The Best Games of 2014
2014 has been a somewhat iffy year for games. The "next generation" was effectively delayed, as most major releases were pushed back until 2015. Meanwhile, many of the games that were released this year were full of bugs, glitches, or shrouded in an aura of general disappointment.
Still, it's not all been bad. There's still been plenty to enjoy this year, even if it has come in dribs and drabs. So, without further ado, here are my picks for the best games of 2014.
It's worth noting that, whilst I do attempt to play through as many new releases as possible, I don't necessarily get around to everything on time, and some games slip through the net, especially in regards to independent titles. This is especially awkward when a lot of games are brought out near Christmas. I doubt my list would change all that much, but for posterity's sake, here's a few notable releases I haven't got around to playing yet.
Far Cry 4, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, Little Big Planet 3, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Freedom Wars, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.
5. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Some games you expect to be good and some you don't. The Wolfenstein series hasn't been faring all that well in recent years, so it's something of a surprise that it was as good as it was. It's by no means an original game, but it is a fun one. The plot manages to be both funny and provide us with surprisingly likable characters. The gunplay is fairly typical, but is improved immensely by some great level design that avoids the typical straight line/corridor shooter approach.
It's like MachineGames took every shooter from the last ten years, shoved them in a blender, and sifted out all of the bad bits. I mean, for crying out loud, there's no tacked-on multiplayer!
4. Bayonetta 2
Everything that Bayonetta did right, Bayonetta 2 improves upon. The game is gorgeous, fluid, and its combat system is so incredibly deep that it easily deserves multiple run-throughs for that reason alone.
It even manages to right some of the wrongs of the previous game; most notably the lengthy, and, let's face it, intrusive cutscenes. It rattles along at a wicked pace, and comes with some terrific fights that slowly peel back the games ingenious combat design. The original game was no slouch when it came to enemy design, but Bayonetta 2 easily outdoes it by throwing in a host of demons to butchers, along with the typical angels.
It's as epic as God of War ever was, but ties it together with a combat system as deep as Devil May Cry 3, and hosts a ridiculous cast of characters. There's few games quite like it.
3. This War Of Mine
Wrapped up in a dull, monochrome art style, This War Of Mine is a zombie-survival game without the zombies. It also plays out like the most depressing version of The Sims ever made, one where food is scavenged and your bed is a dirty mattress in the corner of the basement. As with the other games on this list, This War Of Mine isn't necessarily original, it simply executes its idea really well.
Many games have us make moral choices, but it's much harder to tie them directly into the actual gameplay, which is something this game succeeds at. You might start out trying to take the moral approach; scavenging for supplies rather than stealing anything. But when the fridge begins to get low and your characters complain of hunger, that can quickly change.
What's most shocking is how human your characters remain. Kill a man and they won't just sob for a while before continuing on as normal. Instead they might spend the next four days in a state of absolute shock, not responding to any of your commands. And after all that grief, they might simply choose to give up.
Many games treat killing as just another way to score points. This War Of Mine isn't one of them.
2. Mario Kart 8
Ignore the miserable naysayers. Yes, Mario Kart 8 is like every other instalment of the series, and thank goodness too, it's what makes it so fun. Switch it on for a quick race or two and you'll likely still be there several hours later, still throwing shells at people.
No one does fun quite like Nintendo and Mario Kart 8 continues to prove that. It's an anti-depressant in disc form and for that reason alone deserves to be commended
1. Velocity 2X
The sequel to a 2012 PSP mini, Velocity 2X was, for me, the best game of 2014. It packs in so much gameplay, from the Sega Mega Drive-style ship battling, to the 2D platforming segments, and does so in a way that makes it look effortless.
No part of this game sags, it blisters along at such a great pace and does so without alienating players that may not be familiar to these kinds of games. Rather than stop the game in order to issue a tutorial, Velocity 2X simply blends the learning phase into the actual game, ensuring that all players have had chance to acclimatise before the levels start to get genuinely tough.
The one-two punch of ship combat and platforming segments meld together wonderfully. Whilst both types of gameplay are radically different from one another, they're held together with a strong emphasis on speed. This is a game built for speed runs.
And if that wasn't enough it's all tied together with a light sprinkling of story that helps bring everything together. If you've not checked it out yet, I heartily recommend it.
So that's my picks for the best games of 2014. What were your standout experiences from this year? Let me know in the comments.
© 2014 LudoLogic