It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s the time where families get together, presents are shared, and memories are made. However, it’s also the time where we get a chance to reflect on the past year and look back at all it had to offer us. One of the most exciting parts of that is looking back and deciding on which video game takes the crown.
In this day and age, there are a TON of games for us to play, and the decision of picking just one is quite daunting, but hey, someone’s got to do it!
I will give you my top ten games of the year over the next week (in alphabetical order), and why they deserve it. To make it a little more interesting, I will also say why it doesn’t deserve it. Then, as the year comes to a close, I will reveal my ranking of these games.
This list will happen in two parts. First up, #1-5 in Alphabetical order. Next week, you will get #6-10.
Ladies and gentlemen, let the games begin!
Disclaimer: These are MY games of the year for 2014. Every site does the overall game of the year, but in the end, what matters is you and how you feel/connect with a game. So, if a game you love isn’t on here, it may be because I didn’t play it or just didn’t love it. Which is where the comments come in, let’s have a great discussion! Tell me why I’m wrong or right!
1001 Spikes – Nicalis – Played On: PlayStation Vita
For: Never in my gaming career (And it’s been a pretty long one!) have I ever been surprised by how much I love a title. Going into playing any game, there usually is a preconceived notion of what to expect.
With 1001 Spikes, I figured I’d try it out and probably get too frustrated by its brutal difficulty and move on to something else.
I could not stop playing this brutal platformer and it was one of those games that stuck in your mind and begged you to return, even when you had to actually go out and…you know…live life. 1001 Spikes is just a work of art that rewards perseverance and determination and holds no hands. The difficulty comes in attaining perfection, not the game being broken or unfair. Victory is achievable, but by no stretch of the imagination is it easy.
Against: After I finished the main campaign, it was tough to go back and replay to unlock characters or even more trophies. There were a bunch of other modes, but the game is so taxing that I was tapped out of all will to move on with this title after the credits rolled.
I triumphed in 1001 spikes, and I wanted more, but there was a point when too much masochism was enough. Haha!
Final Thoughts: There is very little negative to say about this indie title. It is truly fantastic and surprised me with the amount of enjoyment it held in its pixels.The punishing difficulty takes its toll, but its truly is worth it when you are standing triumphant at the finish line.
Destiny – Bungie – Played On: PlayStation 4
For: A lot of my friends were huge gamers growing up, yet, the responsibilities of life have recently made our days of spending countless hours in our respective basements together a distant memory. That being said, every once in a while, a title comes around that heralds us back to our glory days and brings us the joy we once found most weekends.
Destiny was one of these such titles. The world that Bungie has built is so perfectly tuned for sharing it with others, and they make it so easy to party up and get lost for hours. Issues aside, which there are plenty, what the creators of Halo have done is given us an avenue for our past to meet our present and to unite gamers young and old.
It’s such a finely tuned game, and amid all the launch issues that plagues many games these days, has run surprisingly well.
I’ve lost a ton of hours into Destiny, and I don’t regret it one bit.
Against: As I mentioned early, Destiny is plagued by a ton of issues that hold it down from being truly great. First and foremost, the story is so unforgettable it hurts. There were so many times I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing, and given Bungie’s pedigree, that is a huge disappointment.
Top it off with lackluster mission objectives that more or less boil down to defend this area while Tyrion Lannister does something to a computer, there were many times I was rolling my eyes and wishing for more.
Final Thoughts: For a first in a franchise, they are well on their way to creating an incredible universe. I look forward to spending many years entrenched in this series and rallying my friends to join me as we face off against any evil that may come our Guardian’s way. Many issues plague this game, but for some reason, it isn’t too much of a detriment to the final package.
Dragon Age: Inquisition – BioWare – Played On: PlayStation 4
For: BioWare is, without question, my favorite developer of all time. From Knights of the Old Republic to Mass Effect, this studio has provided me with some of the fondest memories in my entire life. What makes BioWare so special is their focus on storytelling and character development. They create a world and fill it with interesting, yet flawed, characters. They make you care about them and feel proud to share the battlefield with each and every one of them.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is no different.
This title is MASSIVE. There is so much content and lore to the game that some may find it tough to grasp. For me? I love it. I’ve played DAI’s predecessors, and being able to spend this much time in Thedas is a dream come true.
Being the Inquisitor gives you so much power to enact change in this world, and your decisions do truly matter. It just puts a weight to the game that is not present in very many titles. To top it all off, you can play this game how you want, and the freedom BioWare enables you is wonderfully refreshing. Also, being treated to call backs and systems reminiscent of the best of the past games, you truly have the ultimate RPG at your fingertips.
