GAF Games of the Year 2014 - Voting Thread [voting closed]

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Sep 9, 2013
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1. Guilty Gear XRD ; Fighting games are without a doubt my most loved competitive genre and this game just hit all the right notes. Deep while also being accessible, mechanically sound and just a joy to play. Also one of my favorite games visually.

2. Danganronpa 2 ; I completed chapter 1 pretty soon after release and of course was mindfucked which this series does well. However I had a lot to play so I didn't come back to it till the tail end of 2014 and finally completed it. Loved the roller coaster ride ending and everything in between. My love of the first game in the series of course informs my love for the second but I will give my spot in this top 5 to the sequel though as a whole Danganronpa had a strong role in my 2014.

3. Transistor ; When a game has music that I can still listen to beyond my time with that game it's already doing at least one thing right. When a game can get me to actually take the time to platinum it while I have a backlog I know it's something special. Transistor was easily my number 1 for months and in some ways it still is my sentimental favorite. Great game.

4. D4 ; Quirky, great music, fun characters and an ending that has me begging for more. Also hands down my favorite game for Xbox One.

5. infamous: first light ; Neon is quite possibly one of my favorite powers in a video game ever. Now I get to have improved Neon and play as the character I enjoyed more than the main character? I was down for this. Arena mode was also dope. Infamous may have problems as an open world game with side content but in the being a superhero with fun powers department it has 0 issues.

I still have a lot of amazing games to complete like Bayo 2, but my number 1 XRD taking all my free time ;_;
 
Apologies in advance but I have limited money and time at the moment so I only played on Wii U and on my outdated PC. Consequently my list of games to choose from is also limited. But I have to say I had a great gaming year and I am definitely looking forward to 2015.

1. Bayonetta 2 ; Bayonetta 2 is smooth I mean silkery buttery butterfly in the stomach panther pantihose kind of smooth. Seriously this game is so well animated. I also love how colourful it is compared to first and how everything has been improved. I really had loads of fun playing it. The fact that there are no bugs and that it is polished as hell. Definitely a must have for all the beat-them-all fans.

2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; I love DKCTF to bits. It was hard, it was beautiful, it was a blessing in disguise. I didn't expect much but it was perfect and very nervous. I mean have you seen the speed runs at AGDQ?! I played it with headphones most of the time and I wouldn't recommend other way of playing it.

3. Mario Kart 8 ; Like many I thought Mario Kart Wii was fun but not as epic as previous Mario Kart entries. Mario Kart 8 has put Mario Kart back on track: epic realisation, epic music. I mean I am still amazed at how beautiful the game is everytime I play it. Also epic DLCs and good online.

4. Shovel Knight ; You can say what you want about Kickstarter but when I know it helped funding a game such as Shovel Knight I am then very glad it exists. What's impressive with Shovel Knight isn't the nice pixels or audio or the impeccable mechanics and user interface. It's the gameplay. Some good old fashion gameplay really well thought and really enjoyable. My hat off to Yacht Club Games.

5. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; This one is quite low on my list some might say but it's also because I have yet to dig all the stuff it has to offer. I have yet to masterize the controls. I have yet to understand many things. I have yet to ... I could go on and on but you get it this game is packed with content and what a content. I am definitely impressed with what this game is offering and I know I will keep on coming back to it for a very long time.

6. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; Oh this one! It took me by surprise. I was so fond of the Captain Toad levels in SM3DW but I could never imagined they would come up with a full game. And boy I am glad they did. It is such delight to turn around the levels up and down zoom in and out. It is so freaking cute and the puzzles are so relaxing. No time limit. No stress. Pure joy. I am doing 2 to 3 levels each day. Slowly. I don't want it to end.
 
Jun 13, 2013
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Less than a week left now and I am still seeing invalid ballots. Make sure you have your formatting right people.

I am seeing this rule getting broken a lot
Comments on games must begin on the same line as the game title itself, following a semicolon (;)
 
Jun 3, 2009
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1. Mario Kart 8 ; the most fun I had with a video game this year. Awesome graphics, great track design and DLC done right not to mention a very solid online offering.

2. Fantasy Life ; one of the most addicting RPGs I've played in a long time. The amount of sidequests and different lifes you can take expand the replay value of this game greatly.

3. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor ; Despite having a somewhat bland and boring overworld and forgettable story the Arkham combat system guaranteed a good time with this title, not to mention the nemesis system is great.

4. Hyrule Warriors ; not a big fan of Musou games but the Zelda fan service took this game to a whole new level.

5. Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition ; Really glad I waited for this version of this game. Very fun and addicting dungeon crawler with a very intuitive system and online play.

6. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; one of the best single player campaigns for a FPS in recent memory.

7. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; great improvement over Brawl, love the speed of the gameplay. On the surface however it's more of the same but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Vastly improved online play is awesome.

8. Infamous Second Son ; a bit on the short side but fun while it lasted. Great graphics and representation of what the PS4 is capable despite being an early exclusive title.

9. Kirby Triple Deluxe ; short, easy, but extremely fun.

10. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker ; short and easy but full of charm.
 

BorkBork

The Legend of BorkBork: BorkBorkity Borking
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2014 was more of a backlog year for me than getting around to new things. I've played more than the following, but the other games don't quite deserve to be on a GOTY list.

1. Super Smash Brothers Wii U ; Gorgeous and deep. 40 hours in and I'm just scratching the surface.
2. Shovel Knight ; Meticulous and polished. Every bit of design hits a sweet spot.
3. Transistor ; Haunting and stylish. Music elevates the game to another level.
4. Fantasy Life ; Refreshing and addictive. Doing a pacificist run is one of the more interesting gaming experiences out there.
5. Bravely Default ; Challenging and beautiful. Great core mechanics makes me eager for a sequel.
 
Dec 24, 2007
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Not played that many games this year worth putting on a top 10 list. Here's my top 5 at least.

1. Dark Souls II ; Not as good as Dark Souls or Demon's Souls but still the best game to come out last year.

2. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; I haven't laughed as much as I did playing this game in a very long time.

3. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls ; The game that I have easily spent most hours with in 2014

4. The Wolf Among Us ; Love the whole Fabletown universe. The music was also pretty great!

5. Valkyria Chronicles ; Just as good as it was when I played it on the PS3. A joy to revisit Gallia
 
Apr 8, 2006
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1. Bayonetta 2 ; An incredible and fun experience from beginning to end. Bayonetta 2 never overstayed its welcome and offered an experience that was challenging without ever becoming frustrating. The game managed to constantly come up with new and inventive ways to entertain me and the combat system was a joy to use. Bayonetta 2 was about as close to a perfect gaming experience as we got this year. It was an absolute delight to experience.

2. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; I was flip-flopping on whether or not I was going to make Dragon Age my game of the year. It's such an engrossing experience and I have loved my 40+ hours with the game so far. The combat system isn't perfect but I find it easy to use. I can't say the same for the inventory system however. That along with some small technical issues have kept it from the number one spot.

3. MLB 14: The Show ; MLB makes me list ever year. Sony's San Diego studio continues to put out the best sports video game experience and it's now even better on Playstation 4. I put the most hours into this franchise year after year and it continues to be a rewarding experience.

4. Mario Kart 8 ; This game looks and plays incredibly. Nintendo has been a little hit or miss with the Mario Kart franchise over the last couple of iterations but they definitely knocked it out of the park here. It's beautiful and a lot of fun. Once Dragon Age is done I need to give this game some more time.

5. DriveClub ; This could have very well been on my shit list this year but Evolution managed to turn around this game in a big way. It's now my go to racing experience. It also looks incredible. That weather update may have been the single greatest rebound for a game this year. What a fantastic surprise.

6. Alien: Isolation ; Alien was a bit of a dark horse. I didn't know what to expect. When I did finally get around to play it I wasn't entirely sold at first, but I eventually did learn how to play the game properly and then everything just clicked. A fun experience.

7. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; I am not a huge SSB fan but I do find these games to be a fun distraction and I love playing around with all the Nintendo characters. There is a great deal of polish to this game and it's loaded with content.

8. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare ; A return to form with some added flavour. This was a welcome addition to the franchise after the borefest that was Ghosts. I can play this game for hours.

9. Forza Horizon 2 ; I expected this to be my number one racing game of the year and I almost find it a bit strange that it fell to such a low spot on my list. It's just that DriveClub and Mario Kart ended up being that much stronger in the long run and I tend to go back tot hem more than FH2. Still, I had a hell of a good time with this game back in October. I actually consider the off road racing experience to be very similar to Motorstorm, which is about as high a praise as I can give it. This game deserves more of my time.

10. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn ; First on PC and now on Playstation 4. Despite wanting to switch to a free-to-play MMO experience, FFXIV keeps dragging me back in. Maybe it's my love for Final Fantasy, but this game has its hooks in me.

x. Grand Theft Auto V ; It's quite possible the only reason this game didn't make the list is due to the fact that I haven't had much of a chance to play it.

x. WWE 2k15 ; Yeah, the PS4 version. Yeah, Bobo is going to hate me. Still, I had fun with this game and ended up playing it for about 30+ hours. I wouldn't recommend anyone buy it for anything above $29.99 due to the amount of cut features it had, but for the gameplay, I think it's worth giving a shot if your a wrestling fan. Let's face it, there is no recent competition.
 
May 11, 2014
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1. Goat Simulator; A reminder that games can still mindlessly be fun.
2. Pokemon Omega Ruby Version; I loved the original too, and I think this one just improves on everything in it.
3. Dreamfall Chapters; This game is WAY too underrated. The story is awesome, and sure, the graphics aren't the best, but there's some kind of mystique to it.
4. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth ; Not as good as P3 or P4, but still great, and a very nice treat on the 3DS.
5. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS; A classic that just got better, new characters, new modes, and a lot of competitive fun.
6. Watch Dogs; Some people got very disappointed at the game, but I actually found it to be a good, solid game, just no overwhelming. Played the WiiU version though, and the WiiU feels better with a game like this on its catalog.
7. The Evil Within; The XBOne version of it is just great, and reminds me a lot o RE4, which is always a good thing.
8. BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition; Burial at Sea is the last shout from Bioshock, and its great, too bad they moved on.
9. Transistor; Indie cyberpunk on the PS4... success.
10. Trials Fusion; I've always been a fan of Trials, and while this game isn't better then the previous ones, it isn't worse either, and hey, at least the graphics are better now

Honorable Mentions
x. Monster Hunter 4G; Only played it a bit, a friend of mine had it imported from Japan. While I can't really say how good it is till the english version releases, the JP looked solid and addictive as ever.
x. Steel Diver: Sub Wars; The game itself isn't great, it's actually very mediocre, but it represents Nintendo's baby steps in the F2P model, so, it's mention worthy.
 
