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Joe's Games of 2014

Hey folks, it’s your resident “I don’t know anything about comics so please can we talk about video games” OMV guest, Joe!  2014 might be one of my favorite years for video gaming, ever.  There are years where you get a few great games that will be eternal (Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite), but 2014 saw a smattering of games across all platforms and genres that are GOTY potentials.  So I present to you, Joe’s Games of 2014!

Super Smash Bros Wii U/3DS

I’ve been smashing since January of 2000, so this January will make it so that this game series has been there for half of my life.  It’s the first game I bought for my N64 (after it came with DK64 – late adopter over here).  I remember sitting in my friend Ike’s basement playing the 64 version, playing Melee at Jayare’s house, Brawling in my dorm room, and literally NOTHING has diminished as Super Smash Bros 3DS/Wii U versions have graced my presence.  I prefer the 3DS version for my own reasons, but I can already envision the next half decade of good times… and they look good.  I love having my own Mii in the fray, and the cast of characters is hugemazing.  

Smile factor: Laughing to the point of tears, almost every single time I play with Colin and Jayare.  The 8 person gameplay is also a real game changer - sure, we can lay a smack down on 3 level 9’s, easy.  But 4?  5?!  Oh yeah, we’ll bring them down.  I mean, just look at this team.

Team

Fucking.  Fierce.

Borderlands (Tales / Pre-Sequel):

I’ve been a long time Borderlands fan (it was the first game I bought for my PS3 and I played on a pretty regular basis until BL2 came out – I was weary for what Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel would bring to the table with a quasi-new development team.  If you look at it as hilarious, amazing, DLC package for BL2, you’ll have the exact right expectation for BL: TPS.  It hits a very satisfying sweet spot for me.

What I had even lower expectations for was Tales from the Borderlands, which I will say nothing about other than if you dig any Tell Tale game, you will get a lot of enjoyment from this one.  I laughed out loud several times throughout, and it holds the cultural aesthetic of what makes BL so great intact.  It is so much fun knowing that you have another delicious morsel of gameplay that will come out again in a few months.

Borderlands

Smile factor: In TPS, navigating the outside of the space station had me holding my breath at one point – I love when games can make me feel something like that.  There was also the time that my buddy Chris walked out of the room and said, “Don’t blow up the car,” and was promptly greeted by the sound of a car exploding.  “Whoops.”

TftBL has so many funny moments, many of which come from the nifty ECHOeye scanner that one of the main characters has.  Scan EVERYTHING.

Shantae and the Pirate Curse:

If you haven’t seen the pattern yet, I’m combining categories here – my original last had 12 games (seriously, it was a good year).  But my Downloadable game of the year has to be Shantae, the third in a series of great games from Wayforward (for the record, if you see Wayforward on a game – it’s almost always amazing).  Shantae is a Metroidvania-type side scroller where you play a genie.  It is also an absolutely blast to play and chock-full of self-referential video game and nerd humor.  You will NOT be let down by this.  Shantae and the Pirate Curse is the newest, but you can also still download the 2nd version (Shantae: Risky’s Revenge) from the eShop.  It’s only $12 versus the $20 for Pirate Curse, which might make it an easier entry point for new fans.

Shantae

Smile Factor: I can’t bring myself to ruin jokes, but there are references to Star Wars, He-Man, a character’s own previous status as a boss in the last game, and so much more.  It also happens to be an amazing sidescroller as well.  DAMN.

Mario Kart 8

I’m guessing I don’t have to sell anyone on Mario Kart 8.  I believe this version is the best console version of the series, with antigravity tracks, underwater portions, and hands down the easiest controls I’ve had the pleasure of manipulating.  On-line play was quick and easy, but sharing the couch is still the preferred way to go here.  I have the least to say about this because it’s Mario Kart - we all know it and love it.  So go play it.  Also remember this meme!?!?!

Luigi

Smile Factor: I couldn’t tell you what was happening in this moment, but my roommate came home while I was playing this game and said I just had the biggest, dopiest grin on my face.  Mario Kart 8 has the “Megaman 9 Effect” hardcore.  We just teleport back to childhood where nothing is wrong and everything is fun.

Hyrule Warriors

When I first got my PS3, I did it when I was poor and couldn’t afford to go out anywhere, so I needed a way to be entertained.  I could only buy one game, and bought Borderlands - I proceeded to put in hundreds of hours into that game.  If I had to make that same decision now, I would have done it with Hyrule Warriors.  It’s huge.  I mean, freakin huge.  I will not describe the hugeness.  To be fair, I do not recommend this as a Legend of Zelda game - the storyline is brief, and the action is completely different.

Hyrule

Smile Factor: “Ugh, I have to play as Ganondorf.” *Accidentally wipes out 75 enemies with one hit* “I AM THE DEMON KING!”  Also, when I was picking the above picture, I debated 5 minutes between Midna pulling the moon from Majora’s Mask down with a hookshot, or Princess Ruto beating the crap out of an army with water dolphins.  That’s a good fucking debate.

Honorable Mentions:

Having said that, there were an amazing number of eShop games this year beyond Shantae as well – Shovel Knight is a platformer in the style of Duck Tales and Megaman that was Kickstarted and finally put into production.  It is WELL worth the price of admission on its own, but even better, there will be new character DLC coming out over the next year as well.  Azure Striker Gunvolt is more like the Megaman Zero games (which if you ever played, you know how tight those are).  Tons of fun!

