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LONG BLOG

SPECIAL: Games of 2014 (So far...)

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 2014 had a bit of slow start, luckily I've been able to pepper much of the year's new releases with games in my backlog to make up for it. However, there have been some really good games that eventually made it out the door in the latter half (as well as some bitter disappointments), some of which I've already reviewed on my blog and some which have slipped through the critical net. As I've now introduced a numerical score into my reviews, I thought it would be good to look back at this year's games and give them the scores I would've given them at the time. As always, there will be some glaring omissions, such as Destiny and The Evil Within, which I simply haven't gotten around to playing yet. Alien: Isolation review is forthcoming.

Watchdogs

7/10
(good but not great)

WATCHDOGS: Often maligned because it was a huge disappointment for many (based on some sumptuous E3 footage), I still found Watchdogs to be a decent game, just not a great one. The gameplay was solid and the open world was well-made; I didn't even have a problem with the graphics "downgrade" - to me it still looked pretty damn good despite only 900p on PS4. Where the game fell short is in its story and characters, it's just not very compelling to play and the campaign completely overstayed it's welcome by the end. The side missions while good at first, become quite repetitive, and even though I had fun with Watchdogs, it's one of the games I've subsequently traded away.

Child of Light

7.5/10
(very good)

CHILD OF LIGHT: I actually had a lot of fun with Child of Light on the PS4 earlier this year, it's a decent JRPG-Platformer hybrid from a major publisher, which is quite rare! The painterly graphics were absolutely beautiful and the soundtrack was great, not to mention the game was really enjoyable to play. I *loved* the time-bar based fight system, but wish there was a little more depth to combat, as the game just went by too quickly and was way too easy to finish; never really forcing me to engage my brain muscle as much as I'd like. It's a real shame as this was almost a *great* game, it just feels a bit insubstantial in the end. I did enjoy the game though and will most likely give it another go at some point, maybe on the Vita.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

7.5/10
(very good)

METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES: It's easy to brush this videogame off as a glorified demo, albeit one that cost £20, but Ground Zeroes actually has a decent amount of content and was a good sneak peak at the future of this prestigious series. The main mission is quite difficult, especially if you do the "no kills no alarms" route whilst playing a Metal Gear Solid game, and can take a few hours to complete properly (collecting all the secrets around the map unlocks additional game modes). Once you've finished, the game really opens up - different missions, at different times of day with alternative weather effects. The short length and lack of variety in the environment are big negatives, but as an intro to The Phantom Pain it succeeds as a great teaser of things to come.

Infamous Second Son

8/10
(great game)

INFAMOUS SECOND SON: I'm a big fan of Sony's Infamous games, having previously enjoyed the first (slightly flawed) game and it's superior sequel on PS3; Second Son was one of the games I was looking forward to most when I picked up my PS4. I wasn't disappointed. Often mistakenly called an "open world game", Infamous Second Son is more like a third person action/shooter but set in an open world environment. If you go into the experience knowing that, the lack of side content doesn't really bother, it's the pure joy of environmental traversal and playing about with superpowers that drives this experience. I had a *massive* amount of fun with this game, and it looks gorgeous, some of the best graphics you'll see currently on the market.

Hyrule Warriors

8/10
(great game)

HYRULE WARRIORS: I'm really not a fan of the button mashy Dynasty Warriors, and I'll admit that it was purely the Zelda licence that drew me initially to this game. But, Hyrule Warriors is actually a *lot* of fun! Sure, it's still got the endless waves of copy/paste bad guys to mash your way through, but the different characters, equipment and boss battles from the Zelda games imbues it with a lot of charm and character. More addictive still is the unlocking of abilities and light-RPG elements integral to the game, and combined with the 'adventure' mode, with its challenges and 8-bit overworld, there's a lot of content here. Great value for money and great fun, if a little on the shallow side in terms of skill.

Soul Sacrifice Delta

8/10
(great game)

SOUL SACRIFICE DELTA: This year I've been dipping into the Vita back catalogue, but this game got a timely re-release in the form of a pseudo sequel or improved and extended version, dubbed Delta. A truly great game, Soul Sacrifice Delta can be played in bite sized chunks, but is addictive enough that it's hard to put down. I didn't play the original, but Delta looks absolutely gorgeous, with some really awesome art direction (disturbing faces and weird s**t everywhere!) and a great soundtrack. The story is told in an interesting way, with much of it narrated in a book. It suffers from the repetitive nature of a Monster Hunter-type game, but I highly recommend it, especially for those long journeys!

