By: Ted Chow
TOP 10 GAMES OF 2014
10) World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor – World of Warcraft has dominated the MMO space for 10-plus years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. While I continue to hope for a Warcraft 4 RTS to come – I highly doubt the plausibility – this game continues to bring people back for epic adventures, loot and a plethora of good memories.
9) Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls – The Diablo series is one I grew up on and was enthralled to the forces of good as I hacked and slashed thousands of demons. Diablo 3 felt like more of a whimper trying to encapsulate the story around the main antagonist time and time again to the point it got stale. Thankfully, RoS was what people wanted out of Diablo 3 with rifts, bounties and just more things to do. While not my favorite for the year, it did redeem itself to a point where I continue to play from time to time.
8) Dark Souls II – A new story within the Dark Souls universe is always welcome to any RPG fan. As a follower of From Software since the beginning of the PlayStation with their Armored Core Series – I love giant fighting robots – I’ve always had a soft spot for the company’s long history. And while the robot action has been on the back burner due to the popularity of hardcore RPG action and more with the upcoming Bloodborne, I always keep an eye out for the day giant robots come to invade once again.
7) Divinity Original Sin – Staying true to the old-school RPG roots, Divinity is one game that blew my expectations away with the nostalgia I had long missed. With interesting environment interactions, party dynamics and the pausing feature, I would have mistaken this game to have been Baldur’s Gate II, and it would have made a run for its money. Interestingly enough, the game also comes packaged with a mod creator for fans to continue supporting the game for years to come, and that is a major plus in my book.
6) Dragon Age Inquisition – Bioware does it again with world building, storytelling and just overall RPG goodness. A blend of both past games, Dragon Age Inquisition is an ambitious game that tries to find the best of both worlds. With action-paced combat and strategic pausing the fights are fun, especially those against dragons. Although most quests felt like filler, the potion system was questionable and the monetization of the multiplayer, I still enjoyed my stay in the world and would come back to the game again.
5) Pokemon Omega Red and Alpha Sapphire – I love Pokemon and any iteration or re-visits of past games in the tried and true Pokemon series. There is a level of charm about taming Pokemon and just trying to be the very best that never makes me want to grow up. Ripe with nostalgia of my childhood collection of Pokemon cards and just watching the animated series, Pokemon continues to influence millions of children with its light-hearted gameplay and overarching messages of friendship and other positive jazz. All hail Pokemon, may it continue forever so that even my great grandchildren can experience my joy.
4) Hearthstone – Having played Magic: The Gathering and Yu-gi-oh, Hearthstone was the first online collectible card game that really hooked me back into the collection card scene. With a light-hearted tone and super easy gameplay, it is one game that is easy to get into but difficult to master. Considering this is Blizzard’s signature for most of their games, it was one game where risks were taken and rewards given. After a long day at work, it’s nice to just sit by the hearth with a nice cold beer.
3) Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U – He’s a fighting robot, MEGAMAN! Honestly, when the blue bomber was announced for SSB, I was already sold that this game would be awesome. Staying true to the past formula, SSB for the Wii U introduces a great deal of new features as well as being ported to the 3DS. While the amiibo thing might be gimmicky, the intensity of the fighting is not.
2) Ultra Street Fighter 4 – As a long fan of Street Fighter from the SNES days – yeah, I’m old – I consider Street Fighter the iconic symbol of all fighting games. With the last definitive iteration of SF4, Ultra brings one chapter to a close and opens a new one in the form of Street Fighter 5! When that was announced at the Capcom World Cup, the grandest stage besides EVO, I had some manly tears in my eyes.
1) Guilty Gear Xrd –Sign— You must be saying, a top three dedicated to fighting games? Your eyes do not deceive you 2014 was the year of fighters, hands down. After a good hiatus, Guilty Gear returns in its long awaited red carpet walk to first place. The characters were captivating, the story mode a four-hour movie, and the overall presentation, production and crisp aesthetic made this my No. 1 for 2014.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2014
My biggest disappointment was the continued console war and recognizable names such as Tomb Raider and Street Fighter 5 being console exclusive mostly due to the large corporations funding the games. While I can understand the business aspect as that is just good business to lock games for certain consoles, the gamers are the ones to suffer. What if I wanted to play one of these games on another system? Overall, it is decisions like these that lock great games away for everyone to play on their platform of choice.
MOST ANTICIPATED GAMES OF 2015
5) Mighty No. 9 – Helmed by director Keiji Inafune, the creator of Mega-Man, I am honestly excited to see the reincarnation of the new blue bomber.
4) Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm– A fighting game that was funded through Kickstarter from the creators of SNK and King of Fighters is a nice throwback to classic fighting games.
3) Overwatch – Blizzard’s new IP is part Team Fortress 2, part Pixar with distinguishable characters and a pleasing aesthetic. This will round out Blizzard’s dominance of all popular genres.
2) Tales of Zestiria – The Tales series continues with its newest iteration. After watching the Anime short, I am excited to venture into this new world.
1) Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void – The final expansion in this epic trilogy comes to an end, and I can’t wait to see how everything wraps up in the Protoss campaign.
PlayStation GOTY: Guilty Gear Xrd –Sign—
Xbox GOTY: Halo: the Master Chief Collection
Nintendo GOTY: Super Smash Bros for the Wii U
Downloadable GOTY (XBLA or PSN): Short Peace
Best DLC: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – Revelations
Best Story: Guilt Gear Xrd –Sign—