By Jumbs 0 Comments
Well, that was a fucking dumb year for video games. But still, some Good Shit™ came out of it.
I’m also listening to I am the best by 2NE1 on repeat right now and that can only do bad things to me
Goddamn this is a strange list, even for me
Best game I was expecting to be bad, really hoping to be good, and actually turned out to be good: Dragon Age: Inquisition
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Bioware for years. Knights of the Old Republic is one of my favorite games ever; despite thinking Star Wars is unwatchable junk (I GUESS IM NOT A TRUE NERD, NERDS); Knights of the Old Republic 2 being a bitter disappointment; Jade Empire being a bad game set in an interesting world; And I could type a paragraph of what was wrong with Dragon Age 2 after the great game that was Origins, but I’m not goinFUCK YOU ANDERS YOU FUCKING FUCK
But Dragon Age: Inquisition is fantastic. The strongest set of Bioware characters since KOTOR; an incredibly progressive attitude towards non-heterosexual relationships, an actual trans character who isn’t one dimensional and a really pretty world to explore. The collect-bear-asses-because-hey, this is an rpg!-quests are abysmal - they’re poorly explained, and I found they’re actually infinite after wasting so much of my precious silverite on them.
Oh, and fuck you Sera. Get out of my party. If I wanted a dumb elf making nonsensical statements at me, I’d just watch Juno again.
Best game that is totally not an MMO but hides its grind just as well and kept me addicted despite me knowing exactly what it was doing: Fantasy Life
I probably shouldn’t have liked this game. The mechanics are incredibly basic, the writing is godawful (Haha! It’s still funny to put lolcat speech in games in the year of our lord two thousand and fourteen!), and for a soundtrack featuring Nobuo Uematsu, it sure is annoying as fuck. But there was something engrossing about it’s simple mechanics, and the most important thing of all: I can make cute costumes for my character, and make him the prettiest princess in the Fantasy Life world. Which I can’t remember the name of, because the game did a bad job at making me care about it’s lore.
It’s surprisingly also a great entry point for people wanting to get into Monster Hunter games, which sounds ridiculous, but it’s true, as the basic pieces are there. Grinding for materials to make better gear, to assist you getting materials to make even better gear, which is infinitely easier if you play with friends.
Oh, it’s also really cute.
Best game I probably wouldn’t have liked so much if the art style and music wasn’t so fantastic: Valiant hearts
Valiant Hearts is a weird game. If you wanted me to say something about it “Objectively” (But then again, I don’t really associate with anyone who thinks games can be measured in that way), I would probably say it’s not a very good game. It’s a very basic adventure game, collecting items to use on other items, to clear your way, to get to the next set of puzzles, without any of those interactions coming even close to being challenging.
The next paragraph is going to use a word I hate using a lot - a word that reminds me of Stephen “I’m an atheist!!!!!” Fry: “Charm”. The game oozes it. From the wonderfully bare soundtrack (Usually only using piano and/or strings), The Cutest Video Game Dog Of 2014™, and the not-quite-simlish grunts the main characters make, I loved every minute of the game.
Couple that with a setting not often used in games, the first world war, as a narrative tool instead of a reason to shoot faceless soldiers, featuring factoids about the war that grounded the game, reminding you that while the game is cute, the war was fucking terrible and it actually caused me to have a nightmare about mustard gas.
Not many games have me thinking about them when I’m done, but this one did. Proof that Ubisoft can actually do interesting things occasionally.
And you can pet your dog.
Best game that made me remember that Nintendo actually know what they’re doing: Mario Kart 8
Hey, have this hot take: I never liked Mario Kart. I thought the SNES game controlled like garbage and looked like hot garbage. The Nintendo 64 version had that block fort stage, and destroying my friend’s balloons was incredibly satisfying but apart from that, it once again controlled like garbage and managed to look even more like hot garbage. It wasn’t until Double Dash rolled (AHAH follow me on twitter dot com for more great jokes like this one) around did I actually pay attention to Mario Kart.
Nintendo have basically managed to make the best kart racing game ever. A genre no one cares about (If I see anyone mention that Crash Bandicoot kart game, it’s easy to assume they were 8 when it came out), or at least hasn’t cared about since 1998, has been made fun again by tight controls and probably the smoothest running game of this gen.
Hey other companies, take note; 60fps rules.
Hey Nintendo, take note; Make “Nintendo Kart” next. Do it. DO IT.
BLOCKED RT @jumbso Bayonetta 2
Just think; This game shouldn’t exist.
Character action games are not the king they were five(?) years ago. The high skill ceiling and often ridiculous plots don’t really sell in a market where casual is king (This is not a criticism - as we all get older, we all have less time on our hands and would rather shoot some dumb males on xbox live instead of sitting down and learning unique combat mechanics). Bayonetta 2 was doomed to never be released, but Nintendo saved it. And I’m glad they did.
I don’t really have an opinion on the needless crotch-shots of the game (I’ll let the smarter, actually-female feminists argue over that one), but no one can deny Bayonetta, the character, has style. In the first game I started to become fatigued by the story in the latter part of the game, but in Bayonetta 2 it actually gets crazier and crazier until the end, I actually wanted to see what bullshit they would come up with next.
Me writing about the combat mechanics would do this game disservice; I found them to be incredibly deep and satisfying, but I will never understand them on a level huge fans of the genre do, so I’ll refrain. But it’s a fun game, and you get to whip dudes with your hair and flip them around the screen and shit, what isn’t fun about that???
Putting this game in my list is probably cheating, but I don’t give a fuck: Kentucky Route Zero
I’m also going to cheat with this one: You should all just read what Carolyn Petit wrote about the game, over at:http://agameofme.tumblr.com/post/104474043207/my-favorite-games-of-2014
She sums up perfectly how I feel about the third act (And the first and second), and I feel talking about it would not do it any favours.
Best game that idiots on hobbyist gaming websites will call “Mobile Casual Trash”: Monument Valley
This game is the first mobile game in a long time that has actually grabbed my attention on the level of a “full” game. From the minimalist yet charming art style, puzzles which become INFURIATING, and lovely music, it’s a game everyone should play (And it’s only… 3 bucks! Or something! The price of 12 big mac meals!)
Best game that everyone is playing an inferior clone of: Threes!
Hey you casual scrublords, 2048 is a bad clone without any of the cool music or sound effects and if you play 2048 instead of Threes! please stop playing games and I bet you thought the C64 version of pacman was a good version well toodle-oo
Best game that made me draw things all over my disgusting flesh: With Those We Love Alive
This is the latest twine game from the person with the best twitter account, Porpentine.
Without spoiling anything, it tells a strange story of a romance in a very strange setting. But (Especially for a text only game) The sense of dread followed by a sense of urgency is incredibly well done, with an amazing soundtrack. Twine rules, Porpentine Rules.
Best game that I didn’t expect to be in a “best of” list in the year 2014: Wolfenstein
I’m really fucking bored of shooters. For the last three years, it’s been the same shit over and over again, super cool dude shoots a bunch of faceless dudes becoming king dude.
Wolfenstein doesn’t do anything different. You’re a big muscly dude, who has to shoot a bunch of nazis, while protecting a woman, with a bad sex scene in it.
But the shooting mechanics are just so damn good - you have an option for running in guns blazing, or using an incredibly basic stealth system. The stealth system actually works really well BECAUSE it’s simple - most levels started as me sneaking in, until I was discovered, then mowing everyone down.
Not mentioning the great writing and world building found in notes you can find littered around the world.
Best co-op experience: Divinity: Original sin
Best Assassin’s Creed game: Shadows of Mordor
Best rerelease: Sleepy Dawgs