Sean Gibson (Executive Editor)
The Witcher 3 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Of all the games I saw for next-gen systems, nothing got my juices flowing like The Witcher 3 during an in-game presentation. It will be a PC and next-gen console title that takes the open-world RPG genre to a level never seen before. The graphics are amazing, the gameplay looks incredible and the story appears engrossing. Everything about the game looks industry-defining and could potentially become the game that all open-world RPGs are judged by.
Heroes of the Storm (PC)
One issue I’ve always had with DOTA 2 and LoL is that the games are just too damn long to enjoy. On top of that, there’s a crazy learning curve for each game. Now, Blizzard comes along and blows away all the attendees at BlizzCon with their “hero brawler,” which was renamed Heroes of the Storm. Games are about 20 minutes long, all the heroes are very recognizable iconic characters from Blizzard games, and the path for mastering a hero isn’t nearly as steep as other games. Heroes of the Storm puts this genre back on the map. Attendees at BlizzCon were gushing about the game and so were fellow media members who also loved it. Heroes of the Storm should be the free-to-play game of the year in 2014, assuming it actually does release in 2014.
Kalvin Martinez (Associate Editor)
Transistor (PS4, PC)
It is both easy and difficult for me to articulate why Transistor has transfixed me so much. Everything played, seen and heard in the game’s 15-minute E3 and PAX Prime demo hint at depth waiting to be explored. There was something almost spiritual that happened when playing the updated build at PAX Prime; maybe it was Darren Korb’s mesmerizing music or the gently pulsating blue light from the PS4’s light bar as the Transistor spoke. Whatever it was, it left me wanting more.
Secret Ponchos (PS4, PC)
The PlayStation 4’s potential, more than any of its upcoming big-name games, is the focus on indie games and meaningful console debut exclusives. Secret Ponchos will make its console debut on PlayStation 4. Secret Ponchos is tons of fun to play with buddies either co-operatively or in a deathmatch. The game blends an impressive style, cohesive vision and tight gameplay into a powerhouse multiplayer experience. One of the most exciting aspects of Secret Ponchos is that when it debuts on PS4 in 2014, it will be free for PS Plus members.
Chance Asue (Associate Editor)
Destiny (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360)
I was never a big fan of the Halo characters, but I loved the way the games played. Now Bungie is creating a brand new universe to explore with the ability to customize the character. Classes, special abilities, tons of loot and RPG elements make it feel like Borderlands in space, and absolutely no part of that sounds bad. Add in a story that puts humanity near extinction and a mysterious sphere hovering over the planet and it’s hard not to be excited. Destiny is one of the few games where I want to play entirely online, both with friends and strangers.
Galak-Z oozes nostalgia in its 2D shooter gameplay and with the characters’ attitudes and style. It feels like an old anime from the 80s. With the entire world being open and physics-based, encounters with the intelligent and hilarious enemies feel genuinely like a puzzle. Sneaking up on baddies and using explosions to knock them into environmental traps saves both ammo and time, as well as giving you that “badass” feeling. Yeah I evaded 30 missiles and shot down four guys with six rockets. I do it all the time. Galak-Z has the personality to hook you and the gameplay to keep you interested.
Ben Sheene (Associate Editor)
The Order: 1886 (PS4)
Very little has been said about The Order: 1886 since its E3 reveal. Despite that, it’s hard not to be excited about the game. Sony’s ability at nurturing incredible IPs and Ready at Dawn’s pedigree are reason enough to be interested. As cool and original as the setting might be, it’s the technical end of things that captivates me the most. Players will get a real taste of what a longer period of development can do for a PS4 title (no offense Killzone or Infamous). And let’s not forget, Ready at Dawn claims the graphical fidelity of the game when it launches will exceed that of the E3 trailer. Just imagining that breaks my brain.
Persona 5 (PS3)
Plenty of PS4 and Xbox One games are going to be hitting next year but by the end of 2014, Persona 5 will usher in the twilight of the PlayStation 3. Atlus’ has constantly nailed each game of the Persona series and created a masterpiece with the remake of Persona 4 Golden. Literally nothing is known about the Persona 5 except that it is made by the team behind Catherine. The end of next year will be capped off by wiping the dust from the PS3 and trying to make friends in high school while collecting personas. Unless, of course, the game makes a surprise landing on the PS4.
Alexandra Mangen (Associate Editor)
Titanfall (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)
There is something empowering about strapping into an expensive bit of machinery and letting loose a hailstorm of bullets. Titanfall gives me hope that the mech experience can be translated into a full-length game. Visually, the game is gorgeous and will join the trend of recent games with stunning graphics. The fact that gameplay is not entirely reliant on super powerful mechs is rewarding. There are advantages to playing as a mech or a human, with special movement abilities and weapons on both sides. All of this makes me wish this game could be released sooner but awesome takes time.
South Park: The Stick of Truth (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
As a South Park fan, I’m psyched about the potential The Stick of Truth represents to play through an episode of the show. The fact that the game will be an RPG only makes it better. My hope is that the many delays for this game are an indication that its developers are taking the time to do it right. The ESRB’s rating summary for the game was highly informative and it’s a relief to see that The Stick of Truth is rated M for Mature. Anything less than South Park’s signature combination of satire, violence, humor, and odd sexual references would be an injustice to fans and gamers.
Ryan Bloom (Associate Editor)
Super Smash Bros. (Wii U, 3DS)
Nintendo spent 2013 constantly supporting the 3DS. It looks as if the company will finally give Wii U the attention it deserves in 2014. Super Smash Bros. has not been officially announced for 2014 but all signs point to a forthcoming launch. The usual cast of characters will be present in the action-packed fighter, with Mega Man joining the crew.
Watch Dogs (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U)
Watch Dogs was one of the most anticipated launch games for new consoles. However, Ubisoft delayed the title into 2014. A few months of extra polish will only be a good thing for gamers, who are expecting a lot from a title that was originally announced at E3 2012. The third-person title will look to introduce players to the next generation of open world gaming while pushing Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise to the backburner.