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 Xbox 360 games that launched this year. Which is your favorite Xbox 360 game of 2014? Let us know in the poll below!
No one can deny the extensive hype Titanfall received leading up to is release. Being one of the first notable exclusives for the Xbox made everyone perk up and pay attention, and the fact that it was developed by ex-Call of Duty devs just added more to the game’s already robust credibility. Titanfall takes the traditional first-person shooter format and adds parkour and armored mechs to the mix, making for addictive and frantic online death matches.
Price: $35.99 (10 percent off MSRP)
- Frenzied FPS action
- Recently added co-op mode
- Giant mechs
- Weak campaign
- Only a few modes
- Little content
2. 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.
Price: $47.10 (21 percent off MSRP)
- 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
3. Dark Souls II
One of the most challenging games ever created made its debut in 2014. Dark Souls II, the sequel to the original beloved game Dark Souls of 2011, returned to infuriate players once again with its hardcore combat and gameplay where even one wrong move spells death. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll die and you’ll get back up to try again thanks to Dark Souls II‘s rewarding leveling system and gigantic, 60-hour campaign. Nothing feels better than besting a difficult boss after spending hours dying dozens of times trying to slay it. Ragers beware: Dark Souls II has caused the death of many controllers, but those with patience and skill can come out a true champion in the end.
Price: $26.31 (12 percent off MSRP)
- Ridiculous bosses
- Genuinely challenging
- Deep customization
- Cooperative and competitive multiplayer
- Max health lost with each death
- You’ll die — a lot
- Only for hardcore gamers
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. South Park: The Stick of Truth
South Park: The Stick of Truth combines two of my favorite things (video games and hilarious cartoons) into one neat package. As the new kid on the block in the wonderful world Matt Stone and Trey Parker have imagined, you join a group of LARPing friends made up of all your favorite characters from the show, from Cartman to Butters and beyond. The game looks and feels like an episode of the show, and it’s constantly throwing funny (and disgusting) jokes at the player throughout its 15-hour story. If you’re a fan of the show or of RPGs, The Stick of Truth is a winner.
Price: $26.15 (35 percent off MSRP)
- Parodies JRPG mechanics
- Consistently hilarious
- Looks just like an episode of the show
- No grinding necessary
- Light RPG elements
- Kinda gross
- Made for fans of the show
- Similar classes
6. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
The Borderlands series is great. It provides players with hilarious characters, ridiculous quests, fun co-op and literally millions of unique guns to use to shoot and loot your way across Pandora. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes place before Borderlands 2 and features the story of Handsome Jack as he goes from hero to villian in a quest across Pandora’s moon. The classic formula of violence returns, but this time you can play as Jack or even Claptrap. The game has its issues (boring backtracking and minutes-long period of traveling toward a waypoint, to name a few), but it’s really too bad the game only launched for last-gen consoles.
Price: $39.97 (33 percent off MSRP)
- More hilarious antics
- New gear and skills
- Low gravity
- You can play as Handsome Jack and Claptrap
- Issues with pacing
- Not as many legendary weapons
- Little divergence from Borderlands blueprint
- Last-gen exclusive
7. 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: $47.50 (21 percent off MSRP)
- Nemesis system
- Satisfying combat
- Lore, lore and more lore
- Somewhat easy
- Disappointing ending
- Repetitive locales
- Herb collecting
8. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
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
9. 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
10. Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Assassin’s Creed Rogue launched November 11 alongside its next-gen sibling, Assassin’s Creed Unity. In Rogue, exclusively for last-gen consoles, you play as Shay Patrick Cormac, an Assassin-turned-Templar who spends the majority of the game killing his old brotherhood. Like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag before it, there’s naval combat, and the setting is North America (including the Canadian province of Quebec). New to the game is the air rifle, which Shay can use to silently take out enemies at a distance, kind of like Arno’s phantom blade in Unity. Unfortunately, as busy as the developer was, Ubisoft decided to skip competitive multiplayer for Rogue this year.
Price: $48.57 (19 percent off MSRP)
- Play as a Templar
- Air rifle
- Naval combat is back
- Refreshing story
- No multiplayer
- Might seem similar to Black Flag
- Familiar world and characters
- Vacant setting
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