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

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Curufinwe

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May 20, 2009
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1. Bayonetta 2 ; Worth buying a Wii U for.
2. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition; My only platinum of 2014.
3. The Last of Us: Remastered; Worth waiting for.
4. The Evil Within; The framerate gets better on PS4 after chapter 3.
5. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ; Celebrimbor!
6. Broken Sword 5; Part 2 still isn't out on Vita.
7. BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea: Episode 2; A little fan-fictiony, but fun.
8. Strider; I didn't play many new games in 2014.
 

keviny

Member
Sep 26, 2013
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Balatonfüred - Hungary
1. Bayonetta 2 ; Probably the best action game I've ever played.
2. Dark Souls II ; Not as good az its predecessor, but still an amazing action RPG.
3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; Great brawler with the most iconic video game characters of all time. And Shulk.
4. Mario Kart 8 ; It's another highly polished Mariokart game we're gonna play for years.
5. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; Beautiful and challenging platformer, totally based on Returns.
6. South Park: The Stick Of Truth ; Funniest RPG ever made.
 

AniHawk

Member
Jun 7, 2004
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1. p.t.; in many ways, p.t. is similar to 2013's gone home, another title that is story-heavy and hardly features any gameplay mechanics. in p.t., you are a probably some guy who is related to the story of a family that was part of a brutal murder-suicide. after waking up in a room with only one door as the means of escape, you wander the hallway of an empty home.

like gone home, there is some rather excellent design to help tell the story. p.t. is a horror game, and it starts the player off by putting them in an L-shaped hallway. to the right, after the only turn, there is a bathroom door, and at the end of this hallway is another door that seems to lead the player down to the basement. instead, it creates a loop, starting again at the beginning of the hallway. this is where the game really comes into its own. with each loop, something changes. the door at the end of the hallway will be open, and shut on its own; someone will start banging on the bathroom door from the other side; the lights will no longer be on; cockroaches will be on the wall, trash will litter the house more, and the home will appear deteriorate more and more. p.t. tries to instill a sense of hope while filling its audience with dread. maybe the next time around will end the loop - could things get any worse if they did? it keeps the player moving towards uncertainty.

it's a scary game, and it doesn't rely on gore or cheap tricks to terrify the player. p.t.'s horror comes from its lack of control. the player can only move through the environment, and zoom the camera in to closely inspect objects. it's a nightmarish quality that removes the feeling that anything can be done against the monsters in the darkness. your only weapon is the ability to steel yourself before peeking through a crack in a door, inevitably moving towards a figure at the end of a hallway, or giving in to the urge to turn around when you feel like there might be something behind you.


2. super smash bros. for nintendo 3ds; my plan was to 'get good' on super smash bros. for nintendo 3ds before going all in with super smash bros. for wii u. what i thought would be maybe ten or twenty hours max turned into sixty hours of smash bros. on 3ds before the wii u game launched. it controls surprisingly well on the handheld, and looks rather nice to boot. the 3ds-exclusive feature, smash run, is probably the most fun i've had in single-player smash as well.

games are products of design, so i felt that even though my experiences here might be mirrored on the more robust super smash bros. for wii u, the fact that it was made for and works on nintendo 3ds is what puts it on the list. with this game, i could fight coworkers, show people videos of my high scores, and play wherever i wanted. like animal crossing, it's a console game that feels great on a handheld.


3. nes remix 2; the sequel to my favorite 2013 surprise was even better. the sequel is easier, but that is partially owed to the games within, which are more accessible and came later in the nes's life than the ones in nes remix. there are also more interesting challenges and ideas, such as super mario bros. 1 with super mario bros. 3 physics and sprites. it even has an addictive leaderboard mode for who can score the most points on a series of games in ten minutes.


4. shovel knight; hey if capcom won't make a new mega man game, there's nothing to say anyone else can't. i wish i had more to say about 2014's most polished retro experience. it had the right level of challenge, variety, and presentation that made it feel new while retaining its aura of a game lost in time.


5. danganronpa: trigger-happy havoc; it's rare, but sometimes a game with really good presentation is all it needs to hold my attention. while there is more to do in danganronpa than some of its contemporaries like 999 and phoenix wright, its game systems are not quite as interesting, nor its mysteries as engaging. however, what kept bringing me back to danganronpa was its characters. it's a colorful cast, and the people who are forced to kill one another are made likable, interesting, and relatable.

danganronpa also has a very unique style. the music, the visuals, and the dark humor give it a very distinct personality. the closed-in nature of a school in lockdown allows a memorable, oppressive atmosphere as well, similar to 999. it's a satisfying read.


6. danganronpa 2: goodbye despair; goodbye despair is danganronpa for danganronpa fans. it plays with expectations set up by the first game and tries to make things even more engaging with its mechanics and gameplay systems. there are also more things to do in goodbye despair, including extra bonuses not part of the main game. by nearly every measure, i found it superior to the first.

what keeps this from receiving higher marks versus its predecessor is the tone. goodbye despair is decidedly quirkier and stranger than trigger-happy havoc. there's actually a good reason for it too, but the characters within are unfortunately not as grounded as the ones from the original. the oppressive atmosphere is replaced by a lighter tone, and the final people who the main character and by extension the player should connect with the most still come across as mostly caricatures, with the exception of fuyuhiko and kazuichi. hajime hinata is also a very welcome step up over the protagonist of the first game, makoto naegi. i enjoyed goodbye despair though, and in the days since completing it, find myself looking back on it more and more fondly.


7. hyrule warriors; hyrule warriors might be one of the dumbest games i've ever loved. even when you are required to play with a level of skill, the ceiling is pretty low compared to most action games. yet it is stupidly addicting. i put more hours into hyrule warriors than i have any other current-generation game, and that includes software for the 3ds and vita. like mirror's edge, the main campaign is serviceable and fine on its own, but it's the extra game modes where it really shines. adventure mode has all kinds of different rules and prizes to keep things varied and power up your various characters. those challenges are snippets of gameplay taken from the main campaign, and their short and varying lengths essentially guarantees multiple playthroughs.


8. yoshi's new island; i played yoshi's new island on mute for obvious reasons. perhaps it was due to a more relaxing style of a few levels a night while a television show played in the background made this one of the more memorable platformers i've played all year.


9. pushmo world; i arrived to the original pushmo late, but i did not repeat that mistake with pushmo world. like yoshi's new island, this was a kind of game that could be played while something else was on in the background. it's light fun for an evening, with enough challenge to stump the player for a while, but not enough that a puzzle can't be solved the next day with a fresh pair of eyes.


10. mario kart 8; i wish i had more to say about why i enjoy mario kart 8. the course design is memorable, the music is great, and visually it's appealing and interesting with the zero-gravity gimmick making everything more fantastical. the slo-mo replay feature is also something to note. i never used it for social media, but it definitely made local multiplayer sessions that more enjoyable. it's one thing to find something funny, and it's another to share laughter with friends.


x. super smash bros. for wii u; only a few hours were put into this game. i feel bad for not getting fuller use out of it, but i have put some time into most of its features, including the board game, 8 player smash, and amiibo training.
x. captain toad: treasure tracker; i honestly had expected this to top my list this year. what i learned was that it is not a game built for marathon runs, like many 3d and 2d platformers. it is charming and entertaining in its own right, however.
x. kirby triple deluxe; i played this the same way i did yoshi, but it never grabbed me quite the same way.
x. donkey kong country: tropical freeze; retro studios still hasn't figured out how jumping should work in a platformer, and the controls are still needlessly complex, but the level design is generally better than its predecessor and david wise's music is great. retro only makes good games in a series on the third one anyway.
x. bravely default: flying fairy; it's the game that keeps starting.
 

Sendou

Member
Aug 8, 2011
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1. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ; I rarely put over 100 hours in a video game. Whenever that happens it must be for something very special. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is exactly that. I wasn't such a big fan of the original Binding of Isaac but the remake fixes just about all the problems I had with it. From new engine to just adding more of everything it's a textbook example of how to remake your game. I also found that it's a fascinating study on random factor in video games. At first it feels like the game takes every chance to screw you over and you are helpless to stop it. I'm not saying that feeling will ever fully go away but slowly you will learn the game's rules and how to use them against it. Somehow even the times you really get screwed over don't feel frustrating anymore. Getting closer to mastering the game it starts feeling that you are the one being unfair to the game rather than the opposite. Interestingly enough I could list more flaws about this game than all of the games above combined but still I couldn't help but make it my game of the year. That should speak highly of Binding of Isaac's best moments. You never stop wondering what's behind that next Treasure Room door.



2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; The game that made me identify as Retro Studios' fan. It's the kind of platformer only Nintendo knows how to make: eerily well designed and full of surprises. It gets rather hard but in a way that encourages you to continue getting better at the game. That's a very important part of what I consider good design and something that many hard games get wrong. You could say it's the polishing and little touches there and there that set Nintendo games apart. That is what definies Donkey Kong: Tropical Feeze at its core as well.



