GOTY 2014: The Year We Hailed Slightly Less Broken as the Dawn of a New Age

2014 was a WEIRD year for games. This was the first year for a long time where nothing blew my socks off or even held a huge surprise for me. That's not to say there weren't high points, but the new consoles will of course take time to find their stride. As I compiled my list, it struck me just how many games I might have liked (man, I wanted South Park HD edition!) that I overlooked; however this is a list of what I actually played, not what might have been. All games on my list are PS4, because that's how I roll.

Before I begin, I want to mention one proviso; my real game of the year is Warframe; although I am not indifferent or dismissive of lists of games actually played vs. games actually released, my own OCD only allows me to include games which came out within the specified timeframe. However, for about six months of this year, I did not own a PS4 - it was just my Warframe-box. I played nothing else from about mid-February to late August. I dipped into other things, but I found Warframe an amazingly compelling and addictive habit, got way into the community and dropped about $250 into it without hesitation, and consider every cent well spent. There is no doubt that it was my most played and most enjoyed game (last count was 331 hours) but it came out at PS4 launch, so it doesn't make the list. You'll notice it isn't on last year's either, so it seems weird for it to be completely MIA, but them's the breaks.

List items

  • Top of the tree without a doubt is the latest RPG from Bioware. However, it wasn't as automatic as I assumed it would be. It took a while to get going and for the longest time I felt woefully underpowered playing as a mage. Some of the systems are not explained well at all and the first few hours can feel flat. HOWEVER, as I kept at it, waiting for it to get good, it crept up on me - I was hooked without even knowing it. Not since Mass Effect 2 have I stayed up till the wee hours just to see a quest conclude...and then roll right into the next one. Finding the party which worked for me, getting stronger gradually and just exploring the world, peppered with genuinely tough choices to make, won me over. I am 50 hours in and reckon there's still more than half the game to go and whole areas I haven't even been to yet. It can be a little overwhelming, but the sheer volume of quests to perform actually allows me to just forget about the ones I don't care about. Yes, it's janky as hell, but I have come to expect this from Bioware and it doesn't bug me as much as it should. Enjoying this so much, I don't want it to end.

  • Colour me surprised to see this on the list at all, never mind so close to the top! Played the Alpha - meh. Played the beta - meh. I just let it slide as something that wasn't for me. However, that little voice in my head wouldn't go away, saying that there was something there for me. Eventually, I cautiously relented and bought my one on-disc game this year (digital future, baby) to settle it once and for all. The analogues to Warframe are justified - and I think these two games allowed me to get comfortable with the fact that I think I like repetition in games, or even just dipping in for half an hour, achieving something and then jumping out. Many times over the last couple of months I've just switched it on, completed a strike and then switched it off again, completely satisfied. I can see how thin it is, but I don't really care. When your time for gaming is limited by a young family, thin can be good.

  • Could have been in the top spot, but a couple of things dragged it down. I'm a tower-defense junkie and actually consider the first Defense Grid to be the greatest in the genre. This one was good (enough for me to get the platinum), but there was a bug early on which reset your medals if you turned it on without playing a map, all too easy to do with kids around, and that meant I had to start from scratch having completed the campaign already with all golds. This soured the experience a bit, but perhaps it speaks to the quality of the game that I kept at it anyway. That, coupled with the fact that it is a walkover to complete compared to the original meant that it got knocked down a bit. Plus, the voice acting is godawful.

  • What madness is this! best $7 I spent on a game this year. Stupidly addictive, really fun, lots of challenge and just plain bonkers. I really liked this, it was so satisfying to clear a stage well.

  • Yeah, took a while to warm up to this one and I still haven't finished it. The initial combat was just too hard and it felt like I was losing whenever the game decided I should, not because of a lack of skill. It seemed to me that whenever the nemesis system hadn't been updated in a while by my dying, that's when I'd get swamped by 5 captains etc. Still, it looks real nice, the encounters can be fun and I found the story really interesting despite myself. I might go back and complete it, but probably not, as I found the exacting conditions you need to set up to take out the chiefs just too much busywork and not fun to do. We'll see.

  • What can I say? Played D3 on PS3, just made sense to get this as well. Initially I had planned to play it through with my brother, but that fell through. Had a riot with it myself though - the loot-drive is strong!

  • Whilst not quite as good as the first, it still delivered where it mattered! JRPG broken down to the bits that make them good, wrapped up in a delightful visual style and great costume choices! Well worth your time. The HARDCORN trophy is totally worth it!

  • My top game last year on PS3 was still great on PS4. Didn't expect to really enjoy it as much as before, but it is still a great experience!

  • My first Geometry Wars game and I love it! Rock hard, so I need to put some more time in to get good at it, but there is no doubt that I will. Just need to clear out Dragon Age first!

  • Total surprise, dropped $20 on it when it was on sale and although I have only played a few hours, I really like the defense mode and will for sure spend more time there. Desperately hoping the community stays alive!