Friday 2 January 2015

Top 10 Games of 2014 (7-5)

Too many games, so little time. But don't worry, CeX has you covered for the hottest games of the 2014. Our countdown of the top 10 games of 2014 is in full swing now, as we now bring you games 7 through 5. Has your favourite game of 2014 turned up on our list so far?

7- Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Since first seeing The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the cinema way back in 2001, I've been a huge fan of everything Middle-Earth related. Of course, mostly recently Peter Jackson has returned to the world of Middle-Earth with his film trilogy of The Hobbit. I liked The Hobbit, you know, apart from CGI Elves and the Dwarf/Kate from Lost romance. Sadly though, The Hobbit hasn't completely satisfied my need for something more in the vein of The Lord of the Rings. After a long list of good, great and terrible Middle-Earth games by EA, Warners Bros. have all but squandered the potential of the franchise that is now in their hands. However, with the release of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, they have given us an incredibly awesome open-world adventure.

Set in Mordor before Sauron has poisoned the land with his dark influence, the game places you in the role of Talion, a Gondorian who, alongside his family, is murdered by Orcs at the start of the game. However, after being saved from death by the Wraith Celebrimbor, Talion sets off on a journey beyond the Black Gates of Mordor in order to exact revenge. The story is your typical revenge plot, but the true genius in Shadow of Mordor shines through in it's epic open-world, it's slick combat and the truly game-changing “Nemesis System”.  The open-world of Mordor may not have typical towns, shops or any races beyond Orcs that you might want in a Middle-Earth game, but it's a world that is so well constructed that you'll find yourself pulled into it. From random Orcs settlements strewn around the map, to beautiful and stunning vistas that you'll want to just stop, relax and take in, Monolith Productions have created one of the best open-worlds to date.

Combat is very much like the Batman Arkham series, in the fact that it's free flowing, fast, furious and, of course, incredibly brutal. But the crowning achievement of Shadow of Mordor is the much talked about “Nemesis System”, which essentially creates an ever changing and always shifting hierarchy of Orcs captains and generals. Orcs will remember who you are if you took their eye during combat, they'll be promoted if they've killed you in combat and this hierarchy is a joy to mess around with, play with and, if you're skilled enough, alter in your own favour.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor was the big surprise of 2014 and gets our number 7 slot on our list.

6- The Evil Within

Something happened to the horror genre in gaming. I can't tell exactly where it went off the rails, but how I gauge its failure is when both the Silent Hill and Resident Evil franchises went belly up. Back in the late 90's/early 2000's Silent Hill and Resident Evil were the go-to games for any horror lover. But after Resident Evil started to focus purely on action packed gameplay and Silent Hill lost its original creators, the genre as a whole kind of followed suit. Sure, we've had some pretty decent horror games since those franchises died, but nothing that compared to the likes of Resident Evil 2 or Silent Hill 3.

One man wanted to change that, and that man is Shinji Mikami, mastermind behind the best entries in the Resident Evil series, and other games such as Killer7, Vanquish and Dino Crisis. The Evil Within is a mix of many horror genres. From body shock horror, psychological horror to paranormal horror, it's a game that simply aims to unsettle and terrify you. And it works. You take on the role of a detective who is investigating the site of a bloody murder. Of course, being a horror game it doesn't all go to plan, as after being knocked out, your character wakes to find the world overrun with creatures, beasts, maniacs and, basically, some pretty f**d up people.

Gameplay pretty much plays out like Resident Evil 4, which much of the games focus being on exploration, survival and puzzle solving. The best parts of The Evil Within come through when the odds are against you and you're facing an enemy (or enemies) that are beyond grotesque. I'm talking guys with metal spikes protruding from their necks, a dude with a safe for a head armed with a huge meat tenderiser and the list goes on. It's terrifying, unnerving and well worth a look.

The Evil Within brought back the glory days of gaming horror, and easily finds its way on our top 10.

5- South Park: The Stick of Truth

I love South Park. Love it. But I also love gaming. But what would happen if both of these loves were combined? Well they already have, as since 1998 there have been many South Park games created. The only problem is that they have all been crap. From Chef's Luv Shack, South Park Rally to South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!, every one of these South Park games were missing one major ingredient- input by the shows creators, you know, the guys who actually make South Park funny! Well this year all of that changed, as South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, after 4 years in the making, finally released South Park: The Stick of Truth to the world.

The Stick of Truth puts you in the shoes of the new kid in town, and over the course of the game you'll interact with pretty much every South Park character in existence, go up against Nazi zombies (and zombie abortions), venture to the mythical land of Canada, be abducted by aliens, cosplay and battle against fellow kids, attempt to give Randy an abortion and miniaturise yourself and fight a Gnome, all the while your parents are having sex next to you leading to your character having to Matrix dodge his fathers pendulous testicles... Yep. Well, it is South Park after all, right?

The entire town is open to you to explore, and never before have you seen the town like it is here. It suddenly feels like a real location with accurate geography. From leaving your house to go visit Stan, Cartman, the school or simply just going on a fetch quest for Al Gore throughout the town, The Stick of Truth recreates the town of South Park in perfect detail. Though gameplay and combat is essentially just your run-of-the-mill RPG, it's one of- if not the- funniest games I have ever played.

The Stick of Truth nabs our number 5 slot for being the best thing South Parks has done in 6 years.

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