11 Best Video Games of the Biggest Month of 2014

More of the biggest video game releases of the year came out in November than in any other month of 2014. The games in question also nabbed some of the highest review scores from critics and gamers alike. Whether you like off-the-wall adventures, first-person shooters, or epic role-playing games, you’ll find something to keep you entertained as winter sets in.

Hopefully you’ve been stocking away some spending cash lately, because these amazing games could easily break the bank. Read on for the 11 best games released in November 2014, with review scores aggregated by Metacritic.com.

Source: Telltale Games

11. Tales From the Borderlands: Episode One – Zer0 Sum

Telltale Games has had a run of excellent adventure games that basically play out as movies, with the player being called on to explore new environments, tap buttons during action sequences, and choose how conversations progress. Tales From the Borderlands is based on a series of popular first-person shooters set on a Wild West-like planet. Tales feels wholly different from the games that inspired it but still manages to fit right in.

From our review: “Playing Tales From the Borderlands is like strapping yourself into the craziest carnival ride you can imagine. It’s a tense, silly, gleeful, gory, action-packed game that I found impossible to stop playing once I started. It’s sharply written and well acted, and worth every penny. I can’t wait for Episode Two.”

Source: Ubisoft

10. Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4 is an open-world shooter that gives you a wide range of possibilities for handling the situations it presents you with. You play as a revolutionary in a Himalayan country trying to overthrow a tyrannical dictator. It all sounds very serious, but the game packs plenty of humor and surprises as you meet a crazy cast of characters and defend yourself from the occasional tiger attack.

From our review: “Far Cry 4 is a masterfully designed game that brings new ideas to the table and delivers exactly what it sets out to deliver: An experience that’s satisfying no matter how you choose to play it. From the beauty of Kyrat to the interlocking mechanics, this game shines on just about every level (minor gripes aside). If you want a game you can play for 15 hours or 80 hours, in whichever way you want, Far Cry 4 fits the bill nicely.”

Source: Sierra

9. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

The basic idea of any Geometry Wars game is simple: Fly a ship around on the screen, shoot swarms of enemies, and try to stay alive as long as possible to rack up a high score. What makes it really stand out is the silky-smooth gameplay, flashy neon graphics, and pumping techno beats.

The third installment in the franchise offers up the same irresistible gameplay, with more than 50 levels and a handful of new modes. The levels come in a variety of shapes, including three-dimensional ones like spheres, cubes, and capsules, that you can circumnavigate with your ship.

From Shacknews: “Geometry Wars 3 brings the tight twin-stick feel of the series to the modern gaming era while also paying homage to the series’ roots. Just steer clear of its online multiplayer game modes.”

Source: HalowayPoint.com

8. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Arguably no series over the past 13 years has had a bigger impact on the current landscape of gaming than Halo. This franchise is a bonafide juggernaut that keeps powering along, building a universe of lore and bringing fantastic gaming experiences with it.

This collection of the four main entries in the Halo series is the real deal. The first two games, originally released on the original Xbox, have been remastered to look great on the new hardware, and all multiplayer maps ever released for every game are accounted for here. If you want a lot of bang for your buck, this is the collection to get.

From Game Informer: “The total package of Halo: The Master Chief Collection is massive and intimidating, but none of it is crammed in or hastily included. Even the modes that appeal to a small dedicated group of Halo fans have received attention.”

Source: Atlus

7. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

The Persona series hasn’t been as big in the U.S. as it is in Japan, but the audience Stateside has been growing steadily as new games are released. The games star groups of high schoolers who socialize and attend class during the day, then go out to fight monsters at night.

Persona Q takes the characters from Persona 3 and 4 and sticks them in a different kind of role-playing game. It maintains the social aspect but turns the dungeon crawling into a first-person adventure, with an emphasis on mapping the dungeon by using the stylus on the 3DS’s bottom screen.

From IGN: “Though there were points when its puzzles completely stumped me and the combat’s steep difficulty made me want to launch my 3DS into orbit a few times, the enjoyable battle system, deep exploration, and generous dollops of fan service made it worth the effort.”

