My Top 5 Games of 2014

Every year end I wish I played more new releases. I write about video games and I find it important to expand and my knowledge and opinions on notable games, which often influences what I spend my time with. In 2014 I learned to stop caring about what games I should play and just played whatever I wanted to play. If anything, I should probably play fewer games.

I never got around to Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Dragon Age: Inquisition or Destiny and I probably won't ever. I'm sure each game ranks among this year's best experiences, but you'll need to read someone else's Game of the Year list to find out exactly where.

We need refunds, not just fewer broken games

When unfinished games release with bugs or missing content even after the emerging "Day One Patch," it's not your fault or the fault of millions of other players. A person's willingness to buy makes their money the most influential part of the video game industry, yet their purchasing power doesn't make them responsible for a game's issues. I shouldn't take blame for Halo: The Master Chief Collection's matchmaking issues or Driveclub's instability because I placed a pre-order at my local retailer.

Even as developers continue to release broken games, publishers, software distributors and retailers still provide no clear avenue for people seeking refunds, yet they still take your money in advance. The player's discretion makes them responsible for any buyer's remorse, but I fail to see how not pre-ordering or buying games at release eventually bucks the trend of developers releasing unfinished games.

Review: Sunset Overdrive - Grind, Shoot, Bounce

Sunset Overdrive lets players enable a curse filter, and for good reason. If players expect fart jokes and the same banter between Captain Qwark and Dr. Nefarious from Ratchet & Clank, then the punk rock aesthetic and free flowing cursing might jolt long time Insomniac Games fans. Sunset Overdrive both looks and sounds different from the decades of Ratchet games, but Insomniac still retains their signature weaponry and silly characters. Sunset Overdrive's dozens of goofy weapons and extraordinary character mobility turns Sunset City into the Xbox One's deadliest playground.

The Fizco Corporation initiates an apocalypse when their Overcharge energy drink starts turning Sunset City's citizens into mutants. Fortunately for the player, the deadly orange drink eludes your lips, but now you must escape the quarantined Sunset City to survive.

Review: The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Age is not Wisdom

A prompt pops up at the start of The Walking Dead: Season 2 asking the player to import a save file from the previous game. Plot points and player actions personalize each player's story, or so Telltale claims. Yet continuity only works if the story demands it - if a story still needs an end. Season 2 needs a new set of characters and a new main character to begin a brand new story. Instead Telltale brings back 11-year-old Clementine and places her in another dysfunctional group destined to not survive. The results of the second season returns the plot to where Clementine began, making the new season an unnecessary blip in Clementine's brief lifetime.

Clementine learns a lot over the past three years and owes much of her survival to Lee's guidance and support. Even around adults, Clementine must make her own decisions and often offers better alternatives than the group leaders. Regardless of her age, Clementine fights off the strength of adult sized zombies, shoots with pin-point accuracy and persuades anyone lacking just a shred of confidence - she can do anything.

Now Playing: Day Z alpha

I always planned to wait for the complete Day Z standalone release, not buy the unfinished, buggy alpha version firmly situated in Steam's top sellers. I thought playing the alpha stage game with periodical content updates would not represent creator Dean Hall's vision of the finished Day Z game, or let alone actually resemble any sort of functioning software.

Day Z doesn't follow a linear structure driven by story or depend on specifically designed levels like a platformer. Players create their own objectives through the need to survive against the dangers of zombies, unstable health and the threat of other players. The moment you assume nothing can go wrong, something always does.

I join a night server with two other friends after planning to meet somewhere along the east coast of Chernarus. My previous character broke a leg, collapsed and died in a single second while climbing a staircase. A glitch I assumed. My other friend, Alessandro, discovered his character vanished between play sessions - a reoccurring glitch for him. My third friend, Frank, managed to escape any lethal staircases or character bugs and walked north to Alessandro's spawn point near Berezino. From a westward inland town I run east towards the rising sun where we decide to meet.

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