Just before the end of 2013, Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U hit stores loaded with the newest technology and hardware to carry the future of gaming throughout the coming years. Those of us who were fortunate enough to grab one of these new consoles over winter break may be starting to feel apathetic towards these new systems due to a low number of popular franchise games. While it is to be expected that the most desired games do not release alongside their consoles, the wait between now and the big releases of this year will be well worth it. Here is the shortlist of what games to get excited about for this year.
“Watch Dogs”– Ubisoft, expected second quarter 2014
“Watch Dogs” had a great demo at E3 2012, and helped showcase the potential of the new console technology at E3 2013. Set in a futuristic Chicago, the player controls Aiden Pearce, a vigilante capable of hacking into most electronics. The kicker is this virtual Chicago is secured and integrated with a super computer known as “CtOS,” the Central Operating System, which controls almost every bit of tech in the city. Through Aiden, gamers explore the advanced cityscape and complete storyline objectives by hacking various technology and engaging in combat, both hand-to-hand and firefights. While the main plot has yet to be revealed, the story revolves around information warfare, representing what could be espionage of the future.
“Destiny”– Bungie, September 9, 2014
One of the bigger surprises at E3 2013 was hearing that Bungie, the mastermind company behind the Halo franchise, was moving its focus from Microsoft to Sony. Have you ever wanted to take on the superhuman abilities of Master Chief and rally with your friends to take on galactic threats against humanity? “Destiny,” an upcoming lovechild of the first-person shooter and role playing game genre, does exactly that. Gamers are invited online to protect a dynamic, ever-changing utopia that will become anything but stagnant. Developers aim to provide a living world in which events occur that are not controlled or scripted. What has become coined as a “shared world shooter,” players will come in contact with other like-skilled and geared players matched by a new matchmaking algorithm in both cooperative and competitive aspects of the game. “Destiny” will begin beta testing this summer on the PS3 and PS4.
“Super Smash Bros” Wii U/3DS – Nintendo, expected 2014
Anyone who games on Nintendo technology is well aware of the upcoming addition to the Super Smash Brothers franchise. Coming to both the Wii U and 3DS, this Super Smash features the high definition graphics offered on the Wii U and new playable characters. There will be exclusive stages to both the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game, which will reflect the popular games on each system. Die-hard fans check the official Smash page daily as the roster is updated with new and returning characters. As of now, the list of new combatants includes Mega Man, Rosalina and Luma from “Mario Galaxy,” Villager from “Animal Crossing” and the Wii Fit Trainer. Finally, assist trophies, which were absent from Super Smash Brawl, are making a return. The wonderful little battle aid shout-outs to other Nintendo games will be included, with a confirmed list that contains Skull Kid from Legend of Zelda’s “Majora’s Mask” and a French Bulldog from “Nintendogs”.
“Infamous: Second Son” – Sucker Punch Productions, March 21, 2014
Those who stuck it out through the credits at the end of “Infamous 2” saw protagonist Cole MacGrath out at sea struck by lightning in the form of a question mark, suggesting the story is not yet complete. Set seven years after the end of “Infamous 2,” “Second Son” features protagonist Delsin Rowe, a graffiti artist in Seattle. Developers plan to include every aspect of the new DualShock 4 in gameplay, and rather than restricting the gamer to one set of powers based on their moral alignment within the story, there are now multiple avenues of powers which allow for various play styles. Keeping true to the parkour elements of the previous entries in the series, along with additional combat refinement, “Second Son” is a Sony PlayStation exclusive and a can’t-miss this year.
“Dark Souls II” – From Software, March 11, 2014
“Dark Souls II” easily stomps out all competition as the most anticipated game of 2014. When the first “Dark Souls”, sequel to “Demon Souls”, came out more than halfway through the lifetime of the PS3 and Xbox 360, it nearly shamed most other games in terms of beauty, story, and overall gameplay. With a fortunate early release date in comparison to other anticipated games of this year, “Dark Souls II” will be everything its predecessor was in greater magnitude. The game’s more powerful graphics engine is boasted in gameplay videos, showcasing terrifying encounters, crisp weather effects, and sublime environments. Developers have also refined their artificial intelligence, enabling enemies to react to a broader range of player actions. Lastly, because adversity and challenge are core elements to the game, when prompted to choose your starting difficulty, “easy” is not even offered. Prepare to die!