My Top Ten Games of 2014

You can read my full list over on my blog on Game Informer >>

The holiday decorations are put away and New Year’s shenanigans have come and gone. All that’s left to put a cap on 2014 is my annual Top Ten Games of the Year list.

What makes my list unique and interesting is that it’s soon accompanied by a Most Anticipated list for the following year. Then when it’s time to do the end of the year list, I can compare it with last year’s Most Anticipated list and see who well I can predict my favorite games. My track record isn’t so great, but that’s what makes it so interesting!

You can review my Most Anticipated Games of 2014. As a reminder I’ve posted them below:

  1. Starbound
  2. Broken Age
  3. Wasteland 2
  4. Dragon Age Inquisition
  5. Pillars of Eternity
  6. Titanfall
  7. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  8. Super Smash Bros. For 3DS
  9. MASSIVE CHALICE
  10. Transistor

Half of those games used Steam’s Early Access program and/or Kickstarter for their funding, and six out of ten are indie games. Four of them did not release in 2014: Starbound (still in Early Access beta, over a year now!), Broken Age (Act 1 released in January, still no Act 2!), Pillars of Eternity (currently in closed beta) and MASSIVE CHALICE (currently in Early Access/beta).

My friends and I were super into Starbound at the time of this list, which had just released on Early Access. I’m a bit shocked to find the game still in Early Access beta after over a solid year, and we stopped playing around Feb/March to wait for bigger updates/changes. As a side note, the upcoming patch looks nicely massive and an overhaul to gameplay, and I’m ready to dive in again.

This was definitely the year of the Kickstarter game as many of the original 2012 multi-million dollar Kickstarter projects released this year. I was very excited for Broken Age, Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity, though the latter would be pushed to 2015.

Six out of ten games on my list were released in 2014, though one of them I still have not played… Read on to see which ones made my Top Ten Games of 2014!

Read my full list over on my blog on Game Informer >>

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Rogue’s Adventures Season Four Recap

For more on my backlog group, click on the Rogue’s Adventures tab at the top.

Season 4 collage

Hope everyone had a very happy holiday season, and soon a happy new year. I’m having to sneak my latest recap right between Christmas and New Year’s as I only just finished my latest backlogged game – Saints Row IV, mere days before Christmas.

For newcomers this is the bi-annual recap I give for Rogue’s Adventures, my social backlog group. I create a schedule of games from my backlog (usually about six months worth), writing my Final Thoughts for each game I complete, as well as live tweeting and streaming my gameplay. At the end of each season I write up a recap to go over each game I played, link to each Final Thoughts, rank the games and break down some fun stats.

If Season Four had a theme, it was mostly joined by more recent games. Other than Beyond Good & Evil, a cult favorite from 2003, every game was released in the last few years. The Banner Saga was even released earlier this year. This made Rogue’s Adventures much more relevant and interesting compared to the first season when I mostly played old 90s adventure games. I was also able to play two of the games on here cooperatively with friends, which was an absolute blast, and two more a friend of mine played them right before so we were able to discuss while playing them. Live streaming and videos were obviously a bit more popular as well.

Thankfully I’ve gotten to the point were most of my backlog are newer games. I have nothing to buy on GoG sales because I feel comfortably caught up on most older stuff from the 90s and early 2000s, but I can and do take advantage of Steam sales rewarding my patience for games that are only a few years or few months old.

For example, with the current Steam holiday sale running right now, I was able to grab Assassin’s Creed IV ($10), South Park The Stick of Truth ($13), Might & Magic X ($7) and Portal 2 ($4) among others. Two of those were released earlier this year and are now crazy cheap with just a bit of patience. Gotta love PC gaming.

Read the full Recap on my blog on Gamer Informer >>

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Saints Row IV

I’ve finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts on my gaming blog, and enjoy the excerpt below.

