2013 has come and gone, but on its way out, it left us with some big changes. The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One came out barely over 2 months ago, and along with the Wii U, have ushered in a new generation of games that look and play better than ever before. With some major and long-awaited titles coming out for the newest generation of consoles, as well as few surprises on the current gen, 2014 is shaping up to be an exciting year for video games. Here are just a few of the many games I’m looking forward to in 2014.
Super Smash Bros Wii U (TBA – Wii U/3DS)
When it comes to Nintendo, there are some titles you already know are going to come out, no matter what console you get. There’s always going to be a dozen or so Super Mario game, there’s always going to be a Legend of Zelda game, and there’s always going to be a Super Smash Brothers game. And now that the Wii U has put out Windwaker HD and numerous Mario games, it’s time for Super Smash Brothers Wii U to come onto the scene.
Announced at last year’s E3, Super Smash Brothers Wii U is one of the most highly anticipated titles for the Wii U, and with good reason. Smash Brothers Wii U looks to be one of the strongest, and certainly most gorgeous entries in this beloved franchise, where our favorite Nintendo characters can kick the snot out of each other in a fast-paced, frantic, and incredibly fun free-for-all. At the time of this article, over 20 different playable characters have been revealed, ranging from the well-known fan favorites like Link, Pikachu and of course Mario, to newcomers such as Princess Rosalina and Mega Man. And what’s more, for the first time ever there will be a handheld version of Smash brothers coming out at the same time on the 3DS, with it’s own unique visual style to boot. Although there has not been an official release date announced yet, the game is currently slated to come out sometime this year.
Infamous: Second Son (March 21st – PS4)
Now that the PS4 and Xbox One have arrives on the scene, it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft and Sony’s respective exclusives make their appearance on the new consoles. And one of those is the much-anticipated Infamous: Second Son on the PS4. While the first two entries received mostly lukewarm reviews from critics and fans, this latest entry is already shaping up to be the strongest in the franchise, and certainly one of the best open world action games for the PlayStation 4’s early life.
Although Second Son introduces a new story and a new hero, (or anti-hero depending on how you choose to play) the fast-paced action gameplay fans know and love is still intact. A combination of free running parkour and bombastic elemental attributes, such as smoke and neon, make for an explosive, yet very fluid, experience as you run around Seattle and face off against other super humans like yourself, as well as anyone else foolish enough to get in your way. Even if you’ve been on the fence about the previous Infamous games, this newest entry could have what it takes to change your mind. Infamous: Second Son comes to the PS4 on March 21st.
Bravely Default (February 7th -3DS)
Bravely Default has been garnering a lot of attention since it’s initial release in Japan back in 2013. The game takes it title from its unique battle system in which the character has two options: Brave (basically attack) or Default. (store up points to use attacks) But while the battle system is totally unique, everything else about is screams classic old-school RPG. This is definitely one for the hardcore RPG fans, and one that American fans have been clamoring for since it first came out in Japan. Thankfully, the fans have been heard and this promising RPG is finally making its way stateside.
Bravely Default may be the latest IP from Square Enix, but playing it feels as familiar as the classic PlayStation 1-era Final Fantasy titles. It has even been called a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, despite having nothing to do with the Final Fantasy franchise. It features classic turn-based battles and a Final Fantasy-esque job system, as well as an art style that screams old-school RPG in the best way possible. The game has seen great success in Japan, and is already working on the sequel. Fortunately, American fans won’t have too much longer to wait before they can get their hands on the game that started it all. Bravely Default will release on the 3DS in North America on February 7th.
Final Fantasy X –X 2 HD Remaster (March 18th – PS3)
Bravely Default isn’t the only title Square Enix will be releasing this year. But, this isn’t about the new Final Fantasy XV or Kingdom Hearts 3. (as both title do not yet have confirmed 2014 release date yet) Proving that there is still some life left in the current generation of consoles, Square Enix will be releasing an HD remix of one of the most beloved entries in its flagship franchise: Final Fantasy X and X-2. The story of Tidus and the love of his life Yuna spawned the first true sequel to a Final Fantasy game, and still remains one of the fan favorite entries in the series.
But it’s not just graphical improvements that make these games worth revisiting. If you never had the opportunity to play the original entries, now is a great time to jump on board. Not only does the game contain one of the most beloved stories and characters in the series, the battle system mixes classic Final Fantasy battling with the unique “Sphere Grid” system that adds great depth and complexity to developing the characters and their respective abilities. Not to mention all the side-quests like Blitzball, Chocobo Racing and Monster Arena. If you’re itching to return to the world of Spira, the HD remakes will be released on March 18th for the PlayStation 3. Hopefully, this will tie some people over until Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy XV get their official release date, preferably before the end of 2014.
Dark Souls II (March 11th - PS3, 360, PC)
Although much of the focus this year will be on games for the PS4 and Xbox One, there’s still plenty of get up and go left in the current generation of consoles too. Case in point: Dark Souls II. When Demon’s Souls and the first Dark Souls came out a few years ago, gamers were “treated” with an unrelentingly difficult and unforgiving style of gameplay, where help was scarce, enemies were insanely tough, and death came with a hefty penalty. And while some complain that the game was a little too tough, the ones who stuck it out loved it and craved more. So, instead of agreeing to tone down the difficulty, creators FromSoftware decided to make things even harder, much to the delight of its (no doubt) masochistic fans.
And while the game does look even more beautiful than ever, and there have been a few minor changes to the interface and the multiplayer aspect, such as the ability to attack other players in the middle of their game, the most important thing is that the series’ trademark punishing and brutal as hell gameplay is completely intact. This is not a game for those expecting to blow through every single enemy. This is a game about dying, learning from the mistakes that caused you to die, and then dying some more. If you have the guts to give this uber-tough series a try, or if you’re just a glutton for punishment, Dark Souls II comes out on PC, as well as PS3 and Xbox 360, on March 11th. Just be prepared to die in this game. A lot.