2014 was quite the year for the video game world. We saw the release of brand new consoles last year, but we saw the push back of MANY anticipated games this year. Now my year in particular was more odd than most. I didn't get my PlayStation 4 until half way through the year first off. I also went through a big move, and multiple every day job switches, so my gaming habits were kind all over the place and mostly dominated by mobile games. There are some glaring omissions from my library this year and I have a lot to catch up on in 2015. Far Cry 4 and Middle Earth Shadow of Morder are two games that sound like they could have been my Game of the Year contenders but I never got the chance to play them sadly. Just because I missed two major titles, doesn't mean I didn't play some other great games this year, and I'm happy to have a list that came as a total surprise even to me. Especially worth noting that this is my first year without a WWE game anywhere on my list. Sorry WWE 2k15, but let's look at the games that did make the cut!
Favorite Game Released Before 2014, Played in 2014: Bioshock Infinite
It has been well documented that I feel that the first two Bioshock games are great stories wrapped around really bland and boring games. Bioshock Infinite was one that I just didn't care about when it came out, but I picked up cheap and was quickly turned around. This game is the first time I have enjoyed playing Bioshock and I think the story was a lot more interesting than the first two. While Rapture was a great setting I just felt Columbia was a great sight and very creative. The lore behind the setting was also one of the highlights for me. For the first time in a long time I wanted to read or listen to any information that I could find about the world I was exploring. The shooting felt nice and improved over the previous games which was something that always just felt unpolished and unbalanced to me. Bioshock Infinite was the first in the series I was glad that I had played, and the only time I felt myself wanting more Bioshock.
5. Crossy Road
How did it take this long to come up with a Frogger style endless runner? Frogger is one of the earliest examples of an addictive challenge for me and Crossy Road really is the best combination of old and new ideals. Endless runners are fun to begin with but Crossy Road looks gorgeous and the addition of characters that effect the world really drive you to want to unlock them all. Not to mention the competition with friends is an addiction of its own. It was hard to take my eyes off Crossy Road with its retro art style beautifully rendered in 3D and I was always pushing myself to get farther and further down that road, and how can you not love that title?
4. inFAMOUS: Second Son
The first two Infamous games were some of my favorite of last generation. Infamous 2 really expanded the lore in a way that really interested me, basically making it comparable to X-Men. Second Son is just the next installment in the franchise and does ignore some of the Infamous 2 ending ( glaring omissions like all conduits dying but whatever) and tells a new story with a new character and powers that aren't electric based for the first time. This was the first game I played on my new console that really wowed me with the graphics. Seattle looked amazing and even the effects of the powers were mesmerizing. The powers themselves were also more fun than I expected. It was a shame the smoke powers were the weak starting powers because they were the most fun to use in combat for me but the neon abilities were just beautiful to watch in action. Was it anything drastically different from the last few Infamous games? Not really, but I had a blast playing those and juts as much fun playing this one as well. It's also worth noting that this is some of the best voice acting of the year, hands down.
3. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
Yes I am one of those people, a massive Smash Bros. fan. Now I don't have a WiiU but when I heard that the new Smash Bros. was coming to 3DS as well I had two thoughts going through my head. First was "Great! I'll get to play it!" and the second was "Man how good could it be on 3DS?" The answer is fantastic. If you are a Smash Bros. fan and own a 3DS then there's no reason why you shouldn't own this game. Sure the levels are smaller and sometimes the crowding in the battles can be troublesome on the small handheld screen, but this game is as addicting as any other Smash Bros. game has been and so much fun to play. It was impressive how well the game was made to run and the challenges will keep me playing for years. I even had fun getting destroyed in the online mode by players way better than I will ever be. As a huge fan I was waiting forever for a new entry into the franchise and I was not disappointed at all in their first hand held attempt. Not to mention all of the new characters are just fantastic and hilarious.
2. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Now I'm sure a lot of people are screaming "That was a demo not a game!" and I'm just going to tell you no. Ground Zeroes is as much of a game as any other downloadable title out there. Some more may respond "They put it on disc!" and I will say, so was Minecraft (also a downloadable game.) Whether you downloaded it, or bought the disc, Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes is fantastic and easily could have been my number one game. Now I'm a huge Metal Gear fan and this is easily the best playing Metal Gear to date. The entire game is multiple missions based around one map but it's a great map and all of the missions are fun and push your limits by testing how well you can adapt to situations. It's a perfect way to prepare anyone for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain(continuously looking like the greatest game ever made) but is also loads of fun in it's own right. If you never loved Metal Gear before, this wont convince you (and you are inhuman) but fans of the series have to agree that this is one of the best products with that name attached to it.
1. Alien Isolation
There have been many attempts at games featuring the iconic movie monster, but few have ever been as successful as Alien Isolation. This game had me holding my breathe more times than I can count. Now I play a lot of horror games and I can't remember the last one that actually scared me, but I found myself slowly crawling through this game and constantly looking over my shoulder as the games one Alien antagonist stalked me for hours. Some might say too many, this game is a little too long, but I enjoyed every minute of it so I don't complain much about that. I really had little hope for this game going in but I had never had my expectations so blown out of the water as I did this time. Time and time again, the Alien franchise has proven that it is very difficult to adapt into a video game medium, but for the first time in a long time they nailed it, and with such a hard to imagine concept of one Alien being the threat, I couldn't help but be impressed. It's a game I will happily play again, and will love every time that it scares the pants off of me.
Honorable Mention: P.T., Assassin's Creed IV: Freedom Cry, Diablo III Reaper of Souls, Watchdogs, Counterspy