The best videogames of 2014

From Monument Valley to Valiant Hearts: The Great War, here is a list the top 10 videogame releases of 2014.
Far Cry 4 by Ubisoft. AP Photo
Far Cry 4 by Ubisoft. AP Photo

1. Dragon Age: Inquisition BioWare (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC)

BioWare’s overstuffed role- playing epic has everything you could want in a fantasy saga: war, magic, exploration, romance and, yes, dragons. You can spend hundreds of hours in its lush, frightening world and still have huge areas left to visit.

2. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Blizzard Entertainment

(PC, iOS and Android)

Blizzard, the masters of massively multiplayer online worlds, scaled things down with this delightful collectable card game. It’s simple enough for any newcomer to enjoy, but you’ll want to spend hours tinkering with your deck. Each card is so beautifully detailed that you can almost see the monsters within coming to life.

3. Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Ubisoft Montpellier

(PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, iOS and Android)

This stirring war drama tells the story of a European family torn apart by First World War and the brave dog that helps them. There are no rah-rah heroics, just the humble efforts of some ordinary people trying to survive a horrific calamity. The ending is one of the most heart-rending moments in game history.

4. South Park: The Stick of Truth

Obsidian Entertainment

(PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC)

From the sublime to the ridiculous, as Cartman and friends defend their town from aliens, Nazi zombies and Al Gore, Stick of Truth goes way beyond your typical licensed-game fan service, delivering a terrific role-playing game that doubles as a savvy parody of the genre’s cliches.

5. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Monolith Productions

(PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC)

In this brilliant take on J R R Tolkien’s magical world, you must challenge a series of orc warlords before going toe-to-toe with their evil boss. The result rewards a smart, strategic approach to gameplay as much as skilful swordplay, and it is utterly unique.

6. Monument Valley

Ustwo

(iOS and Android)

Each of the three-dimensional landscapes here looks like an M C Escher drawing, with paths and staircases that seem impossible to traverse. To find the exit, you need to change perspective and rotate parts of the structure. A haunting soundtrack hints at mysteries that may never be solved.

7. Wolfenstein: The New Order MachineGames

(PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC)

We got a bunch of new first-person shooters in 2014, but the freshest was this revival of the daddy of them all, from Sweden’s MachineGames. Set in an alternate Europe where the Nazis won, it’s an expertly paced thriller with a cast of resistance fighters that I found myself caring about.

8. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Nintendo

(Wii U)

Nintendo’s Wii U console finally found its mojo this year with several big multiplayer games, but I preferred this low-profile puzzler starring one of the company’s most endearing bench players. Its 3-D mazes are first-rate, and you’ll want to spend hours exploring every nook and cranny.

9. Far Cry 4

Ubisoft Montreal

(PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC)

Ubisoft, which is also responsible for the Assassin’s Creed series, has become the king of sprawling, open-world action games. Far Cry 4 is the best of this year’s batch. The new Himalayan setting offers the opportunity for all kinds of high-altitude high jinks. The chance to mow down your enemies while riding a rampaging elephant is worth the price of admission alone.

10. Threes!

Sirvo

(for iOS, Android and Xbox One

A small studio named Sirvo launched this elegant US$3 (Dh11) maths game early in the year – and then promptly got ripped off by a wave of free copycats. Fork over the cash for the original, whose smart design turns a simple premise into an enthralling, infuriating instant classic.

Published: December 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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