3. Mario Kart 8 ; I don't think I need to explain the appeal of Mario Kart. Mario Kart 8 is the best Mario Kart. Nothing more and nothing less than that. Now with incredible OST. I found it very easy to spend countless of hours racing online when the intention was only to race a couple of times.



4. Shovel Knight ; You could easily think Shovel Knight is just what hundreds of games were before it: some shameless attempt of cashing in 8-bit nostalgia. Yet where Shovel Knight shines is making its own legacy. It can't be denied that the creators have both admiration and knowledge of that era but it's not to make up for the lack of skill to make up a good game period. That's what Shovel Knight is. The kind of platformer that's pleasure to both listen and look at but at the same time has an incredibly satisfying feeling to it.



5. Transistor ; I could write a lot about how much I liked the story in Transistor or how it features one of the best OST's of the year. Instead I'd like to highlight the one of a kind combat system the game features. On the surface it appears very simple. Then further into the game it starts throwing you bones to go out your way to explore the finer nuances the system has to offer. As a result you'll be sure to discover countless of ways to deal with combat. The beautiful part is that the game doesn't force you to do any of that but rather just gently pushes you towards discovery.



6. Valiant Hearts: The Great War ; Very touching story told in an era rarely seen in video games. Like the other UbiArt games it also has the kind of artstyle you don't see from anyone else in this industry. I also enjoyed learning about history while playing.



7. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ; Very well playing combination of Assassin's Creed and Batman Arkham series type of gameplay. They could have gotten away with "just" that but the game really sets itself apart with the Nemesis system. Never have I feel so connected by fate to AI enemies.



8. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; Best first person shooter since Half-Life 2. Doesn't have awfully lot of completely new ideas but still everything it tries to do is well executed. I was really doubtful about how this game would turn out but the Swedish team won me on their side.



9. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; Crazy in the best way imaginable. The mood swings from serious to absolutely over the top kind of nuts but it's what makes this game so easy to love. Monokuma is one of my favorite characters ever in a video game.



10. The Wolf Among Us: Episodes 2-5 ; Proved that Telltale formula works well in other words that that of The Walking Dead's. Has the same faults as those games but I still chose playing an episode of this game over other games I had lined up every chance I got.

Honorable Mentions



x. Lovely Planet ; Colorful, fast and hard. Just how I like my video games.
 

spekkeh

Banned
Apr 18, 2011
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---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| spekkeh's game of the year 2014 |---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



1. Mario Kart 8 ; This game ending up first came as a total surprise to me. It's the eighth in the series, and I'm the kind of guy that thinks Portal 2 was wholly unnecessary and took away from the self contained genius of Portal 1. Still, the original Super Mario Kart was on my ten greatest of all times list (which was also quite the surprise when it released seeing as I've never been interested in racing games and haven't since) and paired with Mario Kart 64 some of the most fun I've had in multiplayer gaming. Of course that was over twenty years ago. I'm old now, multiplayer moved online and my interest waned. The same goes for the series, iterations came and went and while I played most of them, none grabbed my attention. Truly this series should be put to rest I thought. Well I take it back. Mario Kart 8 is the greatest Mario Kart and therefore as worthy as anything of inclusion in a greatest of all time list. Everything about this game is an absolute delight. The colors and locales burst off the screen, if you're feeling down, it's impossible to stay grumpy when you load up a track. Even more so than the oft-touted graphics, this game has in my opinion the best soundtrack since Mario Galaxy 1 (maybe better? maybe of all time?). The person who thought it was a good idea to have a jazzy big band score a racing game is both completely mad and an absolute genius. Listen to the electric guitar solo right after the sax took it away in this rendition of Rainbow Road 64 and pretend it's not the best thing ever I triple dare you. Heck I'm listening to the complete soundtrack right now. Sorry if I come off as euphoric every now and then, it has that effect. But that's not all, the lavish attention to detail in the characters and interactions spawned the famous death stare meme that made it to mainstream news channels and generated the most fun NeoGaf thread of the year. And then there's the online. Nintendo has gotten a lot of deserved pouncing on their paltry online, but Mario Kart 8 nails it. The hypnotic tune, the spinning globe with little Toads in space, but above all seeing all the Miis stand around in the lobby. More than any multiplayer game I played you get a real feel for the people you're interacting with (without being told in purple prose what they're going to do to your mom). Gosh I'm racing a dad, three students, a five year old and a grandmother? Well then, prepare to stare in the soulless eyes of Donkey Kong as I accelerate away from you all. Final score: 10.

2. Bayonetta 2 ; As a game design researcher, my PhD research was about how to best align game design with the human cognitive system. In cognitive psychology, there’s the well-known concept of the ‘Magical Number Seven Plus or Minus Two’, which states that humans can store seven bits of information (plus or minus two obviously) concurrently in their working memory. Any more than that, and your brains simply can’t cope and you start making errors. I’m pretty sure Bayonetta 2 violates this heuristic practically all throughout the game. Sometimes, like in the battles with Masked Lumen, by a factor ten at least. Yet somehow it works. Whether it’s by clever cueing, or that among all the noise you start discerning and reacting to meta-patterns, like harmonies in a musical piece. Actually I wouldn’t be at all surprised if turned out that most of the game plays itself and we’re just pushing buttons like a confused chimp in a nuclear power plant. It doesn’t matter. Playing Bayonetta 2, your mind, your fingers, your mouth, your bodily proprioception, everything is working in concordance and at upmost concentration to do a single thing. To go: oooooooooooh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit what the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck am I seriously doing thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis I am holy shiiiiiiiit that really happenedddddddddddd. And it’s awesome. Final score: 10.

3. The last of us: Left behind ; I actually much preferred this DLC over the original game. The pacing is better for one, focusing more on storytelling and less on shooting, and intercutting between different times, which makes the rather linear story more cognitively interesting and to add some levity to the gloom. Ellie is also simply more engaging than Joel to me. But above all I found TLoU:R’s crafting mechanic to not really work for the game. Much like Bioshock Infinite, this game layer on top of the storytelling actually takes me out of the immersion. You follow an NPC through a building, every turn they take you go into the opposite direction because you just know there’s loot there, killing any sense of forward momentum. Left Behind still has this in the more ‘gamey’ areas, but by cutting to another time period the developers were able to focus on an I think much more interesting environmental storytelling. Where going off the beaten path would lead to deepening of character relationships by picking up things from the environment unrelated to game systems. Yes TLoU:R also had lookout areas that would trigger some kind of cutscene, but this felt different. Final score: 9.

4. Shadow of Mordor ; I was certainly not hyped for this game. Looking at how this game was a simple revenge story featuring copious decapitations, I was certain Tolkien must have been spinning in his grave. I’m not dead yet myself, but if I were, Assassin’s Creed designs certainly make me spinning in my grave. From the screenshots, the game initially looked like a dead Caragor too. But the drought was huge and the thirst equally so, so I bought it just to check out the Nemesis system. I’m not going to lie, much of the score is how much I like the innovation. I’ve always been a bit of a detractor of Grand Theft Auto games, even though I liked some of them. The template just doesn’t work for me. Here they have this great sandbox, all these systems, and they don’t do anything meaningful with it. Nothing sticks (apart from the template itself as everyone lazily copies it). Shadow of Mordor is different. I’m going to be bold and say Shadow of Mordor is the first actual sandbox game ever released, as your actions carry over from one mission into the next on a systems basis. The story has emergent qualities without devolving into open-ended simulations, as these qualities neatly tie back into the authored storyline. I think it’s wonderful and am interested to see how far devs can take this. It helps that the game itself is no slouch either. I liked that they didn’t go overboard with the open world, it’s sufficiently open without making traversal protracted and boring. I really liked the way they gave form to Mordor. In the movies, Mordor is essentially a cartoony place of evil. All ugly and foreboding and never an actual place. Here the designers took that aesthetic and gave it a kind of rugged, Scottish like flavor, making it beautiful in all its ugliness. Yes I could live here then, but first I have to find Glug Pig-ear and put his head on a stick. Final score: 8.

5. This War of Mine ; I have only gotten a couple of hours into this game, so this one is a bit preliminary, but I really like what they did with this serious game. So many war games are all about gung-ho jingoism shouting and headshotting your way through foreign lands. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also trite, cliche and doesn’t at all speak to the complexity of war. This game on the other hand has a much more human focus and, most importantly, is able to conjure up really tense and somewhat emotional experiences in the game without you firing a single shot most of the time. This is not only an accomplishment for war games, but actually for any game, where so far the only way to make us care for the protagonist’s motives is when he is the chosen one / Space Jesus on a quest to personally save the universe. They really nailed it with the night time scavenging where you’re going through derelict houses. Am I really stealing the last food from an ailing grandmother? The game is able to make you care for people who only have very minimalistic backgrounds, which is no mean feat, but at the same time I’m wishing for something more of an author’s hand. Is the narrative going anywhere? The game is also slightly clunky at times. The first time I encountered another human being I didn’t really know what to do, should I press the fist button? Before my mouse could move over to the button, my protagonist was mortally wounded and died shortly after. A bit of trial and error when it should be about wits the most. Still pretty good. Final score: 8.