Against: While I love the wealth of content, it also can be a double-edged sword. I’m the type of OCD gamer that likes to do nigh everything, and my biggest problem with this game is there are too many distractions. I need to collect this flower, I need to do this quest, etc. etc. When the world is on the brink of destruction, I always just feel weird doing trivial tasks when I should be taking a direct path to the resolution.
There were times were I wanted to move forward, but had to complete everything. It really is a blessing and a curse, and the ultimate first world problem.
Also, WHY ARE THERE NO HEALERS?! It is quite annoying to be halfway through a dungeon and be depleted of potions and no option to heal yourself. A small gripe, but one that always lingers in my mind.
Final Thoughts: Dragon Age: Inquisition is a game that feels as though BioWare tailored it for me. It’s everything I could ask for and so much more. Being given the keys to Thedas and reason to stay for well over 150 hours is a treat unlike most can give, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection – 343 Industries – Played On: Xbox One
For: I’m tempted to nominate this game on value alone. Getting all these Halo games, games that defined a generation, in one touched up package you can access with one disc or download is remarkable beyond words.
Master Chief and his adventures are now forever timeless with updates and remastering that ensure they play as your mind’s eye remembers them. Being able to jump into your favorite missions, then playing a multiplayer playlist spanning all the titles, then diving into co-op with your friends from across the country is the prime example of why gaming is my favorite medium. This encapsulates all of that and is a celebration of a symbol of this industry.
Against: Halo: The Master Chief Collection is, unfortunately, also prime example of one of the biggest problems in gaming; failed and problematic launches. There were times where finding an online match was near impossible.
When you go into a store, online or brick-and-mortar, you have an expectation, and quite frankly a right, to know that what you are purchasing will work and be fully functional. When you go home and find that’s not the case, it is unacceptable. Sure, issues arise and these things are bound to happen eventually, but it really puts a sour taste in your mouth.
One of the biggest problems with this stems from the fact that so many games are released and you want to devote time to each of them. When a game is near unplayable during its launch, it can interfere with a launch of another highly anticipated game and force you to choose between how to spend your time, which is very valuable.
Once again, first world problems, but hey, it’s annoying!!
Final Thoughts: As I said earlier, the value here is without reproach. You are getting so much bang for your buck and the service 343 Industries has done for this franchise, and for gaming as a whole, should not go unmentioned. However, when a game doesn’t work, it puts a bad mark on a otherwise fantastic piece. Sure, all these problems will be fixed in time, but a problem is still a problem.
inFamous: Second Son – Sucker Punch – Played On: PlayStation 4
For: I’m not a big Trophy or Achievement hunter. Sure, I love when they pop and the fact that they can make you play a game in different ways than you normally would is great. However, I’m not the guy who has to go for the Platinum Trophy or I won’t be satisfied.
That being said, something about Sucker Punch’s latest entry made me hunger for it. The different ways you could play the game depending on if you were good or evil, the fun challenges, and the amazingly detailed world and powers made me want to be a part of Delsin’s life as long as I could.
I beat the game twice and achieved that ultimate prize of a Platinum Trophy. It’s technically my third one, but considering the other two are some of the easiest to obtain, The Walking Dead Season 1 and Resistance: Burning Skies, I consider this my first legit trophy.
For that, I am very proud, and this game will always hold a special place in my heart!
Against: The gameplay was the star of this game. Unfortunately, the story and interactions weren’t up to the level I was expecting. I didn’t care too much for what happened, I just wanted to play in Seattle and fly around the city with all my cool powers.
Also, some of the boss battles were, in my opinion, a little unfair and cheap. I’m never a fan of fighting against the game, but prefer when your fighting against your own skill-set.
Final Thoughts: This is another incredible entry in one of the best exclusives PlayStation has to offer. It was a smart move by Sucker Punch to introduce a new character to all the new PS4 owners, but still keep in tact what makes this series so great. I can’t wait to see where they go next.
So, there you have it.
My first five of my top ten games of 2014. I will be posting Part 2 early next week, so in the meantime, let me know your thoughts. Do you agree with me? Do you think I’m way off or maybe am missing the best game out there?
Let me know what YOUR favorite game is of this year. Not “The” best game, but your best game. What game spoke to you and stuck with you, long after the credits rolled?
With all these games, be it the winner of game of the year or not, it makes one thing pretty clear; there really hasn’t ever been a better time to be a gamer!
Have a great weekend, and look forward to Part 2 next week!
Adam Bankhurst is the founder of TheOhanaTV, a Twitch Channel and Gaming Website. Send him all your thoughts or questions to adam@TheOhanaTV.com. You can also follow him @adambankhurst and at @TheOhanaTV.