Telltale Games

The 25 Best Video Games of 2014
The 25 Best Video Games of 2014

5

Infamous: Second Son

Infamous: Second Son is about many things: How one right or wrong choice can change the lives of everyone you care for, the limitations of corruption, the ideals of one overriding the beliefs of the masses, but above all, it’s about family. Not necessarily strictly bloodline relations, either, though main character Delsin Rowe’s volatile bond with his older brother Reggie is a central part of the story. Depending on if you choose to save Seattle from the anti-Conduit Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P.) or blow it to smithereens and take over with an assortment of elemental superpowers (smoke, neon, video, and concrete), the fuel in Delsin’s fire is his connection to fellow Conduits. Meaningful interactions with Hank Daughtry, Abigail “Fetch” Walker, Eugene Sims, and even Big Bad Brooke Augustine shape the way Delsin thinks and the way in which players control him. His moveset ebbs and flows with his karmic decisions, inching closer to siding with the family he was born into (Reggie and his native people, the Akomish) or his newfound kin, the Conduits. Developer Sucker Punch has yet to lay an egg, and the superb Second Son is proof positive that they probably never will.  LeChevallier

The 25 Best Video Games of 2014

4

Mario Kart 8

Just as Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U cements itself as an all-time great fighter, Mario Kart 8 does the same in the racer division. As soon as new characters (Link), vehicles (Link’s bike, the Master Cycle) and tracks (Hyrule Circuit, where coins turn into Rupees) were announced as DLC, the idea of there being a foreseeable need for Mario Kart 9 in the next half-decade went right out the window. The game was perfectly fine in its debut form, still standing as perhaps the Wii U’s best-looking IP, adding enough to distinguish itself from past editions while still capturing the eternal allure each Mario Kart entry invariably dishes out. Yet, the idea that fresh content could be periodically distributed (the second part of the first DLC package arrives in Q1 2015) deepens the game immensely. Nintendo no longer has to live with preliminary gripes like “There’s too many babies on the roster!” or “Do we really need all the Koopalings?” Mario Kart 8 is still changing with the times, and that’s more than you can say for the majority of games dispersed in 2014 or any other year.  LeChevallier

The 25 Best Video Games of 2014

3

South Park: The Stick of Truth

An RPG lives or dies on the strength of its world-building; given the similarities in basic gameplay, that’s largely the distinguishing factor. The Stick of Truth, then, thrives in the rich comic history of South Park’s 17 years, inviting players to explore a world every bit as real as anything found in Skyrim—and crasser than anything in Grand Theft Auto. The game itself treats RPG conventions with reverence, but gleefully handles the story with the show’s usual irreverence, tethering standard objectives to the most ludicrous of lore. Fast travel is handled by Timmy and his Handicar, side quests stem from characters as diverse as Al Gore and Jesus, and occur in familiar locales like the local City Wok, now besieged by its Mongolian BBQ neighbors. Paper Mario wishes it had the cojones to battle the Nazi bacteria in Mr. Slave’s asshole with the magical power of farts. Riccio

The 25 Best Video Games of 2014

2

Bayonetta 2

For four years, we’ve had to ask the hard question of how you top a game that ends with a hypersexual, gun-toting witch mistress punching God into the sun. Bayonetta 2 answers that question with a joyous, delirious, dizzying jaunt between heaven and hell. The key word is joy. There’s a hedonism to this game and its central character, where every button press doesn’t just unleash hell on God or Satan’s misshapen soldiers, but makes unleashing hell look damn good. To step into Bayonetta’s gun-heels for a few hours is to revel in her, and the only other title to even come close to that sense of revelry is this game’s predecessor. The bar for action games gets pushed a little further into the stratosphere with every new entry.  Clark

The 25 Best Video Games of 2014

1

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth understands why we play games in the first place. With so much entertainment spread across the media and on increasingly bigger screens and resolutions, it takes real gumption to harken back to an old-school first-person dungeon crawler on the relatively small Nintendo 3DS, using a stylus to draw the digital equivalent of pen-and-paper maps. But all gamers are looking to get lost in the magic of something other than our own lives, and what accomplishes that better than a maze? Not for nothing does Persona Q take place in a literally timeless world and model its first dungeon after Alice in Wonderland. Every tile captures and compels your attention, whether that’s in the logic puzzles hidden in the creepy scenery, FOE monsters, or the handcrafted map itself, or within the challenging combat, which makes the most of the skills each of the 17 playable characters brings to Teddie—ahem, to bear. Wandering off the beaten path has never been so rewarding, and with so many scenes between the loveable casts of Persona 3 and 4 hidden down terminal routes, it’s a disservice to call them “dead ends.” There’s nothing but life in Persona QRiccio

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