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2014 has been a…interesting year. I’ve not played most of the AAA hyped games of the year (not a bad thing, considering 99% were broken) but I’ve not really played many games from 2014, period.
It’s been a backlog year, all things considered. So without further ado, here are my top 10, in no particular order, games of 2014, which may or may not have been released this year but who cares!!!
Mario Kart 8
I’m not a fan of karting games. The last time I actually enjoyed one was CTR on the PS1 and that was so long ago that I honestly don’t remember a single thing about it. Except there was this buff orange bandicoot called Tiny. He was cool.
Mario Kart 8 though? It’s great. I like the graphics, the handling is smooth as hell, it worked (it’s sad that is a selling feature) and it was good fun, a hell of a lot of fun! Nothing special per say. I don’t think I’ll look back on it in 5 years fondly, if at all. But as a pick up and play game, on occasion? Perfect. Let’s play some MP guys!!!
I love me some stealth games. The raw thrill of just sneaking around people who are completely oblivious to your presence and gently chocking them with a chloroform drenched cloth then taking the still warm body to your dungeon to prepare for the an…Yes. Stealth games are really, really fun.
And Dishonoured is probably my favourite one. The powers gave you so much freedom to explore and devise strategies. The movement is crisp and precise, the art-style is wonderful and I just spent so much time dicking around. Add to this a plethora of secrets, optional side missions and a collection of fun trophies to hunt down and you have the perfect stealth game. When the sequel drops, I will be there.
Soul Sacrifice Delta
The semi-sequel/enhanced version of Soul Sacrifice, Delta is easily my favourite hunting game. There’s so much content here without the annoying filler of other hunters. Just suit up, get in there, beat the monster and get your rewards, repeat. Done. Simple and clean, IS THE WAY THAT YOU’RE MAKING ME FEEL TONIGHT!!!...Later, later, keep it together.
Yeah, Soul Sacrifice Delta is one of my favourite Vita games. It’s cheap, it improved on the original is literally every single way, it has a great story (like seriously, the dark and brooding nature of the story is delicious!) and it shows what the Vita is capable of. Go buy it nerds.
Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix Limited Edition Super Awesome Hyper Fantastic Bundle Ultimate Cannon!
Is it fair to include remasters in your top games of the year? Hell yes! Especially when they’re done this well.
It’s no secret that Kingdom Hearts 2 is one of my favourite games ever, so I was going to buy a remaster without even thinking about it. But a remaster of the Final Mix version of the game, with new bosses, weapons, items, etc? Awesome! But it also has Birth by Sleep, the PSP game that isn’t available digitally on Vita and many say is the best Kingdom Hearts? Double Awesome!! And the Final Mix version of said game? Triple awesome!!! And remastered cut-scenes of some other game I don’t care about? Still Triple Awesome!!!
I love Kingdom Hearts. And this could be my favourite release of the year. A remastered collection. Bite me.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Wind Waker was perhaps my greatest surprise of the year. I went in expecting a fun but severely over-hyped game. What I got was an adventure filled with magic, whimsy, beautiful visuals, seagulls and a talking boat. All wrapped up with some great uses of the Gamepad. Off TV play really is a great feature, truly.
It has problems, of course. It’s far too easy. The bosses are all spectacle but are also, again, easy. Sailing gets tedious quickly, so I’m glad there is a fast travel system. It’s kinda short, barring side quests. And yet, it’s one of the best RPG’s I’ve played this year and has hyped me up for Zelda U. I finally understand that Nintendo magic everyone harps on about! It’s pretty special.
…Okami is still the best Zelda though. :P
You know when you play that one game and it just consumes a certain part of your life so that, when you finish it and surface from your reverie, you go ‘Where did the time go?’ Tearaway is that game taken to 11.
I don’t remember when I started playing Tearaway, nor exactly when I finished. All I know is that I loved every minute I spent in the world of Tearaway and I hope we get more of it. I don’t have any issue with the PS4 port because more people can enjoy this wonderful game and, if it sells enough, maybe we can get a sequel? I can only hope.