6. South Park: the Stick of Truth ; A nice little game that captured the essence of the cartoon series greatly, that means scathing satire, but sadly also a lot of fart and anal jokes that go on for far too long. I was appalled that the game was censored here (still am), but I also don’t really mind that I didn’t have to play an abortion minigame thank you very much. The game is at its best when it’s lampooning the game medium itself. The Canada section especially is probably the most hilarious any game has ever been. The rest of the game has slightly less of a raison d’etre however and I was particularly disappointed to find very little meaningful exploration. Finally you could wander into all the boys’ houses, but all there was were some references to old episodes. I guess we should just remember the good times. With wood elf weapons. Final score: 6.

7. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; At the turn of the century, there was something of a heated debate between two camps in Game Studies. It was about whether games should be viewed from a narratological or a ludological perspective. In short one group said that games should primarily be seen as an evolution of interactive stories, whereas the other group contended that games should be seen and studied primarily as an evolution of board games and play. Of course this being the humanities, much of the discussion was polemics for the sake of polemics. Games are about playing and about having a narrative experience at the same time.
Still, when you think about the games that are out there you can kind of see that they represent two ends of a spectrum. (It’s more like Discworld’s L-space, but humor me). On one hand of the spectrum, you have the more gamey games, which are about playing within rules, often interacting with systems and getting high scores or competing with others. On the other hand of the spectrum you have the more interactive experiences: less intricate systems, but cognitive interest derived more from the story and setting. Bioware started on the gamey side of the spectrum, using all the systems from classical Dungeons and Dragons, but over the years gradually moved over to the interactive experiences sides, streamlining their games, cutting away systems and instead focusing on inhabiting a character in an interactive story. This is undoubtedly a very unpopular opinion here but I think that has absolutely been for the best. The problem with having game systems is that you’re always striving for optimal solutions, max xp, max strength, max damage modifier because game systems are to be learned and taken control over. Within a certain context, there’s only one way to play and no reason not to do it. On the other hand, you’re not really roleplaying until you can make mistakes in line with your player’s alignment. In Mass Effect you can push a witness out of a window. Is this a good idea? Probably not. But it’s exactly what dickhead Shepard would do, so out you go mister. As a personal anecdote, in my teens I was the Dungeon Master of a group of AD&D nerds. I always saw the rules as a sort of necessary framework (we didn’t play with a board or figures, purely verbal) in order to make the shared storytelling possible. The adventure was key. However, once every few months one of the players could take a turn at being the DM because I wanted to hear how they approached storytelling. Without abandon they would give themselves legendary gear after huge xp drop. Afterwards our games would play out something like this: [elaborate setup to eerie cave monster] “a giant scorpion suddenly creeps from behind the corner”, “Ha! Doesn’t matter. I’m wearing a ring of 100% poison resistance, okay I’m swinging my epic broadsword +10, oh 100x critical hit damage, cave monster’s dead”. “…”. From their perspective it could be expected that they’re min-maxing the systems for assured survival (actually I killed them all off next game). From my perspective, the storytelling died when it became a slave to the system.
In order to appease the crpg complaints, it seems like Bioware shifted back on the spectrum to the ludological side. So now we have a gamification—or actually, a pointsification layer pasted on top of the traditional Bioware formula. Power, influence, xp, everything you do fills up bars, and these bars need to be filled in order to continue on with the story. This has two problems. First, in providing a gamey gratification (‘power +1’) Bioware at once seems to have dropped any aspiration of making their quests intrinsically satisfying. 90% of the quests (outside of the main campaign) play out like this: go to mission marker, get plain text file, go to other mission marker, defeat a few monsters, get plain text file, power +2. The stories themselves are not cognitively interesting because they contain no twists, no relationships to your character, no deepening of bonds, and above all they don’t have an effect on the main campaign other than opening artificial progression gates through the Power currency. And it’s just that: a currency. The final battle plays out exactly the same whether your inquisition has 2 or 300 Power, further cementing that it has nothing actually to do with the story. Second and most importantly, now that a gamification system is in place, you start optimizing this. Minmaxing the system, minimum amount of traversal, maximum amount of Power. You no longer go through the areas out of the intrinsic motivation to explore, you go through them to hoover up Power. This game should be called Dragon Age: Janitor.
It has nice scenery though, well thought out characters and even though the main campaign suffered from the same ending exposition as Mass Effect 3, at least that part was a hoot. Too bad it was only ten odd hours in the sixty five it took me to finish it. Final score: 6.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some games that did not make the cut:
x. The Last of Us: Remastered ; Even though this was the first time I played the game, I feel it belongs to 2013. It’s a nice game but of course greatly overhyped by GAF, I also thought Left Behind was a better package. Final score: 8. x. The Wolf Among Us ; Already voted for this game last year. Final score: 8. x. Hohokum ; Love the concept, but to me this game lacked “GameFeel”, an appreciable oomph to go with the interaction—think particle effects, cascading sounds, rumble etc. Final score: 5. x. Infamous: Second Son ; Not bad. Also not good. Looks pretty but not much more. Final score: 5.

Yikes 5 A4 pages text.
 

BumRush

Member
Dec 4, 2009
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x. donkey kong country: tropical freeze; retro studios still hasn't figured out how jumping should work in a platformer, and the controls are still needlessly complex, but the level design is generally better than its predecessor and david wise's music is great. retro only makes good games in a series on the third one anyway.
:( I think jumping in TF is top notch!
 

sasliquid

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Sep 16, 2013
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1. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft ; While it may be a free 2 play card game no game has kept me invested for quite so long. There have been very few weeks since March that I havent played it for several hours. Beautifully presented, full of charm, fun and strategy, the quality of expansions keeps me excited and still playing for the foreseeable future.



2. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; My triple A game of the year, Dragon Age: Inquisition may not have had the best bioware plot or cast ever (Hell I still really like those elements about Dragon Age 2) but it refines what works from both its predecessors to create the most well balanced WRPG in years.



3. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; This spot is really for both Danganronpas 1 and 2 but I'd say the first game is the better experience (just about). Gripping and bizarre narrative they kept me playing straight to the end, even if the plots took a nose dive to nonsense near the finales.

4. Infamous: Second Son ; A last minute jump up the list since First Light reminded me what was so good about the game. It may not have the best plot or combat of the series but it has unparralled feeling in superhero movement.

5. The Evil Within ; Kind of a surprise for me but past its nonsensical plot (a bit of a running theme this year) it had most brilliant combat design and that Mikami rock solid pacing.

6. Dark Souls 2 ; This was the year I got into the souls series and while DS2 might be the weakest by a notable margin its still rewarding enough to reach my top ten.

7. Banner Saga ; Just a brilliant world and art design with solid combat and a feeling of ever present dread. Wish it was longer though.

8. Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor ; Best individual mechanic of the year and best enemies of the year. Again the plot was pretty bad and the ending was really awful as a Lord of the Rings fan, dragging it down.

9. Luftrausers ; Once you get a hold of the controls its just really fun. That Vlambeer style.


Honorable Mentions

x. Assassins Creed: Unity - Which I'm really enjoying (post patches) and this has some of the best core gameplay in the series but I need to finish it know if it gets in my top 10.

x. Titanfall - Solid Multiplayer fun, just needs more content.

x. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes: I love Metal Gear and this was a great evolution in terms of gameplay but that price tag.


Overall it was a pretty disappointing year (as you can probly see I don't own a Wii U). Role on 2015 which really could be something special.
 

Korigama

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Jul 10, 2009
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6. Guilty Gear XRD Sign ; HEAVEN OR HELL, Let's Rock. One thing I can say about nearly every Arc System fighting game is that they have fantastic tutorials, perhaps the best tutorials I have ever completed in any fighting game. Never played a game in the GG series, but any series where a character (May I think, I never pay attention to names, I'm terrible at names)can use a dolphin to fight is more than reason enough for me to want to play it. Despite some of the animations being very, very similar to some characters in the BB series, the game outright plays very different, in my opinion. Quite frankly I still haven't grasped how to properly play the game even to this day. But I suppose more practice will remedy that just fine. The game is gorgeous as well, it's like a 3d like image in a 2d fighter, it's just amazing how they did that. I'm still pretty early into this game compared to BB but I'm greatly enjoying this game.
Actually, it's the animations for some characters in BB that are similar to ones in GG (the latter Arc series has been around for much longer). Still, good to hear that you're enjoying the game.
 

Yka

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Jan 13, 2005
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I would suggest a title change. Something like...

GAF Games of the Year 2014 - Voting Thread - ENDS TODAY - LAST CHANCE TO VOTE!!!

What do you think, Cheesemeister?
 