Transistor

8.5/10
(great game)

TRANSISTOR: I really enjoyed Transistor when I played it on my PS4 earlier this year, infact I've already reviewed it in full on my personal blog. "I hope I'm communicating the sheer amount of control given to the player in this video game, and despite the isometric graphics this game feels very "next-gen" compared to all the safe triple-A games from the major publishers. Transistor is a great game, and one that is confidently executed by an indie studio that really knows how to make an interesting and deeply rewarding original experience." The score for this game would probably be a little higher if it was just a bit longer, otherwise it's a solid experience.

P.T.

8.5/10
(great game)

P.T.: Reviewed (without a score) on my personal blog, I found P.T. to be the biggest surprise of the year. Here we have a completely free mini-game, which is actually just a short piece of viral advertising for another videogame out later next year, which seemingly came out of nowhere. P.T. also happens to be the very *best* horror game released in recent years! I played it late at night, with the lights off and windows open, and I've never felt so terrified. The graphics are very realistic and the surreal nature of the narrative is something ripped straight from the darkest nightmare. If you have a PS4 and are willing to c**p yourself, you really need to download this and give it a go while it's still around.

Dark Souls II

8.5/10
(great game)

DARK SOULS II: When I wrote a full review of this game on my personal blog, shortly after completing it for the first time, I was enamoured with it and it was my "game of the year" for the longest time. Dark Souls II is actually a very good sequel in pretty much every way; it improves on the combat system, online interactions, and graphics engine, creating a game very worthy of the 'Souls brand. Where it slips up (world design/structure and story) it does so in such a minor way - even though 'Souls fans are quick to pick up on it's faults, Dark Souls II is still better than the vast majority of games out there. A sign of a good game for me is whether I feel inclined to jump straight back in upon completion, and I did just that in NG+ to carry on improving my character and learning hexes.

Mario Kart 8

9/10
(excellent)

MARIO KART 8: I *love* Mario Kart. I always *love* Mario Kart... because Mario Kart is always brilliant fun and exceptionally well made. Pretty much the only racing game series I still consistently play, this game is one of several key titles that made me pick up a Wii U last year in anticipation. This "eighth" iteration of karting madness is probably the best one yet, incorporating all the best bits from the Wii release and some of the tweaks from the 3DS game, but remade to perfection. With some great tracks already included and a load more coming in reasonably priced DLC I think I'm going to be playing Mario Kart 8 on and off for quite a while.

Last of Us: Remastered

9/10
(excellent)

THE LAST OF US: REMASTERED: Again, reviewed on my personal blog but without a score, playing The Last of Us: Remastered (for the first time - missed it on PS3) was a fantastic experience. "While I've been swept away by stories in video games before, The Last of Us is probably the best written and realised use of this medium yet, finally rivalling books or films in terms of complex characterisation and storytelling; and without removing 'player agency' from the equation." While many people bemoan 'HD remasters' on the current-gen consoles (in lieu of new games), this proves that there is a market for them, and it's great to revisit a true modern day classic but in eye-watering 1080p and at a smooth 60fps.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

9/10
(excellent)

MIDDLE EARTH: SHADOW OF MORDOR:  I've actually posted a full review of this game right here on Destructoid. "After initially ignoring this surprise sleeper-hit of a 'AAA' game, I've now pre-ordered, played and enjoyed Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor more than probably any other game thus far this year. It will certainly take something special released between now and the end of 2014 to dethrone this one. I highly recommend it, especially if you have one of the new consoles and are looking for something that has genuine "next-gen" gameplay ideas. I expect the 'nemesis' system to be copied for many years to come!"
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About n0signalone of us since 2:01 AM on 10.06.2014

Videogames have come a long way since the 8-bit and 16-bit days of old, and it is now one of the most interesting and constantly-evolving storytelling mediums. I started blogging about videogames a few years ago because I am very passionate about certain experiences I've had, which I don't think could have existed outside of our unique hobby, and I wanted to share this with other like-minded people on the internet.

I'm based in the UK and my favourite videogame of all time is probably still Shadow of the Colossus, but other more recent games such as the impeccable Dark Souls and Journey have given it a run for its money. My other interests, and things I have blogged extensively about, are board games and Japanese anime. I've got a degree in Media Communications and Film, and I'm currently a Teacher of ICT.

I post fairly regularly on my personal blog at https://n0timportant.blogspot.co.uk/, so please visit there for legacy videogame reviews and articles on anime, boardgames, etc.