After a two-week delay, we at A Gaming Genesis are proud to present 10 of our favorite games from 2014. This is not a “top 10” and there is no real order or system here, we each chose 5 games we loved, and briefly talk about them. These are our opinions. Feel free to share your thoughts on our choices, as well as your own favorite games of last year in the comments below.
Fantasy Life (Nintendo 3DS)
I was waiting for this Level-5 title since the very start of when I got into video games for this game. Originally announced years ago as a Nintendo DS Title, it was later released on the 3DS in Japan back in 2012, with a re-release called “Fantasy Life Link!” later released. We finally got it over here last year, including the additional content in the “Link!” expansion. Fantasy Life was quite unique in combining role-playing with the life simulation genre, in an extremely enjoyable blend. With a near ridiculous amount of stuff to do, you’ll still be playing this game long after you buy it. – Thanous
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Nintendo Wii U)
Released for the Wii U in February 2014, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the 5th installment in the classic Donkey Kong Country series, and the first one in HD. Featuring a ton of levels, collectibles, and playable characters including Cranky Kong- this game just does everything right. It never feels artificially hard, but it is challenging and does reward patience and you must practice to master this game. Though I still haven’t completed it, I find myself coming back to it even now. A definite must own for the Wii U. – Andrew
Octodad: Dadliest Catch (Playstation 4/Playstation Vita/PC)
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is an indie adventure game where you play as an octopus, that’s disguised himself as a suburban father. The most simple tasks are made complicated by the fact that you are an octopus. Barbecuing, grocery shopping, and a family trip to the aquarium are some of the tasks that you will participate in. But you have to be careful to avoid the evil chef that knows your secret! Instead of the traditional way of controlling a character, in this game you control Octodad’s individual limbs which both adds to the fun and the challenge. It’s a very hilarious enjoyable adventure that should be experienced by all gamers. – Thanous
Senran Kagua: Shinovi Versus (Playstation Vita)
I didn’t own a Playstation Vita until 2015, but I took a blind chance on Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus because I knew I had heard the name before. Based on an anime series, the game is a 3D Brawler/Action game, something akin to Dynasty Warriors (though the crowds aren’t nearly as big). This game is definitely full of fan service, you play as scantily clad female ninjas, and you take damage, and dish damage, the clothes of your rivals, and you yourself fall off until you are stripped to just bra and panties. You can dress up your girls in different outfits, lingerie, and accessories to suit your tastes. While it is definitely on the perverted side, the game is still genuinely fun and addicting- I’ve put a ton of hours into it in the few days I’ve owned my Vita, and still have barely broke the ice on the contents of the game. One of the best blind buys I’ve ever had. – Andrew
Luftrausers (Playstation 3/Playstation Vita/PC)
Luftrausers is the most addictive I’ve played on my vita since getting it at launch. The day this game came out consisted of eating, sleeping, and playing this game. It’s a shoot-em-up style game, but instead of a fixed direction you freely fly around the small map in one of the many different customizable planes, beating challenges and unlocking more parts. This is an extremely fun and unique game, that I recommend to all gamers. -Thanous
Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo Wii U)
Bayonetta 2 was the game that I knew would force me to buy the Wii U, however, Mario Kart 8 was the first Wii U game I purchased and I did so before even owning the system. I had been planning my purchase for awhile, and decided to buy Mario Kart 8 because of the free game promotion for registering it on Club Nintendo. I did eventually, buy the Wii U and Mario Kart 8 is a standout entry in a great franchise, the new anti-gravity mechanics are fun and change the game up enough to keep it fresh- underwater driving, and flying return from Mario Kart 7 and new to the series, is downloadable content, with the first set already out, and a second set coming this spring. I don’t think more needs to be said than that- it’s Mario Kart, and they are always well made- and fun experiences. – Andrew
Inazuma Eleven (Nintendo 3DS)
Another Level-5 title, that was originally released during 2008 for the Nintendo DS in Japan, the series has been regularly released in other territories since 2011, but the first time North America got the series was last year with Inazuma Eleven on the 3DS. This game combines soccer and role-playing, and it is brilliant. The gameplay and many aspects of this series cannot be found anywhere else, it’s a lot of fun to play, build up your team, and win! Sports games and role-playing game fans alike need to check this game out. – Thanous
Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo 3DS / Nintendo Wii U)
Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U were both incredibly anticipated titles by gamers everywhere. Some excited by the prospect of a handheld Smash Bros and others ready for the next console adaptation. While I predominately played the 3DS version, I definitely think the Wii U version is superior all around. Featuring tons of great fanfare for Nintendo franchises and other guest characters, all new modes, 8 player Smash on the Wii U version. I still don’t think it’s as good as Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Gamecube, but it’s a huge step up from Brawl and a great return to form for the series, with some new ideas thrown in (some good, and some bad). – Andrew
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Nintendo 3DS)
Persona on the 3DS? Yes, please. Persona 3 & 4 crossover? Hell yeah! This game is fanservice in it’s greatest form, crossing over the characters from persona 3 & 4 in this first person dungeon crawling RPG. Gameplay is very similar to Etrian Odyssey, the story is fun and always entertaining. If you are a fan of the series, this is a game you will not want to miss! -Thanous
Bayonetta 2 (Nintendo Wii U)
Bayonetta 2 was a game I never thought I would see, so to see it come out on a Nintendo console was a mind blowing experience. Bayonetta 2 greatly surpasses the already incredible first game in every category. It is insanely fun, challenging, and a gorgeous game, worthy of the title, and praise. I will handily declare it was “Game of the Generation (so far)”, a true “must own” for the Wii U. For an in-depth review, check out my review here. – Andrew
There were a lot of games I missed out on in 2014, and others I just didn’t get the time I wanted with them. I got a few new systems, and branched out of my safe zone a bit. I’m looking forward to entering 2015, and finally picking up a PS4.
2014 was an amazing year for gaming in all genres, with many great releases to keep me occupied all year long, especially for the vita. Let’s hope 2015 keeps it awesome as well.
It’s official! The website officially enters our public beta TODAY December 15th, 2014! We expect to launch the finalized site sometime in January, what this “public beta” allows us to do is begin posting exciting new content, while still working on some aspects of the site behind the scenes, small things like- making sure each banner page lines up with the background 100%, adding a stylized logo to each variant will come slowly but surely. I could’ve painstakingly done it right now but I really wanted us to start putting content out before 2015, but it will be done! As well as possibly adding in lesser known consoles, older consoles (currently they only go back to the NES/SMS), and potentially handhelds.
One of the first things of note, is that we now have a registered domain name! http://www.agaminggenesis.com! This is a new and exciting aspect of the launch and definitely adds to the legitimacy of the site as a whole. Potential things for the future include bringing on other writers, and if interest is there- a podcast. For now, the content you can expect before the end of the year will a staff compiled article- “Our Favorite Games of 2014” and my review of the fantastic “Bayonetta 2” for the Nintendo Wii U. Both pieces should be up and on the site within the next couple of weeks, and definitely before the new year.
As we prepare for the full site launch, and for the new year we plan to bring you some great content from all contributors. We hope you enjoy our work, and what we do- and we thank you for joining us on our long journey to becoming an established review site. Whether we become a runaway success or not, what it is truly all about are the experiences and the happiness that come from playing video games.
Happy Holidays, and Happy 2015.
Hey everyone! AJ here and boy has it been a long time since we’ve done anything with this site. To be completely honest, I’ve been working so much with my “new” job over the last year that while I’ve been able to buy tons of new games, I haven’t had the time to play games, and haven’t been able to even entertain the thought of writing about games, or making videos full time again.
But lately, I’ve reinvigorated my love of gaming, and while I still don’t have ample amounts of time, I do want to be more active in talking about my gaming passion. I’ve decided to completely revamp this blog, including a totally new design. The new design and full fledged re-launch will begin in January 2015 including an actual domain (no more of this .wordpress.com business!). Until then, myself, and staff will be putting out articles (blogs, reviews, previews, opinion pieces, etc) during the transition, essentially being a “public beta” to gauge interest from readers and staff members alike.