Grexeno

Member
Aug 18, 2014
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0
1. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft



While it may be a free 2 play card game no game has kept me invested for quite so long. There have been very few weeks since March that I havent played it for several hours. Beautifully presented, full of charm, fun and strategy, the quality of expansions keeps me excited and still playing for the foreseeable future.

2. Dragon Age: Inquisition



My triple A game of the year, Dragon Age: Inquisition may not have had the best bioware plot or cast ever (Hell I still really like those elements about Dragon Age 2) but it refines what works from both its predecessors to create the most well balanced WRPG in years.

3. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc



This spot is really for both Danganronpas 1 and 2 but I'd say the first game is the better experience (just about). Gripping and bizarre narrative they kept me playing straight to the end, even if the plots took a nose dive to nonsense near the finales.

4. Infamous: Second Son

A last minute jump up the list since First Light reminded me what was so good about the game. It may not have the best plot or combat of the series but it has unparralled feeling in superhero movement.

5. The Evil Within

Kind of a surprise for me but past its nonsensical plot (a bit of a running theme this year) it had most brilliant combat design and that Mikami rock solid pacing.

6. Dark Souls 2

This was the year I got into the souls series and while DS2 might be the weakest by a notable margin its still rewarding enough to reach my top ten.

7. Banner Saga

Just a brilliant world and art design with solid combat and a feeling of ever present dread. Wish it was longer though.

8. Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor

Best individual mechanic of the year and best enemies of the year. Again the plot was pretty bad and the ending was really awful as a Lord of the Rings fan, dragging it down.

9. Luftrausers

Once you get a hold of the controls its just really fun. That Vlambeer style.


Honorable Mentions

x. Assassins Creed: Unity - Which I'm really enjoying (post patches) and this has some of the best core gameplay in the series but I need to finish it know if it gets in my top 10.

x. Titanfall - Solid Multiplayer fun, just needs more content.

x. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes: I love Metal Gear and this was a great evolution in terms of gameplay but that price tag.


Overall it was a pretty disappointing year (as you can probly see I don't own a Wii U). Role on 2015 which really could be something special.
Your formatting is incorrect. You need a semicolon after the title of the game.
 

Cheesemeister

Member
Feb 14, 2005
10,973
1
0
Kyoto, Japan
I would suggest a title change. Something like...

GAF Games of the Year 2014 - Voting Thread - ENDS TODAY - LAST CHANCE TO VOTE!!!

What do you think, Cheesemeister?
Regular members can't change the title to anything that would be reflected on the index.

Really, this needs a sticky.
 

Gully State

Member
Nov 11, 2007
14,888
0
0
California
1. Divinity:Original Sin ; Larian Studios has done a bang up job creating a roleplaying environment that allows and even encourages clever solutions. In a generation where a game's map size is measured by the time it takes to travel from one edge to another, Divinity puts the player in a world dense with meaningful interaction with both its inhabitants as well as the environment. What this all amounts to is a very personally fulfilling experience for the player.
 
Nov 24, 2009
12,710
0
915
London
1. Mario Kart 8 - incredible fun, beautiful.
2. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes - still the great playground it has always been, impactful.
3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U - too many expletives to share
4. Mario Golf World Tour - a skilful, rewarding game
5. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze - beautiful, incredible music, fun
6. The Evil Within - not scary but so fun to play
7. Bayonetta 2 - make me hate myself for not being good enough
8. Strider - fun game that was enjoyable
9. Borderlands The Presequel - more my cup of tea, thought 2 was disappointing
10. Destiny - kept me engaged up to level 20, fun to play. Grinding left a bitter taste.
x NES Remix 2 - compulsive gaming, itching that competitive itch.
 

Dash Kappei

Not actually that important
Apr 8, 2005
15,737
4
1,500
twitter.com
Is it really necessary to be posting huge images in the thread? Kind of making the thread take a while to load and also making it difficult to post at all.
Agreed.
Either do small thumbnails or only add the image for your GOTY.
No need for those super bloated PRs/OT-bound images and gifs, please. It also makes it a drag yo try and read the thread on mobile.
 

Pie and Beans

Look for me on the local news, I'll be the guy arrested for trying to burn down a Nintendo exec's house.
Apr 23, 2010
13,063
1
940
1. Shadow of Mordor ; [PS4] This year, the game I've decided to give GOTY to is one that took me by surprise. The qualifier of why its in this place is that on my first play, I looked down at my watch from the screen and it was 4AM. Thats the mark of a game thats drunk me in to the point of losing all sense of time. I had barely even shifted the plot, and had been concentrated on various revenges with the Orc captains that had been slaying my low level character with ease. The Nemesis System really is a game changer, and all other sandbox titles will feel incomplete without an equivalent. The whole thing was just fun to muck about in from fast travel arrow teleporting, to commandeering Graugs to feast on delicious orcsies headses.

2. Shovel Knight ; [PC] Perfect execution of a concept, amazing music, good game design. In a market drowning in retro indie homages, this is one of the few that goes above and beyond and just nails everything about that era of gaming. Like a time capsule to a different age.

3. The Last of Us: Left Behind ; [PS4] DLC on a GOTY list? You betcha. It was that good. An emotional arc that even managed to eclipse the main game, the best writing and digital acting in the industry, and even more advanced AI stuff going on. Naughty Dog are the industry standard for me.

4. Bayonetta 2 ; [WIIU] 4th?! Yeah. Its a good game, but I felt something was missing. It felt like a very safe sequel lacking in direction, and while the combat is definitely improved on the ground, all the air battles left me wanting and the storyline lacked any of the oomph and constant hilarity of Bayo 1.

5. Infamous Second Son ; [PS4] That first real next-gen experience, graphically it blew me away, but I also loved the characters more than I'd expected. I've always been an Infamous fan, and while this iteration lacks some of the grander elements in its predecessors, I had great fun with it. If I could give it a joint award with First Light, I would, as Fetch's neon power set make for more fun but a shorter experience and less delicious time of day filters.

6. Valiant Hearts ; [PS4] Mandatory UbiArt award. As long as Ubi continues to pipe great art into this engine and combine it with gameplay, I'm gonna be pulling up a chair. Great story, some interesting puzzles, and of course animation to die for.

7. MGS Ground Zeroes ; [PS4] What can I say. It wasn't priced right at launch, but I am so thirsty for MGSV, this slight taste was enough to endear me. They played me like a damn fiddle.

8. Monument Valley ; [NOTE2] Probably the best mobile game I've ever played. It knows the formats limitations, and yet it manages to scratch an itch Journey did years previous and actually make me care about crudely simplistic polygonal silent characters.

9. P.T ; [PS4] If Ground Zeroes was the wrong price, so too was P.T, but inverse. I would have paid for this chilling horror experience, as its both graphically impressive and well thought out.

10. South Park: Stick of Truth ; [PC] Recreating the entire feel of a show or movie is almost impossible for most projects, let alone craft its entire world around a player, but this one had an easy in. Nevertheless, it was executed flawlessly and one of the most 'fan-pleasing' titles I've ever encountered. Sorry Kevin Spacey, you almost got onto my Top 10 with CODAW, but Trey beat you again.
 
Feb 9, 2006
8,501
0
0
1. Mario Kart 8 - incredible fun, beautiful.
2. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes - still the great playground it has always been, impactful.
3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U - too many expletives to share
4. Mario Golf World Tour - a skilful, rewarding game
5. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze - beautiful, incredible music, fun
6. The Evil Within - not scary but so fun to play
7. Bayonetta 2 - make me hate myself for not being good enough
8. Strider - fun game that was enjoyable
9. Borderlands The Presequel - more my cup of tea, thought 2 was disappointing
10. Destiny - kept me engaged up to level 20, fun to play. Grinding left a bitter taste.
x NES Remix 2 - compulsive gaming, itching that competitive itch.
Fix the formating. :)
 

Timeaisis

Member
May 27, 2011
20,585
0
0
Austin, TX
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| spekkeh's game of the year 2014 |---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



1. Mario Kart 8 ; This game ending up first came as a total surprise to me. It's the eighth in the series, and I'm the kind of guy that thinks Portal 2 was wholly unnecessary and took away from the self contained genius of Portal 1. Still, the original Super Mario Kart was on my ten greatest of all times list (which was also quite the surprise when it released seeing as I've never been interested in racing games and haven't since) and paired with Mario Kart 64 some of the most fun I've had in multiplayer gaming. Of course that was over twenty years ago. I'm old now, multiplayer moved online and my interest waned. The same goes for the series, iterations came and went and while I played most of them, none grabbed my attention. Truly this series should be put to rest I thought. Well I take it back. Mario Kart 8 is the greatest Mario Kart and therefore as worthy as anything of inclusion in a greatest of all time list. Everything about this game is an absolute delight. The colors and locales burst off the screen, if you're feeling down, it's impossible to stay grumpy when you load up a track. Even more so than the oft-touted graphics, this game has in my opinion the best soundtrack since Mario Galaxy 1 (maybe better? maybe of all time?). The person who thought it was a good idea to have a jazzy big band score a racing game is both completely mad and an absolute genius. Listen to the electric guitar solo right after the sax took it away in this rendition of Rainbow Road 64 and pretend it's not the best thing ever I triple dare you. Heck I'm listening to the complete soundtrack right now. Sorry if I come off as euphoric every now and then, it has that effect. But that's not all, the lavish attention to detail in the characters and interactions spawned the famous death stare meme that made it to mainstream news channels and generated the most fun NeoGaf thread of the year. And then there's the online. Nintendo has gotten a lot of deserved pouncing on their paltry online, but Mario Kart 8 nails it. The hypnotic tune, the spinning globe with little Toads in space, but above all seeing all the Miis stand around in the lobby. More than any multiplayer game I played you get a real feel for the people you're interacting with (without being told in purple prose what they're going to do to your mom). Gosh I'm racing a dad, three students, a five year old and a grandmother? Well then, prepare to stare in the soulless eyes of Donkey Kong as I accelerate away from you all. Final score: 10.

