptic tales videogames have ever seen.
More importantly, The Division might act as a litmus test for some ideas that may soon become commonplace for console titles. Ubisoft's seemingly corporate crusade to "blur the line between single- and multiplayer" will be in full effect, whether players like it or not. The Division will probably be the most refined game that's in the best position to succeed with this infrastructure. If it can pull it off, other companies will likely look to replicate this approach; if it's a mess, console gamers might be spared this built-in DRM for a bit longer.
Yarn Yoshi (Wii U)
Kirby's Epic Yarn was the most fun I've had with the franchise since Kirby Super Star. Another title from Good-Feel, Yarn Yoshi, is on track to elicit similar feelings for an IP I've felt let down by since the wondrous Super Nintendo days. We're actually getting two new games starring Yoshi in the near future, the other being Yoshi's New Island, though it's the aforementioned project I'm most interested in at this point.
There's concern that Good-Feel's utterly adorable art direction won't feel as unique a second time around, but I'm sure the developers have tricks up their sleeves. And besides, we've hardly seen anything of the game yet. It just goes to show that despite only seeing less than a minute of footage, Yarn Yoshi still appeals to me so much that it's among my most-wanted games right now. That's the power of cute (and a well-designed platforming foundation).
Dark Souls II (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
There are many games I'm excited to play in 2014, but all of them pale in comparison to Dark Souls II. Although I'm a tiny bit concerned based on the recent beta event, it's still very much a Souls game. In that regard, it'll most likely challenge everything I've learned as an action game enthusiast, and all I want to do is sit down and play it from start to finish.
I frequently praise the Souls games, mostly because of their ability to trick and captivate me like pretty much nothing else on the market. I don't know what's coming next, and that element of surprise is what drives me to keep playing them. Most of the game's areas and enemies are a complete secret, and I'm counting on a boss or two to having me throwing my controller at the wall.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Transistor (PC, PS4)
In previous years, working out a "most anticipated" game for the upcoming year was still a stab in the dark. However in 2014, I know the game I'm looking forward to the most is Supergiant Games' Transistor, the follow up to their debut title Bastion. What's making it the top game I'm looking forward to is because I was one of the first people to get my hands on the game at PAX East in 2013.
In the game, you'll control Red, a nightclub singer who comes into possession of a huge sentient sword dubbed the Transistor; people are going missing in the city and sinister white robots are guarding the streets whilst the bodies pile up. Where is the trouble coming from, who stole Red's voice and what is the Transistor? The actual gameplay is a mix between action and turn-based strategy; Red can use the transistor to cue up moves and abilities and then have them play out in real time. In between having those abilities recharge Red will have to dodge and avoid enemy attacks. It's a great mix of styles.
You can tell this is a Supergiant game from the first second you play Transistor; Jen Zee's distinctive art style is present, along with Darren Korb's melodic score and Logan Cunningham's voice is slightly softer voicing the Transistor. Whilst some might worry about Supergiant simply repeating themselves, I like the fact that an indie studio is developing a strong sense of style. After my hands on earlier in the year, I can't wait to play the full game in 2013.
Cat Girl Without Salad
Cat Girl Without Salad, the upcoming visual novel puzzle fighting shmup rhythm action RPG RTS was originally announced for 3DS, DS, Wii, Wii U, XBLA, PSN, PC, PC, iOS and Android, with a tentative release date of Fall 2013. Sadly, Fall has come and gone, and the game is nowhere to be seen. I'm guessing that WayForward may have bit off a little more than they could chew.
Missing the tentative release window hasn't stopped fans from producing incredible Cat Girl Without Salad art in massive quantities. There is even a fan made OST! WayForward must be very excited to have such a large and passionate pre-installed fan base for their upcoming game which, if you must know, is definitely not a joke, actually.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
While there are plenty of other games I'm looking forward to in 2013, I probably wouldn't complain too much if you told me I was only allowed to play The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. Like numerous courtesans, milkmaids, and Dryads throughout the Northern Kingdoms, my stance on Geralt of Rivia has quickly gone from skeptical wariness to passionate infatuation. The earlier games in the series did almost nothing to grab my attention, and when I first tried to play The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings on 360, I found it frustratingly dense and I eventually gave up.
When The Witcher 3 was revealed in Game Informer, my interest was piqued, but mostly for rather shallow reasons: The game will be open-world. Geralt has a beard, and the ability to jump. Several of the new monsters have really cool-looking antlers. Upon seeing the game in action at E3, I was sold. The Wild Hunt looks like as much of a leap forward from it's predecessor as the The Witcher 2 did from the first - probably even more so. Upon returning home from E3, I was so excited about The Wild Hunt that I immediately started reading the books. Can you believe it? A video game got me so excited, I'm actually reading books. That's nuts.
Gravity Rush 2 (Vita)
Gravity Rush was my Game of the Year in 2012. It is my favorite-looking game. Anime blends into French comic aesthetic. Distinct regional skies are vibrant, varicolored oil paintings. Pointed line work serves as draw distance, as if the world was alive, sketching itself out in front of you as you soar about with the most invigorating locomotion.
Everything about it speaks to my soul. The blend of mystery and whimsy of its first two acts give way to a surreal, metaphysical third that questions what it means to exist. There is a cat. I love the cat. It is alive in the way that only cats are, as a bundle of aloof physical perfection.
I had feared I would not get more Gravity Rush. I am getting more Gravity Rush. I don't know what that entails, beyond the wonderful art above, but when everything else goes to hell this year, at least I will have that. It will probably be enough to make the Vita my favorite system three years running.
I hate Mondays. *laugh track*
What are some of your steeping, amnion-encased hotly anticipated games of 2014 (2 AL)?