The year is coming to a close. Soon, gamers, developers, publishers and journalistic outlets alike will be looking back at the best titles of 2014 to decide which ones are worthy of game of the year honors. There’s plenty to choose from within a wide variety of genres, from shooters to RPGs to action-adventure games. But which game will reign supreme? Well, that’s up to a lot of different people, including you.
We’ve gathered 10 of the hottest PS4 games that launched this year. Which is your favorite PlayStation 4 game of 2014? Let us know in the poll below!
1. Child of Light
The first thing you’ll notice while playing Child of Light is undoubtedly its amazing graphics. The game’s watercolor-like visuals look like they were painted right onto your screen. Child of Light features unconventional characters and a unique story that defy genre standards while still paying them tribute, which is no easy feat. All of this aside, Child of Light still features robust and interesting combat mechanics that mix real-time and turn-based strategy into one fluid system that’s nothing short of satisfying. If you can get past the rhyming pentameter characters are forced to speak in, you’ll find an excellent game, even if its RPG elements aren’t as deep as they could be.
- Hand-painted art
- Great combat
- Trope-defying story
- Forced rhyming
- Shallow RPG elements
- Not for every RPG-lover
2. Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition
For those who’ve been living in a cave (or, perhaps more appropriately, a mine) for the past few years, Minecraft is an indie game that became an international best-seller due to its unique and addicting gameplay. Players are dropped into a randomized world of textured cubes and told to survive. Monsters come out at night, so it’s the player’s job to scavenge for resources, construct a shelter and basically build whatever they can think up in what amounts to a world of digital Lego bricks. While the original PC edition of the game dominates, the console version of the game is the next-best way to experience Minecraft‘s huge worlds, multiplayer co-op and limitless possibilities.
- Endless exploration
- Limited only by imagination
- Simplified menu navigation
- Big, open worlds full of secrets
- No mods
- Updates come slower to consoles
- Still not as robust as PC version
- Sneaky creepers
3. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Everyone remembers the Tomb Raider games when they first released. At the time, Lara Croft was nothing more than a polygonal sex object with pointy boobs and short-shorts. Thankfully, Crystal Dynamics decided to reboot the entire series, starting with Croft’s origin story, and what a tale it is. In Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, players get to relive Croft’s coming-of-age tale on new-gen consoles with updated graphics and free multiplayer DLC. If you didn’t play Crystal Dynamics’ retelling of the Tomb Raider’s story when it originally released last year, now’s the perfect opportunity.
Price: $36 (10 percent off MSRP)
- Satisfying combat and stealth
- Amazing story and characterization
- Interesting puzzles
- Lara isn’t a sex object anymore
- Dull multiplayer
- Not much added content
- Somewhat short
- Supernatural elements
4. Far Cry 4
Do you like first-person shooters set in a giant open world? How about ziplining, hang gliding, big game hunting and killing bad guys? If so, Far Cry 4 is up your alley. The newest addition to the series steps away from the lush environment of the tropics from Far Cry 3 and drops you in the middle of a civil war in the Himalayas. Besides moving your way through the story, there will be distractions to keep your entertained. The most attractive feature is a new one that allows players to invite friends who don’t even own the full game into their world to conquer cooperative missions together. If allowing your buddies to game with you free of charge to them isn’t a great idea, I don’t know what is.
- New wildlife
- Massive open world
- Drop-in co-op
- Free limited edition with pre-order
- Unwarranted cover art controversy
- No bonuses for killing war elephants
- Not much has changed since Far Cry 3
- Server issues at launch
5. Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar Games knows how to make a living, breathing world. The Grand Theft Auto series is known for giving players absolute freedom in violent, crime-ridden cities parodying America’s most famous locales. In Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games allows for players to switch seamlessly between three protagonists: a rich family man struggling with maintaining relationships, a bonafide gangster and a psychotic hillbilly. Heists are a new addition that mimic the famous bank robbery mission everybody loves from Grand Theft Auto IV. All the other stuff people adore about GTA is there: guns, strip clubs, sweet rides and a solid story tying it all together. There’s a reason Grand Theft Auto V is sitting pretty at a 97 on Metacritic.
