Here we go. Last time I gave you my special awards for 2014, but this is the one you’ve all been waiting for: my picks for best and worst of 2014. Keep in mind that this is a list of the games that I PLAYED. I’m sure there are better or worse games out there but I can’t vouch for them if I don’t play them. Let’s get started.
BEST OF 2014
#5 – ALIEN ISOLATION (Creative Assembly – Multiplatform, played on Xbox One)
Wow. This is a complete turnaround from the disaster that was Aliens: Colonial Marines. I always thought the Aliens universe would be perfect for survival horror, and Creative Assembly proved that with Isolation. Following up on the events of the first movie, it felt like said movie as I always said it was more a horror film while Aliens was more of an action film. The atmosphere fits the movie well, and the scares are true. They are not the usual jump scares that other games provide. It almost reminds me a bit of the Saturn game Enemy Zero where even one misstep (or in this case, the slightest noise) can result in the Alien’s inner jaws boring through your skull. The only reason this game wasn’t rated higher is because it was so scary that I couldn’t even finish it, as it nearly gave me several heart attacks.
#4 – WOLFENSTEIN: THE NEW ORDER (Bethesda – Multiplatform, played on Xbox One)
Another title I did not see coming. After playing the bland 2008 Wolfenstein, this one was a breath of fresh air with a surprising amount of Tarantino-style humor. The shooter mechanics are some of the best I’ve seen in recent years, the alternate 1960 is a sight to behold, and last but not least, the game is surprisingly funny. Even when BJ says in such a bad way “I’m on the ****ing Moon!” it is still quite the experience. I commend Machine Games for what they did with the game, and though the ending was somewhat disappointing, I will gladly go through it again on Uber difficulty.
And still, I’ll never hear “House of the Rising Sun” the same way ever again.
#3 – FORZA HORIZON 2 (Turn 10 Studios/Playground Games – Xbox One)
Forza 5 proved that the Xbox One can do a strong 1080p, 60 fps racer. Even with DLC limitations it was a great game. Horizon 2 is even better. Though running at 30 fps there is far more to do, with hundreds of different tournaments to take part in, a vast open world set in France and Italy to explore, and the fact that you can drive anywhere, and I mean ANYWHERE as you are not restricted to the roads, and you have the complete package. That’s not even including the amazing dynamic weather system that was only improved on with the release of the Storm Island expansion.
#2 – SUNSET OVERDRIVE (Insomniac Games – Xbox One)
I didn’t know what to expect from SSOD but what I ended up with was one of the most interesting hybrid mixes I played this year. Combine third person shooter mechanics, add a little touch of the classic Tony Hawk games, an insane storyline, and some outrageous weapons, and we have a recipe for success. How many games do we have a main character teaming up with a group of preppie nerds, a group of Boy Scouts and their quadruple amputee leader, a gang of LARPers and some luchadore cheerleaders taking on an energy drink company and their potty mouthed mascot? Yeah that’s innovation. And if that’s not enough, two words: Kitty Cannon!
#1 – SUPER SMASH BROS. FOR WII U (Nintendo – Wii U)
This was the game that made me get another Wii U. I wanted to say the same thing for Bayonetta 2, but I have not played it yet. Remember my rule when this all started. But Smash Bros. is everything I loved about Brawl and a lot more. 49 unique characters, tons of stages (with special Final Destination style layouts included,) tons of unlockables, and 8-player matches, this is a game that could easily sell Wii U consoles. My only complaint is why are some of the stages unavailable for 8-player Smash?
WORST GAMES OF 2014
So many good games this year, right? But of course there were also terrible ones, at least the way I see them. These are the worst ones.
#5 – THIEF (Square Enix – Multiplatform, Played on Xbox One)
I have been told by many people that if I want a good classic PC game to play, I should play the original Thief. But if the reboot is any indication of that series, I might want to think twice. Boring stealth gameplay, a plot that just drags on, and tons of frame rate issues on the game engine, and it was enough for me to pack it up and send it right back to Gamefly. Eventually I’ll give the PC classics a try, as I’m sure they are much better than this.
#4 – DESTINY (Actvision/Bungie – Xbox One and PS4, played on Xbox One)
You already know how I feel about this game, as I wrote a whole column on it. Shallow MMO mechanics, repetitive shooting, the same setting over and over again, and the grinding, the relentless grinding, all to get a meaningless loot item. And don’t even get me started on their DLC shenanigans, especially if you play on Xbox One like I did, because Activision and Bungie made sure to gimp that version, by giving the PS4 version more content. How is that fair, Bungie?
#3 – TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK (Activision – Multiplatform, played on Xbox One)
The Transformers Cybertron games (War For and Fall Of) were excellent; the movie based Transformers games were horrible. Why not combine both elements and see how they turn out? Let’s not anymore after what Dark Spark turned into. Monotonous gameplay and a boring plot (that coincides with the most recent Michael Bay abomination,) are a recipe for disaster. After playing this game, I had to load up War For Cybertron on my PC to cleanse myself from the grime!
#2 – RAMBO: THE VIDEO GAME (Reef Entertainment – Multiplatform, played on PC)
This was a horribly done on-rails shooter centered on the first three Rambo movies. The graphics are hideous, the controls are wretched (especially when using a gamepad) and the gameplay is an insult to Rambo fans everywhere. How many cops did Rambo kill in the first movie? Only one, and that wasn’t entirely his fault. Here you can mow them down without worry. You want a good Rambo shooter? Go to your local Dave and Busters and play the Sega arcade game instead.
#1 – DRIVECLUB (Evolution Studios – PlayStation 4)
While Smash Bros was the game that made me buy a Wii U, it was Driveclub’s horrendous launch that made me sell my PS4. The game’s online features were heavily crippled to the point that Sony had to offer downloadable content for free, and as for the gameplay itself, it was so strict at the way you drove that you couldn’t do anything to compete, as opposed to Horizon 2’s drive anywhere you want philosophy. And this is a game that was meant to be as a launch title for the PS4!
That’s not even including the bait and switch that was the PlayStation Plus edition. Because of all the online issues the game had, Sony decided to put the free PS+ edition on “indefinite hold,” which nine times out of 10, means that it will be cancelled.
And yes I know that Halo: Master Chief Collection also had online issues since launch, and 343 is giving away ODST for free as a result, but at least the single player wasn’t as strict and was still quite playable.
Now with 2015 off and running, let’s hope that things get better and we can leave the 7th generation behind and concentrate entirely on the 8th. I’m ready to see what comes out.
Currently Playing: Same As Before
Waiting For: MAGFest