As with any list, often times enjoyable games will be left behind, but they might not be as memorable as some of the other games that are mentioned. I wanted to take the time to expand on these particular games, because I do think that they’re good but may not be the type of games you want to buy at full price. To give a disclaimer again, I did not upgrade my consoles or play many console games at all during 2014, so that is why games like Sunset Overdrive, Dark Souls 2 (which I generally don’t have interest in), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Destiny, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, or Infamous: Second Son don’t appear here. So, let’s begin:
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
Okay, flame shield up. I really have enjoyed the Lords of Shadow reboot of the Castlevania franchise. I’ve always loved the series, but had tired of the Metroidvania style. Lords of Shadow was a breath of fresh air in both story and taking the game back to a linear quest through a world of monsters and myths. Lords of Shadow 2 did a solid job of continuing the story of Gabriel Belmont, who as a character is very complex.
Not to mention, as a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro I enjoy how his works have influenced the art style and atmosphere of Lords of Shadow 2. There’s also slight references to other Dracula works within the game, so it keeps the tradition of the original games in mind as it goes through. I don’t think that LOS2 is the best of the three Lords of Shadow games, but I think it’s worth a play if you can find it at a discount.
Wasteland 2 is a good game, but I think that a lot of people had the nostalgia blinders on when this game came out. It is a faithful throwback to old CRPG’s like Fallout 2 and Planescape Torment. Thing is, the game feels like it learned nothing from the mistakes of those games from ten plus years ago. The pace is slow, and you need a lot of patience to make it through the game.
With that said, what I’ve played is a rewarding experience. The combat is easy to get into, and ultimately I’ve had fun with the hours I’ve put into it. If you’re hungering for an old school style CRPG, go with Wasteland 2. Just brace yourself for some of the downsides of the genre.
If I had extended the main list to six, Titanfall would have been number six. It was very refreshing for me to play an FPS that was fast paced, raucous, and full of giant robots. Having been a bit jaded by all of the modern combat multiplayer from Call of Duty and Battlefield, I was at a point where I had almost sworn off online multiplayer unless I could convince my friends to play a game with aliens or giant albino lizard men in it.
Titanfall was something that just about anyone could sink their teeth into. For you modern shooter junkies, you’ve got your leveling system and many guns to choose from. For those of us more jaded, we have jetpacks, robots, and lots of things that go boom. The major downside to the title was that the campaign was a waste of memory. To put it simply, it was like trying to shoehorn a campaign into Counter Strike. It’s pointless.
The Evil Within
The other major horror title that came out this year. It’s safe to say that Shinji Mikami’s pedigree speaks for itself, but many people did have doubts as to whether or not the formula that Mikami has used would still be scary. Well, the frights aren’t as chilling as the first couple of Resident Evil games, but the game is enjoyable. I wouldn’t say it’s as standout as the rest of Mikami’s work, but for a new studio I don’t think you could ask for a better debut. Well, unless it’s Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Regardless, the gameplay is enjoyable and the only downside was the forced widescreen cinematic look upon release. One thing that makes the game stand out more is that the difficulty changes the gameplay completely. Easy mode plays like Resident Evil 4. Harder difficulties turn the game into a stealth/survival game instead, so the difficulty setting open up the accessibility. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a horror setting.
Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes
Ground Zeroes was enjoyable, but let me get the obvious bit out of the way. It wasn’t worth the $40 introductory price point for as short as it was. Yes, there were lots of things to go back and do if you’re a completionist, but ultimately you’re paying $40 for a few hours of gameplay and (awesome) story. At the same time, the game has seen drastic price reductions since. I think the Steam price of $20 is much more sensible considering the amount of content. If you’re a Metal Gear Solid fan, I suggest picking it up. The helicopter scene at the end is tense, and the gameplay changes make the stealthing even smoother, which I didn’t think was possible considering how well Metal Gear Solid 4 controlled.
With all of that said, I do hope that 2015 is an even better year. It seems like it may be the year of the HD re-release, but at the same time there is hope for games like Mortal Kombat X, Resident Evil Revelations 2, and a game that I’m already anticipating as 2015’s best outing, Batman: Arkham Knight. Should I finally pick up a next gen console, I imagine I’ll be looking forward to The Order: 1886, Bloodborne, and others I’m probably forgetting. More importantly though, I hope that we continue to see growth here at Techraptor, and we appreciate everyone who has supported us and brought us to where we are today. God bless, and thanks so much!