Now this is a blog that reviews predominately movies and films. But, if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I do in fact play my fair share of video games. I've gone through my games that I've played for at least an hour this year and complied a list of all of them. Now, I'm not huge on the shooter genre, so games like 'Call of Duty', 'Watch Dogs' and 'Destiny' haven't really appealed to me. Then there's games like 'Dark Souls 2', 'Bayonetta 2', 'The Walking Dead: Season 2' and 'South Park: The Stick of Truth', that I've seen tidbits, to a ton of gameplay of, that I haven't gotten around to playing myself. I REALLY need to get 'Bravely Default' and 'Fire Emblem Awakening' too. This isn't an "I'm Going to Rank the Best Games of 2014" list. This is merely a list where I rattle off all the games I've played this year, wasted hours upon hours on and just plain enjoyed playing.
-Nintendo Wii U/3DS-
'Pikmin 3' is the game I chose when I registered my copy of 'Mario Kart 8.' I've always liked watching people play the 'Pikmin' series, and figured this would be a great time to delve into the world of Pikmin. I haven't poured a ton of time into the game, but the controls are flawless, the game-play is fun and the world is beautiful.
Now I know that 'Miiverse' isn't technically a game, but when I first got my Wii U, I loved laying around with the game pad. That more than often, meant going on my Miiverse page and drawing Pokemon for kicks. I think I drew about 40 or so. I'm not that bad of an artist..I don't think.
'Mario Kart 8' was my reason for getting a Wii U. I knew there was stuff like 'Smash Bros' coming out later in the year, but this game is why got my Wii U. Easily the best 'Mario Kart' game since 'Double Dash', 'Mario Kart 8' brings the series into the next gen. New kart types, anti-gravity and all the HD blue shell tossing a man could ask for. Plus we now have Zelda tracks, Link as a racer AND Animal Crossing tracks and characters to come. What's not to love?
I love me some handheld RPGs (Role Playing Game). While I haven't got to play 'Bravely Default' or 'Fire Emblem Awakening' yet, 'Fantasy Life' was a good way to tide me over until then. In 'Fantasy Life' you start your new life in a colorful world that will eventually depend on you to save it. You have your choice of 12 classes to choose from and master, and you can switch between any of them at any time, depending on where you are in the story or even your mood. The story is pretty text heavy and once you actually finish, there's not much to do outside of mastering all the classes. The online multiplayer is fun, the graphics are nice and the music s actually really good.
Pokemon is my favorite series of all time. If you know me, you know this. So when I heard that Generation 3, 'Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald' were getting a remake, I was pumped. 'Pokemon Emerald' is one of my favorite games in the series and I poured a ton of hours into it as a young'n. So being able to revisit Hoenn, in 3D, was awesome. The story, while updated, it more of a retelling than an actual sequel. The characters do feel more real, but a new adventure would have been better suited for this game. The 3D was just as good as it was in 'Pokemon X and Y', the re-addition of Secret Bases and Contests are fun, The Delta episode is awesome, but the lack of The Battle Frontier returning, really does hurt post-game playability.
Granted, most of my 125 hours in this lastest addition, and possibly last, in the 'Super Smash Bros' series has been on my 3DS (Nintendo REALLY screwed up with their manufacturing of Wii U Gamecube adapters), doesn't mean that I like either game more or less. The game plays flawlessly on both systems. Though it's a pain in the ass to use a Wii U Gamepad with the Wii U version. The Wii U version looks phenomenal as the HD is top notch. The 3DS version plays well and gives you the added portability to play on the go. The game modes are challenging, the For Glory is a great addition and the amount of trophies to collect, if you're like me, will leave you clamoring for them all. My only problem with the games, are them not having dedicated servers for online play.
