Erik Fattrosso ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
With another year past, it’s time to take a look back at the best of the best. 2014 wasn’t the best year for games, but there were still a solid number of genuinely fantastic titles.
10. Mario Kart 8
The Mario Kart franchise has been around for years, but it’s never been quite as good as its newest iteration on Wii U. It masterfully integrates classic Mario Kart mechanics such as items to use on other players and drifting to gain boosts with new features like anti-gravity. The tracks are all built to perfection around various mechanics and the racing just feels great. This is one of the best multiplayer games around, rivaled only by another entry higher up on this list.
9. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Licensed games usually don’t do all that well, but Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor takes the Lord of the Rings Universe into new and exciting places. Set in between The Hobbit and the original trilogy, the game plays as a mixture of Assassin’s Creed stealth and parkour with Arkham City’s combat system. It’s not the most original game, but it blends so many different elements together seamlessly that it’s hard not to enjoy it. Throw in the Nemesis system that has randomly generated Orcs leveling up and building grudges against you as you play and you end up with one of the most entertaining open world games in a while.
8. South Park: Stick of Truth
Stick of Truth takes all the classic vulgar South Park humor and turns it into a 15 hour game. Running around South Park itself is great, and the attention to detail and fan service present is incredible. The RPG gameplay is solid and the game is downright hysterical. Creating your own fully customizable character in the universe is a lot of fun, and interacting with the boys and almost every other character from the show is only part of the appeal. As soon as you use an Alien Anal Probe as a teleporter, you know you’re playing a real gem.
7. Octodad: Dadliest Catch
While the first few games on this list have been pretty large budget titles, none of them have the same charm as the indie title “Octodad: Dadliest Catch”. You play as an octopus living an undercover life as a dad with a wife and two children. You’re job as the player is often to attempt to complete daily tasks without arousing suspicion, which gets increasingly difficult with the QWOP-like controls. Watching Octodad flail his way through the aquarium and avoiding the Marine Biologists (They know a fish when they see one) makes for some of the most fun had with a game this year.
6. Infamous: Second Son
The Infamous series’ first outing on PS4 proved to be a success. The story and characters could definitely have used some work, but the core gameplay was good enough to counter them. Few games give players the freedom to run wild with super powers as well as the Infamous games have, and Second Son is no exception. The addition of multiple powers instead of just one element brought a new level of variety to the open world sandbox of Seattle, and speeding around with neon is exhilarating. It’s just made better by the lighting and particle effects that really show what the PS4 is capable of.
5. Dark Souls II
Dark Souls brought a new kind of challenge to the gaming industry when it was released. A few years later, Dark Souls II tries to improve upon it with varying degrees of success. Some changes were great, such as the larger focus on cooperative and competitive multiplayer, but some, like the less connected world and recycled bosses, just felt like a step down. The beauty of this game though is that it’s still incredible. If the games only real issue is that it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor, that still makes it better than most games released in recent memory.
4. Far Cry 4
This is the fifth open world game on this list so far and it’s also the best. Far Cry 4 took the foundations that Far Cry 3 laid down and improved on them in almost every way. The gunplay felt better, the world had more things to do, and everything you did provided a satisfactory reward. The randomness of the world led to anything from eagle attacks to stumbling into a firefight between your allies and the Royal Army. A somewhat mediocre story doesn’t detract from the phenomenal gameplay. It’s everything an open world game should be, and it may be one of the finest ever made.
3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
It should come as no surprise that this game lands itself so high on the list. Nintendo’s fan service franchise hasn’t disappointed in the past and this continues that trend. After a stellar entry on the 3DS, the definitive Wii U version may be the best of the entire series. The roster is bigger than ever and it’s more balanced than any previous entry. A wide array of game modes keep things interesting and an insane amount of challenges make this one game that you won’t be putting down soon, especially now with the 8 player multiplayer.
2. Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta 2 is everything a sequel should be. It takes the basic gameplay from the first entry and ramps it up to eleven. It’s faster, smoother, and bigger than anything in the first game. Gorgeous HD visuals make the amazing creature designs even more eye catching, and the combo heavy action that Platinum Games is famous for has never been better. Even the story manages to be more interesting than the first one, and it does a great job of being coherent (something the first game occasionally had trouble with). If you don’t own a Wii U, this and Smash Bros. 100% justify a purchase.
Coming in at number one is another indie gem. From Supergiant Games (the guys who made Bastion), we get Transistor. This strategy action game knocks it out of the park in both story and gameplay. The “pause the action” gameplay works wonders, and laying out a series of commands to be executed is incredibly satisfying. The story is conveyed wonderfully through the location, music, and tone. You play as Red, a singer who has her voice stolen in the beginning of the game. The first thing you see is a man impaled by a mysterious looking sword called the Transistor. A voice comes from it that is clearly familiar to Red. From there, the game slowly reveals the lore and details of the city and world in which the game takes place, all while telling the story of what happened to put Red in this situation. It’s truly an amazing experience, and it’s best played on PS4. The voice of the transistor comes from the speaker instead of the TV, and it adds an even greater layer of immersion.
There you have it, the Top 10 Games of 2014. What are you picks for Game of the Year? Let’s hear it down in the comments below.