Best of 2014

It's been a weird year. Despite all the delays, broken-ass games, and utter disappointments, there were still some great games this year. In my preliminary list, I had twenty games, and whittling them down ended up being harder than I thought it would be. The top two were simple though, and that's the important part anyway.

It's time to slay the dragon. No boys allowed.
It's time to slay the dragon. No boys allowed.

I feel like "honorable mentions" are a copout when putting together a Top 10 list, but...fuck it. Fibbage is great and I'm so glad that the YDKJ guys have been able to create some new party games and the phone integration is genius. Also, I feel like I need to acknowledge how solid Mario Kart 8 is, but, for whatever reason, I didn't really spend much time on it.

Also worth noting is that this is the first time since 2008 that no Assassin's Creed game has made it onto my list. Not even I, one of the staunchest fans of the series, can justify keeping that streak going. Aside from Unity's, technical issues, it's just not very good anyway. For the first time ever, I felt like I was just going through the motions with that game whereas my top two choices did the open world thing infinitely better.

We All Did Some Dumb Things This Year

But We Also Did Some Really Fun Things This Year

Trials Braggin' -- Career Bests -- Career Firsts -- Total Domination -- Lady Hitman

List items

  • After the disappointment of Dragon Age II, I was cautiously optimistic about Inquisition at best. Well, 140+ hours later, it's safe to say I love Dragon Age again. While the primary story arc is a bit generic (you're the chosen one), it's all the ancillary things that what make the game excellent. The conversations, personal relationships, and seemingly endless line of impossibly difficult, potentially world-altering decisions in Inquisition are BioWare at its best.

    Also... #TeamSera

  • Can I rank this as 1B on my list? No? Okay, fine. I love Tolkien. I'm probably not at Alexa Ray's level of fandom, but hey…I've read through the Silmarillion. Playing through Shadow of Mordor gave me the feeling that it was a game made specifically for me and me alone. Combining my love of Tolkien with an open-world adventure in the vein of Assassin's Creed was a perfect mix for me personally. The real magic is the dynamic Nemesis system though. I could go on, but Shadow of Mordor simply does so many things so well, it could've easily been my #1.

  • I played only a little bit of Diablo III when it first came out a couple years ago, and I just couldn't get into it. Maybe it was the much talked about loot system and/or auction house. I don't know. But, with all the revisions they had done, I was looking forward to the PS4 release. I ended up playing all the way through with friends, which I'm not a huge co-op guy, and a lot more on my own afterwards. Sure, it's somewhat mindless fun. But, who said that was a bad thing?

  • What the hell? How did a Forza game get this high on the list? I'm not a huge racing/driving game fan and have never actually owned one of the "regular" Forza games. Horizon, I believe, is that perfect mix of the proverbial sim vs arcade style. For me at least. The game has this inexplicable relaxing vibe to it's open-world while interspersed with exciting, tense moments. Horizon 2 also marked my first time particpating in the Giant Bomb Race Night, which has been running every Thursday for FIVE YEARS now. That was a blast and only made me want to get better at the game.

  • I doubt you'll see this game on many people's lists, much less in the top five, but here we are. Theatrhythm is the perfect blend of nostalgia, challenge, and silliness that keeps me coming back for more. The new quest mode is great and the addition of all of the spin-off Final Fantasy games' music is more significant than I would've thought. I only wish the Theatrhythm concept could extend to franchises outside of Square Enix.

  • Smash is just plain fun. Forget that tournament level, no items nonsense. The crazier the better, and the new Smash delivers that in spades. I ended up getting both versions and I think there was just enough time between them that I'm really getting into the Wii U version. I just wish they had brought back the Subspace Emissary mode instead of Smash Run/Tour.

  • Baseball is better. Being able to switch between PS4 and Vita whenever I want has been great. Once again, Road to the Show is basically the only thing I play in this franchise and I still love it. Somehow I made all the way to the big leagues in my first season, I went 4 for 4 in my debut for the Braves, and then...they traded me to Arizona during the All-Star break. Considering how the real Braves have been dumping talent the last few weeks, it all makes sense now.

    Now that you can import saves to next year's game, they're going to get my money every year. Bastards!

  • Trials is that kind of game you love to hate. I know going in that I'll never "beat" it, but I keep coming back for more. It was also one of the first games this generation to elicit that classic leaderboard chase between my friends. At least until Matt Pascual ruined it for everyone.

    Best theme song? Worst theme song? Best worst theme song?

  • Through ten E3s and twelve PAXs, I can honestly say that the demo that left me walking away with the most positive reaction was Titanfall. Matt (Pascual), Rolyatkcinmai, HeavyDuty32, and myself were basically glowing the rest of the day after playing it on the last day of PAX Prime 2013. Unfortunately, that magic didn't totally translate when I got it in my hands at home.

    While I didn't really care about not having a "real" campaign, there simply wasn't enough variety to what WAS there to keep me on it long-term. I sound super negative here, but I still had a blast playing it for as long as I did. And I can see glimpses in Titanfall of what the future could hold and I'm looking forward to that.

  • Such a beautiful game in so many ways. I'm not sure what else to say about it. I can't wait to see what Supergiant does next.

    Best USB thumb drive ever?