I was running around on Polygon earlier and found this forum thread on AA gaming. It got me thinking about that fun space of games in between your blockbuster titles (Call of Duty et al) and the myriad independently developed games being published on all platforms today. A shining example of this type of game would be Binary Domain, which Vinny enjoyed quite a bit. Quality product with some production values for sure, but neither a 2D pixel art platformer nor a multi-million dollar Hollywood-style production. Hell, I think this group of games could even be stretched to include smaller projects by larger companies; this could be reflected both in the scope and budget of the game produced, and in the price point at which the game is released.
With that in mind, some of my standout B-tier games of the last year would be...
- Wolfenstein: The New Order: Some have called this a sleeper candidate for upcoming GOTY talks. A stable shooter with a legendary pedigree, it was the first release for a 60-person studio in Uppsala (some of whom worked on The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay).
- Child of Light: Ubisoft Montreal put this out as something of a skunkworks project, levegering the UbiArt framework that also produced the two recent Rayman games while also providing work to members of the Far Cry 3 team (which sort of explains the similar skill tree).
- Azure Striker Gunvolt: Independently developed and published, sure, but not many indie games have the involvement of Keiji Inafune. Plays like a combination of Mega Man X and the pacifism mode of Geometry Wars 2, and it came with a free copy of Mighty Gunvolt (a proper pixel art indie platformer) at launch.
- D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die: Microsoft published an episodic adventure game by Swery65, one which Patrick Klepek feels justifies the continued existence of the Kinect. Think about that.
- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker: $40 new, build around the idea that Toad's backpack is too heavy for him to jump, featuring the same ridiculously good looking art style of Super Mario 3D World. I'm seriously about to piss my pants thinking about this game.
What else belongs on this list of humble, meat and potatoes, pot boiler games that kept us occupied while we waited for the tent pole releases of 2014?