Published on December 31st, 2014 | by Don Parsons1
Don’s Top Ten Games of 2014
2014 shaped up to be a good year. On a personal note, I moved closer to work and nicked the three or more hours on the road I was driving to and from work. On a more relatable note, I was surprised with an Xbox One for my birthday in April by my amazing wife, and finally got a Nintendo 2DS. Of course a lot of games came out as well, and I have carved that hefty list of games I played this year down to my personal top ten.
10. Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire
Since before Pokemon was a thing over here in the States, I have been fascinated by this franchise that some called a “fad”. Lucky for me, and every other fan of the series, this has not been the case. Omega Ruby turned out to be a great remake of a game I spent several dozen hours with. While I still prefer the graphics of those older 2D games, the gameplay enhancements are fantastic in this remake, the DexNav, for one, is my personal favorite. Now, when that pesky Baltoy shows up I can easily ignore at least one of those battles. But really, it’s a great remake for people like me that played the original and infuses it with enough new features to keep things interesting. And of course, for the new crowd who never played Ruby or Sapphire, it’s time to play a classic entry in the series.
9. Luftrausers — review here
2014 had some great little Vita games that shined for once. These games felt perfectly built for the system, and played well into my very busy schedule that allowed more burst play than serious sittings, where I favored my consoles. Luftrausers was one of those games, playing like an arcade game I would have played back in the 80s with a few new game mechanics. I played this on the PS3, too, but on the Vita it truly shined. A few times, I even took my Vita to work to play it (post-review, even) on lunch, if I planned on taking a lunch anyways. Needless to say, Luftrausers was one of my most-played Vita games, and I highly recommend it if you like 2D schmups from yesteryear.
8. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Inquisition came kind of left field. I only played it because I knew I was going to have to talk about it on our end of the year podcast. I played the second to last Dragon Age, and was not impressed with the gameplay at all. In Inquisition, that problem has been resolved completely. Honestly, I have not had this much fun exploring an open world since Skyrim. I love that I can spend 10 hours exploring large sections of land, doing random things, and then bounce over to play some of the main story at my leisure. Currently I’m about 40 hours in, and probably not very far into the story. Inquisition is simply one of those games that is a time vortex and eats hours of your life without you realizing it. Be careful if you haven’t made the plunge.
7. Olli Olli — review here
Skate or Die was a cool concept back in the day, but given the era, limited compared to what we could now of course. Olli Olli rectifies this with a great, correction awesome, 2D skateboarding game. Skateboarding games may never reach the peak they did back when Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1-3 came out, but this has been the first great one since THPS3. Given the amount of skateboarding games in that gap, that’s pretty impressive. And like Luftrausers, it felt so perfect on the Vita.
6. Titanfall — review here
Titanfall was such a great game. A system seller, in fact, as I switched from being a PS3 fanboy to an exclusive XO gamer. Titanfall also redefined it’s genre, something that has been long overdue. The titans were so much fun to play in, the game play was quick and frantic, and with AI enemies running around everywhere, it was hard to not feel good about putting forth some sort of effort for your team. Titanfall also had frequent content updates, some being free like the co-op Frontier Defense mode, making it hard to argue that Titanfall was, without a doubt, the best competitive shooter in 2014.
5. Forza Horizon 2 — review here
The most fun I had in Forza Horizon 2 was when myself, a friend from Twitter, and Chris Scott (our editor in chief) played for a few hours during Extra Life this year. Horizon 2 is fun by yourself, but like most games, when you add friends, the fun factor just multiplies. Being T-boned by a random Ai drivatar is not near as comical as having that happen by a friend whom laughs as he drives away. The open world was beautiful, the cars handled great, and there was a reward wheel that was just flat out addicting. In hindsight, I don’t understand that addiction, but I still loved being addicted to it. No Forza Motorsports or gran Turismo this year, The Crew kind of sucked, and Driveclub was broken, leaving the road wide-open for Forza Horizon 2 to zip in for an easy victory over it’s competition.
4. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
Two things stood out as a disappointment for an otherwise-flawless Super Smash Bros. game, one being understandable and the other not so much. I can understand there being no download play. Sure, it sucks that I had to go spend twice as much money to play with my son, but it was worth it. But there is no voice chat in online play, and that simply baffles me. That aside, this is a great entry in a series that I have loved so much over the years. The gameplay is as solid as ever, there’s a handful of new characters to tinker around with, and a ton of challenges that will keep you busy for quite a while.
3. South Park: The Stick of Truth — review here
I love South Park so much. As the show has evolved, the story telling has reached this grand scale that makes me chuckle to varying degrees throughout entire episodes. The Stick of Truth was like a long, playable series of episodes that followed a long story arch filled with laugh-inducing jokes. Oh, and it was actually a good game, too. Most TV shows or movie games are horrible, but Stick of Truth played much like a Super Mario RPG clone, which is a great thing.
2. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls — review here
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls added not only a new act, and a character, but also Adventure mode which gets just about as much play time from me and the Mrs. as the regular acts do. While couch co-op is not new, combine that with the new additions and this has been quite an addicting “couple game” for my wife and I. Diablo III was great. Reaper of Souls was better. I guess that makes this a 6 out 5 stars? All I know is I would not be sad if another expansion came out if it was the caliber of Reaper of Souls.
1. Destiny — review here
Some people were disappointed by Destiny, which is fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Destiny was, however, the game I spent the most time playing, and I enjoyed almost every minute of it. Now I’ve only played 170 hours according to Bungie.net, but that’s 170 hours, give or take a few, of fun gaming time. I love the strikes, I enjoy the crucible as a change of pace (not a replacement for a serious competitive FPS), and love the grind. I daydreamed about it while I was at work, and couldn’t wait to get home and continue my adventure. Destiny was everything I expected it to be, and I loved it for that. I hope the content continues, and really hope they kick the weekly events back on on a more frequent basis. Destiny is not perfect by any means, and has gone through several changes I like and dislike, but it was my game of the year for 2014.