2014 GOTY

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2014 Games of the Year

2014 Games of the Year

2014 was a fantastic year for gamers. A wealth of quality titles resulted in much indecision whilst crafting our Game of the Year lists and trying to rationalise which deserved the top spot. Another Dungeon hasn’t been around long enough for us to do a “proper” GOTY with shortlists and user voting and the like, so this year we decided to provide you with our selections and discuss them with you in the comments. Alternatively you can head over to the 2014 GOTY thread in the forums and post your thoughts and/or votes there.

Dave Haldane

Nominations : Dark Souls 2, Transistor, Bayonetta 2Fez, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Divinity: Original Sin
Winner : Dark Souls 2

Whilst 2014 was replete with stellar titles, there was one that stood head and shoulders above the rest: Dark Souls 2. It took everything I loved about the franchise and improved on it. The world was deep and diverse, rewarding players who explored, and the combat was varied with a perfect difficulty to suit. It’s rare that I replay a game, and even rarer that subsequent runs feel like a new experience. Dark Souls 2 achieved this and even after three separate playthroughs (not to mention the DLC), still left me feeling like I’d only scratched the surface. A diverse and complex title that’s easy to learn, but difficult to master. Praise the sun!

Second place was a tough choice between Transistor and Divinity: Original Sin. Transistor was a beautiful game with unique gameplay that was executed perfectly. The music and visuals were amazing and created a truly engaging ambiance. Divinity: Original Sin had exceptional open storytelling and playstyle, which created a truly great role-playing experience. It really took the genre back to its roots, whilst applying a modern style to address the issues experienced in older titles. Bayonetta 2, South Park, and Hyrule Warriors earned their nominations due to the sheer amount of enjoyment I had playing them. They were all rounded, polished titles that were well presented and offered plenty to do. The Swapper and Rayman Legends would also have made the cut as I replayed their 2014 re-releases, however, as it was a re-play for me, I decided to exclude them. Not so with Fez. With its PlayStation debut, I was able to play this amazing puzzle game for the first time. If it weren’t for the map and area navigation, this would have been a much stronger contender!

It’s worth noting that, unfortunately, I didn’t get time to play many of this year’s big releases. I’m sure games like Wolfenstein: The New Order or Middle Earth: Shadow of Morder would have been in contention had I the time to give them a play. Still, what can you do? New Year’s resolution… play all the games!

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Greg Newbegin

Nominations: The Banner Saga, Middle earth: Shadow of Mordor, Far Cry 4, Destiny, Mario Kart 8
Winner: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

It’s always difficult to choose a single Game of the Year, but it was especially so this year, as there were a number of titles that really shone – and some that were expected to that, well… fizzled and popped. I had trouble narrowing my nominations down to five – but you can see my final list above. A few more that I feel should also receive mention (why not?): Civilisation: Beyond Earth, The Sims 4, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, Persona Q, Shovel Knight – it was a damned good year.Why did I choose Shadow of Mordor over the others? Well, overall – and especially compared to Far Cry 4 – it was light on variation, but really heavy on innovation. While Far Cry 4 had so much to do and see, Shadow of Mordor was a little more limited in scope. That said, Far Cry 4 was just an expansion on Far Cry 3, while there is nothing quite like Shadow of Mordor.

Destiny was always going to be a contentious choice, what with the “cool” position being that it was derivative and lacking in story, I found it to be a really solid gameplay experience, and to me, that’s all that really matters. Mario Kart 8 is, in my opinion, the finest title in the series, and really goes to show that Nintendo knows how to iterate. The big surprise for me was The Banner Saga, an independent title that had so much polish that it was perfect in almost every way – if a little short.

Overall, though, Shadow of Mordor introduced brilliant new features to an established world and took the risk of trying an approach not directly linked to the movies/books. With a really refined battle mechanic, a fully realised world, and the superlative Nemesis system, it was a refreshing new take on open-world combat. Sure, it got a little too easy half-way through, and became a bit too repetitive as time dragged on, but overall it was just too sublime an experience to pass up.

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Tim Paterson

Nominations : Dark Souls 2, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Far Cry 4
Winner : Dark Souls 2

Looking back at 2014, it’s been another great year for gamers. Some great new IPs and some solid sequels made this year’s lineup fantastic, but there’s one game that I played way more than any other this year. This game is part of a fantastic series that’s well known for its challenging gameplay, and this year’s iteration improved on many gameplay elements and made this title well deserving of my Game of the Year.I’m of course talking about Dark Souls II. With its much improved combat and more diverse locations, Dark Souls II is a game that I sunk well over a hundred hours into – with one one character – and then replayed a second time using a different playstyle.

