The First Year of the PS4: 2014 in Review
The PS4 released on November of 2013, but I didn’t get mine until January due to supply constraints. For the year in review, we will be looking at anything released from November 2013 up to December 2014.
We could say that the PS4 didn’t have a huge amount of AAA exclusives this year, thanks to a bunch of games which got delayed until early 2015. However, it made up for it with a dearth of amazing indy titles that did hit the system
Best Games of 2014
I really enjoyed Steamworld Dig. It took the best parts from Metroid and Super Motherload and combined them into an interesting concept. I look forward to the spiritual sequel Steamworld Heist.
Steamworld Dig is a great game that you should play. If you own a PS4, put the money down for this one as it is worth it. After playing the game I see why it received all of the praise it did on 3DS, and I’m glad it made the trip to my big screen on the PS4. What are your waiting for… go buy it already!
Resogun has been out for over a year, and it’s still a game I come back to regularly. The game has huge replay value and even added and expansion this year to add more content and challenges. It’s now coming to PS3 and Vita next year as well so that more people can enjoy it.
I’ve had my PS4 since the beginning of January, and I’ve played quite a few games, but Resogun is the one that I keep coming back to on a regular basis. It’s a game that demands skill and twitch reflexes, and even though everyone can play on the easier modes, it takes a really skilled player to succeed on the harder modes. This is still a freebie on PS+ and really should be a no-brainer to all PS4 owners. If you have a PS+ subscription download it NOW. It will be worth it.!
Child of Light was one of the year’s best RPGs. Using the UbiArt engine they handcrafted a fantastic tale that you are soon not to forget. What made this game better was its playtime that clocked in at about 12 hours. It didn’t overstay it’s welcome while and didn’t waste any of the player’s time.
Ubisoft Montreal created a winner with Child of Light. I am very impressed with them taking a huge chance on this game as it is not the norm. Some publishers would have not even let it get off the ground.This is why we need to support it and show publishers that they should be willing to take chances on games like these in the future. This is a special game that only comes around every once and while. It’s only $15 and it’s worth every penny. No matter what system you own, you must make it a priority to play this game.
The Swapper was a unique experience which really put the puzzle in puzzle platformer. There are no enemies. The puzzles are difficult and interesting, and the ending made me think more than any other game this year. It’s free in January on PS+, and you should play it.
The Swapper was such a unique and different gameplay experience. I have not felt this way about a game since playing Portal 2. It made my brain hurt thinking about how to get through specific parts of the game, but I felt rewarded throughout it. It also made me think about the moral complexities involved, which I can’t say most games even try to. This game is for you if you enjoy puzzles, eerie settings, and fantastic games.
Guacamelee! was a favorite of mine in 2013. I got the platinum trophy, so when the Super Turbo Championship edition was announced I was very excited. This game took the original game and made it different enough that I was genuinely surprised during my second play through. Guacamelee! was a special game in 2013, and 2014 made it even more special with new levels and upgrades. Drinkbox did a great job on this game. They are a very special studio, and I’m looking forward to their new title Severed.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is an awesome game and I am glad to have had the pleasure of replaying it. If you missed this on PS3/Vita now is your time to experience an awesome title, and if you did play it there is enough new content that I can easily recommend a replay.
Velocity 2X was the follow up to Velocity Ultra, improving on that great game in every way. 2X was one of the best experiences this year. It took the Shoot em Up genre into new territory. It was also released for free on with PS+ in September letting millions of people get a chance to enjoy it.
Velocity 2X is an excellent game that takes everything great about Velocity (and Velocity Ultra, of course) and expands on it. The extra work to polish the gameplay and graphics, as well as the new 2D platforming sections, make Velocity 2X a must have. On top of that, it’s an excellent reason to get PS+ since that way you can enjoy the game for free (as long as you have an active subscription during September in order to be able to add it to your collection).
The Wolf Among Us was actually my first foray into a Telltale Games release since Back to the Future (I still need to play The Walking Dead!). What I found here were a complex story and narrative that actually had me wanting to continue the story so that I could find who the murder was. Fabletown was so interesting that I picked up Fables, the comic series on which this is based on.
I don’t know if you can tell but I really enjoyed my trip to Fable Town and will probably make the trip again. Telltale did a great job recreating a comic book experience. Now that I’ve finished the game, I actually started reading the Fables series and everything really falls into place, and you can believe that this is part of that world. The story was on par with other great comics and great TV series that I have seen. Do yourself a favor and check this out.
Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition
I played Diablo originally on my PC many years ago in my youth. Somehow I skipped number 2 as I focused on consoles. When I heard 3 had come out I said “Give it time, it’s coming to consoles.” And guess what? It did, and boy was it good. Diablo 3: UEE is such a great game. You can play with friends online, do couch co-op or go at it solo. It’s always fun to traverse the randomly generated dungeons and see what loot you have to make your character more bad-ass. It feels great with a controller as if it was designed that way from the start. This is a case where if I could only pick one game for the rest of my life, it would be this one as you can keep replaying forever.
Oddest Games of the Year
I have to give a nod to two games that don’t quite fall in the GOTY category, but which do deserve a mention.
Octodad is like no other game you will play this year. It has a surrealistic sense of humor, and features one of the oddest and most frustrating controls settings you will ever use. But once things click, you get it. They also released an update for the game this year that added 2 extra chapters free of charge to fans. How cool is that?
Octodad is a unique experience that I hope everyone gets to enjoy. It was great to see a developer take a chance on something unique and it has paid off here. You have not seen a game like this before, and I recommend that you buy it at once.
Another experience that I enjoyed this year is Surgeon Simulator. It’s a real gritty and realistic simulator. Wait nope that’s not this game. Check the video above to get a taste for yourself. It’s hard, and you won’t want to play for a bit after you start it, but once you come back and realize the joke you’ll start to have a blast. After release, they patched in multiplayer support, and that doubles the hilarity.
Once I got the joke in Surgeon Simulator I started having a lot of fun. The game is a great way to burn some time and get some great laughs while trying to save Bob. There is a lot of value to the package, and this is a great game to play with friends around as you can see who can get a better time, or even work together once the new mode is available. Go ahead, save some lives or brutally murder them today… it’s your choice.
Biggest Disappointment of the Year
The onslaught of unfinished games that were released. In our current console settings, it’s very easy for developers to patch games after the fact to help fix issues. But this is a crutch being leaned on far too often as many games this year were released in an unfinished state, requiring a ton of work after the fact from the developers to get it working. There is no better example than Drive Club…. The game that was supposed to be a launch title was first delayed for a year. And when it did launch, this socially driven racer broke before the free PS+ version even released. The game is apparently running quite well now, but it took over a month to fix, and we still don’t know when the PS+ version will be released to the PlayStation community. Other games had similar issues including Assassins Creed: Unity, and even Halo: The Master Chief Collection on XBO suffered. Delays suck, but I would rather see a game delayed until it is finished properly than have companies release bug-filled games. It sucks that I am not playing Batman Arkham Knight this year, but next year it will be a contender for Game of the Year.
Developers, take your time and release the game when it’s ready!
And now it’s my turn to talk about some of the great games of 2014! I agree with everything that The Nmac has showcased so far, and I also dig Ceidz’s list over at PS3blog.net… which doesn’t leave much room for talking about other great PS4 releases during it’s first year. But it DOES mean that I can try something different right after I do bring another pair of great games into the discussion!
If you checked my review, you’ll know that I loved Escape Goat 2. I love indie games, and this one presents everything I enjoy about them: great art style, tight gameplay, and, most importantly, being fun. Escape Goat 2 is easy to learn but hard to master, with control mechanics that instantly click with gamers and challenging but manageable levels with some fun puzzle solving… unless you manage to find any of the secret areas in the game. These are a new level of hell that will test every single thing you’ve learned about Escape Goat 2, and if you blink, you’re dead. And yes, this is still fun in its own way, especially since they’re extra areas not mandatory for completing the main adventure.
Overall, Escape Goat 2 is a very fun game. Other than the odd slow-down in a handful of the 100 rooms included with the game, I had a great time during my journey to save the Sheep. The tight gameplay and hard-but-manageable puzzles will keep you coming back for more. Oh, and once you rescue several Sheep you might want to go back to the first group of Sheep rooms where you will find a door to MORE rooms, provided you’ve rescued enough Sheep and can use their souls to open the way.
This is an excellent platforming game that shines on PS4, with colorful graphics, a great art style, fun gameplay mechanics and the right amount of content as to not feel as if the developer added more content just for the sake of adding more content. Using colors to evoke emotions, thus sometimes having an effect on environments and areas, on how enemies react to your attacks, and on how characters interact with our main hero is an interesting twist on the classic platforming formula.
The Last Tinker is a very fun release that mixes platforming, action and puzzle solving into a great package. The game is about six to seven hours long, and it features fourteen trophies for your collection.
