Although the act of enjoying a videogame is purely subjective, people put a lot of stock in professional review scores, since most consumers want to avoid spending money on a sub-par slice of digital entertainment.
Here is a look at 10 of the most critically acclaimed videogames of 2014, sticking to titles that enjoyed a console or PC release, rather than mobile apps, according to review aggregating service MetaCritic.
Grand Theft Auto V
This game earned eligibility to appear in this list because it launched in next-gen form on the Xbox One and PS4, in spite of having been originally released in late 2013 for previous-gen consoles. The definitive sandbox crime simulator is better looking and more immersive than ever.
The Last of Us Remastered
Another game that appeared in an earlier year but enjoyed a renaissance in 2014 was this PS4 exclusive. Survival horror with an in depth story and inventive gameplay helped elevate it above the pack.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Nintendo’s seminal fighting franchise returned in HD for the Wii U last year, allowing for multiplayer action against players from across the world. More characters, arenas and moves than before made it a must-have title for this console.
Dark Souls II
This hard-as-nails sequel to From Soft’s earlier RPG was not just about providing players with a challenge, but letting them take on boss after boss in whatever manner they saw fit. Intriguing lore, lots of DLC and hundreds of millions of in-game deaths around the world all feed into the legend that is Dark Souls II. Of course software testing by bug finders > might have helped eliminate some of the major glitches found following its release.
The second Wii U exclusive on this list may be another sequel, but it is an action game with so much flare and style that it stands out even amongst its peers. Over the top set pieces, beautiful graphics and eminent style helped Bayonetta 2 to woo critics.
2D platformers used to be the number one game format in the 90s and while they may have fallen out of favour in the 3D era, Rayman Legends proves that there is life in this genre yet.
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
Making its debut on the PS4 in 2014, Diablo 3 brings the classic RPG formula to the next generation, with lots of dungeon crawling action and loot to be had.
Metro: 2033 Redux
Remastering games that were already critically acclaimed in their original form is a sure fire way to earn critical approval and this is certainly true with post-apocalyptic FPS Metro: 2033. Better graphics and effects combined with tweaked gameplay features help it improve on the atmospheric original.
Inspired by retro side-scrollers and funded with fan support, Shovel Knight harks back to a bygone era in both its graphics and gameplay. And this made it a success both critically and commercially last year.
Child of Light
Using the same engine as Rayman Legends, this Ubisoft-produced game is an RPG with a beautiful art style and mechanics that are more akin to Japanese releases in this genre.