Top ten games of the year
As we hurtle towards the end of 2014 it’s time for me to bring this awards month to a close. Tomorrow shall be the last of these awards and will be about the games I’m looking forward in 2015. Today however I’ll be running you through my top ten games of the year. Spanning a range of genres, platforms and budgets, each one of these games has brought joy to my heart and made me thankful I play video games. So lets get going with the list shall we?
10. Payday 2
Do you remember at the start of the Dark Knight? When Joker and his crew commit one of the best heists every put to celluloid? That’s what a successful mission feels like in Payday 2. A game which perfectly captures how it feels to be a professional thief, but one that also allows you to shoot you’re way out. A great mix of Co-op focused mission design and first rate gun play, it’s great game and one you should bring some friends with.
Surprised to see a mobile title on this list? Well you’re a snob. Threes is a perfect little puzzle game that tasks you to keep making threes. At what first appears to be a remarkably simple concept becomes something very complex as you begin planning your next move with the same caution of a military strategist. It is the king of toilet gaming and one you should definitely download on your mobile.
8. Wolf Among Us
It’s fair to say Telltale have nailed down what makes them great. Taking an established IP and making their mark. Wolf Among Us tells the tale of Bigby Wolf, a reluctant keeper of the peace in Fable town as he tries to get to the bottom of a murder mystery that’s killing women left right and center. Bigby a detective cut from the cloth of all the best Noir Cliches, with the added element that he’s actually a wolf who is forever holding back his more animalistic side. A great murder mystery with some fantastic characters.
7. Dragon Age: Inquisition
The most recent addition to this list and perhaps one of Bioware’s best games to date (The best of course being Dragon Age: Origins). DA:I shows us that in this world of realistic modern FPS that fantasy still kicks ass! With one of the best fantasy worlds ever made (Better than Middle Earth) The Dragon Age series can suck hundreds of hours out of its players and have them coming back for more (Apart from Dragon Age 2, can we forget that game?) I’m writing this only an hour after completing the games main story line and I’m already Itching to reroll another character (Thinking Male Dwarf Warrior who wants to ride the bull). While I do like this game, I feel as though it has some issues with it’s quest design, with too few choices for you to shape the world around you, most of them feel as though they belong in an MMO instead.
6. Grand Theft Auto V for PS4
I missed out on GTAV initial release on last-gen consoles and so had resigned myself to wait another four years or so for GTAVI. But since Rockstar believed there was still a few more million dollars to be squeezed out of this monolithic cash cow they gave it to current gen as well. What could have simply been a few updated textures was instead turned into a whole new game with the addition of the first person mode. While maybe not practical to play with in the long run, it’s a welcome addition and one that signifies just how much love and care was put into this re-release.
5. The Last of Us Remastered
Having two remastered versions of older games on the list for 2014 perhaps signifies what a tepid this year has been for the newer generation of consoles. With very little new IP coming out for either of them we are instead left with slightly prettier version of last gen games (if I look at my PS4 collection all of 8 games I have for it are on the older systems as well). Last of Us Remastered was however a great experience of a game. With smoother controls and frame-rate than the game had on the PS3, TLOU really got what it deserved when it came to this port. An interesting story with some wonderful shades of grey writing, as well as some DLC which blew me away with it’s great character development.
4. Walking Dead: Season 2
Yes it’s another Telltale game, because by Jove do those guys know how to tell a gripping tale. Season 2 of the Walking Dead was a great follow up from Season 1, taking the vulnerable character of Clementine who’d we’d been tasked to protect for Season 1 and making her a fully independent character who could affect the world around her. Few game protagonists are ever given as much agency was she was and she’s only a young girl. Every choice in this game was hard to make and meaningful to the games world. I do hope that we’ll see another in this series and that we get to see Clementine grow as a character for years to come.
3. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
There are few games as psychologically messed up as the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. With disgustingly creepy imagery and twisted religious symbolism, it’s a game that would give Freud an heart attack as he tried to work out the meaning of killing ones mother while wearing her eyeliner and exhaling fire. It’s a game unlike any other i’ve played that can make you feel both god like and vulnerable at the same time, with victory or defeat only one item away. The game is the king of the rogue-like genre.
2. Shadow of Mordor
One of the intial goals of this blog was originally to champion good story telling and punish bad and lazy ones. Shadow of Mordor has one of the dullest stories of the year. With characters whose names I’ve forgotten to boring fantasy tropes galore. The fact it gets a pass is because of two reasons 1. Watch Dogs exists and by god that’s a pile of shit and 2. I FUCKING LOVE KILLING URUKs IN THIS GAME! For game with so many derivative parts from other titles, Shadow of Mordor doesn’t have the right to be as good as it is, but it is good and so very fun to play. With fast, brutal and visceral combat system it’s a joy to dance through mobs of Uruk warriors, picking off the odd poor sap with a swift decapitation. All these mayhem would mean only so much if you didn’t have a name to the Uruks you slay. Thankfully the games Nemesis system takes care of that, making every encounter with an Uruk Chieftain that little bit more personal. Since the games release I’ve already played through the game several times, relishing the initial feeling of weakness compared to an implacable foe, as I learnt to pick my targets and run when the moment wasn’t right. This is a game that made me feel both like a Warrior god as well as sneaky Assassin, and the lessons this game should teach other series should be learnt well (looking at a certain Ubisoft franchise)
1. State of Decay
We all knew this was coming, so lets just get this over with. State of Decay is what every other Zombie survival sim wants to be. A solid game with a lot of well done mechanics, State of Decay is what I had been waiting for in terms of Zombie Survival sims. It creates tense, unscripted moments of real panic as you fight tooth and nail to get to safety after you’ve used all your ammo and the situation keeps getting worse. While not a perfect game and with room for a sequel filled with improvements, State of Decay is a wonderful complete product among a sea of early access crap.
So that’s my top ten of 2014 over and done with. 2014 has been a mixed year and I think I’ll be looking to writing a post-mortem of the year as a whole soon. Tomorrow I’ll be giving you a few of my picks of games to look out for in 2015, and later in the week my future plans for this blog, as well as what will be changing for me personally over the coming months.