Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Top 10 Games of 2014

This year was rather disappointing. Not only did several big budget games launch in a clutserfucked state, but we had the GamerGate controversy, several system hacks, and some real let downs. That said, this year wasn't all bad. Despite all the nonsense, there were some pretty fantastic games this year. So, as we do every year, let's get started on the best games of 2014.

10: Titanfall - 360 - Xbox One - PC

I'll be the first to admit that I got bored of Titanfall fairly quickly. There wasn't much to the game, it was the only game to play for a decent amount of time and I got fatigued. That said, it is a solid foundation. The gameplay is great and ultimately, that's what matters most. Everything aside from the story is solid and the movement mechanics are the stuff of dreams. If only there was more game. Perhaps then it wouldn't be at number ten.

9: Super Smash Bros. - Wii U

Smash Bros. is a fun game. Ultimately, that's all that matters. It's not all that much different from Super Smash Brothers Brawl, but this franchise sees new installments so infrequently that it's always refreshing to have a new one, even if the gameplay doesn't really differ all that much. Good roster, nice stages, pretty graphics and it's one of the best reasons to pick up a Wii U. Not to mention it's one of the few games this year that's legitimately fun with local co-op.

8: South Park: The Stick of Truth - PS3 - 360 - PC

Surprisingly, this turned out to arguably be the best licensed game of all time. It feels like you're actually playing an episode of the show. It's all the jokes, crude set ups, and insane ideas you've come to expect from South Park, but set against the backdrop of a turn based RPG. It's charming, it's funny, it's fun. It's South Park. The mechanics are surprisingly in depth, nothing feels cheesy or phoned in, and it emulates the show perfectly. A must play, especially for turn based combat fans.

7: P.T (Silent Hills Teaser) - PS4

While this game is technically a demo, that doesn't change the fact that it was one of the most memorable experiences I've had this year. It's genuinely terrifying. The formula is tired, the idea of looping first person horror games is a little done to death, but the execution here is brilliant. The sound design, the incredible graphics, the cryptic nature of the whole thing; it's pretty great. You don't expect any less from Kojima [Unless it's Ground Zeroes.] Regardless, it's a terrifying experience that definitely recommend. 

6: Alien: Isolation - 360 - Xbox One - PS3 - PS4 - PC

Another horror game, though higher on the list since this is more of a traditional game. The hopes for a good Alien game was high, but the expectations were low after the blunder that was Colonial Marines. Fortunately, they got it right this time around. Tons of fan service to the films, great gameplay, and genuinely chilling moments; this is what survival horror games should strive to be. The game does drag on a little too long and there are some times when it can get frustrating, but it achieves what it sets out to do. 

5: Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (New 'n' Tasty) - PS4 - PS3 - PC - Xbox One

I love Oddworld. A lot. So when I found out that Just Add Water was working with Oddworld Inhabitants to remaster Abe's Oddysee for next generation hardware I was excited. Fortunately, my excitement was well placed. New 'n' Tasty turned out to be a fantastic reworking of the PlayStation classic. Though the game is a retelling of Abe's Oddysee with shiny new graphics, it's not simply an HD version like the Tomb Raider, Last of Us, and GTA V remakes we also saw this year. This was a new game from the ground up telling a classic story with classic gameplay. If you're a fan of worlds that are indeed a little bit odd, I'd recommend it.

4: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

This game launched in a horrific state. Upon release the game was completely broken on the multiplayer front and the singleplayer had a few notable issues as well. I'd actually go as far as to call it the worst state a game has launched ever. That said, the value here is pretty fantastic especially now that everything is functioning more or less as it should. This is the new gold standard when it comes to remasters and collections. With four campaigns, 100+ maps, 5 different multiplayer sandboxes, access to the Halo 5 Beta and Halo 3 ODST coming later this spring along with a free remastered 'Relic' map, it's worth the money. The story is great and the multiplayer is phenomenal [when it works.] Regardless, this inclusion is a huge caveat. The value is just too high to not include it.

3: Bayonetta 2 - Wii U

What is there to say about Bayonetta 2? It's a fucking masterpiece. It's sexy, it's fun, it's beautiful, it's funny, it's over the top, it's just fantastic. I would argue this is the best spectacle fighter in existence. No other game in it's genre really comes close. It really needs to be played to be truly appreciated. It's a niche kind of game, but there's a lot to love about it. And no, it's not sexist.

2: Sunset Overdrive - Xbox One

I absolutely adore this game. The music, the inventive gameplay, the style, the guns, nearly everything. It harkens back to everything I loved about video games in the late 90's. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater/Crazy Taxi era of crazy video games that didn't need to be overcomplicated and just wanted to be have fun. A great story, great humor, great gameplay. It's all fantastic. Sunset Overdrive lost the number one spot on this list only by a microscopic amount. This and my number one pick are basically equal, but this game loses the edge only slightly. 

1: Destiny - 360 - Xbox One - PS3 - PS4

What started out as one of my biggest let downs of the year quickly became my absolute favorite new hobby. With the release of The Dark Below expansion, Destiny evolved into something entirely new. One could argue that the game is bare bones and that the content is lacking, but quite honestly, I find myself coming back as often as I possibly can. The base game is fun, there's always progress to be made, always an adventure to be had. Whether it's fighting an unexpected infinite army of Ascendent Acolytes emerging from the legendary Loot Cave while hunting Urzok the Hated on the Russian plains of Earth or earning the exotic Dragon's Breath from dominating my best friends in Rumble. The game's story might be a little dry and light, but the stories that belong to the players and the narratives that players form for themselves are truly fantastic. This is what games are about. Visiting worlds and forging our own paths. I've met great people through Destiny, and reconnected with old friends. I've had some of my most memorable moments in gaming just in the last few months lost in this world. Wether it was #DrunkRaid or something as simple as getting 39 kills in Crucible, Destiny is something special. It's cool to hate it. It's the new kid on the block. I get that. But I can't pretend I'm not having a ton of fun with some great friends on a regular basis. Fun that I wouldn't be having otherwise. I only hope that Bungie can keep it fun. 

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