1. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Completed on: January 5, 2014 ~ PC
At first, I only played this game for one race and came away unenthusiastic about its style of arcade racing. Later on, I played it with a friend over the internet and decided to give it another shot. After exploring most of what this game has to offer, I am of the opinion that it is way better than Mario Kart's most recent entries. If Nintendo doesn't hit Mario Kart 8 out of the park, Sega is definitely primed to take the throne of the kart racing genre.
2. The Wonderful 101
Completed on: January 16, 2014 ~ Wii U
The demo didn't grab me, but I figured the game would be worth a shot at its new price of $30. Unfortunately, the early parts didn't grab me either, and I was left wondering what all the fuss was about until I turned down the difficulty and committed myself to learning the combat through extracurricular means. Eventually, the game clicked with me, and I'm glad I experienced Platinum's craziest title to date. I'll give Kamiya credit for not selling his audience short, but it's a shame I needed to wade through so much stuff to appreciate why this game was worth its initial $60 cost.
3. Remember Me
Completed on: January 17, 2014 ~ PC
I bought this on the day it came out, and issues with freezing have prevented me from finishing it. After new drivers have come out (since the developer has long abandoned fixing any lingering issues) and I'm happy to have made it through a game with lots of potential. The setting, music, narrative themes and combat were good, and it's a solid foundation for whatever Dontnod will hopefully do in the future. The ending kinda fell flat, and I'm wondering if it played out the way the developers intended. Either way, it's nice to see Capcom take a chance on an original title, though I doubt they're rushing to make a sequel.
Completed on: January 22, 2014 ~ PS3
I don't really take to art games all that much, but there was something about Rain's reveal that made me think, "I'll get around to playing that eventually." What I expected was a calm adventure about a boy in a rainstorm, but what I got was a balance between that and some tense stealth-centric gameplay. I loved the soundtrack and sound design, and some of the puzzles were creative in spite of it's simple control scheme. I didn't really get the ending, but the romantic in me appreciated the leaps in logic the developers made; even if the payoff wasn't all that effective.
5. Project X Zone
Completed on: January 22, 2014 ~ 3DS
This game isn't good, and a part of me can't believe I spent just short of 41 hours to solidify that opinion. Almost every aspect of this game is poorly designed, from the flow of battle to the lack of combat variety to the complete absence of unit starting positions in conjunction with constant party splitting. Even a story that should've been an epic crossover of three Japanese companies' numerous heroes and villains comes across as elementary fan-fiction. A part of me was wishing the developers would do something, anything to spice up the game, but that never happened. I am thoroughly convinced that Banpresto cannot and should not handle another crossover of this sort again. The sprite art and animations are great though.
6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Completed on: January 24, 2014 ~ PS3
For me, the allure of Brothers was due to a seemingly tenuous connection with Starbreeze Studios. After hearing people gush over the game and its obvious emotional grabs, I'll admit I had a repellant attitude toward the game. From the start, this is the sort of game where you know someone's going to die at the end, and that event will be the crux of the narrative's poignancy. I don't mean to downplay what is clearly a personal and rough tale, but there's no subtlety to the foreshadowing and, as a result, very little resonance or attachment to what's about to unfold. Regardless, this game has excellent settings and consistently clever gameplay mechanics. Were there ten games in 2013 that were better than Brothers? In my opinion, yes.
7. Bravely Default
Completed on: February 17, 2014 ~ 3DS
The game was teetering on the brink of brilliance until I got to the midpoint. It's when the plot contrives reasons for why it goes on as long as it does. While the allure of "I wonder what happens next" hung over my head, I kept thinking about how the game could've been much shorter if both the heroes and "villains" had half a brain. There's no reason for the plot to head in the directions it does, even if the latter portions are pulled off creatively. What saves this game are the options that adjust encounter rates and battle speed as well as abilities that reward, encourage and expedite heavy grinding. This is one of the better JRPGs to come out in recent memory, and it builds off of Final Fantasy III and V really well. However, if I were to place it among its obvious contemporaries, I have a hard time putting it above anything except the original three and the XIII saga.
Completed on: February 21, 2014 ~ PC
I've never played a game in the series, but I can't help but feel that Double Helix was phoning it in on this one. When I've hit a nice flow with the movement and combat, I think the game is amazing. I expect something a bit more combo heavy than what I got, and mashing the entire way through seemed be the only viable option. I'm usually not one to skip cutscene, but I started doing so a little bit past the game's midpoint. Also, the audio mix is terrible.
9. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Completed on: May 12, 2014 ~ Vita
Supposedly better than Uncharted 3, which makes me look forward to playing that even less. While this game captures the core of what makes an Uncharted game, it definitely feels watered down compared to its console counterparts. The characters aren't memorable (though I've obtained a deeper appreciation for Sully), the flagrant display of the systems gimmicks were poor (though I loved the gyroscope aiming) and the whole thing just felt like it was going by the numbers.
10. Alan Wake's American Nightmare
Completed on: May 14, 2014 ~ PC
I've had this sitting in my Steam library for a while, and I'm not sure why it's taken me a while to get to it despite liking the first game a lot. At first, the plot was extremely confusing, but piecing together the events along with the character made me very excited to see what happens next. The combat seemed significantly easier than the first game from what I remember, and I still find the whole flashlight-then-shoot mechanic unique and fun. Plus, the slow-motion that occurs after clearing an area is extremely satisfying.
