Bryan Boshart’s Top 10 games of 2014

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Posted December 23, 2014 by Bryan Boshart in Video Games

2014 was a pretty good year for gaming. Strong releases seemingly came every month. In addition to the standard new titles, there were also a multitude of quality re-releases or remasters like The Last of Us: Remastered and Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. Without further ado, here are my top ten games for 2014.

  10. The Wolf Among Us

The art style is part of The Wolf Among Us' charm

The art style is part of The Wolf Among Us‘ charm

The Wolf Among Us spun a unique murder yarn. Fantastically written characters and four great episodes made for the best episodic game of the year. Bigby Wolf’s journey was incredibly engaging and featured fantastic voice work and a score that was easily one of the best of the year. The characters all felt like they developed well over the course of the story. While the middle episode dragged a bit, the confrontation between Bigby and Mary was the most epic fight in a Telltale game to date. On top of that, everything comes full circle at the very end when you decide the fate of the culprit.

9. Far Cry 4

Elephants. Enough Said

Elephants. Enough Said

Far Cry 4 had a lot to live up to after the amazing third entry. While I don’t think it was quite as good, it was still one of the best experiences of the year. I spent tons of time in Kyrat stalking through the environment and killing predators. The stealth mechanics and combat is never overly complex, but always feels intuitive. Pagan Min was an entertaining villain and though he didn’t spend as much time on screen as I would have liked, he was one of the more interesting antagonists of the year. Far Cry 4 was gorgeous, and flying through the Himalayas with my wingsuit was one of the most indescribably awesome things of the year. The best reason I can give for putting this in my top ten is that it’s the only game I can destroy a whole base by shooting explosive arrows while riding an elephant.

8. FIFA 15

FIFA 15's realism was unmatched

FIFA 15‘s realism was unmatched

FIFA 15 was easily the best sports game I played all year. FIFA 15’s  tight controls felt natural, especially when passing and threading a ball through defenders. All of the modes were not only deep, but full of stuff to do. Ultimate Team may be the single most addicting mode in all of gaming. FIFA 15 is remarkably realistic. Players remember players who’ve fouled them and play more passively once they’ve been carded. The inclusion of full Premier League presentation is quite cool and serves as the icing on the cake of what was already the best soccer game on the market.

7. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax 

Combat in P4AU was fantastic

Combat in P4AU was fantastic

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax took everything good about its predecessor and added to it. The roster is quite varied and the characters all have unique combat styles. The addition of Shadow Characters who play rather different than their regular counterparts effectively doubled the roster. The amazingly tight controls helped set up an incredibly deep combo system. Two different story modes and the deep challenge system greatly bolster the game’s playtime. Ultimax also revolutionized the lobby system. By having dozens of players appear in a lobby, an online match never feels more than a few seconds away. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax succeeds where many other offshoot titles fail, and for that reason, it deserves a spot in the top ten.

6. Infamous Second Son

Infamous: Second Son was possibly the first next-gen game that I felt was actually next-gen.

Infamous Second Son was possibly the first next-gen game that I felt was actually next-gen.

Infamous Second Son is the first game that really felt next-gen.  Delsin was a likeable protagonist who I enjoyed playing as. All of the power sets both looked cool and felt appropriately powerful. Fetch was one of the more interesting side characters of the year too, and I’m glad she got her chance to shine in First Light.  My only complaint with the title was that the morality system felt a bit too forced. On top of everything was another of my favorite villains of the year: Augustine. She’s cold, calculating and ruthless, and is a perfect foil for the wild Delsin. Their battle concludes in one of the most powerful boss encounters I’ve played in a long time (vs. Augustine the first time).

5. South Park: The Stick of Truth 

The wonderful world of South Park

The wonderful world of South Park

South Park is known for its brilliant writing, and Stick of Truth is no slouch. I constantly found myself laughing hysterically, both from little things like item descriptions, to massive plot devices like performing an abortion on a nuclear weapon. Callbacks and references show up for nearly every episode of South Park. Luckily the comedy doesn’t dwarf the gameplay. Combat flowed smoothly and plays like the old Mario RPG/Paper Mario games. Buddies were the best part of combat. Your secondary characters all have wildly different skills that need to be exploited to defeat tougher enemies. South Park: The Stick of Truth was simply one of the most fun games I’ve played this year.

