Earlier in the month, the Top Five Disappointing Games 2014 went up, and it was a hell of a list. This is my follow up to that list and as the title suggests, it contains my favourite games of 2014. I’ve played more this year, and because of that I’ve expanded to a total of six. It’s a Top Five plus One.
Be warned, there may be SPOILERS AHEAD so if you see a title and haven’t played it yet, be careful.
The entire reason I wanted and now own an Xbox One.
Titanfall is a multiplayer only FPS. You play as a pilot who can wall run and double jump all over the environment while taking out other players from around the world. A semi-futuristic approach to the weapons create some fun mixes to the formula and different player perks really ramp up the fun factor too.
But where Titanfall really shines is when the Titans…fall. While the Call of Duty series has kill streaks allowing the player to call in an assortment of help during the battle, Titanfall has a timer with each kill shaving off valuable seconds allowing your Titan to drop earlier. Once ready, you call your Titan and the fun really kicks in. Still gives me chills hitting that button and watching the massive Titan dropping from orbit into the battlefield. Each new Titan will completely change the course of the battle.
Best of all, each of the 12 players in the game can call their Titan effectively making the battles, 24 targets on the map. With drones and militia NCP’s the maps are always full, without being overcrowded. You never respawn and die within seconds, and for the months I’ve been playing Titanfall, the online community itself seems to be more approachable. Players are always joking during battles and no ones seems to be taking it too seriously.
After 7 whole months with Titanfall, I still have love for this game which is more than I can ever say about other FPS. Dropping your Titan mid-battle and throwing it into auto mode still puts a smile on my face. The fun I’ve had playing this multiplayer only shooter has yet to be replicated by any other FPS. It takes everything Call of Duty does well, and improves upon it. Sadly a complete lack of single player mode does hurt it slightly, but considering the Call of Duty franchise usually has a boring single player experience, I’m not too worried. That is of course unless they can find a way to make a single player mode as exciting and fast paced as multiplayer while having Titans around.
4. Watch Dogs
You can’t deny the city of Chicago makes for a brilliant hackable place in Watch Dogs. The trains and bridges alone make for some really fun chase and action movie sequences.
In Watch Dogs, you play as Aiden Pearce, a hacker who seeks out answers and revenge against the people that killed his niece. Thrown into the story are other hackers and political figures, each with their own secrets and agendas. A gripping story from beginning to end, and one of the few open world games I purposefully found myself ignoring side activities so I could find out how the story finished up.
What separates this game from others of the open-world type are the hacking abilities. Armed with a weapon, but most important of all a smart phone, Aiden is able to hack electrical devices and systems to take out his enemies. A few times I was able to detonate an electronic device on a guys belt which not only killed him, but provided the distraction needed to get through the area.
During a missions end, I was being cornered by police at night when I decided to hack into the city’s power grid. By plunging the entire city into darkness, I managed to escape the police by running down an alley and taking a car from a pedestrian. As the power turned back on, I was blocks away and about to jump on a train.
Its only fair to mention that Watch Dogs had some major issues leading up to release, and I’ll be the first to admit I was extremely upset. However when the game dropped and was as polished as it was upon release, I couldn’t fault it.
Watch Dogs proved to be an exciting next generation title with graphics that put so many others to shame. Special mention goes to the weather effects. That rain at night…simply gorgeous.
3. Mario Kart 8
Glorious 60 frames a second kart racing. Thats the best way to sum up Mario Kart 8 for Wii U. Yeah the console has had a shaky few years of release, but it wasn’t till 2014 that Nintendo really started to play ball with gamers.
When Mario Kart dropped, I made sure to pre-order my Wii U bundle. There was no way I was going to miss its release, and happily repurchased the console for it. Nintendo didn’t disappoint either. Online and offline, karting around the 32 stages on offer upon release, Big N went through every effort to make sure that detail was paid to the smallest parts of racers and levels.
Clothing detailing moved in the wind, characters would look around while overtaking and using weapons, and when riding a motorcycle, all riders would lean. It really does continue to blow my mind with the minor details.
The typical rubber band AI is on display here but I find that it always makes the gaming challenging and you really do have to work for that 1st place. 150cc all golds, still manages to elude me. I’ve tried my best, but my best still isn’t good enough.
Online play is remarkably fun and mostly lag free. Of course this depends greatly on your internet connection. But its always fun even if you do come last.
