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VGW’s 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)

If you can believe it, 2014 is already half over. We often see years reserve the biggest releases for the holiday season, and 2014 is no different. In fact, 2014 is so back-loaded with games, particularly in the month of October, that when we look back at what this year brought out, chances are, the vast majority will have come out after this article was published.

But that’s certainly not to say that a diverse offering of quality games haven’t already hit shelves and digital storefronts throughout the first six months of the year as well. From surprise hits to things everyone pretty much knew were going to be great, 2014 has been an extremely solid year for gaming, and if E3 taught us anything, it’s that we’ve only just scratching the surface. Check out VGW’s top games of 2014 so far, as voted on by the staff, then stick around after the main list to see how the voting took place by staff member.

VGW’s 10 Best Games of the First Half of 2014

10. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

diablo 3 reaper of souls walkthrough 300x152 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)Diablo 3‘s first major expansion not only succeeded at the monumental task of righting the troubled Diablo ship, it did so in a way that secured the game’s long-term viability and restored the “just one more Nephalem Rift” drive that had been largely missing.

Adventure Mode is a godsend, giving players solid incentives to plunge back into every corner of Sanctuary, while new difficulties and the vastly-improved loot, transmog and enchanting systems have helped give more reasons to enjoy the fights and hope for the blazing orange flash of a Legendary drop again.

9. WildStar

wildstar background wallpaper HD 300x168 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)Carbine Studios’ plan for their scifi western MMO was a crazy as the game itself: try to introduce a subscription-based MMO with all the traditional trappings turned up to 11, doubling down on quests, dungeons, raids, and PVP in order to make their mark.

A month after launch, the gamble appears to be paying off, as WildStar is moving full steam ahead with new content drops and servers full of people enjoying Challenges, fighting pleasantly-difficult bosses, and obsessing over their player housing.

Check out our post-launch editorial here.

8. Dark Souls 2

397325 300x187 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)Dark Souls 2 continued the expected Souls franchise traditions–intriguing level design and enemies, brutal combat and death lurking around every encounter–but softened the game around the edges, adding some ease-of-use features such as fast travel and more frequent bonfire/save points.

Despite their reputation as challenging games, interest in the Souls series has never been greater and the upcoming Bloodborn has everyone talking.

Check out our full review here.

7. Mario Kart 8

mario kart 8 boxart wallpaper 300x187 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)The series that has sold well on every console and handheld it has appeared on since the SNES may have begun the campaign to save the Wii U. Full of recognizable characters, enjoyable power-ups, and inventive level design, Mario Kart 8 was precisely what fans were craving.

Despite the popular Battle Mode being all but nuked by Nintendo, every other mode found in the game is the same pure, classic fun that put the series on the map in the first place. Mario Kart 8 puts the Wii U in a very strong position to have a true tipping point once Super Smash Bros. drops later this year.

Check out our full review here.

6. Infamous: Second Son

delsinlaunchcover 300x168 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)As possibly the most technically beautiful console game released to date, Infamous: Second Son gave us a glimpse into what our PlayStation 4s could be capable of going forward. After making such a strong first impression, we were delighted to find that the pretty graphics were backed up by better gameplay than had been found in the series to that point.

Sure, the side missions had a tendency to get repetitive, but we didn’t mind, as the structures of the side missions are more times than not entertaining, and the story was well executed, even if we’ve seen morality consequences better executed in the past. Wrap this package up with some extremely well-executed boss battles, and PS4 owners had their first true must-own game for the system.

Read our full review here.

5. Transistor

TransistorSword 300x168 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)Following up a massive hit debut release like Bastion is never easy, but somehow, Supergiant Games managed to take that formula a step further through the stunning Transistor. Following a heartbreaking tale of vengeance, Transistor brings several moments where players involved with the gripping narrative must pause a moment to fully appreciate what is happening in the storyline.

The core gameplay feels much like Bastion, but it’s where Supergiant deviated from its first hit that Transistor shines. The deep customization options, as well as the fully integrated turn-based battle mechanics successfully revolutionized the beloved Supergiant gameplay, while keeping the familiar feeling of playing a Supergiant game.

Check out our full review here.

4. Titanfall

Titanfall guide header 300x168 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)Quite possibly the most anticipated game of the year entering 2014, the mech-based first-person shooter that was set to revolutionize the genre fell short of accomplishing that feat, but it certainly accomplished other things. Even though there was this post-launch sentiment of being disappointed by the game that seemed to be going around the industry, Titanfall is by all accounts one of the best multiplayer first-person shooters in recent memory.

If you look at the past few years, the first-person shooter genre had stagnated to a ridiculous degree, and with only a handful of worthwhile releases hitting the genre in that time, it appeared as though the genre could be in rapid decline. Titanfall led the charge to revitalize the genre by giving players something more than what the Call of Dutys and Battlefields of the world were offering. Now, in 2014, the genre is as strong as it’s ever been, with releases like Titanfall, Evolve, and Destiny hitting in the same calendar year.

