You know you’ve had a good year of gaming when your backlog of games is a mile long and growing. Such is the case for me at the end of 2014. That said, I have played quite a few games; some good, some not so good. With the year almost up, it’s time to put together the list of my favorites. Have no doubt, it was a difficult task this year.
I’ve noticed people keep dismissing Nintendo and the Wii U, but anyone that actually sits down and plays Wii U games absolutely loves them. Nintendo still has that magic. Let’s just hope they can keep that momentum going through the next three years.
I’ve also noticed that many games are coming out broken. Three of the games on my list came out with issues, and only one these issues were intentional. I hope that going forward publishers won’t rush games out the door to make the holiday release window. Yeah, like that’ll happen, but I can at least hope that they’ll put more resources into proper testing.
So then, here are my 10 best games of 2014!
10. Goat Simulator – PC
Goat Simulator is hurriedly programmed, broken, buggy, and pointless. Above all though, it is completely hilarious and awesome. I mean, really, in what other game can you play as a Microwave with legs?
9. Mario Kart 8 – Wii U
Mario Kart is always huge for Nintendo. In a year where the Wii U is lagging behind, Mario Kart 8 was just the shot in the arm the Wii U needed. This time around, the racing feels just right. Though a Lightning Bolt or Blue Shell can still ruin your day, it’s not as annoying as it used to be. Mario Kart 8 is the most complete and enjoyable Mario Kart game I have played. Ever.
8. Wolfenstein: The New Order – PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, 360
Wolfenstein hasn’t been seen for several years. This latest iteration does a good job of bringing the series into the modern age while still feeling familiar. If you like single player shooters, this one is worth checking out.
7. Super Smash Bros. – Wii U
This is what the Wii U needed as a big holiday release. Super Smash Bros. on Wii U combined with the Amiibo figures is almost surely going to lead to a surge in sales. Oh yeah, and the game is completely awesome as well.
There are many things to love about The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. It has an extremely pleasing art style and the characters all have distinct personalities and are written well. In a JRPG, this is really important. If you can’t identify with the characters on some level, you’re not likely to spend 30 plus hours on the game. Trails gets this right from the very beginning. While most of the mechanics are great, they’re not what drew me in. It’s the writing, helped in no small part by XSeed’s excellent localization. Trails in the Sky is the first JRPG in a long time that I have actually wanted to play. Coming from me, that’s saying something.
5. Trials Fusion – PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Trials has always been about skillful gameplay. You really need to learn how to work the controller to be successful in Trials. If you want a game that is a real test of your ability to learn new techniques, look no further.
4. DriveClub – PS4
DriveClub got off to a rocky start, but things are getting smoothed out. Good thing too, because what DriveClub offers is worth playing. It’s a racing game without a lot of the extra fluff. The club and leaderboard competition reminds me a lot of going to an arcade and seeing your friend’s initials on the high score table and knowing you’re not getting out of that seat until you’ve replaced him.
3. Forza Horizon 2 – Xbox One
Forza Horizon 2 might not be the most dynamic open world driving game, but it does have a lot to offer. With excellent driving physics, a great soundtrack to drive to, and an overall fun vibe, it’s hard not to enjoy Forza Horizon 2.
2. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition – Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3
Ultimate Evil Edition brings forth most of the content from the PC release and combines it all with excellent control and couch co-op, making it an excellent candidate for how to spend an evening when hanging out with friends.
1. Defense Grid 2 – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Sequels are hard. You’ve got to balance familiar mechanics while still trying to evolve the gameplay. Hidden Path managed to walk that line perfectly and delivered a fun game designed to have a long life.
And that’s it. My top 10 of 2014. A Tower Defense game at number one, huh? But what about Ultra Street Fighter IV, or Call of Duty, or, or, or…? Ultra Street Fighter IV was a decent game, but unfortunately it failed to hold my interest. As for Call of Duty and other multiplayer shooters of its ilk, I really don’t have any interest in them at all. There were two games that didn’t make my list for the fact that I haven’t played them yet.
I’m going to get started on my backlog now. I’ll see you in the New Year!