If all goes well, I could make this a small brand, including a podcast if the interest is there. If anyone is interested in writing, or even freelance contributing- feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and include sample works! We are incredibly small time, and might not go anywhere, so its obviously a non paying thing, but I sincerely hope you will at least have a look.
All in all, I hope the full relaunch is 2015 is the start of a great new direction for the site, and gaming in my life. My personal first piece back will be a review of the outstanding Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U, it doesn’t have a set release date yet, but it should be within the next couple of weeks.
Guest Review by Sulivan McBride
Over the course of gaming history there has been a popular urban myth that many games actively attempt to spite players over time. From random drops only appearing when you aren’t looking for them in Monster Hunter, or any MMO; to Castlevania intentionally spawning in Medusa Heads at just the right spot to ruin your day; to that elusive Abra always appearing right when you run out of PokeBalls, it has been a common and popular practice to assume that games just have it in for us. And why not? Clearly it has to be SOMEONE’S fault! Well, normally this is not true. The game is just generating random numbers based on algorithms and variables, etc., and you keep drawing the short straw. Unless, of course, you are talking about From Software’s Dark Souls. With a soul-crushing vindictive hatred for everyone who plays it, Dark Souls will take you out, kick you while you’re down, and laugh as you squirm. And you will realize that it was exactly what you wanted all along.
On paper, Dark Souls is a simple action-adventure RPG. You go through stages packed with all manner of evil and slay them for the good of the land, collecting items and souls to increase your avatar’s power. You have one of several starting classes to choose from, but all of them start to lose focus as you approach the game’s 700+ level cap at an infinitesimal rate. By the end of the game anyone can become any role to suit their choosing, so your starting class largely only affects the opening few stages. Some people find this lack of definition a negative, but I embrace it; as it means your characters become defined by your direct choices instead of an arbitrary job you chose three hundred levels ago.Level design is both consistent and inspired. Dark Souls is non linear via its own intersecting linearity. All of the levels are clearly designed with a beginning and end, but they weave together within each other to create an intricate web of branching paths that form together in one solid, cohesive world. It is truly a remarkable sight to see how well the game integrates every single stage without ever once making you sit through a loading screen.
The controls feel well polished and very easily memorized and accessed. You can equip any manner of weapons and shields and what not to your left and right hands, in any combination you like. The R buttons control the right hands, and the L buttons control the left hands. The most common (and ideal) configuration has you pressing R1 to attack, R2 to power-attack, L1 to block, and L2 to either shield bash or parry. Pressing the triangle button allows you to hold your weapon of choice in both hands, drastically increasing damage output at the cost of blocking ability. Circle has your character dodge in the direction you hold the control stick at the cost of stamina, and square allows you to use the item currently set in your hot bar. The D-pad allows you to quickly shift through two sets of equipment for either of your hands, as well as scroll through a list of items set to your hot bar. Overall, the interface of Dark souls is elegant and simple to master, which is very important when moving on to the next topic:
This game hates you, and everyone you know.
To say that Dark Souls is hard is like saying that the Pacific Ocean is just a little bit of water. Every single aspect of the level design in Dark Souls has been engineered with the cruel precision of an evil mastermind to make you hate yourself. Enemies will ambush you constantly, deal unholy amounts of damage, and often absorb incomprehensible amounts of damage before finally dropping dead the first time you find them, only to most likely reappear the next time you rest. Projectiles will pierce you at best, or blow you right to hell at worst. Large enemies will crush you, fast enemies will parry you, invisible enemies will slit your throat from behind, and gigantic dragons will roast you from the sky before you can even say “eep.” Boulders will crush you, lava will boil you, spikes will impale you, head parasites will eat your brains, treasure chests will devour you, swamps will poison you, trees will whip you, and a fat man with a hammer will completely break your will to live. You can’t even pause the game.
If all of this sounds ludicrously unfair, then you will be quite surprised to hear that, well, it isn’t. The game rarely, if ever, deviates into the “Oh COME ON that was just CHEAP!” territory, as it is very clear with almost every single death that it was your fault entirely. The game is a perfect example of forcing the player to rely on their own personal skill rather than the strength of their avatar. This trait was exemplified in games like Castlevania or Ninja Gaiden on the NES, along with the entire Mega Man series. There are no easy ways to success here. You have to earn every single step you take, and it is every bit as gratifying as it is an exercise in self-flagellation.
