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Will Smith's Top 10 Games of 2014

Big Willie tells us all about the 10 games that passed The Test in 2014.

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Will is the editor of Tested.com. Alex will likely insert a Will Smith, the actor joke here. [Editor's Note: You don't know me. You don't know what I'm going to do.] He's @willsmith on Twitter if you'd like to complain about his list.

Here are my favorite games released in 2014, in no particular order. I have a kid, so I automatically skip most games that you can’t pause (Dark Souls II, most multiplayer stuff) or anything that’s going to take more than a handful of hours to complete. On that tip, I should have put Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag on my list last year, but I didn't get to play it in time. If you forced me to pick a favorite game that I played in 2014, it would probably be Spelunky.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Humanizing the bad guys made Shadow of Mordor much more entertaining than the kind of cannon fodder you face in most open world games. Mordor's Nemesis system let me build a lasting relationship with many of the bosses. The first time I met an orc I thought I had slain and saw the results of our last meeting on his face, literally, I was taken aback.

The open-world nature of combat in Mordor works perfectly with the Nemesis system. Fighting orcs who call for help resulted in some ridiculous, five-way boss battles, and distinguished Mordor’s combat from its Batman origins. Despite killing seemingly hundreds of unique bosses, there were always more orcs waiting to be promoted, and they seemingly all had a unique character design and set of voiced lines. Shadow of Mordor punched way above its weight.

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Transistor

The folks at SuperGiant Games make the best tech trees. At first glance, the tech tree in Transitor is terrifying. Each Function you find can not only serve as a weapon, it's also can be a power up for other weapons, an active effect for the player, or a passive bonus for the player. It starts out simple, but I felt like the choices provide enough variety to construct a character that suits any play style, and the challenge rooms encourage you to experiment while providing some basic guidance. And I’m always a sucker for games that include a new game plus mode. I would have played Transistor for its mechanics alone, but the gorgeous art, haunting soundtrack, and exceptional voice acting made this one of my favorite games of 2014.

Super Time Force Ultra

There's a thing that happens after you've played enough Super Time Force, where you stop seeing the platforms and bullets and bad guys and instead actually see through time. STF requires you to use time travel and cast of kooky characters to traverse levels using your past lives as cover. That makes for a compelling game on its own, even if you just use brute force to mow through the levels. But once you suss out the full implications of time manipulation, the game shines. It's just satisfying to navigate a level with finesse and end the level with a bunch of extra lives.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park came out in February, which seems like about 200,000 years ago. It’s been so long since I played the game that all I remember was that it was delightfully offensive and hilarious, frequently at the same time. There’s a sex scene that will be etched in my memory forever, and I enjoyed the surprising wealth of meta jokes about Skyrim.

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80 Days

As Phileas Fogg's valet, Passepartout, you must help your master circumnavigate the world to win a wager. 80 Days turns the classic Jules Verne adventure into an expansive mash up of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, a Japanese dating sim, and a Dope-Wars-esque economic simulator. The challenge of managing your finances, keeping Fogg's spirits up, and making route decisions with limited information have kept me playing 80 Days, even after successfully completing my journey.

Five Tribes

The board games I love the most are quick to learn, include random elements in the initial game state, and allow for complex strategies to develop in each game. Five Tribes' meets all of my criteria. Its rules are simple enough to pick up in about five minutes, and the goal is easy to understand--collect territory by clearing workers from the board while preventing your competitors from doing the same. Whether you win or lose, the game is eminently satisfying. Five Tribes is quick to set up and each game taking about an hour, which makes it the perfect length for a quick game after dinner with my wife.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

This year's Wolfenstein reboot was a pleasant surprise, despite some tonal dissonance. Even though the hyper-serious dialog and the generally grim setting (alternate-history Europe where the Nazis won World War II ain’t fun) don't really gel with the kitschy settings and cartoonish weapons that pop up late in the game, Wolfenstein is notable for its execution. The addition of commanders who summon reinforcements when they spot you adds some light stealth gameplay to most combat scenarios without being a hindrance to having fun. And of course, the actual shooting is exactly what I expect from a modern Wolfenstein game, complete with over-the-top weapons and the ability to dual-wield pretty much any of them. Pew, pew, pew indeed.

