Merry Christmas Eve!
Well, here we are. It’s time for round two of my top games of 2014. If you missed the first five, you can check it out right here.
So, without further ado…Part 2!
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Monolith Productions – Played On: PlayStation 4
For: I’m going to say this off the bat, I love The Lord of the Rings. It is one of my favorite movie franchises and the world J.R.R. Tolkien has created is a fascinating place. The one problem with these movies and books are that they end. There is so much more story to tell in this universe, and that is why I was so excited for this game.
Well, it lived up to its name and Shadow of Mordor turned out to be one of my favorite games in quite some time. Not only is the lore and story there, but the gameplay is just so addicting. It takes the best from Assassin’s Creed and Batman’s Arkham Series, and throws in a new Nemesis System which puts meaning behind the Orcs you fight, in the sense that they are not just sword fodder for you to tear through.
I just love games that give you the freedom to explore an open world and feel as though you are a part of it and making a tangible difference.
Also, chopping off heads rarely gets old.
Against: The game can get a little repetitive at times and a lot of the side quests are pretty average. There is a lot to do, but some of it feels thrown in as if to try and make the game last a little longer.
Also, while I enjoyed the story, it wasn’t the most captivating tale every told.
Final Thoughts: One of the best games this generation, hands down. For a new IP set in a known world, the team at Monolith and WB knocked it out of the park. This is another game that I love so much I’m going to Platinum it and come back to it for many years to come. It’s just that fun.
For: Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. Looking back at those that came before can be quite awesome and bring back incredible memories. However, a big problem with nostalgia is that sometimes what you see in your mind’s eye is much better than reality. This reason alone is why Ultimate NES Remix is on this list. It takes your favorite games from yore, puts them into bite size challenges and mashes them all together in one truly fantastic package.
It’s such a pleasure to be able to jump from Super Mario Bros. to The Legend of Zelda to Donkey Kong, all within seconds. They make you play the games differently and give you a bite sized look into the history, mostly without having to struggle with negative aspects of said games. Granted, some of these titles are masterpieces and still hold up well today, but for those that don’t, this is truly one of the best ways to experience them.
Another incredible part about this? The future for this series is super exciting. I can’t wait for Nintendo to tackle its other consoles and handhelds!
Against: Some of the challenges can be tedious and repetitive. You also have to play a long time to unlock all the games. Besides that, there is very little negative to say about this game.
Final Thoughts: This is a prime example of why Nintendo is a master at its craft. They take these crazy ideas and turn them into something fantastic. This is a love letter to the child in all of us and deserves a spot on this list.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS – Nintendo/Sora Ltd. – Played On: Nintendo Wii U & 3DS
For: Nintendo has a very special place in my heart. Super Mario World for SNES is my first gaming memory and for my entire life they have offered up a sense of happiness and joy that’s hard to come by. This is why Super Smash Bros. vibes so well with me. It is the ultimate fan service and gives gamers of all ages the ability to battle their favorite characters as they see fit.
From unlocking characters and stages to hunting down trophies to replaying classic masterpieces, this game has it all and then some. There is so much love put into every pixel of this title and it just shows through and through.
It’s also worth commending the developers on the success of the 3DS version and making it feel near identical to its big brother on the Wii U. There is something magical about being able to take Smash with you no matter where you go.
Against: While this all sounds well and good for someone, like me, who loves Nintendo, some might say this game is just too similar to the past titles. Sure, there are new characters and stages and such, but the formula has stayed pretty much intact.
Also, I’m pretty upset there is no story mode or anything of the sort. I know it wasn’t the greatest in the past, especially gameplay-wise, but seeing my favorite characters interact in beautiful cut-scenes was one of my favorite parts of Smash Bros.
Final Thoughts: I absolutely adore this game and would recommend it to those young and old. There are very few games that honor the past in such a remarkable way, and make it simply fun to play, no matter how hardcore of a gamer you are.
Titanfall – Respawn Entertainment – Played On: Xbox One
For: Titanfall is a game about freedom, plain and simple. The abilities it offers you to traverse the maps are fun and makes this genre feel fresh for the first time in a long time. Being able to use a double jump with your jetpack to go wall running and then jump straight into your newly-summoned Titan never gets old.
There are great challenges and everything plays so very smoothly. It has kind of ruined me for Call of Duty and other similar games because I just love the fast paced, parkour-esque, movement and style.
Being able to switch between Titan and Pilot, and having each feel powerful is an accomplishment I’m glad they achieved. I can’t wait to see where this franchise will go, because I believe it will be one of the best.
Against: The story mode is atrocious and more or less non-existent. They touted a great single player portion, and I can’t even tell you one thing that happened. I really wish they spent some more time on that portion of the game, because I believe they could have had some incredible moments and set pieces that would have been quite memorable.
Final Thoughts: Another great new IP that has a bright future. I had hours upon hours of titan crunching fun. It’s one of those games that ruins your for other games. The freedom of movement and variety of gameplay options make up for the lackluster story.
The Walking Dead: Season 2 – Telltale Games – Played On: PlayStation 3
For: Wow…Did they just…oh. my. god.
That’s how I felt for most of my time spent in this bleak world crafted by Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman. In the followup to a stellar season 1, Clementine is back and has a whole new mess of problems to deal with.
This game holds no punches, and I mean that in every sense of the word. There were times where my mouth was wide open with shock and horror at what was being portrayed on-screen. However, what makes this game special is that they have also found a way to make quiet moments stand out. Even though they are small glimpses of happiness that inevitably get torn away, they make you connect and appreciate the world so much more.
My favorite games are those with a great story and characters, as well as the ability to make decisions that effect the world, and this game checks all those boxes and more.
Against: Telltale’s games are still plagued by plenty of bugs. They aren’t game breaking, but they abruptly take you out of an otherwise tense or touching moment and remind you, “HEY! You are playing a game!”
Also, some of the QTE events in the game are finicky and feel as though it’s not you failing the challenge but the game being unfair, and that’s never good.
Final Thoughts: Above all else, Telltale proves that they aren’t a one-trick pony and have figured out the winning formula to captivate you and simultaneously rip your heart from your chest. This game is brutal, but in the best kind of way. I’ve come to know and care about these characters and what matters to them is important and I want to be a part of their lives as long as I can.
So, there you have it. My choices for the Top Ten games from 2014.
It’s going to be tough to try and put a number to these choices, but I’m excited for the challenge. The full top ten list, from #10 all the way down to #1, will be revealed next week!
What do you think the order will end up being? Is there any game you would replace with one of mine?
What does your list look like? Let me know!
Most importantly, I want to wish you and all your family a Happy Holiday and to remind you spend this time with the ones your love. Cherish these moments and take it all in.
And, as always, make sure to make a little (or a lot of) room for gaming.
P.S. Once again, if you missed part 1 of my top 10 list, click here.
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.