GOTY 2014

Some stuff that I played a lot of that didn't qualify for this list or didn't have a Giant Bomb listing: Clicker Heroes, Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2, Idle Oil Tycoon, Peggle Blast, Marvel Heroes 2015. Lords of Shadow 2 made me so sad. It was on this list to the very last day of the year. Damn that game and it's shoddy stealth sequences.

List items

  • No words could possibly do it justice. It's the dose of heroin into the veins that easily sticks. Every time I get bored, I realize there are no fewer than a half-dozen other things I could do instead of what I'm currently doing. The garrison also makes me want to powerlevel some guys to 100, too; for maximum gold efficiency.

  • After skipping Ghosts, I was convinced that this was just going to be more of the same. I must admit that, for once, a TV commercial was integral in beginning to change my mind. The commercial gave me an idea of what to expect in this game, and the focus of the game really drew me in.

    On a whim, I decided to rent the Xbox 360 version and I can say confidently that it looks very good, at least to the point where I can't justify spending $400 for an improvement. I'm still flabbergasted at how realistic the cutscenes look.

    As a story, this is probably the most engaging tale since the original Modern Warfare or maybe Black Ops and is told in a very refreshing way, including long breaks in-between narrative points. Kevin Spacey is perhaps the ideal guy to scan in a complete likeness of into a game like this and I was genuinely surprised at some of the story turns, for once.

    From a gameplay perspective, it's hard to beat. The added abilities are varied enough throughout the campaign that it's an enjoyable six-hour ride. If I was bigger into Call of Duty multiplayer, this would probably be my Game of the Year. Alas, it's just not for me. The good news is that, for once in a long while, the single-player experience was able to completely rope me in and leave me thinking about the impressive grapefruits on the game designers for switching things up just in time to avoid irrelevance while not sacrificing the game's wild popularity.

  • While Trap Team is the most dastardly cash grab of the series -- requiring all players, even those who have already spent hundreds of dollars on figures, to buy at least $100+ more of Trap Masters in order to see everything in the game, Trap Team is another strong iteration in the Skylanders series.

    There's some great new gameplay elements here with the switching out between your character and a Trap Master, the nice little technical tweaks that allow traps to have their own personality when placed into the Portal, and the usual clever nature that allows adults to enjoy this as much as kids do.

    The Skylanders franchise is approaching Infinity Ward/Treyarch levels of separation in terms of what features make it into the game each time development is sent from one team to another, but undoubtedly this is another successful marketing ploy by the Skylanders team as they continue to scour the bottom of the bag for the next new trick. As long as the gameplay remains tight and the replay value remains high, I'll keep playing the Skylanders series.

  • I really enjoyed Bastion. This is not Bastion.

    But that's okay, because I really enjoyed the gameplay elements of this game and Supergiant Games has proven to be a juggernaut of creating a living world and sticking to its guns while not overstaying its welcome in providing a thought-provoking narrative.

    Sure, it's one of those short games that gets thrown into the discussion of time spent vs. dollars spent, but that overshadows just how slick the game is. The mixing and matching of functions, the wonderful flavor text that's all around, and of course, the music, my goodness, the music. Nothing with the emotional heft of Bastion's soundtrack, but that's a hard bar to clear and the music is still unlike 90% of video games out there in terms of mixing of styles and moods.

  • The fact that this felt like a South Park episode and not a game about South Park can't be understated. That feeling of authenticity was worth the wait and excessive delays, and it really makes me want to catch up on South Park to see some of the jokes from later seasons that are going over my head. Great fan service for anyone who's even had a taste of the Colorado children though.

  • A late entry to the list but one that's made an impact. I recently got a 3DS and this has been dominating my time with it, at least until Fire Emblem: Awakening can sufficiently coax me away from it.

    Great music, great STYYYYYYYLE. Tricky but not punishingly so. And a perfect fit on a mobile console. Just great stuff.

  • Hoo boy. I am definitely glad that I got in while the zeitgeist was zeitgeisty with this game, and I definitely haven't played it since the second week of its release, but what an experience it was. Just the tightest of tight shooter controls, making for a really satisfying experience moving through the world and feeling like everything you do has weight.

    Yeah, the grind was frustrating and I'm more interested in waiting and seeing where the developers take this game rather than actually playing it right now, but there's something to be said for just the amount of satisfying gameplay there is to be had running around an MMO universe in the initial stages, when there's still mysteries to uncover. The biggest mystery might be when I'll play it again, though.

  • I've always been a big fan of the Smash/Robotron games and this was no different. My biggest complaint is that I wish this had been a bit longer, as I feel that the small amount of worlds in the game makes the upgrade process a little bit longer than it should be in this kind of hectic top-down shooter.

    Still, very enjoyable, easy to pick up and play and just have fun with it.

  • Card games are really not my thing, and I don't think Hearthstone necessarily changed my mind, but it definitely made me want to put some effort into playing a game like this. By keeping some of the obtuseness of some CCGs out of Hearthstone, it's an accessible experience that doesn't sacrifice its fun factor for ease of play. I'm confident that I can jump back in and play Hearthstone tomorrow if I wanted to, and that's more than I can say for just about every other CCG I've played.

  • With this expansion, it was new to me, damnit! I always love Diablo games, to a point, and this has that always-satisfying loot grind. The multiple difficulty levels are such a smart idea for people that are willing to put in the time to see how far up they can climb, and I really think that Adventure Mode is a neat idea that makes it likely that I will return to this world again before too long.