2. Bayonetta 2 ; As a game design researcher, my PhD research was about how to best align game design with the human cognitive system. In cognitive psychology, there’s the well-known concept of the ‘Magical Number Seven Plus or Minus Two’, which states that humans can store seven bits of information (plus or minus two obviously) concurrently in their working memory. Any more than that, and your brains simply can’t cope and you start making errors. I’m pretty sure Bayonetta 2 violates this heuristic practically all throughout the game. Sometimes, like in the battles with Masked Lumen, by a factor ten at least. Yet somehow it works. Whether it’s by clever cueing, or that among all the noise you start discerning and reacting to meta-patterns, like harmonies in a musical piece. Actually I wouldn’t be at all surprised if turned out that most of the game plays itself and we’re just pushing buttons like a confused chimp in a nuclear power plant. It doesn’t matter. Playing Bayonetta 2, your mind, your fingers, your mouth, your bodily proprioception, everything is working in concordance and at upmost concentration to do a single thing. To go: oooooooooooh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit what the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck am I seriously doing thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis I am holy shiiiiiiiit that really happenedddddddddddd. And it’s awesome. Final score: 10.

3. The last of us: Left behind ; I actually much preferred this DLC over the original game. The pacing is better for one, focusing more on storytelling and less on shooting, and intercutting between different times, which makes the rather linear story more cognitively interesting and to add some levity to the gloom. Ellie is also simply more engaging than Joel to me. But above all I found TLoU:R’s crafting mechanic to not really work for the game. Much like Bioshock Infinite, this game layer on top of the storytelling actually takes me out of the immersion. You follow an NPC through a building, every turn they take you go into the opposite direction because you just know there’s loot there, killing any sense of forward momentum. Left Behind still has this in the more ‘gamey’ areas, but by cutting to another time period the developers were able to focus on an I think much more interesting environmental storytelling. Where going off the beaten path would lead to deepening of character relationships by picking up things from the environment unrelated to game systems. Yes TLoU:R also had lookout areas that would trigger some kind of cutscene, but this felt different. Final score: 9.

4. Shadow of Mordor ; I was certainly not hyped for this game. Looking at how this game was a simple revenge story featuring copious decapitations, I was certain Tolkien must have been spinning in his grave. I’m not dead yet myself, but if I were, Assassin’s Creed designs certainly make me spinning in my grave. From the screenshots, the game initially looked like a dead Caragor too. But the drought was huge and the thirst equally so, so I bought it just to check out the Nemesis system. I’m not going to lie, much of the score is how much I like the innovation. I’ve always been a bit of a detractor of Grand Theft Auto games, even though I liked some of them. The template just doesn’t work for me. Here they have this great sandbox, all these systems, and they don’t do anything meaningful with it. Nothing sticks (apart from the template itself as everyone lazily copies it). Shadow of Mordor is different. I’m going to be bold and say Shadow of Mordor is the first actual sandbox game ever released, as your actions carry over from one mission into the next on a systems basis. The story has emergent qualities without devolving into open-ended simulations, as these qualities neatly tie back into the authored storyline. I think it’s wonderful and am interested to see how far devs can take this. It helps that the game itself is no slouch either. I liked that they didn’t go overboard with the open world, it’s sufficiently open without making traversal protracted and boring. I really liked the way they gave form to Mordor. In the movies, Mordor is essentially a cartoony place of evil. All ugly and foreboding and never an actual place. Here the designers took that aesthetic and gave it a kind of rugged, Scottish like flavor, making it beautiful in all its ugliness. Yes I could live here then, but first I have to find Glug Pig-ear and put his head on a stick. Final score: 8.

5. This War of Mine ; I have only gotten a couple of hours into this game, so this one is a bit preliminary, but I really like what they did with this serious game. So many war games are all about gung-ho jingoism shouting and headshotting your way through foreign lands. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also trite, cliche and doesn’t at all speak to the complexity of war. This game on the other hand has a much more human focus and, most importantly, is able to conjure up really tense and somewhat emotional experiences in the game without you firing a single shot most of the time. This is not only an accomplishment for war games, but actually for any game, where so far the only way to make us care for the protagonist’s motives is when he is the chosen one / Space Jesus on a quest to personally save the universe. They really nailed it with the night time scavenging where you’re going through derelict houses. Am I really stealing the last food from an ailing grandmother? The game is able to make you care for people who only have very minimalistic backgrounds, which is no mean feat, but at the same time I’m wishing for something more of an author’s hand. Is the narrative going anywhere? The game is also slightly clunky at times. The first time I encountered another human being I didn’t really know what to do, should I press the fist button? Before my mouse could move over to the button, my protagonist was mortally wounded and died shortly after. A bit of trial and error when it should be about wits the most. Still pretty good. Final score: 8.

6. South Park: the Stick of Truth ; A nice little game that captured the essence of the cartoon series greatly, that means scathing satire, but sadly also a lot of fart and anal jokes that go on for far too long. I was appalled that the game was censored here (still am), but I also don’t really mind that I didn’t have to play an abortion minigame thank you very much. The game is at its best when it’s lampooning the game medium itself. The Canada section especially is probably the most hilarious any game has ever been. The rest of the game has slightly less of a raison d’etre however and I was particularly disappointed to find very little meaningful exploration. Finally you could wander into all the boys’ houses, but all there was were some references to old episodes. I guess we should just remember the good times. With wood elf weapons. Final score: 6.

7. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; At the turn of the century, there was something of a heated debate between two camps in Game Studies. It was about whether games should be viewed from a narratological or a ludological perspective. In short one group said that games should primarily be seen as an evolution of interactive stories, whereas the other group contended that games should be seen and studied primarily as an evolution of board games and play. Of course this being the humanities, much of the discussion was polemics for the sake of polemics. Games are about playing and about having a narrative experience at the same time.
Still, when you think about the games that are out there you can kind of see that they represent two ends of a spectrum. (It’s more like Discworld’s L-space, but humor me). On one hand of the spectrum, you have the more gamey games, which are about playing within rules, often interacting with systems and getting high scores or competing with others. On the other hand of the spectrum you have the more interactive experiences: less intricate systems, but cognitive interest derived more from the story and setting. Bioware started on the gamey side of the spectrum, using all the systems from classical Dungeons and Dragons, but over the years gradually moved over to the interactive experiences sides, streamlining their games, cutting away systems and instead focusing on inhabiting a character in an interactive story. This is undoubtedly a very unpopular opinion here but I think that has absolutely been for the best. The problem with having game systems is that you’re always striving for optimal solutions, max xp, max strength, max damage modifier because game systems are to be learned and taken control over. Within a certain context, there’s only one way to play and no reason not to do it. On the other hand, you’re not really roleplaying until you can make mistakes in line with your player’s alignment. In Mass Effect you can push a witness out of a window. Is this a good idea? Probably not. But it’s exactly what dickhead Shepard would do, so out you go mister. As a personal anecdote, in my teens I was the Dungeon Master of a group of AD&D nerds. I always saw the rules as a sort of necessary framework (we didn’t play with a board or figures, purely verbal) in order to make the shared storytelling possible. The adventure was key. However, once every few months one of the players could take a turn at being the DM because I wanted to hear how they approached storytelling. Without abandon they would give themselves legendary gear after huge xp drop. Afterwards our games would play out something like this: [elaborate setup to eerie cave monster] “a giant scorpion suddenly creeps from behind the corner”, “Ha! Doesn’t matter. I’m wearing a ring of 100% poison resistance, okay I’m swinging my epic broadsword +10, oh 100x critical hit damage, cave monster’s dead”. “…”. From their perspective it could be expected that they’re min-maxing the systems for assured survival (actually I killed them all off next game). From my perspective, the storytelling died when it became a slave to the system.
In order to appease the crpg complaints, it seems like Bioware shifted back on the spectrum to the ludological side. So now we have a gamification—or actually, a pointsification layer pasted on top of the traditional Bioware formula. Power, influence, xp, everything you do fills up bars, and these bars need to be filled in order to continue on with the story. This has two problems. First, in providing a gamey gratification (‘power +1’) Bioware at once seems to have dropped any aspiration of making their quests intrinsically satisfying. 90% of the quests (outside of the main campaign) play out like this: go to mission marker, get plain text file, go to other mission marker, defeat a few monsters, get plain text file, power +2. The stories themselves are not cognitively interesting because they contain no twists, no relationships to your character, no deepening of bonds, and above all they don’t have an effect on the main campaign other than opening artificial progression gates through the Power currency. And it’s just that: a currency. The final battle plays out exactly the same whether your inquisition has 2 or 300 Power, further cementing that it has nothing actually to do with the story. Second and most importantly, now that a gamification system is in place, you start optimizing this. Minmaxing the system, minimum amount of traversal, maximum amount of Power. You no longer go through the areas out of the intrinsic motivation to explore, you go through them to hoover up Power. This game should be called Dragon Age: Janitor.
It has nice scenery though, well thought out characters and even though the main campaign suffered from the same ending exposition as Mass Effect 3, at least that part was a hoot. Too bad it was only ten odd hours in the sixty five it took me to finish it. Final score: 6.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some games that did not make the cut:
x. The Last of Us: Remastered ; Even though this was the first time I played the game, I feel it belongs to 2013. It’s a nice game but of course greatly overhyped by GAF, I also thought Left Behind was a better package. Final score: 8. x. The Wolf Among Us ; Already voted for this game last year. Final score: 8. x. Hohokum ; Love the concept, but to me this game lacked “GameFeel”, an appreciable oomph to go with the interaction—think particle effects, cascading sounds, rumble etc. Final score: 5. x. Infamous: Second Son ; Not bad. Also not good. Looks pretty but not much more. Final score: 5.