It may seem like 500 hours is a lot..well okay it's a ton of time (I almost maxed out my copy of Y before ORAS released). But, while looking for work this year, getting my life together and all that fun stuff, I had a lot of down time. Most of this game play was in the early portion of 2014, where I proceeded to catch every single Pokemon and breed some competitive teams to go with my collection. Game-wise 'Pokemon X and Y' is a solid start to the series moving into a 3D world. The world is vibrant, the models and animation are good and the game flows well. The story is a little too short, it can also be REALLY easy and there's almost no post-game aside from breeding teams and actually catching them all. Nonetheless, "Pokemon Y' will hold a special place for me as it was my first game since 'Pokemon Blue' where I legitimately caught them all.
I love the WWE and I love pro wrestling in general. My PS3 died not long after I got 2K14 (early this year) so I didn't get to play it for very long. So when I got my replacement, I blew threw the '30 Years of Wrestlemania' story mode and had a blast doing it. The story modes that they've introduced over the past few years, are awesome. I'm glad that 2K is keeping those types of things around. I love playing through wrestling history, and WWE games are easily the best way of doing it.
Let me preface this by saying, I have seen a full play-through of this game. 'The Last of Us' is awesome. It's just not a game that I enjoyed playing myself. The story is superb and engrossing and the graphics are amazing, I could just never bring myself to actually play it. Maybe it was the combat, maybe it was the controls, maybe I expected something different. I don't really know to be honest. That doesn't take anything away from the game itself, as I immensely enjoyed watching the rest of the game that I just couldn't finish.
To say that 'Batman: Arkham Origins' was a letdown would be going way overboard. I quite enjoyed my play-through of it. I don't know why, but when it comes to my first play-through of the Batman games, I always one sit the story. 'Arkham Origins' is no different as I really only got up to eat or use the bathroom as I tore through the game. The combat was fine, like in all the games, the story was okay and the graphics were solid too. This game, and really series, is one of my favorite series of all time. There's not a "bad" game in the lot so far.
'Tales of...' is my favorite console JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) series of all time. (Sorry Final Fantasy.) Ever since I played 'Tales of Symphonia' on my Gamecube, I've been hooked on every main series game. 'Tales of the Abyss' is still my favorite. So when 'Tales of Xilla' was finally announced to release in the US I was stoked. I didn't get the game until late 2013, so I actually finished my first play-through of this in early 2014. I sunk about 50 hours into the story and the collecting everyone's most powerful armor and weapons. Then my PS3 died. I'm doing another run, so I can have a legitimate save file, before I start 'Tales of Xillia 2.' 'Tales of Xilla' is a beautiful game, the story is fantastic, the characters are okay, for the most part, and the combat is flawless and awesome. If you're a fan of JRPGs then this is for you.
'Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons' is a game that I got once I watched the trailer and it went on sale. The concept of using each analog stick to control the two people on screen is a unique one. I ended up only playing this for an hour cause I couldn't get into it at all. It looks beautiful, but the controls were just plain annoying more than anything.
I've watched a ton of people play 'Injustice: Gods Among Us' and I really did think that this could finally be a fighting game, aside from 'Smash Bros,' that I could really enjoy. That didn't quite work out as, this game is really hard to get a hang of. I spent a solid 30 minutes to the tutorial on how to pick up all the tricks. I then started up the story mode for about another half hour and it really didn't hold my interest (probably because I didn't really give it a chance). But hey, at least I got it on sale, right?
I'm just plain bad at almost all shooters, but once again, 'Borderlands 2' was one sale and I got it. I've seen tons of people play this game. The art style is cool, the characters are awesome, the story is fun and the dialogue is amazing. That doesn't change the fact that I suck at this game. Constant death, not knowing what stats to upgrade upon level up, more death. I think I could get into it, maybe, if I were playing with a group of people. Ones who are better than me at shooters, but until then, Imma let this one sit in my Steam library.
