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This week, Zero Punctuation takes a look at the top 5 best and worst games of 2014.

Transcript Edit

Another year pinched off from our collective anus and therefore we must suffer the inevitable splash of cold water upon the buttocks that is the top and bottom 5, before we can reach for the toilet paper of moving on with our fucking lives. And as I always remind viewers, only games covered by a ZP video in 2014 are in the running. That’s my insurance policy against people demanding to know why I haven’t bowed towards the East, and chanted “Hail Smash Bros.!” the minimum number of times.

Just to digress for a moment, it was cunning of Smash Bros. to not have a story mode. because I’m only really interested in games that have some kind of narrative design and that aren’t interactive toy shop windows for people who couldn’t leave their comfort zone if it was in the path of a herd of charging wildebeest. But put away those prayer beads In the shape of Samus Aran’s arse for a moment and get out your betting slips, 'cause it’s time to make like Sesame Street and learn how to count to five!

[Man expressing pleasure]

Fifth Best: Speaking of refusing to leave a comfort zone, even as it's being absorbed into the dank spotty folds of a fat grandmother's vagina, our fifth best game wears nostalgia like crispy duck wears a pancake. But in this case, it’s actually managing to capture the spirit and gameplay of retro-action platforming, not, say, parading a bunch of geriatric characters before us in sparkly costumes in the hope we’ll start throwing money and underpants: it’s Shovel Knight! A game like my cock - fun, charming, and manageably hard. Also, no matter how much I shake it, the last drop of piss always goes down my leg.

[Many overlayed farts]

Fifth Worst: An attempt at comedy that falls flat is the basic unit of raw despair. A game that unfailingly produces one every five seconds is officially worse than being held hostage by Somalian pirates. Surprisingly, I’m not talking about Sunset Overdrive (which at least had some fun gameplay, as long as you keep the TV on mute), but Sacred 3 - a game that utterly and completely failed at comedy, action, entertainment, game design, and getting out of the way of my gun!

Fourth Best: You know, the more I look back on Dark Souls II, the less I think of it, at least compared to Dark Souls I. The world doesn't feel like a vast cohesive whole, the level design isn't great, the lighting and textures are shitty, the lore and characters just doesn't have the same grim, despair-fueled spark, none of which changes the fact that I played through the whole game like three times this year, so I’m putting it in fourth, mainly because it’s far too late to give any awards to Dark Souls I. That ship has sailed, realised it's forgot its keys, come back, then sailed again.

Fourth Worst: It’s said, of course, that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. A popular, if untrue saying, and a guideline that the Final Fantasy people should've bore in mind before they passed around the ether-soaked rags and made Lightning Returns. I did hesitate a little to stick in the bottom five a game I’m pretty sure I didn’t get and wasn’t for me, but then I tried to picture someone who it was for and did get it, and then that they were introduced as my future daughter in-law, and then I pictured myself chasing them across the croquet lawn with an elephant gun.

Third Best: You know me; I don’t think it’s a good year unless I’ve lost at least one piece of furniture to a game that makes me cack my pants with the force of a shotgun blastI thought triple-A games had forgotten how to effectively pace themselves and build atmosphere, but Alien Isolation means my sofa can’t get complacent just yet. Linear plot's a bit flimsy and the protagonist's a bit dull, but since that seems to be the running theme of this top 5, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. What do you want from me? This wasn’t exactly a 2007-grade year.

Third Worst: There was a time when I would have been more hesitant about putting movie franchise spin-offs into a bottom five, as most of them only exist because someone needed to fill a space next to a film and they would have filled the space with cakes of mulchy shit if they thought that would turn a profit. But then again, that’s hardly an attitude exclusive to movie spinoffs these days, and if a game in my top 3 can be a movie spin-off, then there are still good people out there! Not on Amazing Spider-Man 2's development team, however! Half of whom didn’t give a shit, while the other half lived in the office fish tank!

Second Best: I liked Spec Ops: The Line, as you know. I wouldn’t go so as far as to petition to rename New Year’s Day "Hooray for Spec Ops: The Line Day", but I will take the opportunity to big up games that fly the same flag; that ending the lives of endless streams of thinking, feeling human beings of varying moral character is, while entertaining, slightly grim. And that’s what I liked about Wolfenstein: The New Order - you can almost feel the crushing weight that sits upon the shoulders of its engaging characters, but it doesn’t take itself so seriously that we can’t spend an hour or so killing space Nazis on the moon. Yes, you heard me right, I said, "killing face Yahtzees with a spoon".

Second Worst: Well, this is about as late an entry as late gets, but you really would be hard-pressed to find worse than the last game I reviewed. I say “reviewed”, perhaps the better word would be “autopsied”. Buggy, rushed, horrible design, and with dialogue as irritating as chicken wire across the plums, Sonic Boom can suck my fat cock. I’d think of a more roundabout way of saying that, but I refuse to put more effort in than the developers did.

First Best: Oh, how I ummed. Oh, how I ahhed. Ah, how I ohhed between this and Wolfenstein. Like I said, it wasn’t a great year. There weren’t any games that made me go: “Yes! All of this! In my face! *motorboating noise*". Eventually, I decided that the top spot is a place for the most interesting game, if not the unqualified best one. So while it’s got a main character who might as well have emitted white noise from his mouth and what we academics call "a spirograph plot”, in that it traces circles but doesn’t go anywhere, it’s the innovative and yet deceptively simple organic storytelling mechanics that gives the edge to Shadow of Mordor, yeah, just dropping the name like it ain’t no thing.

First Worst: And similarly, the worst game needn’t necessarily be the most objectively badly-made or frustrating one, but the game with the worst intentionsSonic Boom and Spiderman feel like the developers were all wearing oven-mitts, but a game that has every advantage in the world and then calmly, decisively, and deliberately puts its todger in a saucepan full of hot bleach is somehow orders of magnitude worse: It’s Thief! I will never understand the logic behind triple-A reboots: “Here’s this game people used to like, primarily for its uniqueness, let's reboot it and make it just like everything else! I see no reason why people could be anything less than delighted! Do you think my todger’s clean yet? I think the bellend's fallen off!”

Addenda Edit

  • Going back to bed: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Still got one whole year to bring out enough Jaws films to keep Back To The Future 2 accurate
  • Crappy shoe fear


Screenshots Edit

Count to 5

It’s time to make like Sesame Street and learn how to count to five!

Top 5 of 2014

Best of 2014

Bottom 5 of 2014

Worst of 2014

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2

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