Ones To Watch 2014 Recap: PlayStation 4

Delays, steampunk and neon.

With the PlayStation 4, we’ll be wrapping up the recap of Ones to Watch from the end of last year, where we’ve been checking in on a bunch of 2014 prospects over the past seven months. However, 2014 has also seen a ton of game announcements, and some of these are still set to arrive. So tomorrow and on Wednesday, we look at the new arrivals on the scene and what we can expect from them.

But for now, buckle up as we look at a handful of PlayStation 4 games.

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Once it was delayed beyond the launch of the PS4, Driveclub entered a strange sort of limbo. We all knew that development was ongoing and the game was still pencilled in for a release early in 2014, except that no matter how often people pleaded for an update on the game’s progress, nothing was forthcoming. There was certainly an air of disillusionment in what the game could achieve while it was firmly sealed behind closed doors, but then at the end of April Driveclub re-emerged.

It also looked like the development time being put into it was being very well spent (though one wonders what the game might have been like had it actually released last year), with the all important menu system coming together quite nicely and the stunning graphics and racing out on track. A few question marks do remain, such as how having just six people in a club will pan out in the final game, but after months of negative comments, Driveclub seemed to be turning heads and winning people over.

But with months of development time still to come, the team at Evolution simply haven’t stopped pushing. Further optimisations and layers of graphical effects have since been added or are in progress for some time after launch. At E3, Peter was particularly impressed by the weather systems that are to be integrated, with rain coming to Scotland and snow in Norway.

Driveclub’s set for a release on 7th October in the US, 8th in the EU and 10th in the UK, and with that PS+ edition set to appear alongside, it won’t be long before we all know if the wait was worth it.

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While the initial appearances and the details that emerged surrounding Deep Down whetted a few appetites, starting with its debut at the PS4 reveal last February, it’s dropped off the radar since then. We effectively only know what we knew at the end of last year, that Capcom’s game would be a free to play medieval dungeon crawler with Sci-Fi overtones, running on the brand new Panta Rhei engine.

It had felt at the end of last year like they were gearing up for a 2014 release, but we’ve seen practically nothing outside of a new trailer at E3. It didn’t even appear in Sony’s press conference, so while there’s no firm release date, it’s fairly safe to assume that this one is set for next year. Hopefully.

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Planetside 2 is another PS4 title that we have seen relatively little of since the turn of the year, aside from a rather awful trailer to say that the game would be coming the console “soon”. That aside, anyone with a competent PC can sample the game’s delights already, so it’s unlikely to hold too many surprises when it does eventually launch on PS4.

Three factions battle it out over gigantic maps, each set on one of four continents or one battle isle, with more planned for the future. The combat itself can throw 2000 players into the fray, each picking from one of six classes or hopping into a myriad of ground and air vehicles. Fighting will naturally converge around the borders of each faction’s territory, as one defends and the other tries to attack and capture a control point.

Personally, it’s the kind of game that I’ve wanted to play ever since I finished with MAG on the PS3. The huge scale appeals to me but, though I have a PC more than capable of playing it, this is a game that is best enjoyed with friends and active co-operation and teamwork, which I’ll be most likely to find within the TSA community.

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And so we come to the first of the games in this list to actually have been released, but sadly this one did not achieve the acclaim that it could have done. Though the premise was a promising one, with you waking up in a procedurally generated hospital filled with supernatural puzzles and psychological terrors, tasking you with making your escape without any weaponry. It didn’t live up to the potential, however.

In the end, it was criticised for being buggy and feeling rushed at launch, with the story that you were meant to uncover over multiple plays falling flat. Additionally, the procedural generation led to the game not being able to fully control the pace and gradual increase of tension that are the hallmarks of the horror genre.

If you’re looking for your horror game kicks though, the first half of the year saw another entry in the genre landing on PS4, with Outlast sending you to a mental asylum with nothing but a video camera. It scared the living daylights out of Dan, when he reviewed it.

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With The Order’s announcement, there was a sense of mystery and intrigue to the game, with an interesting steampunk take on Victorian London, and a healthy dose of fog and monsters. What has since been shown has surprised and disappointed many, as Ready at Dawn aim to take the cinematic side of gaming further than ever before, but not until 2015.

For centuries, humanity has battled against a race of half breed monsters, with the eponymous order of knights using a mysterious liquid to extend their lives and recover from otherwise fatal wounds to gain the upper hand however they can. However, with the tide turning in humanity’s favour during the industrial revolution, the lower classes start to revolt, adding a third side to the conflict.

It’s all backed up by the very impressive RAD Engine 4.0, which already seems to be pushing the boundaries of what the PS4 can achieve (part of the reason for the cinematic-style letterboxed image), but it’s with the gameplay that people seem to be most discouraged by. By and large, it’s a third person cover shooter, though there’s some quite interesting and exotic weaponry on show thanks to the setting, but this has been shown to live alongside various action setpieces that feature quick time events. There does seem to be an element of Heavy Rain-esque branching to the game, but only heading to a single ending.

The Order:1886 is set for release on 20th February 2015.

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Launching back in March, inFamous: Second Son was the first major exclusive to grace the PS4 since its launch, giving many of those that complained of the dearth of new games at the start of this year something to play. Though it’s not going to convince those that weren’t fans of the first two, this took the basic formula from those previous games and polished them even further.

Delsin Rowe – voiced by the omnipresent Troy Baker – has the power to absorb the abilities of other conduits, and over the course of the game he’s able to grab smoke, neon and a few others I’m still quite hesitant to spoil. Set loose in Sucker Punch’s recreation of Seattle, he rails against the Department of Unified Protection, which was set up in the wake of the catastrophic events of inFamous 2.

As Blair wrote in his review, “It really makes you feel superpowered as you destroy the occupying D.U.P. forces. The interplay of the powers is brilliant, and abilities varied enough to make this extremely enjoyable, while the destructible environments add a further sense of power to the mix.”

He proceeded to award it a 9/10, summing it all up by saying:

Second Son is very much an inFamous game. It doesn’t stray off the series’ beaten path too much, but there are enhancements in terms of gameplay and some stunning effects put to good use to create the PS4′s most fun and best looking game yet.

While the narrative might not have the same impact as previous games, it’s somewhat more of a down-to-earth tale of an ordinary man with extraordinary powers, and that’s an exciting new direction for the series to take.

Since it’s release, Sucker Punch added the much lauded photo mode to the game, which saw the internet buzzing with some incredible screenshots. E3 then saw the announcement of inFamous: First Light, a standalone expansion that will see you play as Fetch, exploring some of the events that led up to her meeting of Delsin in Second Son.

inFamous: First Light is set to arrive digitally on August 27th in the EU, with a retail release following a few weeks later on September 10th.


As I mentioned at the top of the article, we’re done recapping, but come back tomorrow when we’ll be looking at those games for 2014 that were only just announced this year.

1 Comment

  1. Infamous was great all round, I’ve preordered the last light dlc. I’m starting to reconsider getting the order after playing TLoU, seeing the similarities.

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