Luke's Top 10 Games Of 2014

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

2014 was indeed a disappointing year for video games, punctuated by some big-budget misfires. But hey, it's not like every game released in 2014 sucked. Some were OK! And some were even better than OK.

With everything from Watch Dogs to Destiny to Assassin's Creed Unity disappointing in its own special way, my list this year is defined by surprises. The good kind. The kind where a game can come from out of nowhere and - free from marketing, hype or even peer recommendations - not only get me to install/play it, but come away from it thinking "wow, that was a very good video game".

Here, then, are my ten favourite games from 2014. In no particular order.


Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

It's funny. It's fast. It looks good. You can blow up everything. It has maybe too much electric guitar. It's pretty much everything I look for in a video game.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

I had ridiculed this game publicly during development, because its marketing made it look like a stupid video game. The finished product was anything but. In some ways this is a very classic take on first-person shooters, but in others there's a dedication to the perspective, the world and its inhabitants that every other studio on the planet should take notes on.

Endless Legend

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

Civilisation Beyond Earth was a disappointment. Lucky, then, there was a replacement at the ready in the form of Endless Legend, a game that is very much like Civilisation, and where it's not, it's often better. Ignore the fact it comes from a relatively small studio: the depth, unique setting and slick UI make this the first serious competition to Civ since, well, forever.

Far Cry 4

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

As you expect from Far Cry, the story and characters are dreadful. But as you also expect from Far Cry, the world is also beautiful, and dangerous, and so full of potential for adventure that every time you play the game you do something different, and exciting. Could do with less eagles, though.

Bravely Default

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

Here's a weird thing: I haven't finished the game. I got to the penultimate boss, got my arse kicked, read how much grinding I'd need to do to beat it and just gave up. The game had already forced me to play through the same damn story 117 times in a row, and I'd had enough. BUT...even then, there's just so much to love about Bravely Default that I still had to put it on this list. Its fresh take on JRPG combat kept me interested until the very end (well, almost the very end), while for reasons unknown I fell in love with the cast. I blame Ringabel's voice-acting.

Assassin's Creed Unity

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

Blah blah blah, it's broken, it's compromised, it's boring. Whatever. I can see the game's flaws as well as anyone else, but I don't care, because I also see beauty and craft here that I can't help but enjoy. Also: once you play through Assassin's Creed Unity, the lighting, hair and smooching in other video games just isn't good enough anymore.

Shadow of Mordor

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

I think part of the reason people got so down on Assassin's Creed Unity was because this game came along and ate its lunch in terms of player control, stealth options and enjoyable combat. But Shadow of Mordor does so many other things so well: the nemesis system is more of a game than the actual story, and that violence, oh my, that violence. I just wish it was a better Lord of the Rings game, because as good as it is to play, it doesn't feel like a Lord of the Rings game...more like someone made a Tolkien mod for Generic Video Game Fantasy World


Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

Nobody plays Titanfall anymore. There wasn't much to play in the first place, so everyone soon got bored and moved on. But I remember just how good it was when everyone was playing. The thrill of stomping around in a Titan may have sold the game, but it was your skillset as a pilot that really got me. I had way more fun in my short time playing Titanfall than I did in my much longer - and ultimately unfulfilling - months spent with Destiny.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2015

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

Wait, didn't I say this was the lesser of two football games? Kind of. While FIFA is overall a more complete and polished product, I've found myself playing Konami's title a lot more. It's just such a better game on the pitch that, having settled into a Master League campaign with Valencia (Spain's La Liga is fully-licensed), I'm overlooking its deficiencies elsewhere. Once you spend a serious amount of time with Pro Evo's football, going back to FIFA's more floaty style is just too jarring.

The Banner Saga

Luke's Top Ten Games Of 2014

Again, a video game that feels like it was made just for me. The art style, which is like a remastered Ralph Bakshi movie, is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen in a video game. But there's a good strategy game beneath that, where you must gamble your unit's health against their striking power.


    I haven't played a single one.
    Eventually I'll get around to Shadow of Mordor though.
    And that hair in Unity does look amazing.

    A steaming pile of mediocrity. Where are the standards, people! Sorry, but video game criticism needs to get a lot tougher than this. No way Shadow of Mordor or AC: Unity should be on any "best of" lists.

      Yeah though these are the games Luke liked the most from 2014 so it's a matter of opinion, Luke's opinion, and not the general consensus.

      What's your top 10 for the year?

      I guarantee your top 10 list will have a couple of games I think are undeserving too.

        I don't even think there were ten games that I particularly liked this year unfortunately. It was overall a pretty poor year for games.

          I get the feeling you're the kind of person that has been saying this year after year for several years now. Hard to please, nitpicky and with weirdest expectations and demands for your entertainment than a vegan with a soy intolerance, your kin enjoys belittling the games that other people play as much as they enjoy those games.

