Time to reflect on the year of 2014 in gaming.
Now while most “Best of..” or “Top…” lists dropped at the start of the year or in the last month or so, I wanted to wait until I had given every game a fair chance. This included games in my backlog, games recommended to me, or just games that had received critical acclaim. While I went into the Fall season completely prepped to play these games, I didn’t really account for the hundreds of hours that those releases would suck from me.
But now I’ve caught up, and ready to deliver my verdict on last year’s games. Or am I? I thought long and hard on how I wanted to do this. Top 10? 15? 20?? Just my favorite pick? In the end I’ve decided to crown a single winner, with 3 runner-ups. Those will be followed by a bulk list of games that would’ve tied for 5th place, as well as a handful of honorable mentions that I felt bad about leaving out, or were remastered versions of games I didn’t quite feel right putting in the top tiers.
Without further ado, here’s my list!
Dragon Age: Inquisition
If you’ve read my review, you’ll know that I wasn’t really interested in DA:I, but as soon as I started playing it, my life was over. At the time of my review I was at the 75 hour mark, and have pushed further since then. It’s rare for an pretty heavy RPG to get it’s hooks in me so deep, but this game really nails every element. It’s stunning visually and aurally, features truly fun combat, and has enough characters, story, and lore to fill a dozen games. Dragon Age: Inquisition has topped many lists for people this year, and with good reason. It’s fantastic, and it’s the best game released in 2014 that I played.
Mario Kart 8
I feel bad for Mario Kart 8 for a couple reasons. One, until a month ago, it was my number one game of 2014. Two, it’s on the Wii U, which is a criminally undersold and poorly marketed system. I’m not a racing fan at all, but every Mario Kart game, good or bad, will never cease to engage me. MK8 is, in my opinion, the best in the series, with outstanding production values, a brilliant sense of speed, and untouchable character and course design.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Given the talent behind the team that created Middle-Earth:Shadow of Mordor we shouldn’t have been surprised by its greatness, yet it still managed to take us all by surprise. It takes a license that has been tainted in recent years and gave it a breath of fresh air. It did the same for mechanics found in other open-world action games, and reinvigorated it with the “Nemesis” system, allowing for a creative way to generate unique villains as you play through the well-crafted story.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
While I love South Park, I’ve never been a consistent viewer of the show, so my interest was never really huge for this title prior to it’s launch. It had a historically delayed creation, but when it dropped, it blew us all away. The RPG elements are pretty lite, but it makes for a completely accessible game. The writing and story is downright hilarious – I’d go as far to say it is the funniest game I have ever played. It’s also pretty brief, clocking at around 10-12 hours, meaning for many busy gamers these days, it’s the perfect package.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Halo:Master Chief Collection, Grand Theft Auto V (PS4/X1), Peggle 2, The Last of Us: Remastered, Bayonetta 2, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Fantasia: Music Evolved
There were just too many games!
Well that’s my list(s)! Last year had some great games as well, but most of my excitement game from the new console launch, which had a solid release lineup, but nothing spectacular. This year we finally got some games featuring truly “next-gen” ideas (like Mordor’s “Nemesis” system), some incredible visuals (Sunset Overdrive / Far Cry 4 / Assassin’s Creed: Unity), and a flurry of wonderful titles from Nintendo. I’ve played a wider variety of games this past year than I ever have, and I loved every moment of it.
This year already has some great games – I’m looking at you Dying Light – and we’ve got The Order: 1886, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and Bloodborne directly on the horizon.
Well, now that I’ve covered games I’ll be posting my favorite films of 2014 soon. Keep an eye out!