Happy New Year!
Through the magic of Steam I can look back and see all the games I played in the last year. Of course not all of them are 2014 games, but still 🙂
The list and some very brief thoughts are below.
Fun multi-player side-scrolling beat’em-up. Played with the family and it was some good, clean semi-scatological fun. Brought out merciless PvP skills in my youngest daughter.
Defense Grid 2
Like the first one but more so. More game types, more towers, a new system of customising each tower and its mounting platform, more AIs and more super power-ups. Pretty slick tower-defense.
Brilliant pick-up and play rogue-like gameplay. Each dungeon only takes 10 minutes or so but you’re always earning bits and bobs to upgrade your hometown. Light and funny in places but a good strategy game at its heart.
Diablo 3 : Reaper of Souls
Fixes most of the problems with the original. Varied and more interesting loot; better writing (especially for the side quests); some more interesting environments and the new class is pretty cool too.
Distant Worlds : Universe
Serious real-time 4X. Imagine Sins of a Solar Empire without the training wheels. Or the handlebars. Or the seat. Just an awesome frame made out of super-strength alloy that can cope with anything. Loads of detail if you can get past the information overload.
Divinity : Original Sin
Kickstarter joy! Far better than I’d hoped and one of the better gaming surprises of the year. Interesting interactive environments makes combat tonnes of fun all through the game. A very similar vibe to Ultima 7, I thought, though with a lighter take and more silliness.
DmC Devil May Cry
Beat up the bad demons! Hit them some more! Use a bigger sword! Go on, they deserve it! Fun. Bayonetta-light.
Dragon Age : Inquisition
Huge capstone to the Dragon Age saga. Really cool characters and world with an ok plot and reasonable combat. More details here. I really liked it.
Dungeon of the Endless
Brilliant Rogue / Tower Defense hybrid by the makers of Endless Space and Endless Legend. You can unlock different adventurers as you progress and different combinations have a history together which you can watch at the end of each level. The hybrid gameplay works really well and it’s a really good game.
Elite : Dangerous
Flight Simulator : Space. Hardcore sim that allow you to explore a realistic galaxy with your jaw hanging open. Space! Safety tip; make sure you don’t hit afterburner while facing an asteroid.
Other big surprise game of the year. Awesome fantasy 4X that manages to mix things up and make the gameplay fresh without alienating everyone who loves the genre. Awesome setting and art style.
Far Cry 3
Sociopath training sim. Start with cruelty to animals, progress through an island of people and then possibly bump-off your friends. Fun open world but the story line was icky in places. Really great villain though.
Great experience. Explore someone else’s life and family memories through a proxy of the abandoned family home. No ‘challenge’ as such but interesting and absorbing.
Stay a while! Stay…… forever! Side-scrolling platform puzzler. Re-wire electronics in a building to get to the goal. Amuse yourself by getting guards to open trapdoors under their own feet as they turn on the lights. Some head scratching involved and the story is good too. Noir Mission Impossible. With brains!
Guns of Icarus : Online
Command a flying pirate ship with 4 friends. Watch in horror as they drive your precious boat into a mountain while bad people set fire to it. Wake children up by yelling at the pilot over Mumble.
Old school shooter. Quite hard. Blast stuff with a range of typical sci-fi guns. Simple premise but done really well. Good, but not as good as Shadow Warrior which they made next.
The Great Eater of Time. A CCG that is free to play and allows you to earn cards to play more. Become trapped in infinite cycle of deck-improvement and resource aquisition. A simpler version of Magic the Gathering more suited to online play. Brilliant.
Heroes of the Storm
I got in the beta and I liked it, which is quite unusual for a MOBA game. The interactive environments help loads and the fact that I recognise all the characters from Blizzards other games also entices me back for more. You can kill Diablo with a panda.
Jade Empire – Special Edition
Yes I know this was really old but I never finished it due to hard-disk crash back in the day. Good fun and a great setting (kung-fu RPG!). You can see how Bioware have upped their game over the years though.
Kerbal Space Program
Build rockets and watch them blow up. I need to spend more time with it, but fun was had trying to fgure out orbital physics with my youngest daughter. That basically invoved her laughing at everything detonating in amusing ways.
Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning
Massive open-world RPG. I should have loved this but it never grabbed me as hard as it should have. Keep meaning to go back to it.
Or; “Imagine Being DM’d by a Sadist”. Cruel puzzles, great graphics, thought-provoking ‘story’. Satisfying to solve too.
Marvel Heroes 2015
Diablo, with tights. Much better than at release. Loads of heroes now and plenty of events. I came back to this one more than Diablo.
Metal Gear Rising : Revengeance
3rd-person fighting; Bayonetta with cyborgs and a more ropey plot. The fighting is great though especially the analog control of your katana, allowing you to slice robots to bits in just the right pattern.