Dark Souls is unique from other games in the current “RPG” genre in that it could very easily have been released on the NES (albeit not in the same exact form it has now) and nobody would give it a second glance. As a JRPG that mimics western medieval fantasy ala the NES days with a difficulty curve that could be more easily be described as a brick wall, Dark Souls is a game that you just cannot find anymore on modern systems, and the change of pace is remarkably refreshing.
Adding to the robust core feature set is a unique method of online play (unique inasmuch as the only other game to ever do it was its predecessor, Demon’s Souls) that places all of the world’s players in the same game while only letting them interact in cursory ways. You can leave messages on the ground that other players can find and read, and you can summon other players “Phantoms” to help you defeat enemies and bosses, and the game’s difficulty becomes somewhat abated via camaraderie. The other side of the coin is that dickheads can invade your world at the same time, and completely destroy you with end-game level gear before you can even figure out where they are. Griefing is an unfortunate problem in Dark Souls, but the game’s penalty for death is admittedly fairly lax so it never becomes a serious issue. Yes, you lose all of your souls, but it is both easy and enjoyable to grind out more so it never really becomes more than a few minutes annoyance.
The core elements of Dark Souls are very well polished, but the peripherals are somewhat hit and miss. The music is very well composed and always fits the mood of the fight at hand, but the visuals sometimes suffer from a lack of definition and clarity. In particular, Blighttown becomes a complete mess of brown and grey platforms that make avoiding the massive amounts of enemies somewhat of a chore. The graphics aren’t -bad- by any means, but they look and feel like they were an afterthought. The game also suffers from some noticeable frame dropping, especially in the aforementioned Blighttown. It seems that if you angle the camera just right in certain areas the frame rate takes a complete nose dive. Never a deal breaker, it can still be a bit annoying.
Overall, Dark Souls is an exceptional game. It has truly outrageous amounts of content all honed to a sharp, if occasionally chipped, edge. By combining old-school sensibilities with modern technology and systems, From Software has crafted one of the finest RPGs ever made, and a genuine force to be reckoned with. You owe it to yourself it at least play the first five hours.
This Review was written using the PlayStation 3 version of the game. It is also available on the Xbox 360. Online access is recommended to fully enjoy this game. If you made that “Jolly Cooperations!” image, please let us know so we can credit you!
Guest Review by Jordan Schmidt
Ocarina of Time is my favorite game of all time. That being said, I was extremely pumped for this new 3DS remake. If you’ve played Ocarina of Time before, you already know what to expect. It retains all the dungeons and areas we know and love. But, the 3DS version adds many great new features to the original formula, and also some… Not so great ones.
First of all, we have the touch screen. The touch screen works wonders for the game. You are able to assign 2 items to the touch screen for quick access, and you can also assign an item to X and an item to Y. The touch screen assigned items work fairly well, but can become a bit cumbersome when in an action sequence and trying to tap them. The touch screen also features a map of the area you’re in. The map is great and it’s a lot better than having to press start to bring it up.
As for the graphics, they simply look phenomenal. The 3D effect works wonders, like on Kokori Forest light sparkles seem to come out at you, or when you pick up a Cucco and feathers fly in your face. But even without the 3D, the game looks great. Ocarina of Time 3D shows off all new character models, and completely 3D rendered backdrops inside buildings. Although the remake does bring all those great new features to the table, it has one shocking shortcoming that I am astonished the developer even let it go without fixing it.
In the original Ocarina of Time, when Link jumps off a high ledge, you can tilt the analog stick in the direction he is facing to do a roll when you hit the ground, which breaks your fall and prevents you from losing any health. It no longer works, and it’s frustrating because it’s second nature for me to try and roll after a big fall, and I just can’t do it. Hopefully they release a patch of some sort somewhere down the road. But all in all, it’s just a fantastic remake, it also includes a remixes Master Quest and a Boss Rush mode, so you definitely get your money’s worth. So do yourself a favor and go buy this classic remake, you’ll be glad you did.