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GAF Games of the Year 2014 - Voting Thread [voting closed]

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tim.mbp

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Oct 4, 2009
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Just going to vote for one game since I really didn't play that much this year, but this game really stood out to me.

1. Luftrausers ; I spent most of the year playing arcade type games and this was my favorite. Different plane combinations made replaying more enjoyable and the excellent soundtrack really added to the game's pace.
 

RadarScope1

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Dec 9, 2007
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This is admittedly a sad list. As I get older, with more and more family and work obligations, I simply have less and less time to play. Combined with what honestly has seemed like a weak year, it hardly seems fair to put some of these games so high on my list. I don’t think I played any truly incredible or ground-breaking games this year, but I played several really good ones and a several good but kinda flawed ones. My top two games are free of what I’d consider major flaws, but after that … it gets kinda iffy.


1. DriveClub ; I didn’t think this would top my list, but really it’s the only game that’s impressive enough, deep enough and free enough of flaws to be my number one. DC brought me back to the feelings I had when I played the original Ridge Racer – tight racing based on knowing the tracks and how the cars handle, wrapped in an insane graphics package and absolutely zero filler between me, the road and the lap time goal. The social stuff is fun, too. First game I’ve ever bought a season pass for.

2. Velocity 2X ; This little title is a fucking blast. It reminds me of the days when an innovative game could do something as simple as combine two previously unrelated genres and turn them into something new. Not that V2X truly innovates in that way, but it’s just surprising how the combination of the top-down shooting and side scrolling sections keeps the game so fresh throughout. The teleporting mechanic is the real star, though – simple and fun… and challenging. Ironically I hated Velocity Ultra when I first tried it, but V2X had me hooked immediately. Oh, and the music – put headphones on when ya play this one!

3. Infamous: Second Son ; Great feel, cool powers, decent enough story with good acting and really nice motion capture. But the side content is just so recycled and unimaginative. The first two games really seemed to have much more varied side quests. Still, I ended up doing every side quest on my playthrough, I think because the powers were just that much fun to use. And because the game is the right length. With the new engine and new more realistic tone of SS, I think SuckerPunch really has something here. It’s a pivot point for the series. I believe a sequel could truly be something special if they flesh it out the right way. But if the next game has the same flaws as Second Son … they need to pack up the series and start a new IP.

4. Rogue Legacy ; I love the way Rogue Legacy treats death as simply another step in a journey to a goal. Ultimately, though, the journey is filled with waaaaay too much grind. I put dozens of hours into RL and only managed to beat two of the four bosses. Luckily its simplicity makes it really easy to go back to, but I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to the end.

5. The Last of Us: Left Behind ; Great follow up to a great game. This is how you do story based DLC.

6. Transistor ; Lots to like here, starting with the way SuperGiant has shaken up the tactical genre with the mix-and-match setup of primary, secondary and passive powers. But the game is pretty inscrutable most of the time – both in terms of gameplay and story/setting. What’s most annoying is that it seems like there’s a really elaborate battle system here, but the enemies, arenas and scenarios are just vanilla as fuck. SuperGiant knows how to do style, but I feel like some key substance was missing. Still, it was a fun little trip and I’ll probably go back for the NG+ at some point.

7. P.T ; Three grown men jump screaming like teenage girls in the dark. That’s my lasting memory of PT. What a cool experience. We don’t have true surprises in gaming any more. This was just a pure thrill.

8. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; In the middle of this one right now on the PS4. I like single player FPS games and the classic-meets-modern feel of TNO order is hitting the spot for me.

9. The Swapper ; Cool concept, well executed. Great atmosphere and original look created by a two-man team. Plays great on the Vita.

10. Spelunky ; Still playing this masterful gem of a videogame. My GOTY in 2013. I saw it was eligible and just had to put it on the list.
 
Nov 30, 2011
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1. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor-
I probably enjoyed this as much as I did in large part because I have never played an Assassin's Creed game outside of the first one when it came out. And I love Batman combat. Add in the Nemesis system and just really satisfying combat and this was probably just the most fun I had with a game all year. Maybe its not terribly inventive but what it does, it does very well.

2. Wolfenstein: The New Order-
I'm pretty burned out on most FPS games. But Wolfenstein just oozed style from the start and the surprising amount of narrative really kept me plugging along with it. And the actual shooting is quite fun!

3. Alien: Isolation-
I haven't actually finished Isolation yet but even still, as a huge fan of Alien, just the fact that they nailed the atmosphere of the movie makes this game a huge achievement in my book.

4. South Park: The Stick of Truth-
I love South Park and Obsidian. Those 2 things coming together into a great game made this just amazing. Kind of like Alien, it just nails the look of its source material and that alone really elevates the presentation to a whole other level.

5. Dragon Age: Inquisition-
For the first third of the game, this probably was my GOTY. But then the game just collapses in on itself with the deluge of mindless side quests and a story that kind of flails around. I just really wanted to like this game a lot more than I actually did. I can respect what BioWare was trying to do but the game never gets out of the shadow of Origins.

6. Divinity: Original Sin-
I haven't played much but what I have played is real good. The story and character bits are kind of "meh" but the combat is fantastic. Probably would end up higher if I had played more of it.

7. The Wolf Among Us-
The episodes took too long to come out and it reeked of some major re-writes but ultimately it was a cool little story in a universe I had previously not known anything about.

8. The Banner Saga-
Another game I haven't actually finished quite yet, but its like Oregon Trail with Viking stuff. That's cool.

9. Far Cry 4-
Kind of like Mordor, I never played Far Cry 3, so I'm not one to say that I'm burned out on that formula or anything. So it feels somewhat fresh to me. The open world icon vomit on the map is a bit much but its a fun open world game where its just fun to mess around with stuff.

10. Wasteland 2-
Kind of like Divinity, I haven't gotten as far in as I would like but from what I've played its solid.
 

JDHarbs

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Mar 23, 2013
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Kansas City


1. Alien: Isolation ; No game made a bigger statement or had more to prove this year than Alien: Isolation. Creative Assembly proved that they had the talent to branch out into other genres. Sega proved that they could do right by the Alien franchise after so many failures throughout the years. This was the game that Alien(s) fans always wanted, and the game that this franchise desperately needed. I don't just want to name this my game of the year, I feel like I have to. Everything about it feels like gaming done right. No focus testing. No CoD-ifying. Just a niche game given the resources it needed to make something special. Coming from someone who wasn't a huge fan of the genre, and litterally crouch-walked through the entire game, this title has become my all-time favorite survival horror game. I can't wait for a sequel and hope to see other classic horror franchises get the same treatment.



2. Transistor ; This game was just beautiful in every way. From the story to the world to the characters to the gameplay to the art to the audio...I could keep going on. Bastion never got to me the way it did for others so I was skeptical about enjoying this game, but it intrigued me right from the start all the way up to the end. The gameplay's mix of turn-based and real-time mechanics was truly unique, and the mix and match of function abilities gave it much more replayability than I had originally thought. It got addicting trying to find new combinations that would give me the biggest bank for my buck.



3. BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea - Part 2 ; Burial At Sea: Part 1 just felt like more Infinite, but Part 2 felt like something more. The addition of stealth mechanics has easily made this best playing BioShock to date for me, but BioShock was never about the gameplay. It was always about the world, characters, and story. BioShock and Infinite are stronger when treated as separate works so Burial At Sea's attempt to mix the two really felt off from the start, but by putting Elizabeth in the spotlight it made for a great little story that attempted to dissect and tie a bow around this incredible series. Nothing has saddened me more recently than knowing that this was the last time we'll likely see Ken Levine and the rest of the remaining members of Irrational Studios at the helm of this incredible series.



4. The Walking Dead: Season Two ; Like many others, I quickly became a fan of Telltale as soon as I experienced the incredible first season of their Walking Dead series. It may have single handedly put adventure games back on the map. It seemes to have worked because 4 of my top 10 spots this year are all adventure games. This title had a lot to live up to, and it ended up delivering a worthy sequel to one of my favorite games. While it really just felt like more of the same thing we got in season 1, just about everything felt better this time around. Out of Telltale's two titles this year, I thought this one had the bigger pay off in the end along with the more interesting twists and turns along the way. I think a third season should really wrap this series up though because I fear so many Telltale titles releasing will cause franchise fatigue to settle in pretty quickly.



5. The Wolf Among Us ; I debated with myself for a long time over which Telltale title deserved a higher spot this year. For a long time I considered this to be the stronger title. The Fables universe is so much more interesting than the overdone zombie survival world of the Walking Dead, a detective story is so much more fitting for a Telltale game, and the visuals were a gorgeous step up. Knowing nothing about the Fables franchise, I was hooked after that twist at the end of episode 1, but the huge backpedal on it at the beginning of episode 2 really felt like a punch to the gut and the rest of the season never hit that same high point again. I felt like this could have been Telltale's best game yet, but it was just another example that prequels have too much baggage having to tie themselves into future stories.



6. Valiant Hearts: The Great War ; Finally, the World War I era was going to be given the attention it deserved. A conflict criminally overshadowed by its successor in our medium. It has the capability of so much more interesting stories than anything else that hasn't already come out of World War II. This beautiful little adventure game touches on just about every major aspect of the war, but there is definitely a huge amount of disconnect considering this conflict was so much darker than any it's portrayed. It is a great little game on its own, but I'm hoping we see it generate more interesting in this conflict from both a consumer and developer point of view.



7. Shovel Knight ; This game was a nostalgia trip unlike any other. As soon as I started playing, I was taken straight back to when I was a little kid playing Sonic the Hedgehog on my Sega Genesis. This game just does such a good job of recreating the visual style of this era that I instantly loved it before I had even pressed a button. I don't think I've ever played a game with that kind of power before. I haven't finished the game yet, but if everyone else's impressions are anything to go by, it should be great.



8. Broken Age: Act 1 ; Probably the best adventure game I've played this year, but I have a hard time putting this higher on my list until it is finished. I usually have a rule against these things, but the only reason it even made my top 10 was because of just how good it was. This was much more reminiscent of classic adventure titles of the past than anything else that I have played in recent years. The world it built was pretty fascinating and mysterious while the story took some very interesting twists and turns ending a cliffhanger that had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation for the next act.



9. Super Time Force ; This was one of the most creative games I've played in recent memory. I honestly don't really know how to categorize it as there has never been anything quite like it before. It really is a game that just has to be played to really understand it. It sort of feels like Speedrunning: The Game, but having the ability to go back and re-do whatever section you want to improve your time after each death. It's kind of a difficult game to lose since its a game about going back to improve upon what you've done. Its style of humor of never overstayed its welcome, and getting to watch the level play out in real-time at the end was a nice treat. I'd love to see what more they can do with a sequel.



10. TitanFall ; In a year full of botched AAA releases and delays into the next year, TitanFall felt like just about the only true blockbuster game experience this year. The team at Respawn had a lot to prove coming out of the shadow of the Call of Duty franchise that many on the team helped create. It felt like more than just Call of Duty with mechs and wall-running. It removed a lot of the crap that had pushed its way into the CoD formula over the years and felt more refined. It may not have been the amazing experience it was hyped up to be, but it released, it worked, and it was good which is something that just about no other AAA game could say this year.

Honorable Mentions
x. Destiny ; It was the most hyped up game of the year, but it just failed to meet expectations. The overall package is impressive, but I don't know if something went wrong during development or if Bungie just isn't Bungie anymore. For some reason we all just can't stop playing though.
x. Halo: The Master Chief Collection ; When it works it is my "Game of the Forever". This collection felt like something out of a dream when it was announced. This was going to be the greatest collection ever and something Halo fans would cherish for years. If only it had worked.

Games I never got around to playing:
- Wolfenstein
- South Park: The Stick of Truth
- Sunset Overdrive
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
 

Sneaky Gato

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Jan 13, 2011
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1. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; One the greatest reminders of just how good local multi can be. After streamlining and eliminating the excess of brawl the game seems to be one of the greatest expressions of fighting games.

2. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft ; Ever since the original pokemon card game to today I've loved CCGs. This to me is the next evolution of the medium. Put here more for what it represents than the actual game itself.

3. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; One of the purest expressions of gameplay to come out this year Retro demonstrates their mastery of the genre. Flowing from one jump into the next feels so good. And that soundtrack just keeps the pace going.

4. Bayonetta 2 ; It was so good to see platinum receive support for their work. And they proved that they have it right up there with the best when it comes to action. The frentic action looks like it should be overwhelming but man getting into the zone feels so good.

5. Mario Kart 8 ; Mario Kart simply being polished to the extant this game did would have made it a great game in the series. But to infuse so much personality into the game pushed it over for me.

6. Shovel Knight ; As a person who started gaming with a SNES this to me represents the best callback to that particular times eccentricities while not losing itself in nostalgia. Definitely the standard to which all others of this type should be compared.

7. Hyrule Warriors ; I did not have very high expectations for this game. Having been badgered with the series during the PS2 era i had completely written it off. Upon playing I found that the series got me into the flow just like bayonetta did and made into a very enjoyable experience.

8. Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire / Omega Ruby ; I fell out of love with the series with the original games and never really gave this generation a chance. Coming to it later and seeing how many improvements have been made reminds of what I like about the series so much.

9. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; A nice little chill game. Taking away jumping and working though that in a 3d environment made it such a brain twister for someone so used to platforming. And its always nice to see Nintendo give the little guys some help and develop their experimenting in new game play elements.

10. Bravely Default ; Growing up these were the types of games that I played the most. And to see their tropes revived and refined just makes me so happy. This would rank higher if not for that last bit. A bit too much of an old school throwback that part was.
 

Zissou

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Feb 1, 2007
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1. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- ; my first GG game and the first game to take some of my fighting game attention away from MvC3/UMvC3 since 2011.
2. Nidhogg ; of all the contenders tryng to make a fighting game that's not really a fighting game but still is kind of a fighting game that gives you those fighting game feels, I feel like this one does the best job.
3. Towerfall Ascension ; great game in the same 'genre' as Nidhogg. Very fun multiplayer that rewards split seconds moments of genius play in a very satisfying way
4. Mario Kart 8 ; First Mario Kart I've really enjoyed since double dash (disclaimer: I have not played every MK since DD)

Random stuff that I played but didn't love enough to vote for:
x. Dragon Age: Inquisition- Grabbed it when so many people were saying it was a return to form for Bioware. Played it for a dozen hours and never touched it again. Offline MMO-lite is not interesting to me.
x. Olliolli: was pretty fun, but I didn't really get what everybody was raving about.
x. Smash Bros: was toying with the idea of actually learning the game semi-seriously, but it didn't do much for me.
x. Shovel Knight: was reasonably fun, but maybe NES-era platform/action games are not my cup of tea, regardless of how well polished and smartly designed they are.
x. Velocity 2X: don't get the hype. Neither the on-foot nor ship parts felt like anything special.

Stuff I wanted to play but haven't been able to yet:
Bayonetta 2
Super Time Force
Lethal League
Rogue Legacy
Strider
 

Theorymon

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Oct 6, 2010
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1. Bayonetta 2 ; Bayonetta 1 was already one of my favorite games of last gen, but I never expected to see a sequel! Nintendo funded a real winner here, I'm shocked to say that I can't decide if I like this game or the original Bayonetta more! Hell, it even INCLUDES the first one for free, so as far as I'm concerned, Bayonetta 2 is one of the best game deals ever!

2. Mario Kart 8 ; I love Mario Kart, but I haven't been a huge fan of any particular entry since Mario Kart DS. Mario Kart 8 thankfully played as well as it looked as far as I'm concerned. Sure, there are some annoying things like the weird Item selection system being based on placement, leading to some oddities such as getting stars in second place... but overall, this game is addictive as hell. The track design is excellent, and to add to that, the game even had reasonably priced DLC to extend its life!

3. Super Smash Bros for Wii U ; God I love Super Smash Bros. Yeah, this game has a lot of annoying aspects to it, such as the weird and somewhat anemic single player content, and some sad cuts... but its still god damn Super Smash Bros. The fact that this game has functional online unlike Brawl easily propels this game to my top 3, warts and all!

4. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze ; Am I the only one who was super excited the moment this game was announced? I loved Donkey Kong Country Returns, and as far as I was concerned, Retro Studios working on a sequel was great news! To me, this game is among my top 2D platformers ever made, and easily my favorite Donkey Kong game! David Wise's sound track is absolutely sublime, and the level design is as interesting as ever!

5. DanganRonpa 2: Goodbye Despair ; I ended up getting this game and the first one because one of my friends, PKGaming, had been raving about it for a while. I'm sure glad I listened to him, because this game is right up there with the Phoenix Wright series as a visual novel classic as far as I'm concerned! I like the first game a lot, but this makes it above the honorable mentions list for me, because I find the twists and cast in this game to be more memorable than the first game. Still though, I love both games, and eagerly away Danganronpa 3!

6. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd ; I got a funny story about this game: a clueless uncle of mine got it along side a Famicom game because hes like "oh I know you like japanese games so HERE YOU GO!" I accepted it kindly, but I did NOT expect this game to be my sleeper hit of xmas! I wasn't a big fan of vocoaloids in the past, but I ended up liking the soundtrack for this game. More importantly though, it scratches that rhythm itch that this industry doesn't seem to interested in scratching anymore! I'm not that good at this game, but I can see myself playing this game for years to come!

7. Sunset Overdrive ; Insomniac is back baby! After fall after fall with those weird Ratchet and Clank spinoffs and Fuse, its good to see that Insomniac still knows how to make a game with satisfying and weird weapons! While I do feel like this game ends a bit too soon, I had a blast with the time I had with it! I loved experimenting with weapon combinations and just grinding around the city, leaving a whirlwind of mayhem in my wake!

8. Titanfall ; I'm not going to make a "have you seen Titanfall" joke, but man this game has been mocked a lot hasn't it. Despite the game's reputation as being an overhyped shell of a game, I actually liked this one a lot unlike Destiny! What was in Titanfall was fairly enjoyable. Getting into the mechs felt like destructive fun to me, and it probably helps that I haven't played Call of Duty for quite a while! Here's hoping that Titanfall 2 really knocks it out of the park content wise!

9. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; I liked those toad minigames in Super Mario 3D World (which was my game of the year in 2013), but boy I didn't expect EAD Tokyo to make a compelling game out of it! This is a pretty fun little puzzle game, and shows to me that Nintendo should start investing in smaller games like this more often. It's nice to have a middle ground!

10. Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire ; I'm actually not a huge fan of Ruby and Sapphire, but I do love my Pokemon expansions! This remakes in particular went way beyond the past ones, as these added new mega evolutions, several of which totally change the Pokemon metagame! In particular, they added Mega Rayquaza, a Pokemon so insane that it got BANNED from Ubers, and created a new metagame called Anything Goes! Like I said, I'm not a huge fan of Gen 3 ingame wise, but hell I can't say no to a gen 6 expansion pack!

Honorable Mentions

x. Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeros ; This didn't make the list because it felt more like an extended demo... but oh man is it one hell of a demo! This game has made my hype for Metal Gear Solid 5 go up by a lot, since I love the open world mechanics and stealth in this one!

x. Grand Theft Auto V ; I thought this game was a return to form on the PS3 and 360, and my opinions don't change much on the PS4! Funnily enough, this is also probably my most played PS4 game. Hopefully the PS4 will have a better year in 2015 >_>

x. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; Like I said, I prefer the 2nd game, but hey, that wouldn't exist without this one! I still like this game a lot, and to be honest if it weren't for the 2nd game, this would have made the list for me!
 

saltine161

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Nov 14, 2011
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1. Super Smash Bros for Wii U ; my favorite fighter is back and with the best online of the series its magical and 8 player is too fun

2. South Park Stick of Truth ; really funny pretty good gameplay

3. PT ; super short but I've never been more scared of a video game

4. Mario Kart 8 ; great graphics, really fun gameplay

5. Infamous Second Son ; awesome powers, good story, choices that seem like they matter

6. Dragon Age Inquisition ; amazing gameplay great options, didn't care for the story though

7. Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor ; great gameplay and boss system was awesome to do

8. Super Smash Bros for 3DS ; good but not as great as most smash bros games

9. Call of Duty Advanced Warfare ; fun multiplayer you know it's same ol stuff

10. Titanfall ; could've been so much better but it was good
 

Lost Cloud

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May 12, 2014
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There were so many games that came out in 2014 that I wanted to play, but for one reason or another, I just wasn't able to. So, these are my top 4:


1. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- ; My favorite game of 2014 without question! It's the most visually impressive fighting game that I have ever seen. From the amazing looking characters, to their beautiful moves, and the always wonderful Instant Kills, this game is so incredibly well animated and so stunningly designed artistically, that I'm just sometimes in disbelief when I play it. The gameplay is also a total blast! The game controls and plays so well, and it really strikes the perfect balance with button inputs: not super-strict, but you gotta put in practice to get those combos! It's also easy for a new GG player like me to get into the game because it features awesome learning tools and challenges, and there's so much depth to its system, that I'll be practicing for years to come. This game even has a great story for a fighter with the story scenes in the arcade mode leading into a surprisingly good, lengthy watch-only story mode that really kept me interested. I really hope that more fighting games follow this game's example when it comes to story telling in fighting games. Xrd also has a great cast of seriously likeable, intriguing characters, an awesome soundtrack, and even has the best way possible to set up your buttons! It's an amazing fighting game package, and easily one of the best games that I've ever played.

2. Kirby: Triple Deluxe ; Dang I love this game! It's visuals are amazing with the best looking 3D effect that I've seen on the 3DS. It has an incredible soundtrack that just wouldn't get out of my head. The controls and game-feel are just perfect, the stages were really diverse and enjoyable, and Kirby's power-ups are an absolute joy to use. And WOW, the bosses in this game, they're so much fun to fight and so perfectly designed, I just wanted to fight them again and again. I loved all the extras like the additional modes, and the tons of collectibles too. Triple Deluxe is truly just a magical experience to play through.

3. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; I was pretty surprised at just how good this game was! It literally was like playing an episode of the TV show. Paper Mario is one of my favorite game series' so the combat in this game was a joy. The game was amazingly well written and extremely funny, and it always threw something new at me that I wasn't expecting to keep the entire game interesting and highly enjoyable. I would not have thought that it was possible to make such a cohesive, immersive, hilarious, and downright shocking South Park game, but they really did it, and it was freaking awesome.

4. Bravely Default ; Despite its seriously annoying flaw 2/3 the way through the game, BD was still fantastic to me overall. It has a great, new take on a classic RPG battle system, tons of cool classes and abilities, fantastic characters, wonderful music, and a good story. Even with its problems I just couldn't put the game down.
 

Matt Attack

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Mar 12, 2013
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This is just something I threw together quickly, I didn't finish enough games for a more comprehensive list.

1. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth ; I'm a huge Persona fan, but I'm not afraid to admit that recent games in the series have had awful dungeons and somewhat boring battle systems. Persona Q takes the humor and heart that made me love Persona and mixes them together with with the exploration and combat systems of Etrian Odyssey. The result is a game that I would argue is greater than the sum of its parts.

2. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ;

3. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair ;

4. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney ;

5. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ;
 

Zocano

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Aug 25, 2012
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1: Transistor ; Following in Bastion's footsteps put a lot of weight on Transistor's shoulders, but SuperGiant Games made another wonderful game. A really interesting story that didn't exposition dump all throughout and let you infer its setting. A really fun battle system that builds off of things like Frozen Synapse and traditional action games while allowing you to have a large range of tools to mess around with. Both of these combine to make Transistor, the most unique and fresh experience of 2014.


2: Dark Souls 2 ; I will continue to campaign this game and wave the banner calling it better than its predecessor. But that's a different discussion. This game is great and its DLC that came out wrecks the floor with most everything Dark Souls gave us. Most of all, it had a more intriguing story that I was more engaged with than the slightly more obtuse and less character-driven one that Dark Souls 1 was.


