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Xavier Woods' Top 10 Games of 2014

The WWE's top PhD candidate gives his dissertation on the top 10 games of 2014.

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Xavier Woods has not one, but two degrees, a masters, is currently working on his PhD, and already has collected a doctorate in Double Dash!!. Woods is also blazing a trail through the WWE kicking grown men in the face as a member of The New Day. Leaving a trail of broken bones and broken hearts in his wake, Woods carries many other accolades with him as well, such as: an award for most costume changes in one DragonCon weekend, Best Black Non-Canon Cyclops Cosplay (he swears that there were more entries than just himself), giving Saban the rights to his life story (which they used to create Zack Taylor), and the all-time record for most opponent rage quits in Mortal Kombat II (you can't hang with his Liu Kang). You can find him on Twitter, on Instagram, and at TheNPCCollective.

Honorable Mentions:

These games are so good, but just missed making my list. Horror games, GTFO! They are terrifying, and I love them.

10. Vainglory

Starting off hot with... a cell phone game... what? If you've got an iPhone then you've probably got it surgically implanted into your palm. Mobile gaming has been on the rise for a good while now and the games are getting better and better. This one is particularly good. It's a MOBA game that's really easy to pick up and looks amazing for being in the palm of your hand. You jump online into a three person team that goes up against another. You essentially are trying to fight your way to their base in order to destroy it. It's fast paced and is pretty much all strategy. Some other online games can get frustrating when those who have leveled and been playing for a while seem unbeatable. This set-up where you are constantly starting over from scratch each time you play really gives people the chance to get good at the strategy aspect and learn how to use their resources in the most effective manner possible. Really fun to play with friends if you need to burn 20 minutes waiting to pick people up from the airport or if you just wanna spend some extra time on the toilet.

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9. Hyrule Warriors

I have an unconditional love for anything Dynasty Warriors that will never die. They could forever continue making the same beat-'em-up with new skins and I'll buy it every single time. The developers always manage to add some new aspect that brings a lot to the game and they definitely did that with Hyrule Warriors. Whenever someone puts Link in a game that isn't Zelda we really get to see how badass he can be. There is just something about rocking a tunic that says, "Hey, I'm cool, watch me cut this grass and throw these pots #RupeeLife".

This game is really solid, and has a great cast of characters which gives you a great opportunity to play as lots of personalities that we never thought that we would get the chance to play as. There is also an interesting leveling system where you get to choose how you want to level and when. I mean eventually you want everything anyway but it's cool to feel like you have a choice. One thing that I liked a lot about it that was different from the other Dynasty Warriors games was how fast the characters are! If you have played them before then you know about slowly getting around the map when you are trying to up your K.O. count. Also, when your friends need help, they really need help so you better get there sooner rather than later or you will fail that mission.

If you've been on the fence about this one, I think you should give it a shot. It won't take you forever to get through it, and I had a ton of fun with it.

8. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

I was late to the Hearthstone train and was pretty mad at myself when I realized how amazing it was. This is a card game made by Blizzard (Mmmm Starcraft... *drool*), so it's hardly a surprise that this turned out to be great. You get to pick from a few different characters that each have a unique power. As you play it then you'll figure which one best suits your play style, but all of them have their pros and cons. It's fairly simple and easy to play but it is beyond satisfying to crush someone online. There is a button that you can press to essentially give up and there is no greater feeling than when you've got someone cornered and they don't even wanna see it play out. They submit to your will and you can go about the rest of your day knowing that they are at home wallowing in their grief.

7. Titanfall

You're telling me that i can pilot a giant mech that can dash and shoot missiles? Wait, you're also telling me that i can be a soldier on foot that double jumps then wall-runs and then jumps onto the top of said mech and rides it like a bull while I rip out its internal wiring? YES PLEASE. MUCH YES. VERY PLEASE.

Titanfall is so sick. It's a super fun game with a really cool concept. If you grew up in the '90s then you hopefully watched ExoSquad or you had a love affair with Gundam Wing and are still listening to the Endless Waltz OST ("Rhythm Emotion" is the best song on it) which means that you have forever and always wanted to pilot a mech. The online play is super competitive which is nice, especially for those who are fans of hearing 12-year-old boys rage quit. Get out of here kid, don't you have an overdue book report to work on?

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6. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Give me a third person game where I can shoot arrows at people (Yes I would love a Dynasty Warriors: Hunger Games... actually, that may be the best idea ever) and I'm happy. What really makes this game for me is the lore and the music. I'm not sure if there is another non-MMO game that has lore as interesting as that of the Dragon Age world. It's super in-depth. It's all skippable, but the fact that the writers put so much into the story for those who do want to dig through it is great. Then there's the soundtrack. It's as if they gave angels instruments and recorded their jam sessions. Its all perfect, all of it, perfect use of music. And don't even get me started on the bard songs. If you haven't noticed them, then next time you're playing, go to a pub, search for a bard, and just stand and listen to them. You won't be disappointed.

