Top Ten Games of 2014

2014 was a decent year for video games. Here are my favorites.

List items

  • Another year, another GOTY from Platinum Games. Thought I briefly considered giving the top slot to either Ace Attorney Investigations 2 or Ground Zeroes, Bayonetta 2 was simply too good to give anything other than first place. There are no down points in Bayo 2. From the moment the intro starts to the post credits stinger Bayonetta 2 only wavers between good and fantastic, never falling into the occasional slog like the first game did. The combat is amazing, the cutscenes are fantastic, and the game is crammed full of content. I "only" played through the game thrice this year, but I'm still planning on returning to it for several more. A must have if you own a Wii U, and the best reason to buy the console if you don't.

  • So a fan translation of Gyakuten Kenji 2, or "Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations: Prosecutor's Path" came out this year, and as a long time Ace Attorney fan I was thrilled to finally get to play this entry that had been passed up for American audiences. While memories of the lackluster original Ace Attorney Investigations and underwhelming Dual Destinies lowered my expectations, Prosecutor's Path ended up being one of my favorite games of the year, and the second best entry in the franchise in my opinion, losing out only to the original and that's largely due to nostalgia. Prosecutor's Path improves upon the original Investigations in several ways, with much better pacing between investigation and interrogation sections, an overarching plot that actually connects all five cases in the game together, and memorable new characters that the fan team did a great job localizing. Despite being unofficially translated, the Gyakuten Kenji 2 translation patch feels more like an official Ace Attorney game to me than the last officially released entry did. A must play for fans of the franchise.

  • A lot of people complained when Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes came out and it turned out you could beat the main mission in an hour or so. There were a handful of other missions included in the game, but seeing all the content would still only take you an afternoon or two. This didn't stop me from sinking over forty hours into the 360 release, and another dozen or so into the PC version later in the year. I'm not usually one for time trial modes, but the brevity of Ground Zeroes' missions made me run Ground Zeroes various "trials" over and over again trying to improve my times and climb the leaderboards. Ground Zeroes also has the best gameplay the series has ever had, even if it's missing some of the wackier elements like cardboard boxes or dozens of weapons to mess around with. I'm eagerly anticipating the release of Phantom Pain, and am glad Kojima gave us this small slice of the game to play over and over again and make the wait easier.

  • If you'd asked me in January what I thought my GOTY would be this year, I would have said Smash Bros. While Brawl ended up being underwhelming, Sakurai was saying all the right things about the new entry, and I was hopeful Smash for Wii U would have the same breadth of content and depth Melee did. While the game is a huge improvement over Brawl, it's unfortunately still not quite there yet. Break the Targets and Adventure mode are still missing, and while event mode was better than Brawl's it still doesn't live up to Melee's. On the gameplay front there's more combo viability in this one, but the game is simply too defensive, with far too many "safe" moves that aren't punishable. The online is still a disappointment as well, with "For Glory" mode being a joke that doesn't take into account the advantages flat stages give some characters over others. Have you ever been playing For Glory, and ended up against somebody just spamming projectiles with no good way for you to get in? That's the reason tournaments use stages with platforms. Still, Smash for Wii U is a fun game, and even though I fell off after about a month I'll probably pick it back up from time to time.

  • A simple concept that basically mashes together Smash Brothers with Pong, Lethal League is a fantastically fun game that I sunk at least a dozen hours into playing online. Unfortunately the developers screwed themselves over by putting a level progression system in. While they thankfully didn't lock any meaningful content behind leveling up (a concept I've never understood), the second I maxed out my level I no longer had any desire to play the game. Had they not included a leveling system I'd still probably be playing this game fairly regularly, but they unfortunately set up the perfect opportunity to stop playing and I took it. Still, a fantastic game and I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

  • I don't have too much to say about Danganronpa 2 or its predecessor. With how much of a following this series has gained online I was expecting something much better than what I got, but I still enjoyed both Danganronpa and its sequel. I ended up liking the second one better due to what I felt was a stronger cast of characters, or at least less characters that I hated than the first, but both were pretty solid stories. These games aren't nearly as good as Ace Attorney though, and I'd sacrifice the entire series in a heartbeat for Zero Escape 3.

  • See above.

  • After watching the Velvet Sundown quick look I ended up playing a few rounds of Velvet Sundown myself, and had a pretty fun time with it. I never quite figured out how the mechanics of the game work or fulfilled my goals, but it was a fun time. Unfortunately because the game relies on other people I haven't been able to get into a match the last several times I've checked up on the game, but one day I'll probably just convince a group of friends to all get online at the same time.

  • Mario Kart is Mario Kart. It's still not as good as Sonic Racing Transformed, but it's pretty good. I really like the F-Zero DLC.

  • I've played about an hour of this and it seems decent. Between both Danganronpas and the Gyakuten Kenji 2 fan translation I was kind of visual noveled out by the time I got around to this one unfortunately. Definitely want to continue to play it though.