Attention: these are not objectively the best games of the year; these are the ones that stuck with me the most. If you notice a bias towards PlayStation consoles, then congratulations—you have correctly deduced that I do the majority of my gaming using a Sony controller. Sorry if your favorite didn’t make the list.
10. Grand Theft Auto V HD
It’s pretty clear at this point that HD remasters and other remakes aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so let’s take a moment to appreciate what Rockstar has done with their billion-dollar franchise. Rather than just release a clone of the 2013 version onto Xbox One and PS4, Rockstar has taken the time to add entirely new graphical effects, story missions, and that attention-grabbing first-person mode into the mix, taking some of the sting out of having to buy the title again. Plus, with Heists coming just around the corner, I’m as excited to be playing GTA Online now as I ever have been.
9. Tales from the Borderlands
With Borderlands: The Presequel being released on last-gen consoles and the lackluster release of Borderlands 2 being on the Vita in 2014, it was difficult to get excited about Gearbox’s sci-fi first person looter in 2014. Luckily, Telltale Games changed that when they released Tales from the Borderlands, giving audiences a chance to see their beautifully-realized setting in a whole new light. The dialog in Tales was just as good (or better) than anything that had come before it from both Gearbox of Telltale, and having two playable characters adds enough variety to prove that Telltale’s formula has plenty of tricks left before it gets stale.
8. Mercenary Kings
This old-school side scrolling shooter offered up plenty of laughs and a ton of fun when it was released in early 2014. Some of the guns you could build were totally insane (toilet bowl gun anyone?), the enemy designs were unique and often hilarious, and the gameplay straight out of Metal Slug was a retro love letter that I didn’t want to stop reading.
While it may have fallen short of its extraordinary ambitions by a lot of measures, Destiny still proved for me to be the most fun I could have with a friend online in 2014—even if making fun of the ludicrous story proved to be at least part of the fun. In the end, though, the twitch shooting mechanics are just undeniably spot-on, and makes you feel right at home after five minutes behind the sticks. Will it be enough to last for Bungie’s 10-year vision? Let’s see how 2015 works out, first.
6. 80 Days
Based on Jules Verne’s classic novel Around the World in 80 Days, this text-based mobile adventure offered just as many twists and turns as any good novel should—along with a little bit of the ol’ resource management in the style of Oregon Trail. 80 days managed to surprise me for many reasons. For one thing, I’m not a big mobile gamer to begin with, but the quality and breadth of the script is truly something special, and by the end of my first circumnavigation, I felt as close to my version of Passenporte as I have to any other video game character in 2014 or any other year for that matter. If you missed it, check it out.
5. South Park: The Stick of Truth
The year 2014 was a good one for JRPG fans. A new Pokémon was released, Ubisoft gave us the beautiful Child of Light (which just barely missed my list), and South Park: The Stick of Truth surprised everyone not by being funny, but by actually being a thought-out and well-executed turn-based JRPG. Trey Parker and Matt Stone managed to bring to life a game that truly mirrored the world of South Park, and I thoroughly enjoyed scouring every garage attic for a Chinpokomon or other precious in-joke from the show. If only every license was treated with as much reverence as this one was here.
4. Shadow of Mordor
Now for a completely irreverent but equally fun title, Shadows of Mordor seems to ignore the majority of what occurs in the novels and films of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in favor of introducing us to a supernatural enforcer for good that could have taken on every foe from Peter Jackson’s six films and saved several hobbits a lot of trouble. Shadows of Mordor was an excellently executed open-world action title that empowered me more than any other game in 2014. Single-handedly slaying 40 orcs in open combat never got old, and even if the combat was ripped from Batman’s Arkham series, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw a lot of other titles pick up Mordor’s randomized captain and war-chief system. It’s a give and take.
3. Super Smash Bros.
As mentioned before, this list largely focuses on PlayStation titles because that’s the majority of what I own, but it never matters with Super Smash Brothers. My favorite arena brawler is back and doing its best to persuade me to pick up a WiiU, along with as many of those little Amiibos as I can shovel into my greedy little hands.
2. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of those games where you can put in 20 hours into a character and think, “Meh, I’m not a big fan of his hair color. Better start from scratch.” Yes, I’ve rebooted twice (once 20 hours in, then three hours in before settling on my precious mage Mirra) but I’ve never lost interest in the swirling tale full of political intrigue, dragon-slaying, and admittedly, a little bit of fetch-questing. All of it’s worth it though to hear that sweet, sweet banter… Never before have I wanted to use every character in my party at all times just so I could hear them take jabs at each other. Bioware should absolutely be applauded for the world they have built here, as it is more developed than just about any other game that I can recall.
1. Rogue Legacy
Rogue Legacy utterly consumed me. Having it available at the drop of a hat on both Vita and my PS4 allowed me to put way, way more hours into this game than I am proud to admit, and I came back to it more than any other title. Oh, what’s that? You just put 10 hours into Dragon Age, and it’s almost sunrise? Better do a few castle runs before bed. Just put bread in the toaster? I can get a castle run out of that. The sharp controls, quirky drawback system, and daunting challenges just never got old—and I predict I’ll still be playing this one well into 2015.
Article by: Nick Walge