My Top Five of 2014

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No other game in 2014 could touch the sprawling, bewildering sense of amazement and discovery of ArcheAge. Yes it’s my first real MMO experience but it’s far more than just a Warcraft clone. Katy and I spent straight weeks playing with new revelations every day about how crafting works, how farming can be more efficient, how to build vehicles and more. I reached the level cap largely from gathering resources and farming while dodging PvP ambushes. It went on and on until I finally hit the limits of what I could do without a guild or large raid group. Three hundred hours in and I practically quit, cold turkey. I’ll never forget some of those stories I’ve told here on GameLuv and others that were so much more mundane and special.

For those who still don’t understand the obsession with Earth Defense Force, let me sum it up like this: It’s my Borderlands. EDF is all about the next loot drop; the next gun that may be the best thing in the game but is probably something really silly and useless. Earth Defense Force 2025 mixes up the 2017 campaign and adds its own arc for a ridiculous total of 85 missions. New enemies, bigger playfields and character classes that are absolutely unique are what kept Katy and I coming back for over 170 hours. … I kinda can’t wait until we decide to play some more!

I’m not a big fan of mobile games but I am a big fan of Trials so when the free-to-play Trials Frontier hit Android I installed it but didn’t expect much. Yes, it’s full of mobile game “features” like limited energy and repetitive grinding but it’s such a great and massive Trials game I didn’t really care. I was at it every day for months, racing new and unique tracks, setting faster lap times and, yes, grinding for mats to upgrade bike parts. It also has a bunch of NPCs that give you quests and while that was weird at first I kinda miss it when I play other Trials games now. I eventually ran up against the infamous Trials difficulty curve and gave up the struggle but it was months of fun up to then.

How is this so captivating?

How is this so captivating?

Watch Dogs was never going to live up to the next-gen hype that was piled on its shoulders. I was let down too by Ubisoft’s mish-mash of Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto but there were some parts I found captivating. The hacking mechanic enabled me to play like a poltergeist setting up “accidents” while watching from an invisible vantage point. It also revealed the personal lives of Chicago’s populace through simple, touching and sometimes disturbing little vignettes. It made for a unique open world feel and it kept me going right through the abysmal story to keep hackin’ around for about 80 hours.

I didn’t put these games in ranked order this year but I did limit myself to five so the fifth slot is just as important as the first. As such, I’ve been debating with myself for weeks now over the winner. Sunset Overdrive is genuinely funny and plays like combat-Tony-Hawk but SpinTires is a wholly unique experience and in the end, it wins. It’s the digital equivalent of playing with toy trucks as a kid, turning the simple act of getting stuck in the mud into an imaginative and open ended challenge. I’ve felt more accomplishment in moving a truck 100 feet than I have in completing entire other games. It doesn’t hurt that it’s gorgeous to look at and simulates terrain deformation and water unlike any other game.

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