Joel's Top 5 Games of 2014

I feel like I set myself up for failure in 2014. After a brilliant 2013 where we not only saw a slew of great games like The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V but we also saw the release of new consoles, I had just as high expectations for 2014. The gaming industry felt like it had so much momentum. And yet 2014 might have been the hardest Top 5 list I've put together in my 10+ years at Darkstation. Not because my list was overflowing with potential candidates, but that I was trying to figure out if there were any games that I felt deserving of being on my top 5. I was able to muster together 5 although I will say that if any of these had been released in past years I'm not sure they would have made my Top 5's.

Favorite Game Released in 2013, Played in 2014: The Last of Us

My #1 game of 2013 was far and away The Last of Us. I could go on and on about how brilliant that experience was. So in 2014 I decided to go back and replay The Last of Us and let me tell you it holds up beautifully. I originally thought that this would be a game that you would play once and probably never want to experience again. However I found that my second play through was even better then the first. I got to experience the world more rather then trying to figure out what was next. If you haven't replayed The Last of Us, I highly recommend it.

5. Watch Dogs

Remember when the ideas of what a new console could do were limitless? One game driving that sense of wonder was Ubisoft's Watch Dogs which continued to impress press/fans alike as we ramped up to the release of the new consoles. When it was delayed out of launch something happened to the community. They lost both faith and interest in the game. Its a shame too because I think at the end of the day a lot of people missed out on what was a really great open-world action game. If you can forgive its lacking storyline, there is a very interesting world to explore and the makings of what could be an incredible franchise.

4. Child of Light

The last turned based RPG that I enjoyed was Pokemon Blue. Its just not a genre I frequent or seek out. However when I first saw the beautiful trailers in the Ubiart engine I knew I wanted to experience the world of Child of Light. What transpired was easily the most magical experience I had with video games in 2014. I loved the story book feel of the game. The tone just felt so fresh and unique that even though I don't love turn-based RPG's it was worth getting through just to experience the world of Child of Light.

3. Mario Kart 8

Who loves Mario Kart? I love Mario Kart, and I absolutely love Mario Kart 8. There isn't much that one can say about Mario Kart 8 without just saying its still the best cart racer around. Its the perfect game for the holidays to have three friends or family members cram by a TV and race around new and old tracks. It's a gorgeous game and one that will be in my playlist long after the year ends.

2. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Not being a big Tolkien fan the idea of any game set in the Lord of the Rings universe making my top 5 is kind of shocking. However what Monolith was able to do using combat reminiscent of Rocksteady's Batman Arkham franchise and the open-world of the Assassin's Creed world was nothing short of brilliant. Sure the story is forgettable and I'd argue you should probably just skip all the cut-scenes. But the game itself is just a ton of fun. Plus you have the new nemesis system which makes the story you create for more interesting then the one laid out for you.

1. Far Cry 4

I loved Far Cry 3 but I somehow love Far Cry 4 more. Its the same giant open-world with a billion things to collect and do. Its really the culmination of all open-world games into one crazy experience. I love the world that Ubisoft built for Far Cry 4. Kyrat just isn't like a lot of the game worlds we get to experience and as such I find myself wanted to explore it more and more. They've also done a great job of making traversing this giant open-world more manageable with auto-drive and even a small helicopter. Its one of those games that I can just lose myself in and realize a couple of hours have passed in what feels like minutes. And really isn't that what video games are all about?

Honorable MentionNBA 2K15, MLB 14: The Show, inFAMOUS: Second Son, The Last of Us: Remastered, Madden NFL 15

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.