2014 was not the best year for gaming, but there were still some good releases and some surprisingly excellent games that were worth purchasing and playing. The interesting fact that can be said about this year in gaming is that there were many video games that took us by surprise. Some video games were discussed more by critics and gamers alike, and they made the “must play” list. Then, there were other games that were either pushed back or did not live up to our expectations (you can list some of the many games here). I will be discussing the games that took the gaming community by surprised to the point where we could not wait for the price reduction, we had to get the game A.S.A.P.
These selections are in no particular order. However, I felt the need to acknowledge these games since they did help with the slope the video game industry went through during this year. These games span across several consoles and should be looked into if anyone is looking for a gift for someone he or she knows.
The first game I wish to discuss is Bayonetta 2. Bayonetta was a surprisingly successful action-RPG game for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. However, because Microsoft and Sony were not satisfied with the amount that the game brought in, they decided not to publish the sequel, which was already in development. Instead, Nintendo decided to pickup the franchise in order to attracted more adult gamers to the Nintendo Wii U console. No one doubt that the sequel would be good, but would Nintendo alter the game? Surprisingly, they did not and the game lived up to everyone’s expectations. Bayonetta 2 was just as good (or better according to some critics) as Bayonetta. Also, the game—along with a few other Nintendo releases—will see an increase in sales of the Nintendo Wii U. As someone who is a fan of Bayonetta, I just might have to consider investing in a Wii U after all.
The second game I want to mention here is South Park: The Stick of Truth. Now, anyone who is a fan of South Park and/or a gamer knows for a fact that all of the previous games based on the popular television show were terrible. What makes this game different? One, the creators of the show finally got involved with the development of the game. They even made a map of the town; now, we know where Kyle’s house is in South Park. Two, the storyline in the game reminds us of an episode of South Park. In other words, you are immersed in the game as if it was an extended episode or a movie within the series. Three, you play as a “new kid” in the town. This way, you can interact with all of the characters from the show instead of playing as them. This makes the gameplay more memorable and entertaining.
The third game I want to talk about is Bravely Default. It was crazy when a RPG by Square Enix was released for the Nintendo 3DS. There has not been collaboration between the two gaming companies since the late 1990s! Plus, Square Enix has been getting a lot of flack for delaying both Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games. However, there were some gamers who wanted the company to develop a new RPG for everyone to enjoy that was not tied to their known franchises. What gamers got was Bravely Default, a game that reminds us why some of us enjoy RPGs and why Square Enix is known for having some of the best games in that genre. And, it’s on a handheld console. What more could you ask for?
The fourth game I wish to discuss is Child of Light. This digital game received a lot of attention and praise for both the story and the graphics (as well as anger over the constant rhyming). Similar to Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, the protagonist is a child, Princess Aurora, who is experiencing a dark situation and has a chance to change her fate. The world is beautifully designed with an atmosphere that reminds gamers of how somber the mood is supposed to be in the game. The characters within the game make us wonder if the protagonist is living in the afterlife, or experiencing a dream. Child of Light reminds us of the bedtime stories we were told as children, which left a sense of foreboding afterwards.
The fifth game I want to mention is Mario Kart 8. I chose this game over the latest Super Smash Bros. game because—and I believe it is safe to say—the expectations for Mario Kart 8 were lower than for the Nintendo fighting game. The latest Mario racing game is worth purchasing and playing because we finally saw an upgrade in the vehicles and the race courses. Plus, requested characters either got included or were brought back. The graphics, the gameplay, the levels, and the multiplayer revamps the enjoyment we all felt the first time we played a Mario Kart video game.
The game that gets my “Honorary Mention” is Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. This fighting game is an upgrade to its predecessor—Persona 4 Arena—with a better storyline and an improved gameplay. Also, this game was a preview to the game Persona Q, which was the actual Persona crossover game fans have been waiting for. And yet, as RPG fans already know, crossover-fighting games involving characters from popular franchises (i.e. Super Smash Bros., Dissidia: Final Fantasy) can be worth investing in. Plus, fighting games never go out of style; one only needs the skills to master them.
These are my picks for the “Most Surprising Games” of 2014. There are in no particular order. If you do not agree with what I have chosen, then please comment below. I am very interested in what you have to say, especially since changes are occurring within the video game industry. These games (and several others that I did not mention here) will occupy us until the 2015 releases. GAME ON!!!