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Reader's top 50 games of 2014

What do you mean it's another 8?

Happy New Year to you! Having had a little time to recover, I hope your head's all fine and dandy - we're still druuuuuuuuuuuuunk, but that's pretty standard for a Friday morning.

We're drunk enough to hand over the site to you today as we run through the top 50 games of the year, as voted for by your good selves. It's wonderful to get 2015 off to a civil start, too - for the first time in many a year, the readers and the writers are in agreement over what the best game of the past 12 months was.

Without further ado here's the full list, complete with some of your choice remarks. Enjoy, and see you when we resume normal service this coming Monday.

50. Towerfall Ascension

What we said: "Classic board games don't get marked down for only being playable with real-world humans, and nor should TowerFall Ascension. This is the type of game that creates memories and dissolves friendships, soundtracked by the pained swears of the defeated and the uproarious cheers of the victors. If that's not worth moving your life around for, then what is? "

"So simple," writes Schulzey. "Graphics are nothing special, and the gameplay is basic. But it is consistently fun for local multiplayer and the go-to game for a get together with the guys. That used to be Call of Duty, but Towerfall is more fun, more competitive, and able to be enjoyed by gamers of nearly any skill level at the same time. Amazing."

49. Metro Redux

What we said: "What's clear is that this is no smash and grab raid on the fans - 4A has put in the work to bring 2033 up to standards with it successor, with both games significantly improved with the move to higher resolutions and that locked 60fps. These aren't state-of-the-art shooters - they are still the games of their time - but they do a good job of respecting both the original releases and the new hardware they're running on."

"Second best makeover out there this year (GTA 5 being the first), but I enjoyed this so much more with the overhauled 2033 game engine. Gorgeous, creepy and unforgiving," wrote Syphilloid Monkey.

48. Civilization: Beyond Earth

What we said: "Beyond Earth isn't concerned with your plan so much as it's concerned with the intersection of that plan with a dozen other complications. Seeing this feels valuable."

Benster80 wrote: ""For me this is the Civilisation that delivers in terms of proper path selection of the type of civilisation you wish to create and victory type you choose as once you commit to a chosen path you generally need to see it through or you will not succeed."

"Duh, It's Civilization!" said carlosalbertoborgesg. "And that means hundreds of hours of amazing fun!"

47. The Legend of Grimrock 2

What we said: "We're so conditioned to expect sequels to cram in more features in an attempt to be noticeably different, but there's a quiet confidence to Grimrock 2 that is utterly beguiling."

46. Pro Evolution Soccer 2015

What we said: "FIFA and PES seem to have swapped shirts, with neither catering to the original audience they once set out to attract. Based on this year's offerings, though, it's PES that has the clearer direction of where it's headed. Perhaps most tellingly of all, PES 2015 is more satisfying in defeat than FIFA 15 is in victory. "

"It may lack on the licenses department, and the graphics are not mind blowing," wrote TsunamiRR, "but the gameplay is the closer I've ever felt to real life football on a video game since the old PES 5."

NineOverSeven wrote: "Licensing seems even worse this time around but I'm glad to see PES hit some form and climb out of mid-table mediocrity."

45. FIFA 15

  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developer: EA Sports
  • FIFA 15 review (7/10)

What we said: "EA can quite fairly claim to have again delivered the best football game ever made. But every year the developers seem to have less of an idea what that means. "

"FIFA is a fantastic game," wrote Bill_P, before picking up on the theme of our review. "The reason it's not celebrated more is because the games are very similar from one year to the next."

44. This War of Mine

What we said: "This War of Mine is a game whose simple message - that war is hell, and that we're all capable of being sucked into its moral depths - might be slightly compromised by its strengths as a game, but at least it's a message carried with a great deal more conviction than other, more bombastic portrayals of conflict."

"The fact, that this video game has to exist in our world is already depressing," wrote Arpogest. "Entertainment is not something a war should be associated with and This War of Mine is perfect in showing that."