I don't get nearly as much time to play games as I once did, but here's my list from what I did play in 2014.

1. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls ; I didn't have the same problems as others did with D3, but RoS and the inclusion of the Crusader and adventure mode (and the removal of the AH) really improved the original game. Every time I sat down to play something on my PC, I'd page through the stuff I had on Steam and then fire up D3. (Except for one exception below.)

2. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor ; yes, the Nemesis system is cool and an innovative approach in next gen that will undoubtedly be replicated. But at the end of the day, this was an impressive mix of other games, most notably Batman & AC. And the mix was done to perfection, with the excessive executions icing on the cake.

3. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; I've not spent a lot of time yet with this title, but what I have done is enough to ensure it stays in the play rotation for a long time.

4. Divinity: Original Sin ; this is the only other PC game this year that's gotten attention besides D3: RoS. I love the combat system and will dig into it even more in 2015.

5. Threes! ; First, I suck at this game. Second, I can't seem to stop playing it. Third, my high score is laughable.

6. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; again, not enough time with this yet. Probably only 25% done. But I like the emphasis on story, the gunplay feels fantastic, and the stealth requirements are good. I'm definitely leaning away from multiplayer these days, as I simply don't have the time to improve skills and it's frustrating to get your ass kicked by 12 year olds, so getting to play a first-rate, story-driven FPS is a lot of fun.

7. Halo: Master Chief Collection ; well, this is where I would have liked more friends to show up, but then the MP was broken anyway. Still great to fire up Halo: CE and start through the campaign again. Keeping the old graphics in there at the press of a button was a nice touch.

8. Titanfall ; this makes the list for one reason only: signature moments. Such as landing a Titan on another Titan. Pretty sure that was one of my first "Xbox Record That!" moments.

9. Hearthstone ; this is another one I'm not too good at, but I like firing it up. I wouldn't normally have thought myself a card gamer, but Hearthstone's presentation is enough to bring me back for more (if I wasn't playing Threes so much).

10. Destiny ; Honestly this shows up here because it's probably the only other 2014 released game I played (other than those listed). I could have kept it off the list, but I had enough fun in the first couple of weeks of its release to at least toss it on here. The fun ended pretty quick as I realized how repetitive and dull the game was.
 
May 21, 2014
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1. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; the redemption of the series.

2. Dark Souls 2 ; a disappointment, but only in relation to what came before.

3. Monument Valley ; the first mobile game I've played that was satisfying to me and to my non-gamer relatives in equal measure.

4. PT ; a brilliant experiment.

5. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor ; for unexpected innovation.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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1. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft ; This was actually my GOTY last year (when it wasn’t eligible because it was a beta), and over the course of the year it actually began to slide down my list, as fatigue began to set in with the lack of new card releases. Naraxus was nice, but it did not really create any new decks. Fast forward to December, and all of a sudden Goblins vs Gnomes, which had been teased, dropped seemingly out of nowhere. This expansion fleshed out mechanics and allowed for smaller strategies like Pirates to be played, put a massive focus on Mechs and made it so you could make a Mech tribal deck with several different classes depending on your playstyle, and shook up the metagame with powerful new Legendaries. It gave the game a new lease on Life.

My favorite game of all time is Magic: The Gathering, and Hearthstone is maybe 1/3rd the game Magic is. What it takes away from Magic (the ability to do stuff on your opponents turn being the most striking change) hurts the gameplay but is great for casually playing on your tablet (or phone later this year!), and while I hate everything about the World of Warcraft theme (I disabled all the sounds pretty much instantly, and listen to my own music when playing), just by being a wonderful online CCG that functions as it should, is more than enough to claim the top spot on my GOTY list.


2. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; I've become a huge fan of visual novels the past years, and this one stands out for having my favorite cast of characters in one to date, and while the story isn't original in the least, its still presented well. DR1 beats out DR2 on this list by virtue of the minigames in DR2 being significantly worse than the original game


3. Threes ; I've never been one to play games on my phone, but Threes became an addiction for me this year. It holds up to infinite replays, as well as being fun if i'm killing time during commercials, or if you want to sit for a serious session. I probably spent more time playing Threes and Hearthstone than every other game on this list combined.


4. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor ; They took the best parts of Batman and Assassins Creed, threw in the Nemesis system, and put out a great game. I hope a future Batman game gets to use the Nemesis system, as it really feels like the first "Next-gen" feature we have had this time


5. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; I had zero interest in this game untill I saw this trailer giving the mood of the world. This game feels alot like a Starbreeze game (lots of ex-Starbreeze guys made this), and while the gunplay is honestly the weakest part of this FPS, the world building, the characters, the small moments (the scene on the train introducing Frau was the most tense I felt in gaming this year) all add up to make a wonderful game.


6. Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition ; How did I miss this game last year? Game has probably the most satisfying Bow and Arrow in gaming, and plays like a slightly more restrained and gameplay focused version of Uncharted, with just enough of a plot to string together all the setpieces.


7. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd ; While this game is significantly harder than the first game and has worse music, I'm a big fan of the little things they did to make the package better- English lyrics, a useful lag adjustment mode, and the ability to import saves from the Japanese version into the US version. Still a great rhythm game.


8. Titanfall ; The month I spent with Titanfall after it's launch was both amazing and made me never want to play the game again. I love the traversal, the Titans, and the powers, but hated the lack of human enemies, the insulting "story", and the overall lack of maps. Can't wait for Titanfall 2, where they will likey fix these issues.


9. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth ; I've never been a fan of dungeon crawlers ever since EO1 scared me off, but the ability to have the game auto fill in walls and floors is a godsend and allowed me to actually enjoy the game. And while the story is basically non-existant, there are plenty of fun character interactions between the P3 and P4 cast that make up for the lack of social links in the game.


10. The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo ; As someone who is the exact age to resonate with the story (being 10 years old in 1998), and a fan of creepypasta in general, I really enjoyed this short game. It gets extra points for doing some really cool stuff with your web browser.

And man, that Mew story hit a little close to home ;_;
 
May 11, 2009
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1. Mario Kart 8 ; Mario Kart 8 features some of the best racing I've had in Mario Kart in years. Rather than try and reinvent all its features, MK8 instead focuses on making sure the core gameplay, tracks and music are given a great level of polish. While the new feature anti-gravity is a bit underused in the base game it is given its time to shine in the first dlc pack. The only negative being the reduced battle mode, Mario Kart 8 and its DLC packs still delivered the most fun I've had in a game this year.
2. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; It took years but South Park finally has a game worthy of the tv series. Featuring animation that looks exactly like the show and the full voicework and story from the show runners, South Park succeeds where so many other licensed games have struggled in the past.
3. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; Nothing stops the Inquisition and Dragon Age is no exception. Connecting Dragon Age 1 and 2 together was no easy feat but Inquisition does a good job of not only that but also telling its own story. Taking several pages from the first Dragon Age game, Inquisition has you crossing the world, building your forces and making decisions that will affect 2 kingdoms. The companions you can recruit are still the highlight, each one coming with an interesting backstory and motivations. Interacting with them is the highlight of the game, although dealing medieval justice from your throne is also kind of fun. If you loved Dragon Age 1 but weren't a fan of 2, don't shy away from Inquisition.
4. Gods Will Be Watching ; Take the most intense choice decision of any recent Telltale game and ramp it up by 100%. Gods Will Be Watching is a series of intense scenarios as you attempt to survive a variety of situations. Unforgiving difficulty, random events that can force a restart and crazy twists highlight a game that asks you to make difficult decisions with limited resources.
5. Far Cry 4 ; The sequel to my goty 2012, Far Cry 4 is still a fun romp through the war torn country of Kryat. Featuring a very open ended design philosophy (including the easter egg to beat the game in 15 minutes) Far Cry 4 puts the player in control and gives them the tools to do whatever they like.
6. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; If you would've bet me at the beginning of the year that Wolfenstein would be on my top 10, you'd be much richer right now. Wolfenstein comes through as an excellent first person shooter combined with an overly ambitious story compared to many other fps games on the market today.
7. Hyrule Warriors ; The Legend of Zelda meets Dynasty Warriors could've gone wrong in so many ways but Omega team manages to pull off a competent mixture of the 2 series. Giant bosses add some variety to the stages and every character controls differently enough forcing you to change your strategy.
8. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; Captain Toad's spin off game is a fun light puzzle platforming game.
9. Towerfall Ascension ; A crazy competitive couch game Towerfall is easy enough to understand and a blast to play with friends.
10. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; While it doesn't have the ambitious story mode of the last Smash Bros game, the core of the Wii U version is just as fun. The return of challenges (both coop and single player) are a mixture of being fun, varied and creativity.

X. inFamous: Second Son ; of all the Sony exclusives this year infamous was the one I was looking forward to the most. It delivered a solid open world game and had some really cool lighting effects.
X. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII ; The end to the FF XIII saga, Lightning Returns is borderline good and bad all at the same time. While weighed down with the story of the past 2 games, the gameplay systems are quite fun and different (it helps that it reminds me of Majora's Mask one of the best misunderstood Legend of Zelda games).
X. Metal Gear V: Ground Zeroes ; Ground Zeroes teases the idea of what the next Metal Gear game will be like and shows a lot of potential but doesn't go far enough to show the true potential of a next gen Metal Gear game.
 
