I probably played more games in 2014 than ever before. Thanks to finally getting a PC and thus being introduced to the Steam season sales for the first time, I bought way more games than I could ever hope to finish in a year. Add in the release (and my purchase) of the Playstation 4, and it made it even harder to finish the older games I bought in 2012. But here’s my list of memorable games from my year in gaming:
Games of the Year: That I Should Probably Finish
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game ever made. The fact that Nintendo used that as a basis for a sequel and improved on everything that LttP did while not feeling stale like other recent Zelda games have felt was a great combination. From the updated music to the 3D, A Link Between Worlds might become my favorite Zelda game of all time. Still need to finish it though.
Super Mario 3D World
I actually just started playing this on New Year’s Eve because of travel and guests over the holidays, but I can already justify including it on my list for one of the best games of 2013 that I need to finish. Mario has never looked better and the creativity and ingenuity of the level design, even in the early levels, had me marveling that this team can still come up with unique platformer ideas almost 30 years after the first Super Mario Bros. game was released.
The Last of Us
I’ve stopped and started this game 2 times now. Not because of my hatred for it but because I get distracted by other things. That’s probably the greatest disservice I could do to a game like this. From what I’ve played of it, I love it. Naughty Dog has once again blown away the competition with beautiful graphics and a great story even if it is in the overdone “zombie” genre. Looking forward to finishing up this one in 2014.
Saints Row 4
SR4 is worth mentioning even thought I don’t think it is as well done as Saints Row: The Third. No other game has made me laugh out loud more this year then SR4 and the intro is up there with The Last of Us on being the best intro of the year. I’ll come back to this at some point just to see how the story concludes. If you want to have fun with a game from 2013, this is the game you need to play.
2011’s 2013 Game of the Year
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
One of the games I spent the most time with this year was The Witcher 2. It was released in 2011 but it still was one of my top games of the year. The world of The Witcher is beautiful. It is almost hard to believe that CD Projekt Red could do what they did with this game over 2 years ago. The Witcher is to me what Skyrim is to others. Just restarted my game before the holidays and can’t wait to play more in 2014. Recommended to anyone who likes expansive action-based RPGs.
Sports Game of the Year
It’s not often that I buy sports games. I used to buy Madden every other year but haven’t in quite a while. I just get tired of sports games quickly and it seems like a waste of money. But not this year. Since I bought my PS4 on release day, the game I’ve played the most is NBA 2k14. More specifically, the MyCareer mode in 2k14. It’s basically a create-a-player mode but you play as that player the whole time. It is simultaneously the best thing I’ve played in a sports game and the most frustrating. Sometimes the game doesn’t make any sense and sometimes you’re the Player of the Game. But don’t let that get you down. It’s so fun that I actually crave playing it when I haven’t in a while. I have never said that about a sports game before. One more thing, best looking graphics ever in a sports game. Probably until next year’s version.
Games of the Year: That I Finished
4th Place: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Brothers is an amazing piece of storytelling without any dialog being spoken. The controls are unique in that each brother is controlled by a separate analog stick. While popular in dual joystick shooters, I believe this was the first time it was used in a game like this. It’s a very short game but completely worth the 2-3 hours it takes to beat. And the story… It was a year of emotional games and this was one of the best.
3rd Place: BioShock Infinite
This game was my pre-release GOTY and it still is a strong contender at the end of the year. I don’t know if it’s just distance from playing it that dropped it to 3rd for me or the fact that the other 2 games just resonated with me more. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Infinite. The way the story unfolded to the over-the top violence along with the stylized graphics made it one of the best games of the year. It was also the only game I can remember that actually justified killing the bad guys because of how racist they were throughout the game.
Runner-Up: Gone Home
Another short game that made me feel a way I have never felt before after finishing a game. Besides Bioshock Infinite, I have never just sat there at the end of the game and thought about everything I just played. It was a good 10-15 minutes before I got up from my desk and went immediately to my wife to tell her that she needs to play this game. The nostalgia it hits with the 90’s references were perfect for me and just the way the story unfolded was amazing. I don’t want to give too many details away because everyone should play this game.
Game of the Year 2013: Tomb Raider
I didn’t have more fun with a game this year than I did with Tomb Raider. What a fantastic reboot. So fantastic that I might buy it again when it comes to the PS4. I love when adventure games use historical references to make it seem like it might actually be out in the world for people to discover. Even though the game doesn’t focus on raiding tombs per se, the rest of the game serves as a great introduction to Lara Croft and the action never gets old. The upgradable weapons are original and cool, and the characters are well-acted. I can’t think of anything that I disliked about the game, except for some of the ways Lara dies which seem a bit unnecessary. Tomb Raider is one of the few games I’ve gone back to immediately after I finished to go do some collectible hunting. That’s how great the world was designed. If you haven’t played it, you need to rectify that.
Games of the Year 2013 Lists from the Horrible Night Writers
Giant Bomb (images)