            You're right about one thing: I have been saying that year after year. But that's only because the video game industry has been in limbo for so long and the critics are partially to blame. They celebrate mediocrity, fail to properly critique and shy away from demanding more from this medium. Why aren't we critiquing games like Shadow of Mordor for being little more than the "orc killing playground" that it is. I mean, is this seriously all people want from video games? A shallow world designed solely for the players amusement, wrapped in a poorly told story with a dull as dishwater protagonist?

              With such a reductionist approach everything can be made look awful. Majora's Mask? Repeating three days over and over. Shadow of the Colossus? Giant-monster slaughter. Super Mario 3? Goomba stomper. What are these days of glory that you seem to harken to? Which year was the year where you could say "games this year where all masterpieces of oblique and profound meaning, compelling storytelling and ever-increasingly innovative mechanics"?

                Majora's Mask and Shadow of the Colossus are works that evoke a sense of wonder and imagination in both their worlds and narratives, and for the most part, I believe they succeeded. Shadow of the Colossus in particular was very unique; so different in its design philosophy and approach to player immersion. It's a fantastic game and, like Majoras Mask, you can see that there was an attempt to create something different with a specific artistic vision. I can't say the same for Shadow of Mordor. It attempts to be something akin to a grand adventure (after all, isn't that what Middle Earth fiction is all about?) but comes off as insultingly shallow; bastardizing Tolkien's work (and Peter Jackson's for that matter) to create a world and narrative specifically made to present the player with a collection of popular gameplay mechanics ripped wholesale from other franchises (notably Assassin's Creed and Far Cry).

                Look, I don't think SOM is a bad game per say, just not a particularly good one. The same goes for most of this list. And yes I know it's just the writer's opinion and he's perfectly at liberty to say that he thinks these games are great. But the continual over praising of games such as these means that developers will continue to mass produce games of a similar quality. And that level of quality in my opinion is quite mediocre. We need more games that think outside the box and are not simply satisfied with being a "me too" clone of other, popular games. More games with an artistic vision instead of being shackled to a publisher's check list of features. And more games that want to push the medium forward and tackle unexplored territory.

      I haven't even played Mordor yet and I can tell it's a top 10 of the year, that's how disappointing this year has been, it was always going to be tough for 2014 to follow up the great year we had with 2013.

        I personally had a great time playing it. Got a little bit repetitive towards the end but that's only because I was doing things like branding every single warchief and captain then levelling them all up to lvl 20 before the final mission, only to kill them all afterwards. Ended up putting 80 hours into it in a single week.

      Yeah, people shouldn't like things. How dare they.

      I've gone back to Shadow Of Mordor after dropping it to play Dragon Age... And I actually think it's my game of the year. Great combat, good visuals and gameplay. Stellar.

      Oh, well. Each to their own :-)


    For some reason you have blocked me from commenting on your Facebook page. I suspect it was because of my theory that gaymergate was responsible for the whole GTA V-Target thing and was automatically culled for referring to it. If you had actually read it you'd probably have run with it as a fillip for your cause.

    But no, you have alienated another reader because they exercised their right to free speech and I have therefore unliked, unfollowed and am now boycotting all of Gawker and encouraging others to do the same (like many have already done).

    I realise this won't get published, I just wanted to give some constructive criticism.

      Oh, it did publish. Immediately.

      If you want to improve your website then leave this here. I ditched IGN a long time ago because they didn't listen (autoplaying videos is the equivalent of rape, I never asked for that shit yet news websites insist on that model!), I hope you guys are smarter than them.

        > autoplaying videos is the equivalent of rape

        Only in the same manner that stubbing your toe is the equivalent of chopping your leg off.

        Both undesirable, but one is a momentary inconvenience, whereas the other is a life-altering event that will scar you forever.

        I agree autoplaying videos is bad, but let's keep some perspective here.

      my theory that gaymergate was responsible for the whole GTA V-Target thing

      That'll do it.

      gamergate was responsible for the target thing, what next? you think the illuminati is funding gamergate? or perhaps the North Koreans?

      every one knows messages on Facebook get 'lost' all the time

    Like, you should make a top 10 video game gifs of 2014 list

    After playing Far Cry 3 and experiencing Vaas Montenegro I expected there to be some impressive characters in FC4. I have avoided getting FC4 and so far have no regrets from what I've heard about the game. Probably one of my biggest disappointments of 2014. Just my opinion.

    I found 2014 was a great year to clear my stack of shame - which I did. And then there was another Steam sale...

    As you expect from Far Cry, the story and characters are dreadful.

    You shut your mouth, Sabal is wonderful.

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