Charles's Top 5 Games of 2014

2014 was a great year for gaming, pc and console alike saw many great games released this year. It seemed like there was something for everyone. From racing, fighting, shooting, and RPGs, I think nearly every genre saw at least one big release this year, along with a few surprise hits. Making this list wasn't easy, but after careful consideration here are my top five favorites from this year.

Favorite Game released in 2013 still playing in 2014: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

While titles from this year pile up, waiting to be played, I still find myself revisiting Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. I've always loved pirates and this was one of the few good pirate themed games to come around in a long time. The sailing was great and I loved hearing my crew sing the shanties that you could collect. In fact there was so much to do I will probably be playing it a bit into next year as well. from harpooning to the checkers like mini games. I will probably still be playing this a bit into 2015 as well as I have yet to do everything.

5. Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor

I almost passed on playing this one. Friends recommended it to me though and I took a chance, and it ended up being surprisingly one of my favorite games this year. It seemed to combine elements from a lot of my favorite games. The combat was fun and fluid. If I died, it didn't feel cheap, I could almost always tell where I went wrong. The nemesis system is particularly interesting. Enemies remember you if they have killed you before, and they level up and sometimes don't always stay dead. I remember finally killing a particularly stubborn orc only to have him show up again later, this time scared from our previous battle.  Responsive controls, gorgeous graphics, and an interesting story helped this one just barely beat out other contenders for number five on my list.

4. Watch Dogs

Playing as  a high tech vigilante was an intriguing premise. Wandering around a futuristic Chicago and spying through security cameras, snooping on conversations, opening bridges during high speed chases, timing things to explode as a bad guy walks past, and other similar things was a lot of fun. I particularly liked stopping crimes. Waiting for the suspect to make his move and trying to take him out before the victim was hurt. The driving controls were fairly solid as well, and I enjoyed some of the mini games.

3. Mario Kart 8

This quickly became my favorite game in the Mario Kart series. Taking elements from Mario Kart 7 like gliding and underwater segments and pairing it with anti gravity tracks made for an awesome racing experience. Kart customization was back, and it was fun unlocking everything.  A lot of the items are fun, and playing online is great when you don't have friends over. Of course there is also classic 4 player split screen for when you do. What I found really nice was the fact that there is also a 2 player split screen online mode, allowing you and a friend to take on the world.

2. Super Smash Bros for Wii U

A huge amount of characters to play as, lots of stages to battle on, and some of the best music in gaming make this my favorite fighting game. The items make for chaotic battles and when you add four more players in the new 8 player smash mode, it gets hectic in a hurry. Drawing on the tablet lets you quickly make some of your own interesting battle stages. With Miis you can have have yourself or anyone else you can create battle with Mario and the gang. With so many different ways to play I doubt this one is getting old anytime soon.

1. Dragon Age: Inquisition

This game is huge. I've put in countless hours and I'm only just now approaching the end. The story is excellent, and dialogue will sometimes change to reflect if you are a elf, dwarf, qunari or sometimes just if you play a mage. Lots of little details like that add to the immersion, and if you use the keep to import your world state, it will take that into account. People will mention things about The Hero of Ferelden or Hawke and sometimes you will learn of what happened to other characters in the previous titles. decisions don't always have a clear cut "this is the best option" solution, which I particularly enjoy. So many side quests, crafting, and an excellent story make this my number one.