Jimmy's Top 10 Games for 2014
1. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
I’ve dabbled in many MMO’s over the years. I’ve enjoyed the vast majority of them but none of them have really grabbed me the way FFXIV: ARR has. I realize the game launched in late 2013 for PC/PS3 but it wasn’t until it released on the PS4 in April of 2014 that I gave the game a chance. If you are a veteran MMO player, FFXIV: ARR doesn’t necessarily rewrite the formula for a good MMO but it is so solid in its execution that I consider it one of the best. Everything works, there are very few annoyances, the art direction and world design are absolutely delightful and the job/class system is great. You can spend hundreds of hours doing everything in the game with just one created character. It’s fantastic and lets you easily try out new classes and jobs. I took a long break from FFXIV: ARR to play more games but have since returned to the beautiful world of Eorzea and I never want to leave. Oh and FFXIV: ARR has one of the nicest online communities I have ever been a part of.
2. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
I played a little of the original version of Diablo III when it released on the PC some time ago but it wasn’t until the Ultimate Evil Edition released that I got pulled in. Aside from maybe Final Fantasy XIV: A Real Reborn, most of my gaming hours in 2014 were spent tearing through dungeons in Diablo III. I didn’t play a whole lot of the base game so I can’t speak for the changes made but Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition is one of the most addicting, fun and well crafted games I have ever played. I loved scouring dungeons and fields for better loot or lore books. I became addicted to running through the game on higher difficulties and attempting to complete any of the game’s hundreds of challenges. If you haven’t played Diablo III yet, you need to change that.
3. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Hands up for everyone who thought that this game would be one of this year’s best. No one? That’s what I thought. I had zero expectations when going into Wolfenstein: The New Order and my expectations were actually lowered after the games subpar opening level. However, the following 10+ hours completely blew me away. The shooting was fast, frantic, and fun but the thing that surprised me the most was the narrative. Wolfenstein: The New Order has arguably one of the best narratives and cast of characters of any game this year. I cared for the characters. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the next big revelation and I am still wondering what happened at the end.
4. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
As a novice Lord of the Rings fan, I have been longing for a great game based around the license. The wait has been long but it is now over thanks to Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The game takes things from other notable franchises and puts its own twist on them and, in most cases, makes them better. The one thing that the game does new is also the one thing that I truly believe is a “next-gen” feature and that is the nemesis system. You can influence, manipulate or just watch as Orcs and Uruks battle and politic their way up their respective system. Want that puny little Orc to become the next great warchief? It can happen by itself over time or you can make it happen by force. Want to make all of a certain warchief’s captains turn on him? Yep you can do that too. That’s the best thing about Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Just play with the Nemesis system and see what stories you can create. Each Orc and Uruk-Hai have their own personalities and stats. You will have to use a lot of strategy and planning to take some of them down, but it is worth it.
Transistor was the only indie title to really grab me this year. I was absolutely blown away by the visuals, soundtrack and addictive gameplay. The sheer amount of variety in the combat and move combinations was astounding. It is also the game that contains one of my favorite protagonists of 2014, Red. The game also has a surprisingly high replay value, mainly due to the many difficulty modifiers the game contains. The only con I can think of is that I wish it was a little more up front about what was going on in the story.
6. Forza Horizon 2
The perfect racing game? Well, to some, absolutely. Forza Horizon 2 boasts a solid number of cars and a huge open world to explore. The racing is fun, accessible and customizable. You can tune and customize any car to your liking and there is no shortage of racing events to participate in. In my 40+ hours with the game I only managed to complete 30% of the events in the game. Yeah, it is chalked full of events to complete. Even if the standard racing bores you, the open world is taming with things to do, places to discover, wacky events to partake in and collectables to find. Forza Horizon 2 is a must for any racing genre fan and a game that I think justifies the purchase of a Xbox One.
7. Bayonetta 2
Crazy. That's the word I use to describe Bayonetta 2. I'll be honest, my jaw was on the floor for most of my playthrough. The incredibly over the top action scenes are some you have to see to believe. Bayonetta 2 also has arguably the best gameplay of any game from this genre. It so smooth and satisfying. It also contains an obscene amount of unlockables and playing through on higher difficulties is a must. You can easily sink 50+ hours into this game. It's a shame that Bayonetta 2 isn't available on every platform. It is a must play.
8. Mario Kart 8
There's not much I really have to say about Mario Kart 8. As the first Mario Kart that I have truly spent a lot of time with, I am constantly coming back for more. It is so fun and collecting all the stars is addictive and rewarding. I was also super impressed with the visuals. Nintendo does a great job making up for the lack of power in the Wii U by delivering games with an impressive and eye-pleasing art styles. Mario Kart 8 just pops and the visuals always just put a smile on my face. Also, of course Mario Kart 8 is fun with friends but you didn't need me to tell you that.
9. Infamous: Second Son
Infamous: Second Son is one of those games you show to your friends to show off your new console. It looks phenomenal and runs silky smooth (albeit at 30fps). As a hug Infamous fan, I was a bit disappointed in some of the characters, the short length and the empty feeling the open world sometimes had but the action kept me playing. It is just a blast to play. The powers are satisfying and really make you feel like a super hero (or villain). I actually liked Second Son more than Infamous 2 but it still falls a bit short of the original. Still, if you own a PS4, you need to pick Infamous: Second Son up.
I said Infamous was a good game to show of the power of the PS4 and I will add DRIVECLUB to that list as well. In motion, and with the new weather effects added post-launch, DRIVECLUB is one of, if not the best, looking games I have ever seen on consoles. While DRIVECLUB doesn't have anywhere near the same depth as Forza Horizon 2, it is a well made and fun racing game. DRIVECLUB suffered a really rocky launch but everything is up and running now. In no other racing games have I been addicted to trying to beat WR times. I just love how the driving feels and can't get enough. I do wish there was some more content and online is a little bare-bones but I highly recommend DRIVECLUB to any PS4 owner who is craving a good racing game.