"Oppressive in atmosphere, filthy in setting and doom-laden in mood, This War Of Mine really is a brutally upsetting game and does a fantastic job of using its setting and gameplay to make you care for the characters you're charged with helping to survive," sombrely pondered the_shlaaaag_returns. "For a single-player game to tap in to that DayZesque, panicked it's them or us mentality when shit hits the fan really is quite the achievement. A brilliant little gem of a game."

43. Danganronpa

  • Publisher: NIS
  • Developer: Spike Chunsoft

What we said: Nothing, it turns out, as shamefully we didn't get around to reviewing this Vita gem (we couldn't even spell it properly in the entry list...) Thankfully a fair few of you did and had plenty to say.

"This would be a shoo-in for top spot if I'd not discovered Persona 4 Golden this year," wrote BearFishPie. "As it is, despite efforts to avoid playing them too close together, Danganronpa initially suffered by comparison. Luckily, I stuck with it and found it to be tremendously engaging and armed with a cracking soundtrack. It'll be some time before Monokuma's Theme leaves my head."

Frazzl continued the love. "Danganronpa 1 and 2 are superb visual novels on the Vita and easily the best games I have played this year. If you're a fan of the genre or just want to experience some good writing in a video game than check these two titles out. They're well worth the effort!"

42. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

What we said: "It never hits the heights of Battlefield in its pomp, Call of Duty at its slickest or Titanfall in its explosive beta, but at its best Garden Warfare stirs the same emotions; the panic, the triumph, the tension and the elation. Whether anyone will stick with it once the Titans Are Ready is unsure, but PopCap has overachieved and delivered one of the most likeable games on next-generation hardware anywhere."

41. Valiant Hearts

What we said: "While Valiant Hearts struggles to make sense of itself as a game, in its odd, playful innocence and in its focus on four friends (and a dog) it at least offers a fleeting human perspective on a new kind of war that turned out to be far, far worse in its mechanised violence than anybody was quite expecting. "

"There's something to be said for simplicity," said steventimberman, who then carried on with some complexity. "A dialogue free journey through the gassed ruins of a once beautiful town haunted me more than any other moment in 2014. Mix that with an intuitive hint system and a non-partisan, non-ideological look at a forgotten war. Then add a stark ending that felt earned and inevitable - Valiant Hearts isn't perfect, but it doesn't need to be. It made my Yankee heart look at war in an entirely new way."

40. Assassin's Creed Unity

What we said: "Mild improvements in traversal and combat are quickly overwhelmed by the creaking systems onto which they have been grafted. Revolutionary Paris is one of the most beautifully realised environments in a series that has had its fair share of them, but the game you play doesn't really do it justice."

A number of you voted for it, though very few had nice things to say about it. One reader - take a bow, elvenscroll - raised their head above the parapet, though. "Despite the bugs, free running around Paris is a blast."

39. Shovel Knight

What we said: "The game has a light, fresh appeal, even for those who never played 16-bit platform games the first time around, skewering the old publisher lie that only the latest, loudest, most technologically accomplished video games are worthwhile. There is gold in these old genres, and Shovel Knight is a successful dig."

"I loved Shovel Knight because it's obviously a game made with heart and humour," wrote RedCrayon. "The hints at previous encounters and relationships between the knights all comes to a head in the battle royale, and the final battle rounds off the opening chapters really well. Even the ending is sublime, filling these 8-bit sprites with more character than a thousand grumpy 60fps marines. It's hard to follow such a well-trod path as the 8-bit platformer and come up with a genuine top-tier entry in the canon, but Yacht Club Games managed it."

38. Tomb Raider

What we said: "This is a beautiful game - one of the best-looking titles to appear on next-gen - and on the PlayStation 4 in particular, it's a lovely showcase for the capabilities of next-gen hardware. "

37. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

What we said: "The Vanishing of Ethan Carter leaves you with several amazing memories; moments that you will want to talk to your friends about for hours and will take great pains not to spoil for other people. The fact it packs those so painlessly into a three-hour game while other developers create empty works that take ten times as long to complete speaks volumes."

