The first half of 2014 started off relentlessly strong with titans like Dark Souls 2 and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes hitting store shelves all in the same month with many other titles releasing within the same week. And then the summer lull kicked in, leaving our wallets in a constant sense of depression, as there appears to be no games in sight. Luckily for Dark Souls 2 players, you’re just now starting your new game plus as you venture through Drangleic once again but for others, it’s been an insufferable drought. It’s a good thing we can count on the Fall season to once again shower us with multiple high-profile games, and the best thing about this year? The debut of many new and exciting IPs.
5. Lords of the Fallen, Oct. 7 (PS4, Xbox One, PC) CI Games, Deck 13
Dark Souls 2 was a disappointment mechanically, conceptually and heck even visually at times. It was a step back from the previous installment but still good enough to make my end-of-the-year list. Lords of the Fallen looks to fill in that void left by Dark Souls 2 and while it may not be a Souls game at heart, it’s as close as it gets to a friendlier, less frustrating version of one. The developers have said that the difficulty in the game is not for the sake of making things punishing for the player but to challenge the player in fun ways. After spending New Game Plus+5 on the dreaded, melancholic waters of Shrine of Amana, I’m ready for a little bit of a fun reprieve with Lords of the Fallen.
4. Evolve, Oct 21 (PS4, Xbox One, PC) Turtle Rock Studios
What a change of pace! Playing as the monster in a video game, terrorizing your friends, hunting them down with instinctual precision as you lurk through the shadows and feeding on helpless animals; how could you not buy into this? Not the game I would have expected the developers of the Left 4 Dead franchise to take on next but this refreshing take on competitive multiplayer is something worth looking into. The mind games in these matches will be almost a meta-game as both sides attempt to deceive and annihilate one another. This game sounds terrifying and fun at the same time but my only concern is the amount of content justifying a full retail $60 box. If Turtle Rock Studios can support it regularly with timely updates, the price tag will soon pay itself. Here’s to hoping it does.
3. Sunset Overdrive, Oct 28 (Xbox One) Insomniac Games
It’s open world madness. It’s chaotic. A gun that shoots exploding teddy bears. It’s Sunset Overdrive. One of the more exciting new IPs to release this year is being developed by the talented studio behind Ratchet and Clank and Resistance; games that were beloved for their creative arsenal of weapons. The game looks absolutely gorgeous with vibrant colors and the overall sense of carefree shenanigans that you just don’t see of any more with video games these days. We can’t wait to jump into the Awesomepocolypse.
2. Destiny, Sep 9 (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360) Bungie
I’ve played a lot of Destiny and that trend will only continue once the Beta opens on July 17th, it’s safe to say that this game just keeps getting me more hype the more times I see it. It’s a game that you have to play and invest in in order to reap the rewards and properly digest this massive world. The detail in this game is impeccable; save for Peter Dinklage’s performance, this game delivers a striking punch of polish and confidence that never lets up. It’s a game that encourages teamwork but I often found myself riding on my lonesome off exploring interesting new spaces and scavenging for loot. The story has been teased here and there but we can’t wait to see the bigger picture.
1. Far Cry 4, Nov 18 (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC) Ubisoft Montreal
Far Cry 3 was a pleasant surprise that despite its paper-thin narrative had a flair for memorable moments and a lively open world filled to the brim with wild animals and exotic plant life. Who can forget lighting that marijuana field on fire with a flamethrower while blasting Skrillex in the background? Or those tense moments when you’re unexpectedly attacked by a tiger at the most inopportune moments? Far Cry 4 promises an even livelier world, with an even more nefarious antagonist and a focus on making every second memorable. I can’t help but salivate as I anticipate the opening sequence as you enter Kyrat for the first time. I was even fond of Far Cry 3’s competitive multiplayer mode so it would be the icing on the cake if it returned in a more robust form.
Last year was an impressive year for gaming in terms of software and hardware, but this year won’t close with a whimper as we’ll be treated with these top-tier games as well as notable others that didn’t make the cut. Assassin’s Creed Unity will surely be a triumph and The Evil Within looks to provide the scares. Dragon Age: Inquisition looks phenomenal but we’re still a little weary after the lukewarm Dragon Age 2 and Shadow of Mordor looks good enough for a rental at this point. We hope the end of the year sets up an even greater year in 2015 as the biggest blockbusters get set to release in the first quarter. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for these powerful consoles.