Dark and intense, colourful and fun, the games of 2014 have been slicker and sharper than ever before. For a new game to not seem already destined for the buy two for a tenner bucket by the time we reach level two, the developers have had to well and truly up their game.
The previous year left us with action and dialogue as good as in Grand Theft Auto V, the screenplay for which puts most action blockbusters to shame, the suspense and soundtrack of Bioshock Infinite, and the intrigue in storytelling of The Last Of Us, meaning the game makers have had to think way beyond the graphics to be make their mark in 2014.
Take Fifa 15. It’s the best the game has ever looked, so realistic someone could walk into the room and think you were watching an actual sporting event, but it almost feels like you’re watching a classic match on a new TV – great game, fantastic to look at, sure, but you know what to expect. Not everyone likes their nostalgia to set them back £39.99.
There’s no doubt this year’s games have surpassed anything ever made before in terms of visual impact (you can press pause pretty much on any frame of Bayonetta 2 and it'll be worthy of a desktop pattern), and the formula games we love have never been more exciting – Dragon Age: Inquisition and Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, we're looking at you. (That said, the retro games have equally been a joy, Shovel Knight deserving an honourable mention, while the new incarnation of Super Smash Bros is a contender for best game of the year).
But more than the visual polish or tried and trusted playability, it’s the originality in terms of ideas that we’re concerned with here at Huff Post Create.
If you’re after a ‘best of 2014’ video games list, there are plenty of dedicated gaming sites reeling out the top rated and the bestsellers. This list isn’t out to contend with those (not least because we would then be obliged to add the phenomenally successful but ultimately tedious Destiny in there somewhere).
Instead, we’ve picked the 14 games of the year that made us stop and think, ‘oh, that’s clever’.
Games, in other words, that took creativity to a new level.