The best pc games of 2014

     

2014 ended up being a classic year for PC gaming. Nostalgia-funded dreams became new favourites thanks lớn Kickstarters, friendships were broken over repeated games of Warcraft cards, và we found everlasting love in the eyes of a pigeon.

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Not one for looking backwards? In that case you might want lớn head over to lớn our carefully curated menu of thebest PC gamesto play right now.

If you found yourself momentarily distracted for twelve months and have no idea what games you should have played in 2014, take a look at this handy danh mục to find out what you missed.


Alien: Isolation

*

Horror games fall apart at the seams as soon as you notice how those seams have been stitched together. The moment you figure out how an enemy works – how close to it you can get without it noticing you, how large its cone of vision is, how long it will tìm kiếm for you for before giving up and returning lớn a pre-scripted patrol route – the mystery of that enemy evaporates & along with it goes the thing’s ability to frighten you. So it’s legitimately terrifying lớn discover that Alien: Isolation’s big alien fellow is designed lớn react differently every time you play; granted animal-like behaviours that plug straight into the fear centres of your brain.

The badly-lit corridors of Creative Assembly’s first-person survival story belong lớn the xenomorph. Its movement, the noises it makes, its impossible predatory skill – it’s all immediately evocative of the original Ridley Scott film. Isolation is almost so good that you’ll forget Colonial Marines ever existed. Almost.

Elite: Dangerous

*

David Braben’s crowdfunded sequel lớn the seminal space classic, Elite: Dangerous defeated all odds to lớn come good on its promise of a galaxy of interstellar adventuring for its backers khổng lồ explore.

Moving through systems leaves you slightly in awe of the scope and scale of the worlds you’re travelling between, a feat that’s helped along by a creaking, groaning soundscape of rocketing frameshift drives & churning space engines. Your ears will believe you’re in a battered old boat that’s breaking several laws of physics just khổng lồ deliver a load of vegetables lớn the next star. Visually too, the fidelity & slickness of the most basic actions in Elite: Dangerous totally sell the idea of space travel. Its void can feel lonely & desolate, even now Frontier have expanded on their original vision, but the very simple joy of flying through it can’t be denied, và should probably be experienced by everybody.

Broken Age

*

Broken Age tells the story of two children living separate lives: Vella, who must be eaten by a quái dị for ceremonial reasons, và Shay, a boy who saves aliens with the help of a wolf. The player flits freely back và forth between their two worlds – both of which are more compelling than any Double Fine have built before. Most of the puzzles are fun và not too finicky, such that you can rattle through them at a decent pace, and more easily take in its story of two young adults so desperate to throw away childish things & break out of iffy norms that they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

After years of seeing Tim Schafer take a backseat as studio head, there’s a refreshing jolt every time you recognise his voice jump snarkily from the mouths of either of his protagonists. The fact that Part 2’s puzzles accidentally revived the frustration inherent in LucasArts’ classics couldn’t diminish this quirky, heartfelt, outstanding point-and-click adventure game.

Hearthstone

*

Blizzard’s incredibly popular thẻ battler left beta in 2014 with a buzzing community and a metagame already in constant evolution. It’s since become the liveliest game on PC, convincingly taking turn-based gaming into arenas and onto streams for the first time. It’s a bona fide brain sport.

Hearthstone isn’t interested in your capacity for trash talking opponents, or flipping tables, or building card pyramids. It’s only interested in your mind, và what it does when presented with part of a deck at the start of a new turn. You know when you sit down to lớn play 15 minutes of Hearthstone that you’ll get a proper trò chơi in – because it only does proper games. And that when you win, it’ll be a real, cerebral victory. Your brain will have championed over somebody else’s, simple as – and you’ll get khổng lồ feel quietly smug for at least an hour. Hearthstone is the best of you.