To me, it’s the sort of game whereby a lot of the enjoyment comes from the gameplay, and I feel it does a great job of balancing difficulty and reward. If you haven’t picked up this game yet, wait until the “Scholar of the First Sin” edition comes out next year with all the DLC included, it will be well worth your time.

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Andrew Peirce

Nominations – The Walking Dead: Season Two, Nippy Cats, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Guacamelee: Super Championship Edition, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Valiant Hearts
Winner – Valiant Hearts

The Walking Dead Season One is storytelling perfection. Season Two is less gameplay and more storytelling, and has one killer multi-ending that will leave you questioning your decisions. I laughed my ass off during South Park, it’s juvenile humour suits any age. How do you make the already perfect Guacamelee! better? By throwing in a whole new level and changing the course of the second half of the game. The original is still a must-play, but the new edition is just as great. Wolfenstein: The New Order is a prime example of storytelling through gameplay.
The shooting mechanics work wonderfully and a phenomenal 20-hour story unfolds through beautiful visuals.
The must-play FPS for 2014.My winner was Valiant Hearts. It’s storytelling through great gameplay, and just what I want in a game. A side-scrolling puzzler that takes place in World War One, this is quite simply one of the most involving games that I’ve ever played. It educates whilst it entertains. It’s a game that takes the notion of “better graphics, bigger worlds, more, more, more!” and throws it out the window. It’s a game that they should use in schools to teach about World War One.

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Jair McBain

Nominations – Luftrausers, Nidhogg, Samurai Gunn, Monument Valley, The Vanishing Game
Winner – Nidhogg

My nominations this year are perhaps not my typical choice of interactive experience. I’ve had an incredibly busy year of moving about and long work days; there’s been little time to sit down and slog through RPG’s and AAA titles, as I would have in years gone by. While it’s been a curse, it’s also been a great opportunity to refine my tastes and figure out what I really want from an interactive experience.My game of the year is Nidhogg, a two-player duelling game in which two players try their hand at fencing in a side-scrolling environment. I enjoyed the ridiculous back-and-forth and simple controls, making it an incredibly fun party game over a few drinks with friends. The hilarious animations and unfortunate deaths that you are often met with will keep you laughing while you get super competitive with your pals.

I can’t, however, overlook the honourable mention and close second choice, which was the wonderful interactive narrative The Vanishing Game. This piece of sponsored writing, displayed as a scrolling narrative with rich video and audio backing as well as narration, stood out to me as one of the most well produced and creative interactive projects to come out during 2014. Projects that experiment with a range of mediums and include interactive elements are particularly exciting to me, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in great story telling experiences.

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Chris Clarke

Nominations Bayonetta 2, Dark Souls 2, Pokémon Omega Ruby, Mario Kart 8, Shovel Knight

Winner – Pokemon Omega Ruby

This may not be a surprise to some. I am a huge (no, really, I mean it) fan of the Pokémon franchise. I’ve been playing since I was in Primary School, and I actually owned Pokémon Red before I owned a Game Boy with which to play it. Omega Ruby builds on the foundation laid in X&Y. It added new Mega Evolutions, finally let players revisit the Hoenn region, and, perhaps most importantly, added a story centric post-game chapter known as the “Delta Episode”. The Delta Episode is largely plot driven, which is a pretty large departure from the roots of the series. This, to me, is a step in the right direction for the franchise, as it’s actually very well written and fairly engrossing. Also, the word “Episode” in the name implies there could be more in the works. Pokémon DLC content? Sign me up!

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There are two things I love in life... playing games and my family. I work three jobs; one to pay the bills, another as a video game designer at C117 Games, and, of course, here - at Another Dungeon. I own almost every console since the Atari 7800 and am proud of my extensive collection of games. I'm more of a single or coop player but I do dabble in multiplayer on the odd occasion. Tabletop wise I prefer strategic games like Five Tribes or Small World. If you want to have a game or just chat feel free to add me, PM me or email me.
  • Andrew, what’s your Nippy Cats high score?

  • Dave C Haldane

    If I could have a do-over Valiant Hearts would be my #1 game without a shadow of a doubt. 10 out of 10 for me. Such an amazing title!

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