11. Thomas Was Alone
Completed on: May 14, 2014 ~ Vita
I don't know why people think that a British person narrating a story automatically makes it sound more charming or whimsical, and I was tired of this game's story almost immediately. By the end, there's I managed to squeeze the tiniest bit of interest, but the ending fell flat. Literally, I have no idea what happened; maybe the final cutscene automatically skipped. Despite my misgivings about the narrative, the platforming controls are tight, and the puzzles are creative.
12. Ridiculous Fishing - A Tale of Redemption
Completed on: May 24, 2013 ~ Android
This was a fun, little distraction for about one night and for a lot of the downtime in New York City traffic. I cast the line, I shot the fish and I saw the credits. The fact that there was a small bit of random narrative right at the end was pretty amusing. Not really sure what else to say about this other than that. Definitely worth the one dollar it cost me, though.
Completed on: May 29, 2013 ~ PS4
Since its unveiling, this was probably the one game I would've bought a PlayStation 4 for. I had a moderate amount of fun with Super Stardust HD, and this looked pretty interesting. I would say it completely satisfies the feeling of getting a flow working and thinking "this is the run", but the levels are static and restarting a level isn't instantaneous like it is in Geometry Wars. I'm still compelled to go for the platinum trophy on this one, and I can't complain for the price of "free".
14. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Completed on: May 31, 2014 ~ Vita
Between the anime and the PSP localization, I've been told numerous what this game was all about, but it never really registered until I got my hands on it. "Phoenix Wright meets Persona" is accurate, but the gameplay was something completely different. That said, I didn't like how the Class Trial mechanics worked out, and figuring out how to proceed was either painfully obvious or stupidly vague. As for the plot, I was surprised more than a handful of my hunches were shot down in a logically sound manner. I look forward to the sequel, since it supposedly explains this game's hazy conclusion.
15. Mario Kart 8
Completed on: June 1, 2014 ~ Wii U
After a less-than-stellar experience with Mario Kart Wii, Nintendo really needed to pick up some slack to get me back into the series. While Mario Kart 7 looked very reminiscent of Mario Kart DS (which I loved), I skipped out on it because something about still seemed empty and soulless. MK8 has given the racing portion of the game its soul back. While the battle mode is far from ideal, the only fun I've ever had with that mode has been via local multiplayer. This game is an excellent realignment of where the series needs to go; it sets a high bar in how the gameplay feels, how the graphics look and what the music sounds like. That Dolphin Shoals music track is astounding.
16. Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus
Completed on: June 3, 2014 ~ PS3
Guilty Gear has always been a series that I've enjoyed at an arm's length. The character designs and music are top-notch compared to other fighting games, but the mechanics are enough of a barrier to keep my persistence at bay. This iteration is probably the longest I've stuck with the game after short stints with X2 and Isuka, but if nothing else, learning a little bit more about the mechanics has me more excited for Xrd, which supposedly gets rid of the more technical aspects. Until then, Persona 4 Arena will remain my Arc System Works fighting game of choice.
17. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Completed on: June 11, 2014 ~ PS4
It took me 39 minutes to get through the main, canonical portion of the game. Do I think it was worth the sub-$20 I spent on it? Absolutely. It's a hypocritical opinion I hold, having condemned LIMBO for providing a short experience at a $15 asking price, but as time moved on from that indie game's release, the amount of long, protracted games have been filling my backlog with little desire on my end to finish them. There are definitely lengthier and deeper experience out there compared to this game's price, but that point is moot when what I'm looking for is an experience only a Metal Gear game provides. It's a sampling that's easy to get through, but there are enough extra missions to satiate interstitial cravings until The Phantom Pain comes out.
Completed on: June 19, 2014 ~ PC
I'm kinda sad to say this visual novel didn't deviate from the classic Cinderella story all that much, but it's probably due to the fact that most of the decisions I made happened to line up with the well-known events. It doesn't take more than a few hours to get through, but what contributes to a sluggish feeling is how similar the characters are regarding their ideals and intellectual candor. Still, there were a few bright spots, and I ended up loving Sophia's character by the end as well as the supposed myraid of variations on the games four distinct endings. I probably wouldn't venture back in for another playthrough, but I can imagine someone will appreciate the story if they go way off the beaten path.
Completed on: June 21, 2014 ~ PC
This game switches between two extremes of good and bad design. I have fun with the mechanics; the mobility and shooting feel great, and the Titans added more to experience than I initially thought. However, everything else surrounding it runs counter to what I'd expect from the developers of Modern Warfare 2. The campaign flat-out sucks, and unlocking things in a linear progression feels antiquated after seeing how the Black Ops series handles that. I feel like this is a good base for Respawn to start with, but it's going to take a substantial amount to get me excited for a sequel.
20. Cook, Serve, Delicious!
Completed on: June 26, 2014 ~ Android
I originally played the PC version, but never completed it because the particular download I had wouldn't receive a Steam upgrade or any upgrade for that matter. When I had an opportunity to get it for free on my phone, I jumped at it and didn't look back. For a long time, this game was frustrating because I was obsessed with getting a perfect run every single day, but once I let go of that, this game became more manageable yet was more visibly a long grind. I think if the progression was way shorter, this would be easily recommendable. However, I would only tell someone to get this is if their in it for the long haul.
21. Monument Valley
Completed on: June 26, 2014 ~ Android
Completed on: June 27, 2014 ~ Vita
23. Tales of Xillia
Completed on: July 21, 2014 ~ PS3
24. Mega Man
Completed on: July 25, 2014 ~ PS3