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VGW’s Top 25 Most Anticipated 2014 Video Games

With the end of every year comes a time of self-reflection, immediately followed by a time where each and every one of us thinks about all that the new year will bring us. Our time of looking back at 2013 is in the past, so it’s time for VGW to look ahead to the multitude of 2014 video games. With three new consoles launched in the last 13 months, and the 3DS receiving perhaps the greatest lineup in handheld gaming history during that time, the industry has some serious momentum heading into 2014.

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Check out our 25 most exciting 2014 video games and let us know which ones you’re most excited to get your hands on in the next 12 months.

Bravely Default // Square Enix // February 7

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Those looking for a new JRPG for the 3DS will not have to look much further than Square Enix’s Bravely Default. Having already released in Japan to very positive reviews, Bravely Default looks to be a great option for fans of the Final Fantasy franchise. The gameplay is very much a traditional approach to the JRPG formula, with defensive (Default) and offensive (Brave) options for party members in battle. If you’re unsure if the title is for you, an eShop demo is currently available for download.
Platforms: 3DS

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 // Square Enix // February 11

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The Final Fantasy 13 trilogy to this point has been as divisive as releases in an established franchise come. The trilogy is set to conclude in just as polarizing manner, as Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 will significantly change up not only the battle system of the Final Fantasy 13 series to this point, which is the result of a departure from the typical party system of Final Fantasy in general, as Lightning Returns focuses on the solo adventure of Lightning. We had a chance to get our hands on a pre-launch build, and found ourselves enjoying it much more than we did Final Fantasy 13-2. Check out our full preview here.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze // Retro Studios // February 21

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Nintendo ended 2013 with a strong lineup of releases, and it hopes to continue that trend into 2014 with its first Wii U release, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. The title follows Donkey, Diddy, and the rest of the Kong crew as they fight off enemies from an unfamiliar climate. The game should be as crowd pleasing as it is nostalgic, bringing back the retro experience Donkey Kong Country Returns brought to the Wii. Check out our full preview here.
Platforms: Wii U

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare // PopCap Games // February 25

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The insanely popular Plants vs. Zombies tower defense franchise finally receives its first spin-off title in the third-person shooter, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Featuring 24 player multiplayer and full implementation of EA’s Frostbite 3 engine, it’s safe to say that the war between vegetation and the undead just got a lot more serious.
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Thief // Eidos Montreal // February 25

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The revolutionary hardcore stealth franchise re-emerges from the shadows in a time when action stealth is all the rage. Separating itself away from other big stealth series like Assassin’s Creed, Hitman, and more recently Splinter Cell, Thief will stay true to its roots by strongly encouraging players to operate in secrecy. With multiple approaches available for missions, Thief will operate off a choice-driven system that will cater to you want to play.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 // MercurySteam // February 25

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The follow-up to the 2010 hit, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 looks to expand on the successes of the first title in both story and gameplay. Continuing play as Gabriel Belmont, Lords of Shadow 2 brings a more open-world approach, as well as added length to the campaign. In addition, one of the main fan complaints of the first release has been addressed through the addition of a controllable camera.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox One

South Park: The Stick of Truth // Obsidian Entertainment // March 4

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After years of development, a slow drip-feed of news, doubt that it would ever see the light of day, and even a migration of publishers following the closure of THQ, the Matt-and-Trey-approved South Park: The Stick of Truth looks like it will finally hit store shelves. Featuring animation-quality visuals and an original storyline penned by the South Park writing team, The Stick of Truth could very well be the offensive, immature, and yet pointedly intelligent experience fans of the show have become accustomed to.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Titanfall // Respawn Entertainment // March 11

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Titanfall doesn’t necessarily look remarkable or unique when you see still shots of the gameplay, but once you see it in motion or get your hands on it, you understand what all the hype is about. The smooth transition from foot solider to Titan pilot is undeniably well-executed, and the gameplay feels better than either Call of Duty or Battlefield at this point. We had such a blast when we got our hands on Titanfall that the only way we could see it failing would be if it suffered the same technical and server issues that Battlefield 4 has suffered in its first three months of release. While we aren’t ordering this list, for what it looks to accomplish in revitalizing the first-person shooter genre, Titanfall could very well be our most anticipated release of all 2014 video games.
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Yoshi’s New Island // Arzest // March 14

