We are nearing the end of the year 2014, and I have played a fair share of games again. It was the year new consoles landed after release and should now prove themselves. A year with many indie-titles and Steam blowing-up with Greenlight entries. If there are so many games in the haystack, how do we find those special needles? Simple, dive in there just like Arno Dorian would. I like to highlight my 5 most remarkable games of 2014.
Child of Light
by Ubisoft Montreal
Released: April 29th 2014
(Child of Light - Ubisoft Montreal)
I remember I read about Ubisoft trying to make 'indie-like' games with smaller game development teams. One of these smaller games is Child of Light. Now we could argue a large AAA developer just wants a piece of the pie, but in fact these smaller teams have created quite beautiful games. Child of Light is seriously a beautiful game with a sweet story. Through the game you can feel the developers put their hearth and soul into this game. Its definitely not a useless attempt to enter the indie market, its a serious contender for indies. I really liked all of the characters. For once in a 'turn based game' I had to use all of them through the complete game. Compared to other turn based games, this part feels really balanced. Also the balance between soundtrack, visuals and story felt like a dream. I would have never expected to find this game so enjoyable, but it definitely left a mark!
The Plan & Among the Sleep
by Krillbite Studios
Released: May 29th 2014
Originally I have played 'The Plan' from Krillbite Studios. Steam says it was released in February 2013 and Krillbite Studios informs it was March 2014 on their website. That's why I also mentioned their other project "Among The Sleep", because The Plan officially can't make this list ;). The Plan is a very small adventure and is free for everyone to download. I can't tell you much about it without spoiling anything. Its a game I didn't easily forget. Their other project is a great take on a horror game. In Among the Sleep you play as a child. So you can imagine a very low perspective. By being a child, everything in the game feels like a threat to you because everything is bigger. It's a weird ride, and will eventually have a serious message in the end. Both these games are definitely worth a try. Let's keep an eye on Krillbite Studios, because I am sure they will continue to amaze us!
by SUPERHOT Team
Released: May 2014 (Kickstarter Demo)
(SUPERHOT - SUPERHOT TEAM)
This game is definitely SUPERHOT! I originally found out about this game before they went to Kickstarter. I can clearly remember I told my colleague "Dude, this game is going to be something special". Their Kickstarter proved I was right, they made their goal in just a few days already. SUPERHOT is actually just one little mechanic that made it possible to recycle all First Person Shooter cliches and make them feel 'new' again. The rule is: If you move, the game will increase in motion. If you stop moving, the game will pause. You can imagine what happens to bullets and the way you can 'plan' your next move. I love FPS games and I was seriously amazed by this simple but innovative approach of SUPERHOT. This game is not officially released yet, however, I really liked to mention them, because they released the demo this year and made their 'debut'.
Released: August 12th 2014 (PS4 Demo)
(P.T. (Silent Hills) - 7780s (Konami))
I love psychological horror games, especially if they are really terrifying. I always play horror games as I call 'commando style'. This play style means; lights off, sound system extremely loud. The last time I can recall I was scared playing a game, would be Dead Space 1. Maybe scared is the wrong word for it. Dead Space made me jump a few times at least. However P.T. a demo prototype for the new Silent Hills game from Konami is something else. Playing this game commando style will make you feel extremely uneasy. I seriously had to take a break every 30 to 40 minutes. Konami released this game as if they were a new studio called "7780s" a great move to have everyone guessing at the start. The game suddenly appeared in the downloads section of the Playstation Store. There is a lot of speculation and hidden messages going on with P.T. This eventually led to many theories around the internet. I love it when something like that happens around a game. The game is not for the weak and faint of heart. If you think you got nerves of steel, definitely give this one a try!
Assassin's Creed Unity
by Ubisoft Montreal
Released: November 11th 2014
(Assassin's Creed Unity - Ubisoft Montreal)
And here we are, Ubisoft's next attempt within the Assassin's Creed franchise. If you would have asked me if I would buy the next gen Assassin's Creed Chapter before it was announced. I would have definitely said 'No'.
I am one of the most dearest fans of the series. I remember I have waited so long for the first Assassin's Creed to finally release. The first chapter received a lot of negative critics in 2007, but I loved it nonetheless. Nobody could mess-up my feeling about Assassin's Creed. Years passed and new Assassin's Creed's popped-up each year. I remember I really liked Assassin's Creed 2 and next chapters kept me interested. However, when Assassin's Creed 3 was here, I was extremely disappointed. The only one that could mess-up my love for Assassin's Creed was Ubisoft themselves. Out of anger I didn't bought Assassin's Creed 4, because Ubisoft really 'scarred' my trust. I was hoping for the best, and they gave me Assassin's Creed Unity.
Aside from it's weird sub-name, this is actually Assassin's Creed 5, if we count the main Assassin protagonists. In Assassin's Creed Unity we play as Arno Dorian, an Assassin during the 'French Revolution'. Funny because when Assassin's Creed 2 was announced, I already speculated this period in history as extremely interesting for an Assassin's Creed game to take place in. (I guess many of us made that easy assumption).
Arno Dorian is great. Arno restored my faith in Assassin's Creed. I love the guy. He is actually kind of an 'asshole', but with style. I like his character, how they designed him, his voice and his guts. Crazy enough, I think Arno beats my favorite Assassin and takes the number one spot on my list. I have always liked Altair most, but Arno somehow wins. The story feels more special, although it looks like Arno operates with the same motives as Ezio.
Assassin's Creed Unity feels like as if it's Assassin's Creed 1 but with everything done right in the chapters after. That's why it doesn't really feel 'new' to a lot of us, but I could not care one bit. I know this game is received with mixed feelings again. Not only because of the story and gameplay, but because of it's buggy release. However, I did not have much trouble with bugs on my end. I have noticed some frame drops and strange behavior in the crowds. But people please, this game is awesome! Stop whining and start enjoying this masterpiece.
The game is stunningly beautiful most of the time, I love the soundtrack and how they implemented certain soundfx & composition within the gameplay structure. I love the combat system, and Arno's climbing and descending techniques. His animations are not only amazing, but also feel 'right'. Of course we can always hope for more. The only thing I hope is that Ubisoft doesn't break my trust again with this series. Oh, and I'd love to see more standalone chapters with Arno Dorian!
This year we have seen a lot of stuff change within the game-industry. AAA studios struggling with buggy releases and indies suffering the same fate on 'discoverability'. I love to see fresh concepts come to life by indies like "SUPERHOT" and I am very happy not all of the AAA game developers fail to impress me. Hopefully next year would be even better!
What are your most remarkable games of 2014?