We asked some of our writers what their top 5 games of 2014 were, and have since compiled them into five parts. They will be released every two days, with each writers top 5 counting down through successive entries.
2) The Wolf Among Us
Like ABC’s Once Upon a Time on acid, Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us tells an intricate and involving story of fairy tale and urban legend characters who have been cast out of their fantastic realm and into our world. Set primarily around a series of horrific murders, and the consequences they have on this secret community, The Wolf Among Us employs Telltale’s now signature style of cause and effect storytelling to its greatest capacity yet. Based on the comic series Fables, The Wolf Among Us is a chilling and engrossing neo-noir, and stylistically the coolest game in years. (Mike Worby)
2) Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
In what is easily the best Playstation Vita title of the year, Danganronpa is a crazy mad hybrid of 999/Virtue’s Last Reward, Persona and Phoenix Wright – and yes, it really is as batshit mental as that sounds. A visual novel at heart, the game’s protagonist Makoto wakes up trapped in a school along with fourteen other students, all held captive by a homicidal teddy bear (stick with it…). The only way for someone to escape is by murdering another and getting away with it, and Makoto must work out friend from foe if he wants to stay alive.
The game follows a cyclical series of tasks: during the day, Makoto chooses who to spend time with, growing closer to those he does. Getting to know the other captives is a good idea, because it unlocks power ups that come in handy in other sections of the game. After a few days have passed, someone inevitably ends up murdered, and the game switches over to an investigative-mode. Here, Makoto must inspect the crime scene and look for clues, as well as interviewing others to get their evidence. Once he’s found it all, it’s off to court for a Phoenix Wright-style series of mini-games where players present evidence, pick holes in each other’s testimony and even engage in a rhythm-based dance off against the murderer. It’s completely ridiculous, but also amazing – and a must-buy for any fans of the genre. (Tariq Ashkanani)
2) Child of Light
Ubisoft’s Montreal division created this little gem. It features a young girl named Aurora and a lively firefly named Igniculus as they battle their way through the mythical land of Lemuria to overthrow the Dark Queen, Umbra. Umbra and her daughters have stolen the sun, moon and stars, effectively seizing control of the land. Only Aurora and her friends can hope to restore the light.
The visuals are breathtakingly beautiful and feel as though they were hand painted with watercolor. Gameplay is a cross between a side-scroller and an RPG, while combat kicks it old school with turn based battles. The rhyming dialogue is poetic, and definitely pleasing to bookworms everywhere.
All in all, Child of Light is a coming-of-age story that takes players to a whole new world. (Elizabeth Rico)
2) South Park: The Stick of Truth
The Stick of Truth holds the distinction of being by far the funniest game I’ve ever played. Plenty of games have had me chuckling on occasion, but none have ever been as consistently, uproariously funny as this. True to the long-running animated comedy that inspired it, South Park gives the player an audacious, amusing and often appalling good time. The simple RPG mechanics wouldn’t quite hold up on their own, but as a compliment to the barrage of jokes and on-screen carnage, they work well. Genre staples like classes, silent protagonists, and name choice are skewered hilariously, while the standard turn-based battle system allows the game to make jokes that wouldn’t work in any other medium – Al Gore’s boring lecture special attack being a personal favorite. Long enough to justify its price tag, but short enough to avoid outstaying its welcome, South Park: The Stick of Truth is a perfect example of how to handle a license with the respect it deserves. (John Cal McCormick)
2) WWE 2K15
Sometimes what makes a game great is being able to see where the original series started off on the evolutionary progress which it has made during the passage of time. WWE 2K15 represents the pinnacle of sports game technology with detailed motion capture of WWE wrestlers brought to life throughout the entire gaming experience. It is light years beyond WWF Warzone, released in 1998, and its coming out as the first wrestling game of this console generation helps to cement its place in the annals of time. What wrestling fans should notice is the immense library of voice over footage, the inclusion of WCW legend Sting and the fact that this is probably the final WWE product bearing the likeness of the popular yet recently retired CM Punk. Often critics and fans will claim that the repetitive nature of sports games make them a bad purchase in the long run. However, even after the 30 hour mark, this writer still enjoys laying the smack down on the grandest stage of them all. (YZC)
2) Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Out of all the games that came out in 2014, Shadow of Mordor was the only one that was next-gen. It provided a new wrinkle to gameplay that could never have been possible in previous generations. Known as the Nemesis System, enemies will remember when they have killed you and they will rank up and gain strength. The Nemesis System should be copied by future games and stands on its own as a massive achievement. The fact that the game tells a compelling story in the Lord of the Rings franchise is just icing on the cake. (Max Covill)
2) Bayonetta 2
Right from the fantastic prologue, it becomes clear that Bayonetta 2 looks, sounds and plays better than its predecessor. The game is brimming with epic, gorgeous cut scenes, grand set-pieces and battles that will knock your socks off. This is a masterclass in pure, unadulterated action-game design. It’s ridiculous, over-sexualized and violent, but also oddly fun in the sheer overkill of pulp and fantasy imagery. Its insane eye-popping visuals mixed with its fluid and satisfying combat makes it the closest Wii U game to reach the level of perfection. (Ricky D)