Most Anticipated 2014: Alice's Picks

By Alice O'Connor, Jan 10, 2014 11:40am PST

There's a lot to be excited for in the new year, like y'know--VIDEO GAMES. The Shacknews staff pick their most anticipated games of 2014. Next up is senior editor Alice O'Connor.


Alien: Isolation

The Creative Assembly | Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, PC

Alien: Isolation will never be as good as we're imagining it right now. If we close our eyes, we can picture ourselves trying not to breath too loudly as we skitter through the corridors of a dirty great spaceship, jumping at every hiss of steam, too terrified to turn around in case it is there. It won't be that good. However, it's certainly the most interesting Alien/Aliens game we've heard of in years.

Talk of only one creature lurking in the entire game, stalking you, confined to the same spaces as you. Of being alone. Unarmed. With it. The game will inevitably become less exciting with each trailer, with each press release revealing more of what it actually is. But that's fine. Right now, it's brilliant. In the words of interactive theatre company Coney, "The experience starts when you first hear about it, and only ends when you stop thinking and talking about it." I'm enjoying Alien: Isolation an awful lot right now.


Dark Souls II

From Software | Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Dark Souls was mysterious. The game's ruined world was full of secrets, and it was damned if it'd let you uncover them. Objectives were vague. Tutorials were perfunctory. Items gave only vague hints to their purpose. An array of stats and numbers assaulted the UI. No one explained what was going on. And it was so ruddy difficult. Which all made for a delightful buzz when it launched.

Before walkthroughs, before FAQs, players told tales of unlikely epic battles, shared secrets they'd found, passed on often-inaccurate hearsay and rumour, traded tips, and slowly discovered Dark Souls together. I missed that twice with Dark Souls--first on consoles, then again on PC--but this time I'll be right there too, lost like everyone else.


Quadrilateral Cowboy

Blendo Games | PC

I am eternally excited for the next Blendo Games release. As Blendo flits wildly from genre to genre--turn-based exploration and battles in Flotilla, the real-time tactical zombie-killing of Atom Zombie Smasher, and first-person vignette 'em up Thirty Flights of Loving--whatever comes next is always interesting, and inevitably charming. And if it's described as "twentieth-century cyberpunk," well, all the better!

Quadrilateral Cowboy is a first-person hacking game, where players will literally type code to hack systems, disabling cameras, opening doors, and sending out little robotic probes to complete whatever mission your employers have sent you on. I like these things. I would like to play this.


Spire

Hitbox Team | PC

It's been procedural generation a gogo lately, but in genres I've never really clicked with--platformers, dungeon-crawlers, and whatnot. No, my golden days of gaming were spent zipping around FPSs, carrying giant guns and trick-jumping all over the place. Spire screams out to me. Having made a fine 2D trick-platformer in Dustforce, Hitbox Team is now working on a procedurally-generated platforming FPS.

Hitbox has pointed to professional-level Quake 3 as the sort of thing it's shooting for in terms of player skill, giving plenty of room to master movement tricks and quickly switching between weapons and items. Spire will send players up the titular tower, which is different every time, to battle enemies, plunder treasure, and hopefully feel jolly cool. Hitbox hasn't explicitly said it's out this year, but don't crush my hope.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

CD Projekt RED | Xbox One, PS4, PC

CD Projekt RED's first game, The Witcher was flawed, but fascinating. Tedious combat and notorious bugs couldn't tear down interesting questing, wonderful characters, and a world that's not "gritty" but delightfully grubby. The Witcher 2 came on leaps and bounds, with fine combat and gorgeous graphics (not to mention art direction--the colours!) but was almost overwhelming as it lobbed lore bombs around the place then petered out at the end. I'm quite keen to see what happens with its third try, then.

The Witcher 3 promises an open-world filled with difficult decisions and unforseen consequences. Combat's supposedly improved again. It's said to bristle with strange and wonderful monsters. It's looking ruddy gorgeous. And, of course, there's the conclusion to a story which has spanned, ooh, seventy-odd hours depending on how you took it. RED seems hugely ambitious, but given how much 2 improved over 1, it may just nail it.

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