Mar 3, 2007
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1. Mario Kart 8 ; Smooth framerate, levels as inventive as Super Mario Galaxy, and absolutely evil AI. Flawless online, the Excitebike track is simple, chaotic fun, Toad is a legend, the music is aural sex. Controls perfectly to boot. Effortlessly the best game released this year, and remarkably it works without having to patch it.
2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; I'm one of those people who always played Mario or 2D Sonic platformers and never DKC. Played the Wii game and got fed up with the rocket barrel levels. For some reason, this game clicked with me and I have nearly finished it (minus the secret levels). Damn good platform game with a difficult rhythm to get used to, but it is effortlessly beautiful and so satisfying to beat the bosses in each world. Went from being a frustrating experience to a joyful one once I figured out how to roll effectively.
3. Nintendo Pocket Football Club ; I spent almost 200 hours on my club in this game, and there is no way this game should be so addictive. I have almost clinched the treble but struggle in late stage knockouts in the world club challenge.
4. Shovel Knight ; Perfect NES like controls.
5. Bayonetta 2 ; Rubbish at it but decided to go back to play part one before getting any further.
6. Rune Factory 4 ; Australian release in 2014. About time too.
7. Fantasy Life ;Slow progress so far, but will be right into it once my New Leaf addiction subsides.
8. Super Smash Bros for Wii U ; First game in the series Ive played properly. I'm rubbish at it but slowly getting better.
9. Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney ; Surpised it even came out here.
10. Pushmo World ; Damn addictive puzzle game that haunts my dreams.
 
Nov 5, 2007
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1. Dragon Age Inquisition

Bioware redeemed themselves quite a bit with this release. I couldn't put this game down. It has its flaws but I was able to look past that because it was such an enjoyable experience.

2. Destiny

This game gets a lot more flak than it deserves. Sure, the story is skimpy, but it's one of the most enjoyable first person shooters I've played in a long time. Im not even particularly fond of FPS games so for one to be this high on my list is really special

3. The Last of Us: Remastered

This was probably my favorite gaming experience of the year (I never played it on ps3) but I don't feel right putting a remastered game as #1.

4. Transistor

Great music, great art direction, great story, great combat. Only negative is that the game was a little short. Perhaps that's not such a negative because I'd rather it be too short than too long. Every minute of the game is enjoyable

5. The Binding of Isaac Rebirth

I had been waiting on this game since it was announced and it met my expectations. I've put a ton of time in it and it's the only game I've platinumed on ps4. I still play it after all this time, usually at least one run per day.

6. Divinity: Original Sin

I absolutely adore the combat in this game. It's right up my alley. This was my second favorite RPG of the year mainly because of the combat.

7. Shovel Knight

A great throwback to the game of my youth. This was a fun and charming experience and I can't wait to revisit it after they release some new content. Great music as well.

8. Dark souls 2

It pains me that DkS2 is so low on my list. It really is quite a good game but after playing through it once, I didn't have much desire to go through it again. This compared to the hundreds of hours of the first DkS. Still it deserves a spot on this list.

9. Hearthstone

It seems silly to put this on my list because I haven't actually played all that much of this game. However, I love watching streams of it and I've caught a few tournaments as well. It's a great casual and fun card game.

10. Super Smash Brothers WiiU

I don't own this game (don't have a wiiu) but I've played quite a bit at a friend's place. It's a really well crafted experience and still has that great multiplayer that the series is known for.
 
Nov 3, 2006
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1. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; The best surprise of the year. Great characters, trials, & dark setting. Loved every minute.
2. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; Even as someone who doesn't like South Park, I found this game to be outstanding in design. Gameplay, story, offensiveness all worked perfectly.
3. The Wolf Among Us ; Wonderful setting for this type of game. Characters and story were fantastic.
4. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; Loved the cast & the open quest structure. Great decision making.
5. The Walking Dead: Season Two ; Hard to live up to the original, but was still powerful. Felt personal.
6. Velocity 2X ; Fast, fun little game. Loved the mix of gameplay styles.
7. Dark Souls II ; Not as good as Demon's, but still hooked me. DLC was fun, too.
8. Borderlands 2 Vita ; This counts for me, because I thought it fit Vita well & it was my first time playing BL2. Fewer tech issues & would have been higher.
9. Final Horizon ; Caught me off guard. Thought it was just tower defense, but felt more mini strategy. Loved it & bought the DLC.
10. CounterSpy ; Game got a bad rap, but I thought it was great once you realized you were playing a cover shooter not a stealth game.

Honorable Mentions
x. Bravely Default ; Has serious pacing issues, but fun job classes & great user friendly features.
x. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; Didn't start playing it until late, but really enjoyed what I played.
 
Sep 30, 2006
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1. DARK SOULS II ; A flawed follow up to a great game still makes it better than most. Great atmosphere, music, and while easier than previous souls games still challenging. One of the few games that i have all the trophies for which says a lot.
2. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ;
3. FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn ;
4. Tales of Xillia 2 ;
5. Far Cry 4 ;
6. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 ; Another game i was hyped for that let me down. i still had fun and the castle parts were enjoyable. Fantastic art and music.
7. Tales of Hearts R ;
8. Dragon Age: Inquisition ;
9. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare ;
10. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair ;
 
Sep 21, 2006
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psnprofiles.com
The problem is pretty much always "lol didn't read", which is why some of the people with incorrect formatting will be banned.
Now who's not reading the OP?
If you do not follow the rules, your vote may not be counted. You have been warned.

You must have at least one comment in your ballot or it may not be counted. The comment must be more substantial than "GOTF lol" or what have you. Posting without comments may also subject you to a ban.
 
1. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; Finally an amazing South Park game, my biggest surprise of 2014 and my favorite game by far.
2. Alien: Isolation ; This year was great for licensed games and creative assembly wowed us with this tense and horrific trek that mirrors the tone of the first movie so well.
3. DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; Another great surprise. I'm currently playing through the second one but I think I like the first better.
4. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; Finally a fast paced and fun AAA fps with a decent story.
5. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes ; I was pretty down on MGSV until I played this. Now Phantom Pain is my most anticipated game of next year.
6. World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor ;
7. Bayonetta 2 ;
8. The Last of Us: Left Behind ;
9. Shovel Knight ;
10. Transistor ;
 
Apr 4, 2007
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1. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; fantastic shooting, good story, totally unexpected experience
2. Driveclub ; the most soulful game I've played all year, driving is sublime and super addictive, it also looks amazing
3. The Evil Within ; survival horror is back and it plays great
4. Outlast ; fantastic atmosphere
5. Infamous: Second Son ; game looks fantastic, but can get a bit repetitive
6. Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey: Book One ; great set up to what I hope will be an epic adventure
7. Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood ; played this on the PC...colourful, pretty game with an interesting gameplay mechanic, really enjoyed my time with it thus far
8. Watch Dogs; game was okay, there was enough of a narrative there to keep me going, but it all felt a bit shallow
 
Oct 1, 2006
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1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; I spoiled myself by watching every single pre-release video on the game and thought "looks like more Donkey Kong Country Returns" but it's a Retro game and I was still somewhat excited for it and low and behold, I had more fun with it than any other game by far and never wanted it to end.
 
1. Destiny ; You could fill up 14 OT's with the amount of flaws Destiny has, and by god some of us over in the Destiny OT have tried to, but even the most vocally critical (myself included) can't stop coming back. I think it speaks volumes that a game with so many glaring flaws can have such a phenomenally fun core, that you are able to overlook its problems and return again and again, and always find yourself having fun , which is the main reason I play games to begin with. Moreover, Destiny has become one of the best social gaming experiences I've had since inviting friends over in highschool to play Goldeneye 4 player split screen. Just shooting the shit with friends while exploding heads all over the solar system remains fantastically fun and an activity I look forward too any night I have free time. The GAF community has been really great too. It is the most I've engaged with a group of GAFers since probably GT5.

2. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls ; I can only hope some people at Bungie are Blizzard fans, because the RoS expansion was nearly perfect. D3 Vanilla and Destiny share a lot in common, amazing core, some content issues, and flaws abound. However, RoS knocked it out of the park, and pretty much solved all of the vanilla issues. Not only was I able to get friends who swore off D3 for life, back in and loving RoS, I was able to get some friends who've never played Diablo before on board and we had a blast. Fun co-op play is one of the key game features I look for these days. It is a great way to keep in touch with friends you seldom see in person.

3. Spintires ; I love sims, and I love racing (and driving) sims even more. Spintires fulfills that life long desire we all share of doing hardcore off-roading in soviet era utility vehicles. The mud and chasis physics are incredible and the entire experience of driving in Spintires is unique. Throw in solid mod support and multiplayer and you have a must play game. Seriously, pick this game up next time it is on sale, no racing wheel required.

4. South Park: Stick of Truth ; I couldn't stop saying how perfectly this game looked. It blew me away, you were playing a South Park episode! Throw on top of that the more than competent RPG mechanics and countless genuine LOL moments. The immersion level of having a near pixel perfect South Park world was just surreal at times, and an experience I will never forget. I am not as big of a South Park fan these days as I was growing up, but this game was special and it deserves to be part of the South Park legacy.

5. Far Cry 4 ; I loved FC3. I played through it three times and found it fun every time. FC4 is more of FC3 with helicopters, earlier wingsuit action and mother fucking co-op, my absolute biggest wish coming out of FC3. Riding around with a buddy in a helicopter, scouting and taking down outposts with either a firestorm of grenades or perfectly coordinated silent takedowns is too much damn fun. The campaign was more varied and the story more cohesively told than FC3 as well. This game is fun.

6. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4) ; GTAV was a great game. GTAV in FPV is an amazing game. The higher resolution assets and other gfx bumps are a nice bonus, but playing the entire game in FPV is the real star. The first time I sped down the streets on a motorcycle in FPV, my jaw hit the floor and remained there for a few minutes. Although the cities have evolved and changed since GTA3, I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the GTA worlds and nothing made them feel more alive, personal and unique compared to all the others, than the FPV experience.

7. Minecraft (PS4) ; I played it on PC in early beta, occasionally checking out new features with updates, but otherwise Minecraft was a game I really enjoyed but hadn't played much in the last few years, and almost always played it alone. Once it hit PS4, and I was able to convince a friend to try it out, my love of this game came flooding back. With the simple drop in and drop out multiplayer features of the console versions, my friend and I were able to explore and develop our own world together. I felt like a little kid again, sat with his friend on the floor in front of a mountain of Lego. Our ambition and imagination were the limit, and it was a shit load of fun.

8. Trials Fusion ; Another solid entry to the Trials gameworld. It wasn't as revolutionary as I had hoped, but the same perfect platforming mechanics were there and I loved playing all of the new levels despite the familiarity. When you get through a level just right, it is incredibly satisfying.

