Top Five (or Six) Games of 2014

2014's must haves...

Top Five (or Six) Games of 2014

2014 was, for the most part, disappointing in terms of gaming. The year was full of crappy games (Duck Dynasty), buggy games (Assassin’s Creed: Unity), broken multiplayer (Halo: The Master Chief Collection), hacked gaming systems (PS4 and Xbox One), poor business plan (everything Nintendo), desperate price drops (Microsoft), free games via an apology (Sony), more free offers via an apology (Microsoft), and broken disc drives (Xbox One). However, not everything was bad as some of the games we saw were stellar.

The year was full of crappy games (Duck Dynasty), buggy games (Assassin’s Creed: Unity), broken multiplayer (Halo: The Master Chief Collection), hacked gaming systems (PS4 and Xbox One), poor business plan (everything Nintendo), desperate price drops (Microsoft), free games via an apology (Sony), more free offers via an apology (Microsoft), and broken disc drives (Xbox One)

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

The first two Dragon Age games released in a next-gen market somewhat lacking in quality RPGs. Dragon Age Inquisition released with somewhat linear gameplay, at least at the beginning of the game, but is a thoroughly enjoyable entrance into a true Xbox One RPG, albeit action oriented. Dragon Age is a mature (not old, but racy) themed game in which there is an ongoing feud between the Templars and Mages, having previously culminated in a revolt by the Mages. Like previous games, Dragon Age Inquisition does a good job of incorporating moral ambiguity and gritty combat with vivid story telling. The graphics are spectacular, the vistas are outstanding, and the gameplay is stellar. Fitting 100 hours of gameplay into a game is difficult, making that game interesting for the entire 100 hours is phenomenal.

Dragon Age Inquisition does a good job of incorporating moral ambiguity and gritty combat with vivid story telling

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

The Middle Earth universe has been a massive money maker with the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit quadrilogies (defined as the act of fitting three books into four movies, or one book into three movies) released as movies. Lord of the Rings has also released as multiple Lego games. It only makes sense to release another Middle Earth game on the new consoles, this one as a mature action RPG. Shadow of Mordor is an enjoyable action role playing game with a unique gameplay twist, namely the mixture of ghost-like play with traditional action role playing. The game is advanced in terms of gameplay and has fairly mature themes mixed into the melancholy story. The graphics (on the next-gen consoles) are quite good. If you are an RPG fan or a fan of Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, this is a must have. It is still enjoyable otherwise, even if you aren’t a fan.

Shadow of Mordor is an enjoyable action role playing game with a unique gameplay twist

Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4

The Far Cry series, released first on PC and then on Xbox 360 and PS3, is a hugely entertaining open world FPS series of games, with mature themes, excellent gameplay, and an outstanding story. The Far Cry series has always had entertaining and excellent gameplay, and Far Cry 4 is no exception. The versatility of the gameplay in using various elements of the environment, stealth elements, first person shooter gameplay, animals that attack (elephants!), animals that fight for you (more elephants!), smart AI, and emotional storylines make this a must have. Far Cry 4 has a little of everything, incorporating elements smoothly together to make an outstanding gaming experience. The truly open world environment is beautiful and allows a vast array of tasks and quasi-quests to complete.

Far Cry 4 has a little of everything, incorporating elements smoothly together to make an outstanding gaming experience

South Park: Stick of Truth

South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park is a hugely entertaining TV series (and one movie) for those us who are not so easily offended (like myself). The South Park TSoT game is an extremely enjoyable role playing game, full of true South Park humor, challenging battles, and excellent character supplements to the South Park universe. The game is quite challenging, but filled with typical South Park humor that is rude, extremely humorous, and awesome (and offensive if you are that type of person). The game is a fun take on role playing games, different than the formulaic role playing games that sometimes pervade the consoles. If you are an RPG fan or love South Park, play South Park: The Stick of Truth immediately. If you are a location where South Park does not air, I would recommend this game as an introduction to the series. If you are in a location where it does air on television and you’ve never heard of this, finish reading this article and go watch all 18 seasons.

If you are an RPG fan or love South Park, play South Park: The Stick of Truth immediately

Titanfall

Titanfall

Titanfall

Like Destiny, Titanfall is a multiplayer like game with potential, although the story appears to be more of an afterthought than a conscious effort to incorporate into the gameplay. Both first person shooter elements and mechanized fighting elements are interspersed into story lines incorporated into various maps in which multiplayer elements abound. The game blends the mechanized gameplay with RPG-like advancements, multiplayer maps into storylines, team battles, and first-person shooter elements. Titanfall is a solid mechanized first person shooter than is sure to please.

Titanfall is a solid mechanized first person shooter than is sure to please

Honorable Mention

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive plays out as a comic book platformer, with insane first person shooter gameplay, zombie/monster murder, eccentric characters, wild antagonists, and skateboard-esque travel mechanics. In a collection of solid games, Sunset Overdrive could easily have made the top five and replaced any of the aforementioned games. The game is slightly schizophrenic, with interesting elements not normally seen in video games. The game blends the elements extremely well and is an tremendously entertaining game.

Sunset Overdrive could easily have made the top five and replaced any of the aforementioned games

Game of the Year

Destiny

Destiny

Destiny

Destiny cost more to make and produce ($500 million) than some country’s gross domestic product (e.g. Tonga)

Destiny released to extremely high expectations. Destiny cost more to make and produce ($500 million) than some country’s gross domestic product (e.g. Tonga). Destiny incorporates an open world universe (literally) with elements of multiplayer games, combined with first person shooter elements, and incorporating advancements common to role playing games. Destiny has excellent graphics, challenging but enjoyable gameplay, full of interesting characters, missions, and expansion possibilities. There are multiple missions to play, numerous means of customizing characters, a viable story that fits nicely into the various missions and multiplayer, and entertaining gameplay. While not a perfect launch release (although the problems were much quicker solved than some games, not mentioning any names; Unity and Halo: MCCC), it has fared far better than other blockbuster games which made the top five disappointing games of 2014. Destiny is an awfully addictive game; those who get easily bored with games and tend to flit between games rapidly will find Destiny hard to put down.

Destiny is an awfully addictive game; those who get easily bored with games and tend to flit between games rapidly will find Destiny hard to put down

 

Dave Bricker
I'm a PhD and an air traffic controller with an obsession for video games of all types. I've been an avid gamer for 30 years and nearly every popular console ever made, having played over 2000 games. Look me up on Xbox Live (CognitiveCaveat) and the PSN (tbzab).

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