2014 comes to a close later today, so what better way to close it out than by giving you a games of the year edition of my weekly top 5 series? But before we do that, I've assembled some random categories and assigned each of them a winner. Because of the nature of the blog, each entry is a bit shorter than what you have come to expect from my normal top 5 lists. I hope you enjoy it, and let's get started with my biggest disappointment of 2014.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
I love Borderlands. I've written about Borderlands probably more than any other game. The Pre-Sequel doesn't even feel like a Borderlands game until the second half. That being said, I did enjoy this game, it was just a disappointment when coupled with my expectations. Every area looks the same, every character is analogous to a better character in one of the other games, and overall it just felt like a halfhearted effort.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
I used to be a huge fan of South Park, I had every box set of the show up to season 16, then a few years ago I just kind of lost interest. But this game reminded me why I loved the show for so many years. I was a little scared for it when considering the type of development it had with the death of THQ, but it turned out to be a solid RPG and a great compliment to the show.
Super Mario 3D World
I was late to the party getting a Wii U, only receiving it this past Christmas. Not being able to play Super Mario 3D World for so long was really starting to irk me. But alas, my lovely wife pulled through with a Wii U/Super Mario 3D World bundle. Saying I love it would be an understatement. I still enjoy Super Mario Galaxy more, but that doesn't take away from just how good this game is. It's pure joy from top to bottom, even if the cat suit does entirely break the game.
Shadow of Mordor empowerment
It's 99.99999999999% likely that this moment only happened in my playthrough, as it was non-scripted, but when it happened, I felt like jumping off my couch and pumping my fist (I may or may not have actually done that).
I was stalking a Warchief's captain, waiting to pounce on him from a rooftop above. Doing so resulted in a great deal of his health being depleted. But as soon as we began our official battle after the initiating trash talk, another captain made his way into the fray. Before I even had a chance to figure out how I was going to change my strategy to accommodate for two captain, the action stopped and I was greeted by a third captain. Needing to think fast, I noticed the caged caragor nearby. I shot open his cage with my arrows, and focused by attention on the first captain, who was nearing death at this point. After taking the head off of the Uruk, which was met with a satisfying slow-motion death, I was almost immediately shown a second death screen, as the caragor had dispatched of the second captain. Now, it was down to just the captain that was left...or so I thought.
This captain had a fear of caragors, which sent him running to the hills. But instead of running to the hills, he actually ran into the fire pit that was right behind him, killing him seconds later. I had never had such a quick turnaround from feeling outmatched to empowered in my gaming life.
I've covered this in a previous weekly top 5, and I've also dedicated an entire episode of my podcast to talking about my experience with it. There's nothing I can say about Super Metroid that hasn't already been said a thousand times over. I finally got around to playing it for the first time this year, and it was just as good as everyone said, it certainly lived up to the hype.
Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Alpha
Mario Hat Pouch
Seriously, it took 6 months.
I'm sure this "game" has its audience, but it's definitely not me. When I play a game, I want a game, not an experience. Get out of here with that garbage. It very well may be my least favorite "game" I've ever "played." Instead of "playing" this walking simulator, how about you just go to an arboretum and walk around? You'll get some vitamin d from the sun and burn a few calories. It's a win-win.
Kirby Triple Deluxe
Awesome...and adorable. Easily one of the most overlooked titles of the year.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
It pains me that I haven't yet experienced the Layton finale. Once I knock out some of these games I got for Christmas, I plan to go back and finish the story for my favorite professor.
I sure would like to play Fantasy Life, I just can't right now.
Now that I've gotten those out of the way, let's get on to my Top 5 Games of 2014
Final games to be cut from the list: South Park: The Stick of Truth, Infamous: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
This is how you do a retro-styled videogame in this day and age. It has music that rivals the original Mega Man games, a difficulty that was challenging and sometimes frustrating but never felt unfair, tons of secrets, great codes, beautiful sprites, and great humor. I purchased it on the 3DS and couldn't put it down. And now, with the recent announcement of a PS4 and Vita version on the way, I'll definitely double-dip on this one.
I hate golf, but I can't get enough golf when it comes to videogames, the more cartoonish, the better. Funny enough, this is the first Mario Golf I've ever played, and I enjoyed it so much that I wound up getting rid of the one physical Vita game I had: Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational. I even purchased the season pass so I could get all of the extra characters and courses. The single-player challenges are a great time-waster while I'm waiting for new online tournaments to arrive. I would rank this as best sports game of the year if I had made that a category.
I may only have had the Wii U for less than a week now, but I've been playing more Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze since Christmas than I have anything else. My favorite genre of game is the 2D platformer, and this could possibly be one of the best ones ever made (perhaps that could be a future top 5 list). It has the trademark tight controls that one expects from Nintendo, great humor without the use of words, fantastic music, and the game just looks beautiful. It also gives you both Dixie and Cranky Kong (in addition to Diddy) as companions, each with their own unique abilities. I've only made it through the first 4 worlds so far, but I have no doubt that this game belongs on my list.
This was probably my second most anticipated game this year, but unlike Borderlands, Far Cry 4 never came close to disappointing. At this point, I'm 30 hours in and my completion percentage is just over 70%. There are a lot of things to do in this game, so much so that it almost circles back around and becomes its biggest detriment. There's almost too much to do, but I'd rather have too much than not enough. I wasn't as into the antagonist, Pagan Min, as I was Vaas in Far Cry 3, but near the end of the game, I became more and more interested in him, and (SPOILERS) at the end of the game, despite having multiple free opportunities, I just couldn't bring myself to kill him. The last mission was very well done. Also, screw those eagles...and the demon fish.
This is the game that I purchased when I got my Playstation 4, and what a great first impression the system made on me because of it. I'm not at all a Lord of the Rings fan, and I had very little interest in the game prior to release. In fact, if I didn't work at a game store, I probably wouldn't even have known that it came out until I scanned the front page of Destructoid to find a review. I already spoke about how empowered the game made me feel, and that was just one brief moment. Those moments are all over the game, and I wound up beating the game 100% before it was all said and done. The clock told me I had played for 30 hours, but it felt like a very short 30 hours. I started the game on a Thursday and then had to go to a friend's wedding who lived about 4 hours away. That whole weekend I was just waiting in anticipation to get home so I could continue playing. I haven't had a chance to play the recently released DLC yet, but once I knock out some of these other games I need to get to, I'll definitely be going back.