TOP 10 GAMES OF 2014
10) inFAMOUS: Second Sun — I never really got into inFAMOUS on the PS3, but Second Son was a different story. It served as not just an impressive vehicle to show off the PS4’s capabilities but an engaging and exciting action title as well.
9) Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor — Any time you can build off of J.R.R. Tolkien’s amazing world and make it come across as a viable extension you’ve done something right. It’d be a good game even without the license. Having it takes things to another level.
8) Destiny — Granted, it wasn’t the masterstroke of gaming I’d hoped for, but the action itself was fun and it did a nice job of dangling shiny armor carrots in front of my eyes to keep me coming back for more even as the reviews piled up.
7) Halo: The Master Chief Collection — Despite being an insane value (and my highest rated game for 2014), I felt putting it higher was a bit disingenuous since all four titles were re-releases, and only Halo 2 had received significant attention since last we saw it. Still, it’s awesome.
6) Velocity 2X — Great level design and game mechanics allow players of all skill levels to enjoy this awesome shoot ’em up with perfect runs requiring equal parts memorization, quick reflexes and nerves of steel. Cross-play between the PS4 and Vita is just the virtual cherry on top.
5) Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition — Even though graphics aren’t its main draw, the move to next gen helped more than expected, and the added Reaper of Souls content along with new modes elevated this above mere port status.
4) Sunset Overdrive — In a year that was woefully short on new IPs (more on that in a moment), Sunset Overdrive stood out thanks to its goofy humor and over-the-top action. The jokes wore a little thin after a while, but the unique action and frenetic pace remained awesome.
3) Alien: Isolation — Perhaps no game made more of a lasting impression this year than Isolation. No, it wasn’t perfect, due in large to some uneven pacing and annoying moments spent replaying sections, but it’s still the best thing to happen to the Alien franchise since the 1986 theatrical sequel.
2) Transistor — I came incredibly close to plugging the atmospheric Transistor into my top slot. Its mix of real-time and pre-planned combat made for interesting gameplay, and the graphics and music were both first rate. It’s rare that I finish a game and immediately start up again, but that’s exactly what I did with Supergiant Games’ masterpiece.
1) South Park: The Stick of Truth — Although I gave other games higher scores in 2014, in hindsight this was the most pure fun I had; one can only imagine what I would’ve given it had it come out when I was still carrying on a love affair with the show. Respect its authoritah!
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2014
It’s no coincidence that none of my top four games were reboots or sequels. Gaming really needs bigger companies to take a chance on new IPs. Sure, Ubisoft tried Watch Dogs, Activision had Destiny, EA had Titanfall and so on, but none of those truly represented taking a chance. The upcoming year has some interesting contenders — Evolve, The Order and Bloodborne to name a few — now we just have to hope that some of them pay off.
MOST ANTICIPATED GAMES OF 2015
5) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — I mean c’mon, have you seen the footage from that game!?!? Here’s hoping it heaps a mature storytelling and excellent gameplay onto those graphics.
4) Halo 5: Guardians — No one was more responsible for my current obsession with gaming than Master Chief. Seeing his first adventure on the Xbox One has me giddy with excitement.
3) Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End — Yeah, yeah, I know, I complain about companies not taking enough chances and then my first three games are all sequels. In my defense, this is Nathan Drake with the power of the PS4 behind him!
2) No Man’s Sky — Must. Have.
1) The Legend of Zelda Wii U — None of Nintendo’s other series really interest me anymore (sorry Mario, Donkey Kong, Fox McCloud, etc.), but Link still gets my blood pumping. I’ve been thoroughly unimpressed by the Wii U thus far. Let’s hope this changes that.
PlayStation GOTY: Transistor
Xbox GOTY: Sunset Overdrive
Nintendo GOTY: Bayonetta 2
Downloadable GOTY: Transistor
Portable GOTY: Velocity 2X
Best DLC: Genroku Legends (Muramasa Rebirth)
Best Story: South Park: The Stick of Truth
Best Shooter: Sunset Overdrive