At first glance 2014 was a pretty rotten year for gaming, what with all the delays, broken games and high-profile disappointments, and yet if you actually look closely a lot of surprisingly good stuff came out over the past 12 months. At this point the video game industry is large and diverse enough that the whole triple-A sector can fall flat on its face (as it largely did this year) and there can still be a ton of good stuff to play. Indies, handhelds, hell, even licensed games stepped up to fill the gap this year and make 2014 more tolerable than it had any right to be.
Note: Again, this list is basically just the opinion of two guys with fairly specific tastes. If something you like didn’t make the list, we probably didn’t play it, or it just wasn’t in our respective wheelhouses. Them’s the breaks kids.
15) The Last of Us: Left Behind
Sure, The Last of Us: Left Behind may have been DLC, but it really stands alone as it’s own experience, and hell, we wanted another chance to praise TLOU. Left Behind makes some brave choices, essentially devoting half it’s playtime to character building between Ellie and her best friend Riley during a (relatively) carefree trip to the mall. It also shines extra light on The Last of Us’ divisive ending, turning it into even more of a gut punch. That’s the real reason Left Behind is on this list – it made the best game of a generation even better.
Titanfall found itself kind of forgotten by year’s end, supplanted by the likes of Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, but really, it was probably the most pure fun of any triple-A shooter this year. Jetpacks! Mechs! Online gameplay that actually worked without a hiccup! Titanfall was unpretentious and dumb, and sometimes that’s exactly what a shooter should be.
13) Dark Souls II
While not quite as groundbreaking as the first Dark Souls, Dark Souls II was another damn satisfying slice of die and retry sadism. Ultimately though, what makes the Dark Souls games worth playing isn’t the challenge, although that’s welcome, but the incredible amount of imagination and polish that goes into their worlds and terrifying monsters — they aren’t just some of the hardest RPGs around, they’re some of the best made.
12) Wolfenstein: The New Order
A Wolfenstein game? On a best of list in 2014? You better believe it – Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. New Order’s gameplay was pleasingly old-school, and yet still managed to successfully weave in more modern stealth elements. The story, set in a alternate-universe 1960s where the Nazis won World War II, was also unexpectedly great, delivering compelling characters, some super tense moments and a good smattering of chuckles. Wolfenstein: The New Order isn’t going to change the world, but it was a damn solid little popcorn game.
11) Goat Simulator
It started as a joke, and well, it never really stopped being a joke, but somewhere along the way Goat Simulator also became a game a lot of people were having a lot of non-ironic fun with. Most open world games promise freedom, but Goat Simulator truly delivers, encouraging you to break the game as thoroughly as possible in your pursuit of barnyard fun. The ultimate game for when you just want to turn your brain off and f-around.
And there we have it. Dan will have part four tomorrow, but until then, what do you think is coming in the top 10?