2014 was definitely one hell of a year for gaming. We got a very good look at the dawn of virtual reality gaming, saw Microsoft and Sony try to one up one another, and did some soul searching with the huge mess that was Gamergate. Most importantly, however, we got plenty of terrific games to whet our appetites with, and with that said, mxdwn Games takes a look at some of the finest titles to have been released that year.
1. Alien Isolation – Our favorite game of 2014 is without a doubt Alien Isolation. As a survival horror fans, we were extremely thrilled with the new formula the game brought to the genre with its unscripted AI, which forced players to think quickly and take immense risks. The sound design was some of the best we’ve ever experienced in a game, the environments were flawlessly recreated from the original 1979 film, and the game was just plain old fun and utterly terrifying.
2. Destiny – Our other favorite game for 2014 would have to be without a doubt Destiny. Though the storyline felt as though it was lacking depth in its content; the beautiful graphics, awesome soundtrack, and online experience definitely made up, at least for us, what Destiny’s story lacked.
3. Wolfenstein: The New Order – Against all expectations, Machine Games crafted a Wolfenstein game that wasn’t just a superbly fun run-and-gun shooter, but one that had a genuinely compelling story, cast, and setting. Everything about The New Order is first rate, but what really caught us off guard was the attention to detail the developer put into the game’s alternate Nazi-dominated 1960s.
4. Grand Theft Auto V for Xbox One/PS4 – Even though its re-release for next gens was met with transferring issues and numerous launch day bugs, GTA V still delivered a pleasurable gaming experience. What was most enjoyable was the new first person viewing and redefined graphics. Overall a great game for both 2013 & 2014, and we can’t wait to finally be able to play heists next year.
5. This War of Mine – 11 Bit’s thought provoking war survival game is one that videogaming desperately needed: a game that took the medium’s most popular genre and gave it an unflinchingly realistic treatment. TWoM isn’t just a complex and challenging game to play, it’s also one that will challenge your morals and force you to rethink your perspective on both gaming and war.
6. Halo Master Chief Collection – Reliving old video games is great and the Halo Master Chief Collection did an excellent job on re-mastering the graphics and game play for this special edition.
7. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Although it borrows heavily from the Arkham games, Monolith’s Shadow of Mordor‘s ingenious Nemesis System sets it apart from its peers. Instead of just outright killing your foes, the game allows you to manipulate them in a variety of ways. You could purposely strengthen an Orc officer to an extremely high rank so that he would yield greater rewards when killed, or perhaps make him a turncoat that you could use to your advantage. The possibilities are endless, and Shadow of Mordor wins big points for allowing you to act as both assassin and agent provocateur.
8. Super Smash Bros for Wii U – This is a game that everybody can enjoy and delivers the classic Super Smash Bros series for the Nintendo console.
9. Infamous Second Son – The unique storyline and elemental gameplay made Second Son an enjoyable gaming experience. One part of the game that was thoroughly enjoyable was the option to choose good or evil karma, while stealing other conduits powers; which was an interesting concept.
10. Wasteland 2 – Just when we thought that the days of good old fashioned isometric turn-based RPGs were over, inXile Entertainment, led by Fallout alumnus Brian Fargo, came along and led a very successful Kickstarter campaign to create a sequel to Wasteland. The result was a love letter to a genre long thought dead, with a compelling story, exquisite writing and PC-centric RPG mechanics. Wasteland 2 is a game for hardcore gamers frustrated by a gaming landscape awash with the corporate meddling of EA, Activision and Ubisoft, and the fact that it came to fruition solely through crowdfunding is a very, very promising sign for hardcore gaming.