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The Best and Worst of 2014


I very rarely actually keep up to date with new games except for a few of my favourite franchises; the other games fall to the way side and are picked up a year or two later. This makes compiling a relevant and up to date top 10 pretty hard so instead I'm just going to point out those games which I either enjoyed much more than I thought I would, or were such let downs that I have developed irrational hatreds for otherwise unoffensive games. Fair warning, there may be some spoilers ahead.

The good: 

Bravely Default

I actually played this in December last year, but what the hell, its on everyone elses list so why can't I have it on mine? It's probably by far the best game in the last few years anyway. It forgoes having an epic plot for me to not care about and instead has a much more basic one (albiet with a fun twist) with charming and likable characters to support it. This is alongside a group of Saturday morning villains with a fantastic theme.


Bizarrely the game almost devolves into a parody of the older Final Fantasy games, with you having to repeatedly save the same set of crystals over and over. I didn't mind this, the combat system is fantastic and it has an extensive job system to play around with and this was more than enough to carry the game for me. The job system was a bit imballanced however; some classes were just not as useful as others and one passive ability in particular (I won't say which) when used in combination with certain classes can essentially make your party unbeatable towards the end of the game. Dispite this without grinding the late and post game difficulty was satisfying and I am eagerly looking forward to Bravely Second.

Pokemon ORAS

I am an admitted pokemon fan boy, I knew I'd like these games; I just didn't relise how much. I didn't play gen 5, it's not that I didn't like the designs (apart from the walking veiny phalluses which are the timburr line), it's just that after over 300 hours with Gen 4 I didn't feel like anymore Pokemon that Generation. So when gen 6 came around my body was indeed ready, but it just didn't leave me satisfied.

Kalos is an exceptionally boring region, as are its villains and your "rivals", if it wasn't for some cool pokemon, the online battles and the new fairy type X and Y would have gone down as completely forgettable. ORAS fixes everything by returning to Hoenn, probably the most varied and interesting region to explore, and then basically letting you catch 90% of the Pokemon you could ever want all in the same game. Also those pissing roller blades are gone. This is the best Pokemon game. Full stop.

The Banner Saga

I'm an Early Medieval Archaeologist, I likes me some Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. This game is a turn based SRPG drawing heavily from their mythology, and unsurprisingly it caught my interest. The game has a split health bar which I've not seen elsewhere and makes it play a bit differently from other SRPGs and this is also the first of the moral choice games which has actually had me taking it seriously, rather than just aiming to kill everyone (The Walking Dead), or being as racist (alienist?) as possible whilst still somehow getting off with that blue alien (Mass Effect 1).

Also Smash Bros. was good, but who didn't see that coming?

The Bad:

Child of Bloody Light

Why does everyone fawn over it?
It's actually pretty bad.
The music is monotonous,
and the combat oh-so drab.

I'm bored of writing in verse but that paragraph is better written than anything in the actual game. It sticks rigidly to rhyming couplets and is devoid of rythm, making it more annoying than charming. The combat is basic and very, very easy, even on hard. Character development is 3 linear paths each, and the best plan of action is to alternate which path you put the point in so may as well be automated. The game looks nice, but each area is window dressing which you float past leaving next to no impact on the player, which is not helped by the music which doesn't vary much throughout.

Ys bloody memories of bloody Cel-bloody-ceta

Released in 2013 in the US but 2014 in the UK, this was why I bought a Vita. Ys has quickly risen to be one of my favourite serieses. Ys 7 broke the mould of the rest of the Ys games but was still excellent; this is Ys 7 again, but YsMoC is worse in almost every respect. Firstly: Character designs, I don't like 'em, even Adol. They've done that thing where everyone is wearing assymetrical clothes, it's a pet peeve and not the main reason why I don't like the game but I wanted ot get it off my chest.

The music is noticably less memorable than other Ys games, and the bosses, usually the highlight of the games, are often dull enemies with easy patterns but overly large amounts of health. There was some of this in 7 but it was extremely noticable in YsMoC, especially playing on hard.

The nail in the coffin however, is that when I was playing Eesmock, I wasn't having fun. I don't know why, maybe it was the Vita's tiny buttons, which I don't get along with very well. Or maybe I just didn't like the setting. I will give it a second chance in 2015 and I'll finish it this time, if only because I refuse to be beat by it.

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About Cynric Cyningone of us since 12:18 PM on 11.27.2014

Unemployed Archaeologist, Bristolian, Gentleman. The sort of reckless bastard who'll wear a blue cardigan with brown trousers just because he wants to see the world burn.

Favourite games:

LoZ: Wind Waker
Super Metroid
Ys I & II (TG16 version)
Xenoblade Chronicles
Super Mario Galaxy 1/2
Shin Megami Tensei IV
Pokemon Emerald
Radiant Historia
Dragon Quest VIII
Sonic Adventure DX