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The 11 games you need to play in 2014

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Did you sink the best part of a month's wages into buying a shiny black game box over Christmas? Still haven't got any games to play on it?

Never fear, for 2014 is creaking at the seams with new video games worthy of your attention. From brand new AAA blockbusters to hotly anticipated sequels, here are 11 titles we're positively itching to get our thumbs on.

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Thief



We raised a collective sceptical brow when word reached us that the master pilferer Garrett was coming out of retirement, but Eidos Montreal's reboot looks to be shaping up nicely. Chatter surrounding the early demo has been positive, thanks to a familiar steampunk aesthetic and heaps of pinchable gems and gold to distract players from the central tasks. Thief could well live up to its legacy and be the stealth experience of the year.

Release date: 25 February

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South Park: The Stick of Truth



Rude words and role-playing? No, it's not a new 50 Shades novel, but the much-delayed South Park: The Stick of Truth, an RPG that looks to capture the show's unique brand of 2D animation and humour. Expect ridiculous weapons (including the Bulrog Chicken Attack) and more swearing than a Frankie Boyle DVD.

Release date: 6 March

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Titanfall



Arguably the first head-turning title for the Xbox One, Titanfall promises to bring some much needed change to the world of first-person shooters. Created by the minds of Jason West and Vince Zampella (co-founders of Infinity Ward and the chaps behind Call of Duty), Titanfall blends squad-based multiplayer with jetpacks and giant mechs. Not convinced? It's already picked up over 60 awards without making it off the shelf.

Release date: 11 March

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The Elder Scrolls Online



What do you get if you take one of the most popular role-playing series of all time and build a vast online world for it? A lot of cancelled plans and empty pubs. The Elder Scrolls Online promises to be the multiplayer experience its fans have always wanted, hurling players into the midst of a three-way-war for the throne of Tamriel. With masses of quests, hundreds of items and thousands of characters to stumble upon, the rest of our 2014 might be swallowed up by this title.

Release date: 4 April

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Mario Kart 8



It's been 22 years since Mario Kart first power-slid into our lives, and the prospect of an eighth title still fills us with unbridled glee. Several elements have been adapted from the 3DS title Mario Kart 7, such as the glider ability, while new anti-gravity skills join the franchise. Expect some classic tracks to return along with new 'real-life' locations, for what's already the best looking Mario Kart ever made.

Release date: Spring

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Watch_Dogs



Watch Dogs has spent the better part of 6 years in development, dropping a gorgeous trailer way back at 2012's E3. Finally surfacing this summer, this third-person open-world hack'em'up looks different to just about everything else coming out in 2014. Combining stealth and parkour elements (think Assassin's Creed) with hacking and high-tech skullduggery (Splinter Cell, Deus Ex), you're never going to look at a set of traffic lights in quite the same way.

Release date: Summer

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Super Smash Bros. 4



Another classic from Nintendo's bottomless franchise bag, Super Smash Bros. 4 looks like a knock-out hit for the Wii U. All your favourite brawlers are back, joined by newcomers Rosalina and Luma (Super Mario Galaxy). We'll still pick Kirby every single time.

Release date: TBA

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The Order: 1886



Not much is known about this PlayStation 4 exclusive, but the trailer alone has piqued our interest. Set in an alternative history dripping with Victorian steam-punk, The Order focuses on a band of knights defending the world from animal-human monsters - a conflict dating back to King Arthur and his knights of the round table. If the game looks anything like as good as the above three minutes, it could be the PS4 game of the year.

Release date: Autumn

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Destiny



Developed by Halo creators Bungie, Destiny looks to be a vast melting pot of your favourite sci-fi video game moments: a vast, galaxy-filling game, allowing you to play in a team, go solo, complete missions or just shoot each other. Spaceships, pretty space explosions, and space magic - what's not to like?

Release date: September

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Super TIME Force



Developed by the wonderfully different Capybara Games, Super TIME Force is an upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title with time travel at its cutesy 2D heart. Death isn't the end in this side-scrolling shooter: having used a character's unique abilities, or if a different tactic is required, players can rewind the action to add a new character, thus giving rise to 'single player co-op play' as you battle alongside your future self. Bonkers and brilliant.

Release date: TBA

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Hotline Miami 2



Are you a fan of brutal cartoon violence and twisted killings? Then Hotline Miami 2 is this year's grizzly title most suited to your warped tastes. With action both following and precluding the events of the first instalment, Wrong Number sees Jacket's murderous rampage turned into a slasher film, which in turn inspires a group of fans to carry out similar killings. Not one for the kids.

Release date: TBA

(Images: PlayStation, Bungie)

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