5. TellTale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2
All I can really say about this game is that I love what TellTale brings to the table for gaming. It’s a uniquely charming genre they’ve crafted and all of their titles ooze with charm. Season Two suffers some setbacks character-wise, but I was still invested in everything thanks to one of my all-time favorite characters, Clementine. From start-to-finish, I did my best for her and enjoyed seeing where her story went after Season One’s cliffhanger-esque ending. It was well worth the wait and well worth going through. I found the ending as gut-wrenching and heart-clenching as the first season’s finale (maybe even better). I can’t wait for Season Three.
4. Dead State
I have watched this game for some time, waiting patiently for the full release. I often don’t trust “early access” titles on Steam, but this would’ve been a buy had I needed to wait any longer. Thankfully, it released and it is as fantastic as I hoped. I’ve sunk a good 50 hours into this game since its release and I don’t think I’m near to finishing it still somehow. It’s got zombies, turn-based battles, and plenty of good fun and strategy in a year of bad zombie game releases (and this game does suffer from some technical setbacks, but none that have ruined my experience). This one stands tall above the rest as a quality piece of entertainment and fun that I’ll enjoy well into 2015.
3. Mario Kart 8
This game was my top game of 2014 until recently. I was never a HUGE Mario Kart fan growing up, but something about this one got me interested and it’s why I bought my Wii U. Turns out I’m a huge Mario Kart fan now. There’s no experience quite like racing your friends and barely beating them online. Once again, Nintendo is winning my heart by giving me what I had in my youth in glorious HD and online goodness. I’m really pleased with the game and love the DLC that’s been put out so far. The online is smooth most of the time and enjoyable for everyone, so I can’t wait to see what else Nintendo does in 2015.
2. The Wolf Among Us
Talk about a dark horse. I bought this during the Steam Sale and thought it would be interesting, but certainly no where near as fantastic as it was. I loved every second of this game and patiently wait for a Season Two announcement. Not only was the story intriguing, but the characters are beloved fantasy tales and creatures. Probably one of the best mystery/thriller games I’ve ever played and certainly one of the best storytelling games out there. TellTale, as I have said, has perfected the art of their game experience and this is their best example of what they can do.
1. South Park: The Stick of Truth
…yeah, probably not what you were expecting. Neither was I. I grabbed this game on release day. I was a casual South Park fan, but it looked fun from preview videos and, shockingly, PewDiePie’s Let’s Play of it. Turned out to be one of the best gaming experiences I never thought I wanted. Not only is the game really well made, but for even a casual fan, the references are relevant, fun, and enjoyable. There’s some top-notch comedy thrown in and an actually-fun gameplay system at work which makes the game all the more wonderful. You can tell the creators put in their effort and made the game like they would an episode of the show.
It’s not what I would’ve expected to find at the top of my list this year, but it delivered the best experience of the year for me and made me re-think how I look at the genre. It’s fun, fast-paced, and unique without-a-doubt. Considering where I started off the year and where I ended up, it was a bright light among many other lights.
I did most of my gaming in the latter half of the year and plowed through a bunch of titles really quickly (not for a list’s sake, but due to enjoyment) and most of these titles have quickly become favorites of mine. 2014 was a great year for me as a gamer and 2015 is already looking to be equally as good.
Here’s to seeing what fun we can have. Cheers.