Check out our full review here.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order

wolfenstein the new order moon artwork 300x152 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)If Titanfall was the best multiplayer first-person shooter in years, Wolfenstein: The New Order was an even rarer breed: an exceptional single-player first-person shooter. So single-player-focused that it didn’t even feature any multiplayer elements at all, MachineGames’ commitment to providing a strong solo experience supplemented by an astounding narrative was evident throughout the experience.

That very narrative was perhaps the most surprising part of Wolfenstein: The New Order, as the game presented emotional moments, mature themes, giant set-pieces, and even alternate timelines to add to the replayability. If more developers put this level of thought into FPS single-player modes, the campaign aspect of so many shooters wouldn’t be the afterthoughts they tend to be.

Check out our full review here.

2. Child of Light

ChildOfLightBanner 300x168 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)Child of Light is a game that hits many high notes: art and level design, story, and gameplay. It’s a 2D, side-scrolling platformer/puzzler–though both of these are on the “lite” side–with a turn-based combat system.

Child of Light is a marriage between classic JRPG mechanics and a children’s picture book sensibility, visual style, and timeless storytelling.

Check out our full review here.

1. South Park: The Stick of Truth

StickOfTruthLogo Small 300x168 VGWs 10 Best Games of 2014 (so far)Quite possibly the funniest game released in the past decade (or even longer), South Park: The Stick of Truth proved to be well worth the wait. The humor of the game was, as expected, crude and offensive, yet one of the biggest selling points of the game, even getting away with many things that a less established brand would have never even thought of attempting.

What wasn’t quite as expected by gamers, however, was the intriguing turn-based battle mechanics found in this extremely competent RPG. Obsidian developed a game that could have been successful without the South Park branding, but when the much adored brand from Matt Stone and Trey Parker was applied with no holding back, it became a game that nearly anyone with a little bit of thick skin could enjoy.

Check out our full review here.

VGW’s Favorite Games By Staff Member

Brian Shea, Editor-in-Chief

  1. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  2. Infamous: Second Son
  3. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  4. Mario Kart 8
  5. Titanfall

Russell Jones, Managing Editor

  1. Child of Light
  2. WildStar
  3. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
  4. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  5. Mario Kart 8

Mark Steighner, Associate Editor

  1. Dark Souls 2
  2. Bravely Default
  3. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  4. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  5. The Wolf Among Us

Keith Mathias, Community Manager

  1. Child of Light
  2. Transistor
  3. Titanfall
  4. Watch Dogs
  5. Infamous: Second Son

Jen Bosier, Webmaster

  1. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  2. Dark Souls 2
  3. Bravely Default
  4. Transistor
  5. Always Sometimes Monsters

Elliott Finn, Staff Writer

  1. Titanfall
  2. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  3. Child of Light
  4. The Wolf Among Us
  5. Watch Dogs

Tate Steinlage, Staff Writer

  1. Child of Light
  2. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  3. Hearthstone
  4. Transistor
  5. Titanfall

Will Harrison, Staff Writer

  1. Ultra Street Fighter IV
  2. Infamous: Second Son
  3. Shovel Knight
  4. Child of Light
  5. Dark Souls

Sam Cline, Staff Writer

  1. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
  2. Watch Dogs
  3. Mario Kart 8
  4. The Walking Dead: Season 2
  5. Fable: Anniversary

Matt Heywood, Staff Writer

  1. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  2. Infamous: Second Son
  3. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  4. Titanfall
  5. Extrasolar

Craig Munn, Staff Writer

  1. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  2. Mario Kart 8
  3. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
  4. Goat Simulator
  5. Child of Light

Lucas Smith, Staff Writer

  1. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  2. WildStar
  3. Child of Light
  4. The Walking Dead: Season 2
  5. Transistor

AJ Moser, Staff Writer

  1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
  2. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  3. Mario Kart 8
  4. Titanfall
  5. The Walking Dead: Season 2

Tyler Meier, Staff Writer

  1. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
  2. Transistor
  3. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  4. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  5. Bravely Default

Brien Bell, Staff Writer

  1. Infamous: Second Son
  2. Steamworld Dig
  3. MLB 14: The Show
  4. Octodad: Dadliest Catch
  5. Fez (PS4)

Dan Tunnicliffe, Staff Writer

  1. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  2. Transistor
  3. Luftrausers
  4. The Wolf Among Us
  5. Mercenary Kings

Editors Note: Mark Steighner and Russell Jones contributed to portions of this article.

About Brian Shea

Brian Shea is VGW's Editor-in-Chief and one of the founding members of the site. In addition to leading the team at VideoGameWriters.com, he contributes such regular features as “Shea’s Say,” "Eleven Things," "Commercials from the Past" and “Essential Gaming."
Follow Brian on Twitter

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