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Mario Kart 8

This is the first Mario Kart I've played for more than a couple of weeks since the N64 edition. The tracks are brilliant and the mechanical changes to the game have improved it. I started playing Mario Kart on the SNES and fell in love with it on the N64, but after several months of regular play, I'm confident enough to say that Mario Kart 8 is my favorite entry in the series.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad is my favorite co-op game this year. The absurd tale of the octopus disguised as a man, who in actuality is a secret agent. The premise is ridiculous. Even sillier? The controls. The game frequently asks you to perform relatively precise actions using controls that are intentionally unwieldy with hilarious results. It gets even better in two-player mode, when one player takes control of Octodad's right tentacles and the other picks up the left side. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to finish Octodad in co-op, because my co-op partner can't stop laughing hysterically long enough to actually play the game.

Captain Toad's: Treasure Tracker

This is what a Mario Bros. game would be if your character couldn't jump. Instead of leaping over obstacles, you have to figure out a way to bypass them. Removing Mario's focus on jumping makes Toad accessible to people who aren't capable of the unforgiving platforming of a modern Mario game, but collecting all the items on each level is just as fiendishly difficult as it is in Super Mario 3D World. While I haven't had time to finish the game yet, I love what I've played so far, and hope it was successful enough that Nintendo will continue making more.

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Desert Golfing

Golf. Golf never changes. No really. It never changes. Desert Golfing is an existential cry for help. I'm just not sure if it's me crying or the person who made the game. What I do know is that I'm a thousand holes into a game of golf and I don't think it's going to finish, but I can't stop playing. The core game loop is satisfying, and I usually play between 5 and 10 holes before I move on to something else. On the plus side, Desert Golfing hasn't inspired the kind of I-can't-stop-playing-please-let-me-stop dread that I've experienced after playing other super-sticky iOS games.

Games that I thought came out in 2014, but really came out in 2013: Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Games that I thought came out in 2014, but really come out in 2015: #IDARB

Old games that I spent a bunch of time playing because of awesome ports or rereleases: Diablo III, Spelunky, TIE Fighter, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

iOS games that helped to fill the void when I stopped playing FTL: Out There and Space Age

Board games that I really enjoyed playing iPad versions of: Agricola, Lords of Waterdeep, Suburbia

The physical board games I played the most in 2014: 7 Wonders, Lords of Waterdeep, Terra Mystica, Five Tribes, Guts of Glory, Eclipse, Coup

Games that are responsible for arguments with my wife any time we play: Nidhogg, Samurai Gunn, TowerFall Ascension, SpeedRunners, Mount Your Friends,

Games that I’m planning to play during the break and will probably regret leaving off this list when I look at it next year: Dragon Age: Inquisition, Elite: Dangerous, This War of Mine

74 Comments

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Zalera

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The greatest of all Will Smiths.

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forteexe21

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The only intro needed for Will Smith.

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Edited By AMyggen

Adam from Tested!

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Cerberus3Dog

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Edited By Cerberus3Dog

Alex will likely insert a Will Smith, the actor joke here. [Editor's Note: You don't know me. You don't know what I'm going to do.]

Don't worry, Giant Bomb staff. The GB community is here for this.

The Fresh Prince's Top 10 Games of Twenty and Fourteen... :belair

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billymaysrip

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Great list! Now that it's on at least 3 goty lists, I'll probably have to check out 80 Days, huh. I really wish Scoops still did the Spelunky stuff so that I could guffaw at Will's scores on the daily.

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conmulligan

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Edited By conmulligan

Men in Black is a good film.

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bloodsoul5

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The only intro needed for Will Smith.

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so so good. Whiskey media was the shit. You should be on more GB content will. :P

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DrSbaitso

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While glad to see Wolfenstein on here, I don't agree with how he felt about the serious tone not meshing with the outlandish weapons and settings. That was what made the game such a surprise and, quite frankly, so damn good in that they struck that balance between drama and camp SO well.

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baka_shinji17

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Edited By baka_shinji17

Welcome to erf!

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mackgyver

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Edited By mackgyver

Tested Represent!

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AlwaysBeClothing

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Was looking for the Spelunky hat tip, was not disappointed. Also board game nod!

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AMyggen

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Super Time Force is one of those games I will never understand why I disliked. Just couldn't get into it, even though it sounds amazing on paper.

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AstoriaSky

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wow, the celebrity gets this year!

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virtorio

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The Fresh Prince doesn't believe in numbered lists.

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Milkman

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Okay, enough people have put this 80 Days game on their list. I'm gonna play it.

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AlexanderSheen

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I'm sorry, but it's been a long time since I have seen this meme.

