2014 will have video games. Of that we can all be certain. If we are lucky some of them will be good. Some might even be spectacularly good. Here are 10 that I, personally, have high hopes for.
In Six Words: Mechs shoot humans shoot Mechs. Yay!
The announcement that Titanfall would be capping its players at 6 v 6 didn’t suck the enthusiasm I have for this game from my gills. Quite the contrary: it made me more excited.
Why? Because a decision like this has consequences and those consequences are already apparent: people whinging, saying it’s ‘not next gen’ enough. Kneejerk reactions have come in droves and you have to know that the folks at Respawn Entertainment knew this was coming.
But they still decided to stick with 6 v 6 regardless. What does that tell you?
It tells me that it’s absolutely the best decision to make for this particular game. It’s the best path to pursue for the balance of Titanfall in terms of how it actually plays.
If this wasn’t the case then why would Respawn make this decision? For the negative publicity? Because they enjoy the groans of the internet’s collective whinge? Because they want to sell less copies of the game?
No. They’ve clearly made this decision because it serves the game best. Because it’s the optimum number of players for the Titanfall experience. This decision tells me that Respawn is putting the game before the bullet points. This makes me want to play Titanfall more than ever.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
In Six Words: Kiefer Sutherland says ‘Metal Gear’ wrong
I won’t make apologies for being a Metal Gear Solid fan. I won’t apologise for thinking that Metal Gear Solid 4 is one of the best games of the last 10 years.
I can’t apologise for being super excited about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Metal Gear Solid in an open world -- it’s been a dream of Kojima’s for a while. It was actually the game Kojima wanted to make last time. But how does one take his unique eye for mechanical detail and spread that into a massive open world environment? I can’t wait to see that answer to that question.
Kojima packs more into every square inch of his creations than most designers place in entire games. It is for that reason that I cannot wait to play Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Metal Gear Solid has always been a franchise that responds brilliantly to being poked by the player. It’s the series that always seems to have an answer for the ‘what ifs’.
I can’t wait to ask questions of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Dark Souls 2
In Six Words: We are in this shit together
It’s almost impossible to discuss Dark Souls without mentioning difficulty. But difficulty has never been the defining aspect of Dark Souls, it’s the design. Dark Souls is difficult by design. Mainly because it wants you to experience its systems properly, experience the environments properly, feel the relief of that closed circle, that moment when you knock a ladder down and create that shortcut.
It’s also a game that fosters community. Dark Souls is such a brutal solitary experience, but it’s also one that we share. Each time a friend begins Dark Souls I get excited. I track their progress. Why is that? I don’t get that same feeling when someone starts The Last of Us.
I think it’s because, simply put, we are all in this shit together. We are being punished, we are feeling rewarded, we are excited, we are scared and we are all in this shit together. With Dark Souls 2 we get to be part of something all over again, from the start. I’m really genuinely excited about that. I’m excited about the tweets, about the conversations, about the posts, the writing, the things we’ll say to one another, the warnings, the laughs we’ll share. There’ll be new bosses. They’ll be so fucking difficult that we’ll whisper their names to each other. When a friend starts the game we’ll ask, ‘DID YOU GET TO ‘INSERT BOSS’ YET? OH SHIT.
That’s what Dark Souls is. If we’re lucky, that’s what Dark Souls II will be too.
EA Sports UFC
In Six Words: Please be like Fight Night Champion!
This is a pretty personal one.
I love Fight Night Champion. I think Fight Night Champion is as good a sports game as any released in the history of ever. Having that same team assigned to EA’s debut UFC game has me absolutely salivating.
As some of you might be aware, I’m a big fan of mixed martial arts, and I’m beyond curious as to how the team will manage to mix the furious mish-mash of fighting styles that makes up the sport. How will they represent wrestling and jiu jitsu? How will the transitions work? What fighters will make up the roster?
I’m really approaching this one like a fan. I’m super excited. I’m going to do that thing where you make your favourite fighter win fights they probably shouldn’t win.
Basically I want this game so I can rewrite history and make Anderson Silva beat Chris Weidman.
In Six Words: Give me pretty puzzles Mr Blow
I loved Braid and I expect to love The Witness. That is really all I have to say about that. It looks fantastic. I know so little about this game, yet I still manage to muster up enthusiasm. I have no idea why that is, but I have to trust my gut. I like unique experiences in video games and I hope/believe that The Witness will provide me with one.
In Six Words: I am ready to hurt again
Trials Evolution was my favourite game of 2012. It was literally my game of the year.
When video games make me feel like I’m actually learning some type of arbitrary skill, and then giving me a chance to practice that skill? That’s when I’m enjoying video games the most. Trials Evolution nailed that better than just about any other video game I’ve ever played. I expect Trials Fusion to continue down that path.
The Trials series has this weird thing going on. When you finish a level you actually feel fulfilled. How many games provide you with that feeling? It feels like learning a language or something, or passing and exam. With Trials Fusion I am ready for the pain, I’m ready for the frustration. I am also ready for that sweet, sweet relief…
No Man’s Sky
In Six Words: Um, really… four people made this?
What do we really know about this game? We’ve all seen the spectacular trailer. We’ve all felt the hype burning in our genitals. That’s all we have. That burning sensation in our nether regions. Weird.
But that feels good, doesn’t it? The mystery. The strangeness. The out and out weird feeling of not knowing what a game is or what it will do, but feeling excited about it anyway. That’s what No Man’s Sky represents. It represents something new and exciting. We don’t get that feeling often. I can’t wait to see more.
Child of Light
In Six Words: Dear Ubisoft, thanks for the nostalgia
There was something special about 16-bit JRPGs. There must have been because we keep going on about them. Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger. These are the games that helped define our tastes and, in many ways our identities as ‘people who play video games’.
I really moved away from JRPGs almost as quickly as I became obsessed with them, but something about Child of Light intrigues me. It evokes that nostalgia, but it also feels fresh and glorious to look at. Looking forward to seeing if there’s substance to all these stupid feelings I’m um… feeling.
In Six Words: Everything seems so very, very big!
Very few games nail a real sense of scale. But those that do manage to evoke wonder.
Games like the original Halo, or Shadow of the Colossus. Or Ico for that matter. The idea that you are a small, tiny thing exploring something ponderous. Below feels like that sort of game, just from the footage we’ve seen so far.
And also the mystery. Below looks so spare. Empty. It looks like it has space. There’s something really intriguing about that. It looks like a video game that I want to explore.
In Six Words: What the hell is this place? And speaking of video games I want to explore, here’s Destiny!
It’s funny how I can be excited about two completely different video games for precisely the same reasons. Destiny is about mystery, it’s about scale. It’s about a world class developer focusing its prodigious talents on one massive video game that we could be playing for years to come. Destiny might be the most ambitious video game currently in development. I think we have to respect that.
Destiny will probably feature a lot of the looting and RPG levelling and numerous other types of cool new online mechanics. It may even reinvent the wheel along the way.
But that’s not what excites me about Destiny. Bungie has created a world I know nothing about. It’s dripping in detail. I need to explore it. That is all.
Well, that's my list. What are you guys and girls looking forward to in 2014?