2014 was as far as I’m concerned one of the worst years in video game history. Don’t get me wrong, nothing was released by a major publisher that would almost kill the industry but one game which has that dubious honour was unearthed. So many games came out broken and a few were unplayable. Luckily it’s not a complete tale of woe and there were a few gems, here in no particular order are my picks of the year.
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth.
Some have said that it is just a re-skinned version of Civ V and to be honest they are nearly right. Things are changed up enough to give even the most jaded Civ player something new, hell even the planets can kill the unprepared. A massive new tech web, aliens and a few tweaks here and there make this, for me a welcome change to the more traditional Earth based Civ games and well worth a look for those who enjoy the 4X genre.
The Witcher Adventure Game
A bit of an odd one here I admit. It’s basically a board game set in the Witcher universe played on the PC. There is a physical version available but I can’t help but think one would be missing some of the atmosphere created by the fantastic music and sound effects in the digital version.
Playing as one of the four main characters (Geralt, Dandelion, Yarpen or Triss) you traverse the world, conducting investigations as you work to complete quests. Each character has their own skill set and can be upgraded with a set of development cards so you can craft your character to match your play style. For some reason Amras keeps playing as Yarpen, I think it’s a height thing. Anyway it’s a great game so go buy it, then Amras and I can play with more people.
Far Cry 4
I was forced into Far Cry 4 by Lee. He bought it for me on the understanding that a: I would pay him back at some point and b: we would play the multiplayer. I have and we did. Why is it in this list? Well to be honest I haven’t played many games for long enough that I would feel happy recommending them. I have however played enough FC4 to feel fairly comfortable talking about it. Unsurprisingly it plays a lot like FC3. So much so it could be DLC. This however is by no means a bad thing and for once a Ubisoft published game actually worked on release. Well. . . Kind of. Whilst the single player experience was an exercise in beauty and tight gameplay there were some annoying bugs to be found in co-op, such as not being able to turn in missions. I also found the invisible tether between both players extremely irksome. Stray too far from your partner and one of you will be teleported to the other as if some giant bungee cord has reached its limit. It is however well worth taking a look at and any fan of the previous games in the series will I’m sure enjoy exploring the beautiful landscape.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
One of the few games I have actually completed this year and for me a welcome return to Middle Earth. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those that sees you walking for an eternity just to melt down a bit of jewelry at the end. No, time spent in Shadow of Mordor mostly consists of brutally slaying Orcs and Uruk-hai who all seem to have dodgy British accents. I could go on about the fantastic graphics, nemesis system and a whole bunch of other plus points but we would both be wasting our time. Go play it as soon as you have finished reading this post.
Space. . .
Space is BIG
Mind-bogglingly stupidly BIG.
As far as games go Elite: Dangerous is on a similar scale. Your map? The Milky Way, all four hundred billion stars. 400,000,000,000. Thats a hell of a lot of places to visit not to mention all the planets, black holes, comets and space stations surrounding said stars. It’s not all about exploration although it can be if you want. Starting with a basic ship and a few creds it’s up to you what kind of game Elite: Dangerous is. Take missions transporting goods from A to B, indulge in some private trading, become a notorious space pirate, it’s up to you. You could even follow the news in the stations and possibly end up assassinating a senator. The choice is yours. Whatever you do Elite: Dangerous will continually surprise you with its beauty, depth and stunning audio.