Okay, my last two list posts have proved pretty popular, so I thought I’d have a bit of fun gearing up for the next lot in 12 months’ time. This is something I’ve wanted to do for the last couple of years, but I never thought of doing it online.
Basically, the idea was that just before the start of the new year, I’d take a look at the Wikipedia pages for the upcoming year in film and game releases, make a potential top ten list based on my impressions so far, and then hide the file away for comparison after twelve months. The only problem is, every time I’ve tried it, I’ve lost the original file. But doing this online means I can’t do that, and it means you all get to do the comparing with me in a year’s time. It also means I have to think harder to justify why each game gets its position on the list, rather than putting them on there haphazardly and hoping for the best. So, without further ado, my potential top ten games of 2014!
10. Dragon Age: Inquisition (Bioware, PS4)
BioWare has been conspicuously absent for all of 2013, so I’ll be interested to see how the reaction to Mass Effect 3 and The Old Republic has affected their development strategy. I thought Dragon Age: Origins was an excellent RPG, but Dragon Age II was hot garbage in every area except characters. I’m an eternal optimist, so I believe they can take all the negative feedback and turn the franchise around. But not to the point where it’s as good as the original game, so it takes tenth place on this estimated list.
9. The Order: 1886 (Ready At Dawn, PS4)
Okay, so I don’t know anything about this game other than it’s a third person shooter set in 1886 with a sort of fantasy clockwork aesthetic. But that sounds right up my alley, and Sony have a pretty solid track record with first party stuff. I think this will be the PS4 exclusive for Q3/Q4 2014, and while I don’t think it will be as good as something like the Last of Us, I fully expect to enjoy it more than Killzone or Uncharted.
8. Dying Light (Techland, PS4)
Yeah, I know, aside from some cool combat mechanics, the Dead Island games were ass. But the gameplay demos shown for Dying Light so far look pretty cool. It seems like they’ve taken the stuff people liked about Dead Island, jettisoned the other nonsense, then added in the free running stuff from Mirror’s Edge. Only without the crappy enclosed levels that held back Mirror’s Edge. If the whole game can live up to the promise of what those mechanics offer, it could be the thing that gets me excited to play another free roam zombie game. If not, I guess Dying Light will be dead on arrival.
7. The Division (Ubisoft, PS4)
So, it looks like Ubisoft is doing a thing now, where they save a mindblowing reveal for the end of their E3 press conferences. In 2012 it was Watch Dogs, and in 2013 it was The Division. I’m a little worried, since we haven’t seen anything new since that initial reveal. But if the full game manages to live up to that vertical slice, then holy shit. But yeah, it’s not higher on the list, because I’m worried it won’t.
6. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt Red, PS4)
2013 has been devoid of big western RPG releases, what with both BioWare and Bethesda taking the year off. But 2014 has them back in force with both Dragon Age and The Witcher making a return. This is higher on the list, because The Witcher hasn’t disappointed me like Dragon Age did. Even though I only played the second one on Xbox 360, and didn’t finish it because it got too hard… But this one looks pretty great! I love the sort of Viking aesthetic, and the mythology of the Wild Hunt is cool as hell. So I’m excited to get my hands on the conclusion to the Witcher trilogy.
5. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (Dennation Games, PSVita)
Not really a whole lot of logic to this one, except that Hotline Miami took my number five spot this year, and Wrong Number looks like more of what I loved about the first one. I got my hands on the demo at the 2013 Eurogamer Expo, and liked what I saw, aside from sucking at it due to it being on PC. Provided the Vita release happens in 2014, I can see it making the list, and quite high up if it manages to maintain the quality.
4. The Evil Within (Tango Gameworks, PS4)
Despite being almost single handedly responsible for killing off the survival horror genre, I happen to think that Resident Evil 4 is an excellent game. Now that Shinji Mikami is away from his Capcom overlords, I’m excited to see what he can do with a new IP. Gameplay videos so far show something that looks like RE4 gameplay in a world not unlike Silent Hill. That alone is enough to make me excited.
3. Destiny (Bungie, PS4)
Simply put, Bungie haven’t let me down yet. The Halo series went from strength to strength, culminating in the excellent Halo Reach. And now they have the budget of Activision behind them, who (despite how I feel about Call of Duty) know their way around marketing and publishing a shooter, so here’s hoping they do right by Bungie and help ensure Destiny is as great as they promise. Also, it looks like Borderlands, only everyone is Boba Fett.
2. Watch Dogs (Ubisoft, PS4)
Such hacking. Much surveillance. Wow. But seriously, Watch Dogs had one of the most impressive and surprising E3 debuts of recent years. And follow up gameplay footage shows it looks a bit like Assassin’s Creed in a GTA world. Only with hacking. This one might be a bit high up on the list, but coming off the great Assassin’s Creed IV, I have faith that Ubisoft can deliver another winner.
1. Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch, PS4)
And here we are. There was perhaps no first party game I enjoyed more in the previous generation than Infamous. Taking the idea of a superhero game and wrapping it around third person shooter mechanics was a stroke of genius. Adding electricity related parkour made the whole map a joy to traverse, with electric cables and train lines to grind everywhere on. And everything I’ve seen of Second Son looks phenomenal. From new protagonist Delsin Rowe (who is modelled off and voiced by the unstoppable Troy Baker), through to all the new power sets, this game is the reason I bought a PS4. And despite what Sucker Punch has said, I’m not ruling out a return from Cole until I’m back at the main menu after the credits have rolled.
And now, the rest…
Assassin’s Creed V (Ubisoft, PS4)
I mean, we all know it’s coming. I want it to be as good as, if not better than, Black Flag. But I can’t put it on the list without even knowing what setting they’re going for. I’m hoping they continue the piracy theme, only in 19th Century China, just so I can have Ching Shih in an Assassin’s Creed game.
The Crew (Ubisoft, PS4)
The concept of the Crew is solid, but a racing game has to be pretty spectacular to make the list. Unless they fix the floaty driving that plagued the Eurogamer demo, it’s not going to happen. By contrast, the driving in Need For Speed Rivals is dramatically better, and I forgot about it completely when making my 2013 list.
Dark Souls II (From Software, PS3)
I’d like to think I’ll complete the first one some day, but I know I’ll remain in the endless cycle of leaving my bonfire, dying, then quitting the game. Maybe I just don’t have the skill set or patience. As it is, I don’t know if I’ll get the second one.
Persona 5 (Atlus, PS3)
The odds of this getting a 2014 release anywhere other than Japan are slim to none. It’ll probably end up on my potential games of 2015 list, possibly high up depending on what’s announced at E3.
South Park: The Stick of Truth (Obsidian, PS3)
It’s notable because it’s Obsidian and because Matt and Trey are involved. It’s not on the list becase Obsidian’s track record isn’t great, and the delays have left me nervous. Please prove me wrong.
Thief (Eidos Montreal, PS4)
I want it to be at least as good as Dishonored was. But the way they talk about stuff like making jumping context sensitive has made me nervous. Thief games are supposed to be hard guys, I don’t need or want my fucking hand held.
Wolfenstein: The New Order (Machine Games, PS4)
Machine Games are made up of former Starbreeze employees who worked on Escape From Butcher Bay and The Darkness. Aside from that, resurrecting the Wolfenstein brand again is an eyeroll. I loved Return to Castle Wolfenstein as much as the next guy, but Wolfenstein 2009 was enough for me.