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The most anticipated Xbox One, PS4 & Wii U games for 2014

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As we begin 2014, we revel in the fact that this year will be one unlike any other. Finally, the Xbox One and PS4 will see games push the boundaries of what people think is possible from a gameplay perspective and of course, from a visual one as well.

We'll be seeing everything from open-worlds, RPGs, MMOs, puzzlers, racers and it wouldn't be gaming if we didn't have shooters. This year will see the return of some of the biggest franchises and the debut of some highly anticipated ones.

Who knows what 2014 will bring in each of these games, but what we do know is that we are hungry and ready for one of the most important years in the industry's history.

This feature was a join-publish effort on the parts of Justin Andress, Brooke Wylie and Steve Ruygrok.

Destiny
Destiny Activision

Destiny

Don’t say this game is just Borderlands meets Halo because it has so much more to offer than that. While there are similarities and references to things we’ve seen in the past, Destiny is something completely new.

Bungie has built up one of the biggest worlds and has filled it with some of the most intriguing characters, gamers themselves. Customization is at the heart of Destiny and it’s going to be one of the biggest aspects of the overall experience.

Yes we still have a lot to learn about Destiny and there is some convincing for Bungie to still do, it’s impossible to deny this game as one of the most anticipated all year.

Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Inquisition EA

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Fans of the hit-or-miss Dragon Age series have high hopes for the series' third installment, Dragon Age: Inquisition.

After the lukewarm reception of Dragon Age 2, Bioware has responded to fan criticisms in hopes of resurrecting the flagging series. Dragon Age: Origins (the first one), saw players take on the role of a young Grey Warden who faced the nearly impossible task of fending off an invasion of goblins and orcs (called darkspawn) led by a wicked evil dragon. The plot was a fairly standard arc that saw our hero travel the land, thwarting evil and gathering allies in the hopes of ending the invasion.

Dragon Age 2, meanwhile, followed an episodic structure focused on Hawke, the Hero of Kirkwall. The plot was berated as too disjointed, the dungeons were dismissed as repetitive and boring. By and large, the game was dismissed.

Which brings us to Dragon Age: Inquisition, which looks to be mimicking the structure of the original (only it's bigger and prettier) in an effort to win fans back. Gamers will play as the Inquisitor, a man (or woman) who is trying to put the world back together after the disastrous events of Dragon Age 2.

Expect wide open spaces, plenty of distractions, and some bada** turn-based combat when Dragon Age: Inquisition hits shelves later this year.

Driveclub
Driveclub Sony Computer Entertainment

Driveclub

We can already tell what you're thinking: a racer is a racer is a racer. They don't ever really change, they just get prettier. Why would I forego a Grand Turismo to play some upstart I've never seen before?

Because simply seeing Driveclub will make you a believer. If it's true that looks are the only things that determine a racing game's worth, than Driveclub has definitely put a few car lengths between itself and the competition. The game is gorgeous. Stunningly gorgeous. Like, you absolutely have to see it for yourself, jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

That's not the only incentive the game's creators are using to get gamers hooked, though. Driveclub is allowing players a host of new online options that are sure to get your engines revved. From standard online player-versus-player races to actually managing a racing team with friends, Driveclub is already working hard to make a name for itself.

If you don't fancy yourself a speed enthusiast, it might be time to revisit your feelings, because this is one racer that will definitely command your attention. The PS4 exclusive is set to release later this year.

Dying Light
Dying Light Warner Bros.

Dying Light

Dying Light promises to be one of the most alive worlds we’ve ever seen in a survival-horror title.

With a world that looks absolutely delightful to traverse across, is looking to redefine both the open-world experience, as well as survival-horror genre.

Parkour is the main form of traversal across the world and it is setting up to be one of the more interesting next-generation titles in the first half of the year. We’ve had the chance to see some fantastic looking gameplay, but hopefully the first-person aspect of this game helps compliment the parkour element, not hinder it.

Techland has been working hard on this game for a while and it is shaping up to be one of the surprise titles of the year.

The Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online Bethesda

The Elder Scrolls Online

Are you tired of being restricted to one measly, incredibly detailed, expansive, time vampire of a country when you play a game in the Elder Scrolls series? Well those irritations (and most likely your social life) are about to end when Bethesda launches The Elder Scrolls Online this June.

What should you expect? Pretty much the same gameplay you found in Skyrim, only more. The world will encompass the entirety of Tamriel (that's 9 whole countries), and feature the same obsessive level of interaction that has marked every installment in the series since Daggerfall. Everything from combat to exploration has been moved over to an online environment that will allow you to play with your friends (or enemies) as you see fit.