9. Assetto Corsa ; A really solid, beautiful racing sim with tons of potential to grow. It was surprisingly easy to get in to ( a problem some PC sims have. Fuck ,configuring and tweaking your racing wheel can be the first 4 hours of gameplay with some PC sims) and was able to fill that gap that the disappointment of GT6 created. I will be curious to see how it stacks up against the final version of Project Cars, but I am willing to bet this will be the racing sim I keep coming back to until GT7 finds the light of day in 2017.

10. Threes ; Never thought I would have a mobile game on a GAF GOTY list but Threes is simple in all of the right ways and polished to and adorable sheen. A game of numbered blocks some how managed to be cute. It's a perfect one handed mobile game.
 
Jun 14, 2013
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I don't have a PS4 yet, and my home gaming time was limited this year. I'm sure that I will love Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I haven't played it yet. I also really wanted to include Captain Toad, but it gives me motion sickness, so I'm not sure I played enough to judge. I mostly played handhelds and with my WiiU this year.

1. Fantasy Life ; When I bought Fantasy Life, I assumed it was going to be a life sim on the order of Animal Crossing, with some RPG elements. To my surprise, it turned out to be my most played game this year (70 hours, and I haven’t finished the DLC yet.) In Fantasy Life you choose your “life,” ie job, and then are assigned quests to complete in order to rank up in your life. Lots of games have this system, but what makes Fantasy Life unique is how interconnected the lives are – you might need to be a woodcutter, in order to get lumber, so that you can rank up your carpenter’s life. You can then take the items made by the carpenter and use them in your other lives. It’s an incredibly addictive system, and that’s speaking as someone who never liked crafting in RPGs before. The world of Fantasy Life is also very charming, with many funny characters to meet and recruit to your party. If the game has a downside, it’s the storyline, which consists largely of following arrows and reading text. Luckily, the story can be experienced in small doses (I only progressed the story when I needed access to new areas for my various lives).

2. Persona Q ; As fan service goes, Persona Q is nearly perfect. Having the worlds of Persona 3 and 4 collide made for some excellent scenes. I still prefer the P4 cast (although I don't think Teddy was so annoying in the actual game,) but it was good to be reminded of how awesome Mitsuru is, and how much I wanted Ken to fall down a well. I'm also a fan of the Etrian Odyssey series, but I often wish for a little more plot. PQ gave me just what I wanted!

3. Dark Souls II ; I must confess that I haven't actually completed DS II, but the amount I played (50% or so) showed it to be a worthy follow up to the original. The changes from DS I were mostly to the good - I appreciated having a method of fast travel early in the game, as I spent way too much time battling my way back out in the original game. Demon Souls is still my favorite in the series, but once I complete it I'm sure DS II will be close behind.

4. Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc ; This was the year where I finally got majorly into visual novels. Danganronpa does have gameplay (primarily in the courtroom scenes,) but for the most part you experience a story. Monokuma, the demented bear principal, was one of my favorite characters this year.

5. Bravely Default ; A Jrpg in the classic mold, I was surprised by how much I liked this game. The demo didn't do it any favors, I suspect, as I nearly didn't pick it up. The game drags at the end, but it's still a great start to a new series.

6. Shovel Knight ; Shovel Knight taught me that I'm still dreadful at platformers, but I loved the experience! The best thing about Shovel Knight is the soundtrack, which is amazing.

7. Valiant Hearts ; I haven't cried at a game ending since Final Fantasy X. Way to go, Ubisoft, for creating a game that educates as well as entertains.

8. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call ; I'm a huge FF fan, and this game really entertained me. I owned the original game, but I was too cheap to buy the DLC. Curtain Call has a ridiculous amount of content.

9. Tomodachi Life; I'm almost embarrassed to admit this one, but I spent a good amount of time with this life sim. Although it eventually becomes repetitive, and the lack of diverse relationship options was disappointing, I'll be damned if I didn't play this every day for two solid months.

10. Pushmo world ; I love a good puzzle game, and they are rare on consoles. Pushmo is adorable, yes, but it's also an extremely hard puzzler. The ability to create and download levels makes the gameplay limitless.
 
Aug 12, 2007
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It's time. I was holding off and hoping to get to a couple more games before voting (sorry, Valiant Hearts and Alien Isolation), but this list will do. There were a few very high highs this year, but beyond a few standouts, most of my favorites of the year won't probably be remembered for long. My top 3 were easy, but the other 7 were tougher since they weren't the standouts that the top games were. Enough preamble.

1. The Talos Principle ; I was doomed out of the gates. A first-person puzzle game with the polish and intelligence of Portal. An abstract, mind-bender of a storyline like the first Assassin's Creed. Literary and philosophical references done by people who actually understand what it is that they're citing. Smart, fair secrets unlike nearly every other indie puzzler. This game released with almost no fanfare, no marketing, no coverage, and no pedigree. Yet, this has become enshrined for me alongside the best in the genre. Not just the best game of 2014, but among the best of the 2010s.

2. Kentucky Route Zero: Act III ; This would take top honors if the entirety of the KRZ world had been launched at once. As a whole, KRZ has grown to be one of my all-time favorites. It's the smartest, sharpest, funnest, most achingly nostalgic, and most literate series of games I've ever played. It continues to surprise me with each new entry and taste. On its own, Act III continues to push in new directions in terms of content and quality. It's a road movie, a ghost story, an adventure game, a postmodern novel, a vision of the American past and future, and more. I have no idea where this series will go, or what the development team will ultimately become, but if KRZ is the future of where games will go as a medium, we are destined not merely for our Citizen Kane of games, but for our Ulysses, too.

3. Mario Kart 8 ; There are good Mario Kart games and there are great ones. Then there is the best. The latest Kart isn't just the culmination of iteration over decades. This was made with love, passion, and inspiration. In a year plagued with so many flubbed launches, drops in quality assurance, and just plain cynical entries in long-standing IPs, Mario Kart 8 doesn't need to draw attention to how insanely polished it is from top to bottom. It simply sings and soars. It's beautiful. It's balanced. It's diverse. It is generous and thoughtful in its DLC in ways that other major IP are not, or simply cannot be. It is all the more special for being the game that my wife and I will both play together for hours straight. This is a game with real heart and soul--an exceedingly rare quality in the AAA space these days.

4. 80 Days ; While this game took me a while to find a groove, once I did, I fell in love with the world and its characters. This was Oregon Trail meets a steampunk version of Jules Verne. The writing was sharp. I laughed. I was invested. I cared. Seemingly simple mechanics and systems interacted in unexpected ways and bled seamlessly into the story. This is what I thought mobile gaming could and should be, but never had been. Until this game. There aren't many like it, but this bodes well for the future of mobile gaming as a place for smart, thoughtful, deep gaming done simply.

5. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ; I mostly ignored the first iteration of BoI. It didn't hook me, and it always was too much work to get my controller (yes, I know) to work well even with joy2key. But Rebirth gave me a game that felt full and complete. Yes, in some ways it's a game a little too full and feels occasionally like a game that I'm entering into the middle of (and considering the many additions, it's little wonder). With this modified release, I feel like I finally "get" what the original version was about. It's insane. It's challenging. It's fair. It's fun. I'm hooked as much as I am with Spelunky, and for similar reasons. This will be in my rotation for many months (or years) to come.

6. Threes ; I know. I'm surprised too. But this was one of the most deceptively simple "gamey" games I've played in a long while. It's the sort of game that feels like it has always existed. This harkens back to the simplicity and revolutionary design of Tetris. It's no wonder it's so abundantly ripped off by other designers (again, like Tetris). It's intuitive, and it's got a playful visual style all its own. It may not be my favorite type of game, but it's no doubt a classic in its genre.

7. Monument Valley ; Okay, two mobile games I can understand, but three mobile games in a top-ten list?! Really? What can I say, people are finally starting to grasp what the platform can do and how to make high-quality titles that make sense for the hardware. This game was inventive and creative in ways that no game its size has any right to be. And the DLC was a breath of even fresher air. At times it felt like a toy box. Others, a pop-up book. It made me feel like a kid and an alien and like myself. I can't wait to see what more this team can do.

8. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ; While I didn't always love the game, I always had fun with it. Like Just Cause 2, this was a sandbox that let me play. The lore was also fantastic and filled out what I had always imagined to be a dull part of Tolkien's series. A retelling of various mythic freedom narratives (Moses leading the slaves from Egypt, or Spartacus leading an uprising against the Romans, take your pick), this felt like something slightly different from the usual AAA open-worlder. There were still plenty of the typical map-icon dot connecting missions, but overall, this was a ton of fun. And I deeply respect a game that makes fleeing from combat a strategic necessity.

9. Bayonetta 2 ; I love Platinum's games. I loved their work as Clover Studio, too. There's a reason this team is so deeply respected by fans and by critics, despite their lack of a major mainstream success. They always remain true to their vision, first and foremost. They trust that the fans will come to them, so they don't go chasing fans. As a result, their vision remains uncompromised in almost all of their work. Bayo 2 is an oddity, though. It's the only sequel the studio has done, so it loses the freshness and vitality of most of their releases. I also preferred Vanquish to the original Bayonetta, and the sequel doesn't do anything to change that opinion. It's a wonderfully silly game, but it doesn't feel new, different, or exceptional. It's merely very, very good. For most developers, that would be enough. But for Platinum Games, that's something of a disappointment.

10. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; This is here as a guilty pleasure. When I was a kid, I remember taking out all of the marshmallows from a box of Lucky Charms cereal and making a giant bowl out of just the marshmallows (and I'm sure I'm not the only one who did this). Captain Toad feels like that. I loved Toad's levels in Mario 3D World, and I love them on their own. It just feels like pure indulgence, though, without much behind it. It's purely for the sake of my gaming pleasure receptors, but not much else.
 
Jan 31, 2014
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I have a Wii U, a 3DS, a 360, and a PC. I honestly think I only really bought games on the former two this year. In ascending order!

Honorable Mention: Flappy Bird
Yeah it came out two years ago, but nobody really cared about it until 2014. A perfect combination of skill-based gameplay and accessibility, it's no wonder this was the game everyone was talking about at the start of the year. I feel bad for the creator though.

