Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Year in Video Games - 2014

I gotta say, this has been a great year for Nintendo. As the year comes to a close, I've seen lots of articles talking about the comeback Nintendo made this year. It makes me feel good to be a Nintendo fan (Not that it ever feels bad, but sometimes it seems like the rest of the gaming world forgot we exist). But with the solid library of Wii U and 3DS titles that came out this year, it's hard to argue against Nintendo. Not to mention the rock solid E3 presentation I can still remember now.

In any case, I present to you, in no particular order, iliekgaemz' year in gaming, 2014!

  • Bravely Default
Essentially an old-school Final Fantasy game, Bravely Default charmed the shit out of me with it's music, art style, and immersive gameplay. The tinker-friendly job system encouraged players to do their best to come up with game-breaking stat combinations, while the battle system tied everything together. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel with yet another timing-action-active-super-battle system,  Bravely Default stuck to a traditional turn-based system with an intriguing twist; allowing players to take multiple turns at once by borrowing against future turns. I loved this game and you should too.

  • Hyrule Warriors
Koei Tecmo's Hyrule Warriors caught a lot of us by surprise this year.  The Legend of Fanservice really took on the trappings of the Zelda franchise well. One of my most distinct memories is when we first opened started up the game. The first 10 minutes of gameplay were drowned out by my wife screaming in excitement while slashing wildly at enemies. We had tons of fun taking on the missions, unlocking the characters, and running through the story. A fantastic addition to any Zelda fan's library. 

  • Pokemon Battle Trozei
Battle Trozei was a neat little puzzle game for the 3DS. Slide the different Pokemon faces around to match them up, and try to chain combos together in order to catch Pokemon. All Pokemon available in the main games can be caught in this one. It's a very straightforward arcade puzzle game. If you like puzzle games, you'll love Pokemon Battle Trozei, if not, well...

  • Armillo
Armillo was kind of overshadowed this year. I think if it hadn't been released only a week after Shovel Knight, more people would have noticed. It's a simple action game. Roll around the maze, collect powerups, defeat the bad guys (by rolling into them). The intuitive, fast-paced gameplay and exciting soundtrack won me over, along with anyone else I convinced to try it out. Check this game out, especially since it's currently on sale on the eShop.

  • Mario Kart 8
One of the most anticipated games of the year for me, Mario Kart 8 didn't disappoint at all. Not much needs to be said about this game. Either you've been living under a rock for the past 20 years or you know what Mario Kart is. Going into it, I swore that no Mario Kart would ever replace Mario Kart 64 as my favorite. I was wrong. Mario Kart 8 is the best Mario Kart ever.

  • Fantasy Life
The first time I saw Fantasy Life during Nintendo's E3 presentation. I was intrigued. This looked like a great game to play alone and with friends. I'm always looking out for games I can play with my wife, as we both like to play games, but we don't usually have the same preferences. This is a game anyone can enjoy. We each have 80 hours into our games and are still going strong.

  • Master Reboot
I grabbed this game pretty late in the year, and I'm glad I did. Master Reboot is an adventure/horror game by Wales Interactive. The biggest selling point of this game is the atmosphere. This game oooooozes atmosphere. The graphics, while simple, have a great aesthetic that can best be described as eerie. Weird noises and shifting shadows at intermittent intervals add to the suspense. I get paranoid every time I play, I feel like I'm being watched. This game is also currently on sale on the eShop, so get it while it's hot.

  • Smash Bros Wii U/3DS
I do have both of these. We were originally going to stick to the Wii U version, but a sale at Target and the temptation of the limited edition soundtrack offer won us over. These are both great games, with tons and tons of extras and unlockables to keep you playing match after match. Smash is one of those games everyone needs to have, just to keep in the house when friends come over. A true classic.

  • Another World: Out of this World Edition
This game is a re-release of a 1991 release. Another World is a classic trial-and-error adventure game. Make your way through the chapters by jumping, shooting, and climbing. Do the wrong action or move at the wrong time and you're dead instantly. The tension of exploring the alien environments with death waiting at every turn is what turns this game into a real adventure. One little extra I really appreciated was the option to switch back and forth between the 1991 graphics and the smoothed-out modern ones. It doesn't sound like much but it added to the fun. This game still holds up after 23 years.

  • Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
I love Pokemon. I've played every generation, starting with the original. Gen VI was in many ways a dream come true, as even back in Gen I we would talk about how cool a 3D Pokemon would be. As a remake of Ruby and Sapphire, ORAS went back and redid the entire game from the ground up and it is wonderful. If I'm being honest, I still prefer the Gameboy originals, something about those sprite-based graphics really get the nostalgia machine going, but in a perfect world, I would own both. I guess I live in a perfect world then.

  • Weapon Shop de Omasse
From the same studio that brought us Fantasy Life comes Weapon Shop de Omasse, a rhythm game with an emphasis on character interactions and time management. You play as Yuhan, an apprentice weaponsmith as he creates various weapons to rent out to RPG heroes to aid them in their adventures. It's a charming title, and the dialogue is superb. This is a very text-heavy game though, take that as you will.

  • Fairune
Circle Entertainment's Fairune just came out towards the end of this month. It's a short RPG style game. Combat is pretty much automatic. Run into an enemy, you either get bounced back or it dies. You take a bit of damage, gain a bit of experience, and move on to the next one. This is largely a puzzle solving experience. Trying to figure out how to find the items necessary to unlock the areas and complete the game is where the joy of this game lies. With simple graphics and only a couple hours of gameplay, I'd say this game is limited, but at $2.99 I think it's just right.

As Nintendo fans we have a lot to look forward to in 2015, with games like Zelda U, Starfox U, and Xenoblade X on the way. I'd love to hear what games you played in 2014, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks everyone for reading, and enjoy the new year!

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