"The Astronauts must be commended for crafting a beautiful and often creepy adventure even when the sum of its parts don't always add up," said Stefarooh. "From such strong beginnings that resonate with emotional clout and complete awe unfortunately slowly withers and fades away like the unreliable memories of its protagonists the further along you progress."

36. The Evil Within

What we said: "Shinji Mikami has yet to make a poor game, and The Evil Within does not blemish his record. But neither does the game enchant and disrupt in the way that Vanquish and the others managed. This is Mikami revisiting his past glories and, as such, it's both a delight and a disappointment. "

"A fitting tribute to Mikami's career that touches upon both classic and new Resident Evils as well as Shadows of the Damned before forging its own identity," chimed in Electro_UK.

35. Call of Duty Advanced Warfare

What we said: "The big questions hanging over the series remain, and will continue to do so until the campaigns abandon their stifling linearity, and the multiplayer introduces ideas that can genuinely be called new, not just new to Call of Duty. Advanced Warfare isn't the game to answer those questions. "

otota wrote: "A really enjoyable shooter, CoD finally stepped up and gave us a next-gen (or current gen?) experience, and Activision finally delivered a solid performance, smooth gameplay and an overall great game. It's also worth noting the brilliant optimization of the game on PC, something that sadly was not usual to see this year."

34. Watch Dogs

What we said: "Watch Dogs doesn't get anything horribly wrong, but nor does it excel at any of the genre beats it so faithfully bangs out. It's good, and yet that always feels like a criticism when a game comes weighed down by this much hype."

"For me, this is a woefully under-appreciated game," said FelicityGrope. "Fun playable city environment, novel implementation of the camera hacking, and a fairly compelling storyline. Didn't do anything brilliantly but did everything well. I know critics hated it but I rarely had a bad evening's entertainment playing it to the end. For me, Watchdogs is the reason why AC:Unity was such a shock and disappointment."

33. Child of Light

What we said: "Child of Light stands as a wonderfully realised venture into unfamiliar territory for Ubisoft - and a welcome reminder that the industry's major players still have the creative flair to push beyond the lucrative safe ground that they so often favour to create well-crafted, highly-polished gems such as this."

"Turns out, I think I only bought two new games this year," said darleysam. "Child of Light, however, was actually a really good game. Took some criticism for its forced rhyming in all the dialogue, but I love that it presented a really good set of female characters. You play a little girl whose first action on finding a sword, against advice, is to go 'alright, let's go kill some monsters.'"

32. The Banner Saga

What we said: "The Banner Saga offers a refreshing take on the tactical RPG with a story every bit as engaging as its combat.  "

31. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

What we said: "I've played Nintendo games all my life, and while I enjoyed DKC Tropical Freeze, I can't help feeling saddened by it at the same time. DKC is becoming another Nintendo series where quality grows and importance shrinks with each faithful new instalment. Not all Nintendo's franchises have fallen into this pattern, but games like Tropical Freeze make me wonder whether they all eventually will, turning up to be damned by praise that appears fainter with every passing chapter."

mr_moti wrote: "Donkey Kong Country returns with gorgeous graphics and challenging worlds to jump, somersault, glide and pogo stick through. The classic difficulty of the series remains with new enemies and stages designed to match the viking theme. A must for any platforming fan."

30. World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

We're still working our way through Warlords of Draenor - Oli and John keep telling us they'll write something on it soon to justify the many work hours they're sinking into this anniversary extension, though perhaps we shouldn't hold out for anything too soon. "As if Warcraft needed any more addicting properties," said Alsotop succinctly, before presumably slinking away to log in once again.

29. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

What we said: "At times it's a devastatingly personal work, even though the exact shape and nature of the autobiographical nugget at the game's core is unclear. What keeps us from becoming prying voyeurs in this process is the game's surrounding artifice and machinery, which is expertly crafted and designed in such a way as to invite us in to enjoy McMillen's journey. And it is a spectacular, affecting journey, even if its destination is perhaps the creator's alone. "

"You break turds with your tears, hoping to find hearts inside," said Drip. Tell me more! "Nightmarish bleeding and smiling monsters die a gruesome death walking over your pee. And that's only the beginning. The most obvious pick, I mean come on, Isaac not becoming GOTY would be ludicrous."

