GOTY 2014

List items

  • Its not a revolution as much as a rejuvenation. It brought me back to a series that had kinda fallen out of grace in the last few years. It doesn't do that much new, but it does everything a Mario Kart game should do, extremely well. From the fully orchestrated soundtrack to the frenetic 60 fps display of old and new tracks alike. What makes it so good, however, is that the gameplay loop behind it all is endlessly satisfying and hundreds of hours later still brings a smile to my face.

  • What does a sequel to a game that is, perhaps your favorite of all time, need to do to be successful? In case of Bayonetta 2, if they just took the first game and made some new stages I probably would have been gleefully hacking my way through it countless times, just like the first one all over again. Not content with merely that Platinum manages to make Bayonetta crazier, more bombastic and more open for new players than the first one all while still being that tight and awe inducing action game that the first one was. While I am not prepared to say whether its better than the first one, its a fantastic game that proves yet again that no one makes action games like Platinum.

  • A few minor gripes aside, Isolation is excellent. Not only is it the best liscensed game the Alien franchise has ever had, it is also a terrifying horror game. One that captures exactly what made the original film great. Its almost absurd the level of detail on display here. You feel like you are in the movies, its one of the most beautiful games of the year, capturing that 80's future look of the movies to perfection. Getting stalked by a Xenomorph has never been so pretty and terrifying at the same time.

  • To me this is the finest entry in the Donkey Kong series yet. Donkey Kong Country Returns was excellent, Tropical Freeze one ups that game in every way imaginable. David Wise is back, providing us with the best soundtrack of the year. The platforimg is tighter and more challenging than ever and the level design is so inventive and varied that it leaves me astonished at how one of the oldest type of games, in 2d platformers, can feel so fresh. Bravo Retro.

  • While the content might be a bit on the sparse side, what makes Ground Zeroes work is the solid foundation of the gameplay. The open ended design and depth of the gameplay makes each mission approachable in many different ways. Trying to get that perfect run is very challenging but immensely satisfying once you pull it off. On the other end, finding new ways to take advantage of the AI is also tons of fun.

  • My favorite Warriors game, and I know how polarizing the series can be so it might not say much to some. I however really like the Warriors games and this one is my favorite so far. While Warriors games usually live and die by their characters and the variations, and by that margin this would have been lackluster, it easily makes up for it by every character being someone familiar from games that I love dearly. It wont win over anyone that has disliked the series previously, its a damn fine entry for fans. One that manages to be filled with fan service without resorting to pandering.

  • While not as memorable as the original, Dark Souls II still impresses with its almost ridiculous amount of bosses. The core of the Souls series is still great, even if virtually unchanged and still manages to entice me as much as any action adventure ever has. Perhaps rougher around the edges and a bit less consistent, the second outing is still a damn good game that was one of my favorites of the year.

  • The New Order isn't perfect, it has a bit of an identity crisis in my books. It wants to be a big and dumb action movie with its dual wielding guns, gory finishers and giant robots. On the other hand the story tries to be super somber and sincere at times, it clashes and doesn't always work. At its core though its probably the best Wolfenstein has been since its inception. The gameplay is enjoyable and the characterizations are remarkably well done. Even if it sometimes can feel at odds with itself.

  • At first Hearthstone didn't do it for me, it felt more like a dumbed down Magic The Gathering than anything. As I kept playing however it grew on me. Initially the nostalgia for all things World of Warcraft kept me hooked, but eventually the charm of the game got through to me. Yes, you will lose on the pure RNG of the systems, but if you embrace that and go in with that in mind you get those clenching moments of just pulling the right card of your deck that nets you the win. Every match manages to feel exciting and fun.