Source: Blizzard

6. World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

The most popular massively multiplayer online RPG in the world just got bigger. Warlords of Draenor is the fifth expansion of the already enormous universe created for World of Warcraft over the past 10 years. It tells the tale of an orc Warchief who travels back to a time before the orcish homeworld of Draenor was destroyed. He assembles a powerful army of orcs and prepares to bring them through a portal to invade present-day Azeroth, where they’re sure to do some serious damage.

From Polygon: “Even as I write this, I’m fighting the urge to play. Warlords of Draenor isn’t just the best Warcraft expansion in years; it’s a return to form as the best MMO in the industry.”

Source: Nicalis

5. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

No contest: The strangest game to release in November was The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, a souped up rerelease of a 2011 PC game. This biblical oddity stars Isaac, a boy who hears that God has spoken to his mother and demanded that she sacrifice him to prove her faith. Isaac immediately retreats to the basement of their house, where he finds floor after floor filled with monsters he must dispatch — using his tears as projectiles.

Depressing stuff, to be sure, but the levels look like the dungeons in the original Zelda, and the weapon upgrades are zany as all get-out. Throw in some shopkeepers, boss battles, and permanent death (you always start from scratch at the beginning), and you’ve got yourself an addictive retro-style romp.

From GameSpot: “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth may first catch your attention with its insane setting, surreal monsters, and irreverent references to Christianity, but the speedy, varied gameplay and seemingly never-ending new features (which include multiple endings and new bosses after you take out mom the first time, so the replay value is nearly infinite) are what keep you coming back for more.”

Source: Minecraft via Facebook

4. Minecraft

In this day and age, if you own an electronic device with a screen, chances are you can play Minecraft on it. This ridiculously popular game is kind of like an endless digital set of Legos. All you have to do is collect materials and you can use them to build whatever your heart desires, whether it’s an underground cavern or an entire city. Just watch out for the creepers.

From IGN: “Reshaping a pristine landscape into new world using your own two hands while things try to kill you isn’t just an amazingly rewarding gaming experience, it’s a clever retelling of human history.”

Source: DragonAge.com

3. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a truly massive game — one that takes 85 hours to complete, features nine well-written main characters, and contains a fantasy world worthy of Tolkien himself. If you enjoy a good fantasy tale and have a decent amount of free time, this game is for you.

The game kicks off with a meeting between two warring factions to discuss a peace treaty. An explosion destroys the building, killing everyone but you. When you come to, you learn that massive rifts have opened in the sky all across the land, spilling monsters into the world. Luckily for everyone, whatever wizardry has caused all this upheaval has also left you with the ability to close the rifts. You have quite an adventure ahead of you.

From PlayStation Universe: “[Dragon Age: Inquisition is] easily the company’s greatest achievement. The expertly crafted story and the massive world meant for your exploration are just the tip of the iceberg. … Easily the best RPG of the year.”

Source: Nintendo

2. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

As the season’s biggest Wii U game, Nintendo has a lot riding on Super Smash Bros. In case you’re unfamiliar with the series, it’s the only place you can watch Mario, Link, Pikachu, and Kirby pound the snot out of each other using special attacks from their own individual games.

New modes this time around accommodate players of any experience level, from total newbies to hardened pros. The graphics are better than ever, and the roster spans four decades of Nintendo history. This is by far the biggest Wii U game of the winter.

From GamesRadar: “Same great Smash Bros. gameplay, amazing new presentation on the Wii U. Whether you’re looking for technical depth or enjoyable chaos, you’ll find it here.”

Source: Rockstar Games

1. Grand Theft Auto V

Sure, GTA V came out last year for Xbox 360 and PS3, but developer Rockstar has beefed it up substantially for its debut on current-gen systems. The graphics are better, with new missions and a first-person view that transforms the game into another experience entirely. Whether you’re new to the open-world crime game or you’ve already played it and want more, this is the definitive edition of the game.

From Hardcore Gamer: “More than just a gimmick, the first-person mode really does change how it’s experienced by adding a new layer of gameplay. It won’t be for everybody, but the sheer fact that the option is there is commendable. More still, multiple new vehicles, weapons and animals have been introduced. If none of that were enough, over a hundred new songs have been added to the already robust radio stations.”

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed

Check out Tech Cheat Sheet on Facebook

More from Tech Cheat Sheet: