We all have games that we meant to play, but didn’t. And now that we’re in a new year, it’s a good time to look back and reflect on what we missed. Then make plans to correct those grievous errors, because HOLY CRAP there were a lot of games in 2014.
These games are what I’m personally saddest about missing — a sort of top five ‘What the hell were you thinking, Adam?’ Maybe in the sharing, I can let some of you know about some cool releases that you missed out on as well. What are you most looking forward to catching up on as the first quiet release weeks of 2015 descend?
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth
I’ve put an incalculable number of hours into Firaxis Games’ Civilization series over the course of my 36 years on this planet. I discovered the series at Civ III and then quickly went back to try the ones that preceded it. I’ve played every one since, bought every expansion, pored over patch notes to see how different changes would impact my play style, and dived deep into the fascinating Civ mod community.
How did I not play Civilization: Beyond Earth?! It’s Civilization in outer space. The second coming of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. There’s a completely re-worked tech tree, a new approach to progression and endgame play, and a much deeper connection between strategy and environment.
I’m sorry, Civilization. So, so sorry. Can you ever forgive me? Let’s have a nice, mellow 15 to 20 hour chat to kick off the new year.
The Sailor’s Dream
I still know next to nothing about what The Sailor’s Dream actually is, and that is totally okay. Simogo makes some awesome, awesome games. See also: Device 6, Year Walk, Beat Sneak Bandits.
I went into Device 6 blind and it was one of my favorite games of 2013. So much so that I hesitate to even talk about it now, lest I spoil something for those of you that haven’t gotten to it yet (play it!). Simogo is just an intensely creative team. All three of the games referenced above are very different beasts, not just in terms of the way they play but also down to their fundamental senses of style. The Sailor’s Dream looks like it follows that same path, in that it in no way resembles anything I’ve seen before from Simogo.
The Last of Us: Left Behind
I’m a terrible person. Left Behind came out in February! And The Last of Us left me breathless! Sure, the gameplay is uneven (generally trending in the direction of “fun,” at least), but the post-apocalyptic story that Naughty Dog constructed is a tremendous achievement.
Everything I’ve heard about Left Behind tells me that it’s a step forward. The story feels tighter and the gameplay is more clever in its bending of core mechanics. Or so I’ve heard. What do I know, really, having not played the dang thing?
Did you like The Last of Us? Don’t you want to know about what Ellie was up to in the events that preceded the original game? Go play Left Behind. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Any of my close friends will tell you about my perverse love for Tecmo Koei’s ever-bizarre line of what I’ve come to call “horde brawlers.” The “Warriors” games of the world: Dynasty, Samurai, Gundam. Heck, even Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War. I also happen to love the Zelda series, and I own a Wii U.
So how the heck did it come to pass that I didn’t try Hyrule Warriors even once in 2014? You’ve got the lovable cast of familiar faces from the Zelda universe running around and putting the smackdown on armies of familiar malevolent critters. And Gorons, apparently.
If that doesn’t sound amazing to you, then I’m not sure we’ll ever understand each other.
Dark Souls II
Okay, now this one I’ve actually played for an hour or two. But as any fan of the Souls series knows well, a couple hours is basically just enough to get frustrated and then potentially never touch the game again. That’s not how it went down with Dark Souls II, though. I yearned to play more. I didn’t even get to fight a boss! But the life of a gaming editor is filled with many games, and this was one review that I didn’t have the time to field myself.
I’m coming for you in 2015, Dark Souls II. You will abuse me, get me angry, steal my triumphs away at the very last second, and I will treasure every second of it.
What did you miss most in 2014?