The Banner Saga

*

The Banner Saga is a story-driven tactical RPG played from multiple perspectives. Burly vikings and horned giants clash with monstrous stone demons in turn-based combat và travel across a Norse-inspired fantasy world while attempting khổng lồ manage supplies và lives. You’re journeying against a backdrop of huge snow-capped mountains & monolithic statues dedicated lớn unknowable gods. Though the hulking varl loom over their human comrades, they seem positively tiny in that lonely, frozen & exquisitely beautiful land.

The fighting mirrors the desperation of the caravan manangement – your warriors becoming weaker as the Dredge stick them with pointy objects. When a warrior dies, the loss is significant; when members of the caravan starve, it’s a personal failure. Và it’s through the individuals along for the ride that we slowly learn about this world; not through wordy over-exposition, but through short, meaningful conversations. The Banner Saga is a masterpiece of sad, subtle storytelling.

Banished

*

A year before Cities: Skylines repopulated the genre, we had this cruel medieval đô thị builder – where the lives of the citizens under your protection are at the mercy of freezing cold winters, plague-bringing nomads & the looming threat of starvation. Lumber, iron, stone, food – these resources can turn a tiny colony of exiles into a burgeoning city, but they aren’t the most important resources in Banished. That honour goes khổng lồ people. They are born, get jobs, educations, start families và eventually die. Management is a juggling act, demanding that players attempt to balance growth with stability, because starvation and death are only ever one disaster or unexpected population boom away.

Everybody dies over & over again in this city-builder, to hunger, khổng lồ pestilence, to lớn cold, to fever. They’d be throwing themselves against the sharp edges of the UI if they could, such is their powerfully absent instinct for self-preservation. Banished asks for caution và patience – & as such remains unlike most everything else in contemporary gaming.

Titanfall

*

Titanfall’s magic is in its leaping. Leaping out of dropships, leaping through windows, leaping off billboards, leaping along walls, leaping onto robots, leaping off of robots as they detonate in a weirdly-not-that-deadly nuclear explosion. The stompier option isn’t the trudge it could be, either. Titans can run full pelt – and there’s true happiness lớn be found in chasing a man into the confines of a highrise where they think they’ll be safe, only to lớn fire a cluster missile inside and turn the floor into an endless explosion party.

This is a superb multiplayer shooter: built to please the hordes that savour hotline of Duty, but accessible to lớn everyone. It’s funny và knowing: note the little robot face that smiles as you exit lớn war, the vaguely Portal-like tutorial, và the endless waves of grunts that die for your pleasure. Mega-budget triple-A first-person shooters can inspire cynicism. Yet somehow, Titanfall inspires joy.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

*

Possessing a copy of The Stick of Truth is lượt thích owning something utterly illicit. Breaking into the homes of South Park’s residents & stealing their sex toys, defecating in their loos, leaving the shower running or catching them in compromising positions is not entirely unlike sneaking into a pub when you’re 15. You know you probably shouldn’t be doing it, and if anyone catches you they’ll frown and probably shake their heads. Awful stuff.

But it’s entirely worth the risk of someone walking in and finding you carrying gargantuan dildos while listening lớn a racist child singing about a waterpark. Underneath the gags & grotesqueness is incredible design. This was Obsidian’s best role-playing game until Pillars of Eternity, seamlessly blending FInal Fantasy combat with Metroidvania style exploration. Somehow it crams in the best qualities of countless games, making it loot-driven one moment và narrative-driven the next. The Stick of Truth will phối you không lấy phí from identikit RPGs.

The Wolf Among Us

*

In many ways the opposite of Tales From The Borderlands, so cheery & bright you could play it on your phone at the beach, The Wolf Among Us is Telltale noir. But it’s more than a supernatural detective yarn it appears lớn be; philosophical and moral quandaries spring out of Bigby ‘Big Bad’ Wolf’s murder investigation as you explore of the various plights of the Fables – fairytale creatures living the not-so-good life in thành phố new york city. If, at moments, it feels as if the consequences aren’t clear or significant, it’s because it’s building to lớn a brutal conclusion. You’ll regret almost every choice you make, but probably wouldn’t make them any differently given the opportunity lớn rectify your mistakes.

