Best Games of 2014 (So Far)
It’s been another incredibly busy year for video games. With the latest consoles now a few months deeper into their respective libraries, we’ve got even more games coming out at higher frequency, and it’s often hard to keep up with what’s new and good. Lucky for you, we’re keeping tabs on the Best Games of 2014 all year long. Too often, titles released earlier in the year get forgotten when the new shinies come out, but we’ll be here making sure you remember all the great games that arrived throughout 2014 with this continually updating list of the top games of year (so far).
At first glance, Nidhogg appears to be a simplistic throwback. It isn't until you dive into the game itself that the depth becomes so obvious and enthralling. Swordfighting your way through the many complex levels and foes is tremendous fun, especially when you pull off a crazy kill. The competitive multiplayer is a nice addition to a game already thoroughly enjoyable on its own, and that's not even mentioning the giant worms waiting to devour you when you least expect it.
Dark Souls II
What could be better than the crushing brutality of Dark Souls? A sequel with even more death, pain and suffering waiting for you around every corner. Dark Souls II follows up its predecessor in spectacular fashion, adding even more punishment for trying to shortcut your way through this virtual life. It may lack some of the finesse of the previous entry, but that doesn't make the horrors we endure any less enjoyable the second time around.
When Square Enix announced it was bringing Hitman to mobile devices, no one expected the final product to resemble a pseud-board game about assassination. Hitman Go not only showed there was life for Agent 47 beyond the standard formula, but it also showed just how creative the team of developers behind the franchise could be given the right platform. Hitman Go is one of the most enjoyable Hitman games in a long time, not just because it plays well, but because it's so different from the norm.
Supergiant Games' previously won plenty of gamers over with the stylish and addictive trappings of Bastion. When Transistor arrived earlier this year, the developer showed once again just how talented it was at creating not just exciting games, but memorable characters and worlds, too. It helps that the soundtrack is absolutely dynamite, but if the strategic action at the core of Transistor wasn't so strong, all that style would have went to waste.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
When Wolfenstein: The New Order was announced, we wondered if the franchise had anything left to offer. Machine Games not only proved there was still life left in the series, but created arguably the best Wolfenstein game since the original arrived decades ago. Fast-paced, well-written, and a joy on the eyes, Machine Games' Wolfenstein is proof that in the right hands, even aged heroes are still awesome.
Threes may have been outshined in popularity by clones that simplified the genius of the number puzzler, but it certainly wasn't outmatched in quality or enjoyment at all. Still as addictive today as it was the day it dropped on iOS, Threes continues to be one of the most impressive mobile games we've played. The UI is spectacularly simple and gorgeous, and the "just one more game" factor for beating your (and your friends') top scores keeps us coming back time and again.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc came out of nowhere to become one of 2014's best games. The murder mystery/'Survivor'/'Battle Royale'/horror/sci-fi mash-up works amazingly well, and the interactive trials and investigations at the core of Danganronpa are fun to play. Sure, it's quirky. Sure, it's very different from the average game. But those qualities are what make it so appealing. That it's also a good game is just icing on the cake.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
Filled with more of the tried and true puzzling gameplay the series has been known for, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy gave players one last hurrah with the smartest man in the world. It's tough to find fault in Layton's games, as each has provided a plethora of challenging new brain teasers that kept players on their toes. Even though The Azran Legacy will be Professor Layton's last solo adventure, we're glad the character got to go out on a high note.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Delayed due to one publisher going out of business. Delayed again to allow for more development time. It seemed like South Park: The Stick of Truth was destined to be a hot mess upon arrival. Surprisingly (and thankfully), Obsidian delivered on the hype and hope in spite of all the issues, and gave fans a tremendous South Park experience. It also happened to be a pretty good role-playing game, too, which was nice.
Always Sometimes Monsters
Vagabond Dog's Always Sometimes Monsters put you behind the wheel of some of the most gut-wrenching choices you'll ever have to make in a video game. Presented as a story of unrequited love, Always Sometimes Monsters offered a glimpse into the life of someone who would go to incredible lengths to fight for one last chance. Don't be fooled by the retro trappings of its visuals, ASM is a great modern game for a modern audience.
Mario Kart 8
Say what you will about Nintendo's Wii U, a majority of the first-party titles have been spectacular fun so far. That's especially the case with Mario Kart 8. If the non-stop eye candy isn't enough to keep you invested, than the deep (for a Mario Kart) customization options will keep you hooked for hours. New versions of old courses make everything feel fresh again, and the added incentive of saving replays to show those amazing victories and crushing defeats is more than enough reason to fire up Mario Kart 8 with friends and family on the regular.
Simple, beautiful and charming, Monument Valley combines the architecture of M.C. Escher with modern sensibilities and a fantasy realm. The puzzles aren't meant to make you scratch your head, but just look at the world through slightly different eyes. There are still a few, "Got it!" moments, which is good for a game so basic. Even the sad satisfaction of finishing off one location leads to the wonder of visiting another of Monument Valley's magnificent realms.
Respawn's first title out of the gate was meant to redefine shooters for the new generation of consoles, and to a degree, Titanfall did do just that in 2014. While some of the basic FPS caveats still applied, there were plenty of fresh ideas in Titanfall to make the Xbox One and PC exclusive a memorable affair. The action was fast. The shooting was sharp. And the mutiplayer? Well, that's all there is to do, so you better believe it delivers.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
What happens when Blizzard adapts its addictive MMO World of Warcraft into an even more addictive collectible card game? You get Hearthstone, a free-to-play title that isn't just fun to play, it's necessary to play in order to live. Hearthstone is just that damn infectious. Easy-to-learn, hard-to-master, yadda yadda. Hearthstone is the digital CCG we've all been waiting for.
Infamous: Second Son
Missing the PlayStation 4 launch was probably the best thing that could have happened to Infamous: Second Son. Instead of being buried amongst a litany of end of the year releases, Second Son was allowed to shine on its own when it released in March. Brilliantly rendered, with great powers and solid character work, Second Son brought the franchise into the next generation terrifically. Sucker Punch's continued support has only made it an even more impressive package, and an easy front-runner for one of the Best Games of 2014.