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'WorthPlaying's Top Games of 2014' - Countdown, 20-11

by Rainier on Jan. 2, 2015 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

So far, we've revealed the honorable mentions. Today, we're starting the countdown of the top 20 titles. Be sure to tune in tomorrow to see what WP considers to be the best game of 2014. Read more for the results!

20. Hyrule Warriors (WiiU)

It's hard to imagine a bigger love letter to The Legend of Zelda franchise than Hyrule Warriors, which is a really polished and well-made Dynasty Warriors game. It still contains many of the franchise's flaws or weak points, but it also boasts many of its strengths. It's certainly more Warriors than Zelda, but it makes excellent use of the source material, so it doesn't feel like Link's face was slapped on an unrelated title. Some may miss the Zelda dungeon-crawling and exploration, but Zelda and Warriors fans will find a lot to like here.

19. This War of Mine (PC)

At first glance, This War of Mine looks like a horror game, and in a way, it is. It's a war game that manages to be such without glorifying combat in any way, and it's a potentially brutal strategy title that will be different every time you play it.

18. Dark Souls II (PS3/X360/PC)

Dark Souls II is exactly what I was hoping for from a Dark Souls sequel. It borrows from Dark Souls and Demon's Souls and adds just enough of its own flavor to form a potent brew. The core gameplay and basic design sensibilities have been retained, and while there are some concessions to player ease, they don't interfere with the gameplay. Dark Souls II is exciting, engaging and fun, and while it isn't going to attract anyone who disliked the franchise, Dark Souls fans should love it. I'm not sure if it's better than its predecessors, but even being on par with Dark Souls is high praise.

17. Strider (PS4/PS3/XOne/X360/PC)

Strider is a great example of how you can reboot an old arcade game with modern sensibilities and still keep it true to its roots. The fast action is sharp and responsive, and it mixes nicely with the grand setting. The adventure comes in at just the right length, and the various battles, while easy for series veterans, still excite in how they play out. No Strider fan should be without Double Helix's take on the title.

16. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PS3/X360/PC)

If Borderlands 2 was an example of the series coasting under its own momentum, the Pre-Sequel is a master class in how to refine the series into a step forward. The underlying game isn't that different and it's filled with the same humor that you've come to expect, but the change of setting and the polishing of the gameplay have done wonders. The game seems more reliant on a central plot than the series is normally known for, and through it, you learn how Jack became such a horrible person. If you're like me and thought the Pre-Sequel is just another game in the series, then Claptrap's class isn't the only "Mistake." For being the third game in a franchise and with a name that implies it to be more of the same, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a surprisingly fresh experience.

15. Wasteland 2 (PC)

Wasteland was a landmark title in 1988, and fans have been clamoring for a follow-up ever since. With the popularity of Kickstarter, inXile managed to raise the necessary funds to develop the sequel. After the crowd-funding success, the developer was not beholden to any publisher restrictions, so it was able to stay true to the original while updating the aesthetics. Old-school, turn-based RPGs are known for their difficulty level, so don't expect a walk in the park like most modern titles in the genre.

14. Transistor (PS4/PC)

Transistor is an early contender for one of the most engaging games of the year. It isn't Bastion 2, since it's more of a straight RPG than an action game, and the tone, characters and setting are quite different. It manages to craft an engaging and exciting RPG experience mixed with a simple but curiously enticing story, and its biggest sin is being over too soon. It won't necessarily appeal to all of Bastion's fans, but Transistor shows that Supergiant Games isn't just a one-hit wonder and is capable of crafting an entirely different kind of game experience that is still exciting and delightful.

13. Mario Kart 8 (WiiU)

Everyone loves Mario Kart because it combines fast-paced racing action with goofy power-ups and exotic race locations. It's the definitive party game. Mario Kart 8 has all of the favorite characters, from Mario to Waluigi. Between adding F-Zero-style gravity-defying supertracks and the return of favorite gimmicks like motorbikes, Mario Kart 8 is shaping up to be the most memorable entry in the franchise to date.

12. TIE - Grand Theft Auto V (PS4/XOne)/Sunset Overdrive (XOne)

Grand Theft Auto V for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is easily the best version of the game available at the moment. It's bigger, prettier and smoother, but functionally, it is still the same game as before, with most of the same flaws and strengths. Some new features expand the gameplay a bit, including a very cool first-person mode, but nothing here will change anyone's opinion of the franchise. Some minor technical flaws, including an inconsistent frame rate, drag down the game a little, but it's largely a step up from the last-gen versions.

Sunset Overdrive proves that Insomniac's signature brand of gameplay and humor can work well in big, open worlds. The guns feel different and are fun to use, and the game gives you plenty of opportunities to use those weapons. The flexibility in mobility opens up the game for both horizontal and vertical gameplay, and the combination of this and the guns, along with some good level design, encourages creativity. Coupled with a great presentation, it provides an open-world experience with more emphasis on fun than anything else. For action fans, Sunset Overdrive is a must-have title.

11. Child of Light (WiiU/PSV/PS4/PS3/XOne/X360/PC)

This year has already seen a number of great games, and Child of Light can be counted as one of those titles. The look is unique, the story is intriguing, and the cast of characters livens up the routine fairy tale. The contrasts in mood are played up excellently by the soundtrack, and though characterization isn't deep, the overall tale is gripping enough. The gameplay, while simple, is very satisfying thanks to the dismissal of overly complicated mechanics, and the length feels just right. It can be considered easier than most of its peers in the genre, but it is a satisfying experience from beginning to end, and it's a title that no fan should miss. If you have even a small interest in role-playing games, Child of Light comes highly recommended.

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