The very real issues of invisible, disenfranchised people & the inability or simple lack of interest that administrations have in protecting them is central to lớn the game. The Wolf Among Us left us feeling uncomfortable, but desperately wishing for a second season.

Towerfall: Ascension

*

Ever had a friend round and found yourself scrolling wistfully through your Steam library, at a loss for what to lớn suggest? Towerfall is your solution: a local multiplayer arena battler in which everyone grabs a controller and directs a tiny sprite to fire arrows at their fellows. Every death is fair: there’s only one screen, so no sneaking a glance at somebody else’s perspective. If you vì chưng end up stuck with a pointy stick, there’s nothing to do but quietly admit that your mate was the better player.

There’s plenty of scope khổng lồ become a great yourself, of course. Towerfall is crafted and honed to really bring out not only the foulest, most sea-worthy language in you, but also the best skills. With a few matches under your belt you’ll soon have dash-parkour down khổng lồ a tee, and grabbing an arrow mid-flight becomes muscle memory. Go easy with the trash-talking though, though: your opponents are sat near enough lớn give you an all-too-real thump after a particularly humiliating kill.

Luftrausers

*

Luftrausers is about flying – with the emphasis on ‘fly’. At the centre of its thiết kế ethos is a desire to make the player feel cool, as they swoop high above battleships và duck down below zeppelins in a tiny plane. Và it’s successful, thanks lớn the sepia filter that colours everything và the dependable momentum that governs movement. Tight controls allow you to cut the engines at any time – then boot them up again the instant before you hit water level.

The variation comes from Luftrausers’ unlock system: interchangeable plane parts. Builds can be as extreme & peculiar as ‘The Pig’ – a squat machine with a bulky abdomen suitable for flying right through those battleships & out the other side, leaving only explosions behind. Where their indie peers are criticised for making the game equivalent of meandering, self-indulgent guitar music, Dutch studio Vlambeer write perfect pop songs. This is another of those.

The Walking Dead: Season 2

*

The continuation of Telltale’s gut-wrenching adventure trò chơi series based on Robert Kirkman’s comics – in which child-protagonist Clementine tangos with zombies, shifty survivors & an unhealthy helping of guilt. It’s a tricky bastard, building you up with reunions, safety, even light-hearted joking, và then BANG. Tragedy. But it doesn’t just bởi vì this once, it does it again và again. There’s a mythology at work here: resurrections, heroes, tremendous evil past và present.

Soon enough, the new group is no longer the ‘new’ group – having gone from completely strangers to fully realised characters within two episodes. & dammit, yet again Telltale force you khổng lồ care too much. Season two draws on everything that came before it. Choices made as a different protagonist, even when they don’t directly affect what’s happening to Clem & her new friends, will still inform how you act và who you are willing lớn trust or sacrifice. There isn’t another series that manages to bởi this so subtly and effectively.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

*

MachineGames, some of the folks who brought us Riddick và The Darkness, delivered a straightforward & unpretentious shooter in their id reboot. It revels in ultra-violence and alternate-history horror while never deviating from a remarkably strong and immensely satisfying chip core mechanic: shooting Nazis so that their blood comes out.

The New Order knows where its roots lie, paying just enough homage to lớn the original Wolfenstein 3 chiều while never being overly reverential. So there are hidden rooms và bowls of dog food, but no cheeky winks to lớn the camera when such things appear. It sets a surprisingly well written and keenly self-aware pulp script, brooding Max Payne style monologues & all, against such ridiculous abilities as dual wielding sniper rifles. Expect an FPS fan’s FPS, dumbly entertaining in its kinetic, punchy gunplay but at the same time hiding an endless capacity lớn repeatedly surprise with an endearing plot và cast. For our money, the best Wolfenstein game ever made.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted

*

A good portion of Steam’s đứng top sellers danh mục is now regularly composed of open-world survival experiences – but there’s not one aspect of Sir, You Are Being Hunted you’re likely khổng lồ find replicated exactly in another game. The premise finds you dropped on an archipelago of procedurally generated British countryside, inhabited by a small population of aristocratic automatons armed with hunting rifles and robo-dogs, và tasked with retrieve all the parts of your shattered invention needed lớn return home.

With no levelling or inherent skills, you are the contents of your backpack. So choosing what khổng lồ take with you & what lớn leave behind is a continuous, nail-gnawing toss-up between pragmatism và aspiration. An empty blunderbuss is lovely – but oughtn’t you really take a couple of extra bandages and a bot-distracting glass bottle instead? Between its uniquely provincial setting and dedication khổng lồ undergrowth stealth, there’s more than enough novel in Sir that you’ll gladly be the rabbit in its lights at least one time through.

Dark Souls II

*

If you’ve played a Souls game, you know what this one is: a punishingly difficult third-person RPG that actively loathes you, presents you with apparently insurmountable challenges, and delights in killing you unfairly with cruelly designed traps – all while funnelling you into taking risks and gambling progress at every turn. Exhaustion, oppression and mercilessness are not usually the tenets of good game design, but in Dark Souls II they come together lớn create a game that pushes you as much as it punishes you. Every death is a lesson, teaching you how to giảm giá with the mounting challenges by showing you just how poorly prepared you are. Và the option of co-op assistance means it’s not just for masochists.

This sequel doesn’t better the original but is far better tuned to PC gaming. The stale breadcrumb trail of rewards & granular successes is just as gratifying a second time around – và the fallen kingdom of Drangleic is filled with more malformed, unexplained creatures khổng lồ dodge & dance with.

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Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Part Two

*

The second half of Bioshock Infinite’s story-based DLC, Burial at Sea Part Two saw you take control of dimension-hopping Elizabeth in the doomed đô thị of Rapture, primed as it was for its spectacular downfall. With shrewd stealth and a clear-thinking plot, this finale stands out as some of Irrational’s finest work on the series.

For fans this marks a sort of spiritual full stop: a full circle brought to a neat close. After the disappointing first DLC, which was a mess of combat ideas dragged out of Infinite và dropped into a Rapture that didn’t want khổng lồ co-operate, this second half was a refreshing return khổng lồ what made Rapture a captivating place to lớn be. You were solo. You were outnumbered. You were tactical và slow. It was the magical reimagining of the underwater dystopia we’d wanted first time around. Burial at Sea’s conclusion looped Irrational’s timeline back around khổng lồ meet System Shock, and proved a fitting swansong.

Child of Light

*

An idiosyncratic surprise from Ubisoft’s trusted Montreal citadel, Child of Light was a side-scrolling RPG that matched gentle world-exploration & puzzle solving with deceptively strategic turn based combat. You’re a girl trapped inside her own dreams: a world of monsters và fantasy creatures and weirdness và poetry and delight.

The 2 chiều UbiArt engine, loaned out by Michel Ancel’s Rayman studio in Montpellier, gives Child of Light a beautiful hand-drawn style. As a result, the game is lent a gently tweeness that touches every square inch of the screen. From the dialogue, which is written entirely in rhyming couplets (and then brilliantly subverted at one point) to lớn your means of moving & flying around the unpredictable landscapes of a young imagination, Child of Light is an uplifting experience. The combat, meanwhile, is surprisingly deep: semi-turn-based và with elemental strengths and weaknesses that combine to lớn create a complex và at times super-challenging RPG. You might have to lớn turn the difficulty down. Dreams are hard.

Distant Worlds: Universe

*

A 4X wargame, Distant Worlds: Universe is the culmination of Matrix Games’ work in space strategy, gathering together in one place the base game và all of its expansions while expanding the galactic narrative & chucking in vastly greater modding capabilities. But it’s better not lớn think of it as a trò chơi at all – rather a tool that allows you khổng lồ experience leading a galactic superpower on your own terms. You can automate everything (the AI actually coping pretty well) & just fly around space in a single exploration vessel, pretending you’re Picard. Or you can steer everything, from your empire’s complex economy to ship production & war.

