Brando’s Top 10 Games of 2014
This is the way the world ends… Not with a bang but with Brando’s Top 10 Games of the Year list.
The Bill of Rights. The Treaty of Versailles. The Bible. All these writings have gone on to drastically change the world; and today we add to that list of powerful works.
This is my Top 10 List for the 2014 game of the year!
Once I finally started working on this list it grabbed ahold of me. I came at it from a number of different directions, trying to find a way to whittle it down to a top ten, then a top three, and finally a winner. Games that started at number three would drop off the list entirely as I realized a number of games still needed consideration. Â It was a spectacular competition, but let’s make no mistake… These are not happy times. Â These are shit times. Â Video games that showed so much promise fell by the wayside because they wouldn’t connect or couldn’t maintain a playable framerate or this or that or the other bullshit. Â And honestly, even the working games lacked the quality that the best of last year had to offer.
Since we are still getting to know each other, here are my Top 4 Games of 2013:
1. Bioshock Infinite
2. The Last of Us
3. Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag
4. Grand Theft Auto V
Now here is the depressing part. Not one game in this yearâ€™s list is better than any of those.
Now that we are all in the appropriate mood, let’s get to it.
First, here are some things to consider when looking at my picks. The Xbox One is the only next gen console that I owned for the entire year. Â I picked up a WiiU in December but still managed to play a decent amount of it throughout the year, and I got some hours in on a PS4 but never played a game start to finish. My picks will reflect that.
Next, single player experience is usually the leading factor in my choices. Â This year, a couple of multiplayer games made more of a push than they usually do, due to college buddies moving away while I stayed behind to entertain all of you, so I played more multiplayer than most other years.
Now… Â Take my hand child, and join me on this incredible journey in my unmarked white van.
Bubbling Under: An alphabetic list of good games that missed the cut
– Child of Light
– Far Cry 4
– Mario Kart 8
– Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros
– South Park: Stick of Truth
– Walking Dead: Season 2
– Wolfenstein: The New Order
We’ll start with, in my opinion, the greatest iOS game ever made. Now I will be the first to admit that if I wasn’t reigning champion of my friends list then fuck this game, but for now it gets a seat at the table. Crossyroad is as simple as it is addicting and frustrating. It got me through many a boring work shift and threatened to tear apart my friendships. I thought long and hard about if an iOS game had any place on a top 10 list but when servers went down and graphics crashed all around me… I could always keep hopping along with the mighty mallard.
Man, the bottom of this list is so great. Smiles abound. Fibbage was discovered in an effort to find something to play with buddies when I was too drunk to aim in Call of Duty: AW. While the concept was nothing spectacular, the execution was perfect. At the end of most nights gaming with da bouys it always came back to some intoxicated, mindless laughter and a couple games of Fibbage.
8. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
This year is the first time I’ve ever posted an official top 10, but I always do one, usually on a napkin while alone at a bar on a Friday night. Let me tell you, it’s been a looooong time since a Call of Duty game has been on one of those lists. Advanced Warfare made all the right changes in the right places, from increasing the speed and mobility to breathing some life into a campaign that I haven’t cared about since MW2. This game probably doesn’t make the list if I hadn’t rediscovered a love for multiplayer, and #8 is likely as high as a CoD game is ever going to get for me. But this year, it’s earned its spot.
7. Sunset Overdrive
The first of many games to come that ALMOST pulled it all together. Â In fact, this game was the hardest to place for me in that I couldn’t really build a strong case against it… It just kept getting bumped down by games I liked better. First, it worked well, and sadly that’s about all it takes to make the list this year. Its humor was hit and miss, but the hits were great and I just looked away from the misses. The gameplay did exactly what it set out to do – create a playground and then give you a bunch of weird weapons to play in it with. This game was solid, and I give it a sporting smack on the bottom for a good effort this year.
6. Wolf Among Us
Telltale’s champion for 2014 actually debuted in 2013… And come to think of it, it might have been on my 2013 list. I don’t remember. The liquor, you see. Regardless.Â This gameâ€™s greatest strength was the world it was set in.Â I know that Telltale didn’t invent this world, but they certainly realized it. Most of the flaws I find in this game circled around the fact that I forgot a lot of what happened between episodes, but such is the nature of this style of game. Telltale continues to produce intriguing stories and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Game of Thrones on next yearâ€™s list… That, or that Minecraft Game. God help us.
