2014 has come and gone. With it, from beginning to end, we saw some standout landmarks in gaming, both positive and negative. From the very highs to the very lows, 2014 offered up some extreme excellence in our preferred playable medium. In this list, you’ll find JP’s Top 5 games of 2014!
5. Far Cry 4
Ubisoft’s open-world fourquel takes the formula set by the previous two titles and refines it, tossing the player into a country-wide civil war that spans the breathlessly gorgeous vistas of the fictional Tibetan land of Kyrat and the Himalayas. With ample opportunity for causing open-world mayhem coupled with an avalanche of interesting/OCD-enabling stuff to do, Far Cry 4 remains a frequent visitor to my PS4. After all, what’s not to like about a game that lets you shoot an elephant in the bum with an arrow before watching it rampage through an enemy camp, smashing aside humans, vehicles and buildings like they were made of paper, eh?
4. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
You can probably count on one hand the number of recent titles that have tackled the oft overlooked setting of World War I, yet Valiant Hearts does so with the sort of heartfelt and genuine warmth that few games have managed in *any* setting. Part education tool (they do actually use it in some schools y’know) and part relaxing puzzler wrapped up in sumptuous UbiArt powered visuals, Valiant Hearts is the sort of horrendously enjoyable and heartstring tugging stuff that demands a place in anybody’s collection.
3. This War of Mine
Speaking of heartstrings, if you’re the type of person who legitimately feels bad whenever you make a morally questionable decision in a videogame, then This War of Mine by 11 Bit Studios will basically crush your soul and crap it out. A grim and bleak affair where players control a randomised conclave of civilians caught in a civil war, the game that poses a question; do you die as an innocent or do you survive long enough to be the very thing you despise? Toss your killstreaks and uniformed heroes aside, this is a refreshing and eye-opening take on war that leaves an indelible impression on your quivering faculties long after play has finished.
2. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments
A brilliantly conceived take on the pride of Baker Street, Crimes and Punishments does a grand old job of making the player feel like that they’ve stepped into the shoes of Sir Conan Doyle’s eccentric supersleuth. In addition to his otherworldly perception (neatly echoing the style glimpsed in the recent Sherlock TV show), the game allows wannabe detectives to engage in a wide range of disguise, interrogation, experiments and deduction activities across six different cases, each with a multitude of different suspects and conclusions. A truly brilliant detective yarn in every sense of the word, there simply isn’t anything quite like it on console right now.
1. Rogue Legacy
Ruthlessly compelling and arguably the best Metroidvania title to come along in years, Rogue Legacy turns the whole shtick on its head with randomised world layouts and an inherited trait system that provides some of the most innovative gameplay the genre has seen since its inception. With playable heroes that can be near-sighted, long-sighted, gay, super-strong, super-small, colorblind and a combination of everything in between, Rogue Legacy’s already finely-tuned progression systems and boss encounters become even more perilously engaging; causing playtime to effortlessly creep into hundreds of hours. Nothing less than absolutely scrotum-cuppingly essential, you are a lesser being if you don’t count Rogue Legacy among your library.