5. Shovel Knight (Wii U)
I've kinda forgotten about this game already, but I think that's just because I played the hell out of it when it first came out, and there was still plenty to do after the fact. Charming characters, cool level design, and great music. Not much to hate really.

4. Pokemon Omega Ruby
I first went into full on Pokemania after playing Stadium and Snap, but then fell out when I didn't like Silver or almost any of the Gen II Pokemon. Ruby was when I really enjoyed a Pokemon RPG for the first time, and I've never really looked back since (Black and White lost my interest though). So I have enough nostalgia invested in this game (original sprites in DexNAV!) to ignore some of the bigger flaws, like no custom trainers. Still a really solid Pokemon game I think.

3. Super Smash Brothers for Wii U
It feels weird putting this game this low because I spent the entire year obsessing over it (it's why I joined GAF). It really speaks to the next two games that they managed to beat it out. I guess the biggest "problem" with this game is that it's exactly what you'd expect. Well that and the stage selection I guess. Still an amazingly fun game, and one I won't be putting down any time soon.

2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
This game is amazing. I still have the soundtrack on my iPod, the graphics are great, and there's tons of stuff to do. This game got me through pretty much the whole first half of the year without needing to play anything else, it's that good! Only complaint I guess is that I wish there was a way to track who you beat each stage in hard mode with like SM3DW. I don't really see a reason to play as DK.

1. Mario Kart 8
I just popped this in the other day and I found that I already have huge nostalgic feelings for it. I love pretty much everything about it, and everything I didn't love was fixed in a patch (I don't play battle mode). I have a feeling I'll always remember the time me and my roommates spent trying to get the stupid golden glider back in the summer. Beating everyone on GAF was fun too!

Disclaimer: I haven't played and have no intention of playing Hyrule Warriors or Bayonetta 2. Games I played that didn't make the list include Kirby, Smash 3DS, and Toad (which I'm playing right now). Already sold Kirby, haven't touched 3DS since Wii U came out, and I haven't really had time to make an opinion on Toad.
 
Jan 13, 2011
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1. The Banner Saga ; One of the first games I've backed on Kickstarter, and I sure am glad that I did. I'm a sucker for everything related to norse mythology, I love turn based combat systems and I can appreciate an incredible art direction and soundtrack as much as everyone else...but what I enjoyed the most about this game was the bleak, urgent situation perfectly represented through all these elements, and more. Maybe in the end the choices I made throughout the journey didn't matter as much as I expected, but the game managed to make me care and freak out every time a new random event popped up. I can't wait to play the sequels (as I already paid for them anyway!).

2. Shadowrun: Dragonfall ; In a year filled with great RPGs, Dragonfall is definitely my favourite. It might not have the incredible combat and environment interaction of Divinity or the openness of Wasteland 2, but it offered the best writing and quest design of the year.
Last year I really enjoyed the first campaign "Dead Man's Switch", but Dragonfall takes that format and improves on it tenfold. Great story, great atmosphere, great quests, great characters and, overall, the combat wasn't even that bad.

3. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky ; People have been talking about this game for a long time, but there was one thing that always caught my mind about it: that image that compares the script of this trilogy to the entire Wheel of Time series. When this game was announced for PC there was no excuse, I had to experience it for myself...and it delivered. This game might be filled with anime tropes, the combat system might be considered repetitive, and the story kind of simple...but the world building of this games gives that enormous script justice. I just loved going around town talking to NPCs and seeing their small stories develop as I continue through MY story, and it's quite easy to find favourites among the population. When city NPCs are as enjoyable as the amazing main cast of the game, you know the game you're playing is a true gem. And to think that, apparently, it's even considered the worst (or second worst) entry in the series...

4. Divinity: Original Sin ; And, once again, Larian delivered. I haven't finished Divinity. I only played it for less than 50 hours. That's, like, half the game. But it's amazing. Sure, it has plenty of issues (like the co-op focus that hindered role playing or the deeply flawed loot system and difficulty), but it offered what probably is the best turn based combat system I've ever seen, matched with an incredible amount of interaction with the environment and pretty great encounter and quest design. During another year, that would've easily been n°1 material by itself. For the next game, though, I just hope they go back to a single-player focused campaign. And bring back mind reading!

5. Consortium ; This game came out of nowhere. I didn't even realise that it was on Kickstarter, and I kind of regret not backing it now. I don't even know how to explain Consortium, but let's put it this way: it's like having System Shock 2 focused on a small environment with an interesting cast to interact with, solving a murder and experiencing all sorts of meta and mind-fucky stuff. And, if you play your cards right, you don't even need to shoot anyone. The lore itself is quite intriguing, giving the player an interesting spin about how to interact with the game, and I'm really curious to see how this series will progress. Also, before playing it, try to give the A.R.G. a try!

6. Endless Legend ; Civ V and expansions have been disappointing in their own way, and Beyond Earth seems to be even worse. Thankfully Endless Legend managed to bring a breath of fresh air to the genre, offering an interesting spin of deep 4X mechanics with RPG elements and really interesting factions. I haven't played much of it, but I already know that there are a lot of systems to discover and exploit.

7. Dark Souls 2 ; Contrary to what many would say, Dark Souls 2 is not a bad sequel, and expecially it's not a bad game. No matter how many issues there might be with this particular installment, it still manages to deepen the combat mechanics further, offering more options than before, while retaining the satisfying feel of previous Souls games. The area and boss design is all over the place, I agree, but I don't need that to spend hours having fun honorably dueling trespassers as a Bell Bro.

8. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; People say that this game was a surprise, that it should've sucked, that it came out of nowhere....guys, it's made by Obsidian. They know their shit. With games these days worrying more about filling their huge worlds with meaningless tasks in order to desperately increase longevity, South Park comes in with a fun and funny adventure that's completely devoid of filler. It's an enjoyable experience through and through, despite the nonexistant difficulty.

9. Wasteland 2 ; This game probably deserves a higher spot on the list...problem is, with all these huge RPGs I simply don't have the time to properly focus on such a title. But what I've played of it makes it clear: this is another great RPG in a year that's full of them. I will surely delve deeper into it this year, but the time to celebrate it is now.

10. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ; The Binding of Isaac was already a drug, and this new..."thing" is just like increasing the dosage. There's not that much variety in terms of areas and bosses, but the new items and synergies makes for a perfect "I have 30 minutes to waste" game that's always fun...unless you pick that one item that fucks with the entire run and you want to stop playing forever.



Honorable Mentions

x. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor ; The nemesis system surprisingly works and it's the kind of innovation that these kind of games needed...but you know what it needs even more? A different combat system. Seriously, It's really difficult to enjoy a mechanic where enemies rank up as they kill you in battle when it's pretty much impossible to die. I had to make my own fun torturing a particular orc leader by leaving him with a sliver of life and then letting him escape, but after the tenth time he got eaten by a random Caragor when I wasn't even looking and the game got less enjoyable.

x. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; It had to be here, in one way or another. I hated Dragon Age 2. And not in a "I'm on NeoGAF, I hate videogames" sort of way. I despised the way it treated me, thinking I wasn't smart enough to figure out how terrible their writing was. But I decided to give Inquisition a shot and...I had fun with it. It's actually a pretty good game and its writing is not only surprisingly not terrible, but manages to create some pretty good moments here and there. But, here's the thing: in certain situations it managed to be even more dumber down than Dragon Age 2. And I don't care about all these talks of "the ambition and scale" or whatever. Sure, the areas are big but they're also empty (or full of tedious fetch quests). Sure the game looks pretty, but the animations are unacceptable. Sure, the Inquisition thing offers some neat little systems here and there, but most of the time they are devoid of any sort of substance. And the combat system is a complete mess (and they even dare to take out the Tactics option!?!?!?!?). Bioware tried, and I commend them for that, but this is not a game worthy of being on the main list. At least they managed to make me curious about their next endeavour in this series, as long as they ignore all the blind praise and listen to constructive feedback...
 
Sep 23, 2014
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1. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; The game had my interest right off the bat, but I waited a few months before I dove in (what a stupid decision). Gameplay was fantastic, pace was well done and as everyone else has stated, the story was well told and more emotional than one would think. I understand that it was probably lacking for some in content, but I was rather ok with having a good dedicated single player game. My hope now is that a sequel arises out of this as Machine Games did a marvelous job. I enjoyed it so much that I made it my very first platinum'd game.

2. Far Cry 4 ; Most of the criticisms of this game that I read is that it was more of the same from Far Cry 3, but for someone that never played it, I had no issues with that. I truly enjoyed the story, the guns were fun to discover (my god the .700 Nitro) and emergent gameplay emergent gameplay emergent gameplay. In one sequence, I killed 3 enemies in a truck, had three more come after me before I had my vehicle rammed in to the water by a rhino and then I had to fight off an alligator on my swim back to shore. Stuff like that made it easy to get lost in the world.

3. DriveClub ; Passion is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of this game. Terrible launch....totally get it. But this game is just so well done from gameplay to graphics to the challenge system. Very addicting game....I can play it for a quick 10 minutes if I have a bit of time to kill, or I can play it for 2 hours. While it is a great show piece, the sense of speed on the road is what keeps pulling me in to immersion. I hope Evolution is afforded the opportunity to make a sequel so that they can recoup some credit that they deserve.

Honorable Mentions

x. Watch_Dogs ; I really enjoyed the gameplay mechanics.... cover system was really good, weapon wheel was easy to use and the hacking/camera system was something I hope to see more of in the sequel. The terrible story and Aiden Peirce as a character was too much to overlook to put this on my list. Jordi was really good and I feel like the game would have been so much better if he were more involved. However, the seamless player hacking incorporated in to the game doesn't get talked about enough when bringing up the pros and cons. Really felt like that was a strong part of the game.

x. Fez ; I had never played Fez before it was released as a playstation plus game, so I went in to it really not knowing what to expect (I had only seen a few bits of it from the documentary movie). What a great game with great level design, sound and small quirks that bring you back to a bit of the olden days. I didn't put it on the list because it's a port, but I felt it deserved a bit of recognition regardless of what you may or may not think about the person who made it.
 