5. Â Super Smash Bros. for the WiiU
Dumb name, great game. This was an easy top five pick for me. All they had to do was make more Smash Bros and not fuck it up. And they didn’t fuck it up. This game hasn’t been out very long and I’ve already logged a lot of hours playing it… Hell, I played more of this game before I had a WiiU than I played most Xbox games. While I think they made some dumb character decisions and most of the single player stuff is pretty whatever, this game carries on the grand tradition of getting drunk with da bouys and listening to Matt bitch about the reasons he is losing.
Also you can gamble fake money on matches that you don’t play in. Youâ€™re weird if you do that though.
4. Â Valiant Hearts: The Great War
This was my Brothers of this year. I went in with pretty whatever expectations and it grabbed me and held on the whole time. Â It was the best story in a year with not a whole lot of real competition. The puzzle solving was satisfying enough to get you through an emotional story that sticks the landing at the end. The art was amusing and you felt for the characters. This is the feel good story of my top 10 list, the only game that doesn’t come with a long list of â€œbutâ€s and â€œfuck thisâ€s. It does however lose points for teaching me about history. Â Don’t need no book learnings in my video games.
3. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
We can see the end of the tunnel now… The terrifying end of the tunnel. This is another good game that will fail to dethrone the rightful king at the end of the list. Mordor had the number one spot for a little while earlier this year, and deservedly so. A rather uninteresting story for sure, but they did everything else right. Â They took the Batman combat that I still love, no matter how overused it may be, and combined it with the free running movement of Assassinâ€™s Creed. The result was a game that I couldn’t put down and couldnâ€™t wait to pick back up. The main event of this game was the nemesis system, which worked as advertised, adding an element that we have never seen in games before. Like Sunset Overdrive, this game would have benefitted from giving you some abilities a little earlier, and I got some game fatigue in the second half. But all in all, this game was everything it should have been.
2. Â Alien: Isolation
The hardest decision has been made. Â Somewhere, the rest of The Manatank Podcast feels a terrible chill. Let’s talk about Alien though. This game was awesome. It majored in atmosphere (not an actual college degree), and it was one of the few horror games that I’ve ever put more than a couple hours in, let alone 20 or so. Â Isolation captured the look and feel of the movie perfectly and I would continuously alternate between being too stressed to keep playing, but also too interested to stop. Â The game is not without flaws though. It is probably twice as long as it needs to be, and you run into some of the frustrating tropes that plague all stealth games. One can’t help but think, if they had made that game a little shorter, and spent the additional time making that stuff a LITTLE BIT BETTER, maybe then it would have been enough to unseat…
I told you at the start of this that I came at this list from a number of different ways. Most of those were me trying to talk myself out of Destiny. But you know what? I took several breaks while making this list to play Destiny. And you know what? I wanna play Destiny right now! I know the flaws! I know there isn’t nearly enough content, and I know there isn’t a whole hell of a lot more coming! I know the light levels are dumb and there is too much grinding. BUT I STILL GRIND BECAUSE I WANT THE NEXT THINGY! I love doing strikes with buddies, and I had more fun doing the raid than I did doing most things in any game this year. I’ve put DAYS into that game. I HAVE THE COMPANION APP AND CHECK IT ON THE REG!*. And why do I do it, despite all the repetition and shitty loot and occasion server misfires and dumb shitty engrams? BECAUSE IT WAS THE BEST GAME OF 2014!! And to everyone who scoffs at this, everyone who questions why I would do this… I have two words.
And there you have it. Â A list filled with flaw and hypocrisy,Â triumph and heartbreak. Tomorrow, I may regret it, as I regret so many yesterday’s (I once puked in a toilet at a friends house, flushed it a bunch, flooded a bathroom and then just fucking left). Today though, today I regret nothing. Games this year were disappointing and this list was a bunch of not as disappointing stuff. Â Now we wait for 2015, and if games next year are half as good as this year, well… I’ll be running the Dark Below raid most weekends, a shell of my former self.
*short for regularÂ