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By releasing long-awaited sequels to fan favorites and classic titles, it would seem Nintendo has found its strategy for success. The next crowd-pleasing title in this trend is the sequel to the beloved Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. The original deviated greatly from the classic Mario formula, but still received extraordinarily high praise from critics. Yoshi’s New Island will stick fairly close to the formula laid out by Yoshi’s Island in that it will see Yoshi escorting baby versions of iconic gaming characters through 2D platforming levels. If the game can recapture what made the original Yoshi’s Island great, it will just go to further the 3DS’s supremacy in the handheld gaming market.
Platforms: 3DS

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes // Kojima Productions // March 18

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It’s difficult to believe that it’s been almost six years since the last numbered entry in the Metal Gear Solid series, but fans of the series will see their patience rewarded this year with the first half of the Metal Gear Solid 5 saga, Ground Zeroes. Bringing a new day and night cycle feature that accounts for determining when certain events happen, as well as the ability to build bases within an open-world, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes looks to add substantially to the already adored Metal Gear Solid foundation.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Final Fantasy X HD Remaster // Square Enix // March 18

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One of the biggest trends of the past generation was for developers to re-release previous generation titles in glorious HD with added features. Perhaps that’s why it’s so surprising that Square Enix has waited so long to release the HD remake of one of its most popular titles of all-time, Final Fantasy X. Not only will fans have the ability to relive Tidus and friends’ bittersweet pilgrimage to Zanarkand in full HD, but they’ll also be able to revisit Final Fantasy X-2 and see if it was really as disappointing as most remember it. The best part? These experiences will be able to be enjoyed in the living room or on the go.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita

inFamous: Second Son // Sucker Punch Productions // March 25

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As perhaps Sony’s most underrated exclusive franchise, the inFamous series looks to step out of the shadow of the bigger franchises like Uncharted by being one of the first huge exclusive titles for the PlayStation 4. inFamous: Second Son serves as a transition to what the series has presented to this point by moving on from Cole, the previous protagonist of the series, and bringing in Delsin. With a more charismatic main character who possesses the ability to absorb the powers of Conduits, Infamous: Second Son has enough differentiating factors from the first one to keep fans guessing on the direction that it’s going to head.
Platforms: PlayStation 4

Watch Dogs // Ubisoft // Q2 2014

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As one of the most anticipated games of 2013, Watch Dogs was poised to take the new console launch lineups by storm. Sadly, just before the point of no return, Ubisoft shocked the industry by announcing that the title would be delayed into 2014. Now, as Watch Dogs joins the ranks of the most anticipated 2014 video games, fans can surely expect a much more polished and potentially more fleshed out experience as they hack, steal, and shoot their way through the digitally supervised city of Chicago. Check out our full preview of Watch Dogs here.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt // CD Projekt RED // Q2 2014

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With a world 30 times larger than its predecessor’s, fans of The Witcher have a lot to be excited about when The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hits later this year. This technical marvel is being touted by its developers as having “a living open world larger than any other in modern RPG history,” but completely does away with loading times once the player is in the game. Not only that, but this game will bring the story of franchise protagonist Geralt to a close, making this a difficult one for fans of the series to skip.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Mario Kart 8 // Nintendo EAD // Q2 2014

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Figure 8 anti-gravity courses aside, everyone knows what to expect from the upcoming Mario Kart title on Wii U: the same thing fans have been enjoying since the series debuted on Super NES in 1992 – unique weaponry, colorful characters, and absurdly entertaining courses. This time around, in using the community features of the Wii U, players will be able to upload clips of their races and battles to the Miiverse; a feature that has potential to take the fun levels of Mario Kart to the next level.
Platforms: Wii U

Destiny // Bungie // September 9

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Seeing the Bungie logo in front of a shooter that isn’t called Halo will be weird the first few times, but if Destiny is any bit as good as the pre-launch hype would lead us to believe, we’ll get over it pretty quickly. The four player co-op gives Destiny a definite Borderlands vibe, but with a living world and various MMO elements, Destiny will do more than enough to differentiate itself from the gameplay of the popular loot-based co-op shooter. Add it all together in a rich universe, and some traditional competitive multiplayer modes to boot, and Destiny is easily one of the most exciting 2014 video games.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Dragon Age: Inquisition // BioWare // Q3 2014