While some have balked at the additional $15 monthly fee required to travel to Tamriel, it's important to weigh the vast amount of content that will be coming your way against the extra cost. Considering the Elder Scrolls Online is setting itself up to feature about 15 games worth of content, a little extra cash on top of the base price doesn't seem like too much to ask.

Whether or not Bethesda and Zenimax will be able to capture the same spirit and excitement of the single player experience remains to be seen, but given the company's track record, we have more than a little faith that they'll get the job done.

Fable Legends
Fable Legends Microsoft

Fable Legends

When are they going to stop ruining the Fable series, you ask? Right freaking now (I hope).

After the mediocre Fable 3 and the straight up dismal Fable Journey, the folks at Lionhead (minus founder Peter Molyneux), are getting back to their roots for this expansive MMO set in the world of Albion centuries before the events of the first Fable (so don't expect any guns).

Players descending into the world of Albion will be able to play alongside four friends (or bots if you're the loner type), as they wander between a variety of unique towns and villages ridding the world evil types. Or causing tons of mayhem. Given the series' emphasis on choice, we have to assume that players will be allowed to go the way of the saint or blaze a path of destruction, depending on what they're in the mood for.

While not a lot is known about Fable Legends so far (and the odds are good it'll get pushed into 2015), the dev team responsible for the game has claimed that they are re-emphasizing exploration and openness in the world.

At to that Fable's undeniably unique and charming aesthetic (it's like Charles Dickens did a whole bunch of acid and then tried to write a re-imagining Don Quixote) and this is definitely a game to look forward to when it hopefully launches later this year.

Halo 5
Halo 5 Microsoft

Halo 5

At this exact moment, we know approximately two and a half things about Halo 5. And most of that info is either a rumor or subject to change. All we know for certain is that it will be extremely pretty (most likely), it will involve an old enemy (maybe), and Master Chief totally pulls off the flowing robe look.

Oh! The studio behind the game, 343 Industries, has also been recruiting pro Halo players, so rest assured that the series' focus on arena combat will stay as strong as ever.

Beyond that, game devs are keeping a tight lid on game details (at least for the time being). Of course, they have that right. When you're talking about a game as storied as Halo, where you have a built-in audience and a fanatical fanbase, secrecy is to be expected. Of course, that doesn't make it any easier.

But, come on, you know what you're getting. It's Halo 5. It's going to big, explosive, beautiful and essential. You know, basically everything you could want in a first person shooter experience.

No release date on this one, yet, but 343 has confirmed it will release in 2014 (still, though, don't get your hopes up), and that more details will be released at this year's E3.

inFAMOUS: Second Son
inFAMOUS: Second Son Sony Computer Entertainment

inFAMOUS: Second Son

We only have to wait until March 21 to get our mitts on this open-world installment in the inFAMOUS series. Set seven years after the events on inFAMOUS 2, players find themselves in a locked down Seattle, controlling Delsin Rowe, a graffiti artist.

One day he encounters a Conduit and his own powers are awakened, giving him the means to fight back against the oppressive Department of Unified Protection, which has seized control over Seattle. 

Sign us up, we’re still suckers for superpowers in an open world. Like the previous games in the series, Second Son is a PlayStation exclusive title.

Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 Nintendo

Mario Kart 8

Show of hands, who is tempted to buy a Wii U for the express purpose of being able to play Mario Kart 8. You’re not alone, friends, yes, there are plenty of other fun looking titles on Nintendo’s latest console, but none of them has the nostalgia factor and fanbase to rival Mario Kart.

There is something timeless about a game that is effortless to learn, but takes some dedication to master. The latest trailer for the title shows off some pretty sci-fi looking new tricks and a host of new tracks.

So take us off to the races again...and cough up a release date already, Nintendo.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Konami

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

The Metal Gear series has a long history, and not simply because the series is drowning in the kind of ultra-dense mythology that's usually reserved for role-playing games. For almost 30 years, Metal Gear games have set the standard for stealth gameplay, offering intense, difficult gameplay that rewards creativity and persistence.

The series' installments have been hit-or-miss, but there's always been elements of innovation that have redefined the genre at every turn, and the latest game promises to continue that tradition. The newest game in the series, Metal Gear Solid V is being released in two parts. The first part, Ground Zeroes is set to be released in the next few months, with the second half coming at some point in the future. That's not the twist, though.

The fifth full game in the series is open world. Moving into the realm of "stealth simulator," series creator Hideo Kojima wants gamers to approach this installment with an unprecedented amount of freedom. Metal Gear Solid V promises to offer a take on stealth gameplay that the world has never seen, and we simply can't wait.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Warner Bros.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

An open world video game that allows us to range and explore in the Lord of the Rings universe. Set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, has players take control of Talion, a ranger who finds himself resurrected with Wraith-like abilities after being killed by Sauron’s forces.

