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Kato's Titles That Excite In 2014

It's always fun to catch the buzz on a game. You discover details on a title and your mind starts to explore all the possibilities and where the game is going to take you. So far, 2014 looks to be another year capable of filling us with such wonder.

Here's a list of titles I'm earmarking for the year (in no particular order). These are different from the sports or racing games I usually cover (and beyond the usual suspects like Watch Dogs or Metal Gear Solid V), and that's the point. I play a variety of different genres in my free time, and these are some of the games (but by no means all of them) I'm intrigued in for various reasons, whether it's a genre I don't play a lot, a series I've never played, or simply something that's piqued my interest away from the usual crowd. Hopefully, they don't disappoint.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts) PC - 2014

Although the game has supernatural overtones, what initially struck me about it was that the developers (previously from Bulletstorm's People Can Fly) described it as a horror title without combat and superfluous inventory management. Gameplay is always important, so I'm interested how the developer lead us to its endgame – making us feel scared in the title's mysterious world – while eschewing some traditional constructs.

Rayman Legends (Ubisoft Montepellier) PS4/Xbox One - February 25

I'm not a huge platformer, but I can't find anyone who has played this title (originally out for the Wii U) and not loved it. While the Wii U's GamePad seems to be a huge asset for that version, it sounds like the game is quality no matter what platform it's on.

Dark Souls II (From Software) PS3/Xbox 360/PC - March 11

I never played the first title, which is why I'm strangely excited about this game. I want to see what all the hubbub is about, and to see if I'm good enough to survive the series' reputed difficulty. I could see myself masochistically reveling in it. Hopefully it truly is above and beyond the standard action/RPG fare.

Banner Saga (Stoic Games) PC - January

I usually get absorbed in at least one strategy title in a year even though I'm not the smartest person you'll ever meet, and Banner Saga – with its group morale concept, large-scale grid battles, and deteriorating performance as skirmishes progress – might be a great way to start the year. I also like the art style and use of Nordic legends.

Thief (Eidos Montreal) PS4/Xbox One/PS3/Xbox 360/PC - 2014

It sounds really weird, but I'm interested in this title in direct relation to a different game – 2012's Dishonored. I really liked that title, and am curious how Thief approaches stealth combat. I've never played the other titles in the series, so I'm excited to come at the property fresh with no assumptions or beliefs. Honestly, I wasn't initially interested in Thief, but I would certainly welcome another great stealth experience.

Other Titles Worth Mentioning

Rime (shown at top) (PS4, 2014), The Long Dark (PC/Mac, October), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4/Xbox One/PC, 2014)

And One Game I'm Surprisingly Not Excited About

The Order: 1886 (Ready At Dawn) PS4 - 2014
New IP for a new system always makes your ears perk up, but for whatever reason this game – apart from the art style – hasn't hooked me yet. There's still plenty of time for more to be revealed about The Order: 1886, but right now I'm holding off.

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