Don't let the playtime fool you, 'Gone Home' is one of my favorite games of the year. It is a first person exploration simulator that follows the story of Kaitlin as she arrives home after going abroad to Europe for a year. She comes home to an empty house and you get to explore the house, interact with objects and uncover a story while exploring. The story is fantastic, the look is great, the atmosphere is heavy (especially once you get deeper into the game) and the attention to deal is superb. I don't want to spoil too much, but if you haven't played this game, you should definitely give it a shot.
'Fez' is one of those games you get sucked into. The story is great , but what really sets 'Fez' apart is the art style and innovative game-play. The art style is colorful 2D pixel art. While the game is a 2D puzzle platformer set in a 3D world. You rotate the world and platform your way to collecting cubes and cube pieces and solve puzzles. I only played for about three hours, but I finished the majority of the game in that time. The puzzles are challenging, the world is beautiful, and the game play is highly unique. 'Fez' is well worth a play, even if the guy behind it kind of a douche.
Ladies you can DM me after you're done reading this paragraph. I've always been a fan of TCGs (Trading Card Games). I collected Pokemon cards as a kid. I played Yu-Gi-Oh for a bit as a teenager. Then earlier this year I got gifted 'Magic 2014' and played for a good bit, you'll see below. I just got 'Magic 2015' and played it for a solid three hours yesterday. The game is mostly the same if you like Magic, but the menus are a pain in the ass to navigate now.
'Magicka' was pain in the ass for me to learn how to play on a controller. That being said, the multiplayer is fantastically fun, albeit repetitive, as the group I played with made this game way more fun that I ever thought it would be. The graphics and game play were pretty solid to boot.
'Mount Your Friends' has the most gratuitous banana hammock shots that you'll ever see in a video game. You use your controller or keyboard to have scantily clad men thing climb each other to see how high you can get. I've played this for four hours mostly cause I was invited to commentate on a 'Mount Your Friends' tourney my friend hosted. It was a blast.
I only started playing 'Risk of Rain' last night, but I've already logged four hours into it. It is a platforming game that has rouge-like elements to it. You control an explorer on a planet in which they are looking for a teleporter. You must fight various monsters in order to stay alive once you active the teleporter to move on. The graphics are nice, especially the background, the game play is face paced and fun, and the music is quite nice to boot. I think I'm going to put a good amount of time into this game.
Platforming is one of my favorite genres in video gaming and 'Spelunky' is one of the best games to come out in recent memory. The music and atmosphere in 'Spleunky' is great and the platforming is challenging. The rouge-like elements make each run different. The design is also superb. Each level is wonderfully made and each has a distinct feel to it all. Each character is disguised well, too. Though each different one is just a skin. The "combat system" is a bit to get used to though. 'Spleunky' is one of the hardest (and best) platformers in recent memory.
'The Stanley Parable' is one of the best games you will ever play in your life, not just this year. It doesn't feature the best graphics, it doesn't have any action or combat either. What it does have, is one of the best stories you'll ever encounter again and again and again. I don't want to give anything away. This is a game, that you if haven't seen anything about it, and play to play it, keep it that way. Because the first time you do play it, you'll lose your mind. It's really good.
'To the Moon' features one of the best stories you will experience. Combine that with the lively characters, the great pixel art and a fantastic score. There's not much to say about this game other than it's a fantastic one that you can finish over the course of a Saturday afternoon. Well worth the play.
'Bastion' is a game that I had been waiting to try out for awhile. So when I got my new computer, it was one of the first games I loaded up. 'Bastion' follows the story of "The Kid", in the aftermath of the Calamity, which hits the city of Cealonida (and the world it's in) and fragments everything into floating pieces. In this story driven, action RPG, you run around on these floating pieces, fighting monsters and collecting the crystals that this world needs to be restored. The action is fast paced and fun, the world (and characters) is astoundingly well designed and the story (especially the narration) is perfect. You should really give this a try if you haven't played it yet.
