January 4, 2015 | by John
John’s Top 10 Games of 2014
New year, New Jonathan

It’s baffling to me that this year was overall disappointing, yet yielded some genuine classics in my book. Here’s my top ten games of the year, and to add some spice, I included a song from each that I especially enjoyed or captured the feel of the game well.

10. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Nintendo was on god damn fire this year. Captain Toad was a great game to cap (hah!) Nintendo’s best year since the Wii U was released, Especially since it’s a smaller, palette cleanser game instead of another massive Smash-size release. Captain Toad excels at everything it knows how to do and doesn’t try to do anything extra. I respect a game that knows its boundaries and does amazing things inside of them. Plus, Toadette rides a flippin dragon in this game!

9. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle

This is a selfish entry for me. All Star Battle isn’t what I’d call a “great” fighting game. But as a fan of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, the popular manga/anime that’s growing more popular every day, ASB is a fun enough game. The roster is massive, but balanced, there’s a nearly neverending amount of unlockables, and pretty much every scene from the manga you’d want to see re-enacted in 3D is here. The visuals are stunning, and the music would fit in perfectly in a dance club, which somehow fits this games’ aesthetic.

8. Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

2014 was a big year for Japanese mystery games to come overseas, and I’m glad Ace Attorney didn’t skip out. Sure there were MUCH better games that came out in the genre this year (as we’ll see later) but Wright held his own, with a little help from a certain gentleman. Having Layton style puzzles and Wright style trials is an easy combo to make, but the overall style of the game flows admirably. Both characters feel distinct, yet meld in a perfect way. By the end of the game, I could barely imagine a world where Layton and Wright weren’t always partners.

7. Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein was a surprise to me. It was a surprise to the industry in general. And I’m so so glad I liked it as much as I did. BJ Blaskowitz’s return to glory was a well made FPS that handled its subject matter as well as it handled its guns, playing spectacularly and telling a story that would fit in perfectly with a classic action movie. The cast is diverse and respectful, and the ending’s choice to go out on a whimper instead of a bang really cemented my appreciation for this game.

6. The Wolf Among Us

Telltale really needs to limit themselves. Walking Dead Season 2 was PRETTY BAD. But while they dropped the ball on one end, they slam dunked their other game, The Wolf Among Us. I won’t defend some of the poor choices early on in the game involving women, but by the end of the season, Bigby was one of my favorite characters of the year, and the sickening, dreamy lifestyle of the Fables was etched into my psyche. Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Some frogs and a pig probs.

5. Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 is the best Mario Kart. I’ll hear arguments for DS and Double Dash!! but I’ll point to 8 and say “but, this” and that’s all I should have to do. With tight multiplayer, perfect handling, the best item selection to date, and some of the best tracks imaginable, Mario Kart 8 delivers exactly what I want from the series. The roster is lacking, which keeps it from entering my top three but…the Koopalings are cool, so it’s still up here.

4. Bayonetta 2

I’m not one to argue for or against the validity of Bayonetta’s character. That’s out of my hands. But I will argue to the death about how fun Bayonetta 2 is to play. There’s nothing but pure gameplay in here, but the flow of battle, the vastness of options you have, and the ease of access compared to other similar games, even by the same developer, pushes Bayonetta 2 above and beyond its predecessor. Plus it’s fun to shoot angels with mini-Arwings, who knew?

3. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

I played this game almost as a joke. It garnered a fandom on Tumblr and I, after seeing lots of teens cosplaying the characters, played it to “give it a shot”. Now look at me. I’m a wreck. But really, Danganronpa is an incredible visual novel that absolutely destroys the standard of the genre. Murder is afoot, but the murderer is the game’s story, and the victim is mystery anime visual novel tropes. Good, let them die.

2. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

I changed this numerous times. My top two flip-flopped up until the day I submitted this. 2014 was a very mediocre year for games overall, but it produced two of my favorite games of all time. Smash on the Wii U is a near perfect package, with a wealth of characters, stages, music, items, anything you could possibly ask for from a Smash game. On the technical side, the game plays better than any other entry in the franchise to date, and yes, I’m including Melee. With the promise of Mewtwo and the inclusion of Duck Hunt, I see myself playing this game for years, if not for the rest of my life.

1. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

But then there’s Danganronpa 2. Danganronpa 1 meant a lot to me this year, subverting every idea I had going into it. And its sequel did the impossible: It subverted its predecessor. This sounds like it would never work in a million years, but it works, and I love it to death. The pacing is smoother, the characters are more fleshed out, and Monokuma is given a foil to work off of. The ending doesn’t EXACTLY stick the landing, but the last “true” trial, Trial 5, is one of the greatest twists in games writing I can think of. There hasn’t been a game that resonated with me as much that DR2 did this year, so choosing it for my top honor feels trivial at this point. Let’s give it everything we’ve got! Iiiiiiiiiiiit’s punishment time!

John Michonski is Video Game Choo Choo's Editor in Chief. He's a fun man who likes to do good.

1 Comment
  • Man, third person I’ve seen with DR2 as game of the year, second person with it even before DR1. My expectations are going to be way too high when I finally play it.

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