Best of 2014

I have to wonder if the game industry is getting worse, or if I'm losing interest in gaming as I get older. Compelling titles that I wanted to play were few and far between this year. Sure, there were games that piqued my interest, but few that held my attention. While I wish I could create a Top 10 list, I doubt I can even name 10 games that I sunk more than seven hours into, let alone name ten games worthy of praise.

If for no reason other than my personal tradition and record, my favorite games from 2014 are..

List items

  • Wolfenstein: The New Order had no business being a good game. The Wolfenstein IP has had numerous reboots, none of which were particularly memorable. Why would this be different? This game is different because it was basically made by Starbreeze (the geniuses behind The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, The Darkness, and Syndicate).

    Wolfenstein: The New Order is one of the best single player shooters I have ever played. It has the core shooting gunplay down, and then layers an immersive, wonderfully told story on top, filled with fully realized characters. This game makes BioShock: Infinite look like a Disney princess movie.

    Undeniably Game of the Year. Nothing else comes close.

  • This is worse than Dark Souls 1, by a good margin, and yet still better than virtually everything else this year. I beat this game a few times before I was content putting it down. I'll probably buy the remastered version when it comes out on PC next year.

  • While everyone else is complaining that this is just more of the same, I never played Far Cry 3! Hahaha! Therefore, I'm enjoying this game without any kind of built-up series fatigue.

    Far Cry 4 is a feast of activities. You can occupy your time by climbing radio towers, liberating outposts, clearing varied campaign missions, hunting wild animals, or numerous other side missions. The setting is fairly unique (I can't think of a game other than DuckTales that takes place in the Himalayas), and the graphics are beautiful.

    This game could have easily bumped Dark Souls 2 down the list if it didn't have some extremely frustrating flaws. The game heavily rewards stealth, sometimes even making it mandatory, but the stealth system in the game is misery to use and unforgivingly punishing of small slip ups.

  • This expansion pack was critical to reviving Diablo 3. While I couldn't care less about Act V, the system changes made Diablo 3 playable again. Adventure Mode finally delivered on giving players an efficient, varied method of playing the game for loot. Legendary drop rates were juiced through the roof (thanks to them finally removing the awful auction house), and I was finally able to get my Wizard a set of respectable gear. This is what Diablo 3 should have been from the start.

  • This was the game that had me finally cave and buy a Wii U, and I don't regret it at all. This game was phenomenal. Only Nintendo could care so much for a kart racing game to give it this level of polish.

  • Hey, that game I kickstarted in 1992 finally came out. Or at least half of it came out. And, hey, it was fun! I really enjoyed it!

  • We've all heard about how buggy this game was at launch. I didn't play it at launch. The current version on Xbox One runs mostly fine.

    That settled, I enjoyed Unity's campaign and saw it through to completion. Ubisoft stepped up their game in regards to digital acting such that each cutscene during the campaign was a pleasure to watch. The core missions were rather standard-fare for the series (chase this guy, kill that guy, reach this place), but enjoyable nonetheless.

    That said, the game is easily among Ubisoft's worst efforts. Unity belongs alongside the trash, mobile titles. Everything about Unity feels like they eviscerated an otherwise fantastic single player game to make it work for multiplayer co-op. Co-op missions were clearly given more design and polish than the awful, boring, lazily designed, and poorly executed single player missions. They even add pay-to-win mechanics by allowing you to buy access to some of the game's best equipment.

    While many games tack multiplayer onto single player games, Unity plays like the opposite.

    It still makes this list because 2014 sucked.

  • Honorable mention to Magic: The Gathering. It's not a video game, but a game nonetheless, a game that competes for my time and money. In 2014 I took a dive back into playing the game, beginning with the Born of the Gods prerelease tournament at my local game store. Since then, I've attended more prereleases, drafts, and standard events. Playing paper Magic face-to-face with other people has been the most memorable gaming experience of the year for me, so I feel compelled to put it on this list (and it helps that the game industry sucked a big one this year, so I have the space for Magic).