Unlike some other publications, we at The Game Show prefer to list our favourite games of the year after the year is actually over. (I think that’s a good enough excuse for the delay, better than we were all just having too much fun). In previous years we have tried to be democratic, and had a voting system from a number of our contributors. All this led to was games that the minority had played but loved not getting enough votes to make the top 10, and fairly mediocre tiles which everyone played and thought were middling to good getting enough votes to be right in the mixer.
This time all we’re going to do is tell you on an individual basis what our favourite games were. As I’m writing this, I suppose I’ll go first followed by Alex, Kevin and Matt.
Personally, my game of the year came down to not what I had spent the most time playing, as with the image of Assassin’s Creed above, simply smashing a whole load of collectables into the map a good game does not make. This jumbled mess of a birds eye view is with over 60% of the game synched, so there’s 40% of a game I will not be seeing. Nor, was it the game where I had the best social experience, which falls to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The Borderlands community has got to be one of the greatest out there, and get with a group of like-minded players who firstly know what they’re doing, but secondly just want to have fun, and any failings in the game are soon forgotten. Strangely though, from my steam profile I actually played more Borderlands 2 in 2014, and I’ll admit it is the better game. If all the promised DLCs came out in the same year and a were of the same quality as previous franchise entries, this would have been my top game.
No, my game of the year is the spawn of a flash game over 15 years old. It was in fact Trials Fusion. Released what feels like an age ago (April), Red Lynx came good on what they promised; bring the Trials franchise to the next generation. Although the harder tracks can be nigh on impossible to all but the most committed sadist, pretty much anyone can have fun playing this game. Tracks are hugely inventive, party games aplenty, and the standard of the frankly ridiculous user made content is carried over from Evolution. A few months after the title was released and users got to grips with the advanced editor, the quality of the tracks was better than those that were made by the developer. Add to this those smarty-pants who completely designed new or recreated other games with the engine, you will literally never run out of content from this title. Forget how it’s probably the sharpest controlled game I’ve ever played, the value alone make this my game of the year.
My favorite game of 2014 hands down has to be Shovel Knight. This 2D side-scrolling, skill-based platformer was a slice of nostalgia warmly welcomed. The music alone makes Shovel Knight a winner, but I particularly relished the secrets. No obscure “reacharound” references to other games or lame easter eggs in sight, Shovel Knight features genuine “this wall looks dodgy, smash it down and win a pile of gold and health” secrets. There were games I played more of in 2014 and even games which blew me away, but none I enjoyed so much as Shovel Knight.
My favourite game of last year was Velocity 2X. Simultaneously retro and cutting edge, Velocity 2X is furiously addictive. One minute it’s a frantic top down shooter, the next a puzzler, the next still a Metroidvania platformer. Yet this juxtaposition of styles works in spades forcing you to adapt whilst shaving precious seconds off your best time. The frankly awesome soundtrack just cements that this is style and substance.
2014 was, in the end, a decent year for games. Next gen consoles came into their own with a merry windfall of new content. My top game of 2014 though, is a no-brainer. Far Cry 4 represents the most fun I’ve had on a console since, well, Far Cry 3 actually. Ubisoft Montreal haven’t changed the Far Cry formula one bit and the game actually benefits from that. The mantra here is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and what we were offered is a game just as entertaining as the previous, without transparent attempts to shoehorn content or value into the final game. A smattering of new features, a ludicrously entertaining co-op mode and all the polish and finesse one would expect from Far Cry are present. Bloodlusting wildlife, water-cooler gameplay and vehicles that are even harder to drive make for laugh out loud, can’t believe I’m born levels of happiness.