His whole family slain like he was, Talion makes his way to Mordor to exact his revenge. According to reports, the name uses a new feature called the Nemesis System, which remembers the player’s interactions with various character types they encounter, and adjusts future reactions to the player by those characters accordingly.

In other words, it’s best not to make too many enemies for yourself before you’re comfortable with Talion, as what goes around will most definitely come around.

Project Spark
Project Spark Microsoft

Project Spark

This one's going out to all you creative types out there: ever wanted to play a game your way? I'm not talking about making lots of choices a la Fable, or picking whether you want to be stealthy or loud, or even customizing your skill set.

I'm talking about complete control over the world. Who are you enemies? Where do they spawn? Where are towns and villages? How difficult is the game? What's the plot? What kinds of weapons will you use? What are your character's motivations? Is the map snowy, lush or barren?

Are you a casual gamer, a fan of RPG's, side-scrollers, tower defense, first person shooters? Do you like magic in your games? Guns? Seriously, your only limit is your imagination.

Add to all that what promises to be a robust online community and consistent updates and additions, and you might be looking at the most inspired (and original) game so far this console generation. Okay, so we might be like two seconds into the console generation, but Project Spark is still something Xbox owners will want to keep an eye on when it releases later in the year.

Quantum Break
Quantum Break Microsoft

Quantum Break

Is Quantum Break an action game? A sci-fi shooter? Is it a TV show? Is it a time-traveling mind-bender? Honestly, it's a little bit of all of those.

The folks at Remedy, best known for the Alan Wake series, aim to weave live-action footage into a hard sci-fi plot and fast-paced gameplay in a way never before seen by audiences. While games that have relied on live-action sequences don't exactly have the best track record, if there's a storytelling innovation to be found, the people at Remedy are probably your best bet to find it first.

It's not all a long television episode, though. Alongside a choice-heavy, branching plot, players will be put in control of a variety of powers that manipulate the flow of time as they attempt to thwart the game's villain. Also, guns and cover.

It remains to be seen whether the gameplay will balance out the audacious, experimental storytelling when the game comes to the Xbox One later this year.

Sunset Overdrive
Sunset Overdrive Insomniac Games

Sunset Overdrive

If there’s one title we are extraordinarily excited for, and know essentially nothing about, it has to be Sunset Overdrive.

First revealed back during E3 2013, Sunset Overdrive is a stylized open-world shooter that promises a living, breathing world for players to traverse across.

The studio has always been known as one that can come up with some of the most unique, creative artillery for players to utilize, and we expect nothing less with Sunset.

The game’s announcement trailer teases some fun, wild and wacky game mechanics and we can’t freakin’ wait to get our hands on this open-worlder.

Even with information being as scarce as it is, Sunset Overdrive is on our minds and we can’t get it off.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS
Super Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS Nintendo

Super Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS

For those of us who grew up with the Super Smash Bros. series chances are pretty good that at some point or another we staked our local multiplayer prowess on the ability to rack up consecutive victories against any and all comers.

With a host of returning favorites: Mario (of course), Marth, Samus, Link, Zelda, Pit, Kirby, Bowser, Fox, Pikachu, Pikmin & Olimar and the newly confirmed King Dedede (to name a few), and a slew of new additions: some promising (Sonic, Mega Man) and others admittedly befuddling (the Wii Fit Trainer?), this classic brawler looks every bit as fun as it was back in the days of Nintendo 64, and perhaps even more given some fresh abilities, challengers and environments.

The Crew
The Crew Ubisoft

The Crew

Even though we’ve had our fair share of driving games thus far in the new generation, we are excited for The Crew. This racer does not seem like the ones we’ve seen in the past few months.

The open-world aspect and built-in online components make this game one to keep an eye on. As someone who isn’t the biggest racing fan, The Crew has the chance to create a new opening for players that aren’t interested in your typical racer.

Barring further delays, we should be able to experience The Crew later this summer or fall.

The Evil Within
The Evil Within Bethesda

The Evil Within

Something survival-horror games can forget to do is to slow down the pace of play for people. The Evil Within does not look like a game that is going to miss out on this.

We’ve had the chance to see several demos of the game and it looks to be committed to slowing down the gameplay pace, and making players earn their progression through the game.

This game will not be a run and gun experience with ammunition spread across the world, it’s going to be one that slows you down and traps you in situations where you’ll be fighting for your life.

Bethesda is setting themselves up for what should be a fantastic year for them and The Evil Within is leading the way for their new IPs.

The Order: 1886
The Order: 1886 Sony Computer Entertainment

The Order: 1886

In The Order: 1886, you're part of an ancient clan of do-gooders who are totally bent on destroying big bads wherever you can find them. While this might not exactly seem like fresh territory, the creative minds over at Ready at Dawn and Sony Santa Monica are working hard to make sure that this Playstation 4 exclusive is one you'll remember for years to come.