Might and Magic 10 : Legacy
Old-school RPG in the square-based movement mold. Unforgiving to bad party compositions but plenty of nostalgia-factor there. Big game with plenty to explore.
Mists of Pandaria
The great WoW relapse. Loads of improvements to pretty much everything. And pandas.
One Finger Death Punch
Easily the best fighting game of the year (that can be controlled by one finger). Really satisfying feel as people get crunched and the speed increases. Constant waves of stuff to deal with and more intricate attack patterns makes the simple gameplay rapidly get complex.
Play “Let’s Pretend” we’re a faceless drone in a soul-destroying job working to keep our family alive while propping up and increasingly cold and authoritarian government. Pattern matching, against the clock. Interesting but in short doses to prevent suicidal depression.
I attached massive rocket engines to a moon and fired it onto one of my friends bases. What more do you need?
Did I really used to play this well? In one of the best clans in the UK? Brilliant old-school FPS or demonstration of time withering all things.
Daughters got this for me for Fathers Day. Really good fun. Great setting, great story and cool combat. Hacking of memories was an original idea too. Underrated.
A brilliant way to learn guitar while playing along to music you know. I imagine I could have improved a lot more if I’d followed the suggestions (the software analyses your playing) but rocking out to your favourite songs is too tempting.
The original was good but the DragonFall expansion was brilliant. The isometric combat was smoothed out and the role-playing was vaslty improved with fleshed out ‘Runners and an interesting ‘bad-guy’.
Skulls of the Shogun
Brilliant tactical war-game with an original setting (medieval mythological Japan set in the afterlife? Awesome!). Simple rules but lots of complexity and flexibility in how you build and use your forces. Pretty funny too.
An original spin on Tower Defense; run your space ship thruogh a stretch of space as fast as possible while bolting on gadgets to survive the nasties or to eek out a little more speed. The story is fun and as it progresses you’ll get a variety of handicaps while you make your run. Pro-tip; don’t store the customer’s nuclear reactors on the edge of your ship.
I’ve not had a chance to play this as much as I’d like but the side-scrolling race theme is pretty intense. As you can ruthlessly knobble the other racers I imagine this will be brilliantly cut-throat in multi-player.
State of Decay
Post-apocolyptic Grand Theft Auto. Explore the town, look after the survivors and build bases in order to survive the zombie hordes. Some tricky decisions about who you help with your limited resources and the regular scavenging runs are often nail-biting.
An open-air version of Descent, so not really a sim. More like Quake with six degrees of freedom. Fast and fun in multiplayer. Not even sure there is a single player.
Supreme Commander 2
This is quite old now but is quite different to the original. Streamlined gameplay and less complexity on the upside but a bit more limited as a result.
Sword of the Stars : The Pit
Sci-fi Rogue-like in the Sword of the Stars universe. Tight and traditional and it’s a lot of fun. Play Dungeon of the Endless first though.
The Last Federation
Not sure how to summarise this one easily. You are trying to get a small solar system of different races to progress into space in peace. It’s totally sandboxed and you can do missions for them, attack them, boost their research or just about anything as you manipulate their progression. Light blue touchpaper, stand well back 🙂 Really engrossing.
Multiplayer tower defense. The UI is hard to get straight and is a quite fiddly but I played it a bit multiplayer as it’s a nice change of pace from other games.
Brilliant game from the makers of Bastion. Fantastically realised futuristic world and story. The gameplay is fun too, a combination of Diablo-style action and turn-based tactics. Lots of replay value and variety but the story really makes it.
More Kickstarter action in the old-school style. Huge with a brilliant world to explore and very much in the semi-Fallout style (it assumes the world ended in the 80’s rather than the 60’s). Lots of references to Wasteland and Fallout plus some interesting factions to interact with. It seems incredibly reactive too with large swathes of the game changing according to your actions.
Wolfenstein : The New Order
A friend recommended this as I’d let it pass me by. An epic FPS that’s larger than life in every sense. Bad-guys are really bad (future Nazis!), heroes are really heroic (the protagonist has a chin carved out with a set-square) and the guns are really meaty (dual-wielding automatic shotguns!). Awesome.
XCOM – Enemy Within
This makes the original better in every way. A ‘5th column’ faction on earth, psychic and cybernetic upgrades and lots more aliens. No additions to the main story but in a game that is endlessly replayable this ensures even more variety. Ironman + Classic is a good challenge that simulates the feel of the original.
The original XCom, updated in multiple ways. The graphics are the most striking change but many of the roughest edges from the original’s gameplay have been streamlined. A bit more tactical depth and a nice spin setting it in the 80’s. Great fun.