Professor Layton (Entire series except Azran Legacy)
No-one is more amazed than me that my favourite game on the 3DS is a puzzle game. And yet I’m not surprised in the slightest. My 3DS experience can be described as ‘crushingly disappointing’ but Professor Layton makes everything worthwhile.
The English Professor is the most disarmingly charming character I’ve seen in a long time. Luke is cool as well, as are the entire quaint and weird cast. It’s amazing how just plain English the game feels, especially since the devs are Japanese! I swear that Bob down the street could have made this game in his shed, while sipping some Yorkshire tea and eating a marmalade crumpet, it’s that faithful. Still need to play Azran Legacy but I know it’ll be a wonderful experience.
God of War (Entire series)
I managed to pick up all the GOW games, including Ascension, for about £30. That’s 6 games. For £30. £30!!! BVOTY. Best Value of the Year. And every game in the collection is great.
I think everyone knows what the GOW games are about. Simple but fun mechanics, jaw-dropping scale and brutal, brutal combat. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how Kronos died, with his fingernail ripped off, his intestines spilling out from a cut in his side and a spike driven through his head, jaw first. Ugghh, so harsh. I love it.
So happy there is a new GOW for PS4. I just hope it changes things up a bit. I don’t mind more of the same but something new would be greatly appreciated.
Infamous: Second Son
If one game could take my GOTY, it would be Infamous: Second Son. It doesn’t do much new or different from previous games, it’s lacking in content a bit and…that’s all my gripes actually!
If I can focus specifically on the visuals, this is by far the best looking game I’ve seen on console. Ever. A full 1080p with SMAA T2x anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering results in a literally flawless image. Coupled with a rock-solid 30fps and the level of immersion is unparalled. I spent way too much time in photo mode taking shots. Just, wow. An incredible achievement.
And the game itself is just so much fun! I could mess around in the city of Seattle for ages, it’s just bliss. The Dualshock 4 feels so much more precise so getting headshots is fun and the variety in powers adds some spice to the preceding’s.
Infamous: SS makes me excited for what we’ll see for the PS4. Cause this is just year one. And 2015 looks pretty badass!
Danganrompa (And Danganrompa 2 when I finish it)
I never thought a story about over-achieving teenagers who are forced to kill each other by a talking bear could be so beary interesting. But it is, oh hell yes it is.
You essentially are locked in a school and the only way to escape is to kill someone, which leads to a class trial to find the culprit. If the killer escapes, they escape and everyone except them dies. If they are caught, only they die. No spoilers but I was enthralled the entire way through. Sometimes I’d figure out the case halfway through gathering clues. Other times I’d be at a loss until I was halfway through the trial. Needless to say, if you have a Vita and enjoy games with great stories, you owe it to yourself to buy this!
I also just started Danganrompa 2 and am loving it so far. Let’s hope there is a third!
So those are the top 10 games I played in 2014. The releases of 2014 may have been disappointing to me personally but, thanks to my backlog, I can honestly say that it was a terrific year for gaming. And with Persona 5, Bloodborne, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Zelda U, Uncharted 4, The Order: 1886 and many, many more, I can safely say that 2015 is going to be the best year in gaming for a while. I sincerely hope so!
Take care guys and let me know how wrong my opinions are in the comments! They are pretty wrong, clearly.
-Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus
-Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
-Y’s: Memories of Celceta
-Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HdRemix
-Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 1 and 2
-Asa Akira’s Bangkok Adventures DDXXX
PS: (One of these does not exist)
Picking a favourite game is hard work. What constitutes a favourite game? The one that made you the most emotional? The one with the most memories attached to it? The best one in terms of game design and lasting impact on the industry?
At first I went for Streets of Rage 2. My dad and I spent a lot of time bonding over this game, as a kid and while I grew up into the mildly sweaty nerd I am today. When he passed away a few years ago, the game meant even more to me than it already did. A window into the good old days, when we cleaned the streets together, me with my Dr Pepper and my dad with his whisky.