3: D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die ; God damnit Swery. I love you. I thought Deadly Premonition was amazing but this is something else entirely. Also screaming at the TV in front of my girlfriend was a really strange and great experience.


4: Styx: Master of Shadows ; This game is a love letter to Thief in a year when we got a really lackluster and poor Thief follow up. While Dishonored was a wonderful game, Styx leans heavily on just "pure stealth" while also creating what is perhaps the best level design in a stealth game ever. What a great experience that was wrapped around a story that was actually quite interesting to see.


5: Ground Zeroes ; I never really liked playing Metal Gear Solid games. I can appreciate the stories and settings and how in depth the game design goes (with how systems interact with each other). But the act of playing the games always frustrated me. Ground Zeroes was the first time when a Metal Gear Solid game just felt damn good to play. While it is lacking in content, it is this high on my list for making me really enjoy the gameplay so damn much for once in the series. Phantom Pain day one.


6- Bayonetta 2 ; This game is polished as hell. Playing it feels smooth as butter and the combat is still just as good as ever. But it just felt like it was missing something the entire way through. It is telling when my favorite part of the game is when you go through fighting the whole enemy gallery from the first game. Everything new to Bayonetta 2 just doesn't feel as good or well designed or interesting to engage with as Bayonetta 1. This game is good but it just left me wanting for something a bit more interesting or different. Also the story sucked and wasn't as grandiose or cool as the first game's.

7- The Fall ; I did not play this game. I just watched a full playthrough of it. But god damn did the story impress me. Wolf Among Us would be in this spot but The Fall just told such a good story with really ace dialogue and good characters. I was incredibly impressed with the way they handled AI speech and a lot of dark humor and storytelling in the puzzles.


8- Destiny ; This game should be number one. It really should be. But holy shit did Bungie shit the bed somewhere along the line. I really like playing this game. I really do. It just feels damn good to play and the raids are wonderful experiences to go through. But so much of this game is weighed down by what was cut out. I want to know what happened. I'll buy a book or documentary of the making of this game.


9- Shadow of Mordor ; Much like Bayonetta 2 this game just feels damn good to play. But more importantly, it made me hopeful of everything new to come this generation. The Nemesis system, while not utilized as well as I wish it was, is still super promising and was fun to engage with. Especially so when I watched my girlfriend deal with Luga Stormbringer and Kothug the Cruel. It is lower than it could be due to how "off" the second half feels. Branding probably should have been introduced earlier because you just end up blowing through the second half of the game and the Nemesis system sort of can't keep pace with how powerful you get.


10- Dragon Age: Inquisition ; Another game that should be higher. Inquisition is a strange game because it has the opposite problem of Dragon Age 2. Whereas the predecessor just felt too small and too thin in content, Inquisition has too much. Way too much. So much so that it diluted the actual storytelling. Origins struck this great balance between actually engaging in combat and just talking and interacting with people and participating in their stories. But Inquisition just had so much busy work. While there were a lot of really cool storylines (and a hell of a stinger at the end) it was just so watered down that I felt disappointed by the end of my 100-hour playthrough.



________

Honorable Mentions:

x. Wolf Among Us - I enjoyed the Wolf Among Us. Moreso than I did The Walking Dead Season One. But it felt a bit... weak? in the latter half. It has a really strong middle but its conclusion just felt flat to me. I ended up finishing it and just felt like I could easily forget what happened. It didn't make a strong as an impression as the first half did. That artstyle is beautiful though. My "number 11" if nothing else.

x. Shadowrun: Dragonfall - I haven't played enough of this. That's really it. This spot can be taken up by all the other games I didn't have enough time for but Shadowrun seems the most promising and best of those games. So here it is in my last spot.
 
Dec 7, 2008
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Someday I'll learn not to leave this up to the last hour... I don't have a PS4 or an equivalent gaming PC yet, so a lot of new releases I played were on handhelds and Wii U. Kicking myself for not allocating my time better to squeeze The Wolf Among Us or Bayo 2 in before the deadline. And I haven't played the big 2014 cRPGs (D:OS, Dragonfall, W2) even though I bet those are right up my alley. Not enough hours in the day...

1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; It's like DKCR but with the biggest issues fixed (standard controls, David Wise returns, online leaderboards for Time Trials). Considering how much I loved the first game, that's automatically enough to propel this to GOTY status. Seriously, go listen to Funky Waters: Mr. Wise has still got it. Plenty of challenging but fair platforming and great level design to be found here.

2. Velocity 2X ; This scratches my compulsive itch of replaying levels to get high scores/medals.

3. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call ; The first game reignited my dormant love for the Final Fantasy series, and this just adds to it with way more content (esp. since I only bought 5 DLC songs for the 1st one). Quest Medleys actually using all the songs is a much needed improvement over the original's 2-sets-of-10-songs Dark Notes. Curious to see how I'll like the Dragon Quest entry, since I don't have the nostalgia associated with that series the way I do for FF.

4. Pix the Cat ; I never heard of this until they offered it with PS+, but this ended up being a fantastic blend of Pac-Man CEDX and Snake. Between Nostalgia Mode and Puzzle Mode, I played this far more than I expected. The definition of a personal sleeper hit.

5. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire ; The single player campaign has much better pacing than last year's game and made me appreciate the Hoenn pokedex's diversity more. Just make sure to turn EXP Share off immediately. RIP Battle Frontier :(

6. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ; I wish I had more time to play more of this. I don't like this quite as much as Spelunky given my preference for platformers over twin-stick shooters, but still lots of fun.

7. Mario Kart 8 ; It's more Mario Kart, and that's perfectly fine, because it's good Mario Kart. Also an example of DLC done right.

8. Bravely Default ; Old school turn-based job-system fun, but marred by poor pacing and filler content.

9. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; A decent substitute for Paper Mario, but the combat system's not particularly deep. Nails the show's art style (though I'm not a huge fan of the show, but Obsidian's involvement meant I had to check it out).

10. SteamWorld Dig ; A short and sweet exploration platformer. Upgrades come quickly and there's something inherently fun about navigating your way through the dirt to get over to gems and precious stones, slowly working your way to the bottom of the world.

x. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havok ; I'm extremely early on, and I'm certain this would make my top ten, but I don't feel right officially giving this points until I get deeper in.

x. Metrico ; Starts out okay, but fps issues in between puzzle sections, right length for what it is, but the later motion and camera based levels are gimmicky and not very fun.

x. TxK ; I thought I would like this more, but I really only gave this an hour of playtime.
 

Oneself

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1. DRIVECLUB ; Addictive, old school arcade racer, super quick loading time, perfectly steady frame rate, one of the most responsive controls ever in a racing game, superb sound design and really impressive track design. IMO, Driveclub is the best looking game of 2014. DLC is also done right, congratulations to Evolution studios, too bad the launch was borked.

2. Steamworld Dig ; I didn't know anything about Steamworld Dig and bought it because the description had Metroidvania in it. Gladly, it's awesome. Also, it's not really a Metroidvania.

3. The Last of Us Remastered ; It was my GOTY last year and it's still as good today, ND have done a superb remaster worth replaying.

4. Infamous Second Son ; Amazing looking, fun to play, perfect controls. I have high hopes for a sequel.

5. Shadow Warrior ; Clearly overlooked, this straight to the point FPS not only looks good but is also really fun to play.

6. Monument Valley ; Puzzle adventure done right, superb style, impressive smartphone game.

7. P.T. ; Never thought a demo / teaser would be that thrilling and replayable.

8. Velocity 2X ; Indies have been great this year, this one is a perfect mix of platforming and old school shooter.
 

parathod

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Jan 19, 2006
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1. Bayonetta 2 ; Manages to take what was already the best character action game and improve everything about it. Some have criticized the excessive action and stylization, but that is exactly what I want from it.

2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; There are no wasted space in TF. Retro took the painstaking effort to make every level as unique as possible while still adhering to DKC's platforming roots. This is all bolstered by great visuals and the best soundtrack of the year.

3. Mario Kart 8 ; MK8 is the best in the series in my opinion. The rubberbanding is less pronounced this time around and the new stages as a whole are excellent. Meaningful DLC and strong online play help round out the package.

4. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; I buy SSB for the craziness. It may even be too crazy for my liking. Still, the amount of content in this offering is outstanding and customization allows you the option to cater the game to the style you like to play the game. Smash Tour was a great addition. Really looking forward to see if Nintendo has additional plans for this title beyond Mewtwo.
 

Riposte

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Sep 21, 2010
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Check out previous years if you like what I'm doing here:

Here we are again. This year will be a little different, but not by much. If you're a first time reader, here is how this will go: I'm going post huge, lone paragraphs (therapeutically) ranting about why I liked my favorite games of the year (and some things I disliked about them) paired with large images. You may want to stretch your browser if they don't fit on a single line (or use the zoom out browser feature). Something I've recently noticed is that my constant use of hotlinking can break things up on mobile-GAF; not sure how to fix that, so whatever. Each individual image will link to a music sample. A countable list will be posted at the very end along with links to other lists of interest. This year my list will be a little short on content. I wasn't planning of doing one and didn't want to stress myself out, but ended up doing it anyway - just to shorter extent. I tried to straddle the line of brevity and clarity while rushing through this and ultimately (as you will see) I may have failed on brevity in some places despite what I just said. Somehow, I still managed to break the post limit and that's without all the formatting. So, if you don't want to read all this, I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

This year, I've definitely seen lists much more impressive than mine and that's really cool. As I said last year, I don't care at all about what wins and think the system is worthless, but this thread is a great opportunity to express tastes in detailed and stylish ways. Also:

Another thing I want to say is that I like it when people (without affiliated websites) link their top 10 list as their GAF "homepage". In a sea of thousands, I think these lists can provide the quickest way to grasp someone's overall position on game matters or find those with similar tastes. I certainly think you can get a good grasp of my gaming personality with the descriptions of 30 40 ranked games and 22 27 honorable mentions these lists provide. Now then, let's begin:


LTTP?


Gyakuten Kenji 2 (DS)
Capcom, Capcom (Fan Translation)
This is a 2014 fan translation (!) of a game that actually came out in 2011 (!), but I’m using the opportunity that comes with this vote being unofficial to bend my rules a little. If I can comment on it, the fan translation sounds authentic enough, certainly no worse than what we usually got; it could have done without the very lackluster dubbing though. Unofficially called Ace Attorney Investigations 2, it’s much better than the original spin-off (which wasn’t bad either) and goes on to become the most mechanically complex game in the series. A part of this is due to having a more traditional adventure game interface like AAI, but it’s also not afraid to keep old mechanics despite having worthy new ones (I just wish the new “Logic Chess” was slightly harsher). Considering the dumb-downed Ace Attorney 5, it’s another one of those final DS entries that embarrass their 3DS follow-up (see Fire Emblem 12 and Pokemon BW2, both of which I also played this year). In fact, I’ll just say, some nostalgia for older games aside (which this delivers on), it’s my new favorite. The plot is actually among the strongest, with every case being meaningful (no filler) and feeling as lengthy and climatic as typical of a final case after the first. (Evidently, Takumi >= Yamazaki > Seto.)​


X


The Talos Principle (PC)
Croteam, Devolver Digital
Clearly inspired by the Portal games, but non-linear and the puzzles being far more demanding and numerous (with better mixing of tools). In non-abstract puzzle games it’s usually an exceptional few that have me slamming my head against a wall, totally stumped, but here that’s more the norm a few hours in (this is praise). Better yet are the “meta” puzzles to find secrets (and countless easter eggs) which break the rules of the isolated rooms and their hubs for more imaginative solutions. Too many Tetromino puzzles though. The presentation, although appropriate, is overall very dull (so like Portal, but not Portal 2); it’s basically trying to be an aggressively generic tech demo. The concepts at play are intriguing enough, without need of any shocking plot twists, but the philosophical fluff is banal (would prefer more pseudoscience than anything) and the mystery comes sprinkled with groan-worthy sentimentality. That said, the “Milton” character makes for some interesting dialogue interaction and in the end I did feel like I had to find out what was up with this weird ass world and premise.​


