By billygoat117 2 Comments
Before I begin the actual list, there’s something you need to know first: I am REALLY bad at finishing games. My Pile of Shame has countless games at 75% percent completion that I swear up and down I will get around to eventually. I honestly could not tell you why this happens. In some cases it’s this weird psychological thing where I’m enjoying it so much I don’t want it to end, therefore I never actually finish it. (I hear a lot of people do this with certain TV shows; Deadwood springs to mind, though I’ve never watched that one.) In most cases, though, something else comes along and I move on. Well, since this list is going up on January 1st, consider this a tacit resolution: I will finish every game I start this year. I will also take stock and decide which games of years past I’m going to actually finish. Witcher 2, I’m looking at you. Skyrim too, although that’s more of a formality than anything (170 hours in, never finished the main quest). Onto the games!
These just missed the cut. On any other day, they might have made it.
The Fall – Amazing storytelling and presentation; this one’s a real gem.
Wolfenstein: The New Order – Like others have said, who would have thought we’d have a great Wolfenstein game in 2014? Way more than the sum of its parts.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – The first COD game I’ve bought since MW3. JETPACKS FOR LIFE
Super Time Force – So damn clever, challenging, and pretty fucking funny to boot.
Thief – Okay, I know most people hated this game, I understand their reasons, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it. The AI isn’t great—in fact, it’s pretty dumb—but there’s still something to this game. Plus, I got it on sale for like $15, so there you go.
HONORALE MENTIONS ROUND 2
First, a word: these are games I simply didn’t/couldn’t put enough time into.
Divinity: Original Sin – I’m excited to dig into this one this coming year.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – This game is stunningly gorgeous. Consequently, my 5-year-old computer struggles to run it at an acceptable framerate. I’ll have to come back to this one.
Dragon Age: Inquisition – Only in an RPG of this scale could I say 30 hours wasn’t enough time to adequately assess its merits, but alas, here we are. I only just acquired the last party member, only recently arrived at Skyhold, and have barely begun to put the moves on Cassandra (I’ll call you soon, I PROMISE).
Transistor – This is the one that pains me the most, because of my deep and abiding love for Bastion. Absolutely gorgeous, fantastic combat, and goddamn, the music in this game is so good.
ACTUAL TOP TEN
These probably aren’t really in the order I put them in, with the exception of the top three.
10. Desert Golfing – I love how minimalist this game is: no menu, no settings, sparse graphics, just get the ball in the hole. There’s nothing better than getting a hole-in-one on a nasty-looking hole.
9. Monument Valley – I don’t usually play games on my phone, especially since it’s Android, and most good stuff doesn’t make the jump. This game is the exception. I was lucky enough to experience it on an iPad when it first came out, but got the game and the expansion on my phone. Great art, soothing atmosphere, and puzzles that were just clever enough. You have no excuse for not experiencing this gem.
8. Titanfall – Titanfall is what got me to get an Xbox One. More specifically, its beta made me pull the trigger. I loved dropping my titan, setting it to AI mode, and running interference for it on the rooftops. It’s too bad the player base dropped off so quickly, because this is a damn good time. My only complaints: the gun unlocks are too few and far between; they feel like Halo weapons (i.e. weapon archetypes with no variety among types) doled out over the course of the progression. Number two: the jumpkick-as-melee-attack is fucking STUPID.
7. Shovel Knight – Do you like old-school games that are actually good in their own right? What about fantastic music and super-tight controls? Well, then you should play Shovel Knight. My brother and I played through this by swapping the controller back and forth between levels, just like when we were kids. Maybe that sounds too precious for you; maybe you should find more room for love in your heart, Mr. Grinch.
6. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – I’ve put more aggregate time into Diablo 3 than probably any game ever. A lot of that was in the vanilla game, but I hadn’t played it much since around September of 2012. Once they put out the patch in anticipation of Reaper of Souls, I fell right back into it, promptly putting another couple hundred (you read that right) hours into it. Adventure Mode is a literal game-changer. It makes the loot treadmill more exciting than it was, and the Loot 2.0 system ensures that you stop getting garbage drops (well, mostly). I even got a character past level 60 on the Xbox One because of a Redbox binge one weekend. Shit, why isn’t this number one?
5. Sunset Overdrive – Full disclosure: I haven’t finished this one yet. But I’ve played enough to know it deserves a spot on the list. It’s so much goddamn fun blasting OD from the power lines and the moment-to-moment travel is actually fun, for once. As has been said by other, more talented writers, it’s a perfect melding of Tony Hawk and Ratchet & Clank.
4. Nidhogg – I first played this about a week ago. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard playing a game as I did the night I bought this. Couch co-op is where it’s at as far as Nidhogg is concerned. My brothers and I were falling all over each other laughing. For a game with only 2 buttons, there is a surprising amount of depth to the gameplay. The next time you have a party, bust this one out.
3. Shadow of Mordor – Seriously, who knew this would be this good? I admit, it took me a little while to get into it, but it really opens up once you get the ability to brand Uruks. Which, speaking of, why does it take so long to get that? Seriously, branding a bunch of Uruks, specifically so they can rise through the ranks, only to betray the warchiefs you’re hunting, is one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in a game this year. If the Nemesis system isn’t stolen and appropriated into more games this next year, it will be our loss.
2. Destiny – Le sigh. This game has so many problems, it almost has no business being this high on my list. But I can’t quit you, Destiny. When I only have like ten minutes to just tool around with something, Destiny works surprisingly well. Just load up some bounties, do some farming and BAM! Actually, that makes it sound shitty. Okay, how about this: since I’ve never played an MMO before, doing the raids in Destiny is the closest I’ll get to that experience, and it’s probably the most fun I’ve had with a multiplayer game this year. It really is strange how partying up with other players can make a mediocre game good, and that’s the case with Destiny.
1. Far Cry 4 – Bar none, this is the most raw, unfettered fun I had in a game this year. Sure, it’s mostly just more Far Cry 3. And yeah, sure, it’s got issues, but man, nothing beats jumping on an elephant and knocking a truck full of bad guys down a mountain. Or loosing an explosive arrow in a perfect arc to take out a courier speeding away on a four-wheeler. Or flying over an outpost in a buzzer with a buddy and raining grenades down on the hapless soldiers. Or letting a tiger loose and watching it eat everyone in an outpost. Or OH GOD THE EAGLES GET AWAY FROM ME YOU FLYING DEVILS. All of these things happened to me, and they’re all cluttering up my hard drive in 30-second chunks, because I couldn’t help yelling XBOX RECORD THAT