Then I thought of Final Fantasy XII. To me, this game is the pinnacle of JRPG’s. It does so much right that whatever it does wrong is negligible and I’ve spent hundreds, perhaps even a thousand or more, hours just exploring, min maxing, speedrunning and a whole host of other pointless things. I spent 15 hours grinding my character to level 99 before leaving the first city. For fun. This game got me into JRPG’s and nothing has come close to dethroning it.
But in the end, there was only one answer to this question. It all comes back to Kingdom Hearts 2. And that’s because it has both the emotional impact and memories of Streets of Rage, while also being one of the best action-RPG’s I’ve ever played.
Let’s break down the components that make KH2 the best game ever.
The gameplay fucking rocks. Very action based, all about high speed combos and constant movement, with lots of over the top abilities (RAGNORAK!), magic and all of it totally customisable. You can make an 8 hit long combo or shorten it to just 2 hits, it’s totally up to you. While it doesn’t let you choose between focusing on magic or melee, as they level up automatically whether you want them to or not, they both are so much fun to use that you won’t even care.
And talking about gameplay, you cannot talk about KH without talking about bosses. Ice titan, Hades, Axel, Sephiroth, Xemnas, all the Organisation XIII fights. They are constantly inventive and force you to mix up your play style. Sometimes it’s just a case of mashing the attack button till they die. Others you may need to time your blocks and launch careful counterattacks, sometimes you may have a time limit. They are always different and always fun.
Especially Sephiroth's fight. Love that fight.
Also you can dual wield keyblades. DUAL. WIELD. KEYBLADES. Amazing! I’ve beaten KH2 many, many times and I’m not close to being bored. Just put the difficulty to Proud mode. It’s a little on the easy side. :D
Oh Sora and Riku, you so kawaii desu.
Sora, the main character and the one you play as, is a super nice guy and always on the side of justice and doing the right thing. He’s equal parts goofy, serious, smart and sensitive. Essentially, someone easy to relate to and play as. Couple that with Donald Duck and Goofy, who remind me of the best parts of my childhood and are on form in KH2, and you have a very strong trio of heroes that make any cut-scene a joy to watch.
The supporting characters all get this level of care as well. Roxas, Namine, Axel, they all have well defined identities (or not, considering they are nobodies HAHAHAHA…I’m sorry) and personalities. Even the bad guys have their own flair. From the kinda annoying idiocy of ‘DANCE WATER, DANCE!’ to Saix’s brooding manner or Xemnas’s preaching and fanatical ramblings, it makes you want to see who you’ll meet next, what you’ll see next.
Just be glad gifs don't have sound.
And of course, Disney. If you love Disney, you’ll love KH2. Nightmare before Christmas, The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, they all make an appearance. Hell you turn into a super cute lion in the Lion King world! It’s just so much fun to see these icons from my childhood and fighting alongside them, hearing them talk, going through the events of the story but altered. Pure joy.
KH2 holds a special part in my heart. I was around 14 when I played it and it left a huge impression on me. As a shy kid who had quite a few friends but only 2 really close friends, I looked at games as my main avenue for having fun and seeing new things. Before KH2 I just played games for the fun of it, to enjoy the gameplay and character’s, not looking at how they made me feel, what the main themes were or anything below the surface. But KH2 changed all that. All this talk of ‘darkness’ and ‘nobodies’ and ‘shadows’ seems like convoluted tripe but for me, it just went deeper.
Good times man.
It was a story about friendship and looking out for friends, no matter what. It was about redemption, owning upto mistakes and amending them the best you can. It was about identity and what YOU think about yourself. KH2 kick-started a radical shift in my perception of videogames and helped me look critically at games, dissect them more than I ever did before. And therefore, it helped me enjoy games on a whole other level.
And it has Donald Duck wielding a sceptre in it, Goofy sliding around on a shield like my mother at an ice rink and Pete tripping me up with marbles!
What a marvellous game.
Also best fan-fiction ever.