IX


Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
Retro Studio, Nintendo
Always preferred Mario over DKC and still do, but TF certainly makes it a difficult proposition. Somewhat of a surprise, as I barely touched and forgot everything about “Returns”. Vs. 2D Mario, my issues remain the same: collectables stretched to the point of apathy, less appealing theme, and, chiefly, a relative lack of comfort with the somewhat sluggish yet momentum-based platforming and not clicking with some level design concepts (including iffy “vehicle” levels). However, this is more than made up for by the sheer undeniable quality of the game. The presentation is simply unrivaled amongst its peers, being beautiful visually (never looking like a flash animation or flash game) and aurally (“FUCKING DAVID WISE”, as the kids say), all while rewarding players with restless dynamism in dense, high-detail worlds. Lives are as trivial here as elsewhere, but the amount of times I’ve died (and cursed) on individual stages speaks for itself. The difficulty stands visibly above most modern platformers, without succumbing to bite-sized trials. Surprisingly for its genre, the boss fights turned out to be my favorite, as they grant no quarter in their grueling length. The buddy system makes for good power-ups (and is used to reward collectables with strict play), but the most interesting one, Cranky (who is totally out of character, BTW), falls behind in utility. I have to say I enjoyed it more than NSMBU, but not by as much as I probably should looking at it on paper.​


VIII


Crimzon Clover WORLD IGNITION (PC)
Yotsubane, Yotsubane/Degica
I feel like I can never do a good STG justice (chalk it up to inexperience). Still, I like to think I know a good game when I see it and Crimzon Clover had me hooked for two weeks as one of my daily rituals. I never got close to beating it though (′︵‵). The only failing I can find is a visibility issue (possibly a comment on the degree of its spectacle), which I can’t recall in any similar game. Other than that, it’s such a blast and more than a little addictive. I spent most my time with Original, but I ended up liking Boost more (I tried Unlimited once, never again!). Learning how to (aggressively) build up your burst/double burst and finding a sense of timing to release it are both very rewarding, more so with the visual flair of the scoring system. I like how you can take apart bosses, destroying their means of attack. No idea how to get across how much I like the stage layouts and how nice the moving/shooting/lock-on mechanics feel (more than, say, Akai Katana overall). Funny enough, for inspiration, since I hadn’t played the game in months at this point, I went back and played a “credit”. Amazingly, I think I did the best I ever did. Then I realized I was playing Novice Mode… (′︵‵).​


VII


Divinity: Original Sin (PC)
Larian Studios, Larian Studios (Kickstarter)
So, I had a terrible first impression. The inane town combined with holdover slow, momentum-killing WRPG movement was torture. The farcical tone isn’t worth what it costs the insipid scenario and setting; how I wish for something more like Dragon Commander (or even DA: Inquisition). However, once I finished exploring town and ran into battle, my interest was fully renewed. And when I finally got to co-op it up with a friend, the game really shined (though that fell through). Tabletop systems never adapt perfectly, so an original system is for the best and Larian hit it out of the park (apart from gear). Status effects and (natural or player created) terrain interact with elemental attacks in such a way that it elegantly opens up a new layer of tactics, leaving similar concepts in other games feeling incomplete. It’s hard to properly summarize, but what they created is a system that’s fun to explore and come up with off the wall strategies (better with friends), amongst a lot of smart design. And the battles are tough enough to make you care, especially if you end up on the wrong path. There’s very little in the way of intrusive hand-holding, from light quest directions or lacking grind fodder, which really gives it a leg up over its more populist peers. Quests, my disinterest in characters aside, lean towards open-ended and meaningful with valid roleplaying choices; now if only those choices were mechanically interesting (the rock-paper-scissor mini-game is weird). What does carry over well from DC is Pokrovsky’s composing and it’s even better this time.​


VI


Dark Souls II (PC)
From Software, Bandai Namco
Although Dark Souls II doesn’t manage to be quite the leap the last game was, a sound execution of the formula alone is enough to make it one of the best games of the year. I won’t overlook the great refinements either: a necessary shake-up to the combat system/stats further aided with more varied equipment/working builds, improved netcode and multiplayer mechanics, and slightly improved enemies (but with less variety in types). Conversely, it’s a minor downgrade aesthetically (even if its inconsistent world is more jarring in retrospect than while playing it), soul memory is a fix that’s more annoying than anything else, and the level design can be more forgiving due to poor bonfire placement and enemy depletion (but still managing to be a consistently harder game overall, Darklurker being my highlight). I was initially disappointed with the beginning, but the mid-point and on hold up a lot better than they have in previous games. Ultimately, the biggest flaws are the ones true for all Souls games (and they are still best played avoiding magic, ranged, and shields). Truth be told, I’ve barely touched the DLC and that’s where DSI was at its best. (And let’s not neglect the upcoming semi-remaster/update.)​


To be continued, lol...
 

chrixter

Member
Jul 1, 2014
368
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1. Bayonetta 2 ; An unforgettably sublime experience throughout the 40 hours I spent playing this game to full completion. PlatinumGames took what I considered to be merely a good game in Bayonetta 1, trimmed all the fat, and then refined and polished every remaining aspect to produce a masterpiece of a sequel. Playing this game is pure bliss. If this is the last we see of Bayonetta (it can't be, right?), what a climax to end on.

2. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; I have a love/hate relationship with Smash 4. Love the crazy gameplay, customization, 8-player smash, and the best roster and stage selection in the series. Hate the endless grind for unlockables, Smash Tour, and having to select my profile all the damn time in order to use my personalized controls. It's mostly love, though!

3. Far Cry 4 ; It's more of Far Cry 3, and that's awesome. Slight improvements and additions across the board kept this formula fresh long enough for me to complete it, but towards the end of the game I started to hope for something much newer in the inevitable next installment. It can't be this all over again.

4. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; How much I enjoyed this game was a big surprise considering how little I thought of the Captain Toad distractions in Super Mario 3D World. Incredibly creative level design from Tokyo EAD for such compact stages. This game is a relaxing joy to play through while bathing in its charm and searching for all of its secrets, and it's surprisingly lengthy, too.

5. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls ; By far the game I played the most in 2014 at around 300 hours with my Demon Hunter, I can't deny it a spot on my list. While the gameplay is satisfying and the loot grind addictive, it was the people I played with that made this experience as fun as it was (until I felt like I was hitting a progression wall). Thanks Annie and Saad! You da best.
 

Draconian

Member
Feb 3, 2012
9,648
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1. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; I'm pretty much a newbie to this series, but man this game sure is addictive. A large variety of characters and fighting styles combined with Sakurai's "play however you like" philosophy leads to a wonderful, beautiful, and smooth game.

2. Mario Kart 8 ; The best Mario Kart due to the antigravity mechanics and the wonderful track design that has continued with its DLC.

3. Bayonetta 2 ; I'm only halfway through, but I'd feel awful if I didn't include this game on my list. This is what the action genre is all about. The combat is just perfect, and the game does a wonderful job of making you feel powerful while going up against a wonderful variety of enemies. Kudos to Nintendo for rescuing this game, and it'd probably have a good chance of being #1 on this list if I'd gotten it earlier and finished it.

4. Shovel Knight ; A throwback to the NES platformer days. These guys did a great job in studying what people love about those games and completely nailed it here.

5. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls ; A fun game to play with friends. The combat is fun, as is trying to acquire legendary loot

6. Bravely Default ; So glad we ended up getting this game. Probably as close to a Final Fantasy game as the 3DS will ever get, I enjoyed the battle system quite a bit.

7. Bayonetta ; A great action game that will definitely put some hair on your chest, as expected from a Kamiya title. Not a fan of the QTEs or bosses insta-attacking you right out of cutscenes though, but it was a great idea to port this to the Wii U and include it free with the sequel!

8. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS ; Perhaps not as amazing as its console counterpart, the handheld version is still a fun game in its own right and is a technical marvel on the 3DS even if its controls are somewhat hampered.

9. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; The same DKC you know and love (or hate). It didn't really surprise or blow me away like some others, but the tight controls, and newly added swooping camera make it quite an experience.
 

Riposte

Member
Sep 21, 2010
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Previously, on NeoGAF...



V


The Evil Within (XBO)
Tango Gameworks, Bethesda
Mikami is back to try his hand at survivor-horror once again - that would be a true statement if “survivor-horror” wasn’t nonsense gibberish, you idiot. I know this is a cliche, but TEW is greater than the sum of its parts. The combat (including enemies), while impactful and gruesome, trails behind its estranged family: RE4/5/6 (but then, few don’t). Its rigidness sits oddly between 4/5 and 6 and your options are simplified. Perhaps worse though, is a slight sloppiness (aiming, reactions) that can be frustrating; I say perhaps, because that adds to what is being conveyed (hence “sum of its parts”) and, moreover, I don’t mind frustration. What’s introduced instead is the coup de grace burning mechanic, which is fun to exploit. Also different is that it’s like TLOU with its scarcer resources and a larger stealth component. I see inspiration from BioShock, the crossbow functioning like plasmids, as one example. Don’t think that I dislike the combat though; I need to justify why a Mikami game isn’t my GOTY. It may take a few upgrades, but it manages to be its own very respectable thing with plenty of neat set pieces. TEW does excel at memorable, tense boss fights in interesting environments. These guys don’t mess around and going for the kill (as you should) is where the game tests you best. The narrative is structured to be obtuse and mysterious to a fault (“what the fuck?” indeed, Sebastian), but scene by scene, it has outstanding atmosphere (and I value that more). I can accept the game’s weirdness as “dream-like” in the face of such strengths. While the plot is disjointed, I can’t say the pace of the game is. It’s not quite RE4 in how it suckered you into playing another five hours, but it gets damn close (at least once you escape the humdrum opening).​


IV


Wolfenstein: The New Order (XBO)
MachineGames, Bethesda
I’m going to be lazy and list a bunch of things TNO gets totally right. Pickup-based health/armor. You carry an array of weapons that feel terrific to shoot even on the run. These almost all have alt fire modes, like shotgun pellets bouncing wildly off walls, and can be dual-wielded. Sliding, throwing knives, and in/out of battle melee takedowns. A superb lean mechanic for firing out of cover. Destructible cover. Fighting/sneaking areas littered with alternate paths set in a diverse number of locations. “Commander” mechanic which encourages killing certain foes first or risk reinforcements. A decent variety of respectably antagonistic asshole Nazis that you can dismember and disassemble in overly mean ways. Having upgrades, weapons, and enemies get slipped to you at a fine pace over this lengthy game. A strong execution of a bleak alternative history setting with a lot of background details balanced by lighthearted moments. All in all, a fine culmination of excellent FPS mechanics. Some downsides were that stealth got too routine (so I went out of my way to trigger commanders by the end), bigger enemies being easy to cheese, unnecessary perk system, and the HQ chapters were pace killers (struggled to care about those characters). When I picked the manly Uber difficulty, I was afraid I was going to turn it into a full cover-shooter, however I never felt trapped or bored.​


III


Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- (PS3)
Arc System Works Team Red, Sega/Aksys Games
Effectively, this is a (necessary?) fresh start for the celebrated series. It’s hard to find fault in that when ASW even updated GGXX one last time with +R (unfortunately, never touched). So, let’s get what’s been said a million times over out of the way: this game looks absolutely stunning (sprite-like models and animation). It’s practically a milestone for gaming. Beyond the technical achievement, it oozes style and charm at every opportunity. While it’s unavoidably less true now, I’ve always thought GG had an amazing cast of fighters, maybe even the best. The single biggest change, which I welcome wholeheartedly, is the new “Roman Cancel” (several meter-draining animation cancels based on current player states). Gone is the scariest execution aspect of GG (in addition to easier movesets, such as I-No’s), replaced by an elegant, accessible system that encourages creativity. In the end, it’s still Guilty Gear, but scaled back just a little and with some new mechanics/characters to replace the old. I know there are things that are flawed/weird about it (pointless mechanics, overlooked side effects of new RCs), but it’s hard for me to really criticize the thing, especially as of now (and here). All I can say is that playing Faust online (don’t laugh) with the improved netcode (and snazzy arcade-like lobbies) has been my obsession before I sat down to write this list (single-handedly ruined my sleep schedule) and only hope I’ll find some dudes to play this with in person soon. The idea that this is just ASW's first attempt in a new sub-series is really, really exciting.​


