My 15 Favorite games from 2014

 photo 201401.jpg It’s 2015, and we are here to talk about my favorite games of 2014. My rules are that I won’t be adding games that were rereleased, so that means no The Last of U: Remastered, the current gen versions of Grand Theft Auto V, and you get the idea. I just find it lazy, and even though this year was pretty underwhelming in terms of the big budget triple A scene, I still found a lot of fantastic games. If you were a PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One owner, you only got a few good games and loads of disappointment. Truly, this was the year for indie developers and Nintendo. There were a few solid first and third party titles from the other companies, but in the end, Nintendo and the smaller developers won this year. I also won’t be adding games I haven’t played like Far Cry 4, Divinity: Original Sin, or Dragon Age Inquisition. Oh, and no mods because that is also something I consider lazy. Before I begin, I won’t be doing the same thing I did last year and putting my number one favorite at the top so you don’t have to worry about that. Let’s get started with honorable mentions!

P.T.

This is a playable teaser/demo so I don’t really get why people are putting this down as one of their favorite games of 2014. Even if it’s a demo that does everything to make an almost perfect horror experience, it’s still not a whole game. However, if you have a PlayStation 4, and for one reason or another have not tried this demo out, you really should! Or just watch people on YouTube play it.

Infamous: Second Son

This was a truly fun open world game with a solid story and very likable characters. However, the open world areas got a little boring to me, even though I loved seeing the game set in Seattle, but in the end, I found the game a bit repetitive. It’s still one of the best games from 2014, but I have played better action games this year.

Life Goes On

This was a quirky and fun puzzle game with the hilarious gimmick of having to use your unlimited amount of minions and having to kill them to reach your goal. The controls got a little clunky, and the overall game was repetitive, but this is one game I can easily recommend you trying out if you are looking for a fun indie puzzle game!

Bravely Default

This is truly one of Square Enix’s best outings in years. It has a solid turn-based combat system, likable characters, and a lot of customization and clever uses of the more social aspect of the game. Unfortunately, the last third, like everyone has said, drags the experience down, and that one little area where you know it’s monetized to take your money was the game’s downfall. However, if you are looking for a good RPG for your Nintendo 3DS, then you should pick this game up!

Monument Valley

I just bought this game for my phone, and I haven’t beaten it, so I didn’t want to put it on this list, but if you love puzzle games, beautiful graphical presentations, gorgeous ambient background music, and an actually good mobile game, then you should check this bad boy out!

Devil’s Attorney

I just discovered this humorous turn-based RPG a week ago, and since I also have not beaten it, I won’t be putting it on the list. If you love strategic RPG-style games with an extremely funny and witty sense of humor and personality, you should really check this game out!

Tengami

Once again, just finally got around to this game, and haven’t gotten to play it enough. I wish I could, since I love the papercraft style, the music by the fantastic David Wise, and the adventure/puzzle element of the game. If you love games by ex-Rare developers, you should try this out!

Costume Quest 2

This is easily one of the better RPGs and games in general, with a story that is both interesting and hilarious. The combat was enjoyable, but since I played it on the PC, I felt like the technical side of my PC messed with the timing that is needed in the attacks. If you liked the first game, then you should obviously pick up the second game.

Mario Kart 8/ Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS

I sadly didn’t get time to play any of these three games, but since they are first-party Nintendo games and they have that excellent Nintendo flair, you should already own them, and I would highly recommend them since they are from two of my all-time favorite franchises. Let’s get started!

15. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

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Let’s start off with sequel to a game that I personally enjoy. I really liked Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, but I knew it had its flaws and its angry fans. For me, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 fixed everything that was wrong with the first game. The fixed camera is gone, there were more unique enemies, more bosses, and the story had many great moments. Some of my favorite moments from the story were the scenes where Dracula was talking to his son when he was young. It gave you moments of Dracula’s humanity, and the regret of what he had done to his son. Unfortunately, the game did have its share of flaws, from an underwhelming ending to a sequence of the game I am always going to dread going through. Other than that, I have enjoyed this new take on the franchise, and I can’t wait to see where the next game will go.

The score I gave this game: 8/10

 

14. The Last Tinker: City of Colors

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In my opinion, this was a fantastic year in terms of what indie developers and smaller downloadable projects were offering. One of the best examples of this was the colorful 3D platformer, The Last Tinker: City of Colors. I really loved this game, because it wasn’t just another pretentious indie project. I loved how colorful the world was, and how it gave off a slightly ominous vibe, like in Rayman 2: The Great Escape. I just wish the game had a more interesting main character and that there were a few more creative bosses that were based around the color mechanics. If you are looking for a fun 3D platformer that isn’t made by Sony or Nintendo, then you should really check this game out!

