The best games of 2014
2014 was the year we fulfilled our Destiny by smashing and karting the year away.
Sure, 2014 wasn't short of its flops, but it did destroy us with Dark Souls II and finally got us to dust off our Wii Us for some serious Smash bouts and high-octane karting.
1. Grand Theft Auto GTA V
While technically Grand Theft Auto V (R) came out in 2013, it's just been released on Xbox One, PS4 and PC, so we're including it. GTA V returns to the city of Los Santos with three new lead characters: Michael the retired criminal, Franklin the repo man and Trevor the career criminal. This time round you're playing in the first person, as you complete missions and explore the largest open world in GTA history. Ed's note: this game has recently come under fire and been withdrawn from Target, due to its depictions of violence against women.
2. Call Of Duty Advanced Warfare
Welcome to the battleground of the future. In Call Of Duty Advanced Warfare (MA 15+), soldiers in super-powered exoskeletons battle it out in the 2050s, where countries have outsourced most of their military might. Kevin Spacey plays Jonathan Irons, the head of private military contractor Alias and the game's key villain. Fans of the previous Call Of Duty games will not be disappointed.
3. Assassin's Creed Unity
The next instalment in the Assassin's Creed franchise, Assassin's Creed Unity (MA 15+) is set during the French Revolution. Paris in 1789 is a city in chaos. Arno is a young man thrust into the centre of the warring powers, on route to becoming a Master Assassin.
4. Dragon Age Inquisition
Dragon Age Inquisition (MA 15+), the third major game in the Dragon Age franchise, takes place in the fantasy land of Thedas, which is being ripped apart by war between the Templars and the Mages. A rich storyline sees you playing as a human, dwarf, or elf, as well as the new option of Qunari, which will be familiar to players of Dragon Age. Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch called it "one of the most engrossing games I've ever played."
5. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
One for all Lord of the Rings fans out there. In Shadows of Mordor (MA 15+) you play a ranger of Gondor by the name of Talion, responsible for guarding the Black Gate of Mordor. In a plot twist, Talion is killed (along with his family), yet brought back to life – with magical powers. Your mission? Revenge. Chris Moran of The Guardian called it "that rarest of things in video game culture – an unexpected knockout punch."
From the creators of Halo comes Destiny (M), a game that appeals to all gamers of varying interests. A cinematic storyline that takes you from Earth to Venus to Mars and beyond, you are a Guardian of the last city on Earth, able to wield incredible power and with a heavy responsibility: to protect Earth from its enemies. As an added bonus, your guide is voiced by none other than everyone's favourite Lannister, Peter Dinklage.
7. Far Cry 4
Set to a backdrop of the Himalayas, Far Cry 4 (MA 15+) sees you play as Ajay Ghale, a man whose mission to return to his home country and spread his mother's ashes gets sideswiped when he's caught up in a rebellion against the oppressive regime of Pagan Min. Unlike previous Far Cry games, you can now play in co-op, ride animals into battle and earn points to be spent on AI reinforcements. "Far Cry 4 truly shines in the almost bacchanalian sense of freedom it bestows on the player," according to Nick Cowen from The Guardian.
8. Dark Souls II
Dark Souls II (M) is as gritty as its name suggests. You play as "one of the damned", defeating enemies and collecting souls, trying to regain your humanity. Its plot is vague and difficult to understand in one game play, with users in the community sharing insights and interpretations. This isn't a drawback, however: the game received universal critical acclaim, praised for the dark atmosphere, intricate visuals and increased difficulty than the gameplay of its predecessor.
9. Mario Kart 8
Are we up to eight already? Mario Kart (G) is one of the best-loved games of the last decade. The eighth instalment of the Nintendo racing game comes with an anti-gravity feature (racing on walls, anyone?), hang-gliders, underwater racing, 12-player online competitive play and Waluigi and Toadette rejoining a host of familiar characters. All new courses are, of course, a given.
Update: Since our list last year, all new racers, courses and karts have been added in two rounds of DLC.
10. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
The next instalment of the Nintendo fight game Super Smash Bros. (PG) allows, for the first time ever, eight players to battle it out in any one of the game's battlefields. Regular players should know the drill: pick a player (all your favourites are back) and battle it out, using each character's unique strengths and weaknesses. This is one of those games that's open to all players, yet has the ability to be mastered. The graphics are a massive upgrade from previous games, which Lucas Sullivan on GamesRadar says "will punch you directly in the eyes with fists formed from crystallised rainbows the moment you start a match."
- Available on: Wii U
- Buy it from: OzGamesShop