Happy New Year! We at Big Red Barrel hope you had a suitably festive holiday and brought in 2014 in superlative style. Now that you’ve all recovered from your hangovers and gone back to work, it’s about time you started focusing on what’s coming up in the realms of gaming in the next 12 months. Not sure what to look forward to? Let the BRB team give you some pointers for what to play in 2014…
Jon – inFAMOUS: Second Son
• Release Date: March 21st 2014 • Platform: PlayStation 4
I was pretty late coming to the inFAMOUS series – you’ve got PlayStation Plus to thank for ensuring I played the series at all – but having ploughed through both games in 2013, I’m really looking forward to Second Son. The PS4 has proved itself as a first-party graphical powerhouse in Killzone: Shadow Fall but the console is still missing its first proper killer system-seller – something properly, undeniably fun. Second Son will build on the already brilliant foundations laid by its predecessors with powers that extend beyond manipulating electricity – literally disappearing into a puff of smoke, or speeding up the sides of buildings as a streak of neon light. Plus Sucker Punch have seen fit to leave Cole McGrath in the past and introduce us to a fresh protagonist. The sheer potential offered up by an inFAMOUS game on such an inflated scale is almost enough to make you forget about WATCH_DOGS, even if they share similarly silly spellings. it’s surely a great way to start off the PS4’s first big year on the market.
Cory – Assetto Corsa
• Release Date: Out now (beta) • Platform: PC
Asetto Corsa is the game I am most looking forward to this year. With it being in Early Access, the anticipation is strongly bitter sweet. I can definitely see the potential. The game looks great and handles well. The ability to move HUD elements around at will and add user-created apps is fantastic. This could really shape up to be a great sim racer without the iRacing subscription costs, but the multiplayer carrot is still dangling way off in the distance. That is the biggest unknown at this point. I’m on the fence about [Steam] Early Access in general. I’m not convinced we should see behind the curtain on some of this stuff.
PacManPolarBear – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
• Release Date: Q2 2014 • Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The first Witcher game was a labor of love by a small team maximizing an old engine. It was rough and looked dated. It was also incredible. Based on the works of Andrzej Sapkowski, here was a universe we had not seen a thousand times before. It’s aimed at adults, plain and simple. Neither the story nor the imagery is dumbed down for the masses or censored for children.
The Witcher is a dark grey world, often times with no clear indication of what is really right or wrong. The Witcher makes much-ballyhooed ideas like “player choice” and “consequence” found in other games (sorry Fallout, Dragon Age and Mass Effect) look dated and half hearted. The Witcher proves games can do better than flimsy morality systems and the mere illusion that being good or evil will change more than token story points. You’ll make more important decisions and have more effect on the world in the first 6 hours of The Witcher 2 than you will in any recent Bioware game put together. And I love Bioware as much as anyone.
This is why I’m hyped for The Witcher 3. I want more adult content. I want more fresh ideas. I want the promised fully open world and refinements to the combat system. If CD Projekt Red can address those final two elements, pretty much the only things that held the second game back from true greatness, The Witcher 3 will be the best RPG of 2014 hands down.
Dom – Tales of Xillia 2
• Release Date: 2014 • Platform: PS3
I was first introduced to the Tales series last year with the excellent Tales of Vesperia for the 360. Despite being a huge JRPG fan I had somehow never heard of the series so I came into Vesperia with, at best, lukewarm expectations. I was utterly blown away by its quality. In fact it was so good it instantly took a spot in my top ten games of all time.
Having enjoyed Vesperia so much I was pretty hyped for the release of Tales of Xillia in 2013. It took everything I loved about Vesperia and made it better: the dialogue was now fully voiced, combat was more hectic and fast paced than ever. It introduced a new game-changing mechanic called Linking and a character development system that really allowed for stat customisation and can really only be likened to Final Fantasy X‘s Sphere Grid. The story was gripping from hour one to hour 40 and only improved as the game progressed, and the cast was full of interesting and well developed characters. Most importantly the trademark Tales skits were back in full force and just as insightful and hilarious as ever.
