Top 5 Best Video Games of 2014


These were the games that I loved the most. Mainly PC.

HM. Five Nights at Freddies – This game is a better laxative than anything you can get at the pharmacy. I didn’t quite understand the mechanics my first time playing it, and when I failed I shrieked like one of the test subjects from that old Dead Space commercial. Still haven’t beat this game yet. Can’t get passed night 4.

HM. The Wolf Among Us – I love whodunnits. This was a good whodunnit with TellTale doing their thing in a really interesting universe. I couldn’t get enough after episode one but managed to make myself wait until they’d finally released all the episodes to play it in succession. I want to go back and play so badly now that I’m writing this.

5. Wolfenstein: The New Order – Awesome awesome awesome. It was such a nice break from games that force you to brain-think about morals. 90% of games now feel like they’re going for “shades of grey”. No grey here. You’re the hero. Fight the bad guy. At one point I was dual wielding laser sniper rifles on the moon shooting Nazi zombie robots. THIS. IS. VIDEO GAMES!

4. South Park: The Stick of Truth – A surprisingly strong RPG with neat combat, awesome humour and a fun story mode. A little bummed we never got  DLC pack at the mall. Still though, this game was worth the money. I really enjoyed how it just simplified things in a early Final Fantasy style and the town is surprisingly large with a lot of areas, collectibles and Canada!

3. Mario Kart 8 – The only racing game franchise that is actually fun where you feel like you can actually make up position when you get behind. Plus all the different weight classes and vehicle types. Roy’s my boy! Also great for drinking games.

1b. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – This was like 5% Assassins Creed, 95% Batman. But better than many of the recent installments, I’ve played, of either. The combat was so much freaking fun! To see blood and limbs and heads fly when you finish someone off that really makes an impact compared to breaking legs or leaving baby stab wounds. Also, the nemesis system was so fun and added so much to the game.

1a. Dragon Age: Inquisition – As much as I did tear a strip off this game, I still had a ton of fun over such a long period playing this game this year. The world is big and beautiful. The characters are probably DA’s best cast. I enjoyed the combat and crafting and leveling system. The story was kinda… “lost” but that happens in open world games. Just look at Fallout/Skyrim. Whats the story? I played a lot of Fallout 3 and New Vegas and still only kinda know. The controls need work on PC, but I still made them work quite easily as I’m not a crybaby.


Why I Am Disappointed in Dragon Age: Inquisition

First, I enjoy the game. I really do. Its well put together and I don’t feel like I was cheated out of my money upon completion, as far as cut content/withheld content for a later date/etc.

I still give it an 8 or 9/10, but…

But I’m still disappointed. Other people seem to be bugged by little things that piled up.  Other people seemed to be bugged because it isn’t Origins 2.0.

I’m just bugged and disappointed because I felt like I was lied to. I paid too much attention to the demos/interviews. It stems from this general statement,

“We learned our mistakes! Only showing and sharing 100% complete and in the game things!”

They kept going on about how they had learned lessons from previous releases and the whole reason they weren’t showing us anything about this game at first was because they didn’t want to show us anything unless it was working and was for sure going to be in the game.  And then they showed us things that are not in the game.


Choice Missions

No choice missions to save the town/citadel.

I’m actually really disappointed that after seeing the footage of protecting a fort or choosing the village, that it isn’t in the game. Especially since they talked about how “To avoid false expectations we’re only going to show things that are 100% in the game” or whatever it was Mike or Mark said.

Someone else on BSN said this:

Either we get a game in which our choices matter and create multiple and widely divergent endings (but with those choices being retconned or resolved in external media because it would be too much work for one game) or we get a game in which our choices don’t really matter or only result in a few mildly different endings that can be carried over to the next installment without too much of a headache for the writers/developers.

I’m totally cool with option 2, but let my dumb little things that are cosmetic have an impact. (ie, Templar tower, troop armor, sparring grounds/infirmary, etc.)

I get that the big story ones have to be a bit more linear for the sake of future games, but the dumb ones that don’t mean squat the second I get the “You are Winner” screen should do something. The ones that become codex level, if that, in future games should be more visible for the sake of “I did something”.

