The trio of much-hyped next generation consoles have taken their time to bed in but we’re set for a glut of A-list titles – here are the ones to watch out for this year, whether you’re into racing, sports or shooting things in the face
NINTENDO WII U
MARIO KART 8
RACING; 30 MAY
The best-loved of all racing games will soon make a return on Nintendo’s – ahem – slow-burner of a console. This time races will include zero gravity, hang-gliders and bikes, as well as lush graphics that are a million miles from the 16-bit hit that won hearts 20 years ago.
KIDS; LATER IN 2014
This 2D, side-scrolling adventure seems to be aimed at the kids market. You play Yoshi, Mario’s reptilian side-kick, who is made out of string. Eat bad guys to gain girth. It sounds bonkers but then all the best Mario adventures are.
ZELDA WII U
ADVENTURE; LATER IN 2014
Not much has been announced about the hotly-awaited new installment of Nintendo’s revered franchise. Gamers can expect more of the same from the kid in the green hat – madcap quests, familiar faces and epic boss battles. A must-buy for Wii U owners.
RACING; LATER IN 2014
This ambitious “social” racing game promises to push the boundaries of the genre, allowing players to work together over the PlayStation Network to earn rewards and race together. Although slated as a launch title, setbacks mean it is still awaiting a release date.
THE ORDER: 1886
ADVENTURE; AUTUMN 2014
This steampunk-inspired adventure game, set in the grimy streets of Victorian Whitechapel, seems to owe much to last year’s first-person stealth title Dishonored – which is no bad thing. This title looks to be a bit more gung-ho. One to watch.
SHADOW OF THE BEAST
ACTION; LATER IN 2014
You might remember Shadow of the Beast from its two dimensional, 16-bit days; this reboot is a little more extravagant. It’s set to be an epic monsters and magic title that combines open-world exploration with a satisfyingly hefty combat system.
MICROSOFT XBOX ONE
CINEMATIC; AUTUMN 2014
Quantum Break is a cinematic science-fiction story in the mould of Heavy Rain. It follows three scientists involved in a failed science experiment that could lead to the collapse of time itself. The graphics and voice acting look stunning – if the story is too, this could be a classic.
WORLD SIM; LATER IN 2014
Project Spark could be the Little Big Planet for Microsoft’s new console. Grand in its scope, it will allow you to craft entire worlds, from mountains to teacups, and let loose fantastical creatures to mingle with your friends’ creations.
SHOOTER; LATER IN 2014
New Halo games really need no introduction. Expect more interplanetary adventures from the heroic Master Chief, this time with even lusher HD graphics. The game is a sure-fire hit; the only question is whether Microsoft’s servers will be able to handle the multiplayer traffic.