2014 was a pretty good year for me as far as Video Games are concerned. I picked up a Wii U back in June which has given me an excellent selection of games thus far with many more promising titles to come. A number of games I was really looking forward to came out this year and for the most part they all managed to meet if not exceed my expectations. while there were a few disappointments throughout the year, I can't say there were any games that I outright hated as opposed to previous years.
I generally have a hard time choosing any one favorite anything let alone 10 as my tastes are ever changing. What I choose this week may very well be completely different the next. There were a lot of games I played that I really liked and to only choose 5 or 10 games would mean omitting other excellent games I want to highlight. So fuck it, I'm breaking the format and just gonna list a bunch of games I liked from this year in no particular order.
Death Skid Marks
You wanna know how awesome this game is. I only bought it just last week and it's already one of my favorite games of the year. Take the fun arcade action of Spy Hunter, load it up on some Booze and Meth, and toss it in a heavy metal bar and you get Death Skid Marks. A roguelike arcade action game that puts you in a world where you got to traverse a long treacherous highway filled with crazy religous fanatics, intolerant rednecks, crazed female groupies and a slew of other undesirables in order to get to your favorite bands gig.
Pick up hitch hikers on the way and load them up with weapons and drugs to help you out and upgrade your ride to take more damage and push other drivers off the road. A fantastically fun silly and addicting game that I see myself playing over and over for a long time to come. As soon as I saw this come out I knew I had to play it and I am not disappointed in the least.
Far Cry 4
While Far Cry 2 was a pretty vast departure from the first game in the series and Far Cry 3 a pretty vast change as well, Far Cry 4 doesn't do as much to change up the formula this time around as the previous two entries did. It feels more like an expansion upon the previous game rather than a full sequel which some might view as a bit lazy.
Thing is though, Far Cry 3 was a fantastically fun open world action game game and Far Cry 4 expands on it just enough to manage to make a fun formula even better without overdoing it. Additions like the Buzzer copter, Autodrive, special syringes, elephants and more make an already fun experience even funner.
I've talked about how much I love music in the past, so Fract OSC is a game that's right up my alley. A game where you have to solve puzzles with music, Fract OSC puts you inside a TRON like world where you explore the inside of a musical synthesizer. Progress through the world by manipulating the landscapes by composing music on various sequencers.
As a big fan of both TRON and musical synthesis, this game resonates with me incredibly. Exploring the world and watching it pulse to the music is a fantastic experience and the bonus of an unlockable interactive studio makes for an incredibly unique game.
Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker
In my unpopular opinion, Super Mario 3D World was a tad underwhelming for me. It certainly wasn't a bad game in any way but for some reason I didn't feel it was as fun as the reviews I saw seemed. Funny enough, the biggest highlights for me though were Captain Toads bonus levels. The fun little puzzles were a unique and fun experience in their own right and when I heard that they were making a whole game based on his levels I was ecstatic.
I can honestly say that this is the most fucking adorable game I've ever played. Hearing Captain Toad say "Ready for Adventure" never gets old and him and Toadette are the cutest couple I've ever seen. The levels are all fun and the puzzles are the perfect combination of relaxing and challenging. I hope to see more of Captain Toad's adventures in the future.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Ground Zeroes is regarded by many as a overpriced demo, and while I can't really blame people for that based on the length, I feel calling it a demo is still a little harsh. To the average gamer, Ground Zeroes may be pretty underwhelming, but to fans of Metal Gear Solid, there's a lot more on offer than what's on the surface. For the avid Metal Gear Solid fan who tend to take multiple playthroughs through each game to check out all the options available, the one's who like to beat the game on every difficulty and find all the secrets, or the one's who just like to have fun in the world, there's a little bit there for everybody.
Ground Zeroe's map is ripe to explore multiple times through to try and perfect your strategies and learn the ways of the new mechanics the upcoming game will have. It does exactly what it was meant to do, to give players an idea at how The Phantom Pain will play out helping it solidify itself as my most anticipated game of 2015.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Shadow of Mordor wears that quote in spades. While many of Shadow of Mordor's mechanics come straight out of other popular games like the Assassin's creed and Batman Arkham series, it at the very least manages to competently pull them off and pour enough of it's own personality into the mix to still make for a unique game experience in it's own right.
The story melds itself into the lore of Middle Earth well enough and save for a few appearances from Gollum, doesn't go overboard with fan service or anything like that. Plus the Nemesis system makes for some interesting moments and unique encounters and overall Shadow of Mordor was a fun game regardless of the originality of its mechanics.
Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus
Senran Kagura is one of the breast and funnest games I have on the Vita. It's mechanics are similar to that of the Dynasty Warriors games and are simple enough to grope and master but challenging enough for more experienced players to have fun with. The plot is silly and fun and the character's all have unique charms and personalities.
Tit's hard to think anyone could be offended over something that so clearly doesn't take itself seriously. Between this and Senran Kagura: Bon Apetit, I hope this means we'll get to see more games like this reveal themselves in the west.
Jazzpunk is Pop culture references done right. While something like say Family Guy or recent episodes of the Simpsons rely on Pop Culture as a cheap way to try and stay relevant, Jazzpunk takes pop culture references to an extreme that it never get's old. Recreate Cape Fear in a movie theater, Punch a car to death Ala Street Fighter II or play some Wedding Quake.
They say Humor is the hardest thing to pull off in a video game and Jazzpunk managed to make me laugh from beginning to end. Some reviewers said that the games gags wear thin towards the second half, but I myself was engaged throughout the whole game and would go as far as to call this one of the funniest games I've played. Plus you can spray Cheese Whiz all over Jim Sterling.
Road Redemption is currently in early access on steam and yet is more fun and addicting than most finished games I've played. Road Rash is one of the few racing games I enjoyed as a kid and when I heard that a spiritual sequel was in the works I was immediately all over it and in no way am I disappointed. One of the few games I've backed on Kickstarter, this is everything I've wanted so far in an updated Road Rash game and it's not even done yet
With fantastic graphics, fun driving mechanics, a slew of different weapons like swords, C4 and sawed off shotguns and ridiculous scenarios including racing across roof tops and raining cars on the road, Road Redemption is a fantastic arcade style racing games that even people who don't normally dig racing games will enjoy.
The Creative Assembly definitely had some pressure put on them to deliver the goods this time around after last years disaster, and boy did they. Alien: Isolation is a nice return to form for AAA Survival Horror games. With it's fantastically accurate representation of the Alien universe and it's gripping and intense gameplay, it may easily become my favorite horror game of all time.
The main thing for me is that after all these years of seeing the famous Alien so many times in the movies and different games and such, I wasn't sure if I'd really find the Alien intimidating. Creative Assembly however managed to make the Alien a truly formidable foe that I was constantly on the edge of my seat when trying to avoid it. A true testament to both the Alien franchise and Survival Horror games.
The Wolf Among Us
Telltale's The Walking Dead was a fantastically gripping game that had me engaged from beginning to end, but this years The Wolf Among Us really solidified Telltale's talent for me. With a cast of wonderfully written characters and an interesting back story and world, Fables gritty take on classic fairy tales resonates with me a lot as a fan of fantasy.
Telltale have solidified themselves as one of the best narrative writers in games today and I really hope to see much more of The Wolf Among Us down the line. So hurry up and finish Borderlands and Game of Thrones god dammit.
Final Fantasy X HD
I don't give a shit if the game actually came out 12 years ago, Final Fantasy X HD is a prime example of HD editions done right. I missed the game back when it was initially released, and though I did own X-2 I never got around to beating it either, so bundling both games in their definitive versions together in one package is perfect for someone like me who missed out inititially.
With a slew of extras and enhancements thrown in and all sorts of new endgame content, I'm still chipping away at the game after nearly 9 months and haven't even started X-2 HD yet. Between these and the Kingdom Hearts HD collections, I hope this is the start of more remastered games being made for new audiences.
Super Time Force Ultra
Capybara games over the top game about travelling through time and causing mayhem across the world is one of the funnest sidescrolling shoot em up platformers I've ever played. Using time control to use past versions of yourself to progress through levels and beat bosses, Super Time Force Ultra is a truly original experience that for me came out of no where.
With an incredibly funny plot that had me laughing out loud and a whole ton of unlockables and extra's, Super Time Force Ultra is definitely going to be in my memories for a long time.
Mario Kart 8
8 games later and the Mario Kart series manages to feel fun and fresh in arguably the best entry in the series since Double Dash. Admittedly, I haven't kept up on every entry in the series, but Mario Kart 8 feels definitely has the vibe earlier entries in the series which as someone who still plays the classic N64 version regularly is fantastic.
Similar to Road Redemption, Mario Kart 8 is the perfect racing game for people who generally don't like racing games. A bunch of unlockable drivers and customizable karts make for a fun replayable experience and the combination of new levels and updates of classic levels make for what seems like the Greatest Hits of Mario Karts along with some excellent DLC done right.