4. Binding of Issac: Rebirth

Binding of Issac: Rebirth is definitely a unique experience.

Binding of Issac: Rebirth is definitely a unique experience.

Each time you play Binding of Issac: Rebirth, it’s a completely different experience. Some games I find myself with a dominant attack, but only a couple of hearts. Other games I have to play more defensively because I can’t put out massive damage. Quick reflexes are necessary to progress further. The difficulty can be punishing, and it even gets harder once you’ve defeated the final boss a couple times.

Not only are there a multitude of characters, but there are tons of challenges too. The challenges set up interesting gameplay styles that offer new takes on the game. Binding of Issac: Rebirth features a good soundtrack and a smooth 16-bit style. It also features a massive amount of replay value. In fact, there are only three games this year that have occupied more of my time. Considering this game had a November release, that’s rather impressive.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein: The New Order was easily the biggest surprise of the year

Wolfenstein: The New Order was easily the biggest surprise of the year

When I first heard about another Wolfenstein game, I didn’t think much of it after the lackluster 2009 title; however, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Wolfenstein: The New Order featured fantastic gameplay and a story that is one of the best I’ve ever played in an FPS. Controls were tight for the most part and battles flowed quickly and smoothly. The exception was the dual wield mechanic, which didn’t work well. Each character was unique and, thanks to high-quality voice acting, Wolfenstein legitimately made you care about your allies. Battles were fierce and enemies fought intelligently, proving to be more than just shooting gallery fodder. Quality graphics made the high-impact action feel all the more tense. Thanks to all of this, Wolfenstein: The New Order was the best FPS I’ve played all year.

2. Dark Souls 2 

Dark Souls 2. This bridge will kill you, that dragon will kill you, and that castle in the distance will kill you.

Dark Souls 2. This bridge will kill you, that dragon will kill you, and that castle in the distance will kill you.

Dark Souls 2 featured tense and amazing gameplay. Like previous titles in the franchise, battles were methodical, but the trial and error nature of Dark Souls 2 is what makes it special. Succeeding in Dark Souls 2 requires a knowledge of the game. “How many enemies,” “will I be ambushed,” and “have I seen all of his attacks” are just a few of the questions you’ll have to answer before every battle.

Boss fights were some of the best ever, including a classic battle against the Lost Sinner. The unique and genius multiplayer system is still a step beyond most games. Quite possibly my favorite thing about Dark Souls 2 is how the story can reveal itself to the willing. Named items give a backstory to each character. In fact, the more you learn about King Vendrick, the more sympathetic you feel about having to fight him. The game is a time sink and you can easily spend over a hundred hours without discovering half of its content.

1. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquistion 1

Dragon Age Inquisition was my favorite game of the year

Dragon Age: Inquisition is, simply put, the best game of 2014. The combat styles itself after Dragon Age II, but does a lot to improve on its predecessor. The return of the tactical map is more than welcome and helps lend more strategic depth to the game. The first time I slayed a dragon I took a picture. Thanks to the great combat engine, I was legitimately proud of this in-game feat.

Bioware has crafted some of its best characters. Sera, Vivienne, and Iron Bull are just a couple of the fantastically written new characters. Many of the classic characters from past games also appear (I won’t give away any spoilers), and my meetings with old friends were easily some of my favorite moments of the year. While not necessarily a part of the game, I was also impressed with how easy it was to customize your world to your liking through Dragon Age Keep. While the overall story wasn’t perfect and the villain felt generic, the sheer amount of content offered by Dragon Age: Inquisition is truly special.


About the Author

Bryan Boshart

Hey, I'm Bryan. I write video game reviews here at We The Nerdy. In my spare time I mostly play fighting games, but play almost anything.

 
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