2014 was another incredible year for video games and just like last year there wasn’t enough time to play everything. Below you’ll find my favorite games of the year and some honorable mentions. To narrow down my list, I made sure only to include games I finished so I could judge them more accurately. So, that’s why Shadow of Mordor, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Shovel Knight and other incredible games from last year aren’t on this list.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
What an awesome way to revisit all the main Final Fantasy games and their spin-offs! Theatrhyhm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call rekindles my nostalgia of the classic RPG series and with more than 200 songs theirs something for everyone. Also, not having to use the stylus anymore kept me playing on the bus and made my commute time disappear in a flash.
Watchdogs at first glance looks like a GTA clone but brings some welcome innovations to the open world sandbox formula pioneered by Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series. The hacking feature brings new life into cover shooting, stealth missions, and car chases by using your enemies weapons and the environment against them. I got a kick out of setting traps Home Alone style, hacking cameras for advantageous stealth opportunities and demolishing cars with a perfectly timed button press. Here’s hoping Watchdogs 2 sees the same refinement Assassin’s Creed made over its predecessor.
Talk about repetitive! Destiny is no Halo, but it’s fun in short bursts and a beautiful showcase of Xbox One and PS4’s capabilities. I’m disappointed with the nonexistent story, the boring mission objectives and having to traverse the same areas over and over again, but Destiny improves with your investment. Just like Halo, Bungie’s nailed the shooting, controls and multiplayer. I don’t get into multiplayer games very often yet I still I enjoyed participating in raids with other people to tackle challenging bosses and overwhelming enemy groups. While I stopped playing Destiny back in September, I’m excited to see how the franchise evolves over the years.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is an excellent addition to the Wii U’s growing library of exclusive kick ass games. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze features lush visual, strong gameplay and with the exception of a few frustrating multi-stage boss battles the game consistently challenges you to play smarter. Which I found refreshing compared to other platformers that take a long time to ramp up in difficulty over time. Play it if you missed it last year, and you won’t regret it.
TOP 10 GAMES OF 2014
Mario Kart 8
Like Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8 pops with beautiful, vibrant graphics and makes you happy you own a Wii U. The level design is top notch, and the generous selection of classic tracks from past games make this one of the best Mario Karts ever. I had a blast playing this game, but after beating the Grand Prix mode a few times and playing online, I felt I experienced everything. I was also disappointed by the battle mode, which felt very unsatisfying to me compared to the Nintendo 64 version. For this reason, MK8 makes the bottom of my list, but the upcoming downloadable content looks like a great excuse to revisit this game again.
I spent double maybe even triple the amount of time completing Destiny, and it’s two betas, but I found my brief time with Titanfall superior. For one, I suck at online first person shooters, but in Titanfall, I always have fun even if I’m the worst person on the team thanks to its user-friendly design. The pace of the game makes other shooters feel slow in comparison, and the introduction of titans adds a lot to the gameplay. I still wish it had a single player mode, and it no doubt would rank higher for me if it did. However, I respect the team at Respawn for focusing on making the best multiplayer experience they could. Bring on Titanfall 2!
The Wolf Among Us
I’ve yet to play The Walking Dead Season 2, but so far the Wolf Among us is my favorite Telltale series. Just hearing the opening title music gives me chills, and I love the art design, the world and characters. While the gameplay is still pretty limited, some of the fight sequences rocked and like Heavy Rain do a good job of making me feel a adrenaline rush.
Finally, a game that brings me back to the creative, energetic Dreamcast era. It’s so refreshing to play a shooter with bright, colorful environment and traversing the open world by grinding all over the place is some of the most fun I had all year. As was taking down impressive larger than life bosses while using a repertoire of crazy guns like fireworks, ice guns and others not found in most shooters. Let’s hope this game becomes a new franchise.
Infamous: Second Son
My favorite of all the Infamous games and it has the best powerups in the series. The smoke and neon powers are fantastic, and everything looks gorgeous in the realistic Seattle setting. Like Sunset Overdrive traveling around the world is a joy. A mid-game boss fight spoils the overall experience a bit but overall this game feels right in all the right places.
South Park: the Stick Of Truth
A great South Park game at last. The gameplay is reminiscent of the Paper Mario RPG games, and the gameplay is simple, but fun. I laughed a lot while playing this game and with doing all the side quests I averaged around 15 or so hours. I don’t find that too short for an RPG. While superficially this game is amazing, I wish the combat were a bit deeper.
Final Fantasy XIII: Lighting Returns
What Lighting Returns above South Park? Heresy you say? While Lighting Return’s story wasn’t anywhere near as funny as South Park: The Stick of Truth, the gameplay is much stronger. The combat’s a blast, and I like all the different options I have for attacks, costumes, and different strategies. I also like having multiple worlds to explore and found the side quests enjoyable. It was an excellent creative end to the Lighting trilogy that I’ve enjoyed since part one.
Far Cry 4
I only played a few hours of Far Cry 3, so I’m not tired of the formulaic gameplay yet like so many other people are. Pagen Min is a fantastic villain, and I found the world easier to get around than Far Cry 3 in comparison. I also liked how I could customize my weapons with a varied repertoire of shotguns, bows, grenade launchers, and rifles. I haven’t finished Wolfenstein: The New Order or tried Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare yet, but so far this is my favorite shooter from 2014.
I played Bayonetta 2 twice and was tempted to play it a third time too. That’s how great it is. The sense of scale is incredible, and the combat and dodging are tuned to perfection. Also, like many reviewers, say some of the early bosses could be the last bosses in any other game. Even though this game is a leaner meaner and a stronger game than the first Bayonetta, I have to give the nod to the first one for being overall better. Why? Well, what disappointed me most about Bayonetta 2 that many critics failed to mention is that the game is too easy.
I’m happy that this game can reach a larger audience and be more accessible. However, even playing on hard I only died three times during whole eight-hour adventure compared to dying about 25 times in the original. While that might be an advantage to some, I craved the more intense challenge I got from the first Bayonetta and other Platinum games like Madworld. Bayonetta 2 is great, and that’s why it’s so high on my list, but I’d be lying if the lower difficulty didn’t disappoint me.
Super Smash Brothers
A safe bet I know. But I love Nintendo games and bringing them all together in one package is like having Christmas several times a year. I had fun taking my time unlocking all the characters just by playing quick three-minute smash matches over and over. I dabbled in Classic, All-Star, tested out all the various other modes but found the most enjoyment out of event mode. Like Super Smash Bros Melee, the event mode is the real meat of the game and kept me playing for a long time. Nintendo will have quite a challenging topping this entry if there’s a Super Smash Bros 5 for Nintendo’s next console.