II


Earth Defense Force 2025 (360)
Sandlot, D3 Publisher
At first glimpse, you may think this is a shitty game with its dreadful graphics, terrible animations, messy frame rate, and campy subject matter. You wouldn’t be wrong, but, somehow, it is also a FUCKING AMAZING GAME. The 80+ (120+ with DLC) missions work marvelously for the 4-player co-op, kind of like MonHun in how fun it is. The four classes play dramatically different and have their own expansive loot pools for further distinction. These are the aerial Wing Diver, the Armored Core-like Fencer, the vehicle/turret/artillery summoning Air Raider, and the Ranger, a grunt who carries two weapons and has a roll. The wide variety within weapons makes this, bar none, my favorite loot game. It’s even balanced by difficulty level limits (the real fun begins with Hardest and up). This is how the modest Ranger can be my favorite class: the basic weaponry can be surprisingly efficient, but then you have the Stampede XM, which fires dozens of grenades each with the power to take out a skyscraper, effectively obliterating a city block in a single shot. And yet, this does not break the game. In an average level you can expect hundreds of foes or those of equal weight (a strong roster to fight, although the Retiarius are kind of bullshit). It’s a one of kind of overwhelming chaos and destruction, where moments of high tension and camaraderie arise freely; like when you’re the last man left on an Inferno mission your team has failed ten times, desperately scavenging for health packs while surrounded by a literal horde, only to turn it all around and bring the whole team back. While the presentation is cheesy, it still gets across a sense of desperation as the stakes get higher (and the battles larger). Kill one bug and twenty replace it, colossal machines flatten cities, and UFOs blot out the sky. For every small victory, a new threat appears to send humanity closer to extinction. The end is upon us. But do you accept this? HELL NO. You grab your shoulder mounted nuke, massacre everything (and your frame rate), and scream into death’s face “E-D-F! E-D-F! E-D-F!”​


I


Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
Platinum Games, Nintendo
In what should surprise no one, Bayonetta 2 is my undisputed game of the year. Any concern over Kamiya handing off the reigns to Hashimoto (who’s no newbie) was for naught, as the product has surpassed the original (and one could argue every game Platinum has put out). Yes, it’s built straight off the first, but robust changes are not to be taken for granted. Can I skip ahead and just say how much I appreciate that the hard mode (or something like it) doesn’t need to be unlocked? There’s a few ways the game has more bite, the most significant one being how enemies parry you. On the other hand, the scoring system seems changed for the worse, for one encouraging item use (fuck that!), but it’s that not a big deal for me. Notably, the new weapons/movesets are much superior (at the very least aesthetically). Witch Time (which I’ve always been ambivalent over) has been better integrated, but the activation is a little too generous (as if to balance this). Umbran Climax is devilishly satisfying, but maybe too brain-dead in its sheer destruction. The enemy fodder matches (sometimes literally) or surpasses those of its predecessor, except for possibly the very best. They took the criticisms of Bayo1 to heart, with QTEs being trivial and mini-games scaled back. The major boss fights move away from pseudo-platforming and towards straight battles, most visible with the final boss; this is a lot better, but there’s no denying it comes at a cost of being a little less epic. The best of both worlds comes with the Masked Lumen though, who may just be the best boss in the genre (i.e., best boss, period). It bothers me when fans (“Gameplay only!”) look at PG’s efforts and act like they are not aesthetic marvels. Polished to an unrivaled pristine, it’s never been truer than here. They bragged about how much effort went into hit reactions and, shit, it’s never been better. The animations for this game is off the charts. I did notice a slight tone change (visually, thematically, etc.) between the two games. Bayo1 had a slightly darker and mysterious edge and better presented the idea that you were desecrating the upmost divine in fabulous ways. Perhaps due to knowing they couldn’t top the previous ending (or how sequels progress), Bayo2 is more colorful and adventurous, attention on the height of divinity or their embarrassment for the most part shifted more towards to just how fucking cool Bayonetta and her surroundings are. Anyway, Tag Climax is underdeveloped, but still adequate as a mutiplayer “mission mode”. It’s probably what we have to thank for cooler unlockable characters (few are a bit OP though). Really wish the game had more Jeanne moments; the pair is just too damn fabulous together. Moon River should have played way more often too. I can’t express how content I felt when going through the (perfect) opening and having that song kick in; it was only then it really dawned on me that there’s a new Bayonetta, it came out and I’m playing it. What a time to be alive.​



Honorable Mentions (In alphabetical order. Each image links to music.)



Armored Hunter GUNHOUND EX (PC)
Dracue, Co. ltd, AGM PLAYISM
Of the two newly localized Assault Suits successors, this is the one I played. The controls capture the feeling of a weighty mech and invites mastery. My favorite aspect is how it throws into an assortment of different scenarios; it starts with a linear stage, but before you know it you are playing a STG or slowly climbing and taking apart a giant tank, all to some badass tunes. Punching through projectiles never gets old.​


Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Nintendo EAD Group No. 1, Nintendo
A huge improvement over MKWii, and another showcase of Nintendo’s skill with their hardware, but my enthusiasm is tempered by the same old tropes (however improved). The racing feels great but then everything else gets in the way (like, the clusterfucking that protects the lead). The Zero-G mechanics are ingenious, along the lines of drafting. The battle mode is crappy, but I’m weirdly good at it. (Sonic Transformed is better.)​


Shovel Knight (PC)
Yacht Club Games, Yacht Club Games (Kickstarter)
If you take a few critical steps, like ignore optional checkpoints and the unbalanced items, this becomes a respectable 2D action game (it’s no Volgarr though); I’m willing to be a little forgiving, because it got pretty enjoyable by the end. I have to admit they lived up to their promise of a pleasing “old school” aesthetic, which most “indie” 2D games fail to do (not to mention all the other things they fail at).​


Super Smash Bros for Wii U (Wii U, duh)
Sora Ltd./Bandai Namco Games, Nintendo
This has been more a co-op game for me and I’ve only started getting serious about multiplayer. My thoughts can be summarized as “at least it’s not Brawl”. There seems to be a solid game buried underneath some screwed up fundamentals (defense). The series is stagnating (e.g., stage and item options and, above all, idiotic online modes), but I appreciate 8P Smash (used well for single player content) and the attempt of Smash Tour.​


Titanfall (PC)
Respawn Entertainment, Electronic Arts
Haven’t played this a ton, but it throws in a wide assortment of fresh mechanics (and modes) that work together in interesting ways and even help resolve some of my issues with its closest peers. The map design is the aspect I’ll praise the most. Modern Warfare 2 was the last time I really liked a CoD (although Advanced Warfare is the first time since then that the MP had decent maps, but still not as well designed around the mechanics as this) and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.​



Closing Thoughts:

So for the last two years, I’ve been falling behind in tech. I had a Wii U for a while now, but only recently got irregular access to an Xbone (not regular enough to play every game on it). No PS4, no Vita, and my PC is officially too old (resolving at least the last one relatively soon). This is in addition to, as I said previously, not pushing myself towards new releases like I usually do. I really neglected strategy games this year, in addition to a few other genres I like to dip my toes in. It isn’t worth listing the titles I missed this time, there’s too many for me to handle! Let the record show that, by my own stupid standards, this is an imperfect list (I’m halfway joking, BTW).

That said, I feel extremely confident in all my listed games and made no compromises. The ranked games are all great experiences (some are the best in their genre even) and for more than half of them, I don’t think I would switch them out even if I played a hundred games. To a lesser extent, I feel the same way about my honorable mentions. If under these conditions I can still pick out 10 great games and a few good honorable mentions, all this “bad year” talk is a bunch of bull. Then again, it’s always bull.

A new rule for myself: as long as the “LTTP” vote remains unofficial: a fan work (e.g., previously unavailable localization or expansion-like mod) is acceptable so as long as it came out during the year (the game itself can be however old). Aside from that, it’s for a game released the previous year (based on the US market).


In review / for the tally:
1. Bayonetta 2 ;
2. Earth Defense Force 2025 ; GIANT INSECTS!
3. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- ;
4. Wolfenstein: The New Order ;
5. The Evil Within ;
6. Dark Souls II ;
7. Divinity: Original Sin ;
8. Crimzon Clover WORLD IGNITION ;
9. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ;
10. The Talos Principle ;
x. Armored Hunter GUNHOUND EX ;
x. Mario Kart 8 ;
x. Shovel Knight ;
x. Super Smash Bros for Wii U ;
x. Titanfall ;
LTTP, Gyakuten Kenji 2 ;



Here are some of the lists with effort put into them that I agreed with or appreciated in some way or another, starting with the usual suspects. It’s worth noting that with few of the most popular games being outright terrible this year, I found lists in general more agreeable than usual and this was reflected in the final results (first time my GOTY was GAF’s lol). (Those found with the most affinity will be marked.)

Tain (#1. Was bummed thinking he skipped this year, but turns out I'm just blind)
Semblance (#4. Ditto.)
Iconoclast (#7. Please read his entry for Crimzon Clover instead of mine lol)
adversesolutions (Shorter than usual this year, but the arcade flavor is nice)
ViewtifulJC (Really likes DLC about little girls kissing evidently ROFL)
Levyne
Papercuts 2 3 (Most impressive list)
Yuterald 2 (Second)
Neiteio (It’s Neiteio)
Fine Ham Abounds
Nocturnowl
zero shift (Terra Battle is my “mobile game of the year” heh)
Lostconfused
chadboban
SatelliteOfLove
Juke Joint Jezebel
Bonus: Dark Schala's Soundtracks of the Year 2 3

Thanks for reading.

 

Conflict NZ

Member
Jul 19, 2007
3,204
0
1,025
Will edit in more comprehensive comments later.

1. South Park: The Stick of Truth; True to the television show and a fun RPG to boot. The fanservice combined with the light RPG mechanics make a truly great game.

2. Forza Horizon 2;
3. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc;
4. Walking Dead Season 2;
5. Valiant Hearts: The Great War;
6. Dragon Age: Inquisition;
7. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft;
8. Sunset Overdrive;
9. D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die;
10. Total War: Rome II;
 

SlickVic

Member
Dec 26, 2008
3,143
0
655
1. Dragon Age Inquisition ; I enjoy a good Bioware game, and while Mass Effect is still my favorite series out of them, that doesn't mean I haven't been enjoying the hell out of this new Dragon Age game. Much like Mass Effect, well written characters can absolutely make a story engaging. 50 hours in and still so much to do
2. Sunset Overdrive ; This game is simply pure fun. It's very reminiscent of Saints Row to me. Not that they have the same sense of humor, but it's a game that's not afraid to be a video game. From awesome traversal mechanics that make even the typical tedium of collectibles in games bearable to the typical top tier quality weapon classes that Insomniac is known for, it's just a good time. It's the game that led me to buy an Xbox One on a whim (snagged one of the white consoles right before my local Best Buy sold out), and I don't regret it at all.
3. Wolfenstein The New Order ; I thought I burnt out on FPS's a while ago, but I had to try Wolfenstein after all the good buzz it got. Glad I did, because the game is top class in atmosphere and plays pretty great to boot. I know the inner monologues were grating to some, but to me, they gave so much character to someone I never thought of as much more a little face on the side of a screen of an old game.
4. Divinity Original Sin ; One of my favorite battle systems in an RPG. Turb based and very strategic. A good example of a game where allowing quick save anywhere doesn't break difficulty, as allowing players to experiment and try different things brings about its own rewards and satisfaction.
5. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare ; I think a Call of Duty single player campaign succeeds if I end up coming out of it feeling like I played the video game equivalent of an action movie. It's a short ride but a good one.

