(It was also the year that I got married. So I guess there's that too. Love you, babe!)
With all of that in mind, I want to preface this list by saying that not all of my picks for "Best of 2014" actually came out this year. Similarly, not all of the games below are video games -- some are board games, or games that one would play at a table face-to-face with friends. As 2014 passed by, I realized that my interest in gaming is not wholly housed within digital media -- there is evidence of this on my blog, as I started doing week-by-week recaps of an ongoing Dungeons & Dragons campaign that I run. There is something exceptional about an excellent board game and the social aspect of such games are not to be understated, especially because it is something that video games are slowly drifting away from. (I mean, really: when was the last time you played a couch co-op game?)
TL;DR: Basically, don't be surprised if half of the titles below aren't video games. But rest assured: every game here is excellent and I highly recommend trying all of them, if you haven't already.
So, without further ado, let's dive into my list of my favourite games from 2014!
20. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Sledgehammer Games)
|Hello, Mr. Underwood...|
In all seriousness, Advanced Warfare was the first Call of Duty game that I have purchased in the last five years. After the legal battle surrounding Modern Warfare 2 with Infinity Ward v. Activision, and the disappointing experience I was having with the franchise to that point, I decided to do my duty as a conscientious consumer by simply not buying the product. Hell, I put aside the money I would have bought the next Call of Duty with to buy the first game by Respawn Entertainment (the developer formed from the employees of Infinity Ward who left during the legal action mentioned above).
But Advanced Warfare arrived this year bearing the face of Kevin Spacey and, surprisingly, the franchise actually delivered a solid offering this time around. Though I don't particularly enjoy the multiplayer of Call of Duty -- something that most people play the game exclusively for -- the singleplayer campaign of AW was quite entertaining. It still features the same shooting corridors and linear vehicle sections as its predecessors but in some places it gives the player freedom to explore. That’s something I haven't seen in a Call of Duty game for... Well, I can't remember how long!
|The first vista of the game. It will not be the last.|
Honestly, I have to give kudos to Sledgehammer Games -- this is their first Call of Duty game and they did a spectacular job with it. Time will tell if it manages to breathe new life into the decaying franchise but I know I’ll be watching intently in the future.
19. Child of Light (Ubisoft Montreal)
|I'm not sure a game has ever had as beautiful an art direction.|
But, in all honesty, the reason I have Child of Light on my list is because it marked the first game that my wife Kait and I ever played together by ourselves. We have certainly played other video games together with friends -- one of our earliest bonding experiences was me jumping off the helicopter to save her from a horde of zombies in Left 4 Dead -- but until Child of Light we had never played a game just the two of us.
|The combat system, complete with multiple party members.|
(Spot the firefly!)
As a firefly, Igniculus can reach places in the map that Aurora cannot, activating lifts or collecting power-ups to help Aurora. In combat, he can use his power to either assist Aurora or hinder the enemies. It's a purely support role but it never feels passive which means, even as the obvious sidekick, you always feel invested in the story and genuinely helpful. Ubisoft Montreal did a fantastic job with Child of Light -- not just as a game but as a way to bond with those closest to you.
And there it is, part one of my twenty picks for Best of 2014. Part Two will land next Monday, with the rest following suit in the week. I'm hoping to hit an every-other-day schedule but, regardless, we shall complete this list by January 1st!
Missed any entries, or want to skip ahead? Check out the whole list here:
[PART ONE] [PART TWO] [PART THREE] [PART FOUR] [PART FIVE] [PART SIX] [PART SEVEN]
If you played either of the games above, or have some predictions for what the rest of the list might hold, drop a comment! Every little bit of support helps and I could talk endlessly about the games industry. Like, honestly, for hours.
Wait, that wasn't supposed to scare you away. Come back, we're only just getting started! Don't close this windo--