All of those numbers and systems that hold the simulation together create dramatic stories, about gallant captains pushing back the frontier, và races under the thumb of pirates rising up khổng lồ take back their independence. Distant Worlds is a 4X, a space sim, an RTS and a galaxy builder all in one. That’s quite the cocktail.

Tropico 5

*

While Tropico 5 introduces eras, taking dictators from the colonial era to lớn the modern age, this is still very much the city building simulator you remember, just with a few extra toys & novelties to lớn play with. That means you take control of a fledgling banana republic, ruling the tiny nation by whatever means necessary, all while expanding, researching & trading to maintain your power.

It’s set in the series-standard paradise, and as ever, life for your people is rarely so sunny. The biggest difference between this sequel và its predecessors is how your state no longer feels lượt thích it’s in a vacuum. Foreign powers interfere more, and relationships can deteriorate to lớn the point where war breaks out, the game turning into a slightly iffy RTS for a spell. It’s another diversion, but being able to lớn properly defend your island is a welcome addition. Tropico 5 is lượt thích SimCity but cleverer, with political satire out the jungly wazoo.

Divinity: Original Sin

*

Larian are known for their decades-spanning Divine series, a staunchly traditional top-down roleplay universe laced with curious characters & maddening detail. The Kickstarted Original Sin is no exception, allowing you to lớn be the tricksiest arsehole in an unpredictable world of swords, magic và physics-enabled crates. It also eschews the kích hoạt combat elements that held back previous entries, embracing an interactive elemental twist that enables you lớn burn oil barrels, electrify pools of water và steam the faces off of unsuspecting orcs. Taking turns is not only the most polite way to lớn fight anybody, but it’s also the most tactically challenging.

Playing as two main characters, you’ll pick & choose the dialogue on both sides of a conversation, making actual playing-of-roles unavoidable. & you’ll want khổng lồ submerge yourself in Larian’s world: it’s thick with inspired incidental encounters and silly asides, & laced with comedy as broad as its maps. Divinity: Original Sin doesn’t feel lượt thích some tortured piece of nostalgia, but rather a contemporary and fresh new round in a genre that had all but totally evaporated.

The Sims 4

*

You’ll already know one version or another of the real-life simulator in which you take control of a dollhouse of virtual people, managing every aspect of their existence, from marriage và career progression lớn showering và pooping. While the larger simulation of surrounding neighbourhoods has been dialled down this time around, The Sims 4 is the most realistic modelling of tiny digital brains yet, introducing a palette of moods that affect how the sims behave & what they’re capable of.

The decision lớn focus development on what happens inside a sim’s head rather than on how the wider communities of sims congregate and interact was the correct one, và set a strong foundation for a relatively restrained onslaught of expansions. This trò chơi remains fascinating, funny & still (weirdly enough) the only game of its kind worth playing. As with every Sims game that came before it, we were totally & inexplicably engrossed.

Hatoful Boyfriend

*

Hatoful Boyfriend is brilliantly weird. A visual novel & pigeon dating simulator in which you, a human girl, take up residence in a school for birds, it’s an interactive text adventure with a branching plot & surprisingly complex storyline. Myriad twists & turns can lead khổng lồ JRPG battles with, or even death at the hands of, pigeon punks; slowly you’ll get khổng lồ grips with the uncomfortable class hierarchy that puts fantails on the top.

But it’s the sensitive side that’ll win you over: you’ll find yourself growing lớn care for your strange avian chums, who between bombarding you with bad puns start to mở cửa up, revealing painful tragedies & touching stories. Seemingly inconsequential choices xuất hiện up new paths and new thắm thiết or platonic encounters. The days blend together in a whirlwind of fast-forwarded text, until eventually you’re living in their surrealist world without irony.

