Shacknews Community Top 5 Games of 2014 (so far)

Hard to believe, but 2014 is already halfway over. With the summer months starting to roll in, Shacknews feels it's a good time to take a look at some of the best games of the year, so far. But before looking at the staff's picks, we'd like to give the spotlight to our loyal Chatty community, who are the heart of our entire website. With that in mind, let's take a look at the Shacknews Chatty Game of the Mid-Year 2014!

Honorable Mention - Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft brings out all the fun and randomness that makes a collectible card game truly great. With nine classes that all feature their own unique minions, spells, and effects, no two games of Hearthstone are ever the same. And though losses can sometimes be infuriating, there's always an intangible sense that leaves the urge to keep trying and keep learning. The best part? The game is just what free-to-play should be, rewarding gold often enough to stay competitive without blowing real money. It's possible to get the most out of your Hearthstone experience without spending a dime, which is just what every game utilizing this pricing model should strive for.

5th place - South Park: The Stick of Truth

Obsidian's faithful interpretation of the South Park world is easily the best interpretation of the franchise to date. With the show's recognizable animation style and humor fully intact, South Park: The Stick of Truth has everything that a South Park fan could ever want, with references to over 15 seasons of quality television. With inventive set pieces and jovial jabs at some of gaming's most well-known tropes, The Stick of Truth stands as one of the most memorable RPGs of the year. It's one that will keep you laughing from start to finish.

4th place - Transistor

Bastion creator Supergiant Games did a tremendous job with their second game, creating just as memorable an experience as their first game. Transistor welcomes players into another wonderful world spotlighting a new voiceless character. Red's journey is emotional and profound, creating another unforgettable story. But in addition to its story, Transistor also has a deep and engaging combat system. There are a multitude of Functions to create and part of the fun of the game is in finding some astounding combinations.

3rd place - Titanfall

Respawn's long-awaited FPS certainly has not disappointed. Titanfall delivers on everything it's promised and more, crafting a fun multiplayer experience that centers around hulking robots and adding some new twists to the traditional multiplayer FPS formula by tossing in low-level bots to help boost numbers and make it feel like a true large-scale battle. But while the giant Titan mechs are cool, Respawn arguably does a better job of in crafting Titanfall's infantry. With the ability to wall run and double jump, the parkour elements of Titanfall help make it a blast to play with friends.

Runner-up: Mario Kart 8

Nintendo hasn't forgotten what makes Mario Kart the go-to game for just about anyone, whether it's a hardcore gamer, a casual pick-up-and-play type, or families that just want to have a good time together. Mario Kart 8 continues to scratch that racing itch as well as it has for the past 20 years, further refining a tried-and-true formula and tossing in even more imaginative courses. But nothing is more fun that online multiplayer and the stories that come out of it. By embracing online sharing and outlets like YouTube, Nintendo has extended the appeal of their long-running franchise in ways previously thought unimaginable. There's a new story to tell everyday, some of which don't even revolve around the now-famous Luigi death stare.

Chatty Game of the Mid-Year: Dark Souls 2

Anyone that has followed Shacknews' Chatty community for any length of time should know that this vote wasn't even close. Dark Souls 2 took this honor by a mile, with a late push that left Mario Kart 8 in the dust. Dark Souls has re-defined the way we look at adventure games and the second game in the series adds to it further by improving the game's PvP and social elements, while also constructing a game that shines just as well on PC as it does on consoles. There's no game quite like Dark Souls 2, as evidenced by the four million people that died in just the first two days of release alone. Dying is easy, but it's never been more fun. And with even more content on the way, it's more than likely that we'll be seeing Dark Souls 2 again on the formal GOTY list at the end of 2014.