Video Games

April 18, 2014

Appleton: Games like 'MLB 14,' 'Watch Dogs' finally justify new consoles

The first five months of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming consoles were a little discouraging. Several high-profile games that we expected to see on the consoles' launch dates have been delayed. I've had friends, readers, coworkers and random Twitter users ask me "why should I buy a PS4 or Xbox One when there aren't any games for them?"

At first, when I was naïve and idealistic, I would tell people that games were coming. The quality of a few precious launch titles will tide you over until that one big games came out.

However, that was before "Watch Dogs" and "EA Sports UFC" were delayed six months. It was before the "MLB The Show" franchise, one of my all-time favorites, was delayed two months. These delays took a toll, and I slowly began to tell people that they shouldn't buy a new console yet.

All of that is behind us now. Some solid games are scheduled to release in the next few months. I am almost scared to list any for fear of jinxing them and dooming us all to more waiting, but here are five games that you should mark your calendars for:

'MLB 14: The Show'
PS4, May 6

This game is going to melt faces. It is the only major baseball game release this year, and it should be spectacular. The PS3 version was fantastic and introduced some much-needed improvements, and the PS4 version will add the finishing touches. Videos have started to leak out that confirm that when "MLB 14: The Show" releases on the PS4, it will be the best looking console game to date.

'Watch Dogs'
PS4 and Xbox One, May 27

I really don't know what to think of "Watch Dogs." A year ago, it was the launch title that I was most looking forward to. I wasn't the only one excited. Ubisoft, the game's publisher, is already working on a feature film adaptation.

However, multiple delays and the public relations decision to use PS3 images in the gameplay trailers have shaken my confidence. The most recent trailer, which used PS4 and PC graphics, looked a lot better.

The plot and gameplay features still look amazing. The concept of a man taking on the United States government by manipulating the supercomputer it relies on is exciting because it represents a fictional, futuristic adventure while also being plausible enough to make me start questioning our growing reliance on technology.

I am a little worried, but I think "Watch Dogs" should be a solid game.

'Mario Kart 8'
Wii U, May 30

OK, so it isn't a PS4 or Xbox One title. It is, however, the best thing to happen to the Wii U.

This is just what Nintendo needs to give its lagging console a nice little kick start. The franchise has been a family favorite for 22 years, and there is no reason to suspect that it won't continue its success.

"Mario Kart 8" blends our favorite old courses and characters with some brand new ones. Don't let these shiny new characters trick you. Always pick Toad. He is the best. Ask him about it sometime.

I don't know if I will go out and buy a Wii U just for "Mario Kart 8," but it is tempting.

'Murdered: Soul Suspect'
PS4 and Xbox One, June 3

This game might be off the typical gamer's radar grid, but I have a good feeling about "Murdered: Soul Suspect."

The premise is intriguing: players take on the role of a detective who is trying to solve his own murder. The main character must search for clues, speak with friendly ghosts and flee from not-so-friendly ghosts as he unravels the mystery of who killed him.

There is always room in the gaming world for a game that gets by purely on its unique and complex story. "Murdered: Soul Suspect" doesn't boast the graphics of some of its competitors but, if its storyline delivers, it could be a solid hit.

'EA Sports UFC'
PS4 and Xbox One, June 17

This is another title that may have been delayed to death. I was looking forward to it coming out around the consoles' launch dates, but I still have to wait another two months to jump into the ring.

The game looks great. Electronic Arts has been releasing a steady stream of screenshots and trailers to keep people interested. The gaming giant has also done a great job marketing "EA Sports UFC" during the real-life Ultimate Fighting Challenge fights.

However, Mixed Martial Arts games have always been too complicated and clunky -- even for the die-hard fans. Some initial gameplay reports on "EA Sports UFC" have indicated that this pattern will continue.

It will probably be too difficult for me to ever master, but I am still looking forward to the game. EA does know how to make a solid sports game and will spare no expense to deliver a beautiful product.

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About Rory Appleton

Rory Appleton

@RoryDoesPhonics

A gaming guru, Rory Appleton tackles the hottest games and issues making news in the video game world. Email Rory at rappleton@fresnobee.com .

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