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2HeadedNinja

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Will has a really good taste in board games :) ... I really really really hope GB2015 will bring us more board-game-stuff.

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climax

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S/O to all of Tested!

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dannyglover

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In a Top 10 games list, Will Smith manages to list 40 games in his pursuit of happyness.

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TheHT

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SSully

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Will has a really good taste in board games :) ... I really really really hope GB2015 will bring us more board-game-stuff.

It actually makes me super jealous because I have the opportunity to actually play board games maybe 3 times a year. Will and Norm always talk about such cool board games on the Tested podcast and I never have a chance to try any out!

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Rhombus_Of_Terror

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Wait, when the HELL does Desert Golfing go green? O____O

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2HeadedNinja

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@ssully said:

@2headedninja said:

Will has a really good taste in board games :) ... I really really really hope GB2015 will bring us more board-game-stuff.

It actually makes me super jealous because I have the opportunity to actually play board games maybe 3 times a year. Will and Norm always talk about such cool board games on the Tested podcast and I never have a chance to try any out!

I have a board-game-thingy once a month. If you are not too shy try local gaming stores, they often have events for that. There are so many really awesome games that are worth playing. I just yesterday played the board-game version of Civilization :)

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fobwashed

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Edited By fobwashed
I play a lot of Destiny.
I play a lot of Destiny.

Destiny is suspiciously missing from a lot of lists this year.

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grilledcheez

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80 days seems kinda cool, I would have never heard of it if I hadn't checked Will's list!

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Getz

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@fobwashed: I'll be curious to see if it lands on Brad's list.

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cooljammer00

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Great list! Now that it's on at least 3 goty lists, I'll probably have to check out 80 Days, huh. I really wish Scoops still did the Spelunky stuff so that I could guffaw at Will's scores on the daily.

IIRC, Will does stream every once in a while. If you want to laugh at him, watch those.

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cooljammer00

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@milkman said:

Okay, enough people have put this 80 Days game on their list. I'm gonna play it.

Well Alex tweeted that it's pushing something off his top 10 list, and we know Samantha Kalman and Will Smith have it on there. Who else?

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NeoCalypso

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Edited By NeoCalypso

I'm sorry but the rerelease of Tie Fighter was not awesome. They screwed up both versions of the game they put in that package.

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Naoiko

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Edited By Naoiko

Awesome list =)

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Benjo

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Thanks for including some board games for us tabletop lovers out there. Agricola and Suburbia are some of the all time greats.

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Sessh

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Edited By Sessh

Very nice lists, will have to check out some of those board games.

@getz: The only curious thing about that will be the placement.

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hassun

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You're not the boss of Alex, Will.

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guyver0

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Glad to see 80days getting some love in these personal top tens.

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futurstock

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stream more Spelunky will! the city of gold awaits.

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forrester90

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Will Smith here to show us how to get jiggy wit it.

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Afroofdoom

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Props to Will for brining the 80 Days love. If you've got an Android or iOS device you should really check it out, it's fantastic

The only intro needed for Will Smith.

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I doesn't matter how many times I see this, it never fails to crack me up.

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Xealot42

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Edited By Xealot42

Awesome, just noticed that 80 days is out on android so I no longer have a reason not to buy it!

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jeez, Desert Golfing spoilers!

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BigDaddyTool

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I also played a lot of Coup this year, and I would love to see Big Willie Style guest star on another GB Unplugged where they play it.

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PerfidiousSinn

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Wait, Desert Golfing turns green at some point?! Outrageous!

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Jayzilla

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the spooger strikes again with a solid list for a dad!

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KingdanglerBK

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elite in dk2 is just the best add voice attack and it becomes next wordily

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Earthen

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Isn't Will's daughter like pushing 20 by now?

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MostlySquares

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7 wonders is such a spectacular card game. So different from the other card games out there.

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cornbredx

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You know... if you exit the game in Dark Souls 2 it saves you exactly where you are. That's sort of like pausing =P

Seriously, though. Great list.

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Spiritof

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Will's wife argues with him when they try to play "Mount Your Friends".

Huh!

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Corevi

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Edited By Corevi

Finally Transistor on a list, I knew you were the best Will Smith.

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The only intro needed for Will Smith.

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Aww man... I really miss Ryan

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@sveppi said:

@forteexe21 said:

The only intro needed for Will Smith.

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Aww man... I really miss Ryan

The internet never forgets this incident!