5. Shovel Knight

My buddy says to me, "You know how you are obsessed with Mega Man? Well there's this game that's just like Mega Man but instead of a blaster you have a shovel!" Needless to say I thought that sounded ridiculous but I gave it a shot anyway and good god am I glad I did. This is one of the best games I've ever played in my life. It's got the old school graphics and gameplay which give you that nostalgia feel. Awesome music, too. Basically, if you give me good gameplay and good music then I'm in (shout out to NiGHTS into Dreams...). Plus you get to save the love of your life in some really cool dream sequences.

Really fun game, and the fact that you can play it on that large Wii U GamePad screen and don't even need a TV is a huge plus, too!

4. Mario Kart 8

I think it's well-established canon that I am by far the greatest Mario Kart: Double Dash!! player to ever walk the Earth. However, that is not the case for Mario Kart 8, as I quickly found out once I started playing it. There isn't a whole lot that I can say about it; it's Mario Kart, so of course it's good. But I will use this forum to voice my dismay regarding the total lack of Diddy Kong in the game. Diddy Kong is so good that he once had his own racing game (I wouldn't be mad if they made a new one) but he is nowhere to be found in this game. Granted I love being able to pick from all of the worthless Koopa kids, so that's one for the good guys. I will admit that i have definitely played as Black Yoshi more than once, purely because I love seeing "Black Yoshi" in the first place.

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3. Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved

If you enjoy music at all in any capacity then you'll love this game. Harmonix really hit a home run with this one. For those of you who don't like to move around much and don't play dance games, this is totally for you! You don't have to jump around as you would with other music games. You just use your arms to conduct a symphony of sound as if you were Beethoven. The movements are simple and small, so you won't necessarily have to shower after you play (not like you would after playing "Paranoia" in DDR). The point of the game is to create your own music using the instruments and music that you are able to select from.

You never play the same exact song twice, it's always a new experience which throws the replay value through the roof. Plus it's admittedly pretty sweet to create a dubstep version of Elton John's "Rocket Man".

2. Destiny

I, like I imagine many of you, got this game at launch and played it till my eyeballs bled. Constantly leveling (Warlock 4-life!) and running Vault of Glass, sniping, sliding and blowing people away with my shotgun, and of course making sure that I've got a sick ship to fly around the galaxy. When you enter the crucible and lay down nothing but destruction it just makes you smile because you know that the rage is just boiling. Then you seek out the same guy over and over and unleash ice breaker on him until his rage runneth over. As you level your character you can also level your weapons to an extent, which is pretty cool. Making the sacrifice of scrapping one gun to make another one better, and deciding that you absolutely have to play every day so you can do your dailies are just some of the kinds of decisions that you'll have to make if you decide to play this game, which I suggest everyone go do right now!

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1. Final Fantasy XIV

This game has been out for a while, but this year it made its way to PS4. I have dabbled in MMO games here and there but none of them ever really kept me around past the first two or three months. My thought was that if I'm going to be paying a monthly fee to play this then it had better be the greatest game of all time. But then I also witnessed my college roomate succumb to WoW. He lost his girlfriend, he feigned pneumonia so he wouldn't have to go to class, he almost broke my metal arcade style DDR pads (unrelated, but I'm still mad about it), and on top of all that he ended up failing out of college in our senior year. He missed too many classes because of his WoW addiction. This cautionary tale has, thus far, kept me away from the genre. Still, I decided to give Final Fantasy XIV a shot because Square-Enix has never done me wrong, and I knew they wouldn't let anything bad happen to me.

When I started playing I realized that I wanted to be fully immersed in this world so I saved my money and decided to use it wisely. By that I mean i bought an 80 inch TV and a sound bar with a wireless sub. Then I was ready to play. This is one of the most interactive, fun, beautiful, all of the above games that I have ever played in my life. The soundtrack is amazing and every song fits every scenario. There are times I just play the music at my house while I'm doing my homework cause it's that good. The best thing about this game is that it can be played across platforms! That means that if your buddies have it on PC then you can still play it with them even if you're on PS4! That was a huge selling point considering there are millions of people that already play it.

Also considering that I travel so much I got a gaems case which is essentially a briefcase with a built in TV. You put your console in there and voila! You now have a sweet portable console set up. I play when I'm stuck at the airport and I play when I'm at hotels. If I'm not at work or doing things for school then I'm playing this game. It really is that good. There are tons of classes, quests, people, areas, monsters, weapons, potions, materials, foods, and just everything. So if you don't have it then get it on either PC or PS4 and you'll thank me once you do because this is the greatest game of 2014.