While the whole editorial staff contributed to our 2014 awards, we wanted to allow everybody the opportunity to publicly name their personal top 10 games of the year. While many did play the majority of releases in 2014, please remember that unlike our main awards, the editors are not naming the *best* games, but their personal favorites out of the selection they played.
10. Child of Light
(Xbox 360, Ubisoft)
This game is a beautiful twist on classic RPG gameplay. Its graceful style and serene story made this Ubisoft game standout for me. There are tons of collectibles, multiple partners and unique magical spells that kept me coming back for more. Ubisoft really shined when it came to Child of Light.
9. Bravely Default
(3DS, Silicon Studio/Square Enix)
Square Enix has a long history of wonderful RPG games. Here we have an instant classic in Bravely Default. The over-world music is fantastic, the graphics are great for being on the handheld and the art is majestic. Bravely Default keeps in touch with its roots of magic, weapons and even specialized jobs. Staying true to what’s made them a success, Square Enix has a hit series on their hands with more to come in the future.
8. Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby
(3DS, Game Freak/Nintendo)
I’ve spent hundreds of hours with the original Pokémon Ruby that I probably didn’t even need to play the Omega version. But I did and it is fantastic. Game Freak redid the entire game with the latest 3D models for the characters, Pokémon and landscape. It’s just as fun as it was back in the day, if not more so. Combining features from Pokémon XY with some of the old features as well as familiar gameplay makes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire a must have. It’s another perfect entry into the Pokémon franchise.
7. Super Smash Bros. Wii U
(Wii U, Sora Ltd./Bandai Namco Games/ Nintendo)
Smash Bros. has always been a fun game, especially with others. Super Smash Bros. Wii U is another great title in the series. With new characters, stages, items and modes there’s no end to entertainment. The Smash Tour is addicting and online battles run so much smoother than before. I’ve enjoyed the franchise since its origins and I’m glad to see it stronger than ever.
6. Super Time Force
(Xbox 360, Capybara Games)
This intense game has been an instant favorite since its launch back in May. With a clever premise and witty dialogue, I enjoyed a lot of what this shoot’em up had to offer. It’s got time travel, guns and retro-style graphics; what’s not to love? The variety of characters, weapons and ability to change the fabrics of time at a moments notice keeps every playthrough refreshing.
5. Mario Kart 8
(Wii U, Nintendo)
I never thought I’d find a better racing game than Mario Kart Double Dash!! for the GameCube. Turns out I had to wait about ten years for Mario Kart 8 to arrive. Using the Wii U game pad highlights the amount of detail this game has. Gone are the days of toonish mountains and hills. Everything has a high level of polish; racing through Moo Moo Meadows is actually quite relaxing. With new tracks, characters, items, vehicles and Link from The Legend of Zelda, this game deserves a gold trophy.
4. Bayonetta 2
(Wii U, Platinum Games/Nintendo)
There are plenty of characters with so much tenacity they don’t even need an introduction. But what they do need is a sequel. Bayonetta returns to deliver ultimate beat downs. Not only does she do a good job of it, she looks good doing so. Bayonetta 2 is full of action, a competent storyline and an entirely new arsenal. Gameplay could get weird but with a game this good, it doesn’t have to make sense.
3. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
(Xbox 360, Ubisoft)
Ubisoft makes my list again with yet another beautiful story. In Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a game taking place during WWI. It’s viewed through various characters’ perspectives as they go through the war. It’s a bittersweet game featuring personal connections that weave in and out of the gameplay. The style and playthrough is simple but its gritty, realism makes it shine. I think Valiant Hearts’ best attribute is bringing history to modern audiences. It does more than just entertains, it teaches.
2. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
(Wii U, 1-UP Studio/Nintendo)
Finally, Nintendo’s greatest sidekick/underdog gets his turn in the spotlight. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker brings out the adventurous, gutsy side of the otherwise shy Toad. This game gives variety to the Wii U and the start of a new series. Toad explores levels to hunt for valuable treasure but there’s more to it than just searching for gold. Solving puzzles in a completely 3D world is fun and shows a new side to the Super Mario Bros. universe.
1. Hyrule Warriors
(Wii U, Omega Force/Ninja Theory/Koei Tecmo/Nintendo)
You can’t go wrong with combining to great franchises. The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors sounds good on paper and looks even better on screen. Hyrule Warriors takes the lore of Zelda and the combat system of Dynasty Warriors to create a brand new story for the Zelda series. Hack, slash, pound and smash your way through waves of enemies as one of many characters from throughout the series. You can even hop online to play with friends to take down evil armies as a team. It’s a casual game that lots of die-hard fans will enjoy.