First off: in a world of sequels and re-imaginings, perhaps the most valuable contribution that The Order is making is something new. Players will be introduced to a group of protectors, who have waged war against a collection of half-breeds who are looking to … I don't know, eat people or something (it's not exactly clear at this point).

You can bet, at any rate, that the people writing the game have thought things out much better than the above summary would have you believe. Tackling such heady subjects as class warfare, our ingrained sense of duty, and the like, The Order: 1886 will mix visceral combat with an engrossing story and a fresh Victorian steampunk aesthetic.

An original story, awesome action and eye-meltingly beautiful graphics? Where do we enlist? The battle begins later this year.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt CD Projekt RED

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

So do you want to talk about games that are going to be big?

Let’s first talk about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and how this game will take you 45 minutes to traverse on horse from one side of the world to the other.

Big enough for you? Wild Hunt is promising to be one of the more lengthy, thorough and rich experiences people will find all year long, and that is saying a lot.

Value is one thing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will not be short of when we see it later this year.

The Witness
The Witness Sony Computer Entertainment

The Witness

What is something you don’t see everyday in gaming? An open-world, puzzle game, and that’s exactly what we are going to get from Jonathan Blow’s The Witness.

Slated for release during the middle of 2014, The Witness promises to be delivering one of the most unique experiences we see all year. Braid was a smash success and with the same team working on this new title, it’s hard to imagine The Witness not changing the landscape for puzzle games.

We expect big things from Blow and his team, and we’ll all be in attendance when The Witness hits retailers later this year.

Thief
Thief Square Enix

Thief

Thief, a reboot of the almost entirely PC-based (only third installment was made available on a single console, the original Xbox) cult classic series that originally debuted in 1998, is due out on Feb. 25 and looks impressive enough that we’re willing to forgive the whole reboot thing. 

This time out, players control Garrett, a master thief, as they navigate a world of crime and political intrigue. In the most classically Robin Hood sense Garrett is out to steal from the rich and powerful, and his city is suffering under tyrannical rule, but his world has the added trouble of the plague.

Like the Thief games of old, players will have to rely on stealth to win the day, but Garrett does have some hand-to-hand skills and weaponry when needed. The trailers so far released have shown off a gothic fantasy world dominated by a markedly victorian and steampunk informed title.

We dare you to watch one and not want to just in and do some thieving of your own. This iteration of the series will be available on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.

Titanfall
Titanfall EA

Titanfall

From one shooter to the next, Titanfall looks to be revolutionizing what we think about shooters. With the game being made by those who created Call of Duty, the team already has a major pedigree of success.

That being said, there are still some major elements to the game that make it somewhat questionable. Is the multiplayer heavy focus of the game enough to garner the interests of a widespread audience? Online may be emerging as a major theme in gaming, but players still like their single player experiences.

Titanfall will be a major title this year, but hopefully it’ll be a title for more people than just your average, hardcore Call of Duty fan.

Watch Dogs
Watch Dogs Ubisoft

Watch Dogs

If we had a nickel for every time we’ve watched a gameplay video for this game, Haiti would be as modern as New York City. This game is what we wanted before the end of last year and it’s still what we want right now.

Watch Dogs being delayed was not that big of a deal, but having that on the table, we still want this game in our hands as soon as possible. Ubisoft has promised a new experience with hacking being central to that desire, and we have to admit it looks convincing.

There are not many people who do open-world games like Ubisoft does them, and with the pedigree of past open-world successes, we expect nothing less from Watch Dogs.

No release date has been set, but we believe it’ll see an April or May release date. Can you wait that long?

Deep Down
Deep Down Sony Computer Entertainment

Deep Down

Never let it be said that similarities to successful titles is a bad thing. Especially where video games are concerned. Who among us doesn't have a guilty pleasure game or two that either looks or feels like something else we've played before? In the last console generation, Sleeping Dogs and The Saboteur cribbed lots of gameplay elements from popular series, but still managed to be totally remarkable in their own rights.

Not that innovation is the most appealing thing about this game. No, that honor would go to the fact that Deep Down is free to play. Yep, you read that right. This PS4 exclusive is an online FTP dungeon crawler. Suddenly whether or not it's doing anything new (or ripping off elements from other games) doesn't matter so much, does it?

In fairness, though, calling the game a free to play ripoff is selling it way short. It's also working in a multiplayer component is some really fresh ways, striking it's own visual identity, and weaving in a plot that will make all that dungeon diving worthwhile.

More than any of that, though, Deep Down looks darn fun. And isn't that the whole point of picking up the sticks to begin with?

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