At the beginning of 2014, it seemed as if it could be a huge year for current-gen console owners – but delays dashed most of those hopes. Granted, there were still plenty of worthwhile releases on the docket, but a few of the major players decided to shift into 2015 and take advantage of a little more development time.
So, while the year didn’t have too many “incredible” games, it did offer a diverse array of experiences to suit any number of tastes. This was the year where multiplayer-focused games were just as important as story-driven ones, and where new gameplay mechanics sure to influence future games were first discovered. It was also the new consoles’ first shot at wowing gamers.
Some games were obviously more successful than others, with a handful finding ways to succeed as others fell flat right out of the gate. Still, when it comes to our favorites picking 10 was slightly easier than in past years, if only because the line between the good games and bad games was clearer than usual. Here are Game Rant’s top 10 games of 2014.
10. The Wolf Among Us
What We Said: “Even if the first season’s conclusion ties in perfectly with Bill Willingham’s comic series, players are left with the impression that Telltale didn’t try to tell a story within the world of ‘Fables,’ but uses the world to explore a genre and themes they wished to. That is the very best we could hope for from any adaptation, and that approach has paid off handsomely.”
Why You Should Play It: Beyond proving that The Walking Dead was not just a fluke, The Wolf Among Us boasts a sophisticated narrative filled with nuance and tough, morally grey choices. Yes, it flounders a bit in the middle portions, but this noir adaptation of a beloved graphic novel is so unique that it’s impossible to ignore. It says a lot when a developer can live up to high expectations, and even more when – in the case of The Wolf Among Us – they surpass them.
Available On: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One
What We Said: “Destiny is the type of game where there’s a lot to enjoy if you make the most of it. Putting in an effort to coordinate with others to tackle certain bounties or challenges is just plain fun, and the story and other stuff isn’t required for that sort of cooperative experience. That’s where Destiny is at its best and where it can build from in expansions and sequels.”
Why You Should Play It: We’ve talked at length about why Destiny is both a disappointment and a game of the year contender, and the fact that we’re still talking about it speaks volumes. It’s a game whose mechanics are so tight and whose world seemed so vivid that you couldn’t fathom it falling short. Yet Destiny did fall short, but not enough for it to miss a spot on our top 10. This game has, without question, consumed more Game Rant writers’ lives than any other game since the site’s conception, and we’re still playing it daily.
Available On: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One
8. Mario Kart 8
What We Said: “If there wasn’t previously a reason to own a Wii U then there is now, and gamers will be hard-struck to find a more complete Wii U experience than what’s offered here. While roster and Battle Mode woes are noteworthy, they’re shrug-inducing in the grand scheme of things. Overall, Mario Kart 8 is a no-brainer purchase for existing Wii U owners, and a very legitimate motive to invest in the console.”
Why You Should Play It: Mario Kart is always a must-purchase for any Nintendo system, but even then this Wii U iteration is something else. From the track selection to the visuals to the diversity of karts, Mario Kart 8 reminds us what a great franchise iteration should look like. More than all that, though, Mario Kart 8 is just plain fun to play, and is great for all ages.
Available On: Wii U
7. Super Smash Bros.
What We Said: “With a ton of trophies to collect, music to discover, challenges to complete, characters to unlock, stages to earn, fighters to customize and friends to smash, there’s enough content to keep diehard fans and casual players alike satisfied for months to come. Add in the possibility of downloadable content (confirmed to kick off with Mewtwo in Spring 2015), and the latest Smash game is poised to be an ever-green blockbuster that’ll keep Wii U owners entertained well into the new year.”
Why You Should Play It: Like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. offers approachable gameplay to all ages, but packs enough nuance that hardcore gamers won’t feel the game is dumbed down. The roster is bigger and more eclectic, the modes are great as usual, and online/cooperative play ensures long-lasting fun will be had with this Wii U release. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U proves that the franchise may have gaps between releases, but creator
Available On: 3DS, Wii U
6. Far Cry 4
What We Said: “In terms of bang for your buck, Far Cry 4 is hard to beat. Call it a massive, glorified expansion pack if you will, but don’t miss the opportunity to get lost in Kyrat.”
Why You Should Play It: Considering Far Cry 3 was one of the best games of 2012, few could fault Ubisoft for lifting most of that game whole cloth for Far Cry 4. Obviously, some key changes were made for this sequel, including a better story, crisper visuals, and more fully realized characters, but this is still ostensibly Far Cry 3.5. But because the experience felt so unique the first time around, few will mind the opportunity to dive back into the mechanics in a new setting.
Available On: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One