So the year is up and I’ve not played nearly as many games as I normally do. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older, but I seem to be getting more and more picky with games I bother to spend time on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played a game for less than an hour before putting it down and never playing it again. I used to always think kids had short attention spans but maybe I was wrong. Less free time and a general jaded attitude may make the aging gamer market even harder to find success in than the younger demographic. That said, here are the top five games that did more than just catch my attention over the last year, in no particular order. Mind you, they’re all for the PC.
Jeremy’s Games of the Year
Styx: Master of Shadows
It’s been a long time since I’ve played a really good stealth game. While lacking the visual quality of a triple-A title, Styx: Master of Shadows has game play in spades. With interesting and fantastic stealth mechanics, and a rather serviceable story and voice acting, Styx is a game worth picking up for anyone that enjoys stealth. The level design is particularly great with multiple paths through any given environment. As one of the few true stealth games this year Styx: Master of Shadows is a must play if you’re a fan of the genre.
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
What can I say about Dota 2, it’s the only MOBA (or ARTS as Valve prefers) I’ve ever gotten into. I’m quickly closing in on over a thousand hours played in the game which is a record by a huge order of magnitude for me. Nearly ever time I play, I find some new and interesting way to play, some new mechanic or interaction with other abilities on different heroes. It was also the first and only game that got me into the eSports scene. Here’s hoping I make it to the next international as a fan.
Release Date: July 9th, 2013
Elite: Dangerous, it’s been a long time since I’ve played a space combat game. With an absolutely huge universe to explore and lose myself in I find myself losing hours at a time in an entirely fictional universe. It’s also the first game to date that has made me truly excited for VR and the Oculus Rift. Once the consumer model comes out, Elite: Dangerous is going to be instantly on my wish list.
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Release Date: December 16th, 2014
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
It isn’t often we see new gameplay mechanics that add not just depth but emotion to a game, but the Nemesis System does just that. I absolutely loved the orcs in that game and it was the first time I’ve ever felt like I had a true nemesis in a game. I really look forward to another game utilizing the same mechanic and refine it. I can imagine all sorts of games and genres that could utilize the nemesis system in one form or another.
Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
South Park: The Stick of Truth
I’m not really that much of a fan of South Park. I’ve seen the World of Warcraft episode, the Game of Thrones ones, and that’s about it really. I was pretty skeptical of the game, since Obsidian Entertainment and I have a love-hate relationship — I’ve always loved their games from a narrative aspect, but the quality of their products and performance issues has always made their titles dubious at best. So when I picked up The Stick of Truth, I was expecting another Obsidian buggy mess. What I got instead was one of the most immersive and funny RPGs I’ve ever played that didn’t just have a good story, but solid gameplay as well. Everything — and I mean everything — about the game only adds to it. Nothing ever takes you out of this comedic 2D RPG experience. It was like an interactive South Park episode and it was exactly what I’d hoped for.
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date: March 4th, 2014