Logo for Byte Magazine at Ball State University

Travis' Top Five Games of 2014

5. Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

Tales of Symphonia was the first “Tales of” game I've played and made me fall in love with the series. The sequel received harsh reviews because of a weak/shy/scared main character, but I loved it because I really saw myself in Emil. Because the first game really introduced me to the JRPG world it has a special place in my heart. If the first game was released in today’s world I don’t think it would stand much of a chance, but the nostalgia factor brought it into my top 5 for the year.

4. Pokemon ORAS

Pokemon Ruby for the GBA is by far my most played Pokemon game. It was fun to travel through the Hoenn region again and see all of the 2D sprites evolve into 3D. I was even pleasantly surprised when it came to differences that were not there in the original game like the new layout of Mauville City. I liked having the ability to easily import my pokemon from other games in the series through Pokebank, it made it feel more like I was continuing my adventure rather than starting a new one. The Delta Episode was the best part about the game. It introduced out of this world new content that felt much more modern than the rest of the game. It was a great way to end the story of ORAS.

3. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix

I have never played a horrible Kingdom Hearts game, so having 3 of them on one disc cannot be a bad thing. Picking up the Keyblade and rediscovering the main plot behind Xehanort and Organization XIII is just the thing I need to keep me tied over until Kingdom Hearts 3 gets it’s release. These games aren’t just decent games released to keep players busy until Kingdom Hearts 3 though. They are the best games in the series. Kingdom Hearts 2 really picks up the pace and steps into a more Square Enix story than a Disney story. Birth By Sleep starts to bring the story full circle and finally explains so many things that needed answered. BBS also does a great job of developing characters that fans of the series have just met and don’t have a huge investment in. Sora may be the main character in the series, but Terra, Aqua and Ventus bring a refreshing change to the games.

2. Smash Bros 3DS/Wii U

Smash Bros. has always been the go-to game whenever friends would come over. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say much, because almost everyone knows about Smash Bros. and what it does. Even though the series hasn’t changed it’s formula up too much, every new version is welcome. With the 3DS version I was very excited to play Smash Run because it reminded me so much of City Trial from Kirby’s Air Ride, which was another go-to game when friends would come over. Because of Smash Run, the 3DS version of Smash Bros. felt like an amazing crossover between Smash Bros. and Kirby’s Air Ride and I loved it! The Wii U version feels a little more natural to play, because you and your friends can all gather around a TV and play at the same time. It’s a game that everyone can enjoy, no matter what genre of game they are into.

1. Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming

This game has everything you could want from an RPG all in short 30 second bursts. You have to frantically race against time and level up your hero before the world is destroyed by a destruction spell. That may seem like a pretty short game, but by paying money to the greedy Time Goddess time can be reset to 30 seconds and levels can last up to 15 minutes. 

This is the second game in the series and it improves much on the first game by having a traversable world map and getting rid of the princess and demon lord modes to only focus on the 30-second hero aspect of the game. On top of the fun and frantic gameplay, the game excels when it comes to comedy by taking stabs at the usual RPG formula and using over the top characters like the Goddess of Time. 

The story of the game is much more full compared to the first game, mainly because the character’s can talk this time around instead of using a silent protagonist. Some of the characters start off being stereotypical, but they aren’t used in the same way that the stereotypes are normally used. This was one of the few games that kept me interested enough to collect every last item and achievement and if you have anywhere between 30 seconds and many hours, you should pick up this game.
Travis Robinson is the Video Editor for BYTE