Peter Freeman’s Top 10 Games of 2014

It’s been a long year. Hell, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve even looked at this blog. But every year I like to look back on the games I played this year and organize the ten best into some sort of list that forces me to choose a number 1. It isn’t easy. In fact I’m stalling on choosing that number 1 by writing out this opening paragraph.

But I digress. In reality, it was difficult to pick ten games to go on this list. Why? I could hardly remember what I played. A year is a long time and lots of games come and go in that time. But more than anything, I didn’t play a ton of “big games”. A great deal of this year was spent playing smaller games that come and go in a few hours. In fact I only played about three AAA games this year and one of them was terrible (we’ll get to that in a moment). So when I went to put this list together, there was a bit of difficulty remembering everything.

But eventually I figured it out. I wrote them down, numbered them, and have presented them for your amusement below. Enjoy!

2014’s Worst Game of the Year: Destiny

Anyone who’s heard me talk about Destiny knows I detest it. For a game was lauded over because it was developed by Bungie, the core experience is nothing like we were told. Instead we received a confusing mess of a FPS gameplay trying its damnedest to be a MMO. There’s no story, and the fact that you’re forced to revisit the same environments is inexcusable. Hearing people go to bat for this game makes them seem insane because I can no longer see what’s appealing about it. Sure, it looks pretty, but the aesthetic is generic and tiresome to look at after a few hours. Even going to the other planets doesn’t change things up. All in all, Destiny is a confused mess that has no idea what it wants to be. I’m glad I was able to trade it in for as much as I was.

Top 10 Games of the Year:

Honorable mentions: Broken Age: Part One, Crossy Road

10. Nidhogg

Nidhogg is a super small experience. There are only four levels and the gameplay is you fencing against an opponent, trying to reach the end of the level first. The real kick is playing against a friend. Whether it be online or local multiplayer, there’s nothing more hilarious that chasing down your opponent, only to barely spear him with a thrown sword. The hilarity isn’t to be underestimated. Some of my favorite mulitplayer memories come from this game.

9. Crypt of the Necrodancer

Never has a game been more fun to work out to. Enjoy rogue-likes? DDR perhaps? How about both mashed together!? Then Necrodancer is for you. It’s a rhythm based rogue-like where you move and attack in beat with the music. It’s extremely hard, but an absolute delight to play. Not only can you play with a keyboard or controller, but a DDR pad as well! It’s quite a workout doing thirty minutes of Necrodancer and it’s never been more fun.

8.  Wolfenstein: The New Order

Who knew right? Everything I’d heard about this game was trash during preview coverage and stuff. Then it was released and everyone did a 180 on it. I was naturally curious and hadn’t played a good FPS in some time. Lo’ and behold, this game was awesome. It mixes some Half-Life 2 story telling with fun design and classic FPS gameplay. The story takes a dive at certain points into weird mysticism, but ignoring that The New Order is so much fun. I couldn’t get enough of it.

7. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

I loved the original Binding of Isaac. This remake only gave me an excuse to put more hours of my life into the series. New bosses, levels, items, and characters, this game has it all. I’ve put over 60 hours into it so far and I have no doubt I’ll put another 60 in before I’m even close to being finished.

6. Pokemon: Alpha Sapphire

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Pokemon. It’s the one Nintendo franchise I go all nostalgic on and Alpha Sapphire continues to serve that. It mixes all the fun of the original game with the mechanics of the new 3D ones. Plus they’ve added on some exciting end game content. There’s always plenty to explore in Pokemon and Alpha Sapphire is no exception.

5. Risk of Rain

I believe this is the only game on my Steam library that I’ve gotten all the achievements in. There’s a reason for that too. Months ago I had an allergic reaction to pain medication which caused me to have chronic hiccups for days straight. It’s a bit hard to sleep when that’s happening, so when was I up at 4AM I would sit at my computer and grind through Risk of Rain. The art style and music are so awesome and the gameplay is precise and exciting. I couldn’t help but complete the whole thing.

4. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

I played this game on and off since beta, but it never really took hold of me until this year. Why? Because my friends got into it. Then became just like talking about Pokemon cards when we were seven. There’s the same addiction that goes on with the need to have the best cards, the best deck, and the highest rank. That is essentially the reason this game ranks so high on my list.

3. DOTA 2

A list of the best games of 2014 wouldn’t be complete without one of the greatest games of all time. DOTA 2 continues to evolve over the years, becoming something completely different than what it was last year. Sure the core gameplay is the same, but the balance has changed considerably, the map is different, and so the experiences continue to change. It’s a testament to the staying power DOTA has to keep me playing several years after starting. (I’ve put 573 hours into the game, just FYI)

2. Transistor

I loved Bastion, and when the trailer for Transistor debuted I couldn’t be more excited. Then the game was everything I wanted and more. The gameplay was MOBA esque in a really satisfying way, the story was moody and noir, and the music was incredible. Just listen to the track above and tell me you didn’t get chills. Transistor is a game many people forgot about after it came out and that’s unfortunate because it’s easily one of the best games of the year.

1. Dragon Age: Inquisition

I bought Dragon Age on a whim. I didn’t like the original Dragon Age and DA 2 held no water for me. But people had raved about Inquisition and I hadn’t played a Bioware RPG since Mass Effect 2. So I figured why not give it a shot? Thirty hours later, I’m here to tell you that this game is amazing. Sure the combat isn’t amazing and the game has some real frame hitches, but the core experience, the relationships with your party members, makes up for it all. The game includes such an amazing cast of characters ranging from a gay wizard, a dude with horns named the Iron Bull, to a FTM transgender mercenary. The fact that the game lets you play as any one you want, no matter your gender, race, or sexual orientation, and the overall experience doesn’t change, is proof of Bioware’s storytelling abilities and frankly, the primary reason it’s the best game of 2014.

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