28. Wasteland 2

  • Publisher: inXile Entertainment
  • Developer: inXile Entertainment/Obsidian Entertainment
  • Wasteland 2 review (8/10)

What we said: "Minor issues aside, Wasteland 2 is a great sequel. It's very clearly made with love to be true to the original game while still learning from the games that followed. In going for something so unapologetically old-school it does sacrifice the ability to do anything new with the format, as Divinity: Original Sin managed to do in many ways; that game's flexibility does arguably make it the better of this year's two old-school, turn-based computer RPGs."

"I invested 60 hours in Wasteland 2," boasted mogwins. "Six. Zero. Every moment of it was interesting and fresh (though the game itself does nothing particularly new, it does everything very well). Never once was I tempted to rush to the end so that I could play one of the other 500+ games in my Steam backlog. An enormous achievement."

27. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

What we said: "The Master Chief Collection is a remembrance of things past, and those things are not as they were. The Collection is an instantaneous embrace of past and present that combines gaming's powerful sense of nostalgia with its perpetual arms race of processing and graphical power. It is part of a growing appreciation of the past in a medium which until recently was resolutely forward-looking."

alkeygs01 wrote: "Yes it has issues, but when it works it is a towering leap jump and skip beyond anything else on the market, Halo was good in ways that make it better than pretty much any other shooter and this collection is a testament to that."

26. Transistor

What we said: "Enjoy the artful approach to science-fiction, enjoy the hoops Supergiant's jumped through to position you in the right place to engage with its combat, and you can even enjoy the very fact that the game often struggles to get its deeper messages across. After all, if the developer had something straightforward to say, it might not have had to make a game in the first place. "

"It's a simple idea, carried out flawlessly," wrote God_Octo. "Transistor proves that you don't need a budget of tens of millions to create a beautiful, emotional classic of a game."

25. Rayman Legends

What we said: "The platform game has been around for so long that it's easy to assume that the genre has run out of surprises. A showcase for the game designer's art and one of the greatest platform games of this - or any - year, Rayman Legends disproves that in glorious style."

"Rayman Origins was just a precursor to the game I suspect Michael Ancel et al wanted to make all along," said MccyMcFlinn. "Legends is not just an updated and improved Origins, it takes the formula and injects it with ideas and touches that make it feel fresh and original all over again. The music levels alone are worth the cost of entry."

24. Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes

What we said: "The very best thing about Ground Zeroes is how the series has cast away so many of its cinematic pretensions and fallen in love with being a video game all over again. As a precursor to Phantom Pain, it suggests that greatness awaits, but even on its own terms Ground Zeroes is something special. In the purity of its systems and the focus of its action, it's not just an antidote to the glut that had begun to weigh down Metal Gear Solid but also to the bloat that weighs down so many of the series' big-budget peers. "

xXAceMeXx wrote: "An impressive and evolutionary step in the open world direction for the Metal Gear series. Also a very important story in relation to the recent release of the CIA Torture report. Hopefully the game, however brilliant it is, won't outshine the important message the game brings with it."

23. Sunset Overdrive

What we said: "Beneath the glorious tech, and once the writing relaxes a little, Sunset Overdrive's wonderfully lurid and heartfelt - a bit like playing an old 4AD album sleeve. If you get that reference, you'll probably get this, too."

"We really need new IP's to keep gaming fresh and exciting," said quelch1975. "The 4th wall breaking, Sunset Overdrive creates a whole new experience for seasoned players and it's bursting with character and fun distractions."

22. The Wolf Among Us

What we said: "What it is is a well written, enjoyable adventure that nevertheless feels slightly underwhelming once the credits roll. That can partly be explained by the long shadow cast by The Walking Dead, but it's also because, across its five episodes, The Wolf Among Us never really adapts the singular gameplay hooks of its predecessor to suit a very different kind of story with an entirely different style of lead character. "

Zer0_Boy writes: "For me, The Wolf Among Us tops a lot of games. While it doesn't have the most engaging gameplay, the mature story, enchanting setting and fleshed-out characters combined with the devilishly hard dilemmas make it stand out."