As you can tell from my Twitter activity (@EdEN_Zr), I also write over at 4colorrebellion.com where I focus on Wii U and 3DS releases. On that note, I figured it would be fun to include some great games on Nintendo’s home and portable consoles to keep things fresh, and to bring those of you with no Nintendo experience to see what they’re missing.
That’s right, Bayonetta 2 is a Wii U exclusive that exists thanks to Nintendo funding its development. I loved the first Bayonetta’s over the top action, crazy story and excellent character design, and Bayonetta 2 takes all of that and makes things even faster and crazier. With excellent graphics, an interesting story, co-op gameplay, bigger fights and bosses, a very fast frame rate and the fact we got a FREAKING SEQUEL TO BAYONETTA, Bayonetta 2 is one of the must own Wii U games, and well worth getting a Wii U just to play it (along with all the other great Wii U exclusives!)
Captain Toad is an interesting release. It is based on the special Captain Toad levels found in 2013 gem Super Mario 3D World, where players control Captain Toad as he moves around small square dioramas, collecting coins and stars. I had a blast with these levels, and when a full retail release with nothing but Captain Toad levels was announced, I immediately pre-ordered. It’s also a budget release at a very respectable $39.99, which is a steal for such a colorful and fun release with a ton of content. Oh, and if you have a Super Mario 3D World save file on your Wii U, you can play select Super Mario 3D World levels with Captain Toad, offering a new experience since Captain Toad can’t jump!
Mario Kart 8
Nothing says “fun for the whole family” like Mario Kart 8. Nintendo definitely knows how to do a kart racing game right, and Mario Kart 8 is both a “best of” for the franchise (including several tracks from every single Mario Kart release before it), as well as an evolution for the whole series. It the fastest, biggest and best looking Mario Kart game ever, and it even features anti-gravity fields with looping sections where you’re actually racing upside down or on walls.
It also marks Nintendo’s first big push into DLC territory,with a take that just feels right. A few bucks gets you new characters, new cars and new tracks, with the first DLC pack already out right now and the second DLC pack coming soon.
And the online portion of the game is flawless, lag-free and extremely fun, with single races and tournaments where you can participate to try to increase your score rating on your road to becoming the number racer 1 in the whole world.
This is a Collectible Card Game with a robust single player mode and several active online modes. It’s free to play with some restrictions, or you can unlock the full game for a single fee of $7.99. If features NO micro transactions, and it is awesome. I’ve now spent 70+ hours playing the game… which released on December 11. If that doesn’t let you know how much I like the game…
(I completed the single player campaign, climbed the online leaderboards for draft battles into the top spots, placed in the top 3 in a couple of online league tournaments, and I’m only missing a handful of cards for a full set), I can definitely recommend this excellent Wii U eshop release to everyone. It’s free to try, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and will pay to unlock the full experience.
There were so many great 3DS releases in 2014 that it is hard to narrow it down to just a few, but a there are definitely a couple I want to talk about (which feature something in common!).
First up is Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, the third game in the Shantae series. This is a game of the Metroidvania variety, where you start small, making your way through areas in a specific order until you’ve unlocked enough skills, thus allowing you to go back and revisit older areas or access new heights in order to reach the treasure that awaits you. This one was originally released as a 3DS exclusive, but has recently released on the Wii U as well (hence why it’s in the 3DS part of this feature, still within the Nintendo section). This is a very important release for WayForward since it brings closure to the first trilogy before unleashing Shantae: Half-Genie Hero on pretty much every single current gaming platform you can think of, which means that Sony fans will soon be able to see what all the fuss is about.
Pirate’s Curse is a great sequel with a ton of content, polished graphics, a nice 3D layered effect and awesome music. The one thing that people might complain is the $19.99 price tag, but considering that Shantae: Risky’s Revenge on DSiware was released at $12 and that this game is bigger and better, the extra cost seems to be well worth it.
And the final mention for the year goes to Xeodrifter, another Metroidvania-style game that takes a different look through the same lens, this time deciding to deconstruct the Metroidvania formula down to its basics, with a pixeltastic presentation and a moody soundtrack that do a great job at complementing the experience as a whole. This one comes from indie darlings Renegade Kid, and it’s another home run for the developer.
Overall I’d say that this game isn’t quite as pitch-perfect as Shovel Knight, but it definitely captures the retro vibe really well. I have a feeling that Xeodrifter could be a serious cult hit because it is legitimately difficult and the design is much more timeless than some of the other retro games that have come out recently.
Even with its issues, Xeodrifter is a great Metroidvania, provided you’re looking for Metroid II and not Symphony of the Night.