It has only been a few months since I started writing for the Pew Pew Podcast, and I have pushed myself to deliver a lot of content for all of our followers. I would like to thank all of you for the support and for reading my posts throughout 2014. I was not able to touch up on a few titles due to time or the fact that I played them way before I joined the podcast. Regardless of that, I can finally talk about games that really impressed me this year thanks to this handy dandy top ten list. While most of my fellow podcast brethrens are movie buffs, I am a hardcore gamer who occasionally catches a movie or two. I will play practically anything for the benefit of the doubt (except for Duck Dynasty.. Morrissey would disapprove), but I will not finish every game because some are not worth completing. Anyway, you are reading this because you want my opinion on what games I felt were the cream of the crop during 2014. I will start with my honorable mentions then count down from ten and explain why I picked that title along with information about it. So let's get this started:
Honorable Mentions: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Child of Light, Killer Instinct: Season 2, Shadow Warrior, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and The Evil Within.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls was a great expansion to a terrific dungeon crawler, but it did not make the top ten because of being an expansion. It is worth checking out especially with the Ultimate edition of Diablo III being available now. If you love fast paced combat with relentless waves of enemies, you will be right at home with this game. Child of Light was a delectable turned based role-playing game that was made with a lot of love. It did not recreate the wheel, but its visuals and low price make it a must for any fan of Final Fantasy. Also, I did a review on it. Killer Instinct: Season 2 is a hell of a follow-up to the original release. It is the only fighter on the Xbox One, but it is easily one of the best fighters currently out. Alas, this counts more as an expansion than an actual game so it does not make the top ten. My review goes in depth about the game so check it out if you are interested. Shadow Warrior is the Duke Nukem game you have been waiting to play. The crude humor and pure brutality of its weapons are reminiscent of the good ol' days. The game has a very lengthy campaign, tons of secrets, and a great upgrade system going for it. The game was released on PC in 2013 and on Xbox One/PS4 in 2014, so it technically is not a release for 2014. Nonetheless, it is a great game to play for anyone who loves bad puns and ultra violent shooters. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has a lot going for it. I still feel that this is the best Call of Duty game I have ever played. My issues with the predictable story and the weak Exo Survival mode made me not put this entry on my top ten. The actual multiplayer mode and changes to game mechanics are highly welcomed by me, and I want to see what else Sledgehammer Games has in store for us gamers in the future. (No pun intended). I wrote a review on this as well if you want more information about it. The Evil Within was a horror survival game swan song. The visuals reminded me of charcoal: Black and grey but with a shimmering glow of red (loads of blood). The Evil Within was a game I enjoyed; however, the sheer amount of tiny frustrations (wonky camera mainly) resulted in my constant breaks from it. It is fun when you get a groove going and there has not been a Resident Evil in a while that has entertained me like The Evil Within had, so I chose to at least mention it for the sake of those on the fence about it.
Titanfall was the exclusive of 2014. It was the bane of Sony's existence and the poster boy for all Xbox users. It was a very cool first-person shooter. Did it have a lasting effect? Not for everyone, but for me it did. Respawn crafted a shooter that took a lot of risks and suffered from a few of them. Either way, I have played this game off and on enough that, during the end of each of those sessions, I felt the same excitement I had initially when I first tried out the game: pure joy. There are moments in this game that just cannot be replicated in other shooters, and I feel the updates to the game over the course of its lifetime have created an even better experience. A new co-op mode was introduced, a player vs. player with no mechs was introduced, and a few other game types were added which all were fun in their own right. I thoroughly like this game. I feel the urge to play it just because I am talking about it again and that is why this game is on my top ten list.
9. Alien: Isolation (PC/PS3/PS4/XB360,XBONE)
Alien: Isolation was the best horror survival game of 2014. The gameplay was simple but it fit perfectly with the atmosphere and intense moments crafted by its developer (The Creative Assembly). When you are playing this game, the eeriness of being alone can take a toll on you. The scares are legitimate and there are plenty of them. The game is entirely in first person, but it is not a shooter. Whoever had the idea to not make this game a shooter should have been given a promotion. Sega finally got a team capable of using the Alien rights properly, and I highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of the franchise or of horror survival games in general.
8. South Park: The Stick of Truth (PC/PS3/XB360)
ManBearPig approved. The dire wolves run rampant in this turn based role-playing game. What is a dire wolf you ask? It's a wolf.. that is dire. The Stick of Truth is hilarious and well worth the wait that everyone had to endure after each push back. Trey Parker and Matt Stone wanted to make a game that they (themselves as gamers) could stand behind, and they were able to do that with the Stick of Truth. The customizable character controlled by you is put into the epicenter of many familiar storylines and has you living them out for yourself. There are not many characters in the South Park universe you won't have the pleasure of meeting in this game, but I can tell you that Cartman will be constantly tormenting you throughout your experience. The Stick of Truth was the best turned based role-playing game I played in 2014.
7. Sunset Overdrive (XBONE)
If you have not read my review on Sunset Overdrive, you may not understand why this game kicks ass. An energy drink turns people into mutants, and you get one-of-a-kind weapons (For example: A TNT strapped teddybear launcher) to annihilate every last one of them. I stated that this game is what Deadpool is for comics. It is aware that it is a video game and will joke about it when appropriate. The feel of this game is special and there was a tremendous amount of passionate filled fun put into it. If you want a more detailed reason why this is in my top ten, I highly recommend reading my love note of a review. To sum it up for those not interested, it is a third-person shooter that will make anyone who does not own a Xbox One jealous. You should own this game if you have a Xbox One.
6. Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- (PS3/PS4)
This is the best fighting game released in 2014. It may have been released in December, but I can go on and on about how amazing Guilty Gear Xrd is. Hell, I gave it FIVE PEWS in my review. The visuals are second to none, the gameplay is precise and rewarding, and its story is fleshed out more than any other entry of the series. This rock n' roll fighting game has the volume turned up to 11, and there is no stopping its sweet chin music from knocking you out from amazement each time you play it. The game is a crisp 1080p 60fps on PS4 but don't fret PS3 owners: you are able to beat them down via cross-play with your last generation console. You can show them who's boss and even transfer any DLC you may purchase to your PS4 when you decide to upgrade. Guilty Gear Xrd does so much right that it was only inevitable until I mentioned it on my top ten list.
5: DANGANRONPA SERIES (PSVITA)
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair are good enough to buy a Playstation Vita or TV in order to play them. When I played the first game, I was blown away by the story. When I played the second game, I could not believe how they topped the original story. The Danganronpa games are mystery adventure games that have you solve class trials that put you in a life or death situation. The sheer insanity of various scenarios you are put through have you astonished by how creative the team was behind the games. The characters are noteworthy and remarkably distinct, the class trials are engaging and anxiety inducing, and Monokuma is the best antagonist to ever be introduced in a game. He is adorable yet a dick all at the same time. If they were to release this game on more platforms, I would end up buying them on those too. This series is insanely good, please look for more information on Danganronpa.
4. Infamous: Second Son (PS4)
While Titanfall may have been the exclusive for Xbox One, Infamous: Second Son was the must own exclusive for the PS4. I never liked the Infamous series personally, but everything Sucker Punch did with this entry of the franchise has me clamoring for another one. The graphics blow most games out of the water, and its story was touching and relatable to a lot of the issues we are currently having as a society. Infamous: Second Son is an open-world adventure game that took superpowers to the next level, and I personally felt those powers get better over the course of playing. The slew of upgrades and content kept the game fresh and exciting, and it is still the best Playstation 4 game I have played period. If you own a PS4 and do not own this game, you are seriously missing out. Luckily if you are a PS+ subscriber, the stand-alone prequel First Light is available for free for the month of January. You can give that a go first and see if Second Son is something you will enjoy (which trust me, it will be).
3. Super Smash Bros (Wii U)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the reason why thousands of gamers bought the system. The simple to play fighting game has always been a blast to play and this entry is no different. The huge roster is nothing short but spectacular, and I constantly have people over playing the new 8 player smash mode. Smash for Wii U has little to no flaws in terms of execution or value. It is a game that can ruffle the feathers of hardcore gamers yet easy enough to play with your mother. Nintendo continues to release top tier games for a console most people were digging a grave for already. This is a game that has plenty to do and maintains relevancy in your game collection due to the fact that most people would be willing to play it. This was the best game released for the Wii U in 2014.
2. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS3/PS4/XBONE/XB360/PC)
If I had not stated Dragon Age: Inquistion as my game of the year on the podcast, this game could have easily taken over my first place slot of this top ten list. Shadow of Mordor was expected to be just another game that nobody would talk about a month after its release; instead, we have a game that may have redefined enemy interactions and story telling. The nemesis system implemented in Shadow of Mordor is what makes this game the top tier experience it is. A no named enemy who kills you by sheer luck can become a warlord that fondly remembers the countless times he has bested you. The ones you have bested can come back for you at the worst possible time just to fulfil their personal vengeance against you. It is a truly unique phenomenon that many open-world adventure games will copy in years to come. The actual swordplay is brutal and fast paced, the upgrade system has abilities you want, and it is the Assassin's Creed game Ubisoft would want to make. Monolith studios might have been known for shooters before this game, but they just cemented themselves as being so much more. I never expected to be blown away by this game as I was, and I urge you to play this game in order for you to feel the same way.
1. Dragon Age: Inquisition (PC/PS3/PS4/XBONE/XB360)
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! (Sorry, I always have that Monty Python skit in my head when discussing this game). Bioware Studios are the pioneers of storytelling. Everything to do with this game has been carefully thought out and crafted to a standard no other developer can accomplish. This massive open-world role-playing game has more content than a few MMO games I have played, and it can be a bit overwhelming at times. You can spend hours doing trivial requisitions and tasks without even batting an eye. It is no wonder why it takes about 80 to 90 hours to complete the game. Each interaction and situation within this game interest you for various reasons, and there is an intriguing attribute to being the commander of your choosing. The combat combines dungeon crawling type battle with strategic chess like options. You can pause pre-battle or mid-battle and change up who is attacking who or what skill this person should be using. On that note, the various skill trees for each class helps shape characters in the same class to be different from one another. It is a great example of how adaptable this game is to how you want to play.
Choice matters in this game, and people hold you accountable for your decisions. You truly feel as if you are commanding an army. A big reason why I got invested into this game is the believability of those around you. This game does justice for people who are different, and the best part about it is that it doesn't treat them any different. There is so much content, so much dialogue, and so much customization that the only reason you should not buy this game is if you cannot dedicate the time needed to play it. And with that, I now pronounce DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION AS MY GAME OF THE YEAR FOR 2014!
Thanks for taking the time for reading my top ten list or for at least skimming to the bottom. I look forward to reviewing upcoming games for all of our dedicated followers. Cheers, Nathan.