21. inFamous: Second Son

What we said: "As pretty and playable as it is, in no sense is inFamous: Second Son a post-Grand Theft Auto 5 open-world game. It's just a tidier, shorter and shinier one. It's easy to enjoy and has a winning personality, but it's reluctant to deviate from a stale streetmap of game city. It's no rebel, then. In fact, it's a conformist."

God_Octo, once again: "With inFamous: Second Son, Sucker Punch prove that they deserve a place at the top of Sony's pile of talent. It's no mean feat to be the game meant to launch a console, and SP definitely succeeded. Second Son shows such growth and maturity in design - a greater cast, a better realised world and even better traversal. Few developers can make the simple act of crossing the much as much fun as Sucker Punch."

20. Elite Dangerous

  • Publisher: Frontier Developments
  • Developer: Frontier Developments

"I feel like Charlie Bucket now," proclaims darleysam. Get us a Mars bar then, will you? "I didn't play Elite Dangerous, as I only bought two games this year, but since this is probably what I would've bought if I had carte blanche to buy anything, Elite Dangerous is what I've been most excited for."

"Although its only released in a few days I still feel that the gamma version is everything an old school Elite fan could wish for," says Perjoss. "Frontier have not tried to cram in tons of modern gaming features just for the hell of it, but instead delivered an updated version of the classic elite games with tense combat, some awesome visuals and truly brilliant sound design."

19. Titanfall

  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developer: Respawn Entertainment
  • Titanfall review (8/10)

What we said: "Titanfall is perhaps more of a step forward for shooters than a giant leap. But that still represents the most positive momentum seen in the genre for at least five years. Quite simply, if you feel like you're in danger of falling out of love with multiplayer shooters, Titanfall is the game to win you back."

"I hadn't done any multiplayer shooting in ages but Titanfall really got under my skin," said Skankmustard. "The community is still strong (despite what people say on the forums) and the updates since launch have kept it fresh even though there was a noticeable lack of modes and weapons."

The_shlaaaag_returned with this. "Screw all the haters, along with Planetside 2 (though very different from it obviously) this is the best online multiplayer game since the original Unreal Tournament. Speed, movement and simplicity delivered in such a fun and exhilarating package that also completely levelled the playing field. After playing Titanfall, every other FPS feels limited in comparison."

18. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

What we said: "Hearthstone is unlike a lot of games. It's a card strategy game that is bright and accessible. It's a free-to-play game with generosity of spirit. Heck, it may not have all the features its fans are demanding just yet, but it's even a Blizzard game where "coming soon" actually means coming soon. It's overflowing with character and imagination, feeds off and fuels a vibrant community of players and performers, and it only stands to improve as Blizzard introduces new features, an iPad version and expansions. And now it's finally finished! I can't wait to see where it goes next. Job's done. "

"Hearthstone may not be as complex as Magic," said BlackPaladin105, "but it's crazy how much goodwill a game can earn with familiar gameplay and fantastic presentation."

Bauul added: "Hearthstone might not be the deepest of card-games, but it strikes the perfect balance between accessibility and complexity. It also has a free-to-play model that actually works, making it immediately a rare creature worthwhile of everyone's attention."

17. Forza Horizon 2

What we said: "t's going to be a busy season for racing games, with sim hopeful Project Cars, ambitious online "CarPG" The Crew and the social score-attack of DriveClub all jostling for attention. Horizon 2 sets an intimidatingly high bar for those games to meet on every front, but in one aspect it seems unbeatable. I can't imagine any of them are going to feel this happy."

Writes Gambrose: "I never played Forza Horizon on Xbox, but this is brilliantly done. Great graphics, consistent 30fps. The overall package is just brilliant."

Retrozoid1986 is equally enthused. "Forza Horizon 2 is simply the racer of the year, plenty to do with a fun and addictive online play but that still appeals to the single player gamer."

