So this was a year where I didn’t play nearly as many games as I usually do. Guild Wars 2 ate up most of the first half of the year, and since then I’ve tried to play more games as catch up, but rarely had the time to do so. People will probably notice some big titles that they would classify as their personal game of the year, but I had a hefty gaming shame pile at the end of this year. That gaming shame includes BioShock Infinite, Dead Rising 3, DmC, and Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds to name several. I did sort through all the games I had played this year, and the list below is what I came up with. Enjoy and feel free to tell me your favorites of the year in the comments.
10. Marvel Heroes (PC)
I really enjoyed this game at launch, but quickly had it wear thin on me do to a lack of features that make MMO type games more user friendly. The lack of item stacking, being able to access your stash while at the crafting menu, and various other small features made it a chore at times to do the menial tasks. They revamped everything that was lackluster, added even more characters, options and more story. Playing this over the past month has provided all the fun I was looking for out the gate. This is a highly recommendable Diablo-style MMO featuring Marvel characters, and with the addition of playable villains in 2014, it will hopefully only get better.
9. Pokemon X (3DS)
I was not a Pokemon fan when this game launched. I found previous offerings rather boring, and initially decided to skip this game. After seeing the new look on the 3DS, I decided to give it a shot, and found myself completely surprised. I was hooked for weeks trying to capture Pokemon, and working with friends to get the ones I wanted. My favorite feature is the Wonder Trade. I spent hours just going through the randomness of it all, whether I was cursed at getting a crappy level 1, or cheered at getting a unique level 30+, I always had fun with it.
8. Peggle 2 (XBox One)
The easy way out on my reasoning for Peggle 2 would be to say, “It’s more Peggle!”, but alas I won’t do that. I am prone to gamer rage, but that doesn’t happen when I play Peggle 2. This is the most relaxing game I played all year. Anytime I felt annoyed with anything else, I’ll start up Peggle 2 and just relax and enjoy the sounds, music and environments. The only real knock against it is that it is a tad on the short end.
7. Skylanders Swap Force (XBox One)
I tried to get in to Skylanders when it initially launched and thankfully it didn’t hook me. Unfortunately, years later I would find the one that finally does. I grabbed Skylanders: Swap Force on Black Friday for my XBox One, and I can’t stop playing, nor can I stop myself from buying more Skylanders figures. I finally have gotten the right taste of this crack, and must get my fix! The game design is solid, and while it sounds like it would be frustrating to not be able to access areas, I just shrug it off knowing I’ll come back with the appropriate Skylander later when I have it. If you have an addictive personality, beware, but it is so glorious once you are hooked in.
6. Deadpool (PC)
I might be one of the few crazy people to put Deadpool on their Top 10s, but holy hell did this game make me laugh from start to finish. The game nails Deadpool’s quirky and downright stupid humor. The game features plenty of jank, especially in the combat and platforming, but it never put me off in anyway. I was too busy just being entertained. It’s definitely not a game for those looking for something more highbrow, but if you are a Deadpool fan, there is no reason not to check it out.
5. Contrast (PC)
This was a Steam Greenlight game that caught my eye when I came across the pre-order. I really didn’t know what to expect going in to this game, but I was pleasantly surprised. The gameplay itself can some times have frustrating moments trying to get Dawn to go where you want, but easy to gloss over thanks to an incredible story, characters, atmosphere, and music. Everything surrounding the gameplay is utterly fantastic. If you pay attention to what is going on, and go after the collectibles, you are left with a very interesting tale of multiple worlds, love and anguish, and a sense of family, albeit sometimes in an odd sense of it. This was a true gem this year.
4. Sonic & All-Stars RacingTransformed (PC)
You might be wondering how a game that was released last year on consoles made this list, but it hit PC this year, so it counts. I have to say this is the best kart game I have played to date. The game truly gives you a sense of speed and control unlike many others. Also the weapons, power-ups, and all star powers are a blast. I have put a lot of good hours through many nights playing this game with friends, and you should too.
3. Tomb Raider (PC)
Lara Croft finally gets her much deserved reboot, and I couldn’t have been happier with this game. I only had a few minor grievances, but everything this game did showed the love that Crystal Dynamics has for Lara. The adventure in this game, and the mythology surrounding the story, kept me engrossed from start to finish. Yes, there weren’t any major tombs, but this is basically her origin story. It also looked gorgeous on the PC. This was a great new start to the Tomb Raider franchise, and I can’t wait for the sequel.
2. Gone Home (PC)
Trying to explain my love for Gone Home without spoilers is really difficult. This game resonated with me for days, as I would contemplate everything I witnessed back while I was at work. I would just think about the characters, the setting, how I was so tense with anticipation at any given moment, not knowing if the game would throw something shocking at me. While there isn’t a whole lot of “gameplay”, the story is so well written and set up that it’s hard not to be captivated for the near future after completing it.
1. Saints Row IV (PC)
Saints Row IV is exactly what I wanted coming out at completion of the game. It was balls to the wall ridiculous, and the super powers made it the best super hero game to date. It also culminated the relationship between the Boss and the Saints. While I loved when my Boss character would continually act like a person with no care for anyone else but her own emotions, I loved when various Saints would bring her back down to reality and truly show that they all cared about each other. What really drove this home as my game of the year were the two DLC packs, Enter the Dominatrix and How The Saints Save Christmas. They felt like closure to the epic four game sage I took my character through. It’s rare to feel this satisfied with a game series, but it happened and I feel like I am finally ready to move on to a new story with Saints Row as a franchise. Now if a new game comes out that continues that story, I’ll be just as happy.