Best 14 games to watch out for in 2014

Although 2013 has turned out to be a significant and exciting year for gaming, there is even more hope for 2014. "But Mr Pocket-lint," you cry. "We had the next-generation console launches this year, not next." And you'd be right.

But it is for that very reason that there is much promise for the year ahead when it comes to the games themselves. Yes, some of the launch titles were good - great even - but just you wait to see what's in store in the coming months.

That's why we've put together a preview guide on the games we think will be the ones to watch. And because it's 2014 we're talking about, why not plump for 14 of them, just for numerical tidiness?

Titanfall

(Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)

Release date: 14 March 2014

Titanfall is often used as the excuse that Xbox One will win the next-generation console war as it's confirmed as being a Microsoft exclusive. That doesn't mean that it will only be available for Xbox One though; Xbox 360 and PC/Windows versions will be available too.

The game is the first from Respawn Entertainment, a studio formed by ex-Infinity Ward bigwigs after their fallout with Activision, and it is already refreshing to note that former experience with the Call of Duty franchise has been utilised but not entirely emulated. War is still on the agenda, but very much in the science fiction mould as the persistent online game features run and gun action crossed with some of the most clever use of giant exoskeleton mechs we've ever seen.

Expect Titanfall to be on everybody's game of the year lists come the end of 2014.

Watch Dogs

(PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U)

Release date: Spring 2014

On the build up to the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One next generation consoles, Watch Dogs was often the title that was mentioned as being synonymous with the new era of gaming. Admittedly, it will be available for current-gen machines too, but the scope and graphical detail of the game would be sufficient to show off a swanky new device.

However, it was delayed and missed the boat as a launch title for either. Ubisoft wanted to add polishing touches - possibly after seeing Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V, a game that had also been postponed for fine tuning before its release in September.

Watch Dogs will now be released in spring 2014, a date that also fits with PlayStation's PS4 launch window, and we expect it will be worth the extra wait. For those who don't know, the game is an open world science fiction mystery drama, with your character Aiden Pearce able to manipulate electronics with just his mind, allowing for all manner of gameplay possibilities. It's been getting plaudits since its first unveiling at E3 2012, so is definitely one of the most eagerly anticipated titles.

InFamous: Second Son

(PS4)

Release date: 21 March 2014

It's a shame that InFamous: Second Son wasn't available for the launch date of PS4, but it was never expected to be and gives owners of the new machine plenty to salivate over.

Although it's the third in Sucker Punch's InFamous trilogy - and the first on PS4 - previous hero Cole MacGrath has been replaced by Delsin Rowe, a younger altogether more cocky main character for the player to get used to. The beauty of Rowe however is that he has a far wider range of abilities to acquire and use throughout the large, open world single-player adventure. This is already shaping up to be a flagship title for the console. And coming a week after Titanfall for the Xbox One, it needs to be.

DriveClub

(PS4)

Release date: Early 2014

Another launch title that has been delayed, DriveClub offers something different from many of the other driving games available or heading to next-gen consoles. It's main feature is innovative use of social gaming, offering more than simple multiplayer racing.

Pocket-lint has played only a one race demo so far, during its first public showing at E3 in June, but from that we get the impression that it will be very much a "one more go" style of game. Throughout the race we were suddenyl given spot challenges by real-world players who had set good times, scored highly on drifts or such like. If we beat them, it would be our face lurking on that corner in future.

Faces captured with a PlayStation Camera also hover over users' cars. You can see just who's driving against you as you race. How the driving engine holds up to the fun and worthwhile game mechanics, we can't wait to see.

Destiny

(PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360)

Release date: 9 September 2014

Originally expected to be released in spring, Bungie's persistent world FPS Destiny will be a massive title for next September instead. However, a beta version of the game will be available to try out earlier - that will be coming in summer 2014.

The developer of Halo has enormous plans for its latest intellectual property, adding planets and new worlds throughout its lifespan. You will be able to play through the game on your own, we've been told in the past, but it will be best played as a co-operative space opera with friends or acquaintances. Indeed, it could be the most ambitious console game of all time, and from what we've seen so far, we fully expect it to be jaw-dropping in both scale and graphical nous.

Thief

(PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Release date: 28 February 2014

One of the classic first-person stealth game franchises returns for a new generation and if the trailer and brief glimpses we've had so far are anything to go by, this could be the best, most innovative in the genre since Dishonored.

