As 2014 winds down, what are the best new games to mark their territory in consoles, handhelds, and desktops alike? Here’s a list of the best videos games of 2014, why they are special, and where you can find them for yourself or for friends.
1. Dragon Age Inquisition
Dragon Age Inquisition, the third installment in the fantasy RPG series, won both best video game at the VGAs (Video Game Awards) and a spot on this top 10 video games list with its enormous world filled with lore and action-oriented combat. There’s a multiplayer, but most of the game takes place in a rich single player landscape filled with magic, elves, and of course, dragons. This is a Bioware game, which means an emphasis on story-making decisions and character development. You can find it across systems and PC for $59.99.
While a top pick for best video game of 2014 from several sources, Destiny has so far been a mix of love and hate for many players. The story has been hacked down to a few splinters, and the maps can begin to feel a little repetitive after a while. But the beautiful sci-fi world the game has created and the ongoing fun when playing with friends – plus the updates and new content – ultimately push Destiny to the top. If you love playing shooters with your friends, you’ll love Destiny’s team-based challenges and keep coming back for more. You can buy it for $59.99.
3. Dark Souls 2
Dark Souls is famous for its crumbling fantasy worlds and tense, personal combat where every mistake is punished and every enemy deadly. While commonly recommended for those who like a challenge, with help from summoned player allies and a sense of exploration Dark Souls 2 can be fun for everyone. Also, it is backed up by a lot of great DLC and, since the game has been out for a while, you can find the original for only around $30.
4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Another year, another Call of Duty game…but Advanced Warfare stands out for several reasons. The top-notch FPS gameplay and multiplayer are back, of course, but this time they have been augmented by futuristic technology semi-based in real DARPA programs, which adds a lot more fun to the gameplay. Also, the story features Kevin Spacey, so, you know…Kevin Spacey. You can buy it for around $59.99, but look around for deals, too.
5. Bravely Default
All right, it’s time for a JRPG, specifically the bestselling 3DS game known as Bravely Default from Square Enix. The one thing that every agrees on is that Bravely Default, despite not being a Final Fantasy title, returns to Final Fantasy roots in the best way possible. As the game has spread around the world, it has won a growing group of fans. If you like handhelds and Japanese RPGs, be sure to give this $40 game a try.
6. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
The sleeper hit of 2014, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a brilliant action game that pits a ranger possessed by an elven wraith against the forces of Sauron in a clever war of attrition (you know, the usual). The action is a little like Assassin’s Creed and a little like the Arkham games, but stands well on its own as you battle, assassinate, and enthrall a variety of orc leaders. Don’t worry if you’ve never cared for Lord of the Rings – this game stands very well on its own without the lore. You can find it for $59.99, but keep an eye on deals.
7. FIFA 15
The FIFA video games have a reputation for being some of the best sports games around whether you are playing solo or with friends – you may have seen FIFA 14 mentioned as one of the best video games 2013. FIFA 15 keeps the trend going with enhanced game physics and even more authentic league data to work with, with a truly amazing focus on detail. You can find this game for around $59.99.
8. Shovel Knight
This top 10 best video games list deserves an indie game, and Shovel Knight easily stands out in the indie crowd of 2014 for its witty take on old-school pixel art. You are a knight with a shovel, and your job is to romp through the world – based on NES classic games from Megaman to Zelda – and do what you do best: Attack enemies, fight enchantresses, and wield shovels. Shovel Knight is available for Nintendo systems and both Mac and Windows desktops, and only costs $15.
9. Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U is one of the best video games for parties, a game that is incredibly easy to pick up and enjoy, but offers tons of unlockables and strategy for those who want to get obsessed. Pick your favorite Nintendo characters and brawl around with friends for hours – and hours. If you’ve played Smash Bros. before, you know what to expect. Prices start at $59.99.
10. The Evil Within
Shinjji Mikami, father of the Resident Evil horror games, is back with The Evil Within, which follows a detective into a shifting mindscape of madness (and lots of blood). Don’t get us wrong, there’s some serious competition in this field from the likes of Alien: Isolation. But Evil Within replaces the tense atmospheric feel of recent horror games with an over-the-top attitude toward the horror and gore, plus old-fashioned survival mechanics, making it surprisingly fun for long-time fans of the genre to play. Grab it for $59.99.