The Best Achievements And Trophies Of 2014

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Whether you love them, hate them, or forget they exist until they pop on your screen and interrupt your game, achievements and trophies are a (literally) required feature of all PlayStation 3, 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Steam games.

I fall into the love camp, and these are some of my favorites from 2014. The achievements and trophies I find most interesting aren't the ones that mark your progress in a storyline or reward you for attaining a certain number of headshots. I like the ones that force you to think outside of the normal functions of the game or reward you for doing something weird.

To see 2011, 2012, and 2013's best achievements and trophies, hit the links.Dark Souls II
I know I've said I don't typically like achievements that are awarded to everyone as part of normal play (and this one certainly is), but it's the perfect way of letting you know what you're in for. I suppose, technically, you could get through the game without getting this achievement, but that person is some kind of weird super human.

Six Beyond Awesome SNES RPGs You May Have Missed

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Six Beyond Awesome SNES RPGs You May Have Missed

The SNES was truly an amazing system for RPG titles, playing host to incredible titles like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy IV & VI, Earthbound, Shadowrun, and more.

Lots of folks are aware of these incredible games, often spoken in hushed tones when speaking of the glory days of console RPGs – many of them hold up today and have found their way to modern consoles, handhelds, and mobile devices in some form or another.

But there are some lesser known, still worth playing treats among the RPG titans of days long past – let’s take a look at some of them.

Listen To Game Informer's Favorite Songs of 2014

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Listen To Game Informer's Favorite Songs of 2014

We're nearing the end of 2014, which means it's time for Game Informer to share its favorite songs of the year via a Spotify playlist!

With 18 editors, plus our wonderful production staff, our tastes are understandably eclectic. Expect many transitions into new genres as you meander through the long playlist.

Not all readers have as varied taste as we do, here is some guidance for fans of particular music genres. For hip-hop lovers, our rhyme bank includes the likes of Run The Jewels, Rick Ross, Jeezy, and Kendrick Lamar.Like dance friendly music? Listen to Sylvan Esso, Kiesa, Ra Ra Riot, and Zedd.

A Look At No Man’s Sky’s Creature Features

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During our month of No Man’s Sky coverage, we’ve been focusing our attention on the game’s unfathomably large scale. We haven’t spent much time talking about the various creatures that players will be seeing while planetside. Like the worlds they inhabit, each species has been procedurally generated. We talked with Hello Games’ art team to learn about how they’re populating the galaxy with a massive menagerie of unique animals.

Hello Games is a small studio, but even a team of thousands of artists couldn’t create and animate enough creatures for No Man’s Sky using conventional methods. Rather than design, model, and animate everything by hand, they’re using in-house tools similar to the ones that generate the game’s planets, stars, and galaxy.

When they started their work, art director Grant Duncan said they didn’t have to look far for inspiration. “When it came to creatures, we built the kind of creatures that exist on the Earth. Looking at their anatomy and skeletal makeup, and it's quite surprising how few different types of skeletons there are. There are obviously variations for things like the length of limbs and the number of vertebrae and that kind of thing, but actually, roughly, they're fairly similar.”

Ten Great Android Games To Play On Holiday Break

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The holidays are filled with family gatherings, gift exchanging, mistletoe smooching, and – most importantly – brief respites from the festivities that are perfect for a little mobile gaming. Daniel Tack already has our iOS fans covered, but if you're looking for a good Android game, look no further.

Looking for even more awesome Android games? I've done so many of these round-ups that this sentence has to be absurdly long just to fit all the links to previous entries and I'm still not done! How's that for creative hyperlinking? Now onto the games:

Alter EgoNormally, the thought of playing a platformer with touch-screen controls is enough to make me throw my smartphone into a wood chipper (I've lost so many phones – and really dulled the blades on my wood chipper). However, I'm willing to make an exception for Alter Ego. First of all, it's not really a platformer; you don't actually jump, but use ladders to navigate the stages. Second, the transfer mechanic – which swaps your position with your glowing outline that you also control – is really clever.

