It’s time to fill a fresh calendar with new games to get psyched about.
Not even two weeks in, and we’re already counting the days until certain promising prospects launch.
From funny to fearsome, these are some of the games 2014 has in store, starting with the kids from our favorite Colorado town.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
After a few delays and a change in publisher (R.I.P. THQ), it looks like South Park: The Stick of Truth may actually see the light of day in March.
With the guys behind Fallout: New Vegas at the wheel and South Park’s creators closely involved with production, we expect one awesome role-playing game. This will be a must-play for any fans of the show.
We look forward to delving deep into the South Park universe, with its showlike animation, voice acting, and humor. Just be sure to level up a bit before attempting to face Randy’s offensive Nagasaki move.
With all this talk of the NSA spying on citizens through their electronic devices, Watch Dogs never felt more real. After taking the gaming world by storm at E3 2012, it was sure to be a big holiday hit for 2013. Unfortunately, it was delayed until early 2014, and we now wait impatiently to don our hacking devices and satisfy our voyeuristic guilty pleasures.
You play as Aiden Pearce, a vigilante with an aptitude for hacking into just about anything. With his skill level, attacking bank accounts, traffic signals, and even background checks are child’s play. Whether you use the power for good or mischief is up to you, but you can bet the police won’t appreciate the intrusion.
Whether you’re free-running around versatile maps or ejecting from massive mech-style war machines as they explode, you’ll find lots to love about Titanfall—a game that blends single-player campaigns and multiplayer matches.
In fact, the entire game takes place in multiplayer matches, with each side fighting for a stable footing on a war-torn planet, inching ever closer to the enemy’s evacuation drop ship. Despite being multiplayer-only, Titanfall is slated to gain a number of single-player aspects such as a running plot and AI players with their own dialogue.
A timer counts down until a Titan (a mech war machine) can be called, though you can shorten that time by blasting away baddies. But you still have a chance, even if you’re mech-less: Get a good position by sprinting up a wall and double-jumping to a roof, then blast the Titan from behind.
Dark Souls II
There are challenging games, and then there’s Dark Souls, a masochistic gamer’s dream come true. Lucky for us lovers of hellish difficulty, Dark Souls II will hit the shelves soon, offering more untimely demises.
With each death, you learn a little more about your surroundings. Don’t step on that crack: The cliff will give way and you’ll fall to your death. Don’t turn that corner: A swinging spike will defend that corridor with armor-piercing force. After the first 15 deaths and a little gear looting, you may be ready to move on to the next area.
With improved graphics and a world twice the size of the original, Dark Souls II will no doubt have us smashing every keyboard we own in frustration.
When Double Fine Productions’ Tim Schafer, the creator of Grim Fandango, wanted to make a new point-and-click adventure, nearly 90,000 people listened and pitched in for the project. They raised over $3.3 million, and now Broken Age is on its way, with the first of two acts slotted for a January release.
Broken Age is a whimsical-looking adventure based on two characters who are dealing with two very different problems. A young girl is chosen by her village to be sacrificed to a monster, and a young boy leads a solitary life aboard a spaceship equipped with an overbearing computer. Play as each of them to experience coming-of-age adventures and escapes from peculiar predicaments.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
What more could we possibly want from Hotline Miami? A sequel complete with more violence, a confusing storyline, and a new “hard mode.”
Yes, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number will have a hard mode that makes enemies harder to kill and that takes away some of the more helpful abilities.
The story will take place both before and after the original game, just to make it extra disorienting. A movie is being made centered on the violent events of the first game, and you get to be the main character. Other playable characters consist of fans who go out and murder random thugs as an homage to their vigilante hero, The Jacket.
Check out the demo we got to play at E3, and discover why it still haunts us.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
A nuclear bomb isn’t the only thing that can bring about an apocalypse. The Division’s end time is a disease that manages to bring the United States to its knees in a mere five days. You attempt to preserve what semblance of civilization remains.
The game will take place in a massively multiplayer, open New York City, after the disease has ravaged the population. Team up with friends to raid supply caches and fight those who stand in your way.
As far as MMOs go, The Division also doubles as a beautiful third-person shooter, a rare combination that may set a new standard.
