By Bryan Smith on January 2, 2015 at 1:53pm
2014 is has come to an end and we had some great games. Admittedly, it wasn’t a particularly awesome year for gaming all around. I feel that certain areas shined absolutely wonderfully this year in any case. So here are our top ten games of 2014.
Now, this list needs some context. This list is what I got to play this year. I didn’t get around to playing every game this year in full. So games like “Far Cry 4,” “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor,” or “Dragon Age: Inquisition” didn’t make the cut. Also, this is a list of games I enjoyed. If you had some games you really enjoyed or didn’t, excellent! These are just the ones I liked the most. One last thing: no re-releases or remasters. If I could have remasters on the list, “Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix” would be in the top five easily.
10. "Child of Light"
While Ubisoft probably has had their worst year in gaming in some time, maybe even ever, they did do some good with “Child of Light.” It’s a charming little RPG that tries its hardest to rhyme.
What I found the most endearing about “Child of Light” is that it’s bursting with love and attention to little detail. One can easily see the effort and care the creative team put into the cutscenes and great combat- a real-time turn-based fighting system. If UbiArt Framework is involved with the work, I think it’s a safe bet that the game will be great (though, sadly, “Valiant Hearts: The Great War” won’t be on the list).
9. "Hyrule Warriors"
The crazy crossovers for video games continues. This time with “The Legend of Zelda” and “Dynasty Warriors.” At first, the concept seemed bizarre, much like the mash up of Disney and “Final Fantasy” for “Kingdom Hearts” was (Disclaimer: I love “Kingdom Hearts”). Upon further thought, it would make sense to have Link mow through hordes of enemies like how he cuts the grass.
As a “Legend of Zelda” fan, I find a hack-and-slash style with Link, Zelda, and even Ganondarf a great and exhilarating idea. What’s more is that I have never seen so much content in a game before. The amount in the retail version alone is staggering. I’m up to 40 some hours and I haven’t even unlocked/leveled everyone up yet. That isn’t taking the large amount of DLC into account either. My only problem is that it tends to get a bit repetitive to the point that taking a long break from the game is a good idea. “Hyrule Warriors” helps itch that urge to destroy enemies in mass in the “Zelda” setting.
8. "Mario Kart 8"
What would a Nintendo console be without a “Mario Kart” game (other than the NES)? Mario and the gang are back in their go-karts and they got some new wacky tactics in store. I think that the anti-gravity segments give “Mario Kart 8” some unrestricted design with levels, which makes certain tracks once impossible now plausible. Though this just makes me want another “F-Zero” game at the same time…
The driving is tight and fun as ever and the items have been (somewhat) balanced- the evil blue shell can be defeated by the Super Horn! Some items are still annoying when people are lagging behind though (I’m looking at you, lightning). It’s a great experience, especially with friends and fellow gamers online.
7. "Strider (2014)"
I was cautious with this game when it was first announced. Capcom hasn’t been the Capcom of the Nintendo GameCube/PlayStation 2 era and before as of late? With this “Strider” being a $15 game and developed by Double Helix (who had a terrible track record before this game and the recent “Killer Instinct”), I wouldn’t blame those who were skeptical. When it came out, however, Double Helix surprised everyone with a faithful reboot/remake/re-imagining of the classic “Strider” of the Genesis era.
The speed is incredibly fast. I felt like I was controlling a real assassin as he sped through enemies like they were air. The game itself treated me with a lot of respect, as I knew where I needed to go without it nagging at me to do something. It may look linear, but “Strider” lets you go anywhere you please once you have the means. Despite the length being rather short, I enjoyed my time and am really glad that Capcom is giving an under-appreciated series some attention.
6. "Infamous: Second Son"
Ah, good old “Infamous.” I for one am glad that they are straying away from sticking to Cole, the previous protagonist (or evil-dude dependent on how players picked their decisions). Delsin Rowe is just more interesting and endearing than Cole was, and my goodness he can have some pretty funny moments. The funniest moments of gaming this year for me came from this game - specifically the billboard segments.