16. Divinity: Original Sin

What we said: "I have no hesitation in recommending Original Sin to RPG fans old and new, provided that you're up for a challenge from very early on and don't expect to romp through, Diablo-style. While Skyrim is obviously more freeform and immersive, and the likes of Mass Effect are more cinematic, Divinity: Original Sin is hands down the best classic-style RPG in years.  "

"It's been one of the best years in a long time for RPGs," said Kostabi, "and Divinity still stands out as one of the best."

"Wasteland 2 gave us an awesome classic RPG with classic systems that are still great today," said technotica. "Divinity: Original Sin gave us an awesome take on a classic rpg using a modern lens that, in some ways, made it feel like a very new thing."

15. DriveClub

  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Developer: Evolution Studios
  • DriveClub review (6/10)

What we said: "What we're left with is a flimsy framework - a sort of clothes horse for content - rather than a truly great racing game. DriveClub is patently intended to attract a global, interconnected audience of fiercely competitive racers but, to quote the increasingly obscure 1989 Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come. And, unfortunately, Evolution hasn't quite built it."

You liked this one quite a bit more than we did, it seems. "Amazing visuals can only carry any game so far," wrote Breach. "The genuinely challenging and addictive gameplay makes DriveClub my favourite game of 2014."

"A rocky start," said JAGLeMans, whose username makes me think we'd be best friends even if we don't share the same taste in driving games, "but Evolution Studio's have crafted one of the finest core racing games in years. Great post release support and a stellar weather update elevates DriveClub to my game of the year."

14. Far Cry 4

What we said: "More does not necessarily mean better, and the truth is that the wilds of Kyrat simply aren't as beguiling as the Rook Islands were. Far Cry 4 is well worth a visit, but it's more a backpacker's delight than a five-star island paradise."

"I thought it was worse than Far Cry 3 at first," says Fabio. "But it really got better when I started conquering outposts with a grenade launcher while on top of an elephant." That normally does the trick, yes.

"It might really be Far Cry 3.5, but then I adored Far Cry 3 and I've had so much fun exploring Kyrat," says Caress. "There's also a nice mixture of missions to undertake, some stealthy, some guns blazing, whether up high in the Himalayas or infiltrating a Fortress in the valleys of Kyrat. Superb!"

13. Super Smash Bros.

What we said: "This is almost certainly the definitive version of Smash. Not all of it works, but plenty does, leaving us with a fine solo game and a wonderfully, wilfully chaotic multiplayer brawler. Smash is still too unrefined to be the choice of the Nintendo connoisseur, perhaps, but as long as you don't take it too seriously, it is riotously good fun. "

"A fantastic, fun spectacle worth waiting for two years since the release of the Wii U," says PaladinFenris. "Every time I start playing another round of Smash, I am amazed how much this game has to offer."

"What can one possibly say about Smash?" asks WildCrumble. That it's good, perhaps, seeing as you voted it as one of your games of the year?

12. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

What we said: "Reaper of Souls gives Diablo 3 a much more welcoming, flexible and gratifying character, but it's still a game of utter excess, at once deep and mindlessly shallow. Too much of it will leave you feeling dizzy and sick. Turning it from a miserly grind to a jackpot that always pays out doesn't change that - in fact, it only heightens it. "

"Blizzard finally got around to fixing most of the issues and brought back a lot of what felt great about Diablo," said FelderPony, no doubt as delighted as I am that Blizzard's game has made its annual apperance on this list. "Reaper of souls built on all this and it was a refreshing blast of demon swatting action!"

"This expansion finally updates Diablo 3 from above average to great," says The_Red. "The new levelling and other elements are now truly fun and addictive, whether it's on PC, PS4 or Xbox One."

11. South Park: The Stick of Truth

What we said: "A finicky combat system, a lack of challenge and few reasons to remain in South Park once the story is done - these minor disappointments hold The Stick of Truth back from greatness, but they don't detract from the sheer audacious hilarity it delivers. In gameplay terms it may be soon forgotten, but there's unlikely to be a funnier - or filthier - game any time soon. "

"One of the few turn based RPGs released on an actual console as opposed to a handheld," pointed out feralningen. "Plus it was everything I wanted from a South Park game and more besides."