Watch Dogs

*

Watch Dogs’ Chicago is a great big simulated city, và you’ve got all the switches. In this mở cửa world third-person hacking adventure, you can manipulate your environment using a magic phone. Steal from ATMs, look through security cameras, raise bollards, lower bollards, explode steam pipes, see the secret lives of the pedestrians around you – you’re basically không lấy phí to become a local authority’s worst nightmare in Ubisoft Montreal’s cybercriminal world.

It’s true the studio’s weaknesses are unusually apparent here. A cacophony of side missions và distractions feel arbitrary và mindless. The main character is a hateful caricature of a vigilante nerd with awful fashion sense, and there’s just something altogether charmless about the world. That said, when the main story missions really hit their stride và the mechanics of hacking different objects finally come together, Watch Dogs becomes ludicrously good fun. Similarly brilliant is the multiplayer mode in which you’re tasked with hacking another player while remaining inconspicuous. If you’re willing lớn persevere there’s excellence wrapped up inside Watch Dogs’ dull, battered brown trenchcoat.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

*

Ethan Carter is a scenic first-person walkabout phối in an impossibly beautiful game world in which you use supernatural powers to lớn inspect crime scenes & solve environmental puzzles. Its Red Creek Valley is a lonely paradise that you could be forgiven for mistaking as real footage of a real location, so rich in detail are its worn armchairs and ringed tree stumps. In fact that’s pretty much spot on: The Astronauts used photogrammetry to lớn build exact 3 chiều replicas of objects & buildings from photographs. The effects are spectacular.

This verdant slice of American wilderness doesn’t simply impress with its realism, though. A streak of horror & isolation flows through it, slowly building, leaving this adventure game simmering with tension. Punctuating the trek through the woods are weird tales, pulpy horror, sci-fi & fantasy yarns that defy reality & transform the gamespace, revealing more of a memorable place that is not what it seems.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

*

The only place và time Assassin’s Creed hasn’t been is inside Tolkien’s head, so Monolith obliged. As a sword-swooshing ranger with wraith abilities, you’ll mill about an open world murdering up & being murdered up by orcs. Icons popping up all over the map, villains to kill swiftly & silently, a pretty crap story – it’s familiar. The twist is that you’ll earn nemeses as you adventure: orcs rightly miffed at you after being defeated, who’ll appear later in your game to exact their very personalised size of revenge.

Before you know it, you’ve become Sauron’s number one recruiter – inadvertently turning green(skin) recruits into new captains with names lượt thích Ghura the Endless and Thakrak the Fool. You might even feel proud of your worst enemy: he started off as a nobody, after all, và worked his way up the ladder lớn become a legendary bodyguard khổng lồ one of the infamous war chiefs. The Magneto to your Xavier.

Wasteland 2

*

Sequel khổng lồ the quarter-century old RPG that inspired the Fallout games, Wasteland 2 is an RPG that wears its traditional roots all down its tattered old sleeves. You command a small group of rangers who are routinely forced into making difficult moral decisions in a ruined and post-apocalyptic California. Combat is turn-based with action points, like a big game or irradiated chess with shotguns.

And it’s huge. Not just by merit of the massive map, but also the number of stories and many ways they can play out. Though individual moments in this humongous adventure left us disappointed, we always left the game eager lớn return. Inventive solutions lớn tricky standoffs, a failure to save a life, a silly line of text spotted in the peripheral – these are the things that stuck with us every time we pressed ‘quit’. Though the name Fallout has meant something different since its Bethesda reboot, Brian Fargo and his team have ensured that little from the Interplay era’s been left behind.

Valkyria Chronicles

*

Valkyria Chronicles was locked away in console land for half a decade, but its natural audience was always here on PC. A turn-based strategy game set in a Japanese anime-styled reimagining of the Second World War, it’s got some of the most involved squad management of any trò chơi since Jagged Alliance 2. Each soldier has special quirks, abilities, và synergies with the others on your team. & for all but the crucial characters, permadeath is on.

