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Jan 21 2014

Matthew’s Most Anticipated Games of 2014.

All bright and flashy. Seems fitting, with games.

All bright and flashy. Seems fitting, with games.

Another year of gaming is upon us, and it’s time for this guy to return and tell you all about it. While I will always have a soft spot for the console market deep down in my soul, I realize its time has come. Personal computing has taken over the gaming world, both in game exposure as well as gaming quality, and I will not be left behind. What games that now appear will either exude from a powerful handheld market,  which is still dominated by Nintendo, or the computer. I see no chances for tablet gaming to be as strong; the control scheme doesn’t really flow that well or allow for a interesting enough gaming experience.  While I don’t quite see any trends or genre specializations that this year will bring to us, I have to get my own individual interests for this year out there. I got seven games and my reasons, so let’s get right to it.

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 7) Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

You fell for my Secret card...it doesn't roll of the tongue.

You fell for my Secret card…it doesn’t roll off the tongue.

This game clicked with me pretty fast, as I’ve been playing a fair share of Magic 2014 in order to sate an old itch with the game from long ago. I hadn’t played Magic since Kamagawa in the physical game, and while I wish Magic 2014 used more cards from other sets, I’m having a good time with it. Hearthstone is simplified and more engaging with all the little lore snippets and voice-acted parts that I enjoy. I still wonder if they plan to add a Death Knight class to play as, but as Blizzard continues to build it up, I wonder what to expect from this. As a player of the World of Warcraft card game, I hope they bring out Raid Boss challenge decks, like they did for for the card game. The premise alone is fascinating.

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6) La-Mulana 2: The 0th Body – The 9th Spirit

Not even a full trailer yet, just a tease for the new character? I'm hurt.

Not even a full trailer yet, just a tease for the new character? I’m hurt.

First of all, I love Metroidvanias. Secondly, La-Mulana makes you think at the same time, and its puzzles don’t pull any punches. Thirdly, there’s going to be a second one? I’m totally sold. I’m not even sure how Nigoro plans on topping itself after the first game: We killed the creator of all mankind and all her minions. We explored an ancient civilization, trailing our father and an eternally-young girl helping us in the remake, to see what sad lives the races of the Mother went through. So, more weapons and items? More exploration? This is on my to-buy list, without question.

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5) Persona 5

What is this, a mesh between the Bastille and High School Musical?

What is this, a mesh between the Bastille and High School Musical?

I’ve recently been playing Persona 4, a game I have never played before, with a few friends who do know what they are doing. I have to say, I’m really impressed with the game as a whole. Not only for the tough gameplay, I’m also a huge fan of the character development. It makes me feel like I’m connected to these characters, and informs how I should relate to them. I’m intrigued to see where this new Persona game will take us. My hope is that they get away from the high school setting. I could afford to lose all the drama.

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4) Yoshi’s New Island

Feed my infinitely-expansive stomach!

Feed my infinitely-expansive stomach!

Nintendo bringing back a beloved platforming franchise? I’m sold. Yoshi’s story was the platforming game of the SNES, far greater than Super Mario World in my opinion. Because it changed the mold: using your enemies as weapons and changing the environment to deal with new threats is fun and engaging. This new game, while not having the same innovative style and unique perspective as the first, certainly does provide a cathartic feeling when you make giant eggs and destroy the landscape with them.

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3) Kirby Triple Deluxe

Feed my Massively-Expansive Stomach 2: You Are what You Eat.

Feed my Massively-Expansive Stomach 2: You Are what You Eat.

One of my favorite games of recent memory was Return to Dream Land, not only because it was a Kirby Game, but that it returned to the game’s core mechanics in grand fashion and turned everything up to eleven. While I’m not expecting the same earth-shattering expanse of pure awesome that Return was, I am looking forward to being able to pull trees out of the ground with inhaling and seeing what crazy nightmarish form Dark Matter has taken this time. The music really made everything better in Return to Dreamland too. CROWNED and Under My Control are the songs that made the game so much more amazing. And this is the first time I’ve gushed about songs by name in my memory, so go me.

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2) Child of Light

This is just a well. Why do I feel so much more enthralled?

This is just a well. Why do I feel so much more enthralled?

This game has an atmosphere I don’t think I can quite effectively describe. The bright but subdued character design within a world of such deceptive beauty and sound has me intrigued. I’m a big fan of both platformers and RPGs, and I am personally looking forward to how this girl’s personal history comes back in force to give the plot depth and meaning. What has me especially interested in this game are the artistic elements telling the story as much as the text and gameplay will, something I think is sorely lacking from our current industry. Using every element of the space to excite and draw the player in only helps drive the experience home.

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1) Pillars of Eternity

That's what I'm talking about. Crazy battles, magic flying everywhere, this is the life.

That’s what I’m talking about. Crazy battles, magic flying everywhere, this is the life.

I put money into backing this game, and I do not want to be disappointed. I was disappointed enough by Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, and that original game is what inspired this one to be made. All of the work they put into the lore, the inspiration and the gameplay in the recent updates has seriously got me interested in just how far this game can push the envelope. Take your time, Obsidian. I am a patient, patient man for something like this. I know you can release a stellar product with the great team and Kickstarter money backing you. My hope is that this will be the game to get me to love exploring, looting, and being a character all over again.

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