So we’ve already hit the middle of the year, though I could swear it was March only two weeks ago. And what better time is there to reflect on the year in gaming so far, than right now?
This week, the Non-Fiction Gaming crew discusses what the best games of 2014 currently available are.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
My favourite game so far in 2014 is Wolfenstein: The New Order. The game seemed to just appear out of nowhere in the sense that nobody expected it to be as good as it was, especially when compared to its predecessor. The story itself isn’t anything particularly amazing, however the characters within it are detailed and forge a connection with the player.
The story is built around two separate timelines, and this not only increases replayability, but also allows you to connect more with certain characters. For instance ‘J’ who is only seen throughout Wyatt’s timeline, has his own reasons for joining the resistance, and these are as intriguing as the main story is.
Where the game stands out is gameplay. It mixes stealth with all-out, over the top classic combat, allowing the player to dual wield almost anything in the game to increase firepower at the cost of accuracy, although I would have liked a bit more customisation, like the under-mounted rocket launcher found towards the end of the game.
Wolfenstein: The New Order also has some of the best first-person shooter bosses that I’ve ever encountered; for instance fighting for control of high-tech aircraft whilst holding off three giant robots and wave after wave of Nazis had me button mashing like crazy to say the least.
Dark Souls 2
Dark Souls 2 is a close second. I love the game and eagerly anticipate Bloodborne, however this is the year of the arrival of ‘next-gen’ games and I feel like Dark Souls 2 just isn’t there (Bloodborne will be). I really enjoyed playing Octodad: Dadliest Catch with wacky gameplay and controls and Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeros also came close, however I feel like the game was just a taster for what we will see in The Phantom Pain. Killzone: Shadow Fall was a good game and it is definitely graphically superior to any shooter I’ve seen so far, however I didn’t really like the story.
That being said I still think that Destiny will be the game of the year for me.
Infamous: Second Son
For me, the best game of 2014 was a close call. My first instinct was Zombie Studios’ horror experience Daylight. But it narrowly lost out to Infamous: Second Son. Running around, blasting government troopers would various superpowers is a boatload of fun. It is the story, however, that makes Infamous such a memorable experience.
Shortly after its release, I wrote on the reason behind Infamous’ success as a game. The writing, the characters, and the world design are all triumphs.
Unlike Watch Dogs, there are characters that you will easily get emotionally involved with – something that is hugely important for the game’s karmic system. Creating a world that gets players so invested is a rare quality and makes Infamous: Second Son my game of 2014 so far.
My favorite game as of right now would have to be something that wasn’t quite a full release. The Destiny alpha got me truly hooked to the game even with it not being a full version of the game. With the small section of Earth to explore, the loads of upgrades, the Crucible, the player interaction and, well, damn near everything about the game kept me coming back for more.
In fact, I would say exploring only the tip of the iceberg of Destiny has me anxiously waiting for the July 17 beta so I can get my fix before the full game comes out September 9. I don’t know if I made it obvious, but can you tell I’m excited for this game?
Mario Kart 8
2014 so far has been quite a slow year in gaming for me, so I’ll be boring and say Mario Kart 8 has been the best release. As predictable as that statement is, it can’t be denied that Nintendo has made a truly great game. I think one of my favourite additions is the online multiplayer.
While it’s great to play with four friends locally, it’s also quite thrilling to be able to go online anytime and race people from around the world. I especially love that there is two-player split-screen for online gaming. It means my girlfriend and I can enjoy the competition together.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
The only other game I’ve really played this year that has stood out is Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Not only was it a fun game with a lot of humour on offer, but it was surprisingly heart-warming and emotional at times.
While I can’t say everyone should buy it at full-price since some will enjoy it more than others, if you ever see it on sale for Steam, be sure not to miss out on this game.