Udat added: "Utterly gross and relentlessly funny. An old-school RPG with a perfectly implemented South Park character. It felt like playing an extended episode of the show."

10. Wolfenstein: The New Order

What we said: "Wolfenstein: The New Order has all sorts of war stories it wants to share with you and it knows how it wants you to feel, but it's not convincing. Its stories are more sensational than poignant. It's a decent shooter with a good few impressive moments, but it can be buggy and it doesn't offer much you can't find elsewhere, with little to tempt you back when it's over. Where it most tries to stand out, in its narrative and setting, it often comes off as juvenile."

"Who doesn't like shooting Nazis?" asks metalmike25 in the perfect rebuttal. "Even Hitler shot one in a bunker near the end of the war. Wolfenstein is old school in the best way possible."

"Fantastic reboot, and a shooter has no right to be so well written with genuinely wonderful characters," says Mrkdhn10 before continuing a theme. "Plus killing Nazi's never gets old..."

9. Grand Theft Auto 5

What we said: "Technically, Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4 and Xbox One is an unmistakable product of last-gen design, but its re-release finesses the visuals enough to make Los Santos well worth revisiting. Both consoles receive even-handed treatment from Rockstar North, starting with the 1080p setup on each, and leading to the boosted texture resolution and broadened draw distances. "

Psiloc had a cute justification for picking a remaster as one of his games of the year: "For showing me I was a moron for buying in to the Watch_Dogs hype. I can't think of a single thing that game did that GTA 5 didn't do way better."

8. Destiny

What we said: "Destiny blazes a clear trail through the middle of the desolate no man's land that, for years now, has segregated the bombastic emptiness of shooter campaigns from the frenetic slaughter of multiplayer. And it does so with a poise and depth that its few peers - games like the charming but scrappy Borderlands and Far Cry - cannot match; a poise and depth that will keep people playing it for years."

ToxicdeepEyes has got it bad. "Proving not just your Mum can get addicted to meaningless Facebook games. Until Destiny I never truly could empathize with a lab rat undergoing operant conditioning nor the retired ladies at the bingo hall. Bravo Destiny for attempting to make digital junkies of us all."

"It pains me to choose Destiny, given how many ways this game should be better," says gwil. I feel your pain... "But I can't deny that in terms of sheer hours ploughed into this game, Destiny has burrowed, life-threatening-parasite-like, into my heart."

7. Bayonetta 2

What we said: "Bayonetta 2's biggest disappointment may be that it's an iterative sequel, but it's not such a problem when it's iterating on genius."

"It's the best because it's got Bayonetta in it, basically," says VotesForCows. Amen!

"It's more Bayonetta so it can't fail," pipes up Trousers. "An explosion of colour and fights that you can mash at, have a bit of skill or learn to perfection. The invention and design of the bosses remains beyond the reach of normal game designers."

6. The Last of Us Remastered

What we said: "A defining technological statement for the PlayStation 3 transitions across to PS4 very well overall, but the big takeaway from our experience is that there's more to a game's next-gen credentials than the quality of its pixels alone. Gameplay truly is king and you'll struggle to find any game on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One that matches up to the sheer quality on offer here. "

"Another remaster, but it makes the game that was possibly the best of the last generation even better with the raise in resolution and fps," says otota. "A game that has excellent storytelling, great level design and a perfect gameplay. A definite must-have for PS4 owners."

shotbyascot writes: "For someone like me who came from owning only an Xbox 360 last generation and thus missed out on games like this, Last of Us Remastered was an absolute treat regardless of the obvious improvements in visuals over the PS3 version." "

5. Dark Souls 2

What we said: "This is an iterative sequel, and so many of the old routines and patterns of discovery inevitably sparkle a little less the second time around. Only a little, though, and when the worst you can say is that a game is only nearly as good as Dark Souls, that's still a pretty strong recommendation."

