TruthTellah's Top 10 Games of 2014

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2014 was a weird year in videogames.

It was a bit meandering for me, with a few highlights. Not too many great titles, but a lot of very solid and interesting ones. Nintendo and indie developers certainly came strong while the next gen consoles seemed to still be settling into the new office. Things went off the rails in the last third of the year, but overall, there were plenty of games to enjoy.

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Honorable Mentions:

The Banner Saga and Transistor for their amazing sense of style, South Park: The Stick of Truth for charming absurdity, Valiant Hearts: The Great War for a "fun" setting, Escape Goat 2 for spot on puzzle design, The Fall for a small but unique experience, Mount Your Friends for that fanservice, Persona Q for seeming awesome but I just started playing it, Crypt of the NecroDancer for almost making the list if it was "done", Conception II for being the best game this year to make fun of, and Mountain that is sorta a game and my own little digital friend with emotional issues that I spent way too much time on this year.

Now onto the Top 10!

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List items

  • Shovel Knight is everything I wish more games were. It's not just an ode to classic platforming games of the NES and SNES era; it's a celebration of what made those games so impactful. If Shovel Knight had come out back then, it would likely be up there next to Mega Man or Mario, with tons of sequels down the road.

    Shovel Knight isn't just well-constructed, it also drips with craft and charm. It's clear the developers loved the game they were making, and they wanted you to fall in love, as well. I would recommend to anyone who has ever enjoyed platformers to pick up this game, don your shovel, and enjoy the best indie game I've played in years and my personal favorite game of 2014.

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition was a surprise for me. I was not particularly drawn to the other Dragon Age games, but the perfect confluence of circumstances caused me to really gravitate toward Inquisition. With solid action and exploration, it provides an accessible system to introduce you to compelling characters and a fun fantasy narrative.

    While not without its flaws, I can't help but smile even while just watching someone else(like Greg Kasavin) play it, fighting demons or flirting with The Iron Bull. I haven't seen everything this big game has to offer, but in my opinion, I've seen enough to know I adore what I've experienced. Not since the original Mass Effect has a WRPG so intrigued me.

  • This came out of nowhere. I had no expectations for this at all. A licensed Lord of the Rings game being kind of amazing? I'm still kind of shocked by it. Though, to be fair, they appear to have pulled it off by playing extremely loose with the source material and just having a good time. Which is fine by me.

    The game is solid action-wise, but the Nemesis system is the kind of clever design I hope others decide to emulate. The combat is tight, and that's fortunate. Because I have a dang jerk named Lorgoth the Funny One to kill. And dammit, I'm gonna kill all the idiots chanting his name. Ack! There's another warchief here? Oh it's on now...

  • I didn't know if they could live up to the original Bayonetta, like lightning in a bottle, but through a Platinum miracle, blessed by Pope Nintendo, they pulled it off.

    Bayonetta 2 is everything a character-action fan could want. It's difficult to achieve such bombast without losing a bit of heart, but this game delivers. While a mechanically entertaining game in its own right, the sheer spectacle is something not to be missed.

  • Dark Souls II has grown on me quite a bit. I was initially a bit disappointed with its take on the Souls series, but as time has passed, I came to understand the solidity of its design. At first, Dark Souls II felt like it lacked a bit of the unique heart of the prior games, but it's clearer to me now how the developer is forging its own way forward. And even with some issues, the core gameplay and structure is so strong that I had to rate it highly.

    Ultimately, it is still a Souls game, and that maliciously warms my heart.

  • The latest from the creator of the notoriously challenging "I Wanna Be the Boshy", Wings of Vi is what you might expect and more. Solgryn, the inhuman monster who made this game, crafted a charming, evil test of your platforming action skills. If you've ever cared for difficult platformers or challenging games in general, Wings of Vi will give you hours, days, maybe even weeks of hair-pulling entertainment.

    Screw you, Solgryn. I can't wait for your next game.

  • A throwback to platformers of old, 1001 Spikes is a beautiful mountain to climb. While simple mechanically, stages become intricate puzzles to overcome. After tons of deaths, when you finally get a level just right, it's like seeing the perfection of a new sunrise. The developer tuned the game to such exact detail that you can't help but admire the beauty of its design.

  • I haven't finished the game yet; so, I won't be rating it higher. But from what I've played of Bravely Default, it is a clever re-imagining of classic JRPGs of old. As a fan of that genre, this game has all the right parts, with a few innovations, as well. I appreciate what it has offered, and I'm already looking forward to the sequel.

  • Akiba's Trip is an odd one. It is a slow burn at first, but it shines in the long run. Boasting a menagerie of silly attacks and enemies, it provides a fun opportunity to explore Akihabara and save geek culture. The satire is thick, both mocking anime tropes while celebrating the fun and frivolity of fandom. Its equal opportunity pandering also goes a long way in making the game far more endearing than I ever expected when I first heard about it.

  • I can respect a game which deconstructs itself as the primary gameplay mechanic. It shows the elegance within game programming in a time when visuals and storytelling often get the most attention. This is simple but charming, and while it would be a stiff challenge to anyone without some programming experience, it delivers on the little puzzle game it attempts to be.

    P.S. :D