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audioBusting's Top 10 Games of the Year 2014 HD Remastered - Final International Ver.

(In Which I Try To Recall How Much I Like Some Recent Games And Order Them In Some Fashion)

It's that time of the year~ It's my first time making an actual GOTY list, so I am understandably terrible at it. I mean, one of these games is not even a 2014 game, and I'm sort of putting games that are sort of better/greater out of the list in favor of some lesser known games. But hey, whatever, it's my list. I super enjoyed playing these games, I can assure you that much.

As always, I haven't played a bunch of AAA releases I might like because I'm a cheapskate on both money and time. I did play Shadow of Mordor, which has ended up on many lists, but I don't think I feel as strongly about it than I do all these 10 games. It's probably a close #11-ish. Everyone's got it covered anyways. Shadow of Mordor seems to easily be the most systematically interesting AAA game this year, with some other games being greater in some aspects but all equally spectacular in the most boring ways (next gen graphics and ultra violence and big set pieces, sure whatever).

Other runner-ups: Mario Kart 8, Wasteland 2, Transistor (almost great but not quite..), Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment a.k.a. SHe7en, Fract OSC, Wolfenstein, Fantasy Life, Journal

Anyway, that's enough side notes, here's the actual list.

List items

  • How does this game even exist? This is the strangest game that I've played this year, mechanically speaking. It's.... marvelous, in a strange way.

    This game sucks if you play it like a game. It's pretty easy to "solve" the games and "win", in terms of the game rules. The social dynamics aspect of it is where the conflict lies, but it's a bit much to expect everyone to grasp that and turn it into some Liar Game psychology manipulation shit. It really shows when everyone is trying to just "win the game", because it'll either become boring or simply end within 3 minutes.

    Velvet Sundown fortunately does not put all its focus on the game objectives, and instead encourages role-playing. That is where the fun begins, because it changes the objective from just "winning" into "playing". The mission list (which ranges from things like "figure out the murderer" to "convert people into your religion") becomes a topics guideline, the inventory becomes a props list, the character interactions become improv acting. The boat, the characters, and the text-to-speech make the setting and characters look believable enough to act upon, and the stiffness of it all sometimes contributes to the comedy inherent to playing a weird online role-playing video game with anonymous strangers.

    I've had a game where I am the Watson in a Sherlock Holmes mystery trying to convince someone to vote against two conspirators, and another where I pretend to be the singer from Smash Mouth and refuse to "take the ass" of a fan (that doofus Doyle) despite everyone's insistence. Granted, the scenarios available are far from perfect. When this game doesn't work (and it often doesn't), it totally sucks. But when it works, it's just the most unique and hilarious game experience you can have in 2014.

  • Oh boy, how did this game end up here. When I first played the beta of A Realm Reborn, I absolutely hated it. Man, I was even angry at how much I hate this game. Months later this year, for whatever reason, I decided to give this game another shot. It was like $20 anyway. I played it and... I absolutely loved it. Maybe I was just being unfair at first, wishing that it would do something special for the genre. Maybe it was just where I was, maybe I changed in that short period of time.

    Anyway, I ended up enjoying this game way more than I expected. Everything about it is just so highly entertaining. The writing is kinda trashy in a likable way and the game sometimes can be visually stunning. I finally learnt the basics of the "holy trinity" combat, which in this game is super tightly designed with some extra flair. There are so many clever design solutions to the clunkiness that is present in a lot of MMORPG, resulting in a much, much cleaner user interface. The game also works well (and more fun IMHO) with a gamepad, so I can sit back on my chair and relax. It feels a bit like a single-player RPG at times, for better AND worse, because it is unfortunately pretty difficult to play through with a friend.

    As a flimsy excuse to put this in a 2014 GOTY list, it's been updating really well and lots of nice features apparently weren't there at release. A lot of endgame content were added too, which I haven't played yet but I heard it's good =P I played close to 100 hours of this game in the past few months and I'm not even close to the lengthy endgame yet.

    Anyway, this is definitely my 2014's 2013 Game of the Year, at least.

  • I played an unhealthy amount of this game. I was in a pretty rough place when I started playing and... I played and I played and... it just never ends. It's simple, executed flawlessly. It just... it just never ends. It just keeps on going. I finally relented to my desire to not play a phone game to my literal death and stopped playing. That didn't last forever, unlike the game.

    I found out that all the holes in the game is procedurally generated. This was like the flip side of the horse_ebooks reveal last year, and I once again simply thought to myself 'Yeah, of course it is'. It could have gone either way, and I would still think 'Of course it is'. Sure, why wouldn't it be made by computers? I did actually believe before that one guy just spent days putting shapes onto the screens, occasionally going "hah, these exact lengths of lines will fuck you right up." (#2303, it was the 32nd stroke that finally landed next to the hole. 'Fuck you, guy,' I thought to myself)

    I kinda wish there was someone to blame for my misery. Other than me, that is. I don't even have anyone to compare my score with. I don't think there's a leaderboard in the Android version. Why do I keep playing this. What's the fucking point.

    Desert Golfing, to me, was the statement of nihilism, formalism, meta-analytical whatever-the-fuck-you-want of 2014. Forget that dumb Mountain bullshit. Mountain is not just a mountain. I played Mountain, pressed buttons to make sounds, it played a jingle and wrote silly stuff on the screen, and then I turned it off because I was going to sleep. Desert Golfing is only desert golfing. It is a video game, in which you golf, on a desert. Desert. Golfing. Video game. Desert Golfing.