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One of BioWare’s flagship franchises makes its long-awaited return after the lukewarm reception of Dragon Age 2. In attempting to please fans of both vastly different games, BioWare has constructed a gameplay system that will meld the two systems from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. Stating that the studio was very much influenced by titles like Skyrim, BioWare has also opted to make the game much more exploration-based, meaning that players will likely sink even more time into the enormous title.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

The Order: 1886 // Ready at Dawn // Q3 2014

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While an abundance of knowledge isn’t readily available for The Order: 1886, the concept, which places players in an alternate version of history where half-breed monsters and humans have been at war for centuries, is an interesting one. Being described as a “dirty third-person shooter,” The Order: 1886 looks to put a heavy focus on striking a keen balance between shooting and melee, providing a unique experience to regulars of the genre.
Platforms: PlayStation 4

Evolve // Turtle Rock Studios // Q3 2014

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From the team that brought us Left 4 Dead comes a new twist on the first-person shooter genre. Evolve pits players against each other in 4 vs. 1 multiplayer action where one player controls an overpowered alien creature while a team of four human characters are tasked with hunting it down. With each class of character possessing unique abilities to gain advantages in battle, Evolve could very well prove to join Titanfall in turning the FPS genre upside-down this year.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Tom Clancy’s The Division // Ubisoft Massive // Q4 2014

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Tom Clancy’s The Division has much more going for it than just the gorgeous graphics, but one look at the Snowdrop Engine in motion and it’s hard to think of anything else. The particle effects that have been shown off are unrivaled by anything else on the market today. The concept itself is nothing to scoff at either, as this online tactical shooter MMO will see players traversing a disease-ravaged United States in a last-ditch effort to save anything and anyone they can.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Dying Light // Techland // 2014

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Dead Island proved to be a strong foundation for Techland, but with Dying Light the studio looks to go beyond anything it accomplished in its prior open-world zombie-slaying franchise. The game grants players the ability to free-run with grace paralleled only by games like Mirror’s Edge, only within a zombie universe. Blowing past the slow-moving undead in daylight is a breeze, but once night falls Dying Light transforms into a completely different game, as the zombies become just as quick and agile as the player-controlled character.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Super Smash Bros. // Sora Ltd. and Namco Bandai // 2014

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We don’t really need to say much more about Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS other than “it’s a new Super Smash Bros. game”, but the fact that it’s the first time the series is appearing on a handheld device is pretty special. In addition to bolstering the already booming 3DS lineup, the new Super Smash Bros. will also continue the slow build that is the Wii U library. With a roster of new additions and old favorites, players will have well over 20 options to choose from once the next brawl begins.
Platforms: 3DS, Wii U

Bayonetta 2 // Platinum Games // 2014

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The straightforward, over-the-top action of the first Bayonetta gained a ton of praise, and the sequel looks to bring much more of the same. Added to the mix this time around will be a new two-player mode, adding more craziness to the already insane game. Utilizing its Wii U exclusivity to the fullest, Bayonetta 2 will have touchscreen controls and off-TV play. For die-hard fans of Platinum Games and Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2 looks like it could be a real reason to own a Wii U.
Platforms: Wii U

Fantasia: Music Evolved // Harmonix Music Systems // 2014

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The ambitious new project from Harmonix, the team that brought us Rock Band, and Dance Central, Fantasia: Music Evolved brings the playful universe of Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice to life. Featuring music from over twenty popular artists, with multiple remixes that can be accessed on the fly, mixed, then shared by the user, Fantasia: Music Evolved looks not only like it will be the first “must-play” title for Kinect 2.0, but also another excellent way to experience music from the guys and girls at Harmonix.
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One

Transistor // Supergiant Games // 2014

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Looking to bring an emotional and memorable experience to players, Supergiant Games is set to follow its smash hit Bastion with Transistor. Set in a completely different universe, Transistor uses similar gameplay with a few added twists. The biggest addition to the Bastion formula is undoubtedly the game’s Planning Mode, which will allow the player to take this action title and temporarily implement a turn-based battle system. The system works like a charm, as we found out during our hands-on time with the title. Check out our full preview of Transistor here.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4

About Brian Shea

Brian Shea is VGW's Editor-in-Chief and one of the founding members of the site. In addition to leading the team at VideoGameWriters.com, he contributes such regular features as “Shea’s Say,” "Eleven Things," "Commercials from the Past" and “Essential Gaming."
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Comments

  1. You forgot one important title: http://youtu.be/APWTJMyM4qg

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