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Disclaimer: Before reading this list of the five Games that stood out to me in 2014 I feel it important to state that I am not saying that the Games on this list are the absolute best ones of 2014 and that everything else was subpar in comparison. These are simply the Games that grabbed my attention and held onto it for dear life, these Games demanded my attention and they certainly got it. Finally this list is in no particular order because it didn’t feel fair to pick favourites.

2014 has been a rough year for games, whether it was games being released that were clearly unfinished or it was the hype train running away with itself and ultimately spitting out some titles that left a lot to be desired, it’s not been an easy start for the new generation of consoles to say the least, nor has it been for the gamer who has had liberties be taken with their trust in some of the bigger publishers/developers. Despite that there have of course been some great games come out this year and the five that are on this list are personally the ones that I had the most fun with and are the ones that continually stayed with me over the year.

 

Broken Age

Broken Age saw the talented studio Double Fine, headed by the always charismatic Tim Schafer return to a genre that he hadn’t worked within in a while, that being the point and click adventure. Having loved ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’ when it was first released it was exciting to see that they would be returning to this type of game with ‘Broken Age’.

This game was brilliant and another great title from the always original ‘Double Fine’. The game has you playing as two separate characters; one is a boy who lives on a fully automated spaceship and leads the same monotonous day continuously. The other is a young girl who is preparing to take part in festival tradition that her small town does every year. Both of these stories are separate and you play them one at a time and the clear separation of these two very unique worlds was a really refreshing experience. As you’d expect things don’t go well for either character and there once simple little lives are flung into chaos, leading you on the adventure to solve the mysteries and save the day.

Like I said earlier this is a point and click adventure and that is exactly what the game has you doing. The majority of your time in the game is spent interacting with some hilariously unique characters and solving some quite challenging puzzles so as to advance the story. I had so much fun playing this game, it’s simple mechanics, it wonderfully created environments and one of my favourite cliff hanger endings to a game made me always remember back to my time playing this game.

If you have a love or an enjoyment for point and click adventure games, set in a cookie little world and filled with a host of brilliantly realised characters, then I suggest you check this game out on Steam. It’s reasonably cheap and well worth your time.

 

Child of Light

I loved everything about this game, from its water colour style backgrounds, to its use of a Shakespearian iambic rhyming style, to the simple but really fun gameplay mechanics. Everything that Child of Light had to offer I loved.

The gameplay was a particular joy. When there is no combat to take part in you are free to  fly around this beautiful world, meeting an interesting array of characters, most who have quests or quirky little anecdotes to share. Simply just exploring the world is a pleasure in Child of Light, but it was the combat where the game really shone for me. Its mechanics are simple to pick up and really fun to play, as you progress further into the game the foes that you face become more challenging and you do actually need to go into some of these battles with some tactical thinking but it was never a situation where it became so punishing that it was no longer fun to play. Utilising the varying array of party members to defeat a boss and then being free to fly around this stunning looking game just made it a treat to play.

What also made this game stand out was its presentation of the story. Having not only the narrator but the characters speak in a traditional Shakespearian rhyming style was a nice decision on the part of the developers. I really enjoyed setting my controller down at points and listening to the narrator tell the developments in the story in this unique way, couple that with the painted art style of the game and the cinematics it at points felt like sitting down to enjoy an interactive book.

Child of Light was certainly a highlight for me this year. Each way in which this game was presented was a joy to experience and you’d certainly be missing out if you didn’t it least give this game a try.

 

Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 2

Check out the full reviews for each episode here.

The first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead was a particular highlight for me when it first released in 2012 and after the dramatic events at the end of the first season and how things were to play out in the second season I was worried to see if Telltale could keep the consistency up for season 2.

Well I guess it being on this list is a bit of a giveaway but not only did I love season 2 but it far surpassed my expectations. The decision to have you now play as the young Clementine was probably the best decision Telltale could have made going into season 2. The whole dynamic of the game has now changed, you were no longer the a character who could go toe to toe with any attacking force, walkers which were a threat already were now even more imposing, every single thing that you had come use to being able to do in season 1 was now gone and you and the character Clem had to learn a whole new set of skills for surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Telltale seemed to improve on almost everything from the first season as well, controls felt tighter, the places you were travelling through looked a lot more developed and memorable and the large array of characters you met this time meant there were even more people to worry about what they might remember you saying/doing.

