Happy New Year! What better way to kick-start the new year than to look back on the one we have just left and pick our favourite games! We will crown a GOTY today guys!
Well; I will, MrJohnSherry will crown his in Tuesdays post.
2014 was a funny one. A year that undoubtedly had its disappointments, controversies, needless HD remakes and unfinished games. Certain sections of the gaming media have been calling it “the worst gaming year ever/since 1983” since the summer.
To be honest I’ve had an absolute cracking year gaming on my various consoles sure it was far from vintage but; if you’re willing to look in places you wouldn’t normally, (as well as the usual places *coughNintendocough*) there have been some absolutely amazing games.
Before we begin I will say that the rules for GOTY are:
1) I must have played the game.
2) Must have been released (in its entirety) between 01/01/14-31/12/14.
3) Cannot be a straight HD remake
So without further ado, here are my top three games of the year.
3) Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (PC/VITA/PS4)
I debated whether or not this game met my criteria – it is technically a remake after-all! However unlike all the HD remakes this year – Rebirth was stripped back to its constituent parts and completely rebuilt – it is an entirely new game now; need proof? More characters, bosses, game modes, graphical engine (that copes with the action now), sprites, animations, 160 new collectibles(!) orbitals, trinkets etc.
The premise and game-play have remained the same – Isaac’s mother is trying to kill him because God has told her to, Isaac however is not going to go gently into the good night! In a rogue-like twin stick shooter the play must traverse 6 levels of the basement to and kill Mother in order to survive – with a plethora of pickups, items, power-ups and medicines at your disposal (none of these have any explanation on effect BTW) Rebirth is incredibly challenging while retaining fun (DO YOU HEAR THAT DARK SOULS?).
The package that is offered here is a heaving one, there are 11 playable characters with unique attributes (that change how you play), 20 challenge run modifiers (just in case the game is too easy) and Crossplay on Playstation is the icing on Rebirth’s delicious cake.
All these positives cannot be ignored and what we are left with is one of the best games of the year.
2) Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Nintendo’s foray into the HD-era has been a difficult one; however the one game they can always rely on is this one!
I will not waste words or your time by explaining what this game is but I will spend time telling you why I feel that this is the best iteration of the karting game that just won’t quit (why should it though, it just keeps getting better and better?).
What they have created here is nothing short of astounding! Not only is It one of the years best-looking games (seriously the art style is stunningly beautiful and those reflections on the karts are gob-smacking) but it is also the best multi-player experience of the year. The weapon-based racing (a racing game for people who hate racing games if you will) is so ferociously competitive yet so perfectly balanced brings families/friends/enemies/warring nations together before ripping them apart again!
A game that is so finely poised and well-balanced that Nintendo felt comfortable enough to troll us with a blue shell special edition of the game(!!)
This is before we mention the innovations Ninty introduced to this entry. The anti-gravity sections are sublime, and the bounce boost is genius, now pro-players can boost entire tracks from start to finish – when coupled with the flying and underwater sections from MK7 – the potential for short cuts increases exponentially. The best two innovations are what really hold MK8 above all the others in the series:
1) the horn to counteract the blue shell (finally!)
2) Luigi’s death stare.
In all seriousness Mario Kart was the best racer this year – a triumph of technical ability married with fun – only Nintendo can pull a game like this off.
1) Alien: Isolation (PC/PS4/XO/360/PS3)
And we have arrived at my personal favourite game of the year. After 35 years we Alien fans finally got a game that was worth playing! Although this game is technically a survival-horror, after spending (far too much) time with it – I can categorically state that it is merely a survival game. Ripley has limited resources and weapons are almost nonexistent on the Sevestopol – even the most lowly enemy is hard to kill and the Alien itself? Impossible!
That’s not to say Alien: Isolation isn’t scary – it is terrifying! Everytime I load it up – it puts me through an emotional ringer. This is the most stressful game I have ever played. Being hunted by the universe’s apex-predator at every turn will turn even the most hardened player into a quivering mess. There is no outrunning the Xenomorph – its quicker than you (by a gigantic margin), there is only out-smarting it – if it see’s, hears or smells you – you are dead.
It isn’t just the Xenomorph that is terrifying – the Sevestopol itself is a character, it heaves, groans and seemingly breathes – it is very much a character in its own right. The attention to detail to what made the future in 1979, the DOS computers, the dippy ducks and the motion detecting lights all add to the atmosphere that Ridley Scott built-in his magnum-opus. Even the DLC has been done correctly – and with ‘Crew Expendable’ and ‘Lone Survivor’ this game is that world, it is Alien and it is everything you’ve ever wanted!
Go and play this game right now! Sure its frustrating in places (Hard really is difficult) but it is just so good – what Creative Assembly achieved here is not just staggering, it’s dream fulfillment and for that it is my game of the year!
The Walking Dead: Season 2 – My highest rated game of the year although it misses out for two very important reasons; reason the first, episode 1 was released in 2013 (except on New Gen) and reason the second; the version that was released in 2014 was a straight ‘HD’ remake. Sorry Telltale.
OlliOlli (PS4/VITA/PC) – The best skateboarding game ever (at least since THPS), an addictive, arcade scoring gem that was released to little fanfare in January and many people seem to have forgotten it – a shame really as OlliOlli is amazing, it misses out simply because it isn’t as good as the others in the top 3.
Titanfall (XO/PC) – A great little shooter that kick-started 2014’s obsession with jetpacks and futuristic tech. For my money Titanfall was the best shooter of the year – it’s movement and gunplay were superlative and really added something to the genre. It misses out because of a combination of fragmenting the player base through DLC (Respawn haven’t learned from their COD days it would seem) and players deserting the game within weeks (as a result of the DLC).
DriveClub (PS4)/Assassins Creed: Unity (PS4/PC/XO) – Only kidding 😀
What’s your game of the year, is it in this list?
Do you agree with my choice?
Let us know what you would choose for your GOTY in the comments below!