According to the Bureau of Completely Made-Up Statistics, nearly a bajillion games were released in 2014. Of those bajillion, only ten were good enough to make it onto this list.
In order for me to ascertain the contents of this comprehensive list, I had to take that erroneous bajillion and trim away the games I couldn't possibly get to over the course of a normal work year. Armed with the resulting list of a mere several hundred games, I used the Fahey Theorem to narrow it down to these ten. Criteria included whether or not I liked the game, and if I liked it better than all but nine of the others.
I took those results and replaced them with my ten favorite games of 2014, for science.
It's not often you see a video game based on a movie making a top games list. Then again, it's not often you see a feature film that's comprised almost entirely of LEGO pieces, forcing the game developers to mimic The LEGO Movie's plastic wonderland rather than just stacking pieces on top of normal 3D backgrounds as they have in every other movie or comic book-based LEGO game. Like no movie game before it, The LEGO Movie Video Game builds on its inspiration, giving players the opportunity to further explore environments presented in static form on the silver screen.
Plus you can play as Abraham Lincoln beating up the Statue of Liberty.
No one's more surprised than me to see a Wolfenstein game make this list, especially in a millennium that doesn't begin with 19'. Taking up the task of reviewing the game when no one else could was one of the best ones I took for the team all year. While Nazi killing with B.J. Blazkowicz remains at the core of the game, developer MachineGames outfitted their B.J. with a fleshy exterior made out of supporting characters and a few feelings not involving wholesale slaughter, giving us a unique (for the franchise) look at how a hypothetical Nazi victory might affect everyday people.
Or I could have saved myself a lot of time here and just written Tekla.
No one's less surprised than me to see an incredibly Japanese rhythm game make this list, especially considering the first Project Diva F game made my 2013 list. Powered by Japan's most famous virtual idol, the Project Diva F games feature music composed for or popularized by a singing robot girl and her friends, set to animated videos which the player will never see because there are icons flying all over the screen. By the time all of the buttons are pressed and the icons disappear the song is over, and the overwhelming compulsion to play another kicks in.
This is a pick that leans heavily on my personal music preference. It's a very niche, very Japanese game. It was risky for Sega to release the first one in the States, and the overwhelming response led to this second release, with English-language subtitles over the songs for the first time in series history. Now Sega's getting ready to release Yakuza 5 in North America, which I'd like to think is a result of the publisher gambling on these games and coming up on top. What I am saying is Luke Plunkett owes me money.
While I slipped out of my former role as Kotaku mobile editor this year, I left a lot of love on those portable screens, and most of it lingers in the puzzle-twisted canyons of Monument Valley. Ustwo's series of perception-warping brain games is the perfect iPad game, a small-scale masterpiece of sight and sound and touch, a treat for the mind and the senses. When Apple declared it their iPad game of the year, I simply nodded. Yes it is.
Screw this stupid game and it's horrible story and its weird post-cap progression and the stupid legendary items I never seem to get. And screw my co-workers for telling me I was too low-level to raid with them, even if I was. I hate Destiny. Destiny is gaming's biggest asshole.
But I can't stop playing it. When the game is in my PlayStation 4 my fingers navigate to its rectangle of their own accord, craving the satisfying shooting action that's always only a few spaceship-laden loading screens away. It's one of my most-played games of the year. How does that even happen?
A day before this post went live I spent the first $14.95 on World of Warcraft that I've spent in five years. Normally an expansion comes out, Blizzard tosses me a couple of one-month codes for evaluation purposes, and when they lapse I stop playing. But I can't stop playing the new Warlords of Draenor content. I can't. The Garrison system gave me a home to tend — I can't abandon that. Each new zone is brimming with secrets to discover and treasures to uncover.
The expansion has completely rekindled my love for Blizzard's MMO, a love I'd feared the previous expansion had stomped out forever. Now I'm leveling alts, deleting old characters and starting anew, and trying to learn new ways to play the game I'd given up on a couple of years back. Well-played, Blizzard. Speaking of which...
While I enjoyed Diablo III on PC, it wasn't a game that stayed with me. I'd popped back on for the expansion, but aside from that my days of exploring the depths Sanctuary were pretty much over a month after my original review. And then the Ultimate Evil Edition came out for the PlayStation 4.
A game I'd played to death hunched over my computer desk was suddenly a game I played with my feet up on my couch, smoothly decimating the ranks of evil with my Dualshock. The previous generation versions were good enough, but the addition of the Adventure Mode from the Reaper of Souls expansion meant there was always something to bring me back once the story had ended. What's more, Diablo III was now a game I actively invited other people over to my house to play, and I hate other people in my house.
If I'm ever in the bathroom for more than 15 minutes, it's because I'd figured I could get away with a quick round of Vainglory. If you hear cursing from the bathroom, things are not going well. If you hear cheers, maybe ask yourself why you're spending so much time standing outside of my bathroom. What are you doing out there?
Super Evil Megacorp's Vainglory for the iPhone and iPad is my MOBA. After spending a couple of years trying to get into a multiplayer online battle arena game on PC, along comes this little gem of a mobile MOBA to sweep me off my feet (I was probably already sitting anyway). It's the essence of a PC mobile — one lane, a slight jungle, and a cast of eccentric characters each capable of making either of those places pure hell for other players.
A game that scratches the old-school Japanese role-playing game itch in all the right places. In an age where I play JRPGs over the course of years, Bravely Default: Where The Fairy Flies took mere weeks, much of that spent obsessively getting all four characters maxxed out in each of the game's 24 job classes. Does the story get a little bit repetitive toward the end? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
But there's no denying the magic.
I probably wouldn't be quite as obsessed with racing wheels these days if my first serious attempt at using one hadn't been the ridiculously fun Forza Horizon 2. Racing is lovely, but the ability to take highly-detailed recreations of some of the most powerful wheeled vehicles in existence and send them shooting across farm fields, weaving between trees and leaping gracefully over rolling hills is a wonderful thing that shall never grow old.
Of all the games I've played in 2014, this is the one I've fallen asleep playing the most. I'd drive until I was too tired to continue, then I'd wake up at three in morning, slumped in my chair, hands still gripping the wheel. That's love. Sleepy, sleepy love.
Does my list differ from yours? That's odd, we're all supposed to be exactly the same person. I'm sure we'll work out the kinks next year.