The score I gave this game: 8/10

 

13. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

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Talk about one of the only good third-party games of this year. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is one of the best action games, and one of the best games based off the famous fantasy license. Sure, it might feel like the best part of Assassin’s Creed and Batman: Arkham City had a baby with The Lords of the Rings. It has a fantastically satisfying combat engine, the graphics are beautiful, and the Nemesis System is one of the coolest elements of any game. Randomizing which orcs you will be facing and how you can make rivals out of some of them is very unique. I just wish the last hour or so of the game was more satisfying, and that the developers didn’t take some of the cooler battles and put them into the season pass. However, the overall game is fantastic and you should definitely buy this game!

The score I gave this game: 8/10

 

12. Broken Age Part 1

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While this was my most anticipated game of last year, it was a little disappointing that we are not getting the second part of this fantastic adventure game until sometime this year. However, that doesn’t detract from how much passion there is in this project, and how well executed it is. I loved the duel-sided story, and the humor was, of course, spot on. The voice cast was perfect with big names like Jack Black, Elijah Woods, Pendleton Ward, Wil Wheaton, Jennifer Hale, and Masasa Moyo all giving great performances. Like I said though, even if the game is on a cliffhanger right now and we have no idea when the next part is coming, I honestly can’t wait. If you love adventure games and haven’t tried this game out yet, then you really should.

The original score I gave this game: 9/10. The score I would give it now: 8/10

 

11. The Wolf Among Us

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Out of the two Telltale Games series that came out this year, I think The Wolf Among Us was the better overall experience. Even though I am not a huge know-it-all about the source material this game is based on, I loved going into this seedy crime-filled world where fairytale creatures live in New York and have to take on new occupations. I liked the relationship between the characters, and that Bigby was not a perfect detective. Granted, the story could come to a halt sometimes, but the overall narrative was pleasant to go through. I think if you are going to choose a Telltale Games’ game to pick up, I would definitely recommend The Wolf Among Us over The Walking Dead Season Two.

The score I gave this game: 8/10

 

10. Child of Light

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Easily one of the more beautiful games on this list, Child of Light is a fantastic RPG from Ubisoft and the team that was behind Far Cry 3. The battle system is heavily inspired by the underrated Grandia series, which is a breath of fresh air, since it wasn’t trying to be another Final Fantasy VI-inspired combat system. The story was deep, and the characters were enjoyable. However, the art style is really what made this game. Its beautiful watercolor ascetics were breath-taking and gorgeous. It used the same engine as Rayman Legends, so I am not surprised that the game looks amazing. I wish the leveling system made you feel stronger, and while you can tell some parts of your characters were stronger, it didn’t always feel like that. However, if you want one of the best-looking and fun in-depth RPGs that isn’t Divinity: Original Sin or Wasteland 2, then I would highly recommend checking out this downloadable gem.

The score I gave this game: 8/10

 

9. Wolfenstein: The New Order

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Just like a lot of people, my mind was blown as how the final product that was Wolfenstein: The New Order was and still is an amazing game. It might not be like Call of Duty, but this game is easily the best shooter of the year. On top of having some of the most satisfying gunplay I have experienced in what seems like forever, you also have a great story with investment-worthy characters, a great Tarantino-esque soundtrack, and a satisfying length. Unlike other shooters of this year like Titanfall, Wolfenstein: The New Order has everything you could ever want in a satisfying shooter.

The score I gave this game: 8/10

 

8. Shovel Knight

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If anyone was having doubts about Kickstarter, all they needed to do was look at the games of this year like The Banner Saga, Wasteland 2, Divinity: Original Sin, and the only one I played this year, Shovel Knight. Normally, I would disregard a game like Shovel Knight because it looks like a dime-a-dozen indie platformer that tries to invoke those memories of the original NES. However, Shovel Knight does more than that. It has complex and unique levels, varied enemies, super exciting bosses, a very catchy soundtrack, and a simple story that gets you wrapped up with its characters. It is truly the best indie platformer out there, and I hope more people can play it when it comes to PlayStation consoles in the future.

The Score I gave this game: 9/10

 

7. Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty

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If you want to rebuild your original game from the ground up and make it fantastic, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is the way to do it. Personally, I could never get into the original games due to the clunky controls and harsh difficulty. Luckily, they improved upon just about everything and made the game well-designed and easy to get into. Sure, the controls are a little clunky, and some of the hidden areas can be a little too hidden, but the game still has a strong atmospheric soundtrack, a likable hero, and the overall world that the game takes place in is creative and humorous. I know the price of entry might be high for any version that you might get, but I think the developers behind this fantastic game deserve to make more games. I would say bite the bullet, download the game, and support one of the most unique games around.