Aug 29, 2009
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1. Far Cry 4 ; This is the first game that had me using the share features on PS4, so many funny/bizarre moments emerge due to the wildlife, which is the real selling point here. Also the coop was a really welcome addition.
2. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; They truly captured the look and humour of the show and it was genuinely funny, which is a rarity in games.
3. Transistor ; Great visuals and they managed to make the tactical combat intuitive considering how offputting the menus looked initially.
4. Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea: Episode 2 ; Seemed strongly influenced by Dishonored, which is only a good thing. Also a satisfying wrap up (?) of the series' storyline.
5. Luftrausers ; Simple but elegantly designed shooter. Great balance between defence and attack.
6. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare ; The storyline was initially engaging, thanks in no small part to Kevin Spacey, but devolved into nonsense as per usual. The addded mobility though really freshened up both SP and MP.
7. Infamous: Second Son ; Lame storyline and lacklustre combat. The fun of traversing the city though is what keeps it on here.
8. Watch Dogs ; Flawed without doubt, it does have some things going for it including the city/people hacking stuff.
9. The Walking Dead: Season 2 ; Not as gripping as Season 1 for sure, but a solid sequel.
10. The Last of Us: Left Behind ; The stuff with Ellie going solo was great, it's just the Riley and Ellie sections that dragged it down for me. Taking pictures in a camera booth? Throwing bricks at a car? Boring.
 
May 19, 2013
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There are now less than 5 days left. If you've been putting off voting to try and get more games in, it's time to post anyway.
Nope, I still need to play Guilty Gear Xrd's story mode! I'm pretty sure I know what my top 10 is going to be either way now, but I plan on spending Friday afternoon doing my write ups to get them in at the last minute.
 
Jul 8, 2013
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1. Shadowrun: Dragonfall; Simple, fun gameplay. Playing as a mage just feels great in this game, and the game has enough dialog choice to make your style of play meaningful. Speaking of dialog, it is because of the dialog, story, and characters that this is my GOTY. While other games have recently attempted to capture the classic CRPG style, this is the one (IMO) that does it right. Focus on the actual roleplaying, while having gameplay that is fun, but does not ruin or bog things down.
 
Mar 3, 2009
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Unless I can finish something from my backlog until Friday this is my list for 2014. A year I will remember as the year of the good but flawed games . But I have a feeling I will look back in 5 years and find some of the games were better than I think of them right now (like I now see Bulletstorm).

As it stands my top 5 was very clear. By far the 5 best games I've played from 2014 and I could have make a solid case for any of them as my GOTY but that honor goes to...


1. Driveclub ; It's really strange to realize that my Game of the Year is a game that took 2 months to be completely functional. But at the same time that's one of the reasons that made me see how good the game is because despite all the connectivity issues I was always eager to play it. One of the main reasons for my love for this game is the essential level playing field in a racing game that for some reason is a relic of the past. The game makes you chose from a set of cars inside a category and a track to learn with a flag system that forces you to think rather than react to a racing line that makes a racing game more like a Guitar Hero game than a racing game. The flag system is really a symbol of the game, it seems easy on the surface but there is a depth that requires constant concentration, speed awareness, braking stability, corner entry and track memorization to extract that extra tenths of second per lap. In a area where so many struggle the fictional track layouts in Driveclub is another of the great successes of the game with multiple tracks that should make Hermann Tilke ashamed of himself. It might not have the flair, love or romance but it delivers in spades on pure racing bliss.


2. Valiant Hearts: The Great War ; I will forgive Ubisoft for the yearly Assassin's Creed if that money enables the funding to games like this one. A game that treats a delicate subject with the care and respect it deserves. It doesn't pretend to be some story based on real life events but a very human fictional story that blends in some of the more important historic events that happened during World War I in a very clever way. Even the collectibles make sense in the world torn apart by the war telling the story of some little objects used during the war or real letters by soldiers written during the war. Gameplay wise the game suffers the most when it tries so much to be a traditional game like the boss battles (the stereotype American soldier is the other low point of the game). If they decided to go only with puzzles and the point and click mechanic plus that amazing soundtrack it would have ended up being even better and without forced frustration. And the ending symbolizes everything that is good about the game by not trying to be cheap just to try to cause some tears. Just the cold truth of the war. "War makes men mad"


3. The Golf Club ; A golf game without skill upgrades, level unlocks, boosts that give you more power with your driver. No microtransactions that allow you to build a super powerful golfer and dominate your opposition. No career mode forcing you to play through lower level events to reach the top tier ranking. So why is this so high on my list? Because of exactly that. Golf Club strips down the golf experience to the basics and creates an even playing field to everyone. If someone beats you it's because he was better than you, not because he is 40 levels ahead of you. Removing the training wheels of put previews or drivers can be hard to adapt after years of Tiger Woods but Golf Club never feels unfair. You create your own luck and learn to adapt to wind, terrain elevations and reading the green and become better as a result. And without a career mode your only competition is yourself and your friends and as I found out there is always time for a 18-round that lasts 30 minutes late in the evening.


4. Destiny ; I can write 10 arguments of why this should be my GOTY and 10 arguments on why this should be my biggest disappointment of the year but I can't delete the fact that for more than a month I was completely addicted to the system that Destiny gives us. And while the game tries it's best to make everyone hate it with the broken RNG, terrible attempt at building a story, multiple currencies, systems unlocked at later levels that make you look like a fool reading Destiny threads while still at Level 8. But even then I was completely hooked by that constant struggle to get better gear and upgrade my light level. Play it daily to get reputation from dailies, play strikes to get strange coins, searching the schedule of public events and design the quicker way to get 5 in a shorter amount of time. While I played I liked it because the gameplay foundation is great but when I stopped I quickly realized I was the hamster in the wheel and my owner kept giving me crap instead of that exotic food. So I left the wheel and I don't think I will come back anytime soon but I still remember those long runs in the wheel for so long and they felt so good.


5. MLB 14: The Show ; While MLB 14 isn't the mindblowing experience that MLB 09 was for me, I still enjoyed every minute I played of it because of the extreme attention to detail in the game, the fundamental basics of baseball that they keep getting right year after year and especially the dynamic difficulty that completely changed the game for me keeping the game on the right difficulty spot everytime and making me strive to get better. Franchise mode and commentary needs a overhaul to keep it from getting stale in the future like it happened after the great MLB 09.


6. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes ; I was one of those that laughed at the price point for this game. A demo for €40/$40? Get the hell out of here greedy Konami. And so I've stayed away from the game until I found it for €6 and then I played it and loved it. The open world mechanic presented in Ground Zeroes allows for a completely different approach to stealth (or guns blazing) and gives you room to play like you want. It took 2 hours to complete the main mission and I still replayed as soon as I finished it because I wanted to see if I could make less mistakes. Side missions also helped convincing me about the benefits of a open world approach to MGS with different objectives within the same base. Now after playing I would never dare to say it's a demo and it just made me excited about the main course in 2015.


7. Infamous: Second Son ; After finishing this game back in May I would have never thought it would be on my top 10 of the year. Something didn't feel right and while I loved the powers added in this game, the joy of traveling using those new powers or shutting down DUP stations, the world felt empty. Gorgeous but empty. Side missions are a complete joke and something they might as well removed entirely but replaying the first part of the game in the last couple of weeks made the good parts shine even brighter and remind me that for some reason this is one of the few games that manage to grab my attention for more than 2 hours straight. Still can't forgive the complete lack of interesting side missions in a open world game though.


8. Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 ; The King is *stutters* back. After the disappointment of FIFA 15 the first couple of weeks of PES 2015 weren't any better as I suffered from constant stutters during gameplay which was even more infuriating considering how good I believed the game on the pitch was. After the problems were fixed, I confirmed my belief of a football game that focus on the fundamentals of build up play instead of constant ignoring midfield and just put the ball on the forwards to dribble through the penalty box. PES 2015 is a game made for those that want games that play with tactics and force you to rethink your way of gaining possession and building a play. However there is still flaws that need to be addressed before this can be crowned as a classic. UI needs to be designed by someone born after 1950, goalkeepers still makes amateur mistakes, defenders should start worrying about balls inside the penalty box, Master League needs an overhaul or at least make it more like PS2-era, they need to add more official licenses to teams and leagues and the commentary needs to be changed completely. I will *stutter* wait.


9. The Wolf Among Us: Episodes 2-5 ; Just like Infamous: Second Son I would never thought this would be one of my top 10 games of the year. I'm not very familiar about the original story behind this game but looking back with perspective this game really feels different than Walking Dead thanks to interesting characters and story progression. On the other hand it still has the TellTale "Character X will remember that" crap that for some reason only ends with me thinking "Yes thanks for remembering me that this a black and white game".


10. Super Mega Baseball ; In an era where arcade sports games have completely disappeared from the map, it appears a serious contender for the future of what arcade sports games should be. Super Mega Baseball is a special game that really deserves a lot more attention by bringing arcade fun back to sports games. And within the arcade and cartoony shell there is depth too with a pitching system that should be added to MLB The Show (yes it's that good) and the ego system that allows you to find the sweet difficulty spot. Having no official license also allows the creative freedom to create completely over the top characters model, names and teams. And yes the creepy umpire voice is worth the price of admission by himself.

Honorable Mentions
x. Pix the Cat ; A complete surprise coming out of nowhere just like the stages later in the game. An experience that felt great until I found you had more than 1 shot to do the daily challenge. Why? Why?

x. NBA 2K15 ; I still feel like Association/MyGM is still the best franchise mode in any sports game but for some reason their "Social media" approach has made it even worse this year. VC is still there on MyGM since you can still get players for less cap money if you pay with VC. On the court the game tactics and movement took a step ahead making it much more enjoyable to play but the animation system is still lacking forcing some input lag while the slow animation plays out until the end. Something that has been on this game for at least 8 years...

x. Madden NFL 15 ; I keep waiting for the deep franchise mode similar to NFL Head Coach but until then at least the game on the field improve by leaps and bounds this year to make it at least a game good enough to keep playing. Commentary and WR/DB interaction is atrocious though.

Games on my backlog that I wish I had time to play before the voting deadline: Far Cry 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, This War of Mine and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare.
 