To say I’m excited for Xillia 2 would be an understatement. The last five hours of Xillia opened up so many possibilities for the story to continue with some new and some returning characters. The game was so good that even after seventy hours I wasn’t even mildly bored of it. I cannot wait to dive into this world again because there is no other game, and no other universe I’d rather spend more time in.
Tudor – Titanfall
• Release Date: March 11-14th • Platform: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Everyone on the staff that played Titanfall at Eurogamer Expo walked away from the booth with two things: a huge grin on their face and an epic gameplay story to share. While on the surface Titanfall is just another FPS with the addition of mechs, playing it reveals a new beast of competitive gaming. The omission of a single player campaign in favour of campaign-esque elements in multiplayer and a huge focus on locomotion not only for the pilots but the Titans themselves gives the game a whole new spin. This focus has led to an experience where camping and staying still will only get you either killed or leave you lagging behind the rest of your team.
Brought to you by the minds that redefined the FPS genre with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Titanfall is set to redefine the genre again and potentially be a huge system-seller for the Xbox One. So with that in mind, there’s only one question: are you ready for Titanfall?
Smashsoul – Super Smash Brothers (3DS/Wii U)
• Release Date: 2014 • Platform: Nintendo 3DS, Wii U
I’m a sucker for anything crossover flavoured and that’s one of the reasons I hold the Super Smash Bros. series very close to my heart. It’s a game that can answer some of the oldest questions gamers have had: “Who would win in a fight? Mario or Sonic? Link or Pikachu? Mega Man or Kirby?” Nothing quite beats seeing your favourite Nintendo characters – and a few others – smacking the ever loving crap out of each other.
I have fond memories playing the games with others around the same TV and they’re some of the best gaming moments I’ve ever experienced. It’s the ultimate game to play with others in the same room – the satisfaction of seeing your friend or family member’s face when you send them flying off the side of a stage has no equal. It’s pure fun and chaos at its core.
Fundamentally, the game is set to be more of what everyone loves, and that’s fine by me. After all, Super Smash Bros. isn’t a yearly franchise and I’m always eager for more of it. But with what’s sure to be an expanded roster – with new characters making their debut such as Mega Man, Wii Fit Trainer, Rosalina and the Villager from Animal Crossing – and a gorgeous new graphical style, Super Smash Bros. 4 is sure to be one of Nintendo’s big “must have” titles for the Wii U and 3DS in 2014.
Indra – The Order: 1886
• Release Date: Q3 2014 • Platform: PlayStation 4
As I was lucky enough to get a PS4 for Xmas (I’m so spoilt) I’m now looking forward to the arrival of The Order: 1886. The game is a Victorian steampunk adventure, which is enough to excite me at the best of times, but throw in some monsters and nasties to shoot at and I’m as giddy as a kitten in a box of tinsel. There’s not much detail knocking around about the game, including a date, but what I’ve seen so far has my attention. You play as a member of an ancient order of knights fighting a war that has raged on in the shadows for centuries. Looking at the huge list of job vacancies on the Ready at Dawn website it’s easy to worry that this game won’t be appearing soon, but I’m optimistic for a 2014 appearance…hopefully.
Diarmuid – Destiny
• Release Date: September 9th 2014 • Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4
Destiny seems to tick all of the boxes that normally tickle my fancy – original, sci-fi, co-op. If I’m honest, Halo never really got its hooks into me like it did for so many others; neither the lore nor the competitive multiplayer ever intrigued me. But the co-op, both on the couch and online, was brilliantly done. I cleared all of the games playing Legendary with my housemate at the time. With Bungie seemingly betting the farm on co-operative play this time, I am all in myself.
Anything we’ve missed? Why not leave a comment or tweet us letting us know what you’re looking forward to in 2014. We’re in for a big year of gaming…