When it comes to great games, 2014 was one of the most bountiful years in recent memory. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have both had 12 months to mature. The PC continues to play host to some of the most interesting indie fare in town, as well as running the big-budget titles even more smoothly than its console brethren.
Whether you like indies that you can wrap up in an afternoon, or games from big publishers that can keep you busy for dozens of hours, 2014 had something memorable to offer. The Tom's Guide staff has combed through the best games of the last year and selected the 10 that rise above the rest.
The cream of the 2014 game crop provides players with action, horror, fantasy, comedy, heartbreak and, above all, excellent gameplay. If you haven't picked up these 10 titles yet, now's the time.
10. Dragon Age: Inquisition (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
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A land torn apart by mages, kings, Templars and warlords gets even worse when the sky literally cracks open, disgorging a swarm of demons. In role-playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition, you'll play as the only person with the power to close these rifts. Sound simple? Not a chance -- your powers land you at the head of the Inquisition, a religious and military group determined to make peace. But what that peace looks like is yours to decide, making Inquisition one of the most sprawling and player-driven games of the year. - Jill Scharr (@JillScharr)
Dragon Age: Inquisition Full Review
9. Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One)
You're just a gal or guy trying to wait out the DayGlo apocalypse with a fridge full of beer. Then energy-drink-drunk mutants break down the door. Armed with weird weapons such as a vinyl-record shooter and a lewd-looking shotgun, you race across the cityscape in a cool mixture of free running and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater-style grinding. A slick combat system, excellent character customization and a gloriously sun-drenched end of the world make up for any of the faults of Sunset Overdrive's flimsy plot. - Alex Cranz (@alexhcranz)
Sunset Overdrive Full Review
8. Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
Bayonetta's back, and she's better than ever. The titular badass witch takes on the legions of heaven and hell in a quest to save her fellow witch's soul as well as the world. Needless to say, things get more than a little hairy. As a wielder of the Wicked Weave, Bayonetta takes on challengers with a mix of stylish combos, time-slowing dodges and plenty of magical guns through 15 chapters of nonstop action. Throw in the protagonist's kitschy sexy style, and Armageddon's never looked so good. - Sherri L. Smith (@misssmith11)
7. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)
Only one game on our best list lets Mario, Mega Man, Pac-Man and the Wii Fit Trainer beat the snot out of each other. The latest installment in Nintendo's flagship fighting franchise packs the largest and most diverse roster yet (even the Duck Hunt dog is playable), and doubles the signature four-man insanity with a new 8 Player Smash mode. With tons of unlockables, solid online play and gorgeous HD arenas, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will keep you and your friends gleefully beating each other down through 2015 and beyond. - Mike Andronico (@mikeandronico)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Full Review
6. The Walking Dead Season Two (PC, Mac, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, iOS, Ouya)
Eleven-year-old Clementine is on her own in the midst of the zombie apocalypse in this gut-wrenching adventure. Set in the same world as The Walking Dead comics and TV show, but with an original group of characters, Season Two has players follow Clementine through five episodic installments as she struggles to survive both zombies and desperate humans. Full of complex decisions and brilliant writing and vocal performances, The Walking Dead Season 2 shouldn't be missed. - Jill Scharr (@JillScharr)
The Walking Dead Season 2 Full Review
5. Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
Like hero B.J. Blazkowicz silently taking down a Nazi stronghold, Wolfenstein: The New Order snuck up on everybody to become 2014's best shooter. The World War II adventure's mix of stealth and guns-blazing combat make it an excellent Nazi-killing simulator, but the game's emotional, well-scripted story and colorful cast of characters make it truly special. The New Order couldn't be a more fitting title, as Machine Games' fresh take on shooter storytelling marks a complete rebirth for the age-old Wolfenstein franchise. - Mike Andronico (@mikeandronico)
Wolfenstein: The New Order Full Review
4. Alien: Isolation (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
In space, no one can hear you scream, but your neighbors will hear your terrified screeches as you creep through this pre-sequel set between the Alien and Aliens films. You're Amanda Ripley, daughter of Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley, and your job, if you choose to wallow in the horror, is to survive a space station full of frantic humans, murderous cyborgs and a wickedly smart alien. Throwing away the overly aggressive tactics of previous Alien games, Isolation instead focuses on the sterile dread of Ridley Scott's 1979 film. Adaptive sound design, addictive Metroid-style game progression and insanely good stealth mechanics make this one a treat even for the survival-horror phobic. - Alex Cranz (@alexhcranz)
Alien: Isolation Full Review
3. Dark Souls II (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
When you die in Dark Souls II -- and you will -- you'll know it's your fault. To master each level, you'll have to adapt to tenacious bosses by picking up subtle tells and mastering a wide array of fighting styles. The wave of relief and triumph that washes over you when you finally win is rarely experienced in other games. The revamped menu system and immediate access to fast travel take away the unnecessary frustration of earlier games in the series. With its engaging gameplay and detailed, gorgeous world, Dark Souls II is a throwback to the brutal RPGs of old that simultaneously pushes the boundaries of third-person combat. - Sam Rutherford (@samrutherford)
Dark Souls II Full Review
2. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
Shadow of Mordor is a rarity: a licensed game that stands on its own merits. Set in between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Shadow of Mordor casts you as a Ranger named Talion, imbued with wraithlike powers and eager to avenge his slain family. As Talion sneaks, fights and enchants his way through legions of orcs, the innovative Nemesis character system creates unique, procedurally generated warchiefs who remember Talion's behavior and their own past defeats. Along with great combat and a bold story, this makes Shadow of Mordor ideal for any Tolkien aficionado or action/adventure fan. - Marshall Honorof (@marshallhonorof)
Shadow of Mordor Full Review
1. Transistor (PC, Mac, Linux, PS4)
It's just a girl and her sword. From the moment you hear the protagonist's lilting voice in the opening credits, you're captivated. The spell is strengthened by the jaw-dropping art style, with its myriad blues, reds and greens. Set in a futuristic world on the brink of ruin, players step into the shoes of Red, a singer whose voice was stolen by the very weapon she wields -- the Transistor. Using strategy-laden attacks, Red fights to take vengeance for everything she's lost against a backdrop of soulful music and beautiful destruction. It's a must-play for gamers tired of sepia-toned shooters with little to no story, and it's our pick for the top title of 2014. - Sherri L. Smith (@misssmith11)
Transistor Full Review
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