    Desert Golfing. A Game of the Year 2014.

  • This game fortunately got released on Android recently and holy hell is it great. It's a surprisingly sweet game with a main focus on traveling, and it manages to capture the wonders of seeing sights and meeting people of locales around the world so well.

    This is probably the best book to game adaptation I've ever played. The ever-progressing world is represented so well with their own steampunk take on the Jules Verne story. Every leg of the journey is filled with precious moments and subplots that feel very specific but still part of a larger story. Every character has their own stories and opinions and fears and hopes about that human progress, and yet it still comes down to stories about people, their interactions and the memories thereof. It's something that games usually lack due to the modular nature of engineering required by games with such non-linearity, and games like Bioware's have mostly tried that with more breadth but less focus. Having that on top of the numerous game systems that could generate emergent story in place? Gosh, it's so super good. 80 Days itself feels like a reflection of those values, injecting some degree of humanity into this small wonder of technology they have created.

    My only problem with this game is how it doesn't really show Phileas Fogg's role in the journey, only reminding the player sometimes through text that he is supposedly the one planning all these trips following Passepartout's suggestions. I want to cry ludonarrative dissonance at that but maybe I shouldn't. The rest of the game is so harmonious that it barely matters.

    It was hard to believe that I've only seen less than 10% of what is in the game world after my first playthrough. That feeling of a world that live their own lives without the player is something I always appreciate in games.

  • If the next acts are as good as Act 3, this is going to end up on my lists for 3 years straight. I don't even know where to start with this one. This game is truly beautiful, meaningful, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. Games rarely could inspire thought and wonderment intentionally through magical but realistic ways, and Act 3 deserves recognition for doing so within less than 20% of a whole game.

    and oh what the fuck they released another free intermission/whatever episode (Here And There Along The Echo) two months ago without me noticing. I don't understand why they keep doing this but I kinda like it???

  • Okay, so, this is a game where you play as a tour guide, on the goddamn moon, who's playing a zombie game reminiscent of Bioware games and ends up having to lead the moon tour for the development team to the zombie game whom YOU CAN ALL DATE?! It has a Telltale-like multiple-choice narrative, and you sometimes discuss philosophical thoughts about the universe and art. There's so many layers to this game, and it lasts longer than I expected towards a largely satisfying conclusion. It's a bit unfathomable for me how this is available to play completely for free. This is a really fascinating game to play and think about, and I'm preetty glad I got to play it before I play Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    I didn't get to date anyone at the end though. Story of my life. (Nah, I honestly liked the ending.)

  • I'm putting this in to represent Telltale Games's output for this year, because they've been killing it. Tales from the Borderlands jumped straight to my #1 most favorite Telltale game with just the first episode, The Walking Dead's second season had themes that I really appreciated, and The Wolf Among Us benefited from a strong visual direction (those shadows look goddamn amazing) and a solid story. They're just cranking these games out like it's nothing.

    I'm putting The Wolf Among Us instead of the others in the list because 1) it's completed this year, 2) it's "newer" and generally less flawed than TWD, and 3) it's more likely to win community votes, it seems like.

  • I did not love this game as much as I did the first Dark Souls, but it's pretty good on its own. I pre-ordered this game with the intent of getting into multiplayer during the launch period and it paid off. The feel and technicalities of the game were polished to a great extent, and that makes the multiplayer incredibly fun. I enjoyed playing as the guy who helps out other players in co-op a lot. I'm so grateful for the ways in which players are encouraged to interact with others, and I hope more games learn from this in the future (I'm looking at you, MMORPG's). That elevates the game to a spot on the list above greater action games like Wolfenstein and Bayonetta 2.

  • This game is easily the second weirdest game I've played all year (first place definitely goes to Fuck Everything). I played this pretty early in the year, but it stuck with me even until now for whatever reason. I don't want to say too much other than that I really like it and it's a pretty short game. I'm a sucker for this sort of exploration games and I think this is a really good one. Just go try it out if you haven't, it's free anyway.

  • I didn't find the "main game" particularly enjoyable, but the hidden exploration section of the game is just great. It was super fun to discover ghosts and their stories as I explore the abandoned town.

    The ghosts in DreadOut are clever takes on the classic ghosts of Indonesia (with the (SPOILER) motorcycle pocong (/SPOILER) clearly being my favorite enemy design of 2014). The experience is pleasantly reminiscent of watching Indonesian supernatural TV shows as a small boy growing up in Jakarta. The feeling seeing and "capturing" ghosts is like when I first saw a Genderuwo on a dare show, or when I first listened to the story of Si Manis Jembatan Ancol. It gives a mixed feeling of fascination and awe, not just horror, and that is what I think is so interesting with supernatural folklore.

    Call me biased, but that's enough to guarantee a spot on my list. Yes, I almost cut this a couple of times but cut some other obviously better games instead because I just want to put an Indonesian ghost game on a GOTY list. Sue me.

    It is still pretty bewildering to me that they decided to hide that part of the game and instead put out the terrible school level as its main feature. And the title... urgh. Also, what's up with the girl's butt crack.