- Breathing world
- Three playable characters
- Excellent voice acting and story
- Multiplayer doesn’t live up to the hype
- Needs more heists
- Online play is somewhat broken
6. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Any The Lord of the Rings buff will feel right at home with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. The game is set sometime between The Hobbit and Tolkien’s famous trilogy about Frodo’s quest to Mount Doom as Talion, a Ranger of Gondor stationed near the Black Gate leading into the evil land of Mordor, is forced to watch his family be butchered by Uruks. What follows is a classic revenge action game dripping with Tolkien lore. What sets Shadow of Mordor apart is its nemesis system, which grants military ranks to Talion’s enemies. The Uruks are constantly vying for dominance, and the player can manipulate them to his will using special powers and abilities, making each play a unique experience.
Price: $48.99 (18 percent off MSRP)
- Nemesis system
- Satisfying combat
- Lore, lore and more lore
- Somewhat easy
- Disappointing ending
- Repetitive locales
- Herb collecting
7. Call of Duty: Advanced Warefare
Call of Duty is one series that has withstood the test of time, with releases spanning more than a decade and three console generations. The franchise has tackled everything from World War II-era battles to modern-day combat. The newest entry in the series, Advanced Warfare, takes place in the future, where jetpacks and hovering grenades are staples in military technology. Sure, it might look like Titanfall at a glance, but Advanced Warfare is a title all its own, and it’s bound to be a best seller just like its annually released brethren. I mean, even IGN gave it a 9.1.
- Futuristic weapons and gadgets
- Best-in-class multiplayer
- Zombie mode is back
- Kevin Spacey
- $50 season pass
- Average campaign
- Set pieces everywhere
- Same ol’ Call of Duty formula
8. The Last of Us Remastered
Naughty Dog proved with The Last of Us its ability to craft a truly heartbreaking tale, and their masterpiece solidified to many naysayers the fact that video games are indeed art. On the surface, The Last of Us is a zombie tale, but the setting doesn’t matter so much as the characters do. Joel, a middle-aged man with nothing left to lose, and Ellie, a young and foul-mouthed teenager, travel across the desolate United States shooting bandits, avoiding clickers and, most importantly, learning and growing together. There are too many special moments in this game to mention here, and doing so would only spoil what makes The Last of Us great. If you haven’t played it yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Price: $44.99 (10 percent off MSRP)
- Breathtaking story
- Amazing graphics
- Stellar acting
- Fun multiplayer
- Dark, gritty and depressing
- Purposefully wobbly gunplay
- You’ll probably cry
9. Dragon Age: Inquisition
BioWare is known for its ability to craft deep, intricate, personal stories. Just look at the best-selling Mass Effect series, which, in this humble editor’s opinion, is the best sci-fi universe to be created in any medium ever. The original Dragon Age was a critical and commercial success, with its long and detailed campaign where choices mattered. Dragon Age II didn’t hold up as well, though it’s still a great game. With Dragon Age: Inquisition, BioWare went all out in an effort to create one of the greatest fantasy RPGs ever. The developer’s track record proves they were capable of handling the task, giving players a sprawling world to explore, a brilliant story where player choice matters and a fun combat system players can tailor to their play style.
- In-game choices matter
- Style combat your way
- Customize your party and hero
- It’s not Dragon Age II
- Say goodbye to hundreds of hours of freetime
- Story is a bit cliche
- Combat could be more strategic
10. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
If you’ve played World of Warcraft, you know Blizzard sure knows how to make games that fit into the fantasy genre. Diablo III is a perfect example. It’s an action-RPG that’s all about one thing: loot. As you and your friends go through the procedurally generated dungeons slaughtering literally thousands of Diablo’s hellish minions, you constantly find shiny new gear and weapons. Half the fun of the game is customizing your hero to look and play as you want with the best equipment possible, which makes for an addicting loop: Kill baddies, equip new gear, repeat. As simplistic as the story and characters are, the gameplay is fast and fun, and it certainly keeps you coming back for more.
Price: $38.99 (35 percent off MSRP)
- Addicting gameplay loop
- Diverse classes
- Endless loot
- Incredible cutscenes
- Lackluster story and characters
- Nephalem Rifts not available before beating story
- Some classes feel underpowered
- Hardcore Mode is terrifying
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