18 August, 2014

Our Most Anticipated Games of 2014

Together, Matthew and I sat down and vigorously thrashed out a list of our most hotly anticipated games that will be released this fall and holiday season. Don’t worry, Evolve wouldn’t have made it anyway…

Most Anticipated Games of 2014


Halo : The Master Chief Collection

Having never played Halo 1 or 2, I was ecstatic to hear the rumours of the Halo Master Chief Collection a few months back. Halo is one of the all-time classic games that have defined the modern day first person shooter, however unlike Call of Duty and Battlefield, Halo's campaigns are deep, full of lore and enjoyable to play through again and again with friends.

With a release date later this year Halo: The Master Chief Collection looks to be THE game to make me turn my Xbox One on again and actually use it to play games. 343 did an amazing job with Halo 4, taking the Halo universe in a new and exciting direction from previous developer Bungie, who developed Halo's 1 through 3. Aas well as Halo Reach and ODST, which I would have loved to see in this collection of games at 60fps/1080p, but unfortunately are not. Maybe we'll see it in the year between Halo 5 and 6?


Call of Duty – Advanced Warfare

Over the last seven years, the Call of Duty games have exploded in popularity and thus, heavily influenced game design. Not only in the first person shooter space, Call of Duty also defined the concept of persistent progression in multiplayer, industry wide. Advanced Warfare is the first title to be released by Sledgehammer Games, headed up by veterans of Visceral, EA’s development studio responsible for the Dead Space series. Advanced Warfare is also the first truly ‘next generation’ experience in the Call of Duty franchise, because last year’s Ghosts was certainly not, despite being on the PS4/Xbox One.

Advanced Warfare is a new series, from a new developer, on a new engine – this will be the first new engine since Call of Duty 2, nine years ago. Unlike the previous year’s titles, this game is the first to benefit from Activision’s three year development cycle initiative, allowing the team more time to try new things. 


Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Sid Meier's: Civilization Beyond Earth looks to take the Civilization series into a new direction. Unlike Civilization 5, the latest in the series of games, Beyond Earth focuses on exploring alien worlds full of strange new resources, plants and alien life, all of which looks to kill you before you can kill it. Because this game is set in the future, all the technology is much more advanced than previous games, who needs warriors when you can have Mech's with rockets and lasers!

The technology tree in Beyond Earth will be drastically different than previous games'. The technology "web" will allow players to progress through the game and achieve victory in a variety of different ways. Including; colonising the planet you are on, mining it for its' natural resources, or simply eliminating all other humans on the planet, leaving you free to do what you please. 


Dragon Age : Inquisition

The Dragon Age series has thus far, has been both, short and tumultuous. Dragon Age : Origins was a fantasy epic which brought challenging strategic combat together with Bioware’s signature storytelling - you could choose to play as elves, dwarves or humans, each with different origin stories which you actually played out. The decision and choices, like the origin story, had wide and far reaching consequences, for you and your party, as well as Ferelden as a whole.  Dragon Age 2 on the other hand, had you play as Hawke, a human survivor fleeing the Blight. In short, Dragon age 2 was a narrower, less rich experience – decisions and the outcomes felt more black and white, rather than the nebulous shades of grey found in Origins – but the graphics and art were certainly more attractive, and despite the repetitive environments, I did like Kirkwall. Inquisition sees the return of several of Origins’ defining features; choice of race and tactical combat being the most notable, with Bioware also pledging; increased customisation of companions and an overhauled romance system with more “mature and tasteful” experiences.

Dragon Age Inquisition seeks to fuse the richness of a Bioware role-playing game, with much larger environments, for the Inquisition to traverse and explore, built on EA’s Frostbite 3 engine – it looks gorgeous. The announcement of the delay to November 18 was bitter sweet, but more time spent working on the game can only be a good thing. The delay served only to heighten my enthusiasm, Thedas has quite literally never looked so inviting.


Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire Version

I love Pokémon, it is one of the earliest games I can remember playing as a small child. The first generation of Pokémon will always be great, the second even better in my opinion, but the third generation being Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire will always be my favourite. I think back to all 300+ hours I put into Pokémon Sapphire, exploring this new colourful, tropical island full of strange new Pokémon, and I smile. This generation of Pokémon was my childhood. I did play the first two generations, but I was so young that I don't remember much of it.

Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby look to be full 3D remakes of the old games, complete with up to date features from the last games, Pokémon X and Y such as; full 3D movement along eight axis, online battle and trading. As well as the biggest changes to the Pokémon franchise over the last few years; Fairy type Pokémon and Mega evolutions. Each of the 3 starter Pokémon now have mega evolutions, although Mega Blazakin was in the last game.

I can not tell you how much I am looking forward to this game in just two paragraphs so I'll leave it with this; Hoenn has finally been confirmed after years of waiting, and it looks to be amazing. 


Naturally, no list of games in 2014 would be complete without Destiny being present (I joke only partially). Destiny remains a game replete with potential, you can find my impressions, post First Look Alpha and Beta in greater detail here. The game is beautiful, breathtakingly so at times, and Destiny’s ‘shared world’ appears a fresh – if not wholly original – approach to the online first-person shooter experience. At this year’s Gamescom, we learned that Destiny’s first expansion, The Dark Below, will have a December release date, assuming that Destiny as sufficient content at launch, this is welcome news, even if it’s kind of weird to announce it a month before the game ships.  

I am particularly looking forward to discovering how many times Bungie will have auto-tuned Peter Dinklage’s voice by the time the final game ships. And will be waiting eagerly for the inevitable A.I. rampancy and subsequently induced screen shaking hallucinations. 

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