While 2014 wasn’t necessarily the best year in gaming, with many of the bigger titles being pushed back to 2015, there was still plenty of fun to be had. Especially the Wii U shines this year, with five of the ten games being Wii U exclusives, and the top 3 consisting entirely of titles for the system. It is safe to say 2014 was the year of the Wii U.
Note: remasters are not counted for this list (GTAV, Halo The Master Chief Collection, Diablo III)
Bayonetta is generally seen as one of the top action game sod last generation, do when Nintendo decided to publish the sequel expectations were high right away. Despite this fact, Platinum Games has delivered a follow up that takes the original to new heights. The action is even more over the top, the level design more crazy and the graphics are more colorful.
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
In 2010, talented studio Retro revived Donkey Kong Country with an excellent new installment on Wii. In 2014, they made a sequel for Wii U that was arguably even better. Colorful environments, tight controls and top-notch level design make this one of those games that’s easy to pick up but hard to put down. Also, Cranky Kong is playable for the first time!
Super Smash Bros Wii U
A new Super Smash game always means tons of content and replayability, and the Wii U version is no exception. With new items, characters, stages and modes this game can keep you occupied for a long time. Nintendo was smart enough to introduce a device that lets you hook up your Gamecube controllers, which Smash players have been using ever since Melee came out more than ten years ago. Another really great addition is that the game now supports matches of more than four players at the same time; up to eight characters can battle it out on stage, resulting in even more chaotic fights and possibilities for teaming up. A third addition that needs to be mentioned is the ability turn many of the stages into a simplified ‘Final Destination’ stage, which is really nice for players who want to battle on a stage that doesn’t interfere with the fight too much. Great polish, tons of unlockables to collect and many potential multiplayer battles, this game is hard not to recommend to any Wii U owner.
One of the weirdest and most indescribable games in a while, Tomodachi Life feels like a mix between Animal Crossing, The Sims and Nintendo’s Mii characters. You can collect items for your characters, have the interact and see how they respond to certain types of foods, clothes or objects. Making use of a real time system similar to Animal Crossing, this is one of those games that you can play for a few minutes every day. It’s not the kind of game anyone can appreciate but it’s certainly something fresh and original.
Infamous Second Son
One of the biggest PlayStation 4 releases of the year. Infamous Second Son offers a beautifully detailed open world, cool powers including smoke and neon and an interesting story with colorful characters. It’s not terribly original, but what it does it does right. It’s fun to traverse the world and to try and collect all the extra blast shards, destroy all cameras or take over all districts. The photo mode that was added to the game at a later point had people create amazing images.
Mario Kart 8
The Mario Kart series has been running since 1992, and has always represented high quality party gameplay. This installment is once again one of the best multiplayer games of the year, with smooth and fast gameplay, great tracks and a good selection of characters and vehicles. Some new items shake things up as well. It’s a game characterized by Nintendo’s famous attention to detail and polish, which even sparked an internet meme called ‘Luigi’s Death Stare’. It’s one of those game you can keep playing, especially because of its multiplayer.
Insomiac Games returns to form with one of the more unique Xbox One exclusives. Sunset Overdrive is a game set in the apocalypse – but not the kind of grey, depressing apocalypse we usually see, but the ‘awesomcalypse’. The game is vibrant, fun and humorous. You bounce, grind and jump around while using one of the many creative weapons at your disposal, including a freeze gun, a weapon that shoots bowling balls and a explosive teddybear launcher. One of the most amusing things is how self aware the game is, it’s filled with references to other games, pop culture and to gaming clichés. A real ‘gamer’s game’, so to speak.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
While Ground Zeroes has faced controversy because of its short length, many will agree that quality was not an issue. The FOX Engine brings Snake and the world around him to life with a new sense of realism and the gameplay is dynamic and unpredictable. It may be just a taste of the real thing, The Phantom Pain, but it sure tastes good.
Shadow of Mordor: Battle for Middle-earth
PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
One of the sleeper hits of last year, and often called the best Lord of the Rings game ever made.
Shadow of Mordor takes a lot of cues from Assassin’s Creed, but also adds its own features, most notably the Nemesis system, making the Orc army constantly changing with shifting hierarchy, coup d’états and acts of revenge.
Hyrule Warriors is a surprising mash up between The Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors. The game features chaotic battles with hundreds of enemies that keep you busy at all times. With lots of unlockables, an impressive line up of playable characters and many locations from different games in the series, Hyrule Warriors feels like a tribute to Zelda, one that is a lot of fun to play as well.
Honorable mentions (these are the games from 2014 that we played but did not make the top 10):
Ryse: Son of Rome, Yoshi’s New Island, The Evil Within, Kirby Triple Deluxe, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
These are the games released in 2014 that we haven’t played yet, but still intend to:
Assassin’s Creed Unity, Far Cry 4, Assassins Creed Rogue, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, Titanfall, Mario Golf: World Tour, Forza Horizon 2, Infamous First Light, Child of Light, Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call