The score: I gave this game: 9/10

 

6. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

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Like I said in my review of this game, I truly hope this game doesn’t get overshadowed, since it’s easily one of the more well-designed puzzle games I have played this year. The whole game is incredibly charming with its bright colors, and cube-shaped worlds, and I think there is enough variety within the gimmicks so that each level offers to keep the game feeling fresh. Sure, a lot of the elements might be from Super Mario 3D World, but in the end, if the game is fun and well-designed, then it really doesn’t matter. Well, to me it doesn’t matter if this is a spin-off, since it’s one of the best overall games of 2014. If you have a Wii U and do not have this game, then you are doing yourself a disservice in terms of not owning this game! The score I gave this game: 9/10

 

5. Valiant Hearts: The Great War

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Listen, I know this game and another game on the list don’t fully compensate and excuse Ubisoft for an incredibly lousy second half of the year, but you have to give the team at Ubisoft that made Valiant Hearts: The Great War credit for one of the most emotion-drive video games that is based in World War 1. You rarely, if ever, use a gun and instead, the game makes you go through this 2D story-driven adventure game where you follow the lives of four different characters who are from different countries. You want to know how emotionally driven this game was? I cried during the trailers for this game. That’s right! Any game that makes me incredibly emotional just from the trailers is doing something right. Luckily, the emotions and the story are fantastically told. Sure, they might have taken out the British fighter pilot that was shown in the original trailer with no real reason why, and the main German villain was a bit boring, but I went through one of the best narrative-driven games of all time. Heck, it is easily one of my top five favorite games based off of war! If you want to try out one of the best downloadable games of this year, then you should definitely check out Valiant Hearts: The Great War.

The score I gave this game: 9/10

 

4. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

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I am convinced by now that Retro Studios should just be in charge of a majority of Nintendo’s main franchises, because Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is my second favorite platformer of the year. In my opinion, this is the best game in the Donkey Kong platforming franchise. It has tighter controls, a more reasonable difficulty, and it doesn’t try to be as cheap and clunky as the Super Nintendo games. The boss fights were some of my favorite of 2014, with each of them being challenging and memorable. There is also a lot of content here with the main game and unlockable worlds that will really test your fortitude for difficult platforming. Like I said above, with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, if you have a Wii U and want one of the year’s best platformers, you need to get Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze!

The score I would have given this game: 9/10

 

3. Little Big Planet 3

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Even though I really love Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Little Big Planet 3 is my favorite platformer of 2014. The variety in playable characters with their own unique abilities really shows off what you can do with platforming. You’ve got flying, shape-changing, and wall-jumping on a 2D plane, in a super creative world. However, one of the highlights was the villain Neutron, who was performed perfectly by Hugh Laurie of “House” fame. I mean, wow, Hugh Laurie gets lost in that role, and he sounds like he had a lot of fun with it. I will say my only real complaint is, of course, the “create your own level” section of the game. It isn’t bad, but it’s still intimidating to jump into, and I don’t think they have yet found a perfect way to ease gamers old and new into this. It’s why I haven’t made any levels yet. Other than that, I am happy to say that we have yet another great game in this fantastic Sony franchise. Pick it up if you have a PlayStation 4 (the version I got) or PlayStation 3.

The score I would have given this game: 9/10

 

2. South Park: The Stick of Truth

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Again, Like I said with Valiant Hearts, South Park: The Stick of Truth might not fully excuse Ubisoft’s terrible second half of 2014 behavior, but they certainly published my favorite RPG of the year. I haven’t played Dragon Age Inquisition or Divinity: Original Sin so that means I get to put the game that should have been a failure at launch, but wasn’t, on this list! I mean, how many games that go through development limbo, come out as good as this game does? It is basically if the Paper Mario games on the Nintendo 64 and GameCube were slapped with the characters of the popular Comedy Central show. The writing is slightly offensive, but just like the show, I mean if you are old enough to see it, it is well written. It doesn’t come off as shock value humor with no substance behind it. The turn-based RPG mechanics are fun and satisfying to use, the music is really beautiful, and of course, the people behind this game, Obsidian Entertainment, put out another good RPG. It’s easily one game I came back to multiple times in 2014. So, what is number one?

The score I gave this game: 9/10

 

1. Bayonetta 2

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For me, Bayonetta 2 was my favorite game of the year. It had a story that focused more on the characters, it gave Bayonetta a more likable personality, the combat was perfected, the boss fights were gigantic and epic, the enemy variety was huge, and even though the multiplayer sequence was not the best part of the game, I found it to be a nice extra. I know I said that the final boss is slightly underwhelming, but in terms of being a satisfying product that I was happy to play through from beginning to end, Bayonetta 2 fills that void, and it keeps showing me why Platinum Games is worth your time, and why Bayonetta 2 is my favorite game of 2014! The score I gave this game: 10/10