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1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; DKCTF is much closer to the DKC reboot I envisioned. I’m dumbfounded, especially after my array of gripes with Returns. It's still not quite where it has to be to usurp DKC2 in my book, but it's a welcome compromise between the older games and a more modern style. I could list off what I'd like to see changed in the future (namely, more animal buddies, tag partner mechanics, bonus room goal variety, roll momentum increase after hitting enemies, hanging from hooks, etc.), however, DKCTF's leap in quality over Returns is so huge that I’m happy with what we got. And its music! For surpassing my every expectation and carving its own path as an exceedingly fun, atmospheric platformer, DKCTF comes out on top in a very tight race for my personal 2014 GotY.



2. Bayonetta 2 ; The original Bayonetta is one of my favorite games ever. Naturally, the announcement of a sequel (under another director, no less) shook me a bit, but I had faith. As it turns out, I didn't really need to worry. Bayonetta 2 is exactly what you'd expect of a follow-up, tweaking, refining, and adding just enough to feel fresh. Unfortunately, I think that’s also the reason why it’s not higher on my list. While opinions on some of its changes fluctuate with my mood, reminding me of the nitpicking that goes on between other games like Demon’s and Dark Souls I/II, I’m still slightly disappointed when I inevitably compare it to how much of an impact the first game left on me. If Bayonetta 1 was rough around the edges, Bayonetta 2 polished everything to a mirror sheen—gone are all the low moments, but I can’t shake the feeling that a few peaks were smoothed out as well…



3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; I’ve always been a big fan of Smash and Sakurai in general, so it’s no surprise to me that this is placing so highly on my list. It’s tons of fun, and it’s probably my favorite incarnation of the series yet. I miss a few modes we saw in previous games, sure, but I’m thrilled with how everything else turned out and also extremely happy to welcome the existence of a portable version after all these years. Sadly, a few aspects of the 3DS release feel held back in favor of its console counterpart, whether intentional or unavoidable due to cartridge size. And it seems several compromises had to be made for both games coexist in the first place, like the supposed removal of Ice Climbers for platform roster parity. Perhaps future patches will address these concerns? I guess my main complaint with the Wii U version is that certain stages feel more accommodating toward a higher number of combatants now, so it’s irritating when far-off spawn points in larger maps hinder smaller brawls. Still, players are generally provided with plenty of options for customization if something doesn’t sit right with them.



4. KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.5 ReMIX ; Re-release or not, Birth by Sleep remains an exemplary action RPG. Nearly everything I’ve disliked about Kingdom Hearts in the past is improved or diminished in BbS in all areas from story to mini-games. The combat and its auxiliary mechanics are enthralling, particularly on harder difficulties, and everything comes together so well that I remain convinced the game is accidentally as good as it is. This compilation is also bolstered by the appearance of KINGDOM HEARTS II FINAL MIX, the only other game in the series that some swear is better than BbS. I’m happy it finally made the jump overseas since I never got the chance to import it back in the day. Now, I’m not ready to pass judgment over which game I ultimately prefer of the two, but it’s safe to say that this collection is the best place to play my absolute favorite KH title, whichever it ends up being.



5. Shovel Knight ; Shovel Knight takes inspiration from many of my favorite games growing up, successfully blending everything into a fun albeit familiar hodgepodge. If it were an NES title, it would’ve had a huge following—it's charming, well-designed, and has a strong soundtrack. Yacht Club Games really understands what made that era fun. DuckTales-esque hopping aside, Shovel Knight is mostly reminiscent of early Mega Man and Castlevania with plenty of modern touches to make it more accessible. What did I love most? The boss fights! It’s a pity that the smaller-scale action platformer I was far more hyped to play this year, Azure Striker GUNVOLT, left me rather cold in comparison. Similarly, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, which I enjoyed more than Return to Dream Land, still hasn’t managed to escape from the shadow of Super Star (Ultra) in my eyes.



6. Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! ; Fighting games are my favorite genre. I don’t have time to take them as seriously as I’d like anymore, but it’s difficult for me to even rank them since they seem exempt from judgment on something as arbitrary as a GotY list. I tend to snatch up every single fighter I can get my hands on, regardless of its quality. It was because of this that I even originally discovered Arcana Heart. Anyway, I’ve been a big proponent of the series since it began. I still think the original game is one of the strongest first entries in a brand new fighting game series, and Arcana Heart 3's breed of dynamic one-on-one fighting is in a league of its own. AH is sorely overlooked, so instead of listing other equally impressive games that came to console in 2014 like BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, I’d like to give a shout-out to AH3LM instead. The fact that it didn’t have an additional character for sale as DLC the first week it came out doesn’t hurt either. One last thing: the Vita version has horrendously long load times, so please avoid it if possible.



7. Mario Kart 8 ; Mario Kart 8 is very, very good. I’ve found myself preferring the original on SNES for years, but this entry has finally topped it. I'll just get this out of the way first: I don't like Mario Kart 8 as much as Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. However, it's the best Mario Kart I've played as far as racing, tracks, and music go. Online is also buttery smooth, something I wasn't expecting at all. I must voice a few complaints, though: battle mode in its current state isn’t much fun at all, item balance seems iffy (though this seems to plague every Mario Kart these days), and single player content is nearly nonexistent. That aside, I liked the game enough to purchase its awesome DLC, so no hard feelings.



8. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; GAF buddy Uraizen and I have similar tastes when it comes to many games, so I checked this out mainly on his recommendation. I followed its lengthy development and had renewed faith after positive impressions, but I probably never would’ve bought the game with so much else coming out. I’m a lapsed South Park fan, having stopped watching around the 10th season or so, but I felt right at home jumping into the game. More importantly, it sucked me in from the very start. Let me tell you something: I spent far more time with a few other RPGs this year, but this is definitely a quality over quantity situation. Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dark Souls II, Tales of Xillia 2, Lightning Returns, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, etc. gave me plenty to enjoy, but needless busywork, unclear objectives, plodding pace, or messy design occasionally drags them down. Instead, Stick of Truth is a much simpler, tighter experience that rarely overstays its welcome—sometimes less is more.



9. Killer Instinct: Season 2 ; Though the season’s still technically unfinished, I’d like to continue voicing my support for this reboot of KI by explicitly putting it somewhere on my GotY list. I find myself playing it every time I turn my Xbox One on. I can usually resist the temptation to play a few quick rounds before going about what I was doing, but KI’s got that unmeasurable allure some games have, that satisfying “feel” you keep craving. It’s like a drug addict getting a quick fix, and it must vary from person to person because I still personally couldn’t care less about other titles like Street Fighter IV, even after multiple iterations… Anyway, I’m beyond relieved to see this reboot in good hands after Amazon’s acquisition of Double Helix, and I can’t wait for Cinder, my other old favorite alongside Orchid and Glacius.



10. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition ; As hyped as I was for Diablo 3, I stopped playing shortly before the Paragon leveling system was introduced—needless to say, I missed a lot of improvements to the game since it's been out. It seems like everything that didn't sit well with me has been changed for the better after my time with Reaper of Souls. The improved loot, miscellaneous tweaks, controller dodging, adventure mode, offline play, auction house removal, new NPCs, etc. make it almost a completely different experience. Though I eventually burned out on the game, I’m happy I took a chance to revisit it and await the day I need to scratch that loot itch again.





x. Forza Horizon 2 ; I wasn’t on the Forza Horizon train back when the original came out on 360, but I finally decided to give the series a try. What a difference compared to the bland snoozefest that is Forza 5! It came as a shock to finally “click” with a racer so far beyond what I prefer—and an open-world one, at that! Unfortunately, the environment is a bit bland. I find myself even preferring DRIVECLUB’s mountainous vistas more, though both games are a far cry from the vibrant tracks I love in arcade racers. Rewinding is still a very welcome feature that helps you learn from your mistakes and improve as a driver, so I’m always happy to see that. As you’re aware, FH2 isn’t the only car game on my list this year, but it serves its purpose. While Mario Kart 8 satisfies my need to let off some steam in a kart battle setting, FH2 quells an urge just to drive around and enjoy cars in general—it’s an interesting distinction. I haven’t purchased Storm Island yet, but it seems worth the asking price.



x. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA f ; I'm not the biggest fan of Project DIVA games in general, but I still find them enjoyable. And PDf is one solid game. It's mainly the “tap along” brand of play that I dislike—there's much less hopping, interweaving, etc. in note charts compared to most of the Bemani-style games I prefer, and songs are almost twice as long as what you'd usually get in arcades. I also appreciate how series like DJMax synthesize music for button presses instead of simply overlaying chimes. In any case, I’m thankful we’re finally getting these games localized, and I happily tapped my way to platinum in this one. I think rhythm titles work really well on portable, too, so PDF did not appear on my GotY list last year. I’m also going to continue ignoring 2nd because I’m pretty sure I won’t like some of its mechanical changes considering my negative opinion on star notes. Back to PDf, I would say that some of the Extreme charts are unnecessarily obnoxious and that I also don’t care for all the vocaloid interaction fluff, but whatever. If I really wanted to complain, I’d talk about Theatrhythm instead…



x. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth ; I adore SMT and love Persona 3 and 4 as much as the next person. I also have tons of fun with Etrian Odyssey games. This one’s a no-brainer! Though I’ve played (and appreciated) both Persona 4 Arena games to varying degrees, I am surprised again at how natural this collaboration feels. Yeah, I’m tired of all the modern Persona milking, but PQ’s a good game. The story’s about what you’d expect, and combat’s got all that familiar Persona stuff in place. There’s not much else to say. I do miss EO’s job and skill system, though. Creating overpowered parties with ridiculous synergy probably accounts for 90% of my enjoyment with the series, though let’s also not underestimate how cathartic dungeon mapping can be… Wait, did I mention how nice it is to play a modern Persona with good dungeon design for once?




(GotY 2013 List)
(Favorite Soundtracks of 2013)
(GotY 2012 List)
(GotY 2011 List)
 
Sep 5, 2011
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1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; 2D platformers are one of the oldest genres in gaming. It is rare to get so excited about one because at this point it seems like everything about them has already been done. However, the latest game from Retro Studios managed to overcome just that by simultaneously invoking feelings of great platformers of years past while at the same time molding intricate obstacle courses with an attention to detail that is unprecedented in a platformer. No platform In Tropical Freeze exists just for the sake of gameplay as each and every piece of land is part of a cohesive whole that makes up Donkey Kong's world. The presentation is also worthy of praise with art and characters that come to life along with a soundtrack that will go down as one of Nintendo's best. One of gaming's oldest icons has come swinging back to be my best of 2014 and my favorite game to play on the Wii U.