"No where near as good as Demon Souls or the first Dark Souls," said Po1morph, "but still one of the best RPG's of 2014."

Modhabobo added: "I loved Dark Souls 2, I devoured it, and it devoured me, several times. No one does the inherent sadness of Dark Souls, where a world can be at once horribly grotesque, but also strangely painterly and beautiful at the same time."

4. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

What we said: "It's in the attention to detail that Shadow of Mordor reveals itself to be concerned with more than just lopping heads off overconfident orcs. Its open world doesn't always feel as big, busy or varied as you'd like it to - an understandable problem given that much of Mordor is a barren wasteland by definition - but you see Tolkien's uniting influence running through everything from the darkened slopes of Orodruin on the horizon to the skittering ungol underfoot. "

Meho goes big on Mordor: "The taste of things to come, hopefully, Shadow of Mordor did for open world games what Half-life did for FPS in the last century: made the player feel like an actual presence in a living world. Solid presentation and simple but effective combat system and a somewhat boring story would probably make this game pleasant but forgettable were it not for the deep, if still somewhat chaotic and confusing Nemesis System that for the first time really made you feel like you are shaping the outcome of the game with your two hands, following no predetermined path and leaving a sizeable scar on Mordor's living, independently breathing face."

adgr19 goes a little shorter: "This years Assassin's Creed was set in Mordor."

3. Alien: Isolation

What we said: "A shorter, sharper campaign would condense the high points more potently, and some better characterisation would make the plot twists hit harder. But if you're looking for a game that really sinks its teeth into what makes this iconic movie monster endure, look no further. "

"The true core of horror as a genre is the sense of vulnerability," says MccyMcFinn. "The original Alien film understood this and Isolation follows suit in impressive fashion. The moment the Alien catches you, triggering yet another cut-scene of your grizzly death, is no less terrifying the 20th time than it was the first."

"Best movie tie-in ever," believes ghostof82. "Drips atmosphere. Scary too. Let's have an Aliens tie-in with the same care and attention next please." What was wrong with Colonial Marines, ey?

2. Dragon Age: Inquisition

What we said: "Its not-so-fatal flaw is that in offering so much, both in terms of player choice and in going for peak-BioWare in every aspect of the game, those individual moments, characters, activities and plot beats often don't benefit from the focus and importance needed to unlock their full potential. Still, that's hardly a crime, and one more than made up for by the many high points that I can't name directly for fear of spoilers."

Hey ubergine! What did you think of it? "Dragon Age: Redemption would also be an apt title, and judging by Inquisitions wondrous breadth, Bioware felt an incredible penance due. The game looks stunning."

Darren's got your back. "Quite simply, this is the game that the lacklustre Dragon Age 2 should have been. Despite being a bit buggy on PS4, it nevertheless is still by far the best game I've played in 2014."

1. Mario Kart 8

What we said: Video game players are familiar with the law of diminishing returns. Even as new entries in a series tirelessly improve upon their predecessors, our interest nevertheless wanes; with games, improved is somehow less exciting than new. Mario Kart 8 is a rare thing, then: the best entry in a series and the most exciting yet. "

lfcrd hits it home: "With publishers pumping out unfinished games, both in terms of polish and content, it is a blessed relief that we still have Nintendo. Mario Kart is a complete experience and although Nintendo doesn't push specs as far as the competition, it has created a game as beautiful as any other, and one where the stylised visuals will last. Mario Kart, perfected."

King_of_Hyrule (am I detecting some bias?) adds: "It may not be revolutionary, but there's something about seeing Mario Kart in HD that feels more next gen than all the Destiny's and AC Unity's combined."

And let's finish with some truth bombs. Preach it, kebhow! "Nintendo never f***s their players with crippling online features or glitches. They put a soul in every game they release, and it really shows in Mario Kart 8."

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Alien: Isolation

Android, iOS, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Switch

Dragon Age: Inquisition

PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC

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Mario Kart 8

Nintendo Wii U

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Martin Robinson avatar

Martin Robinson


Martin worked at Eurogamer from 2011 to 2023. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.