Season 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead was a blast to play and as anyone who has ever played these games will know also a heart wrenching experience to try and fight through. I think Telltale did a brilliant job keeping the momentum and levels of story driven content at an all-time high and I am really excited for when season 3 comes rolling around.

 

Transistor

Check out the full review for Transistor here.

Transistor was a game that I didn’t immediately catch when it came out, it was actually the soundtrack for the game that I found first that then lead me to buying the game on PSN and trying it out. All I can say is thank god for that soundtrack because Transistor was a brilliantly crafted game, each aspect of this game expertly compliments one another, from the gameplay to the look of the game to the overall tone and ambience that runs throughout it.

Transistor is an absolutely gorgeous game, its neo-digital art style grabs a hold of the eye immediately and then the whole look of the game is helped along with the use of music and sound, so much consideration seemed to be put into making sure that everything flowed perfectly with one other and it created this world and experience that I just wanted to keep playing, exploring and completing. I loved it.

It’s not just the look and the feel of the world that Transistor has going for it, it also has some of the most rewarding gameplay I’ve experienced all year. The game is an almost top down tactical battle arena type gameplay where you fight a varying level of enemies and you have to utilise the weapon and skills provided to conduct a tactical back and forth. It is so much fun and never once got frustrating or dull I just wanted to unlock new skills, discover new enemies and to keep the experience evolving, and the game didn’t disappoint, it gave me that consistently. Once again I loved it.

Transistor is absolutely a game that you should play, everything that the game has to offer is a delight and it is a game that is beautiful to experience and is a joy to play.

 

Valiant Hearts

Check out the full review for Valiant Heart here.

Valiant Hearts was a game that immediately caught my attention the first time I saw the trailer. Not many games tackle the events of World War 1 also not many games would have it be a side scrolling puzzle game with as much care and attention as this one has.

The game has you playing as a multitude of characters on both sides of the conflict who just want to survive and get back to their loved ones. This game makes a real effort to show players that there were losers on both sides of this war, people who didn’t want to be a part of it, people who just wanted to be with their loved ones. Connecting all of these characters is a small medical assistance dog who finds himself in the care at one point or another of the many characters. This decision made it great for jumping back and forth and gave you a constant companion to care for throughout your struggles.

There is real heart in this game, with its beautiful animation style it highlights the horrible time that was this war, in fact it does it with great potency and one that can certainly cause you to choke up at times. The same can be said for the characters in the game that you play, each one is so well rounded and all have a clear goal that make it easy for you to want to get them to the other side of a trench or through the bombed out ruins of a city. This really is a game that took the time to consider the magnitude of the time period in which they have you playing in and it never once felt distasteful or exploitive in how it went about it.

So much about this game is was wonderful, from the characters who are somehow so well fleshed out and realised despite them being 2D cartoons, to the beautiful landscapes and imagery that the game presents you with, even during some of the most saddening of points and to round it all off is one of the best uses of music in a game this year, even the menu music seems lovingly crafted for the game and there even moments where it utilises music as a gameplay mechanic which turned out to be some of the most enjoyable and rewarding of gameplay that it had to offer.

Everyone should give this game a go, if it least just to experience a beautifully crafted game that is much more than just shooting hordes of bad guys in the face. It is a game that makes you think and it’s a game that makes you feel, something a lot of games are missing these days. So yes please give it a go.

 

Honourable Mentions

The honourable mentions are games that I feel still deserve you to give a go and I thoroughly enjoyed myself but are perhaps games that don’t need as much attention on them as the ones above do.

  • Far Cry 4.
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Check out the full review here).
  • P.T.

So those are all the games that stood out to me in 2014 and I would happily recommend any one of these games for you to play. There is a wealth of great game time to be had and the ones above certainly deserve some of that time.

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