NES Remix (1 and 2) also came out for the Wii U – these are silly little diversions into NES history that made for a seriously fun few video game nights.  If you have the spare cash and love nostalgia, you won’t go wrong.

Wolf Among Us wrapped up in 2014, so I’m counting it here even though the first one technically came out in 2013.  This was my first exposure to both Tell Tale Games and the Fables universe, and I become quite hooked on both.  I actually went and read Fables in its entirety (a 10 year run) upon completing the game, because I wanted more of the characters, the universe, the… everything.  Both are well worth your time and dollars.  Thank you Colin for throwing this one into my maw.

Joe's Games He Played in 2014 But Were Older But He Just Discovered Them So Yeah

Wonderful 101:

So, guess what - it turns out the Wii U, sort of secretly, became the best damned next generation console out there.  Yes, I’ve seen your Titanfalls and your… actually, that’s it.  All the other “killer games” are still coming out on my PS3.  Whereas the Wii U keeps churning out amazing, original material: case in point, Wonderful 101.  A game where you control a team of 100 super heroes (to varying degrees) to abate a giant oncoming alien threat.  It’s like playing a Saturday Morning Cartoon with all the humor, madcap antics, and amazing music (though, admittedly, the controls are like learning to drive a Jaeger by yourself - make like Idris Elba, man up and do it).  It’s made by PlatinumGames Inc. (the game company currently getting 9s and 10s for Bayonetta 2), which itself is composed of many of the remenants of Clover Studio (God Hand, Okami, Viewtiful Joe) - basically, they make games that no one will ever play, but if you did, you would love them.

Game and Wario:

If you still have a Gameboy Advance, go find yourself a copy of Warioware Twisted.  Come back in 4 months when you’ve unlocked everything.  We good?  Now that you understand how awesome Wario games can be, this game is basically a minigame pack, but the minigames are often off the chain amazing (seriously, on par with Nintendoland, and WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT NINTENDOLAND ANYMORE).  My highlight is Gamer, where you basically play WarioWare on the gamepad, but you have to pay attention to TV or else a “momster” will jump out at you.  It’s the most terrifying fun you’ll ever have, and there’s still like 15 more games.

Rayman Legends:

This game did get a bit of recognition when it first came out, but now I don’t feel like anyone actually played it.  Here’s the problem - you need to play this game two player.  Yes, you CAN play this game one player, but playing it two player is a magical experience.  Are you a gamer, and your significant other or spawn only plays Candy Crush?  Guess what - they almost definitely made this game for you.  You get to play a tight, frantic, fun, beautiful side scroller, while they get to play a tight, frantic, fun, beautiful touch-based game.  You know like when you could have someone be the star in Mario Galaxy?  Like that, times 1000 for the person playing the star.  Play through to the end of the first world, and you will be completely hooked.

Hotline Miami:

Another Colin recommendation - seriously, that guy knows his games.  I’ve actually had a copy of this sitting on my computer for almost 2 years (thank you Humble Bundles), but Colin was the one who convinced me to crack it open again.  I love arcade games at home, and by arcade games I mean ones that you can practice, get better at, achieve a higher score, and essentially have something that’s insanely replayable.  It’s not about story, just score and speed.  Hotline Miami has you playing as a hired gun that uses animal masks and found weaponary to tear ass through various locales in the 80s.  It’s very uncomfortable and a lot of fun.

LEGO Marvel Superheroes

I’ve never been a fan of playing the LEGO Video Games, but I’ve burnt an afternoon or two watching other people play them.  The controls are usually pretty clumsy, and it feels like two manatees fencing most of the time.  But, they are cute to watch.  LEGO Marvel Superheroes stomps the hell out of that - this game controls reasonably well, but is hilarious and taps into your nerd button in the best ways.  The Hulk’s transformations are great, the variety of the powers are fun, and it just feels like it was made by a bunch of LEGO/Marvel nerds  Which is more than any of us could ever ask for.

Games I Didn't Get to This Year Because The List Above Was Massive

Super Mario 3D World: Yeah, I still haven’t beaten this.  I don’t have any excuses.  What the shit?

Walking Dead: Another Colin recommendation… I’M RUNNING OUT OF MONEY COLIN.

South Park: The Stick of Truth: I don’t know, I will steal this game from Jayare at some point.  Don’t tell him.

The Last of Us - Left Behind DLC: I admit, I’m a little scared to start playing Last of Us again.  Not out of fear of the game world, but just knowing it took me like 4 months to shake off the feel of that game.  Come Christmas break, I’ll play this and cry for another 4 hours.

Guacamelee: Again, Humble Bundle sitting on my computer.  I think my computer might be too slow?  Or too fast?  Reasons?

Bravely Default: RPGs are always a little intimidating for people with jobs, and I played the demo and was almost instantly lost.  But apparently this was like the best RPG to come out in awhile.  I’m sorry.

Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Jayare actually gave this to me… I have a similar intimidation factor.  I fall for Zelda games hard and go through withdrawals towards the last few dungeons.

Pikmin 3: I got this for FREE for buying Mario Kart 8, and it's just sitting there, unplayed.  What's wrong with me?

Professor Layton/Phoenix Wright Games: Apparently 7 of these have come out since I last played one.  I’m sorry puzzle games with stories, I can’t find the time / remember where I left off with you.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D/Tropical Freeze: God damn it.  

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: DAMN IT I LOVE THESE GAMES

-Joe

Direct download: 12.31.2014_Episode_146.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:28pm EDT
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