Well here we are: the last day of 2014.
As I look back at my top ten games of 2014 (regardless of the year they were released in) I realize half of them were released last year. By no means was this year a slow year for games, it just seems I am a year behind. And this is okay.
All told, I completed 40 games this year. That’s leaps and bounds better than the number I completed the year prior (13), and I hope to put that 40 to shame in 2015 (more on those plans later…).
I didn’t include games on this list that I haven’t yet played to completion (e.g. Watch_Dogs, Far Cry 4), no matter how far along in them I am. My basis for including games on this list is strictly by what I enjoyed most. I will list them by their initial release date, as well as the subsequent date I completed them.
Off we go!
Proteus (release date: 01.30.13 / date completed: 05.13.14)
Proteus was an odd and beautiful game. I love an experience where my sense of wonder leads me to explore and discover, and this lead me to do both. And never before has an ending of a game left me feeling both frightened and calm. I didn’t see it coming because I was too busy soaking it all in.
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon (release date: 04.30.13 / date completed: 05.09.14)
I know, I know, how on earth did this not get played as soon as it released? Answer: I have no idea. I suppose it was because I was so close to the platinum trophy for Far Cry 3 (my game of the year in 2013) that I wanted to complete it before starting in on Blood Dragon.
Did I ever do that? No. Am I glad I just started in on it anyway? Hell yes.
Seldom has a game made me fist-pump in reality quite as much as Blood Dragon. The ’80s vibe was nailed. The music was nailed. The story was as ridiculous as any over-hyped action movie. And that ending was just amazing.
Call of Juarez Gunslinger (release date: 05.21.13 / date completed: 05.06.14)
I had seen a few screenshots of this game and that was enough to sell me on the art style alone. The ever-changing narrative structure within the game was also a fresh approach. The gameplay (minus a bit of the boss fight mechanics) was smooth and straightforward.
By the time you got to the end, it was fairly obvious where it was going, but that was fine by me. It was a great ride filled with beautiful locales.
Resogun (release date: 11.15.13 / date completed: 01.03.14)
This was like being back in the arcades growing up. The gameplay was simple, and the soundtrack (particularly when blared through a lovely set of speakers) was intoxicating. Even after finishing the brief “story” mode, I played hours more. I still load this up occasionally when I want a good arcade fix.
Tearaway (release date: 11.20.13 / date completed: 01.03.14)
What additional glowing praise can I heap on Tearaway that I’ve not heaped before? This game was visually stunning, had beautiful music, and an ending that still resonates with me a full year later.
I can’t wait for Tearaway Unfolded to release in 2015 to experience this on a larger screen. And I dearly hope more folks get exposed to it.
Oh, and while I have my wish list out, I’d love for Media Molecule to release an art book. Please, please, PUH-LEEZ.
Tengami (release date: 02.20.14 / date completed: 05.24.14)
I had only heard of this game in passing and downloaded it for my iPad. When I finally played it, I was floored at the art style. It was as though a Japanese wood-cut watercolor had come to life.
In looking online for a photo to use here, I saw so many beautiful screen shots of the game that it reminded me just how lovely it really was.
Thief (release date: 02.25.14 / date completed: 03.16.14)
I had never played a Thief game before so I had no real expectations going into this. I was pleasantly surprised.
Stealth has never been my strong suit (I like to run in and cause mayhem), but I got the hang of this pretty quickly. The art style was beautiful, and I often found myself just staring at the scenes as they unfolded.
Sure, there were a few navigational issues and odd loading screens, but neither of those was enough to put me off of the experience.
And that asylum level was one of the most unnerving and well-executed levels in any game I’ve played.
Master Reboot (release date: 03.04.14 / date completed: 05.28.14)
I had read a snippet about this game and then downloaded it from the PSN. I loved that I had no idea what the hell was going on. I loved the atmosphere. And I loved that every time I thought I knew where the game was headed, the rug was pulled out from me.
Sure there were a couple of wonky moments, but overall, this game surprised me. And I love when a game can do that in a way that leaves me thinking of it days, even weeks, later.
Mario Kart 8 (release date: 05.30.14 / date completed: 07.04.14)
I hadn’t really played a Mario Kart game since Double Dash (which I loved) and this was a polished and exciting experience. I had so much more fun than I thought I would, even though racing games are my Achilles heel.
I had never thought about purchasing DLC for a racing game prior to this, but I absolutely will for MK8. This was a ton of fun.
When Nintendo nails it, they nail it.
Destiny (release date: 09.09.14 / date completed: 09.26.14)
This was the biggest surprise of the year for me. I only bought the game as a good friend and I had planned to play it together (which we did). He was super excited for it, and I peripherally kept it on my radar. When we finally played, I was hooked.
Yes, I am all too aware of the game’s shortcomings. I experience heaps of frustration. But I also have had some excellent times. I’ve played far more Destiny this year than I ever thought I would. I’ve met wonderful people and had co-operative gaming experiences I may never have had otherwise.
Warts and all (man, that just makes me think about Super Mario Bros. 2…), I love this game. I see no shortage of it in my future.
In the words of a wise man: roast me, haters.
I would be remiss not to mention the absolutely heaving backlog of 2014 games (and 2013, and 2012, and…) I have. I have a few plans to deal with it in the coming year, but nothing solid yet. Basically, I need to find a way to balance Destiny with all those other beautiful games. I endeavor to try.
And with that, I wish you all a safe and glorious new year! To a promising 2015!