Yikes 5 A4 pages text.
Great write-up. MK8 is indeed incredible.
 

Cow Goes Moo

Member
Aug 25, 2013
4,880
0
0
Best Place for Cows
Nintendo was going to lend one of their top tier franchises to Bandai Namco to make… a Musou game?
It's Koei Tecmo, and Omega Force produces Musou games not Namco
Actually, it's the animations for some characters in BB that are similar to ones in GG (the latter Arc series has been around for much longer). Still, good to hear that you're enjoying the game.
Yeah I forgot GG came before BB, I'm just so use to BB that GG just seems like an entirely new series to me
 

stupei

Member
Dec 6, 2008
5,595
0
0
1. Divinity: Original Sin ;

2. Dragon Age: Inquisition ;

3. The Evil Within ;

4. Dark Souls II ;

5. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth ;

6. Bayonetta 2 ;

7. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft ;

8. 80 Days ;

9. This War of Mine ;

10. Bravely Default ;

x. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
x. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
x. Rusty's Real Deal
x. The Jackbox Party Pack
x. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
x. The Banner Saga
 

iconoclast

Member
Mar 18, 2007
4,722
0
0
Massachusetts
www.youtube.com


1. Crimzon Clover: World Ignition ; Crimzon Clover is a vertically scrolling shooting game created by one man: Yotsubane. He's a famous player who has racked up loads of incredibly impressive achievements across the genre - most notably in Cave's games, which Crimzon Clover is clearly influenced by - and his level of expertise shines through in the game design. He combines some of the best elements of several different shooting games, such as difficulty selection from Mushihimesama (essentially making this four games in one) and mechanics from Dodonpachi, Ketsui, and Soukyugurentai to make something that is fun at its core. Of course, great mechanics wouldn't mean a whole lot without a great scoring system and stage design to back them up, and Crimzon Clover does not disappoint. The scoring system is pretty simple: kill enemies with your lock-shot to get a multiplier and kill as many enemies as possible while the multiplier is active to increase your Break Rate. Entering "Break Mode" or "Double Break Mode" will either double or quadruple both your power and Break Rate, so it encourages you to save your power ups until you can 'cash-in' on the most valuable sections of each stage. Aggressive play is also rewarded, because as you get closer to an enemy, your Break Meter will charge faster, your Break Rate will increase faster, and you'll do more damage. It's a simple risk/reward system that works very well. The stages themselves are just as well designed. Each one has a unique theme with a variety of setpieces and enemies, and they're all relentlessly paced with practically no breaks in the action. And they're topped off with great boss fights that can be tackled in a number of different ways, depending on how many scoring tricks you want to attempt. Finally, the game is packed with content. With four distinct modes and four different ships to play as, it can keep anyone busy for a very, very long time.

2. Bayonetta 2 ; Simply put, Bayonetta 2 is better than the original in every way. Most importantly, they added several new features that helped improve the combat. One of my favorite additions is the Umbran Climax, which is essentially Bayonetta's Devil Trigger. It's almost always a better use of your magic than a torture attack, so it eliminates a lot of the button mashing and long, occasionally tedious animations that hurt the original. Enemies are also more aggressive this time around and are now capable of defending themselves with a newly added parry ability. This helps make many of the encounters a more interesting back and forth battle because you now have to rely on activating Witch Time to create an opening for a counterattack. The game is still hurt by the typical Platinum issues, like unbalanced weapons/items/accessories, far-too-frequent checkpoints, and an exploitable scoring system, but it still manages to be one of the best games in the genre.

3. The Evil Within ; The Evil Within was promoted as a return to survival horror, so I think a lot of people went into it expecting to look for Heart Keys to unlock the Heart Doors with while deftly avoiding lumbering enemies along the way, but in reality it is another excellent TPS from the master himself. Basically, it's Resident Evil 4 without the godly melee attack and far more limited resources. You have to think about how you want to approach each encounter because you need to make every shot count in order to conserve ammo. Fortunately, enemies can be dealt with in a number of different ways. You can lure them into the traps littered around the environment, use some of the items you find lying on the ground, stealth kill the ones that wandered off by themselves, light them on fire when they're incapacitated, or you can simply blast their face off. Combat is the highlight of the game because of the excellent feedback and all of the different ways you can dispose of each enemy. And it's all strung together by expertly paced stage design, a wide variety of enemies to deal with, good boss fights, and grimy art direction to set the mood. I wouldn't say TEW is Mikami's best work (that'd be either Vanquish or God Hand), but it is yet another great game on his resume.

4. Dark Souls II ; I thought Dark Souls II was a more refined take on the original Dark Souls formula, with a more consistent level of quality and lots of small additions that made the game more enjoyable to play. The only problem is that I did not find the art design, world, or locales to be as interesting or as memorable as the original's, so it falls a bit short in a category that is very important for an RPG. But at the end of the day, it's still a really great game that's packed with a ton of great content. And I say that without having played or seen any of the DLC, which I've read a lot of praise for. I'm looking forward to playing through all of that when the Xbone version comes out.

5. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; I haven't played Hard mode yet, so I can't write a whole lot about this game. It's just a really well made platformer with great level design, graphics, boss fights, hidden items to find in each stage, and a solid soundtrack. Can't ask for much more than that. I'm sure it'll be even better the second time around.


x. Mario Kart 8 ; This gives Mario Kart DS a run for its money as the best game in the series. I don't think it's quite as good mechanically, but it makes up for it with great graphics, a great soundtrack, and lots of great tracks to race on. My only complaint is the lack of interesting single player content, especially in comparison to the world tour mode in last year's Sega All-Stars Transformed
which is still the best kart racer
.

x. Sunset Overdrive ; I'm not a fan of the game's writing and the mission design can be repetitive and uninspired, but I love the colorful world, your huge arsenal of weapons, and above all else, the traversal mechanics. It reminds me of Crackdown or Gravity Rush in the sense that it's fun to simply navigate the world. And I'd say that Sunset is a better game than either of them, so I really hope they'll be able to iron out the most of its problems and make something that's really great with a sequel.

x. Titanfall ; First things first: I am not a fan of the elements that carried over from Call of Duty, like perks, loadouts, and leveling up to unlock weapons and abilities. With that being said, I really like all your mobility options, the complex map design, and the Titan battles. It's a fun game and I'm glad I bought it in the wake of Halo: The Master Chief Collection being an absolute trainwreck.

x. Danganronpa

x. Danganronpa 2 ; I liked pretty much everything about both Danganronpa 1 & 2: the stylish art design and graphics, the great soundtrack, the interesting stories and characters, several of the mini-games, the social links, etc. But I'm not about to put visual novels on a list that's supposed to be about the best games of the year. :^)


I don't think 2014 was a bad year despite the fact that I didn't play a lot of new games I really liked. I just spent most of it playing old games instead. I am looking forward to catching up on all of the stuff that I just didn't have time for, like: Freedom Wars, Gundam Extreme Versus Full Boost, Guilty Gear Xrd, Smash Bros, MGSV: Ground Zeroes, Forza Horizon 2, Far Cry 4, Divinity, Trails in the Sky, and Persona Q.
 

benny_a

extra source of jiggaflops
Apr 25, 2009
17,350
1
0
First of all: This is just like 2011 for me where this list could be shuffled in a week and the placement would be different.
It's just that kind of year for me and depending on what kind of mood I'm in and what I value the list could have 5 different entries and definitely some placement changes.