Best iOS Games To Play Over The Holidays

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Whether you’re flying home to see friends and family, kicking back after a big meal by the fire, or just trying to avoid another one of grandma’s yarns about what life was like back in the Lincoln era, there’s a ton of great stuff on iOS to play while you’re enjoying all the trappings of the holiday season. Here are some top picks.

If you’ve never tried deck-building games, the iOS version of Ascension plays identical to the tabletop version of the same game. But with the iOS version, you’ll never have to keep track of any of the many pieces or scorekeeping, and you can also find people to play with at any time of the day instead of trying to round up friends to play with. This one has been around for a while on the platform, but it’s one of the best boardgame translations you can find on iOS and lends itself well to the digital format.

World of Tanks Blitz

10 Under-The-Radar Games Of 2014 You Probably Missed

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In any given year, many great games slip through the cracks. Some games are niche, appealing to a specific crown, while others debut during a jam-packed release season. Either way, now that the year is winding down, we thought we’d look back at some solid games that may have passed you by.

Persona Q: Shadow of Labyrinth

Persona Q hit close to Thanksgiving and a glut of big games launched in weeks prior, such as Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Naturally, Persona Q got a little lost in the shuffle, which is a shame considering it’s one stellar cross-over. Persona Q brings back the casts from the third and fourth games for an adventure together, using Etrian Odyssey’s structure, where you map out dungeons, battle tough enemies, and collect resources to upgrade equipment. All the dungeons have unique themes, like romance and Alice in Wonderland; surviving and finding your way through these harrowing labyrinths is thrilling. The best part is the banter the characters bring along the way. Yes, Junpei and Yukari still like to argue.

My Real Game Of The Year Might Not Be From This Year

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This year was a contentious year for “end of” lists.  Many of the editors on staff have their own opinion about what should have been game of the year, and few of them seem to agree. Personally, I’ve been telling everyone that my game of the year is Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and while I think that is the best game I played from 2014, I don’t think it’s the best game I played during 2014.

Let me take you all the way back to August of 1995. I was a strapping young lad and devilishly handsome, but that doesn’t mean I had life completely figured out. In fact, my biggest problem in life was that I didn’t have a SNES. I had gotten a lot of joy out of my Sega Genesis and games like Gunstar Heroes, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Streets of Rage. But I was dying to get my mitts on an SNES so I could play games like Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Super Mario World, and Super Metroid.

My SNES owning friends were also always talking about this little game called Chrono Trigger. I wasn’t much of an RPG gamer back then, but Chrono Trigger's massive time-spanning adventure sounded pretty cool. I got a few glimpse of the game while visiting a buddy’s house, and was pretty sure I’d play it once I got my hands on a SNES.

Where Assassin's Creed Should Go Next: The First Civilization

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Where Assassin's Creed Should Go Next: The First Civilization

I'm growing disenchanted with the Assassin's Creed games, a series that once dazzled me with its melding of period piece storytelling and secrets tied to an ancient civilization possessing technology far beyond ours today. Ubisoft's focus is now mostly on exploring the past, something they do quite well, but I'm finding that, without the mystery, the experience is different and and not nearly as engaging. Part of its DNA missing.

As much as I enjoy suiting up as an assassin and exploring landmark events in human history, such as the French Revolution or Italy during the 15th century, the big hook for me, which took root in Assassin's Creed II, was searching for "The Truth," secrets, messages, and images that pointed to a much larger story unfolding. This hunt for clues tied to that ancient civilization was one of the best optional objectives I've ever come across in a game.

Should Your Favorite Video Game Animals Be Dead?

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Video game characters and their respective series only have one true lifeblood: monetary success. As long as they keep making money, they'll stay alive. But what if video game franchises and their beloved mascots adhered to the laws of nature? We've done some serious scientific research to find out the real-world lifespans of your favorite video game animals.

[Editor's note: My serious scientific research includes taking the first hit on Google as the gospel/truth.]

Crash Bandicoot - 3-Year LifespanBandicoots only last about three years, which is just about the amount of time Crash stayed with its parent developer, Naughty Dog (if you don't count strapping a wild animal into a go-kart and calling it Crash Team Racing). After Naughty Dog abandoned their once-beloved mascot, the critter's quality of life slowly yet surely began to erode.