Evan’s Top 10 Video Games of 2014 (To hear him talk about them make sure to watch the video on the first page):
1. Super Smash Bros. For Wii U
Anyone who should ever encounter Masahiro Sakurai should say “Thank you” for this incredible series he’s created for nearly 15 years. It began as a party game, and turned into an eSports phenomenon, the Super Smash Bros. series has so much to live up to, and Sakurai and his team at HAL Laboratories completely went above and beyond to make a game that anyone can enjoy with over 50 characters from various games, jumping from a maximum of four to now eight players and SEVEN (count them) CONTROLLER TYPES. This is a gift from Nintendo to you. Enjoy.
2. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC, PS4, XOne, PS3, X360)
This was the curve ball of the year. With so many big name games releasing, a movie-based game seemed unlikely to be successful, or even playable, but Shadow of Mordor caught everyone by surprise. Take the good qualities of Assassin’s Creed like the Eagle Vision and free running, and combine it with the solid combat style of the Batman games, plus a sword with a plethora of upgrades, and you have something promising, but Monolith went beyond and created something to really show what the Next Gen is capable of. The Nemesis System is the heart and soul of this game, and you can spend hours slaughtering, taunting, and orchestrating Orcs as they move about a unique hierarchy within themselves, and the AI of surviving villains with unique strengths and weaknesses remember your encounters as you keep the forces of evil at bay in the land of Mordor where the shadows lie…
3. Mario Kart 8
This is the year where Nintendo really took advantage of how talented its artists are and applied them within the games on their first High Definition console. Mario Kart 8 is the most fun you remember any of them ever being. The addition of anti-gravity karts and racing on walls sounds gimmicky on paper, but in practice allows a versatility that the series never had before in its maps and its design. Also, it spawned the trending Luigi Death Stare.
4. Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
Say what you will about the portrayal of women in video games, but Bayonetta is a force to be reckoned with. How do you improve on a female protagonist with unbeatable witch powers and completely owns her sexuality to the point of having pistols on the heels of her boots? Give it to Platinum Games to create an absolutely insane-looking, and thoroughly rewarding, combat and combo system that constantly challenges the player just as they think they’ve mastered the waves of enemies. If a solid experience of a sequel wasn’t enough, it comes with the first Bayonetta completely separate and remastered with the new, intuitive Wii U controls.
5. Shovel Knight
This Kickstarter throwback to the 8-bit magic of the NES caught players by surprise this year in the Yacht Club Games tale of the Shovel Knight, who controls very much like we remember Ducktales, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Megaman.
6. Dragon Age Inquisition
Bioware made a comeback this year by taking notes from Skyrim’s open world littered with side-quests in a heavily detailed world of nature, creatures and lore. This game is hugely customizable, beautifully designed and saying it will take you a while to play is an understatement with nearly 100 hours of content at a player’s disposal.
7. The Banner Saga
Indie developer Stoic released one of the grandest and most stunning games for the winter of 2014 with The Banner Saga, an RPG campaign featuring a cast of vikings fighting for survival with intuitive play style and gorgeous, fluid animations both in game, and in cut scenes that recalls the films of Don Bluth and Ralph Bakshi.
8. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
Valiant Hearts very well may be the most emotionally devastating game of the year, telling the story of a German man deported from France at the dawn of The Great War, encapsulating a single man’s story with the tragedies of those around him within a puzzle adventure game style.
9. Far Cry 4
It’s not even arguable that this is the best game Ubisoft has put out this fall, as it’s truly the only one playable all the way through; it truly does feel like a grand expansion on what Far Cry 3 did in 2013, even if it is a bit formulaic. It took what was great and made it grander with more compelling characters, a crazier villain, mountains and elephants and actually pretty expansive challenge maps.
10. Sunset Overdrive
Insomniac delivered something nobody expected to be good, with an insane color pallet, a wacky cast of characters and the kind of kinetic energy of gameplay that only they could conceive.