Watch out for FLUDD.
Lauren Boley, in addition to being Video Game Choo Choo’s newest Associate Editor, is also the Director of Nudes, the John Michonski Cowardice Notary, and the Official Moe Lady™. She deserves better. Follow her on Twitter.
Destiny is not a terribly good game right now, but I do think it is better than is generally acknowledged, and I’m interested in seeing where future development takes it. While Destiny does lack content, after seeing the patches over the past several months I’m inclined to think that the game is moving in a generally positive direction. In particular I’m interested in the marriage of MMO style ‘raids’ to first person shooter mechanics, and while the game only has a paltry two raids out at present they do represent probably the best PVE content the game has to offer. I’ll be watching Bungie closely next year to see how Destiny develops. (I also may also be guilty of trying to rationalize playing it so much.)
4. World End Economica Chapter One
WWE may not involve wrestling, but it is a visual novel about navigating capitalism and making sense of altruism in the context of a capitalist society. As a kinetic novel (a VN with no choices) it may not be terribly gamelike, but the game has a compelling story and themes I’d like to see more of in games. I find the characters to all be compelling, and the art is generally good. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the trilogy coming out next year.
3. Romance Detective
I just like really like Romance Detective, OK? D-don’t look at me like that!
2. Dark Souls 2
I think the original Dark Souls is probably one of the finest games ever made. Dark Souls 2 looks alot like the original, and that makes it pretty good. It’s hard to talk about Souls 2’s good points without discussing the original, as in many ways the game is a step backwards. Still, if you’re far enough ahead even a step backwards leaves you in front, and the game retains the tight combat, oppressive atmosphere, and knuckle-whitening difficulty of the original. It may not be as good as the first game, but in a slow year like 2014 it’s still a serious contender.
I have somewhat controversial opinions on ‘fun’ in games. I find the times that a game can make you miserable are so much rarer and more precious than the times games are fun. Because I’m the sort of tart who wants to see and talk about games as ‘fine art’ (whatever that is), I find myself wishing I could be sad in games alot. Maybe I’m a masochist, but Transistor is fucking miserable. Even when the game is ‘fun’, the slow plodding pace of the combat keep reminding me that the world is falling apart, and the main character’s narration does an excellent job of fleshing out the feeling that ‘people used to live here’. When the main character stops at her apartment for pizza I ordered three hours ago on a whim, the sweetness of the moment melds with the melancholic atmosphere of the rest of the game and creates a distinct bittersweet emotional feeling I crave. Yeah, I’m probably a masochist.
Perhaps most importantly though, the juxtaposition of the game’s music, story, ending, and combat make a tragedy that is distinctively a game, instead of a tragic movie-game we see in so many AAA titles. When the game ties its new game plus mechanic to the main character’s suicide, that’s not something you can do in a film. When the game associates each power you get with a dead character’s personality, that’s not a thing you can do in a film. It has to be a game. For that reason, I can’t help but give the #1 spot to Transistor.