We have had some highs and lows this year, GP, haven't we? Friends were lost and friends were made—both here and elsewhere. But no matter what, we will always remember those we have lost. Here is to another good year. Here is to keeping on. Here is to you, GP. I dunno, I wish I had something more to say. I don't. Without further ado, listen to some music, sit back, and explore my list. One thing is certain: I am tired inside and out.
It is worth noting that this list is not in any particular order.
Composed, evocative; these two words alone epitomize what Supergiant Games has achieved with Transistor. Over the course of the last decade, seldom am I able to recall a game that transmutes the tropes and cliches of its genre(s) as a means of successfully capacitating an end result that is both reverent and neoteric.
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax
There is no denying that 2014 saw numerous releases in the fighting game genre. However, none so captured my attention quite like DBFC. This is perhaps due to my partiality to the roster and the game's developers, who are among my favorite in the business. Indeed, games such as Persona 4 Arena Ultimate, Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, and Super Smash Bros. have their merits, have more to unlock and do—and are, as as a result, spectacular in their own right—but DBFC is proof that sometimes a solid, simple yet decidedly complex fighter can go a long way. Kudos to developers French Bread for one again proving just how much better they are at this than others. Here is hoping a new Melty Blood is on the horizon.
Whether Eidolon is a sensory illusion or a glimpse at reality in its objective form remains to be seen, but I admittedly contend that it is at the threshold of the latter. The core gameplay is a standard survival affair, but the game's art and idiosyncratic nuances lend to an experience that is truly an aesthetically gratifying experience. Eidolon is not a game in the traditional sense. Rather it provides by way of some odd, intelligible, double movement a removal and subsequent return of the player's psyche. One is not playing to win here per se, but to live truly. It is a unique and unparalleled take on what it means to "survive," in a video game. It is not for everyone, but through traversing its world, I was able to reflect on the whole of my life and grow as a result. How many games can say that?
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
Admittedly I am only—roughly—fifteen hours into Persona Q (thanks, college finals). That said, from its characters and story to its dungeon crawling, puzzles, and combat, PQ is incredible. I can easily lose up to two to three hours in a sitting, only to be saved by my hands falling asleep from holding the 3DS. This is, after all, Etrian Odyssey with a Persona skin; one would be pretty dumb to expect anything less than greatness. There is really not much more that needs to be said. Oh! The whole multi-persona thing is totally rad.
Terra Battle is an interesting mix of Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, and chess. Which I guess doesn't sound too strange given the existence of Final Fantasy Tactics and FE's chess-like nature. At any rate, the (rock-paper-scissors) turn-based combat revolves around characters moving around the game board as a means of attacking, defending, and healing. But enemies can only be attacked if they are positioned between at least two of the player's characters.
Additionally one can link and chain attacks with adjacent allies or those with a clear line-of-sight to the those attacking. For example, so long as the player keeps a clear line of sight with his or her healer, whoever is attacking after the turn has ended will receive a heal. Being an RPG, the player acquires new characters and each character levels up, acquires new skills, and can even be promoted to a new 'job.' Ugh, it's so good; I do not have enough time to explain it all at length here which is why I am—or have been—working on a (more formal) review of it.
An aside: even if you're not interested in the game, could you please download it? The game is FREE. The more downloads the game receives, the better the chance it stands of being ported to the PlayStation 4.
Fault Milestone One
Fault took me by surprise. As a Kickstarter game, I was skeptical—perhaps I should stop being so anti-Kickstarter now—but Fault is quite remarkable. The art is beautiful and the story well-written. I think what captivates me most however is the game's distinct and likable characters. Even the villains are likable and it is indeed hard to write even a half-way decent villain let alone more. Indeed, the game was officially released in 2013, but the English translation came out this year. As such, here it is. Get over it, purists.
As a student who is in the habit of getting to class ten minutes early with nothing better to do, Monument Valley saved me from having to converse with other students. The beautiful beautiful puzzles are naturally augmented by the games aesthetic. Since the puzzles never pose too arduous of a challenge, the game keeps you moving forward; if not for the sake of solving the next challenge, then certainly for the sake of the art.
Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed
The main protagonist resonates with my friends and I so well and the the game is utter absurdity. I have also never played it sober... hmm. Anyway! As a result, I cannot deny that I love ACUU. From its concept to its dialogue, ATUU is a riot. So much so, in fact, that I am able to overlook the particularly clunky combat. I guess I can understand the disinterest and contempt people have for the game, but those opinions, I am convinced, are the result of political correctness and pretentious chivalry. Sometimes it is nice to have a game that is mindless fun even if it borders on satirical hyperbole. I think it is high time gamers get over themselves and appreciate this game for what it is. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Does that matter? Not at all.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
You know what you can do in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U? Make NSFW stages. So there! The game is (un)officially an adult title. Right? But really, do I need to explain why this is on my list? I think it is pretty self-explanatory, but whatever. A large roster, new items, new maps, a map creator (caution: NSFW...possibly), tight controls, hours of fun, friendships lost and friendships made, etc., etc., etc.. Seriously, anyone want to Smash tonight?