SR4

If I were to write this in the guise of a typical Steam review, it would be something like:

“Plays Stan Bush’s “The Touch” during an epic climax near the end before the hero and villain trade classic banter from The Transformers: The Movie. 10/10″

Seriously though, the quickest way into my heart is to love the ’86 animated Transformers movie as much as I do. Clearly the folks at Volition love and celebrate all things nerdy and game-y, and in many ways Saints Row IV is a grand example of today’s AAA gaming scene as it cribs gameplay elements and concepts from other successful franchises into something that’s just pure fun.

If Saints Row: The Third was Grand Theft Auto minus all the *** with a whole lot of loving goofiness, then Saints Row IV builds upon that formula (literally with the exact same open-world city of Steelport) with a layer of Matrix-style story framing and outlandishly awesome superhero powers.

Read my full Final Thoughts on my Game Informer blog >>

Four Reasons to Buy a Wii U this Holiday

wii uWhen the Wii U first launched two years ago, no one was sure what to make of it. Lots of people thought it was simply an expansion to the Wii. The Wii U’s high-definition graphics were viewed by many as Nintendo merely catching up to Sony and Microsoft’s previous generation. Sales were much lower than expected, and the grumbling about Nintendo’s entire future began in earnest—and continues to this day.

Flash forward to this holiday season and the Wii U is suddenly one of the hottest items around. An attractive price point, a modest but high-quality library of games, and the unique touchscreen controller make the Wii U the most interesting console on the market. In addition, Nintendo’s primary focus on family-friendly entertainment and software continues unchallenged.

If you still need some convincing, here are five reasons to get a Wii U this holiday season.

Read the full article at Pixelkin.org >>

Video Game Music Makes the Perfect Lullaby

lullaby

As a parent of a young child I’m all too familiar with the eternal struggle of bedtime. After many sleepless nights, I discovered a nightly ritual of a lullaby playlist worked wonders. I’m a huge fan of video game music and many official soundtracks, orchestral adaptations, and remixes work amazingly well as beautiful lullabies, especially if you’ve grown tired of Enya and classical music. Here’s a collection to get you started.

Read the full list at Pixelkin.org >>

Final Thoughts – The Banner Saga

I’ve finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts on my gaming blog, and enjoy the excerpt below.

banner saga

Every once in a while I dive into a more recently released game in my backlog. This whole season of Rogue’s Adventures is mostly made up of games released in the last few years, and The Banner Saga is the second most recent game I’ve played and written about since Shadowrun Returns last year (which was backlogged for all of a few weeks).

The Banner Saga was part of the original wave of Kickstarter games in 2012, alongside the likes of Broken Age and Wasteland 2, and benefited greatly from that initial excitement and draw to the crowdfunding platform. It was also one of the few games I didn’t actually back (along with Shadowrun Returns, ironically) in my attempt to be choosy when picking my supporting projects. The Banner Saga was a first indie project from a new studio (broken off from BioWare’s MMO division) and the gameplay structure seemed a bit confusing.

But the hand-drawn art style was beautiful and I’m always up for a game with tactical turn-based combat – thus The Banner Saga remained on my radar for years until finally picking it up on the last Steam sale.

If I had to describe The Banner Saga in a single ‘elevator pitch’ sentence, it would be: An apocalyptic Oregon Trail with life and death choices, tactical combat and RPG stats wrapped up in a unique fantasy world based on Norse mythology.

Read the full Final Thoughts over on my blog on Game Informer >>

My Inquisitor

dragon age inquisition inquisitor

So here we are with the long-awaited third installment. Unlike Dragon Age II, which was pumped out in a little over a year (while they were working on ME3), Inquisition has been in development for several years, and from what we’ve read of previews, interviews and most recently reviews, it looks like a huge step in the right direction. Taking feedback from fans, combining the best parts of Origin, DAII and the Mass Effect trilogy as well as looking at the insane success of the most recent Elder Scrolls game Skyrim have created a winning formula.

After navigating the panels of Dragon Age Keep I’m full prepared to dive back into Thedas – but first I have to decide on my Inquisitor.

Read the full post over on Game Informer >>