1. The Last of Us: Left Behind ; It's more TLoU and now with 3-way fights. Not enough combat for my liking and hard for me to separate my time with the main game and the DLC.
2. The Banner Saga ; Fantastic game, only let down by the implementation.
3. South Park: Stick of Truth ; Funny riff on South Park with broken combat but the jokes keep it runnning.
4. Driveclub ; This is the best driving game since Dirt 3 for me.
5. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft ; On this list because I could play it in Hotels and Airports on my Laptop. Was addicted for awhile.
6. Infamous: Second Son ; Disappointing Infamous sequel. Still on the list because I started again with Evil this time.
7. Nidhogg ; The easy to understand concept makes for great local multiplayer.
8. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; I like the Dragon Age franchise and this is another one.
9. Valiant Hearts: The Great War ; UbiArt deserves a shout-out.
10. Divinity: Original Sin ; If your combat system didn't break after the first map I would have loved you. The overhaul in 2015 sounds good.

x. The Last of Us: Remastered ; Played the multiplayer this time. Turns out this is one of the best multiplayer shooters in years as well.
x. Grand Theft Auto V ; Finished it this year, but was already on the list.
x. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls ; You guys fixed Diablo this year. From one of my biggest disappointments to alright deserves a mention.

I would like to have made a list with animated gifs and stuff and I enjoy seeing those but 2014 for me just wasn't a year that I was very enthusiastic about anything that came out like I was in for example 2010.
 
Feb 16, 2011
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715
Overall I found 2014 to be a bit of a down year compared to the past few but I still found quite a few gems to enjoy.

1. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; DA:I blew me away from the very first moment I stepped into The Hinterlands. A giant world with countless interesting quests (well, most of them anyway) and numerous varied environments to explore… Now this is the Bioware game I’ve been waiting for! I never stopped having fun during my time with DA:I, and gearing up specifically for the 10th dragon I defeated in the game was one of my most satisfying gaming moments of the year. This RPG is the complete package in my book, a true rarity. 100+ hours well spent.

2. Dark Souls II ; A worthy successor to a masterpiece, Dark Souls II completely delivered on my expectations. While the world is undoubtedly less cohesive than the original I found many of the sequel’s elements to be superior, such as the armor and weapon variety, the environmental variety, and the strong closing stretch of the game. Dark Souls I may be more memorable but I can honestly say I had more fun with its successor.

3. Donkey Kong Country ; Tropical Freeze ; Quite possibly the game closest to being perfect on this list, TF is simply one of the greatest 2D platformers I have ever played. From the soundtrack that makes nearly every other game pale in comparison to the expertly crafted and wildly imaginative level design, there is no element of TF that is anything less than masterpiece-tier.

4. Shovel Knight ; What more needs to be said about Shovel Knight? This game is an ode to the classics of yesteryear done right.

5. Bravely Default ; Oh boy, Bravely Default. The elephant in the room is the horrendous design decision that impacted the last 20-30 hours of the game, but all I can say is even that mistake could not keep me from adoring the overwhelming majority of the elements that combined to form this wonderful JRPG. With a best in genre battle system, wonderfully classic art style, and enough mechanics to satisfy the Fire Emblem nerd in me, BD hit all the right notes. The spectacle of the ending also helped remove the sour taste from my mouth after the last few chapters.

6. The Evil Within ; Have you ever imagined what would happen if you mixed the outstanding gameplay of RE4 with the insane psychological elements of Silent Hill? The answer is The Evil Within, a horror action game with an incredible amount of thrilling variety. I was intrigued by the story until the very end and I never tired of the reimagination of a classic gameplay formula. Chapters 3, 7, 9, and 10 were the highlights.

7. Mario Kart 8 ; More Mario Kart in the best way imaginable, MK8 claims the throne as the best entry in the series. Gorgeous HD visuals, buttery smooth handling and gameplay, and wonderful track design combine to form another instant classic in the series.

8. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse ; In a bleak world where Konami is no longer sure what the term “video game” means there are few games that can fill the vacant Castlevania shaped hole in my heart. The six GBA and DS Castlevania’s are some of my favorite games of all time, so I was very pleased to find that the latest Shantae was able to fill that hole, if only partially.

9. Destiny ; I can sum up my experience with Destiny by saying this; I was sad that it made my top 10, but I couldn’t justify leaving it off.

10. OlliOlli ; OlliOlli is one of those games that just seems impossible at first. The controls seem incomprehensible and even the most basic actions require what seems like an unreasonable amount of thought. However, as I continued to play the game I realized that this was all part of the masterful gameplay experience that is OlliOlli. Over time OlliOlli becomes less about remembering how to get a perfect landing and more about what kind of crazy layers you can add to an already exceptionally difficult run. Once you really come to grips with how to excel at the game there are few gameplay experiences from 2014 quite as rewarding. Jumping while doing a trick while spinning, landing perfectly on a rail, jumping from the rail into another perfect spinning trick, continuing the combo for the next two minutes… it’s all just part of the extreme fun.

Honorable Mentions

x. Mario Golf: World Tour
x. The Banner Saga
x. 1001 Spikes
x. Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS
 

Haunted

Member
Nov 16, 2006
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haikus! very inventive, timetokill :D


Where do you guys get those cropped 'banners' from? I kinda want some for my list too =X
I got mine from screenshots I made and looked up on google images + photoshop.

If you want to give your goty post some unique flavour, there's nothing better than some end-of-year image editing. :D
 

Massa

Member
Jan 16, 2009
16,846
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Overall this was really an amazing year for games. I could have listed more than 20 games rather than just 10, but anyway. Sorry I didn't have much time to do a good write-up.

1. Dark Souls II ; The first two Souls games are in my top favorite of the previous generation. Dark Souls 2 is more of the same, with some good changes and some bad, but overall an amazing game.

2. OlliOlli ; Challenging game, simple but deep. Great sound track, great match for the Vita.

3. Rogue Legacy ; One of my most played games of the year. Rogue Legacy looks relatively simple but it's packed with funny quips and things to discover. I'm still playing on a semi-daily basis ever since it came out on PSN, great game.

4. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ; Just a fun game all around. Every system was well thought out and makes the game better.

5. Velocity 2X ; Incredible sequel to the original, they really went all out to build something new and different and it worked. It's rare to see a sequel take so many new ideas on top of perfecting the original formula, but this one does it in spades.

6. Destiny ; I had no expectations for this game, but the alpha won me over. Great gunplay, beautiful locales, and I liked the mission design. I still fire it up every now and then to play a mission on hard, but I didn't get sucked in to the pointless grind like many others.

7. Trials Fusion ; Trials is a classic formula that was perfectly executed here. I was worried about the trick system but it didn't really impact the game at all. I also really the new art style, makes it more enjoyable to spend hours trying to get through just that one or two levels.

8. Luftrausers ; Perfect controls, music, looks. I start it and end up playing "one more time" for hours.

9. Don't Starve: Giants Edition ; Lovely exploration game, turned me into the genre. Perfect match for the Vita as well, somehow it just didn't click with me on the TV.

10. Frozen Synapse Prime ; Great strategy game. Probably would've been higher on my list if I had more time to play it.
 

SteveWinwood

Member
Aug 10, 2010
41,145
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1. The Talos Principle ; I loved the Portal games but this game is actually challenging and I love the puzzles. The game encourages you to try and break it and won't stop you. If it works it works. The story whatever I don't even care. I haven't actually completely finished it yet, but I can see the narrative going off a cliff (but hopefully it doesn't!) but it won't effect this ranking at all.

2. Hexcells Infinite ; Something something Minesweeper something something Pircross. I've talked plenty about why this series rocks here: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=890063 It's dirt cheap and I'd honestly have paid 30 bucks for all of them together. I picked Infinite because it really pushed it to it's limits. I'll be going through the results and adding up all the games and counting them as one (for personal interest) though because people seem to be splitting the vote on them.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; The most fun I've had in a shooter in a very long time. It knew what it wanted to be and achieved it. You shoot shit and it's a blast.

4. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; I knew I'd love it but I didn't know I'd love it so much. Just a nice relaxing puzzle game. Never frustrating, always fun. Slightly easy but I can't imagine how they'd make the format hard without making me want to smash the gamepad over my knee.

5. The Evil Within ; Resident Evil 4 is one of my favorite games ever (I'm not alone there) and this just reminds me of it too much to not enjoy it. So maybe this is just a vote for Resident Evil 4 again.

6. Banished ; When this came out I played it all night one night. I haven't done that in years. My town was awesome... until everyone died.