I’ve returned time and time again to Mario Kart 8, and when the paid DLC was announced to include new characters, karts and tracks, I made sure to put my money down right away. Nintendo does DLC right, and has managed to add 16 new tracks in the first wave of the two part DLC.
Split screen play is incredibly exciting, but I just wish Nintendo would allow one person to use the gamepad screen while the other used the TV screen. A minor complaint that doesn’t detract from the fun.
2. Super Smash Bros for 3DS
What’s this? Two Nintendo games in the same list and both just as good as the other. 2014 is the year I rediscovered my love for Nintendo and his past catalogue of games. No way better to do that then with Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.
I own both the Wii U and 3DS version of the game, and although 80% of the games are identical in the most basic sense, the 3DS version really shines for me. A full fledged fighting game on my 3DS to carry around with me and play on public transport. Forget any sort of story, Smash Bros is all about famous characters from Nintendo past beating up each other. Some other companies have joined the fight this time with a total of 50+ characters on offer.
Since its release 2 months ago, Super Smash Bros. has never left my 3DS unit. In glorious 60fps, I’ve gone through all the various game modes on offer and in 3D, never once missed a beat. Single player mode is extremely fun thanks to Smash Run where you run around on screen building up your fighters abilities within a short amount of time. Many people don’t really like this mode, but I’m actually missing it from the Wii U version and would take it over some of the others on offer.
Online mode is fun, but nothing beats player against others in the same room. Seeing someones face upon being smashed out of the arena brings back memories of the N64 days of couch co-op.
The best 3DS game out right now and one of the best fighting games ever made.
Honourable Mention: Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
I have never been a fan of the Lord of the Rings books or films. I find them drawn out with uninteresting characters and a dull story, but the New Zealand landscapes makes for a wonderful Middle-Earth. Why am I mentioning any of that? Well, because Shadow of Mordor completely came out of nowhere and blew me away.
After Talion and his family are murdered by Sauron’s armies, Talion is revived with special abilities and seeks revenge against those that wronged him. Kind of like The Crow when you think about it. Graphics, sound and gameplay are all top notch with the blood and gore thrown to the forefront of all action set pieces. Getting into any sort of battle is surprisingly fast paced and exciting thanks to it lifting the combat system from the Arkham series. I’m never upset when a developer does that, because if its done right, why not?
Special mention goes to the nemesis system. Every enemy will grow and learn from each encounter with you. This is a battle system that needs to be lifted and planted into other games because it really does change enemy battles for the better.
Sadly the reason it makes my honourable mention, is because I just don’t have as much passion for the Middle-Earth series as a whole. However if the films and books were more like this game, I’d be up for getting into them.
1. Don’t Starve
I don’t know where to start when it comes to Don’t Starve. As a PlayStation Plus member, this game came up for free one month so I downloaded and played it. And as the weeks went on, Don’t Starve continued to grow on me. Days at work were spent thinking of ways to survive longer, and when I got home, I’d put those actions to the test.
What is so good about this game, is that it doesn’t hold you hand at all. It doesn’t explain how to play or what to do apart from the title of the game itself, Don’t Starve. You will be thrown into a randomly generated open world, to fend for yourself. Find items to craft tools to build weapons to kill animals to make good. Build shelter and crops and make sure you survive. Because no matter what you do, stay in the light for once the night comes, you will die.
It is all about surviving because no matter what happens, the hellhounds will come for you.
I learnt this the hard way, but after two restarts, I knew what I needed to do and pretty much learned as I went along. Did I mention this game has permanent death? Yeah trust me, it really hurts. I remember after 30+ days in game, I managed to have a perfect area set up for myself. Had plenty of food, managed to survive winter, lots of protection and no reason to leave my area. But like any dumb person, I decided to search an area of the map I had never been too…needless to say, I was killed by a swarm of killer bees. All those hours of hard work. The days of plaining and building my safe area, and all the food I had stored was gone.
Never did I go a day without playing Don’t Starve on my PS4, and when I heard the news of it arriving on PS Vita, well my year was made. I downloaded it as soon as it was released and have played just as much.
Don’t Starve is easily the best game of 2014 because it doesn’t need the best graphics or sound. It doesn’t matter about resolution or frame rate, and most important of all, Don’t Starve is just one fun game. It borrows heavily from what Minecraft has done before it, but Don’t Starve has a little more action involved. If you haven’t picked it up yet, give it a try. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.