Sega took a more personal approach to war than is typical of the turn-based tactics genre. A close-up perspective puts you right in the middle of battles, and your troops are not just numbers, but people. This makes the costs and risks seem even higher than they are in XCOM, & when you see a gigantic engine of war aiming its gargantuan guns at your favourite scout, you’ll worry like a parent who’s just dropped a baby.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

*

A hard-as-nails action-roguelike with some nightmare-inducing imagery. The original Binding of Isaac mercilessly consumed time, with a structure that enticed you to lớn play ‘just once more’ until the hours blurred together. Rebirth takes all of that addictive content, adds the Wrath of the Lamb expansion, new skins, a new soundtrack, and a drizzle of extra trùm cuối designs – before strapping everything into a faster, more stable engine. If you’re new khổng lồ the game then this is the best version to lớn begin with, and if you’re already a fan then perhaps the presence of new poo physics will tip you over into another purchase.

Even playing through the very first level over và over again can kick up some unexpected treasures, be they miscellaneous pills that affect you in unexpected ways, power-ups that transform you into strange beasts and shifty looking demons, or special enemies that drop equally special loot when killed. Secret rooms & surprises can be found right from the get-go, & you’ll only find more as climb down the levels.

Endless Legend

*

Set in the same universe as the supple Amplitude Studios’ Endless Space, this is a sci-fi fantasy 4X game in which bizarre factions fight for dominance over a single world. Expect turn-based empire và city building and curious tactical combat.

Become a warmonger, a being of pure energy trapped inside a suit of armour, watching your armies sweep across the face of the world lượt thích a merciless machine. Or be a peacemaker, a measured dragon, bringing the races together to create something better. Or maybe an insectoid monster, feasting on the corpses of your foes and inspiring fear & hatred. Endless Legend combines fantastic fiction with compelling strategy. And underpinning it all is a strong kiến thiết philosophy that connects the tenets of the 4X genre together seamlessly, providing a plethora of options without overwhelming. Even during a time when we’re seeing a lot from the genre, Amplitude’s effort sets itself apart.

Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition

*

Icewind Dale was black Isle’s attempt khổng lồ bash out an action-RPG in Baldur’s Gate’s Infinity Engine. Because they were the studio who’d built Fallout, they failed miserably: accidentally making a coherent world of Faerun’s northern wastes, và filling its dungeons with tangled networks of tactical battles. Whoops.

There’s never been a better time to relive the wintery wonder that inspired the underground adventures of Pillars of Eternity. The new version pulls in all the class & race options from Beamdog’s other Enhanced Editions, turns once-broken multiplayer into convincing co-op, & blows up the game’s maps to lớn the highest resolutions – where the tangible cold of the Dales can be properly appreciated. The starting town alone, Easthaven, manages to lớn pack subsistence, stoicism, religion & the stench of drying fish into an isometric drawing. What’s more, this remains to lớn our knowledge the only RPG in which you can have an argument with a skeleton about the problem of proactive foreign policy. Bone-rattling stuff.

Legend of Grimrock II

*

In the Before Time, we had graph paper. Stacks and stacks of it. These magical sheets were our lifeline – a way to lớn escape whatever prison we found ourselves in. & it was up to lớn us to lớn fill them in, lớn facilitate our escape. Dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock II might be a modern game, but it’s got one foot in that era. The world is a fantastical island prison – one giant maze, filled with monsters, beasts & the undead, all wanting lớn kill you. So it’s fortunate that you’re actually four people, a các buổi party of adventurers that might include a minotaur, or a giant rat with a penchant for guns và explosives.

And it’s not just for the old-school lot. Grimrock II is pretty, ripe for exploration, boasts deep character customisation và a groovy magic system. What’s more, the puzzle thiết kế recalls Portal. Don’t play it for nostalgia’s sake, play it because it’s great.

Classic or cack, great or guff? What did you make of 2014, và our choices for that matter? Let us know in the comments below.


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