Since the start of last week, we’ve been taking a look back at the selection of games we featured in Ones To Watch In 2014, at the end of last year. We’ve been through yearly franchises and round after round of cross-platform game, but last Friday saw the first group of games that come from indie developers, with today’s entry picking another five games that you might have your eyes on.
FuturLab have grown quite a bit since the release of the original Velocity title that appeared as a Mini back in 2012, swelling from 3 to 10 team members who have all been busily working away on the next game in the series, Velocity 2x. We’d seen some footage in trailers the last time we looked at the game but since then we’ve had some extra coverage at E3 2014 that has allowed us to see more of the game in action and find out more about what to expect.
The first thing I noticed was the variety of backdrops – it hadn’t really occurred to me while playing Velocity Ultra that the background didn’t really change but in Velocity 2x there were blues and reds and all sorts of things that really make a difference. Of course, the biggest change is that in addition to controlling your ship you will also be able to dock and take control of Kai herself in some on foot platforming sections.
These parts also include telepods and enemies that you’ll need to take out, but there’s always a focus on being able to get through the levels as quickly an efficiently as possible, so, just in case the ship sections weren’t fast enough for you, Velocity 2x will feature speed pads that will really give you a challenge and help for those speed based missions.
Although we don’t have a firm release date, Velocity 2x is coming to PS Vita and PS4 some time rather soon, if FuturLab’s hinting is anything to go by.
Hotline Miami was a big success for Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital, and the second (and final, if the developer is to be believed) game ‘Wrong Number’ is set to hit us like a baseball bat to the head later in 2014. With the game taking place both before and after the original title, it looks likely to give us some variety in setting and characters while maintaining the frantic, violent gameplay we all loved from the first game.
With a new group of chracters, the game is split into two storylines, during which you’ll control members of a vigilante group and a detective-type character. New masks bring new abilities and as well as the dual wielding shown in the trailer, you’ll be able to roll, kill with one punch and even have a secondary character tag along with a gun while you use a chainsaw!
Another aspect of the game that we weren’t aware of previously is the level editor. This could potentially be massive and might mean that the Hotline Miami experience will only end when you want it to. We’ve seen what people can do with the tools given to them in things like LittleBigPlanet, so hopefully the community will deliver some memorable user generated levels to compliment the core Wrong Number experience.
Developers The Chinese Room have been drip feeding some new screenshots of Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture over the last few weeks, which ably show just how fantastic the game looks. It has been confirmed that the game will use Crytek’s well respected CryEngine, which can’t hurt. Beyond that not a lot has been revealed since the last time we looked at the game – there was a nice new trailer at E3 but that was mainly showcasing the graphical fidelity of the game.
— The Chinese Room (@ChineseRoom) July 12, 2014
The game is a first-person adventure set in England during an apocalypse, in which you’ll explore characters’ stories by triggering ghosts from the past to find out what has happened. The Chinese Room have said that the world will be constantly evolving around the player so even as you visit an area you’ve previously been to it may appear different, whether that would be through the time of day, weather or even ambient sound. Exciting stuff and I can’t wait to see more of it.
Sadly, a 2014 release is “unrealistic“, as the devs said at the start of this year.
Helldivers was another title that had good coverage at E3 in June, with lots of gameplay videos and previews. Coming from the makers of Magicka, it is a co-op top down shooter in which you battle bugs and cyborgs on alien planets to save mankind. It can be played locally with friends or online, and the best news is that online play is cross-platform from PS4, PS3 and Vita so there should always be someone online that you can play with. Whilst cross platform play has been confirmed there is no word yet on whether the game will also be cross-buy on PSN.
In keeping with the brutality of Magicka, it features friendly fire, so you’ll need to be careful where you are spraying your bullets! Since we last checked in, mechs have been revealed as a weapon in your arsenal and there are also several special abilities that can triggered by pressing L1 and inputting a combination on the D-Pad, kind of like a special move in a fighting game, which could add more tension and pressure to the gameplay.
While each game is only played with a party of four, the entire player base will be contributing to an overall global storyline to see who takes control of the galaxy – humans, cyborgs or bugs. It’s an interesting twist and one that will vary from season to season, so that the difficulty may depend on who won last time out. Helldivers doesn’t have a release date, but is due this year and will hit PS4, PS3 and Vita.
Luftrausers is the only game on this list that has actually been released since we last looked at them, hitting the PSN Store on March 18th. The player controls a fighter jet and tries to avoid death at the hands of enemies.
Stefan looked at the game in depth, where he praised the plane handling and depth of possible combinations for your plane loadouts. Planes are upgradable with a variety of add ons to increase or change speed, armour and several other aspects. One of the more interesting things about the game is that your health regenerates while you aren’t firing your weapon so you’ll need to evade enemies when your health gets too low, making it quite an intensive and very difficult game.
Telltale have been busy since we last checked out what they were working on – two of the titles on this list are either finished or very close to finishing, one is coming soon and the other… well, we still don’t really know much about that one!
We’ll start with the known quantities, where The Wolf Among Us recently finished its first season. Blair praised the first episode for its unique blending of fairytale characters with a bleak & vicious subject matter. However, he also mentioned that a lack of choices let down the second episode. It’s been well received overall and while it feels familiar because of its similar playstyle to The Walking Dead, the characters and setting make for a different and interesting title.
TWAU is currently download only but physical PS4/Xbox One/PS3/Xbox 360 versions have been confirmed for later this year. It will also be appearing on Vita as a downloadable title in Q4. Personally I think I’m going to pick this one up for Vita so I can indulge on my long commutes.
The Walking Dead Season 2 is also reaching its climax, with Episode 4 released last week and the final episode expected around October, if their previous schedule is anything to go by. Continuing the story of Clementine, Season 2 has been jam packed with lots of tough choices and awkward situations. While it definitely has a few technical issues (the stutter when loading scenes on PS3 is fairly bad a lot of the time) it has once again been one of my favourite gaming experiences of the year.
Looking to the future now, Tales From The Borderlands focuses on two new characters – Rhys and Fiona. Rhys is a corporate man who has worked his way up in the business world, while Fiona is a former con-artist, wanted for fraud. The game is shown from both of these characters’ points of view, which sounds like it could lead to some interesting situations as you may not know who’s version of events to believe or how your actions with one affect the other.
Additionally, we’ve been told that we will get to see familiar creatures and characters from the main game series so it will be very cool to see who we end up meeting. Although no release date for this one, it still says ‘2014’ at the end of the reveal trailer so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.
Finally, I said in my initial blog post that we knew “little to nothing” about Telltale’s Game Of Thrones title and I’m sad to report that not a lot has changed since then! The game will be based around the HBO TV series and is likely to be a side story that runs concurrently to the show’s storyline. However, Telltale’s Director of PR tweeted last month that we will have more Game Of Thrones info ‘towards the end of summer.’
I just hope they will be able to please fans of the show (and books), since it’s quite a big and very popular universe to try and take on!
Come back tomorrow where we start to look at some of the console exclusives that were set for this year, starting off with PlayStation Vita.