Clothing/Armor Customization

I remember when they were doing E3 interviews and stuff, they talked about how we could add dyes to our clothes and armor and minions armor. “You can pick these! Multiple outfits! Etc.”

Well, there is no ability to add dyes to your/others/minions armors. There is no way to customize your minions appearance. There is no set of casual outfits to pick from.

I hate looking at my soldiers and scouts run around in ugly armor and booger coloured tunics. After like 90 hours, the grey pajamas got tiring. Even adjusting it to blue/red/black would’ve been great.

I don’t enjoy making armor with the perfect stats, only for it to be soft pink, bright yellow, green and grey. That blows. I have to look at this monstrosity. I found myself wearing under leveled or situation inappropriate armor just because it didn’t look like vomit. Even a basic Minecraft level dye system would’ve been acceptable.

“You collected a Spindleweed” then go to a table “crushed Spindleweed into red dye” then “dying this armor requires 20 Spindleweed dyes”. Totally fine. I can fart and the gas will find 6 Spindleweeds in some places.

I’m not certain on other armor options, but for heavy armor for a warrior I basically had 2 different coat options the entire game with small differences. Lame. I wanted some big cool looking plate armor.


Skyhold doesn’t actually change let alone ever get fixed. Still have busted ass walls and garbage laying all over the place.

Before each upgrade, I made a save and went to both options to see which I liked more.

Gathered the materials required to upgrade my main tower. After I finally found the “upgraded” main tower, I feel like I wasted my time. I was told I’d get some killer badass Templar tower. I got three small rooms. My Templars don’t even use it as a hang out. Like 3 guys are there.

I also had a hard time finding it. Usually, the little upgrade… kiosk(?) is right next to it. Not that time. I had a hard time finding it, which means it’s really not that noticeable. I had been doing a Google free playthrough, but had to do it because I needed to know where it was.

When I picked mage tower, I thought that the mages would use it. Nope, still sitting in my library. Schematics or an awesome staff in a chest would have been awesome, but nope.

I’ve also upgraded the chantry garden area, only to get a few flower pots in one corner. So then I decided to try the Chantry upgrade. It was… a few statues. But I get more gold from people making donations! Except there is no way to tell if this is true or not. There is no collection plate and I don’t have any random gold deposits happening when I’m out or when I get back to Skyhold.

If we’re going to upgrade Skyhold, please make it more useful. For example, if I decide I want the main tower to accommodate mages, then perhaps include unique mage gear/schematics in a treasure chest there.  If we upgrade the garden, it could provide exclusive reagents for a powerful potion/tonic/grenade.

Also why the hell won’t the walls of Skyhold ever be full repaired? Parts of it were fixed as I progressed through the game but then I still have like 2-3 busted towers and broken walls. Why did they clean up my room, added nice new furniture…  but didn’t even bother to remove the bricks from the stairs leading up to my chambers? There are spider webs and bits of lumber lying everywhere.

There are holes in the walls, can’t they patch that up? I have like a gajillion gold and tons of alliances. Are you telling me I ran out of mortar?

Poor Cullen doesn’t have a roof above his bed. Its just busted. I’m on top of a mountain in a snowy area. How is homedawg supposed to sleep?

Finally, the training grounds vs the infirmary. I went with the sparring grounds, which actually did something. I have a little sparring ring. I noticed it. Neat. It did absolutely nothing else, but hey I actually noticed this one. I can pretend my soldiers are getting better.

Reloaded, went with the infirmary and I couldn’t find the new infirmary. I thought all those tents out front would be improved, nope. Turns out it was that broken down building next to requisitions. I think there is three whole beds.

Heck, if it gave me an extra military perk for the sparring ring or an extra diplomacy perk for the infirmary, then it would be a thing at least. There were 3 upgrading choices. Could make it 2-2-2 across the ones your advisors represent. Or even doing it in general just unlocked a freebie perk.



They hyped the reactivity of the game and it turned out just to be idle NPC chatter/skins.

You now have a Templar standing there. In Templar regalia despite the fact you abolished the Templar order and said they are just fancy Inqusition soliders.

