Games of the Year 2014

My personal GOTY list for 2014. Overall a slightly disappointing year for me. I haven't gotten the chance to play many of the recent fall releases, some of which might end up on here after the original posting. Also know that this list would probably be largely different if I owned a Wii U.

EDIT: Jan. 2015. Added a few games from 2014 that I got a chance to play after making this list.

List items

  • This sets the new standard for Bioware gameplay and storytelling. Featuring a staggeringly detailed and enormous world, with what feels like near infinite content. Fun combat, great voice-acting, and a story that held my attention for 60+ hours, made this one of the best RPG's in recent memory. Makes me very excited for the next Mass Effect.

  • Diablo III had a rocky start. This expansion and the relative patches turned a good, loot-based ARPG, into one of the best in the genre. All achieved by Blizzard's unwavering determination to polish their games to a blinding shine. The removal of the auction house, overhaul of the loot system, adventure mode, ranked seasons, addition of a fun new class and adding a worthwhile fifth act to the story made this one my favorites of 2014.

  • This one surprised me. A thought it would just be a decent open world romp, with cringe-worthy humor that would merely scratch the itch while waiting for Crackdown 3. Nope. This game got better and better and better the more I played it. Hilariously funny writing, fantastic controls, fun weapons and a unique open world playground. My only real complaint is that it was far too short.

  • It's rare to find a game so full of passion and utter joy. This is a sappy love letter to the sport of racing. Full of explorational whimsy and heart-pounding exhilaration. Its a letter so well written, that it made me fall in love with the genre again. They even managed to drop a pretty great mix-tape of songs into the envelope. But honestly, the best thing I can say about it, is that it roused fond memories of playing Burnout 3.

  • I spent more time with WoW this year than ever before. And that really says something, seeing that this year saw the game's 10th anniversary. This expansion did a great job bringing some of the gameplay to the modern era, while retaining its familiar core. Genuinely interesting and varied quests, combined with being able to micromanage your personal garrison, made leveling more enjoyable than its ever been. I've barely scratched the surface after reaching 100 and I expect to dig even deeper in the following year.

  • I almost feel bad putting this on my list because I haven't even come close to finishing it yet. In fact, after the near 30 hours I played this year, I barely left the main starting town. There is so much to do and so many ways to do it. A true RPG, where your imagination and creativity can really be used in incredible ways. Can't beat a boss? Stack a bunch of chairs around him so he cant hit you. Found a shovel? Let's go dig up some graves, what the worst that could happen? Got a bucket? Wear it as a helmet. Infinite possibilities. Also has great old-school turn-based combat and well implemented co-op.

  • An incredibly fun and infinitely replayable arcade-style dog fighting game. Customizable ships and a stupidly difficult SMFT mode will make me continue to come back to this game far beyond 2014.

  • Sadly part of a dying breed of single player first-person shooters. Surprisingly great storytelling that manages to realistically personify a 20 year old animating face trapped in a box. Great level design and mechanics allowed the player to feel in creative control when tackling it's challenges. Probably the best use of first-person stealth in a game.

  • An NES era styled platformer with extremely solid controls and a unique twist on gameplay. Features well designed and fun levels, upgradable gear (and shovels) and a silly yet appropriately dated story. It made me feel like a kid again and thats pretty alright.

  • Sim City: Plymouth Rock Edition. Man this game is cool. Though the main complaint from people about SimCity 2013 was that the cities were too small, I always thought it would even cooler to manage an even smaller city, on a more detailed level. That is what Banished is. Its not about how many parks should be placed around a trailer park to raise its income level. As the overlord or god or whatever of a small community, its your job to make sure your people survive the winter, by gathering food, building shelter and providing only necessary jobs. You feel a real sense of panic and dread as winter quickly approaches, genuinely concerned for the people in your town.

  • Though it was technically released this year, it almost feels too early to put on this list. The level of immersion is incredible and scale of the galaxy is staggering. Even with Star Citizen looming somewhere on the horizon, this game will holds it's own as something intriguingly unique. It's far from actually content complete but what is there is truly fantastic.

  • I hadn't really put time into a Sims game since the original when I actually built a PC specifically for it. 14 years later I built a new PC. Not for the Sims 4, but I'm glad I did. Sure its not perfect, but it had solid controls, familiar yet fresh Sims gameplay and a fun editor. I played this game mostly as an architect, designing several houses all throughout my town. I didn't care about managing Sim lives, and I didn't have to. I still had a great time doing what I wanted to do, which is what makes this a great simulation game.

  • I kind of hate putting this on my list. A fundamentally flawed game with barely more content than a magazine demo disc. But somehow I spent close to 80 hours in this stupid game. Because for me, it has the best FPS gameplay ever made. It perfected it. That alone puts it on the tail end of this list. Also I am a sucker for loot. But the story (or lack there-of) was god awful and there are only three, mostly linear planets and a moon, when we were promised the solar system. This game is full of lies. Maybe they can keep patching it and adding FREE content. Maybe it will end up like Diablo III. Maybe Destiny 2 will be better.

    What happened Bungie?