What a year it's been for the Wii U! After struggling for a long time, Nintendo's latest console finally got the shot in the arm it desperately needed: great games. A good number of these remarkable experiences came from Nintendo, including Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which marked its series' triumphant return, but we also had surprising hits from third party developers, including Yacht Club Games' challenging and witty platformer, Shovel Knight.
Then there's Bayonetta 2, a Wii U exclusive from the incredible talents at Platinum Games, which is one of the most impressive third-person action games in years. It has immaculate controls and fantastic design sense, not to mention some of the largest bosses and set pieces since Shadow of the Colossus. Our own Mark Walton loved it so much that he gave Bayonetta a score of 10; GameSpot's first in a number of years. Indeed, Bayonetta 2 is a near perfect action game, and is well deserving of its 10. However, our end of year awards are based on team votes and analysis rather than a single editor, and we collectively felt that Mario Kart 8 is the best Wii U game of 2014.
Mario Kart has been around for a long time, but with every game, Nintendo adds new features that bring players back, and it's no different with the latest entry. Mario Kart 8 does what a Mario Kart game should do: control well and facilitate fun and challenging competitive play. It also delivers many wonderful new tracks, and though it may be hard to detect the change at first, it prioritizes racing skill over reliance on items, blue shells be damned. There are few games that offer endless appeal, but Mario Kart 8 is one of them. If you can only pick one game to own for the Wii U, there's no question: it must be Mario Kart 8.