By this time next week, E3 will have finished, and the rest of our year will be set with things to look forward to in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead. With that in mind, we thought it would be good to take a look back at what we’ve gotten so far this year and see which games have really made the grade, so here is our top 10 best games of 2014 — so far…
Titanfall had a lot weighing on its giant, metallic shoulders upon release. It was the first exclusive FPS for the system, and with Modern Warfare 2’s team striking out on their own with it, they were risking a lot as well. Respawn’s past glory was surpassed with Titanfall. Their expertise with the FPS genre allowed this game to feature balanced gameplay despite it pitting humans against screen-filling mechs. The variety of weapons and mech types ensured that there was a lot of strategy here as well, and your anti-titan weapon choice could mean the difference between living or dying depending on your play style. With a much faster pace than most FPS games, and a very user-friendly parkour setup, Titanfall is the perfect gateway game for the FPS genre too.
9. Child of Light
It’s strange to think that the brilliant minds at Ubisoft Montreal are responsible for a game like Child of Light. It’s a complete departure from their typical AAA titles like Far Cry 3 and Watch Dogs, but that doesn’t stop it from being absolutely enchanting. Child of Light feels like an interactive bedtime story; it’s full of rhyming dialogue, charming characters, and a gorgeously presented 2D world. But it’s also a compact, accessible JRPG that borrows only the finest elements of its genre, and boasts an extremely engaging battle system. However, it’s the luminous land of Lemuria that takes center stage in Child of Light. The latest product of the lauded UbiArt Framework, Lemuria is a watercolor wonder, a vibrant and beautiful realm that begs to be explored. And the game’s protagonist, the refreshing and elegant Aurora, is a wonderful departure from industry and genre norms. Altogether, Child of Light is an absolutely special game, and without a doubt one of the most magical experiences to grace our consoles in 2014.
There are very few true gaming masterpieces in the wild. In fact, we’d wager a bet and say that, realistically, there’s only a handful. And it’s not very often that one comes along, either. But in February, Square Enix released one of those games… Bravely Default is Final Fantasy for a new generation of gamers. It embodies everything that captured our hearts and minds so many years ago when the NES gave birth to the original Final Fantasy installment. In essence, it personifies gaming bliss, giving us a magical story, charming characters, challenging gameplay and an accompanying soundtrack that takes players on one hell of an emotional roller coaster. To put it bluntly, Bravely Default is the real deal; a true testament to our medium, and a depiction of just how powerful a storytelling device video games can be.
Not only is Super Time Force the most hilarious non-South Park title of the year, but its gameplay feels unlike anything we’ve seen before. Like the bizarre, basement-dwelling child of Braid and ten cases of Surge, Capybara’s latest offering is nothing short of a blast. Being able to rewind time at any moment and play alongside previous timelines makes every level feel like an insane co-op experience. Boasting the best pixel-art visuals since Fez, this is simply a game that needs to be seen to believed. With incredibly replayable levels, completion-based leaderboards, and the most interesting selection of characters in years, Super Time Force is a bonafide hit.
Mario Kart 8 has only been out for a few days since its release, and while that may be unfair to other games that have come out earlier in the year, like Hearthstone or Mercenary Kings, this one makes the list because simply put, Mario Kart is always fun. The quintessential go-kart racing game, continues to make all others pale in comparison. This year’s iteration may actually have given people a reason to finally buy the Wii U as well, with its stunning HD visuals and the implementation of new items like the Boomerang Flower or Super Horn (take that Blue Shell!), along with a huge roster of racers, this one has hit the number 6 slot with a bullet and climbing.
If you asked us about our top 5 games for this year, never would we have ever guessed that the newest title in the Wolfenstein series would make it. The latest entry in the continuing saga of BJ Blazkowicz is simply amazing. Taking the angle of how life could have changed around the world if the Nazis had won WWII, was fresh, exciting, and a bit terrifying. Additionally, the cast of characters that BJ teams up with along the way are entertaining and really help to put you in the role. While the single player campaign is a short one, clocking in around only 10-15 hours, the game has a very captivating story that leaves you wanting a whole lot more, and we hope that somehow, some way, there will be additional titles in this storyline.
From Software has been in the industry for a long time, but their level of success in the West has been nominal. The Japanese developer was very much known for the Armored Core series and their bevy of niche titles, but it was the Souls franchise that really put them on the map. While Hidetaka Miyazaki was no longer at the helm, Dark Souls II still contained the essence that made the series ever so popular. While it certainly had its issues with hitboxes, it was the improved gameplay mechanics, fascinatingly hidden storyline and enjoyable multiplayer components that really made it shine. Throw in a much improved PC version and an even more challenging world to explore, and you have yourself one of the best games of 2013 thus far.
When it comes to truly impressive visuals, look no further than InFamous: Second Son. For those familiar with the InFamous series, the game handles and feels much like the previous two titles in the series, but there’s something that feels more satisfying about Delsin’s powers than Cole’s. Our one gripe with the game, and it’s the one we’ve had with the entire series really, is that you never quite feel powerful enough, as it seems that as you level up your skills so do your enemies, and for being a super-powered being, death comes too easily at times. That said, the open-world of a virtual Seattle is a super fun playground for all of your powers, and this game does not disappoint
The wait was worth it. It really was. After THQ went belly-up, the future of this title was quite uncertain. Then Ubisoft picked it up and subsequently the game was pushed back several times. Finally, it arrived in stores in March of this year, and while some were a little put off by the fact that it was on the last-gen systems by the time it came out, it was undeniably impressive. Obsidian and South Park Digital have made a true gem here. The game could not feel any more like being in South Park itself, and mixes old-school RPG with an open-world environment beautifully, with the level of comedy we’ve come to love and expect from Matt Stone & Trey Parker. The only real disappointment is when it was all over because you just want to keep playing. If you only buy one RPG this year, make this the one; you won’t be disappointed.
We’ve seen a number of story-focused AAA titles in 2014, but no video game narrative warms the heart and bends the mind quite like Transistor‘s. Its incredible ending highlights the bizarre nature of the heart-wrenching events leading up to it. Supergiant’s sophomore offering is beautifully mysterious, as nothing is directly handed to you. Transistor won’t hold your hand or pat you on the back, but its vague nature allows it to shine. Its wonderfully complex combat and countless ability combinations offer significant replay value, as there is always something new to experiment with. With its tear-jerking plot, superbly deep gameplay, and stunning conclusion, Transistor is the type of game that will stick with players for years to come.
So there you have it, our Top 10 games of 2014 so far. What do you think? Agree, disagree? What games are in your top 10? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to check back later this year for our game of the year awards blowout and see what remains.