The Elder Scrolls Online
If there’s one place we’d all love to visit in 2014, it’s The Elder Scrolls’ Tamriel. Luckily, you can enjoy an extended stay once The Elder Scrolls Online is released.
For the first time, Elder Scrolls goes multiplayer with this MMO. Unfortunately, if you were looking forward to visiting your favorite characters from Skyrim, Morrowind, or Oblivion, this game takes place nearly a millennium before they were born. On the bright side, though, you’ll get a chance to be part of the myths and lore you read about in the other games.
We look forward to setting out and exploring the world with friends, even if it means shelling out $15 a month.
Puzzles used to be a quaint family activity that involved sitting around a kitchen table with a large, cut-up piece of cardboard. In 2014, the creator of Braid is here to redefine that genre with The Witness.
You’re an unnamed man on an uninhabited island, destined to complete puzzles to unlock the mystery of the mountain that resides at the center. Many of the puzzles will be obvious at first sight, such as a maze on a board. Others will be much more subtle and may blend in with the scenery and setting, adding an extra layer of complexity. It will be up to you not only to determine how to complete a puzzle, but also to understand how the puzzle fits in with the island as a whole.
Yes, we expect many sleepless nights full of head-scratching and aspirin-popping.
By day the zombies are bumbling and slow, dangerous only in large numbers. Use the sunlight to scavenge for supplies and carry out missions in the large, open, urban world. But make sure you’re back by sunset, after which the zombies become fast and nimble killing machines, gaining the abilities to climb walls and jump. After dusk you also risk an encounter with the Night Hunter, a zombie so secretive it’s almost mythic—until it shows up to kill you.
You’ll have to use your street smarts, traps, and gymnastic abilities to survive through the night and prosper during the day. Plus, vaulting over a zombie to kick another in the face is pretty dang cool.
Aspiring hackers and spies, rejoice: It’s your time to shine in Quadrilateral Cowboy, a cyberpunk puzzle-hacking game straight from the 1980s. Grab your briefcase-size laptop bristling with 256MB of RAM and a 56K modem, and your best-fitting ski mask.
Blendo Games takes you back to the block-style Thirty Flights of Loving and Gravity Bone universe, where you must pull off some high-tech heists, complete with proper coding syntax. You must write lines of code to disable doors and alarms, but you'll have to work fast: If they’re disabled too long, it will raise suspicion. You’ll need finesse and speed to walk the line between master thief and superhacker, but Quadrilateral Cowboy is sure to be the perfect training tool. Oh, and it will teach you to always check your code: A simple syntax error could land you in the slammer!
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
For those who thought Skyrim was too small: You’re crazy. Luckily, The Witcher franchise is returning to provide one of the largest worlds in modern RPG history (20 percent larger than Skyrim). The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may be the last game completionists will ever have the chance of buying.
The previous Witcher games provided jaw-dropping visuals and choices that led the player down various branching paths. However, developers CD Projekt RED have built a new engine that focuses solely on nonlinear RPGs in a huge open-world environment. Say hello to more game-altering choices, and say good-bye to loading screens.
The Evil Within
It may not be a Fallout sequel (though we’re still crossing our fingers for that to arrive this year), but Bethesda is hard at work cashing in on the survival-horror trend with The Evil Within.
We all love a good scare now and then, but you’d better pack another pair of underwear. The live-action trailer is enough to keep me up at night, and the extended gameplay video kept me on edge the entire 12 minutes. It looks like a brutal mashup of Amnesia, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and The Ring.
From what I can tell, it takes place in a variety of creepy places, including a derelict asylum where you wake up hanging from a hook. Chances are you’ll be sneaking, running, hiding, and whimpering like a baby as you scavenge for the next item that will keep you alive for another two minutes.
Speaking of Fallout, we can look forward to the looooooong-awaited sequel to 1988’s Wasteland, which inspired the post-apocalyptic RPG genre. Meet Wasteland 2.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, key members of the original game’s development team reunited to make a proper sequel. While many modern RPGs have gone the route of real-time, first-person action, Wasteland 2 will adopt a semi-overhead, third-person view and will be turn-based, with a party system (think classic Final Fantasy).
The other members of your party will be customizable, along with a few prebuilt, nonplayable characters complete with their own opinions, agendas, and personalities. You’ll have to decide yourself whom to trust after the nukes fall.