PlayStation 4 hasn’t had too bad of a run so far this year in terms of software, which is just as well considering 2014 is the system’s first full year on the market. Sure, exclusives have been a bit thin on the ground, but the likes of inFAMOUS: Second Son and War Thunder have supplemented some great third-party output, including Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Watch_Dogs, and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Throw that in with some brilliant Remote Play options with PlayStation Vita and some indie gems, and gamers have had plenty of reason to celebrate.
Disappointingly however, this year has seen many of its top-tier titles pushed back into 2015. The likes of The Order: 1886 and Batman: Arkham Knight were destined to be among the year’s heavy-hitters for Sony’s next-generation hardware, but alas, we’ll have to wait until the New Year to sample these future classics. Having said that, there still remains an eclectic line-up of games to look forward to during the final six months of 2014, both from Sony’s in-house developers and third-party studios alike.
As such, PSU decided to cast an eye on five titles that are set to define PS4 for the remainder of 2014.
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THE LAST OF US: REMASTERED
Naughty Dog’s emotive, post-apocalyptic hit is the first major PS4 release in our list, and thankfully arrives at the tail end of July -- the perfect remedy for the summer games drought. Already critically-acclaimed thanks to its release on PS3, The Last of Us: Remastered takes everything that was so memorable about Joel and Ellie’s jaunt across the fungus-ravaged United States, giving it a 1080p facelift and chucking in a wealth of downloadable content right out of the box. Upon its release, The Last of Us was an unequivocal visual masterstroke, and easily puts to shame many of its contemporaries more than a year after its release. On PS4, it’ll look and perform that much better, boasting enhanced lightning, character models, and sound effects. If you’ve already got this on PS3, then it’s worth it just to own the definitive version of the game; those yet to experience it should put this on their must-have list asap, as this compelling adventure from Sony’s resident misbehaving pooch simply must be experienced.
Bungie may have been synonymous with Xbox for the past few generations, but that all stops now thanks to the arrival of Destiny; an ambitious science-fiction shooter that arrives on multiple platforms this September. Boasting sumptuous visuals that capture the lush, futuristic qualities seen in the likes of Mass Effect and Star Wars, Destiny is an online-focused blaster that sees gamers taking on the role of legendary Guardians, who are tasked with defending the last city on earth. The game promises a diverse experience thanks to the availability of different classes - namely Hunters, Warlocks and Titans - allowing gamers to opt for a variety of different play styles. With meaty weapons, a stunning soundtrack, and exclusive DLC for PS4 owners, Destiny is surely the most important multiplayer game you’ll dive into this year.
Evolution Studios’ PlayStation 4-exclusive racer has been in the oven for some time now, and was originally scheduled to ship alongside the console last November. That didn’t happen, obviously, and it’s now turning up nearly a year later, on October 7, 2014. However, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most significant PS4 releases to date, let alone for the remainder of 2014. Sure, there’s a fine weight of expectation for this to be the dog’s bollocks, but we’re confident it will be nothing short of impressive. Aside from some beautiful visuals to gawk at, DriveClub fully embraces PS4’s social capabilities, with a focus on building teams (the game’s tagline is ‘Drive Together, Win Together,’ after all) and pick-up-and-play appeal to provide adrenaline-fuelled races right out of the box. Sony’s own Gran Turismo franchise is very much the definition of a simulator, while DriveClub doffs its cap to the more arcade-style of racing. As such, it’s not trying to supplant its Polyphony stablemate, but rather, appeal to those looking for something a little different. With any luck, this will be the start of another massive series for PlayStation owners.
ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY
The Assassin’s Creed may have achieved a level of ubiquity that only the likes of Call of Duty and FIFA can boast about, but this year’s instalment in the roof-hopping, stab-happy franchise is perhaps the most exciting since Brotherhood. Why? It’s the first built from the ground up specifically for next-generation hardware -- namely, PS4 and Xbox One. That means a new engine, fresh animations, revamped controls/combat, and gorgeous graphics that offer a meticulously-crafted recreation of 18th century Paris. Not only that, but Unity eschews the competitive multiplayer of its predecessors in favor of a co-op based romp, where up to four players can stealth and kill their way through missions throughout the campaign. Alternatively, if you fancy going solo, you’re more than welcome to tackle the game old-school. With all this to look forward to, we’re confident that this French Revolution-based adventure will give Ubisoft’s 50-million selling franchise the overhaul fans have been clamouring for since Ezio’s curtain call.
THE EVIL WITHIN
Conceived by Resident Evil mastermind, Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within is possibly the last beacon of hope for fans of the fledging Survival Horror genre. The good news is, from what we’ve played of the game so far, Mikami-san is on to a winner with his decidedly bloody, final directorial endeavour. This is the game from the bloke who reinvented the genre with Resident Evil 4, don’t forget, and you can’t help but be reminded of Leon Kennedy’s European excursion when you’re blasting the heads of the rotting Haunted foes that stalk protagonist Sebastian in The Evil Within’s grimy, claret-covered environments. The horror factor is there, the ammunition scavenging is a perennial concern, and the atmosphere is absolutely palpable. So far we’ve seen a compelling cocktail of puzzle-solving, enemy blasting, and spooky exploration that gives us plenty of hope that The Evil Within will deliver the goods come Halloween. Fingers crossed, at least
What games do you think will define PS4 for the rest of 2014? Let us know in the comments section below.