As mentioned last week, it really was a stellar year for Nintendo amid a sea of letdowns and critical flops for basically every other gaming platform. So with the previous list covering the rest, here are the best games of 2014 that only came to Nintendo consoles. Honorable mentions: <em>Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Persona Q, Hyrule Warriors.</em> The above games are very highly praised by critics and correspondents alike, but were simply ones that I didn’t quite gravitate toward personally. I’m just not a fan of <em>Dynasty Warriors</em> combat or <em>Etrian Odyssey–</em>style RPGs. That said, if you love those games with the combination of franchise fan service, <em>Persona Q</em> or <em>Hyrule Warriors</em> are many peoples’ favourite games of the year. <em>Captain Toad</em> also missed my playlist, if only because I wasn’t a big fan of the sections of <em>Super Mario 3D World</em> the game is based on. Still, I’ve heard it’s an incredibly adorable game that completionists in particular will find value in, given its budget price and shorter length. <em>Bravely Default</em>: The <em>Final Fantasy</em> franchise, and based-turn RPG in general, have had better days. Then, along came <em>Bravely Default</em>, showing me that the qualities of my beloved turn<em>–</em>based combat had life outside of the <em>Persona</em> and <em>Pokémon</em> series. Now, let’s talk characters; characters that I found charming rather than being a combination of anime clichés. A battle system that smartly uses the conventions of attacking and guarding. Surprisingly robust animations, combined with amazing music composed by the same guy who did the first <em>Attack on Titan</em> opening. The game has reportedly caused Square Enix to rethink the homogenization of their <em>Final Fantasy</em> franchise, and perhaps go back to serving the fan base who wants the conventional turn-based gameplay of the past. If it wasn’t for a truly terrible amount of filler content in the last third of the game, I’d actually be hard<em>–</em>pressed to find real flaws with it. I only hope its sequel <em>Bravely Second</em> is as good… and that it comes out in North America at some point. <em>Bayonetta 2</em>: Talk about a critical darling. You don’t hire Platinum Games to make a game that won’t hurt certain sensibilities, make a commercial success, or indeed even contain cohesive narrative filled with logic and restraint. You get Platinum Games to make something gamers love — a vanity piece that will get people talking. This is a video game that is unapologetically “video-gamey.” Outrageous set pieces, fluid combat, and audacious gameplay sections and elements, all tied in with a story straight out of ‘80s exploitation and ‘90s cheese. It’s the gaming equivalent of a great slice of pizza. Still slathered in things that probably aren’t great for you, but constructed so well that you can’t help but keep taking a bite. <em>Mario Kart 8</em>: That present, rounded quality Nintendo’s HD graphics seems to possess. The jazzy upbeat music on the tracks. The features that should be gimmicks somehow working in the “just have fun” atmosphere of <em>Mario Kart</em>. Eight entries in, <em>Mario Kart</em> has somehow maintained its place as a racing game that’s just fun to play. <em>MK8</em> gets special attention for its great implementation of DLC. In a world of <em>Call of Duty</em> charging $15 per map pack or <em>Destiny</em> charging $20(!) for a single DLC expansion, <em>Mario Kart</em> offers so much more for a fraction of the price. And, I dunno, with online play and MMOs being all over, it’s fun to have a game I can just play on the couch with friends and have a good time, not worrying about strategies and combos. <em>Smash Bros. for Wii U</em>: What can I say? It’s <em>Smash Bros,</em> that multiplayer brawl-fest that seems always present so long as a Nintendo console is around. I’d be willing to bet many people bought a Wii U simply for this game. And though I’m talking about the Wii U version, the 3DS version is also a great version for the greater number of 3DS owners out there. Glorious HD. Snappy, yet accessible controls. An INSANE soundtrack collecting music from all over the gaming universe. Pac-Man, Sonic, and Mega Man together in a Nintendo game, complete with the dog from <em>Duck Hunt</em>. It really is the definitive <em>Smash Bros </em>game, diehard <em>Melee</em> fans notwithstanding.
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