Combining Dynasty Warriors and Zelda sounds like an awesome formula on paper, but could've easily gone awry if not done right. Tecmo Koei manage to combine their Hack and Slash formula with Zelda's universe in a way that they meld perfectly. The Dynasy Warriors formula works perfectly with Zelda's universe and there's plenty of fan service for Zelda fans
With a fun story that contains my favorite Zelda antagonist to date, several game modes and tons of unlockable content, and some excellent DLC to check out, Hyrule Warriors is an incredibly content rich game that I'll be playing for quite some time.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
South Park is one of the few TV series that I've watched consistently since it aired. I remember watching it with my family during christmas time and the shock they were in when Cartman proceeded to sing "Kyles mom is a big fat bitch". So when I heard that the creators were working hand in hand with Obsidian to make a full fledged South Park RPG I was absolutely stoked.
While I agree with the most common complaint that the game is a bit short, fact is there's at least a full season's worth of content in the game and it is in every way shape and form what I wanted from a South Park game. Explore the whole town, interact with it's characters, fight zombie nazi's and homeless people, everything that someone who follows the series would want to see is there.
While I may not have been born in the 80's or grew up during the so called "Golden Age of Gaming", I nonetheless started out on the classics while many other kids my age had already moved on to the age of polygons. Duck Tales, Mega Man, Super Mario Bros. 3, Castlevania, I grew up on all those games and each one had their hand in influencing Shovel Knight. A fantastic love letter to the 8-bit era of gaming.
Taking classic simple video game mechanics and updating them for a whole new generation, Shovel Knight is a game that'll appeal to those who grew up on the classic platformers of old as well as a whole new audience of gamers.
While the Tony Hawk series took a steady decline towards the end, I was loyal to the combo based skate boarding series through and through. I still go back and play the first couple of games with my friends for fun and even later entries like Underground and American Wasteland were fantastic as well. So now during a time when skateboarding games are as dead as Western Movies, Olli Olli comes out of the blue with a fresh take on the classic combo based skating games that I grew up on.
While the game may only take place in a 2D perspective, there's just as much depth to the tricks as any one of the Tony Hawk games and makes for both a challenging and addicting game. Another game that I hope to see more of in the future.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
I said above that Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker was the most adorable game I've ever played, but Octodad comes in a pretty close second with his fatherly antics. Just the idea of a game where you play an octopus trying to go about an average persons day to day life without people finding out is already an incredibly ambitiious idea on paper. To actually pull it off though is something else and they managed to pull it off.
Dragging your tenacles one by one trying not to attract attention is just an incredibly humorous and silly experience.
Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. is a series that I've adored since the beginning. My friends and I grew up and still smash on the N64 version to this day and Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS and Wii U is just about everything we've wanted to see in a new Smash Bros. game. An incredible roster of characters, customizable moves, A slew of game modes, more fun and unique arenas, and 8 player battles all make up arguably the best entry in the series.
Like Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. almost seems like a Greatest Hits collection for the series taking all the best elements (except unfortunately the Ice Climbers) and combining them into one amazing game.
I know I said that I had a hard time choosing one single favorite game, but I'd be lying if I said that Bayonetta 2 wasn't the game I was most looking forward to this year. Not only did she exceed my expectations, she took them, slapped them around a bit, did a nice sexy dance, and blew my expectations out of the sky.
I don't think I've talked about my adoration for the Devil May Cry series, but next to Metal Gear Solid, it may be my favorite game series of all time. When I was a kid, Dante was the most bad ass character I had ever seen and hacking and slashing enemies was my favorite thing. The series went on to become my favorite action game series and while games like God of War were fantastic action games in their own right, none of them quite had the flair the Devil May Cry series had.
While Capcom's been busy trying to reboot the series when it didn't even need one, Platinum Games went ahead and filled the void with Bayonetta. Bayonetta's combat and tone feel much more like a proper Devil May Cry sequel than last year's disappointing reboot. The controls rock solid, the difficulty challenging but fun, the character's interesting and memorable, and the amount of content is incredible.
So Bayonetta 2 was obviously a must-buy for me. While I bought the Wii U for a number of different games, the main reason was most definetly Bayonetta 2 and it was in every way shape and form worth it. Thank's to Nintendo for making it possible and Platinum Games for being experts at their craft
So there you have it, my way too long list of fanastic games from this year that I played. If you managed to get through all that let me know what you think.