Karthas's GoTY 2014: An Immersive Open-World Adventure Rated M for Mature

So before I get started, I should make one thing clear: I have horrible tastes. Really, really horrible tastes which should make themselves evident shortly into this list. So if you're looking for a list compiled by someone with only the most refined of gaming palate then you are in for a massive disappointment.

Secondly, my list will be slightly different- as I've said in other posts, due to my years of crippling World of Warcraft addiction I frequently get to games long after the zeitgeist has moved on so a few of these games are from 2013 if not earlier.

Now that that's out of the way, here are the top games of *MY* 2014!

List items

  • PS4: Though I hate it when people bash on games for being linear, open-world games are my jam. There's just nothing like spacing out and parkouring from minimap objective to minimap objective. It's even better when there are orcs between the chests and flowers and such to brutalize and dominate. Though I think the Nemesis system tends to get a bit overhyped, it was compelling enough to make it fun to play orcish politics and develop some genuine grudges.

  • PC: (and Mists of Pandaria). I'm a WoW junkie. I've played since Closed Beta, it'd be crazy to stop at this point (or maybe it's crazy to keep going?". While I'm not on board with all the changes (professions are in a weird mostly-useless space now, no compelling reason to run Heroics once you've gotten geared) Garrisons alone have revitalized the game and added another layer of gameplay. Granted, it's just another time-gated "companion-app"-ish bit, but it's still fun. Hopefully the forthcoming patches will add on to the foundation laid here and we won't end up with another year-plus of sitting at one version level.

  • PS3: Take GTA, give it interesting "Batman"-esque combat and a story that's just not about taking the piss out of Western culture and make it good and you've got Sleeping Dogs. I loved this game enough to get the Platinum on PS3 and I've had to restrain myself from buying it again on PS4.

  • PS4: My dirty (not so) secret is I LOVE Assassin's Creed. The gameplay and the story just trigger these little pleasure centers in my brain that defy reason. And it's not as though I've been playing these since the beginning either- I played through the entire series just last year (back to back!). I am one of the horrible people that enable atrocities like the Unity launch this year as any attempt to scratch the itch I feel when I think of running around an open world stabbing people and looting chests are a near-instant buy. It's even better when it includes pirates and arcade-y ship combat. Also: SEA SHANTIES. Did you know the companion app will let you play any shanty you've collected on you phone? At any time?! LOWLANDS. LOWLANDS AWAY ME JOHN.

  • PS4: This would probably be higher on the list if it were only a little longer. But if you're looking for a beatiful romp through a Seattle-esque city as a Super Hero/Villain, you can't beat Second Son.

  • PS4: This one makes the list for a couple reasons. 1: Open World adventure. 2: I actually work in the "Information Security" industry, so something that speaks to that and plays on themes we deal with every day is pretty fun. And I actually enjoyed it despite the massive piling-on it got. Which, to be fair was pretty much Watch Dog's own fault- nothing could have lived up to the massive levels of hype generated for this title. Here's hoping the inevitable sequel will drive the gameplay and story forward.

  • PS3: I told you there'd be some old games on here. This was part of my late-spring, early summer push to clear out some old games while WoW languished in the same raid tier FOREVER. The story evoked some old memories of playing Final Fantasy 2/4 on the SNES (and now we're going to the moon!). I even played through and enjoyed the "Epilogue" DLC which helped to sew up some plot holes left by the main story. Altogether still worthwhile if you're into classing JRPGs.

  • Vita: Continuing down the JRPG hole is Demon Gaze, a dungeon-crawly first -person RPG for the Vita. Once I started this one I pretty much didn't set it down till I was finished. Sure, the story is a little weird, and there's the expected fan service in spots, but you pretty much expect that going into it. Past all of that however is a great game with good mechanics and a whole lot of dungeon to explore.

  • 3DS: More, MORE JRPG. If someone ever successfully weds open-world adventures and JRPGs together then I am in a world of hurt. I've loved the Etrian Odyssey series since it's inception (I have all but 2), so this trip back to the original was nice. This game is a great example of what an "HD Remake" can be- it takes the bones of the original game and updates it with a lot of the features added into the series as it has gone on. The voice acting isn't terrible either. It's not great, and they lean on the generic "Huh?!" "Yes!" "*Character name!*" responses, but then it is a handheld game on a cartridge just bigger than a quarter so I can cut them some slack there.

  • Vita: DDR for your fingers with catchy music performed by robots. I didn't stray far from the Rhythm game into the weird "Play house with robots" sections of the game. I've completed all the songs on Hard, but I think Extreme is simply beyond my aging finger joints.

  • PC: (Honorable Mention)- I've only gotten into Titanfall recently (a Black Friday Origin sale), but so far I've enjoyed what I've played of it so far but I could see it getting old after awhile. If the sequel comes to PS4 I'll probably pick it up there. Hopefully they add in a simple offline campaign mode- they clearly have the tech built out after a fashion with the Frontier Defense mode, just populate some bots and let me test out things in a less stressful environment.

  • PS4: (Honorable Mention) I played THE HELL out of this version of the game, and it should probably have made it's way into my top-10 if I hadn't played the hell out of it on PC. Still a very solid (if not in some ways superior) version of the game.

  • PS4: (Honorable Mention) What did I tell you? Horrible taste, enabler, etc etc. I think I made the smartest move available to me when I held off on playing the game for a few weeks after release once I heard the reports and saw the endless news stories all with the same copy/paste picture of horrible deformed child Elise. There are still some pretty bad bugs (I joined a co-op misson recently and there was a solid chunk of time where I couldn't attack or be attacked, which made for some interesting tactics where I would run into crowds to distract and confuse them), but it's been fairly solid. And there's no end of activities to partake of in the game- some would say too much, but there's no such thing in my vocabulary.

  • PS4/Vita (Honorable Mention)- Like Diablo 3, this likely would have made the list if I hadn't played hundreds of hours on the PC last year. As such, I just couldn't get into it much on the Vita/PS4. But it's still there, taunting me.