I still need to get to 'The Walking Dead: Season 2' but Telltale games knocked it out of the park with 'The Wolf Among Us.' Like with all Telltale releases, you are given complete choice over how your story unfolds. In 'The Wolf Among Us' we follow the story of Bigby Wolf, the Sheriff of Fabletown, as he investigates various crimes as he tries to keep order and enforce the laws. The story might be the best of a Telltale game yet. The dark and brooding atmosphere engrosses you. The music is outstanding. The characters and voice-work are perfect. Telltale hits it out of the park again with this one and I'm convinced they can do no wrong.
'Crypt of the NecroDancer' may have the best soundtrack of any game this year. Danny Baranowsky composes yet another outstanding soundtrack for this game. Speaking of the game, 'Crypt of the NecroDancer' is a rouge-like dungeon crawler in which you rely on rhythm to navigate your character. You go through each level of the dungeon collecting power ups, killing enemies and bosses with the beat of the song. Not only is the soundtrack amazing, the game is fun as well. I love rouge-like games, because it makes it feel like a fresh game every time you start up new run. Not to mention, it adds an extra layer of a challenge to a given game. 'Crypt of the NecroDancer' is worth it for the soundtrack alone.
'Dungeon Defenders' has been out for quite awhile now, but me and a couple of my friends really got into for a weekend this year. An action multiplayer tower-defense game that lets you hang out with friends is a great way to spend a afternoon or two. Not much to say about this other than it really is fun when you do fire it up.
'Don't Starve' is a game that I didn't quite know what to do with the first few hours I was playing it. You're thrown into a crazy, dark, Tim Burton-esque world and are told to survive and not starve. You run around picking berries, foraging for twigs and rocks, you cut down trees and try to keep your sanity up. Hunger isn't the only thing that will kill you, monsters abound and the local villagers you may find will attack you if you're not careful. It takes a certain amount of skill to survive for more than a few weeks in-game. It really is a game you can pick-up to kill some time. With 'Don't Starve Together' getting a full release, I can't wait to starve with friends.
You can look back at my snippet about 'Magic 2015' and mostly get the gist of why I played 'Magic 2014.' I used a bad-ass, souped up, Hunter's Strength deck that tore it up throughout the story mode. It really was a pleasure to tear through those unsuspecting CPU opponents match after match.
'Battleblock Theater' is the third game from The Behemoth, the guys who also brought us 'Castle Crashers.' I remember playing through 'Castle Crashers' for the first time and really enjoying it. So when platformer from the same makers popped up on Steam, I knew I was gonna play it. I've now played through the story three times and I never get tired of it. The humor and the cut scenes are right up my alley. The game play is frenzied fun as well. Teamwork is essential in co-op play and the platforming gets even more challenging as the game progresses. I just really like everything about this game.
Like with most games, I wanted to wait until I got my new computer to really utilize everything. Now, many a time in this I've touted that I'm bad at shooters, but 'Left 4 Dead 2,' this is for some reason a game I can play decently well. Killing zombies is so satisfying. My friends and I have played literally hundreds of hours and done hundreds of runs this year. We got tired of looking at the conventional game and downloaded mods for the game to keep everything fresh as well. Now whenever we play, it's like a well oiled machine (for the most part) as we tear through a zombie-filled post apocalyptic world.
'The Binding of Isaac' was one of the first games I've ever 100%'ed. So when Edmund McMillen announced he would be releasing 'The Binding of Isaac Rebirth,' I may have fallen in love with a man for the first time. 'The Binding of Isaac Rebirth' is a rouge-like dungeon crawler that follows Isaac as you navigate his basement as he attempts to get away from his religiously crazed mother. This game has been out for almost two months and I've already sunk over 200 hours into it and nearly 100%'ed this game as well (The Lost runs are hell). The revamped graphics and the game not running on flash makes it perfect. The abundance of new items, bosses, trinkets and power-ups will leave you in awe. There's some bugs here and there early on, but on the whole, it runs great. The music is a step down because Danny B didn't do it and it really does hurt the game a bit in the end.