The 25 best video games of 2014: 25-21

Here we go again.

From blockbuster mainstream hits to lesser-known indie gems, these are the 25 games that have kept our reviewers glued to their gigantic HD televisions this year.

As ever, it’s a highly subjective list, based on the titles we genuinely played and played, rather than the critical hits we thought we really ought to consider. Apart from that, the rules were simple: every title in the list had to be released for the first time in 2014 (so no remasters, repackages or conversions of early titles), and everything had to be on console or PC, as we’re handling smartphone and tablet favourites in another list.

Enough excuses. Here are the first five titles from our selection. Check back to this story every day this week for more additions.

25. Titanfall | Microsoft, Xbox One

What we said: “Titanfall is a sort of masterpiece, so confident in itself and its identity, yet so reverent in its art direction to the science fiction visions of artists such as Shōji Kawamori, Kunio Okawara, Syd Mead and Chris Foss. You will play for hours, get tired, think you’re done, and switch it off, but then it nags at you and you go back. Sure, it is the pattern of compulsion that has governed the genre since Modern Warfare, but here it is tuned and perfected and ever-so-slightly evolved, and it is wonderful at times.”

24. Hohokum | Sony, PS4/Vita

What we said: “This genuinely feels like an adventure into the unknown, which is an achievement nowadays, although the non-linearity of Hohokum, while its biggest strength, can make the latter part of the game frustrating. It will doubtless perplex many players, but anyone open-minded and looking for something different will have a ball.”

23. Fifa 15 / PES 2015 | EA, multiple formats / Konami, multiple formats

We cheated! Although EA’s title scored higher, as a group we couldn’t separate these two hugely entertaining football sims this year, so we put them both in together.
What we said about Fifa: “If this is your first Fifa game on the new gen consoles then you will be blown away by all the little details that together contribute to an overall experience not too dissimilar to watching football on live television.”
What we said about PES: “The variety of goals, dribbles, tackles and passing moves means you won’t play the same game twice. It captures the thrills and spills of football brilliantly.”

22. OlliOlli | Sony, PS4/Vita

What we said: “[OlliOlli] brings to life the rhythm and momentum of skateboarding, highlights the importance and impact of a well-timed landing, and engenders the precise focus that will be familiar to skaters across the world [...] It is certainly not a simulation, but for anyone who has travelled with a deck beneath their feet, this is a fascinating interpretation of the experience.”

21. The Banner Saga | Stoic, PC/Mac

What we said: “This is a game with a strong sense of place and the ambiance elevates it beyond the immediate competition. The illustrated 2D art is expressive, while Austin Wintory’s score is nothing short of extraordinary – evocative, unusual and rousing. The designer Sid Meier famously said that a game is a series of interesting choices. It’s a maxim fully embraced by The Banner Saga, which stitches those choices into its very fabric to form a tapestry that is wholly your own.”

Powered by article was written by Keith Stuart, for on Monday 15th December 2014 16.24 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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