The year 2013 wasn’t a bad one at all for video games. We had a new Bioshock, a new Dead Rising, a new Grand Theft Auto, and even Lara Croft came back for a new-ish Tomb Raider, or at least a reboot. Advances in ‘next gen’ hardware systems gave new life to favorite franchises like Call of Duty and Super Mario, and innovations at the smaller level made mobile gaming even more of a genre of its own.
We’d love a year like that every year. And given that many of the best games were actually sequels or else within the same game universe as past titles, this is entirely possible that lightning will strike again.
Will it strike in 2014? Perhaps, as there are some great games in the works. The PS4, WiiU and Xbox One are all going to be solid platforms with plenty of potential for epic games, but there are still some fans of PC games and mobile games out there.
Here are some predictions of what popular titles you can start reserving now and making space for in your game cabinet or system’s memory if you’re a downloader.
Garret is back and fourth time is the charm. Actually, the previous three incarnations of this action adventure have had a certain amount of charm, but Eidos Montreal is promising big things with this spring release of a new title, including a possible reboot of the character’s back story. The game has a lot of promise nine years ago – instead of a hero who goes in with all guns blazing, you learned that being sneaky and stealthy was a better strategy.
Racing fans have seen it on PS4 commercials and want it bad. Unfortunately, Evolution Studios scrapped a fall 2013 release for the PS4 and moved its debut until the first quarter of 2014. The last minute tune-up will hopefully add a few more bells and whistles to the first-person driver. It allows characters to challenge each other to races, acquire new skills and hardware and go on increasingly more challenging driving missions.
Think Call of Duty but with big robots, or ‘mechs’, which is what the cool kids are supposed to call these human-driven robot-like suits. This first person multi-player shooter from Electronic Arts/Respawn Entertainment will let the mechs battle each other epically and smash through futuristic cities. We’re expected to see plenty of vertical and horizontal movement – mechs will be able to climb, jump, drop and roll.
7. Alien: Isolation
Games set in the Alien universe have been kind of iffy. Aliens vs. Predator for the Genesis long ago was pretty good, but the recently released Aliens: Space Marines wasn’t pretty at all. But Xbox One owners might consider getting excited for this one that takes players back the original Nostromo that now happens to be full of hungry aliens instead of just one. Expect stellar graphics and a spooky atmosphere.
Another Xbox title that could be exciting for plenty of players involves a basic formula we’ve seen plenty of times – build up your players, weapons, armor and stats and go on missions through space. But in the hands of Bungie, which made Halo: Combat Evolved, it could be a lot of fun and long-term playing possibilities. Expect single and multiplayer options, a compelling story and some great visuals.
5. 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
This game offers you a great game of soccer/football without all the messy Brazilian politics involved. EA has been creating these great tie-ins during World Cup years, so every four years, the technology improves dramatically. The 2014 version allows you to pick a national team and follow it through the finals, and is expected to be available for the Xbox 360 and PS4.
4. Rambo: The Video Game
Today’s gamers might have to ask their parents or grandparents about this 80s action hero, but Sylvester Stallone’s one-man army may find a new audience in this first-person shooter from Reef Entertainment. Luckily, this game follows the arc of the first three films so players will learn what makes John tick – and use all sorts of weapons from knives to helicopters.
3. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation HD
If you think this game is soooo 2012, you’re sooooo wrong. Actually it did first debut that year, but Ubisoft plans to release it to take advantage of the new Xbox 360/Live Arcade, PS4/Playstation Network and PC/Windows. The historical-based open-world adventure is set in the American colonies during the late 16th century and features the game’s first female protagonist.
Another blast from the past, but better, is the return of Strider, a popular coin-op and NES game way back in the day. The main character could jump high, do crazy flips and wield a mean blade, and now Capcom has updated him for 2014 for PS3 and PS4, Windows and Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Here, Strider again roams the city in search of justice and bad guys to beat up or shoot. He can arm himself with a variety of weapons, including a sweet-looking plasma cannon. Capcom wanted him to have all the powers of the original hero plus some new fighting abilities.
1. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Do you care that this is actually the 10th installment in the Metal Gear Solid franchise? Probably not. True fans like the opportunity to explore new worlds, and newcomers like the chance to jump right in and start blasting stuff. One twist of this new adventure is that you can have side adventures between actual missions, something that never was possible in past titles, where you jumped from stage to stage. You also can change how the story unravels, so more of an open-world feel compare to the more linear plots we saw in the past.