It’s a new year, if you hadn’t noticed, and with new years come endless possibilities. 2013 brought some real fantastic titles to our screens. Telltale concluded their Walking Dead game series with style, Rockstar released the largest grossing video-game of all time, Square Enix finally made a decent Tomb Raider, Bioshock came back with a vengeance, the The Last of Us rocked the survival horror scene … oh, and they released the PS4 and the Xbox One. There was also another Call of Duty, but isn’t there one of them every few months? There’s so much to chose from that it’s nigh on impossible to pick a favorite moment from the year gone by. So, it’s safe to say that 2013 proved to be a decent year in the world of video-games, but can we hope for much of the same from 2014?
Some of the games mentioned above are cross platform or specific to the PS3, but for the sake of this article I’ll just focus on what the Xbox One has to offer this year. I will, of course, mention a few cross platform titles, so don’t despair if you have the PS4! Any Xbox exclusives I’ll leave with the title in this cool green colour. If I’m brutally honest, there aren’t that many exclusives (other than Below and Project Spark) that I’m overly excited about this year. Plus, until we’ve got a solid release date for Halo 5 and Quantum Break (as well as some actual game footage rather than cinematic trailers) I’m holding out.
‘Below’ is an Xbox only platforming game that may have slipped under the radar of many an Xbox One owner. It’s a top down adventure game based on the concepts of dungeon exploring. It’s a little more difficult than that, though. The environments are randomly generated and the goal of the game is centered around your character’s survival. The graphics are quaint, looking more like a cartoon than a video-game – it resembles some of the real classics from the retro days, way back when. There seems to be a lot of potential with this one, so I’ll be keeping my eyes open for a solid release date! It should be coming out in 2014, but we’ll see. It will be on the PlayStation at some point, but it will be released first on the One and then later on subsequent consoles.
If you haven’t heard about this one yet, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. I mean, come on, who hasn’t heard about the game that’s being developed by those that brought us Halo and the legends that produced the Call of Duty series? For those of you who aren’t yet aware, Destiny is a futuristic FPS that includes aspects of an MMO game as well as a little RPG thrown in there for good measure. The main premise is that Earth is in real trouble from the threat of an alien invasion and, as you would imagine, it’s your job to protect and save humanity. This game looks incredible, and is probably one of my most awaited titles for 2014. They’ve really set it up to be a fantastic game, whether they can deliver or not is yet to be seen.
A slightly ambiguous name for the latest Tom Clancy release but, then, this title seems as though it will be nothing like the previous Tom Clancy games. It’s being hailed as an online multiplayer third-person tactical shooter action role-playing video game. Quite the mouthful … is that what she said? Anyway, it looks like it’s going to be different to say the least. I’m quite excited about this one, combining the classic Tom Clancy single-player experience with its stellar online gameplay seems like a real no-brainer to me. I’m doubtful as to whether or not they can pull it off such an ambitious title, but we’ll see. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic / on the brink of an apocalypse, type world. You will play as a member of ‘The Division’, a group of soldiers dedicated to combating the military threat (whatever that might be) as well as other players and disgruntled civilians who just want to spend their last few days enjoying the apocalypse. It sounds like Ubisoft could be on to a winner with this one, but only time will tell.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
I’m a massive fan of the original Dragon Age. It was designed very much along the lines of a classic PC RPG, rather than the majority of console RPGs that have been dumbed down slightly (the exception being Dragon’s Dogma, which is the complete opposite of ‘dumbed down’ for console). The second Dragon Age was quite different, and I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much. Iquisition seems to be going back to the Dragon Age roots, which is welcomed in my books. There will be more character classes as well as races to choose from, with a thrilling story and brilliant graphics to be expected. So it’s safe to say that I’m … inquisitive … about Dragon Age: Inquisition … sorry about that. In all seriousness, Inquisition looks like it could be a brilliant game and I’m keeping everything crossed that it builds on Dragon Age 2 and lives up to the stellar reputation of Dragon Age: Origins.
The Elder Scrolls Online
One of my favourite game types is a decent RPG, and Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series has been hitting the nail on the head for some years now. I love a good MMORPG, but most console versions are usually a little poor, or non-existent. Elder Scrolls Online promises all of the classic Elder Scrolls fun with a new MMORPG twist. If there’s always something I love doing, it’s playing games with my friends. So here’s hoping that Elder Scrolls Online lives up to the hype. It’s just a real shame that you have to pay a monthly fee. Here’s hoping that the content warrants the cost! They’ve promised that the entire Elder Scrolls world will be open to explore, so if that means we’ll be roaming the forests of Morrowind, the luscious fields and city streets of Cyrodiil or the snowy mountains of Skyrim is yet to be seen. Here’s hoping for all of the above!
Lords of the Fallen
Some of you may not have heard about this one yet, and you’d be forgiven. It seems to have been kept on the DL since it was announced a few months ago. But, from what I’ve heard, I can’t wait for its release. Lords of the Fallen is a game “set in a richly created fantasy world where the Gods have failed mankind, players will take on the role of a human named Harkyn who sets out on a quest to stand against an apparently unstoppable supernatural force. Players travel across a world that is deeply divided by those that follow and others that resist the Fallen God. Along their journey they will be faced with a series of decisions that will alter both the world and their character thus dramatically impacting the storyline.” – CI Games. Apparently, there will be a huge number of endings depending on how you play and the decisions that you make, so it’s safe to say that this could be one epic RPG!
We’ve seen a good few clips and images of Project Spark over the past few months, but not much about what it actually is. From what I’ve seen, Project Spark is a game creating game. It sounds as though you can create a large number of different games, you can build them for others to play and even download pre-made / community made games. It sounds like a big project, but if they pull it off, it could be incredible. I guess, if you were to compare it to anything, it sounds like it’s taken a lot of inspiration from Little Big Planet, but on a much larger scale. So, here’s hoping that it meets the same sort of success. I recently discovered that I’ve been selected for the Project Spark beta, so watch this space for information on the the game, the beta and how I think it’s shaping up! Also, from what I’ve read, it seems that Microsoft are offering this game for free on all platforms, you won’t even need an Xbox Gold account. I’m a little skeptical, but that’s just because I’ve spent years being a Microsoft customer and I was never really sure if the word “free” was in their vocabulary.
That’s what I’m looking forward to playing on my Xbox One this year, but how about you? I must admit, 2015 looks like it could be a much better year for the Xbox One, depending on when we get a solid release date for Halo 5, Quantum Break and Sunset Overdrive. But there’s plenty of cross-platform games hitting the shelves in 2014 that will keep us occupied until then!