I actually didn't play a whole lot of games in 2014 that were released in 2014. I feel fairly confident my Top 2 would be my Top 2 regardless, but I could see myself shuffling the rest if I played some other good games of 2014.
 

Danthrax

Batteries the CRISIS!
Nov 19, 2005
16,993
1
0
Northeast Ohio
www.dudebro2.com
Getting in just under the wire! I won't be late again this year!


1. Bayonetta 2 ; This game is pure fun. It's amazing to look at. The character design is stunning. I didn't play Bayonetta 1 outside the demo, so I didn't have a fully formed idea of what to expect, and this game blew me away by its presentation and how tight its gameplay is. I can't imagine that any game that came out in 2014 was a better one than Bayonetta 2.

2. Alien: Isolation ; First game in years to make me genuinely scared of my situation. "Intense" doesn't begin to describe the scenarios Alien Isolation thrusts you into. I like that it's a proper Alien game, too — guns blazing won't work because you're trying to survive against an unstoppable beast, just like the original movie. It also does a great job of mimicking the original movie's visual style to a fault, which is really immersive. Sega deserves all the sales it earns and more for how well this game turned out, even if it does go on a bit too long.

3. Mario Kart 8 ; Addictive and fun. Looks great despite being just 720p. A lot of great, memorable tracks, too. It's always nice to be told you've unlocked another thing, even if it's just another set of tires to throw onto the pile. Online seems to work great. Lack of variety in the characters — all seven Koopa Kids? Gold Peach and Metal Mario? like five babies? — is disappointing, though.

4. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; Perfect implementation of the South Park universe. Very clever, hilarious at times and the quests are satisfyingly fluffy for the show. I'm also a bit of a sucker for Obsidian RPGs, even if this one was pretty simple gameplay-wise. But that's OK — it's still great fun.

5. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; As if Brawl seemed like it had more than enough, SSB4 seems to bring even more. I can't complain too much about characters dropped from previous games when this title has so many already. But there are a couple things I can complain about: Where did Break the Targets and the adventure-style single-player mode go? What's up with that level creator sucking so bad that it's practically useless? And why are modes hidden behind different menu paths — why doesn't it just branch off between "multiplayer" and "single-player" modes? The gameplay feels better than Brawl but somehow still feels like it falls a little short of Melee. It's too bad that there are niggling complaints like that because there are some really cool things in this game. I love that GameCube controllers are compatible again, and the eight-player mode is really neat. It's a good game overall, but feels like it might be getting a little stale.

6. Broken Age: Act 1 ; The art style is beautiful, and it's good to have a Tim Schafer point-and-click adventure again. Puzzles are often pretty convoluted, though (but what else should I expect from Schafer?). It's a decent length, but I've gotta dock it points for being incomplete. Get it done, Double Fine.

7. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes ; I can't believe Kojima got the Xbox 360 to have graphics like this. Looks stunning. Features lots of good old fashioned Metal Gear sneaking. Way too short — I'm glad I only paid $10 for this — and it loses points for that in my book.

8. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; Fuck this game, man. It's too hard. I can't get past the first stupid mine cart level, and trust me, I tried — oh, I tried. Are there cheat codes for this thing? Like a level skip? A game shouldn't make me hate life like this.


x. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; Got this for my girlfriend for Christmas. I didn't play it, but I watched her play it quite a bit. Looks great. Not just graphics-wise, but all the way around. Doesn't look like a totally brain-dead shooter like a lot of FPSes these days, and story is pretty damn intense. If I'd played it, I probably would have ranked it pretty high. I hope it does well in the voting.


In case anyone wondered, I played Alien: Isolation and Broken Age on PC. South Park, Metal Gear Solid and Wolfenstein were on Xbox 360. Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros. and Donkey Kong were, of course, on Wii U.
 

Mike Double U

Banned
Aug 30, 2013
694
0
0
Michigan
1. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; This game is everything I thought it would be and more.
2. Mario Kart 8 ;
3. Sunset Overdrive ;
4. Titanfall ;
5. Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare ;
6. Halo: The Master Chief Collection ;
7. Destiny ;
8. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition ;
9. Super Time Force ;
10. Mario Golf: World Tour ;
x. Dragon Age: Inquisition ;
x. Civilization: Beyond Earth ;
x. Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze ;
 

mugwhump

Member
Nov 6, 2005
4,475
2
1,135
Surrey, BC, Canada, NA
oh shit gogogo

1 - Bayonetta 2; it's alright I guess
2 - Legend of Heroes: Trails in the sky; one of the most solid jrpgs I've ever played. Good mechanics, good story, good music. Above all, the world-building really is incredible. I've never played any other jrpg where I felt like the world had this much depth.
3 - Super Smash Brothers for Wii U; I've been having a whole lot of fun with this. The amount of content is quite impressive, and 8 players at 1080p 60fps on the Wii U is an achievement. I'll admit I don't like the core mechanics as much as melee, but I feel this game kind of compensates with more interesting and creative moveset design.
4 - Shovel Knight; mega man lives!
5 - Mario Kart 8; best MK yet, awesome tracks, great OST, good online. Praise EAD for keeping 4-player splitscreen.
6 - Dark Souls 2; I get that it disappointed some people but still a damn good game. I also thought it was more consistent than its predecessor and controlled better too.
7 - Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze; beautiful environments and really fabulous level design. And that OST!
8 - Earth Defense Force 2025; the co-op Gunvalkyrie I never knew I wanted.
9 - Layton vs Wright; phoenix wright with layton's puzzles instead of investigations. Still haven't finished it but I'm having fun so far.
10 - Persona Q; great mixture of Etrian gameplay with Persona's cast and aesthetics.

Honorable mentions
x - Hyrule Warriors; my first DW game and a great introduction to the series. Fanservice out the ass. Lana is shit.
x - Shadow of Mordor; my nephew is a blind quadruple amputee, and as such it's usually difficult for him to play video games. But thanks to SoM's combat, even he gets to feel like a winner.
 

Wowbagger

Member
Feb 13, 2007
962
0
850
1. The Last of Us: Left Behind ; Embarrassed I played so few new games in 2014 that I have to put a DLC at number one. Then again, this was the DLC to my favourite game of 2013 and every bit as good as the main campaign. Just wonderfully written, genuinely touching stuff, and the encounters mixing hunters and infected were a lot of fun.

2. PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate

3. Don't Starve: Console Edition

4. Dark Souls II ; Fuck soul memory

5. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

6. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
 

Augemitbutter

Member
Feb 3, 2008
17,069
0
0
1. Bayonetta 2 ; a flawless masterpiece
2. Dark Souls II ; a worthy 3rd entry. FS managed to ship finished levels and a good online experience from the start. the 2nd game was lacking compared to this one.
3. Caladrius Blaze ; amazing arcade shooter with lots of customization.
4. Driveclub ; beautiful arcade racer with endless potential. i'll be playing this for a long time.
5. Mario Kart 8 ; it's mario kart with a good online mode. winner.
6. Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes ; a good prologue to the best game ever?
7. Toukiden - The Age of Demons ; beautiful hunting game with resilient monsters.
8. Freedom Wars ; good grinder with spotty netcode and weird crafting system.
9. Strider ; good remake with a few level design hiccups
10. Velocity 2x ; would have been higher on the list if they'd let you keep the speedy gameplay. once you slow down it's over.

Honorable Mentions
x. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls ; it's a diablo game.
 

jackb2424

Banned
Jan 14, 2011
198
0
0
Winter Park, Fl
1. DriveClub - I would have never thought that this would be my GOTY, yet here I am proclaiming this to be the best racing game I have played in a very long time. Everything from the tracks, cars, and handling are second to none. Can't talk about DC without mentioning the graphics. Hands down they are the best seen this generation. I am in complete awe odlf this game. Congrats to Evolution on making this masterpiece.

2. The Last of Us Remastered
3. Infamous Second Son
4. PT
5. Cod Advanced Warfare
6. GTA5
7. Transistor
8. Metal Gear: Ground Zeroes
9. Infamous First Light
10. TLOU: Left Behind
 

bak4fun

Unconfirmed Member
Jan 8, 2013
231
0
0
Just in time to post my vote ^^

This year, it was particularly hard. At first I thought I didn't play enough games but when I reviewed the spreadsheet with the eligible game, I realized that I played 65 games that I could vote for, a lot more than last year. It's just that almost nothing stuck with me, the sentiment that 2014 games were good but nothing was in the realm of "must play". I'd say even the game in the first place of my list would have a hard time cracking the top 5 of past years.

1. Destiny; there is a few things that I really love in Destiny and a lot of things that I don't, but what matters is that the few things are enough to have made this game the most fun I had this year with a video game, namely, the gunplay, the moment to moment action the art (audio and visual).
2. Infamous: Second Son; I am a big fan of infamous and even if this entry is not as good as the first two, it's still so much fun to wreak havoc in this. good looking game too
3. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc; There is hope
4. P.T.; weird to list something called playable teaser for a game of the year list, but the first 20min of this are just incredible. Must play (but only the first part).
5. Bayonetta 2; More bayonetta and bayonetta was so awesome, it was also better than this
6. Shovel Knight; NES Nostalgia and I didn't even have a NES. A solid platformer in its own right
7. Dragon Age: Inquisition; good characters and world, could have been higher if the quests and the combat were better
8. Wolfenstein: The New Order; Fuck you Moon
9. Far Cry 4; more far cry 3, and that was my number 3, two years ago. The gameplay is still fun, but I can't seem to care about the main protagonist.
10. Alien: Isolation; I am not a fan of stealth game but perfectly capturing the feel of the first alien movie in a video deserve a spot on this year GOTY list.


x.The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth; played the first version, this one is better
x. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls; probably my most played game with destiny on the ps4 this year, it's really good, I just don't want to vote for a port even with an extension added
x. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U;
x. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft;

sorry for the short text and the rambling but I didn't have the time to write more and it's 6am here, I need sleep
 

chubigans

y'all should be ashamed
Dec 7, 2006
27,115
0
1,290
www.vertigogaming.net
1. Binding of Issac: Rebirth
2. Wolfenstein
3. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
4. Rogue Legacy PS4
5. Luftrausers
6. CoD: Advanced Warfare
7. Crimsonland
8. Nidhogg PS4
9. Sportsfriends (Joust)
10. Gang Beasts
 

MichaelEM3

Banned
Oct 13, 2007
1,538
0
0
Miami, FL
videogamenewsnetwork.com
10. Shovel Knight ; A well-crafted modern take on the retro platformers of the NES era, which usually aren't my cup of tea. I loved the chip tune OST, the finely-tuned difficulty, the bosses, the relationship between Shovel Knight and Shield Knight, and the risk-reward respawn system.

9. Bayonetta 2 ; Bayonetta refined. I preferred everything about how Bayonetta 2 played over the original, though the unlikable characters (Bayonetta and Rodin aside) and terrible story were enough to knock this game down a peg for me. I realize story shouldn't matter so much in character-action games like this, but I've always been the type to put a lot of value in world-building and storytelling, so even though I enjoyed the hell out of it, Bayonetta 2 won't go any higher on my personal Top 10 list than this.

8. Dragon Age: Inqusition ; Sure, its tactical combat system seemingly took a step back compared to the first two games and the game was littered with mindless fetch quests (usually two for every one quest worthwhile), but I kept coming back to this game over and over again because of its characters. Dorian, Sera, and Iron Bull are some of the strongest BioWare characters -- nay, RPG characters -- I've encountered in years. Combine them with the likes of Varric, Cassandra, and Morrigan, and you've got a damned good cast.

7. Valiant Hearts: The Great War ; The most emotionally resonant game of the year for me. The ending had both my girlfriend and I misty-eyed. While I probably won't play through the game a second time, as I found the gameplay to be serviceable at best (though I loved those musical chase sequences!), I'll never forget my experience with this game.

6. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; Hands down the best roster in a Super Smash Bros. game to date. The game would probably rank higher in my personal Top 10 list if I had had more opportunities to play it with friends before this write-up, and if there had been a more robust single-player offering outside of Event Mode. That said, I love the Smash Bros. series to death, and playing 8-player Smash at my place with a bunch of friends on the day of release was some of the most fun I had gaming in 2014.

5. Transistor ; Bastion is one of my favorite games of all-time, so it was no surprise to me that I enjoyed this second outing from Supergiant Games so much. Probably the most creative combat system I engaged with all year, married with Jen Zee's stunning art direction and Darren Korb's hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. I wasn't crazy about the ending, but the boss fight that proceeded it was probably my favorite boss fight of the year. Easily my favorite indie title of the year.

4. Dark Souls II ; As others have already said, even a weaker Souls game is still better than 95% of games that come out in most years. Sure, it wasn't as strong as Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, but I still enjoyed exploring ever nook and cranny of Drangleic more than just about any game world this year. I love the world-building and hidden lore than From Software puts into these games. The combat remains the most satisfying in the genre for me, too. I hope some of the changes to stat bonuses and armor continue into Bloodborne and Dark Souls III, though they should definitely abandon Soul Memory for matchmaking. Bleh.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; The biggest surprise of 2014 for me. I had zero expectations for this game before it came out, having never really played any Starbreeze games before this, and lo and behold, it was the best shooter I've played in years. From the well-directed cutscenes, to the old-school gunplay, to the likable cast of characters -- the New Order has way more heart than one would expect from a game with the name Wolfenstein in the title.

2. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ; Sure, it's derivative of well-known action-adventure games, but not only does it play better than the games it emulates, it brings to the table the most innovative feature I've seen in open-world games in years: the aptly named Nemesis System. It's such a cool trick that I hope other open-world developers straight-up copy it for their games going forward. Probably the most fun I had playing a game this year, Shadow of Mordor is only held back from the #1 spot because of Tallion, the game's protagonist. He's pretty forgettable, to be honest. Good thing the far more interesting Celebrimbor was there to keep the narrative interesting! Can't wait to see what Monolith delivers with the inevitable sequel.

1. Alien: Isolation ; I haven't been able to stop thinking about this game since I finished it last October. Creative Assembly crafted the perfect Alien game, that in some ways is a better sequel to the movie Alien than Aliens -- and I say that as someone that loves Aliens. Isolation perfectly captures the tone, mood, and look of the original film. The dedication and reverence for the original source material is outstanding. You get the sense that Creative Assembly's art team must have watched that original film at least a hundred times during the course of development. And yes, the Alien and Working Joes were absolutely terrifying. Perfectly executed across the board; the best stealth-horror title I've ever played.
 

Muzy72

Banned
Jul 4, 2013
3,079
0
0
24
Texas
1. Bayonetta 2 ; This game. This fucking game. What a ride it was. Easily my favorite game of the year. There's no other game that makes beating the shit out of enemies just oh so satisfying. Well, besides the first game of course. So many moments in the game just made me feel like a complete badass. Mixing different weapon combinations is so fun and sometimes downright hilarious. I mean, what other game lets you ski on fucking chainsaws attached to your feet!? And the story is great too, I loved how it tied up so many unanswered questions from the first game. This is a fantastic game and everyone needs to play it.

2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; I've played many platformers in my gaming career, and it's definitely my favorite genre, so this isn't a phrase I throw out very often: this game is the best 2D platformer I've ever played. Once you get a feel for how DK moves, everything just feels so right. Some of the best level design I've seen in a platformer, and each level just feels so unique. I love how there's a sense of progression between each level. Also, the fucking soundtrack. So, soooo good. If you love platformers, you owe it to yourself to get this.

3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; I spent a year and a half hyping up to this game, and it's absolutely lived up to the hype. This game has so much content, it's ridiculous. I also enjoy the gameplay of this more than any other Smash. The newcomers in this game are easily the most creative and fun batch of the series. And if you're a Nintendo fan, this game is oozing with fan service everywhere. This is the definitive Smash Bros. experience.

4. Shovel Knight ; A love letter to NES platformers. If this game came out when Mega Man, Super Mario Bros. 3, and others came out, it would be just as highly regarded. Also, Jake Kaufman did a stellar job with the soundtrack.

5. Mario Kart 8 ; Most fun I've had with a Mario Kart. Also, it's absolutely gorgeous!

6. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; Cute, charming puzzle platformer.

7. Hyrule Warriors ; Didn't think this game would be for me, but I've slowly started to enjoy it. Playing with all the different characters and weapons is just pure fun. And there's so much to do in the game!

8. TowerFall Ascension ; Playing this online thanks to Share Play has been ridiculously fun.

9. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare ; I haven't had this much fun in a shooter since Team Fortress 2.

10. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd ; Best rhythm game I've played in a while.
 

truestatic

Member
Jan 25, 2013
3,204
3
0
1. Divinity: Original Sin

Played this with a friend in co-op. I'd never imagined a turn based, fully fledged RPG with story decisions and stat choices could work so well in co-operative play. The writing was never all that spectacular, but it didn't aspire to a superbly woven yarn. Instead if was a triumph of world design and mechanics, making exploration, (mechanical) character development, and combat a constant joy. It absolutely broke all of my expectations.

2. METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES

Best in series gameplay. Short but sweet, and an absolute pleasure, whether you're trying to S Rank a hard mode mission or just fucking around for shits and giggles. Played it to 100% completion on two platforms this year. It may have just been an appetizer for the real thing, but pound for pound it was the best thing I played this year.

3. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Fantastic third chapter of a scope that I absolutely had not expected. Beautiful world, a reasonable degree of choice, and moments of redeeming awesomeness in terms of combat balance. Some disappointing quest design and UI shortcomings on the PC didn't stop this from being one of my favourite things I played this past year.
 

ryseing

Member
Jun 16, 2014
9,440
1
0
1. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor ; what sets SoM apart isn’t just the Nemesis System. Rather, it’s how Monolith took the best parts from various games and combined them into a great one. Exploring every nook and cranny of Mordor is some of the best fun I had this year. There was not a more satisfying experience to be found in 2014 than beheading that one orc who had been driving you insane the past few hours. My main complaint is that it ended too soon, and said ending was not particularly satisfying. Makes me wonder if stuff got cut at the last minute. Bring on the Season Pass content and sequel Monolith.
2. Watch_Dogs ; yes, the story and Aiden are Z movie tier, and the driving has some niggling issues. And yes, there were arguable downgrades in graphics from unveil to release. Even after all that, I still believe that Watch_Dogs is going to be the great new IP for this generation, and the first game lays a stellar foundation. Seriously. Watch_Dogs is the first open world game to nail stealth AND gunplay, something not even GTA or Saints Row can claim. Montreal’s Splinter Cell heritage shows in the movement and gadgets.
There’s also the great multiplayer (imagine Dark Souls invasions mixed with hacking), superb level design that allows for creative solutions, the best nonstandalone/non TLoU related DLC of the year in Bad_Blood (seriously, play it), a wonderfully realized version of Chicago, and some of the best individual levels I’ve played in any game in years sprinkled throughout the campaign.
If only the story wasn’t total shit and Aiden wasn’t such a tool.
3. Rogue Legacy ; Live. Die. Repeat. But with a new descendant who might play entirely different from the one you just used, often with some odd quirks (my favorite is the homosexual trait due to the description), and an ever-shifting castle. If there was ever a game tailor made for the Vita, RL is it.
4. Infamous: First Light ; First Light is the Infamous game I really wanted from Sucker Punch. While I liked Second Son, something about it just didn’t stick with me. Fetch is a great protagonist, and her powers are an absolute blast to use. Sucker Punch just seems to work best with these smaller experiences, as evidenced by First Light and Festival of Blood.
5. Monument Valley ; others have described why this game is great far better than I can. So just play it. It’s the can’t miss experience of 2014.
6. Far Cry 4 ; Far Cry 3: Definitive Edition. But considering that FC3 was absolutely fantastic, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. FC4 is a rehash that fixes most of the niggling problems I had with FC3, doubles down on the activities that were most popular (there are 25 outposts!), and adds some cool new stuff, particularly the wingsuit, buzzer, and autodrive.
However, I felt the story was weaker than 3’s. Although I’m not quite done with 4’s campaign, so far Ajay to me feels blanker than Jason ever did. Jason had an actual character arc- he’s a guy put into a shitty situation that makes him descend into madness. Ajay is the “prodigal son”, but I never bought that as a reason for him to turn into a mass murderer. For all the shit 3 got, the story was much more cohesive. 3’s villains, namely Buck and Vaas, were also better (the scene when you realize Buck had been raping your friend still sticks with me). Pagan is great, but he needed more screen time.
7. Hohokum ; Snake, but with an absolutely killer soundtrack. It’s incredible. Play it with headphones, whether you’re on Vita or PS4.
8. Threes! ; My mobile addiction. Sirvo distills the mobile gameplay experience down to its essentials. If I had five minutes to kill in line, Threes was my go to. Damned shame that its clones did better than the actual game did. Go rectify that and buy Threes off your local app store.
9. Transistor ; the best-looking game I played in 2014. The art style and soundtrack are like nothing else out there. Loved the hybrid ARPG/SRPG gameplay. Really need to go back to this one.
10. Little Big Planet 3 ; the LBP series is in good hands if Sumo Digital continues to be its caretaker. The new characters help give the series the minor shakeup it needed, and Sackboy’s new gadgets are quite fun to use. LBP3 was also the best coop experience I had this year. Absolute blast to play with friends of all ages.
 

Thores

Member
Sep 21, 2011
1,582
0
0
www.youtube.com
1. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; I had fun with Brawl, but it was ultimately a disappointment. But man, SSB Wii U almost completely wasn't. I love the new roster additions... they both deliver a bunch of great references/fanservice and most of them have amazing and imaginative new movesets, ripe for competitive play. Rosalina's take on puppet characters is really cool, and holy crap Duck Hunt's can. The caaaaan. Sakurai has finally found the balance that lets Smash Bros be both a party game, and something that can be seriously played at a tournament. And he is the best for that.

2. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; I actually spent the first three chapters not totally sure whether or not I liked this game. And I can't even really pinpoint where it happened, but I got really really invested in the story and the characters and the cool-ass whodunnits. Definitely my favorite story of the year, and singlehandedly justifies the purchase of my Playstation TV.

3. Bravely Default ; I heard so many horror stories about the second half of the game that I stopped playing for half a year. Then I picked it back up this month. You know what? The innovative battle system and awesome, varied classes to pick from make this game so, so worth the honestly pretty dumb and repetitive story. It's flawed, but it's a wonderful start to a new franchise, and I'm equal parts excited and worried about the sequel.

4. Killer Instinct: Season 2 ; This is the main reason I caved in and bought an Xbox One for the holidays. Wow, dude, worth it! The base game overall would probably be second or third place if it all came out this year, but even Season 2 so far has had a really strong showing. I like characters with unique and bizarre movesets in my fighting games, and that has been half of Season 2's roster so far. I am determined to figure out Kan-Ra so that he can be my main. Combo and Maya's themes are also the best entries in the entire series' soundtrack to date.

5. Pokemon Omega Ruby ; This would have been my #1 if they brought back the Battle Frontier. As bitter as I am about that, this is still a pretty great remake of the Pokemon game I've sunk the most time into. Hoenn is as gorgeous and interesting as ever. DexNav is a superb addition to the franchise, and jeezy creezy, online Secret Bases! REVOLUTIONARY

6. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax ; What a great translation of almost the entire casts of Personas 3 and 4 to a fighting game. Nearly all of the new roster additions are so freaking neat, and the way they handled Story Mode was vastly improved over the first game. Sho Minazuki is a much lamer character than Labrys was, but it was as nice as ever to revisit these old friends of mine.