While there will be plenty of dispatching foes from afar and close-up, for the main you will be skulking in the shadows and taking them down using cunning and guile. That, or giving them a significant wallop on the ball of the head with a cosh. There will also be plenty of excuses to sneak into buildings and ensure that the game's title is not just for show.

We won't have long to wait to find out as it's one of the first games on this list to come out next year.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

(PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Release date: 7 March 2014

There have been rumours that South Park: The Stick of Truth is having development issues, and certainly original publisher THQ's demise hasn't helped. However, with Ubisoft at the helm, we're sure that everything will come out smelling of roses. Or Cartman's anal gas. Whichever you prefer.

Taking the South Park humour, superb voice acting and animation style and making it into a role-playing game from the developer behind Fallout: New Vegas and Neverwinter Nights 2 is a master stroke. From what we've seen so far - and we first played an early demo at E3 2012 - it looks to hit exactly the right notes. Subsequent trailers have only reinforced our view that this will be an essential purchase for South Park fans everywhere.

Mario Kart 8

(Wii U)

Release date: Spring 2014

It's Mario Kart for Wii U innit? Really, not more needs to be said than that. However, we'll give it a go.

Like Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS, the first HD game in the long-standing Nintendo racing franchise adds flight and underwater exploits to the karting action. From our plays with the game so far, it will be very much a tighter game than, say, the N64 Mario Kart, which offered tracks that were too wide to be much of a challenge. With Super Mario 3D World already doing the business, Mario Kart 8 could well be the second massive title for Wii U, raising its fortunes.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

(PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360)

Release date: Spring 2014

Designed to be a prequel to the much-anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Ground Zeroes will introduce many of the new gameplay mechanics that Konami believes players should get used to in advance.

It will be the first outing for Kojima Productions FOX Engine and therefore promises to be the best-looking Metal Gear Solid game to date. It is also likely to introduce Kiefer Sutherland as Solid Snake for the first time, which is an event in itself.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

(Wii U)

Release date: 21 February 2014

Yay, Donkey Kong Country makes it way back on to home consoles and we cannot wait. We've always had a soft spot for the primate-oriented platform game series and this could be another excuse as to why the Wii U will become everybody's favourite second console.

Mine carts, barrels, cannons, the lot. They all return to show exactly why the series is loved by many Nintendo fans. A co-operative two-player mode also livens the action as you careening around the world of the vikings on your way home.

Mad Max

(PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Release date: 2014 (TBA)

Although the Tom Hardy-starring film remake has been strangely delayed (it's definitely still on though), a game set in the world of Mad Max is on the horizon.

Featuring a vast open world landscape, the trailer wowed all who visited E3 in June this year and subsequent gameplay teasers have shown that not only is this an ambitious project, it's  also aiming at offering a huge amount of action for your buck. We've had some pretty good post-apocalyptic games in recent years - with Fallout 3 surely still the king - so a lot is riding on Max's shoulders.

The Crew

(PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Release date: Q3 2014 

Ubisoft's arcade racer is a complicated beast in that it features so many mission and gameplay styles that it's hard to describe.

The level we played at E3 featured a multiplayer chase where we were the cops trying to take down some bad guys in an armoured van. Not only was it great fun, but we got the feeling of ancient arcade fave Chase HQ, albeit with vastly improved next-generation graphics.

While many are producing driving simulation games this, like DriveClub, could fly the flag for the good old multiplayer arcade racing genre.

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

(PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Release date: 30 September 2014 (rumoured)

The Witcher 3 was highlighted as one to watch before the next-generation consoles were even announced. The second in the trilogy came as a hugely pleasant surprise, but because it was so critically well received, there's a lot more pressure on the third to match up to expectations.

From the graphics released so far, it certainly looks up to the challenge. Polish studio CD Projekt Red is also promising multiple playthrough opportunities as there will be numerous paths and storylines a player can take. 

Tom Clancy's The Division

(PS4, Xbox One)

Release date: Second half of 2014

At E3 in June, Tom Clancy's The Division stole the show. By far.

Not only does it look absolutely stunning and exactly how we feel a next-generation should look at this stage, but it also features a persistent online world where players can jump in and out of missions as they please, creating some incredible fire fights and battles in a far more natural way than many multiplayer modes on games today. Plus, there's the excellent second-screen companion app for iOS and Android that allows remote players to take over drones and join the fun.

This could well be the game of the year. You mark our words.