2. Bayonetta 2 ; Never have I played a game that seems so happy just to exist as I have with Bayonetta 2. The game is confident in presenting its own unique brand of gameplay and manages to pull it off flawlessly. The sense of discovery and reward when a player manages to string together an intricate combo of attacks plays out like what one would expect from an over the top action movie, yet Bayonetta 2 remains the closest thing we have to actually being the ones behind it ourselves.

3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; Smash Bros. continues its own unique blend on fighting in an entry that brings together an even larger number of video game icons. Popular characters such as Mega Man are thrown in with fan-favorites like Shulk, in addition to meeting unexpected combatants like Wii Fit Trainer. It all comes together to be a big celebration of video game history and provides hours of fun from the competitive enthusiast, to the die-hard Nintendo fan collecting every trophy, to those playing with friends in local multiplayer.

4. Mario Kart 8 ; The popular racing franchise returns with a renewed focus. The gravity mechanic brings with it not only some of the most unique level design in the series, but also an added complexity to the gameplay that is reminiscent of franchises like F-Zero and Wipeout. The item selection is balanced in a way that strikes a good ratio between fair and fun, and the game presents the most beautiful graphics in a Nintendo game yet.

5. Dark Souls II ; It may not be as strong as the original, but Dark Souls II still gives its players some of the most challenging and rewarding gameplay in its genre. The new areas and enemies provide plenty of challenge, and the game rewards fans who dig a little deeper each and every time into the unknown. The world ranges from frightening to depressing, and at times even beautiful which is something this series has all to itself. The social and multiplayer aspects of the game serve to only enhance this as you meet new allies and enemies along the way to either fight towards victory or battle it out to the last breath.

6. Shovel Knight ; This game may at first give an aura of being a "Greatest Hits" collection from retro video games like Mega Man 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Zelda 2 but underneath the NES graphics exists a game with its own unique identity. Shovel Knight fully embraces the concept of its character by having players dig through levels and whack evildoers with a spade. The checkpoint system also gives reward to players who want extra challenge out of the game.

7. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; Captain Toad is a very modest game. It doesn't present large setpieces or palm sweating twitch gameplay like some of the others on this list, but instead it hums to the beat of its own tune. The game has a lovable and charming presentation in addition to its gameplay which often times seems like a hybrid of puzzles and platformers in a manner similar to classics like Donkey Kong '94. Each level in the game may be small, but is packed with depth as reaching the Star may be the end of the level but far from the only objective. Gems and extra tasks push the player to think and react in a manner of unique scenarios that seems neverending. The latest game from EAD Tokyo doesn't disappoint, and proves once again why they are one of the best in the industry.

8. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney ; It has been years since its announcement but the crossover between two of the biggest puzzle solvers in gaming has finally happened. The characters and worlds are brought together seamlessly from Layton's brand of puzzles to Phoenix Wright's courtroom duels. The characters are part of a story that has twists and turns that keep the player entertained throughout. I have never been so attached to my 3DS as I was during the proceedings of the Golden Court from its shocking introduction to the heart racing and emotional conclusion. This is one of the best crossovers in gaming in the sense that at times it never even felt like a crossover between two series, but rather one complete game that didn't need to rely solely on fanservice to excite players.

9. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes ; I find myself surprised that one of my favorite games of the year is just a prologue for an upcoming game in 2015. However, that is a testament to how good that vertical slice of gameplay was. I've spent countless hours getting familiar with the layout of the map, the different stealth mechanics, and enemy guard patterns to complete special ops in a timelier fashion each subsequent time. It is a testament to the quality of a game to desire to keep playing it after the credits have rolled, and Ground Zeroes has managed to do that.

10. Kirby Triple Deluxe ; The Kirby games have never been groundbreaking in their craft, but they have always been consistently enjoyable. Triple Deluxe continues in delivering fun platforming mixed with simple combat, with the new Bell powerup being a favorite of mine. The game takes a page from recent Donkey Kong adventures by allowing Kirby to travel to and from the foreground allowing him new ways to uncover secrets. Additionally, the new Hypernova power helps to change things up as Kirby uses his trademark ability to inhale and move obstacles in the environment.

Honorable Mention

x. Infamous Second Son ; The latest game brings back more high-powered superhero antics but with a new level of mobility to them. Hopping through vents as a cloud of smoke or speeding like the Flash through the streets of Seattle never felt more fun. At times Second Son feels like a toybox in which while the core missions and story may not be all that impressive, the gameplay and sense of power certainly are. Sometimes what makes open world games fun isn't so much the objectives you are given, but instead just having fun messing around in the world of the game. No game I've played this year represents or has executed it better than this one.
 
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1. Bayonetta 2 ; Hands down best game of the year. Brilliant gameplay, superb animation, great art direction, great soundtrack. Platinum are masters of their craft and action game gods.

2. Dark Souls 2 ; Disappointing in many ways when compared to it's predecessor (Matthew Matosis pretty well sums up most of my grievances with it although I enjoyed it more than he did), but still a great game and easily better than 99% of what else came out in 2014.

3. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII ; This game was a lot of fun, especially the combat system. I've been an FF fan for over 20 years and I enjoyed the whole FFXIII trilogy a great deal, I don't care what anyone says. I even platinumed all 3. I'm not sorry to see it end though and I still feel that the first game should have been a one shot. No sequels were needed and the resources used to make them should have been used to complete FF Vs. XIII in a timely fashion.

4. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; I've never been a fan of the DKC series, I never cared for any of them going back to the original. However I can acknowledge an extremely well made game with brilliant level design, especially the K stages which is where the it finally clicked for me. That said that I'm not joining the chorus proclaiming it the best platformer ever made as there are a great many others I have found to be considerably more enjoyable.

5. Tales of Xillia 2 ; Good story, good characters, enjoyable combat, a really fun RPG. The only real complaint I have is how 95% of the assets were copy/pasted from the first game. Tales of Recycling more like it. :p

6. Crimzon Clover WORLD IGNITION ; Best shmup/STG/whatever I've played since Ikaruga. Great fun and highly addictive. I got it on the Xmas Steam sale but it's definitely worth the $10 regular price.

7. Drakengard 3 – Nowhere near as good as Nier but so batshit insane I can't help but like it a lot. However that
rhythm game final boss
can eat a 50 gallon hefty bag of rotten severed zombie dicks.


8. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; Not only one of the best uses of a license ever in the medium but it also taught me a valuable lesson (I learned something today): That every game, from Tetris to Dark Souls, needs a dedicated fart button.

9. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; Just what I wanted: A whole game made up of the Capt. Toad levels from SM3DW. Great level design and oozing Nintendo charm.

10. Mario Kart 8 ; My first time playing a Mario Kart game. I liked it, but not as well as my favorite racers: Burnout 3, F-Zero GX and WipEout HD. I probably didn't give it a fair assessment though, I only rented it for a few days and played it solo offline. One day I'll rent it again and take it online or try some local MP.

Honorable Mentions:
X. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX ; I believe HD remasters should not count in GotY lists unless the original was never released in the voter's home country so it's an honorable mention. I haven't gotten to BBS yet (will very soon) but revisiting KH2 again in HD was great. I still like the first game better though. I love this series and can't wait for KH3.

X. Final Fantasy X HD Remaster ; Not one of my favorite FFs, Tidus and Waka pretty much ruin the game for me as far as story goes, I can't stand either of them. However Auron is awesome and the battle system is one of the best in the franchise. S-E did a great job with the HD remaster just like with KH. Now bring on XII HD for PS4!

X. The Evil Within ; Not sure how I feel about this one. Not scary in the slightest, clunky gameplay made worse by letterboxing and a too close camera, often poor framerate and the worst LOD pop-in I've ever seen (PS3 version) and the whole thing felt like a mishmash of random elements tossed together in a blender with little cohesive vision. It had a lot of variety and good ideas but none of them gelled into anything that felt complete. I still kind of liked it though. And kind of didn't.

X. Wolfenstein The New Order ; With extremely rare exception I pretty much hate any FPS made after 1999 that isn't Half-Life but this had just enough retro styling to be playable. Not as good as Shadow Warrior (2013) but fun enough. I just wish the story had been more in line with its over the top gameplay and universe. Too grimdark and serious, it would have benefited from a Inglorious Basterds/Sin City style script.

X. The Walking Dead Season 2 ; I don't like this kind of game very much but the first TWD was alright, better than the TV series anyway. This was... more of the same but not quite as good. I probably won't show up for season 3 if there is to be one. I really wish the writers from Telltale would team up with another developer to lend a great story to an otherwise mechanics based game.

There were a bunch of games I haven't played yet but will endeavor to get to eventually. Most notably: Grimrock 2, Shovel Knight, Abyss Odyssey, Transistor, Child of Light and Pushmo World.
 

jello44

Chie is the worst waifu
Feb 17, 2012
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1. Driveclub ; Yup. Fantastic racing experience from the guys at Evolution Studios. (even though it had some hiccups at launch) Car models and locations are breathtaking and the racing is top notch. It's the spiritual successor to PGR that I've wanted and got.

2. DanganRonpa 2: Goodbye Despair. ; Coming off the heels of the first game, the sequel turns it up to 11. The story and characters keep you engrossed in what is going to happen next and the despair... oh the despair comes and comes.

3. DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; The setup for the sequel, same reasoning, the story and characters keep you wanting more. The trial mini-games are better than in the sequel.

4. Persona Q ; A great mixture of the battles systems from EO and Persona 3/4 makes this a love letter to Persona 3/4 fans. (And possibly fans of the dungeon crawler RPG). Story is typical Persona Team fare and the interactions between the two teams

5. Forza Horizon 2. ; Bigger and badder than the original. Racing across two countries in all types of vehicles makes this one of the best racers on the market

6. South Park: The Stick of Truth; A South Park game that is actually good? Yes! A fun little romp that has all of the humor from the TV show. It was like being able to control an episode.

7. Sunset Overdrive. ; An Open-World game with all that Insomniac charm? Yes please.


8. Infamous: Second Son/First Light ; I'm putting these both here, since they compliment each other. While the world of SS was pretty shallow, fighting with all the different powers made for a great time. First Light expands on a character from SS and brings her backstory to light before she meets the main character.
 
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