It's Christmas Eve and that can only mean one thing: I've been drinking. It also means that I put off writing my "best of" entry until the worst possible moment.

Let's face it, 2014 pretty much sucked in almost every aspect for the gaming industry. This was one of the few years where the "good" was the rarity. Thankfully, there was some good to be found. There were still some great games released and some really fantastic treats for gaming fans and the industry at large. Be sure to gather up your friends and family because it's time to read through the "Best in Gaming" for 2014.

In a year that saw some of the buggiest game releases in recent memory, seeing that a game has been delayed was actually a breath of fresh air. I would happily take a delay of a few additional months if it means a game would release as bug free as possible. All too often we see publishers pushing to get a game out of the door in time for that holiday window, and all too often it's apparent that those games could have used far more time in development than what they were allowed.

Of course it's okay to be disappointed that your most anticipated games won't be out for another few months but you have to consider the alternatives. Would you rather the game you wanted to play came out and was a bug filled, unplayable mess? Sure, patches will come but how long will that take? Will you even be interested in playing the game once it's finally "fixed?" Or would you rather the game came out a bit later and was actually playable from the start?

So when I started to see games getting delays, I saw it as nothing but a good sign. Ubisoft offered a small delay with The Crew, giving that game some additional time in the oven due to feedback from the various beta periods. I won't say that the game is great but I will say that it released with far fewer bugs and issues than some of their other games that weren't delayed.

Not to be outdone by Ubisoft, Turtle Rock Studios announced that Evolve was receiving a roughly four month long delay. It moved from October of this year all the way until February of 2015. Much like Ubisoft did with The Crew, Turtle Rock also had a number of beta periods for Evolve. These have undoubtedly provided a wealth of information to the developer that should (hopefully) allow them to make necessary pre-release changes and bug fixes to ensure a smooth launch.

Other games joining in on the delay part are Batman: Akrham Knight which has gone from an October 2014 release to a random date in 2015. The PlayStation 4 exclusive, The Order: 1886 went from a Fall 2014 release to a late February 2015 release. With any luck they'll spend that extra time removing the black bars, but I have a feeling the delay is more for the sake of polish. Another Ubisoft title, Tom Clancy's The Division went from a Fall 2014 release to 2015. This one is perhaps less about squishing bugs and more about actually finishing the game. Not much has really been shown off for this game, leading me to believe it's actually further behind in development than originally thought. We have also seen delays for Dying Light, Mad Max, and Quantum Break. They've all gone from Fall 2014 releases to various dates in 2015. These last three weren't at all likely to see a release in 2014 but given how their original tentative releases were set for 2014, I figured I'd include them here anyway.

We have seen a few delays now for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It has at least gone from a Fall 2014 release window, to a February 2015 release, and is now sitting at a release in May of 2015. Recently, CD Projekt RED revealed that the game is essentially feature complete. That means that most of the remaining five or so months will be spent on polishing the game, which gives me quite a bit of hope that it will be one of the smoother game launches in 2015. Finally, the last significant delay we saw in 2014 came for Battlefield: Hardline. Given the almost horrific launch of Battlefield 4 in 2013, a delay for the next Battlefield game to get it right from the start doesn't seem like such a terrible idea! It probably also needed some extra time in general to make gameplay adjustments based on feedback from the beta periods for the game. Hopefully, the extra time makes the game feel less like a mod for Battlefield 4, and more like a proper stand-alone title. DICE and EA already know that they're going to have to release something that is spectacular and bug free to win back the hearts of many fans that are still disappointed from the first eight or so months of Battlefield 4.

Most Improved Game in 2014: Battlefield 4
Now, speaking of Battlefield 4, I think it's safe to say that in the past few months, the game has made some incredibly significant improvements. Sure, it's still not perfect but it's far closer to perfection now than it has even been in the past.

When the game launched in 2013, it was a disaster. The game crashed, netcode was a joke for months, multiplayer matches regularly resulted in either server or client lag, hitching, and the list just goes on from there. I never played the console release of the game myself, but I heard time and time again that it was somehow worse than the PC release. I couldn't even imagine how that would be possible.

DICE and EA even went so far as to delay the release of Premium DLC because of how broken the base game was. Then the second expansion came out and many of the issues remained. It wasn't looking too good.

Then DICE finally started to address the netcode issues, or "netcode" as they like to say. They opened up the Battlefield 4 Community Test Environment which would allow the community to help test out new patches prior to their release. This seems to have drastically help reduce the number of issues that arose when new patches were released and certainly helped on bug fixes for future patches. The netcode was the subject of a few major patches for the game. Crashing was reduced significantly. Throughout 2014, the game started to become... well, amazing.

Again, the game isn't perfect, but it's sure as hell quite a bit better than it was a year ago now. I appreciate that DICE and EA continued to work hard to fix the missteps they took with this game for the longest time.

For a company that is regularly a top contender for Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" award, it perhaps seems odd to see EA making a "best of" list here or anywhere. However, the thing is when you compare EA in 2014 to EA in 2013 or other years, this year's EA managed to kick a lot of ass!

In 2013, EA's reputation undoubtedly suffered thanks to the painful launches of Battlefield 4 and SimCity. Then you had disappointing games such as NBA Live 14, Crysis 3, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, and Dead Space 3. On top of that, many of their games were littered with paid DLC and when combined with it being for a broken game (SimCity), it just left the worst possible taste in the mouths of consumers.

Fast-forward to today. In 2014, EA managed to turn Battlefield 4 into the game it should have been at release. They made significant improvements to NBA Live 15 even if it still pales in comparison to the competition. They successfully released Titanfall to relatively positive reviews, even if the community for that game is long gone. They released The Sims 4 and while it shipped with some features missing, the game eventually had many of those features return and then some in a number of free content updates.

Speaking of free content updates, we saw games like Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare show up on the scene in a big way. Hands down, it remains one of my favorite titles of 2014. EA subsidiary, PopCap Games, did a fantastic job with this game, including a huge amount of post-launch support. Every major piece of content for the game has been given out for free. If you had told me a year or two ago that an EA published game would include six free content packs, I would have had you committed. However, it happened in Plants vs. Zombies and I really couldn't be happier. I sincerely appreciate that EA is embracing the idea of "free DLC" in their games and I hope it's a trend that continues in the years to come.

And then we arrive at EA's last and perhaps biggest release for 2014, Dragon Age: Inquisition. There was a lot riding on the release of this game. Not only would this be BioWare's first release since they disappointed many with the ending to Mass Effect 3 but it is also the first Dragon Age since the hugely disappointing Dragon Age 2. Thankfully, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a damn fine game. There are literally dozens upon dozens of hours of content packed into the main campaign. It even features a rather entertaining multiplayer mode with its own progression separate from the single player story. Inquisition wasn't a flawless launch and it did ship with a few bugs. However, it still managed to be one of the least buggy AAA releases this holiday season especially when you consider just how much content is included. It is, without a doubt, my top contender for 2014 game of the year, assuming I still did a "game of the year" list.

Be sure to come back on Friday or Saturday to see the rest of the the "Best in Gaming" list for 2014!