It’s time to look ahead. We’ve covered the best games of 2013 and you’re probably deep into your first experiences with the next generation of the PS4 with games like “Killzone: Shadow Fall,” “Knack,” and, hopefully, “Battlefield 4” and “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” the two best games currently available for the landmark system. Is it just me or is the line-up still a little slight? We need something to shake things up. And more than any January I can ever remember, it’s not coming this month. Sorry my cold friends in the Midwest, you’re going to have to keep playing 2013 games (for comparison, “Dead Space 3” and “Ni no Kuni” came out in the first month of last year). All we’re getting this month is a PS4 remaster of the brilliant “Tomb Raider.” It starts in February and really gets going in March and April. Here are the five PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games that you should put on your calendar (or at least come back to About.com to read our coverage of as they’re released) in the order they’re being released:
1. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
Release Date: February 25, 2014
After playing the “Lords of Shadow 2” demo on the “Lords of Shadow Collection” release last year, I’m a bit less excited than I once was but I’m hoping that the prologue in that release isn’t indicative of the overall quality of this title. The “Castlevania” series is a rollercoaster of serious peaks and valleys but “Lords of Shadow” was a GREAT game (one of the most underrated of the PS3 generation). If this title could capture half of the beauty of that action experience, the cinematic storytelling, I’ll be happy. I wish it was PS4. I wish that demo rocked my world. But I’m still optimistic that the developers can build on what made “Lords of Shadow” such a great time.
Release Date: February 25, 2014
The next PS4 game that’s going to matter is another reboot from the company that so masterfully rebooted “Tomb Raider” last year and looks primed again to take an old title and make it feel new. The screenshots of next-gen “Thief” that have been released to date have been absolutely gorgeous. Built by the people at Eidos Montreal who worked on the underrated “Deus Ex: Human Revolution,” “Thief” promises a deep level of gamer authorship with numerous ways to get the job done. Yes, the steampunk aesthetic looks a bit like “Bioshock Infinite” and “Dishonored,” but those were gorgeous games and I can’t wait to see how a world like that is rendered in the PS4 era. Whatever the gameplay is like, it’s going to be BEAUTIFUL.
Release Date: March 3, 2014
It was supposed to be a launch game (and is kind of featured in those great “Perfect Day” commercials) but “DriveClub” gave way to the great “Need For Speed: Rivals” in the PS4 launch window and got pushed to near-Spring. Let’s hope it wasn’t for quality concerns because there’s a reason that this was one of the first games that Sony showed off when they announced the PlayStation 4. And yet it’s still kind of unclear what kind of racing game this will be. It’s from the team behind “MotorStorm” but it’s not going to be that much of an arcade game and yet they claim it won’t be pure simulator either. What we do know is that the game will feature a heavy emphasis on the social abilities of the PS4, encouraging teams of drivers to play together. Get some friends.
4. South Park: The Stick of Truth
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Again? Didn’t we include this on a list already? I think so. In fact, we mentioned “The Stick of Truth” TWELVE months ago in “The Most Exciting Games of Early 2013,” believe it or not. The game has been delayed so many times since Ubisoft picked it up from the now-defunct THQ but we still hold out hope based on the silly, fun, inventive gameplay that we’ve seen. Could it be a disaster like most “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” games? Sure. But Trey Parker and Matt Stone have defied expectations before by brilliantly branching out to film and Broadway. Here’s hoping they do it again. As we said months ago, “It's a project that's been intriguing since it was first announced. Let's just hope it comes out some day.”
5. Infamous: Second Son
Release Date: March 21, 2014
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe “Thief” and “DriveClub” will be must-owns. But I have a feeling that this will be the first game-changer of the new generation. The first two “Infamous” games are wonderfully designed, addictive experiences, and they take place in a world that could really be enhanced by the new PS4 engine and the social experience of the new system. A new storyline, a new hero, a new world, a new system. If you’re going to circle any date from this feature on your calendar, this is the one.