It’s game on for 2014

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A new year and another 12 months of incredible gaming delights ahead. We preview five of the most eagerly-anticipated titles for 2014 in the console and mobile gaming world.

Thief

PC/PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One: Action/Adventure

Release: Summer 2014

Thief is a reinvention of the classic franchise that allows gamers to assume the role of Garrett, the master thief.

When the city that created and defines him is threatened, he must step from the shadows and uncover the truth before his world is torn apart.

There is a rising tide of fear in The City. Hatred saturates every stone and while the rich prosper, the less fortunate face misery and repression.

Ravaged with sickness and famine, they wait for something to change.

So, into this shadowy world you will step, in a gloriously detailed, high definition, first-person adventure featuring intelligent design, that gives you full control and freedom to choose how you approach and overcome every challenge you face, forging your unique path through the game.

Destiny: PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One

FPS: Summer 2014

Destiny promises one of the most ambitious evolutions of the multiplayer first-person action genre.

It brings players together in a shared, persistent world, which represents the result of a large-scale collaboration between Call of Duty publishers Activision and Halo creators Bungie.

As if that wasn’t enough to whet the appetite, this dynamic world will deliver a unique social gaming experience to consoles through a connected, living world you can explore, combined with vibrant social spaces where you can gather to celebrate achievements and share remarkable adventures.

Destiny’s seamless approach to single, co-operative and competitive gameplay on such a large scale, whether on the red dunes of Mars or the lush jungles of Venus, should prove to be one sci-fi saga gamers can’t afford to ignore this summer.

Watch_Dogs

PC/PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One

Action: Spring/Summer 2014

Watch_Dogs was an eagerly anticipated launch title for PS4 and Xbox One last year, but it sadly fell foul of a delay.

A delay which will hopefully prove to be time well spent fine-tuning Ubisoft’s ground-breaking new open-world action-adventure.

Blending cutting-edge technologies and sophisticated game design into a hyper-realistic environment, where you must use any means at your disposal to take down a corrupt system, is an enticing prospect.

Anti-hero Aiden Pearce can hack into any connected system, which could quickly become his most powerful weapon, whether it’s triggering a 30-car pile-up by manipulating traffic lights to trap an enemy during a downtown shootout, or tapping into the city’s omnipresent security cameras to access anyone’s personal information.

Coercing and controlling almost every element of the world around you sounds like sandbox gaming heaven, and could give the competition such as GTA V a serious run for its money.

Mario Kart 8

Wii U

Racing: Summer 2014

A legend of the console racing world, Mario Kart 8 is ready to bring racers a new set of racing circuit designs, including incredible anti-gravity karts that will see the on-track action unfold as you’re driving upside down!

The innovation is aligned with a bundle of series-favourite features, including the return of 12-player online competitive play, hang-gliders, underwater racing and motorbikes.

It’s also the first Mario Kart outing to feature HD visuals, ensuring some serious sparkle on your TV, while your own sparkling race displays can be seamlessly shared via Mario Kart TV, letting players share highlight videos via the Wii U’s community Mii-verse.

Fan-favourites Waluigi and Toadette also re-join the cast of familiar characters from the Mushroom Kingdom, for what will likely be one of the most popular arcade racing releases, on any format, for 2014.

The Witness

PC/PS4/iOS

Adventure: Spring 2014

The PS4 promises to be a system to satisfy the needs of independent games developers.

The Witness looks to provide gamers with immediate benefits from this open approach, via a puzzle game unlike anything you’ve seen before.

From the mind of indie icon Jonathan Blow, author of hit platformer Braid, The Witness prompts players to explore an open-world abandoned island, solving puzzles and uncovering different ideas, thoughts and theories.

With 25 hours of spectacular gameplay, it’s a game about epiphany – the instantaneous transition of the mind that takes you from confusion to complete understanding. Early glimpses reveal the game to be absolutely beautiful, but its real appeal will stem from the subtle ways it will make players think.

You won’t just have to solve visual puzzles, you’ll have to figure out the story too, from audio logs scattered around the game’s deserted island locale.

As an effort at thought-provoking gameplay, this is up there with the gaming world’s most intriguing offerings for the new year, and one you’ll no doubt testify to.