This is a great time to be a gamer.
We have brand new consoles from Sony and Microsoft on the cusp of showing us some great stuff, while Nintendo’s system has matured and is starting to show us what it can do. Nintendo and Sony both have great handhelds, and I haven’t even mentioned PC gaming yet. In our Most Anticipated series, we’ll be looking at each of the platforms one by one, highlighting some of the games we’re looking most forward to.
Of course, some of this year’s most anticipated games are coming to more than one platform, so we’ve included those in each applicable platform. Finally, we can’t fit every game into, so once you’ve read our list, tell us what we missed and what you’re looking forward to!
The Nintendo 3DS thrived in 2013 thanks to a large dose of quality games, mostly of the JRPG genre. Why not get 2014 started off with a bang and throw out yet another highly anticipated future classic?
Bravely Default is everything that made JRPGs wonderful in the 1990s. Loveable characters, deceptively simple mechanics, a massive musical score, and most important, a grand sense of adventure. The game even comes with a world map. How long has it been since we’ve seen one of those?
We all have our favorites from an age long forgotten, and only on handhelds can we relive the magic that Japan used to spin so well. Bravely Default’s nostalgic quest will take you back in time no matter where you want to play and remind you of why it was such a good time to be an RPG fan in the 1990s.
[Editor's Note: We wrote this entry last week, but Bravely Default has begun shipping, so stop anticipating and check out our review.]
Dragon Quest VII
Square Enix has yet to officially confirm that it is localizing this remake of the legendary Dragon Quest VII, but given the loving treatment it has shown the series on the DS over the last few years, I’m willing to bet we see this one before the holiday is out. I’m even willing to put money down on the subtitle being The Seeds of Salvation thanks to a trademark filed by Square Enix not too long ago.
The original game is infamous for crossing the 120 hour mark, but Japanese audiences still bought up every last second of it. 4 million copies of this brutal game? Luckily, Square Enix has learned to restrain themselves over the last fifteen years, making this Nintendo 3DS remaster a much more friendly and approachable title.
Travel the planet, find secret locations, run into charming characters, battle cute monsters, and save a perished world one city at a time by aiding its inhabitants. Dragon Quest VII needed a remake more than just about any video game in history, and from everything I’ve heard, Square Enix hit this one out of the park.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Nintendo is the king of 2D platformers, so why bother messing with a formula that is just as fresh as it was twenty years ago? No matter the case, its friends at HAL Laboratory have always played to a particular console’s strength to make Kirby new and exciting every time, and the Nintendo 3DS could be the best new game in the series since the NES masterpiece.
This latest game features a new 3D look which works better than the classic sprites often associated with the pink puff ball. Plus ,the arsenal of new techniques and heavy use of the Nintendo 3DS’ 3D functionality means there is nothing holding us back from picking this one up at launch day. He’s a BIG MAN!
Mario Golf: World Tour
Just, look, just don’t let this Mario sporting effort be the same letdown that was Mario Tennis Open on the Nintendo 3DS. Camelot was the developer then, and they’re the developer now.
I played the ever-loving crap out of Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on the GameCube during college. I played it constantly. If this game is like that title in quality, easy of enjoyment and amount of content, I’m sold.
We’ll hit the links in the Mushroom Kingdom this year.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is a game that has a little something from every Atlus title we love. The cast of Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3 and Persona 4 unite for the first time in series history, and they take their demon fusing abilities into an Etrian Odyssey stylized first-person dungeon.
This game is pure fan-service, but we are big enough fans of every aspect of this game not to care. Atlus’ two hottest series crammed into a single fun package. How could any fan say “no?”
Shovel Knight (PC, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U)
Earning over $300,000 in scratch from Kickstarter, Shovel Knight is the first title for Yacht Club Games. Yacht Club was formed by a bunch of former WayForward developers, so that means the studio has a lot of platformer cred when it comes to making games.
Shovel Knight screams classic NES title, and that’s why we’re psyched to have it on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Gorgeous visuals, an awesome soundtrack, hilarious in-game action and classic challenge all put it on our must-have list for 2014. Come on, Shovel Knight, come out already!
Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo 3DS, Wii U)
It might not sport the 1080p that its console big brother does, but who can say no to taking Nintendo rumble and tumble fighting game on the road? Those long commutes to work and lonely nights with power outages will now seem all the easier knowing that Mario, Link, Kirby, and Samus are all safely in your pocket just waiting to duke it out.
Nintendo is also making a move to connect its console and its handheld, so most likely to enjoy the full console experience, you’ll have to chalk up a little extra money for this one too. No worries because at least you won’t need a cable to do so this time. Oh, how I loved the GameCube, despite all its cute short comings.
Out of all of the eShop offerings bound to release on the Nintendo 3DS this year, Treasurenauts is our current frontrunner. From Renegade Kid, the same studio behind the likes of Mutant Mudds, comes a well styled platformer all about nabbing that sweet, sweet loot.
The graphics, the music, the level design and the gameplay all scream “tight” and “well made,” and that’s what has us so jazzed for this game. Plus, look at that giant crab!
Yoshi’s New Island
Nintendo might be making Kirby exciting and fresh with each new release, but Yoshi’s New Island takes Mario’s dinosaur buddy a little deeper into history.
Not too much has changed since the Super Nintendo classic Super Mario World 2 Yoshi’s Island. The new 3D art style doesn’t shine as well as the heavily outline sprites from back in the day, nor does it look like Yoshi’s moveset has evolved very much.
However, I won’t put it by Nintendo to work its magic with this title. The original director is on board to make sure this is a quality game, and the music, charm, and atmosphere are all there.