“Infamous: Second Son” cuts the fat of the previous games and gives you easy mobility/powers that don’t restrict you to running on the ground. It’s also a fresh breath of air to have an open world area that isn’t in ruins or stripped of its original appearance. Seattle felt organic and being a super-powered being felt equally as enjoyable.
5. "The Wolf Among Us"
Can’t go wrong with TellTale Games, right? They haven’t had a horrendous take on a game yet, and I for one enjoyed the “Jurassic Park” game they made. I found myself pleasantly surprised and pleased throughout this whole game. I wasn’t even aware that this was based on the “Fables” comic book series going into it. It even serves as a prequel of sorts.
Without a doubt, “The Wolf Among Us” had the best story for gaming this year. ... or maybe tied with “The Last of Us: Left Behind” too. (But this is a games list, not DLC list!) What this game did better than “The Walking Dead: Season 2” is that it kept me invested 100 percent of the time with Bigby Wolf, the protagonist of this series. I wanted to help him through whatever happened to him, which I didn’t get all the time with Clementine. The setting and characters felt great and TellTale Games should feel very proud with themselves.
4. "Alien Isolation"
The one thing that I prayed for this year was that “Alien Isolation” would just be good. A lot of people’s faith, including my own, were pretty low following “Aliens Colonial Marines.” Can someone make a good “Alien” video game? Yes! Even better is that they made the Xenomorph a terrifying threat once more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You don’t shoot down any alien just to kill it. The Xenomorph is stronger than you, and it can outsmart you if/when given the chance. I have never seen such an intelligent enemy AI in years, or ever for that matter. As the player, it’s your job to survive, not the game’s job. That may be a turn off for some, but this game treated me like an adult, and I love it for the mutual respect.
3. "Shovel Knight"
Go forth, my fellow gamers, for truly there is no game more honorable of a platformer then “Shovel Knight.” Everything I heard about “Shovel Knight” when it first came out was amazing. When I played it, everything people said was 100 percent true.
The music is brilliant. The platforming is as tight and wonderful as the original “Mega Man,” “Super Mario Bros.,” and “Duck Tales” games. The writing is witty and humorous while endearing, too. For a small little package, “Shovel Knight” is one excellent game for the ages.
2. "Bayonetta 2"
It was hard for me to decide which game would be #1- “Bayonetta 2” or the following game. For these two games were so excellently made. Nintendo made the best decision of publishing this game - otherwise we wouldn’t have seen this game developed at all.
What we all loved from the first “Bayonetta” is back in full force with this sequel with even more bells and whistles. The small flaws in story and pacing have been fixed (for the most part). The breakneck action is still awesome and superb as ever. It even comes with the first “Bayonetta” with Nintendo-themed costumes. This wasn’t just an excellent game for the hack-and-slash genre. This was the best action hack-and-slash game of the year and possibly one of the best ever.
1. "Super Smash Bros." for Wii U
What a glorious year for Nintendo. We received “Mario Kart 8,” “Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze” (which sadly I didn’t get around to), “Bayonetta 2,” “Hyrule Warriors,” and “Shovel Knight” this year alone. Then came the heavy hitter: “Super Smash Bros." for Wii U. I came expecting Smash, and boy did I get Smash.
The fighting speed is the perfect blend of fast and controllable from “Super Smash Bros. Melee & Brawl.” The roster is again at its biggest with Little Mac, Mega Man, Pac Man, and more. The idea of having eight players fighting at once on one screen is staggering and utterly chaotic. This game is so filled with content and love it’ll take people weeks upon weeks just to unlock everything. That isn’t even considering the possibility of more content with DLC, which they are doing with a Miiverse stage and Mewtwo, a heavily requested veteran fighter.
I would like to mention “P.T.,” which is the playable teaser for the upcoming game “Silent Hills.” That was truly a scary experience in gaming. However, I won’t cheat, per se, and put it as a game since it was free and only a demo. If anything, I can’t wait to see what “Silent Hills” will be like. These are how demos should be treated.
So those were my top games of the year. What were some of yours? Any disappoints? Give a comment and let us know! Here’s to hoping that 2015 is a grander year for gaming and happy gaming to everyone!