7. Hyrule Warriors ; Two screen co-op is the gaming invention of the friggin decade. My roommate and I had a blast with this. My first Mosou game, by the way! I enjoyed the main gameplay way more than I'd expect, and all the fanservice was top-notch. It also handles DLC support in a way I enjoy and respect, which has had me coming back for more every couple months since release.

8. Super Time Force ; A mechanic this original and offbeat had me buy an XBLA game at full price for the first time in maybe three years. The time traveling co-op-with-yourself gameplay is genius. Combined with the title's ridiculous and manic sense of humor, it was unlike anything I've ever played before. Huge props to Capy for keeping the industry interesting. The game was so fun and silly that I'm more than happy to overlook how quickly I am getting tired of brand new games being released with a faux-retro pixel aesthetic.

9. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair ; Okay I only had time to finish the first case before putting this list together, but that case was so good that I'm confident D2 would rank way higher if I had beaten it by now. The story is already so much weirder for the first game's, and yet I'm already hooked so much faster. Goodbye Despair, along with Trigger Happy Havoc, are both a big part of why I'm typing up my picks at the very last minute. So how could I not put it on the list?

10. Octodad: Dadliest Catch ; Speaking of games unlike anything else, I was expecting the experimental control scheme to be as amusing as it was frustrating. I wasn't expecting to get a pretty cute story, filled with whimsical and hilarious dialogue, at the same time.

x. Ultra Street Fighter IV ; Hi I still think Street Fighter 4 is really fun. I like Poison and Elena a lot. Omega Mode is neat too. There's a lot of frustrating things about it too though, chiefly how lazily Capcom has been treating their fighting games lately. So it's hard to put it in my Top 10, as fun as it is.

x. Broken Age: Act 1 ; If Act 2 actually came out this year, I feel like the full game would have been in my Top 3 easily. Instead, I'm just eagerly anticipating Spring 2015, I guess.

x. The Wolf Among Us: Episodes 2-5 ; I love Fables! And this was a really good adaptation of the universe and characters. However, I wish modern Telltale games wouldn't give you so many fake "choices" that imply they'll alter the game's outcome, but actually don't at all. My intelligence always feels a little insulted by the time the credits roll.

You know what, 2014 was a pretty good year for games after all. And I have another 8-ish games released this year that I haven't even played yet! Can't wait to see the results.
 

Lee Chaolan

Member
Dec 21, 2012
26,728
1
0
1. Bayonetta 2 ; An absolutely worthy successor to a fantastic action game. Great music, controls and a fun factor that has you coming back.

2. Samurai Warriors 4 ; Been waiting for this since Samurai Warriors 2 XL on 360! The characters that I love on next gen software with fantastic music and new mechanics which added hours of fun. Will be playing this until the next one comes out!

3. Super Smash Bros for Wii U ; Can never get tired of smash! Once again it's fun to play with a stronger online. May have ranked higher with a mode like Subspace from Brawl.

4. Mario Kart 8 ; Nintendo knows how to work magic with this franchise. They keep me coming back each one, the controls are tight as always and the visuals superb! Fun courses.

5. Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky ; Absolutely love the atmosphere and music, with fun rpg mechanics. Nice follower to Ayesha.

6. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate ; Been waiting for this for forever! Extra characters, more storyline and new PS4 visuals made this a fun play through.

7. Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord ; Was very excited when this finally made it stateside! Fun gameplay and music.

8. Drakengard 3 ; It's been a while since NieR, but this game felt familiar with its soundtrack and fun gameplay. Love the artstyle.

9. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; This game left a mark on me I'm not sure will go away. lol It's the zany South Park humor we know and fun RPG mechanics!

10. Hyrule Warriors ; Mixing Zelda and Warriors gameplay was a questionable move by some, but the finished product was tons of fun! Great music and good controls.

x. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix ; Only played Part 2 for 5 minutes on PS2, sad I didn't play more! Love the Disney characters and the worlds you visit. Fantastic soundtrack.

x. Infamous Second Son ; a fun first PS4 game for me!

x. Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland ; Great to see a nice remake of a game I really enjoyed early on ps3!
 

Aporia88

Neo Member
Aug 9, 2012
21
0
370
1. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; Simply the most fun I have had with a game in a couple years. Already dropped 100+ hours into it and keep going back for more.

2. Far Cry 4 ;

3. Last of Us: Remastered ;

4. Alien: Isolation ;

5. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor ;
 

Shaanyboi

Banned
Nov 16, 2012
35,973
2
0
Vancouver
1. Bayonetta 2 ; A beautifully tight, frenetic spectacle that doesn't take away the player's ability to learn and dive deep into the mechanics. The game consistently rewards the player for taking the time to explore its systems with exciting new possibilities, or just downright ridiculous moments. Also, you can wear fucking chainsaws on your feet. Fucking chainsaws.

2. Shovel Knight ; Many try to emulate the feel and energy of the NES era. Few do it as well or as reverently. The awesome soundtrack, the great level design, the fun characters, Shovel Knight feels as good as a throwback possibly could. But it doesn't just rely on what was done before - it brings something new in a way that it provides a glimpse into a world where the NES continued on for years. Shovel Knight deserves to sit along the legendary icons of the era it so clearly loves.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; Who knew what a sympathetic character B.J. Blaskowitz could be? Machine Games struck a beautiful balance in creating an overthetop action game, but also making its characters and world compelling. There is a level of thought put into Wolfenstein that few games really see, and I can't wait to see what this team does as a follow-up.

4. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; This game is a beautiful love letter to South Park fans. The amount of fan-service, ridiculous moments, and incredibly offensive jokes that ooze from this game is staggering, all while still being a genuinely fun RPG.

5. Transistor ; Transistor rewards those that dive into its world and mechanics. Despite its opaque storytelling, the game provides a myriad of options in which to approach its unique strategic gameplay, draped in a beautiful artistic approach and soundtrack. There's not much out there quite like it.

6. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; This game made Dragon Age matter again. It proves that big RPGs like this can continue to exist, and should continue to exist.

7. Super Smash Bros. for WiiU ; the amount of love clearly put into every Smash Bros. game is incredible, and this entry is no different. Bursting with content, references, and things to do, this game is a love letter to Nintendo.

8. Valiant Hearts ; a tragic, thoughtful, and yet somehow zany look at WWI. Incredible work from Ubisoft.

9. The Fall ; a thoughtful, creepy sci-fi adventure while also telling a compelling narrative about our role in the world around us. Beautiful work.

10. Wolf Among Us; A beautiful noir filled with tragic characters.

edit: well fuck
 

LiveFromKyoto

Member
Jul 19, 2006
25,249
0
0
Kyoto, Japan
1. Bayonetta 2 ; An absolutely worthy successor to a fantastic action game. Great music, controls and a fun factor that has you coming back.

2. Samurai Warriors 4 ; Been waiting for this since Samurai Warriors 2 XL on 360! The characters that I love on next gen software with fantastic music and new mechanics which added hours of fun. Will be playing this until the next one comes out!

3. Super Smash Bros for Wii U ; Can never get tired of smash! Once again it's fun to play with a stronger online. May have ranked higher with a mode like Subspace from Brawl.

4. Mario Kart 8 ; Nintendo knows how to work magic with this franchise. They keep me coming back each one, the controls are tight as always and the visuals superb! Fun courses.

5. Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky ; Absolutely love the atmosphere and music, with fun rpg mechanics. Nice follower to Ayesha.

6. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate ; Been waiting for this for forever! Extra characters, more storyline and new PS4 visuals made this a fun play through.

7. Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord ; Was very excited when this finally made it stateside! Fun gameplay and music.

8. Drakengard 3 ; It's been a while since NieR, but this game felt familiar with its soundtrack and fun gameplay. Love the artstyle.

9. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; This game left a mark on me I'm not sure will go away. lol It's the zany South Park humor we know and fun RPG mechanics!

10. Hyrule Warriors ; Mixing Zelda and Warriors gameplay was a questionable move by some, but the finished product was tons of fun! Great music and good controls.

x. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix ; Only played Part 2 for 5 minutes on PS2, sad I didn't play more! Love the Disney characters and the worlds you visit. Fantastic soundtrack.

x. Infamous Second Son ; a fun first PS4 game for me!

x. Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland ; Great to see a nice remake of a game I really enjoyed early on ps3!
Batman gets in under the gun with the clutch Bayonetta 2 1st place vote. Will it swing the vote???

I'm mostly rooting for Mario Kart though.
 
Jun 18, 2013
97
0
300
MA
1. Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition ; Pure gameplay, pure fun. Story meh!

2. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; Great story, great gameplay.

3. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare ; Good story, great gameplay. Multiplayer is a blast when it doesn't lag.

4. Titanfall: Deluxe Edition ; Fantastic gameplay, would have benefited from a fleshed out story mode.

5. Sunset Overdrive ; Good story, good gameplay. It took me a few hours to absolutely love the traversal.

6. Grand Theft Auto V ; The best virtual (satirical) world ever created IMO.

7. The Master Chef Collection ; Halo 1-4 @ 60fps, what more needs to be said.

8. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor ; I really love the combat and the nemesis system makes it memorable.

9. Infamous: Second Son ; Beautiful world, fun gameplay.

10. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warefare ; Really fun and inventive. Another game that would have benefited from a story mode.
 

Lostconfused

Member
Apr 26, 2007
16,165
0
0
www.neogaf.com
They took the criticisms of Bayo1 to heart, with QTEs being trivial and mini-games scaled back.
The one thing about this that I find annoying and yet laudable at the sametime is that when Bayonetta 1 enemies make an appearance, the button mashing for their torture attacks are still almost as bad as they were in the first game. I appreciate how the game remains true to your past experiences, even if they are not necessarily positive.
 

Tizoc

Member
Jun 23, 2010
81,145
13
960
33
Oman
Now we wait


BUT I AM FILLED WITH ANTICIPATION


Thanks again for organizing this Cheesmeister and co.
 

chadboban

Member
May 11, 2013
3,336
0
0
1. Bayonetta 2 ; A beautifully tight, frenetic spectacle that doesn't take away the player's ability to learn and dive deep into the mechanics. The game consistently rewards the player for taking the time to explore its systems with exciting new possibilities, or just downright ridiculous moments. Also, you can wear fucking chainsaws on your feet. Fucking chainsaws.

2. Shovel Knight ; Many try to emulate the feel and energy of the NES era. Few do it as well or as reverently. The awesome soundtrack, the great level design, the fun characters, Shovel Knight feels as good as a throwback possibly could. But it doesn't just rely on what was done before - it brings something new in a way that it provides a glimpse into a world where the NES continued on for years. Shovel Knight deserves to sit along the legendary icons of the era it so clearly loves.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; Who knew what a sympathetic character B.J. Blaskowitz could be? Machine Games struck a beautiful balance in creating an overthetop action game, but also making its characters and world compelling. There is a level of thought put into Wolfenstein that few games really see, and I can't wait to see what this team does as a follow-up.

4. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; This game is a beautiful love letter to South Park fans. The amount of fan-service, ridiculous moments, and incredibly offensive jokes that ooze from this game is staggering, all while still being a genuinely fun RPG.

5. Transistor ; Transistor rewards those that dive into its world and mechanics. Despite its opaque storytelling, the game provides a myriad of options in which to approach its unique strategic gameplay, draped in a beautiful artistic approach and soundtrack. There's not much out there quite like it.

6. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; This game made Dragon Age matter again. It proves that big RPGs like this can continue to exist, and should continue to exist.

7. Super Smash Bros. for WiiU ; the amount of love clearly put into every Smash Bros. game is incredible, and this entry is no different. Bursting with content, references, and things to do, this game is a love letter to Nintendo.

8. Valiant Hearts ; a tragic, thoughtful, and yet somehow zany look at WWI. Incredible work from Ubisoft.

9. The Fall ; a thoughtful, creepy sci-fi adventure while also telling a compelling narrative about our role in the world around us. Beautiful work.

10. Wolf Among Us; A beautiful noir filled with tragic characters.

edit: well fuck
Oh man dude, I'm real sorry about that. You missed it by just seconds :(
 
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