I haven’t had one quests be different because I’m a reaver or noticed, from what I’ve discussed with friends/BSNers who played different races, any race specific quests. Again, this was stuff we were told we were getting. I remember reading the blog or forum post or whatever Gaider or Laidlaw talked about it in. “No origins but you’ll have race specific side quests/race will open up specific branches in missions… Limited specializations because now NPC’s and quests will be different based off your specialization! We’re only telling you this because its 100% in the game!”

At most I got a couple things that were different at the war table, I’m assuming, or a couple throwaway lines of dialogue. “Oh you’re nobility so you understand noble stuff.” Okay then. That’s not bad. But no missions. Were the like… two(?) war tables mission my specific ones for being a human noble? Is that really a “mission”?

Was that my special reaver centric mission I can only get as a reaver?

I kept waiting and waiting for that stuff to happen and then nope. I’m like 100 hours in and nada. Only have the last main story mission to finish and a few random “put the thing here” quests.


I kept thinking “Oh, they must be holding that feature until I get to Skyhold. That makes sense!”

But it isn’t there.  At all. “We’re showing you because its in the game!” Nope. It isn’t. I don’t even think that region from the demo where you could save the town/keep is in the game now that I look back at it.

“We wanted it to be worthwhile but we ran out of time…” You delayed the game twice. Maybe cut two of the couple completely needless areas and spend that time on doing what you told me you were going to do.

This isn’t even getting into the busted ass PC controls and poor MP loot design.


Does the groundswell even lift, bro?

Once you’ve set up your groundswell should be able to get its swell on by itself. You can work with it as a spotter, but you want it to do all the heavy lifting itself.

In non-bro-dude-gym lingo, you want the groundswell to support itself. Basically, this is your new customer support hotline. People should be able to Google their problem and get to your site to help. This could be your FAQ, your community message boards, or an outside message board where they can find a solution.

For instance, isn’t it better if I am able to Google “How do I kill the High Dragon on the Sacred Ashes mission in Dragon Age: Origins?” and find my answer somewhere on the internet versus 1) calling Bioware or EA and asking for help (that their customer support likely has no clue about) or 2) Going on Twitter and saying “OMG DAO SUX THE DRAGON IS TOO DAMN HARD!!1! eFFF THIS GAME!! #BIOWARESUCKS#EASUCKS #XBOXSUCKS!!


Now that is a bit of a goofy example but the principal is pretty universal regardless of if you’re business is blenders, vacuums, computer programs, newspapers, or swimsuits. But this is where your groundswell can support your company. The great thing about it is that the general public is able to create posts, answers, questions, reviews, help, tips, tricks, etc. The focus can also be on more than one of your products, your company, your competition, prices, etc.

This is the one-to-many/many-to-many effect.

However, before you start to create a community for your groundswell, there are three points that must be outlined:

  1. Problem you are going to solve
  2. How you will participate within the groundswell
  3. Create a support community or join an existing one

1. Problem you are going to solvePut yourself into your customers’ shoes. How will you create a community that will solve customers’ problems and create value?

2. How you will participate within the groundswell. You must keep activity in your groundswell that there is the generation of new content.

  • Drive people to your community (such as a message board) from messages posted on your Web site, social media accounts, products or other advertising efforts
  • Participate in the groundswell by helping people by answering questions and engaging in conversation. After a while hopefully the groundswell itself does this, but it doesn’t mean you can stop.

3. Create a support community or join an existing one

Whether your organization decides to become active in a pre-existing community or create a new one of your own, the goal is that both will be beneficial and add value. The community should be able to support itself, listen to conversation about your product, and talk to and engage with users about the product and what they like or don’t like, as well as let word-of-mouth travel.

I keep coming back to Bioware for this because I’m most familiar with their community and the way it is engaged. With the upcoming release of Dragon Age: Inquisition and having been a somewhat active member of the forums for the passed two years I can see how they’ve changed their approach to pre-release as well as the game’s construction based to an extent on what the community itself desired. The only details being released are about what has been confirmed for the game. Also, the changes in the combat engine, appearance variety and dialogue system in the new game stems from a dissatisfaction felt by many fans in the previous game.

As far as plain interaction with the community, I feel it is well done. Members of the development team and writers seem to pop in and have discussions on occasion or to debunk/confirm “rumours” to help keep control of their community and the expectations of the game. Those are good things.


Source: Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011) Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.