7. Lethal League ; It's pong in the 21st century. Everything about it is amazing, the art, the music, everything. Oh and the actual game. Counters on counters on counters make for amazing mind games in the middle of this hectic simple fighting game that ends up going so fast your brain goes into zen jedi mode and you get way too hyped for your own good.

8. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; The best licensed game I've ever played. Slightly weak on the traditional rpg part of things (and yet still better than tons of rpg games this year not-so-shockingly) but more than made up for in the story and presentation. Could just be a really long episode of the show.

9. Ziggurat ; Came out of nowhere for me at the end of the year. I bought it at the steam sale and just started randomly playing it. So much fun. Basically the remake of Heretic I didn't know was coming. Yeah it's a rogue like or whatever but you just run around and shoot stuff like a boss with your magic wand and staff. Really want some dlc or something to just add more, that's all it needs, more.

10. 80 Days ; Pick your own adventure on the road. Got engrossed in it over the holidays and even had family become really interested in it after watching. The amount of individual stories you can create is crazy to me.

x. Luftrausers ; It was certainly a top ten game but I ran out of room on my list... so imagine it's tied with 10th place if you're reading this later.

x. Bayonetta 2 ; This would be up there I'm fairly sure of it but I never really got around to it :(

x. OlliOlli ; I didn't play it enough, but had fun with what I did.

Pictures were randomly stolen from a google image search and are not my own. I'm sorry they are just giant images in quotes I didn't really feel the need to make them into banners. They may not represent the platform the game was played on or the general image quality you should expect from the title.
 

Reisläufer

Neo Member
Jun 16, 2012
55
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0
1. Dark Souls 2 ; Not as good as DaS 1 in my opinion but still a great game and presumably my most played game last year. A lot of changes didn't resonate well with me. Level design was clearly a step back but all in all the game retained the addicting DS formula of fighting your way through unholy lands full of deathly enemies searching for the occasional loot.

2. Drakengard 3 ; Like Dark Souls 2 in a way I disliked the game for not being as good as Nier which I hoped it would be. I really loved the character designs though and some story scenes were fantastic. The amount of weapons you could unlock was nice but the gameplay too buttonmashy for me. I should maybe rank it lower but I love JRPGs too much and there wasn't really one I liked better last year.

3. D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die ; The only game I've ever bought without being able to actually play it. As I don't own the XB1 I watched a youtube playthrough. Might have ranked it even higher if I had been able to play it myself. This game really showed me how much I longed for a new Swery game. Contrary to my first two picks there was no dissapointment with this title. Great artstyle and humor. Hopefully Swery will be given the ok to produce further episodes.

4. Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes ; Great game. I haven't spent that much time on it yet to be honest but what I played was solid (pun intended). Obviously a lot was missing for a true MGS experience. The game seems to be on the right track though. Looking at all the new features Kojima showed us during 2014 MGS5: TPP should be turning out great.

5. Freedom Wars ; Really liked the worldbuilding in this game (Panopticons and stuff) and especially how it is directly integrated into the gameplay (having to gain ranks as a prisoner and shortening your sentence etc. but also getting your prison time extended if you do the "wrong" thing). Haven't finished it yet but the amount of option possibilities are already impressive. I have to admit that the battle system hasn't yet clicked with me but the worldbuilding really makes up for the shortcomings of the gameplay in battles.

6. Fez ; Nice little game I breezed through in a few sittings. Old-school feel was strong with this one. Even when you get stuck the whole world is well designed giving you the option to go somewhere else and explore. Simple but addicting game.

7. The Evil Within ; Not yet through with this, sections where it makes more sense to just run past all enemies were a bit dissapointing. Mikami really nailed the atmosphere though, I'm sure I'll be more fond of it the more I'll play.

8. Destiny ; I never really played FP shooters that much before Destiny. In a way it was the perfect entry game into the genre for me. With the multiplayer, the big arsenal of weapons and gear, the rpg elements like raising your level and aquiring new abilities, this game actually felt to me like a Dark Souls FPS and I think that is what kept me going and enjoying the game. But after taking a break, thinking about the grinding, the upgrading, and armor you could only get in raids etc. and especially the RNG system that is involved in all of this, I just lost all motivation to come back. Story was rather disappointing and after reading how they had to scale back the game from the initial plans I can only wonder what could have been.

9. Terra Battle ; I have to admit I played this mostly because I wanted to support Mistwalker. Fujisaka outdid himself with the character designs. In the end I can't help but feel a little sad though that the cool art was wasted on a mobile title. While being quite fun in the beginning the game got a bit stale the longer I played. It wasn't really fun anymore and I only played further to get another chance of rolling a new character. The randomness really turned me off the longer I played. It would be so much more fun if you would be able to create a team according to your own preferences or to at least get there without all the randomness. Would be cool to see what Mistwalker will do with Terra Battle if the download starter reaches 2 Mio. I'd certainly be excited to see what Sakaguchi would come up with.

10. P.T. ; I think I ranked it so low because the game is more of an appetizer of what's to come than an outfleshed game. But the idea to make a game teaser interactive was genious and the experience really strong and focused.
 

Thrak360

Neo Member
Oct 23, 2013
240
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Chicago
Short list, but these are the only games I played in 2014 that qualify for 2014 GOTY list.

1. Destiny ; After a lackluster experience with the third game on my list, I wasn't sure another multiplayer-centric game would be for me. And it wasn't until just weeks before release that I started buying into the hype, convincing myself there would be enough solo content in the game to suit my interests. Turns out there was. I've been addicted to this game since release, to this day. Gameplay is just perfect, meaning it is no chore for me to get lost in a game that requires grinding and replay.

2. The Walking Dead: Season Two ; Although Telltale has seemed to do nothing to improve their clunky game engine, this was still a very rewarding game to play. Easy to get invested in the characters, making the choices so difficult.

3. Titanfall ; This game never resonated with me. Unlike Destiny, I always felt like I was too far behind all the other players who play 10-20 times as much as I can.
 

Napalm_Frank

Member
Jun 27, 2011
22,873
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I feel this was pretty meh year overall. Most of my gaming time has actually been spent with titles from other years. And yet I feel there are tons and tons of games from 2014 I wish I had played before the vote like DA:I, Mordor, LBP3, InFamous FL, Freedom Wars, Tales of Hearts R, SMT4, Divinity, the entire Wii U output and the list goes on and on and on. This year especially I feel I'm not qualified to even vote for ''GOTY'' but here is my rushed personal list regardless before the voting ends.

1. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX ; Honestly I didn't want to put this on #1 since not only is it ''just'' a remaster/rerelease, the games included are not my favourites of the series anyway and I have played both games included to death. But I wouldn't be honest with myself if I didn't, I had an absolute blast playing both KH2FM and BBSFM yet again despite my love-hate relationship with both of the titles. There are two main things that especially deserve praise. First off the remaster looks and sounds absolutely outstanding considering it's a PS3 exclusive. Games run at 1080p (without AA though) and the entire soundtrack of KH2 received a truly needed upgrade. And secondly the fact that the Final Mix version of KH2 is finally officially released in the west. I consider it being Japan exclusive one of the biggest fuckups of modern SE when you could almost think it as a whole expansion pack rather than just a minor update and the huge following the series had in the west. After 7 long years they finally have repented for their sins and while I have played the imported fan-translated game before it feels really good as a fan to have the real deal officially translated in my collection. In fact I wouldn't probably even vote for it outside of a honorable mention if it weren't for the fact this is the first time it's available overseas. The Re:Coded movie is absolute garbage tho but I wouldn't have it any other way.

2. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; Another title I feel a little bad I have to rank this high considering I played it on the PSP before and the actual additions for the Vita version are pretty meh. But as with 2.5 I had a ton of fun replaying the game. The biggest issue I have with japanese Visual Novel type of games is that the pacing is usually terrible. DR however is paced almost perfectly for my tastes. I really enjoyed the story which is the main draw for the game and it definately keeps you hooked like only the best ones will despite the extremely animu style. The gameplay itself is very mediocre but the presentation and story carry it all the way no problem. And considering it is the first official release for the west it deserves the high spot.

3. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ; This was the biggest surprise of the year for me. I have been kinda dissapointed with most of the PS+ indie titles and didn't expect anything from this one but I absolutely fell in love with it. When it was released I was absolutely hooked for weeks playing constantly on my Vita. The way you slowly unlock more content is really good hook for a game that basically just repeats over and over. But there are just so many things randomized it doesn't get boring, I'd say it just keeps getting better. However there are few things that make be rage when it comes to the game. First of all the trophies are bugged as all hell and I don't know how they could release it in such a state with obvious problems. Secondly are the Vita slowdowns but even then I prefer the portable way of playing it and it won't be leaving my Vita anytime soon. It might actually be my favourite indie title of all time.

4. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair; Unlike DR1 this was fortunately the first time for me playing the game. However I find the first one just a little superior overall. There are few GREAT chapters in this one that are probably the best in both games but there is also some really predictable and uneven stuff. Also the gameplay is mostly downgraded so that's no good. Still a fun as heck story that kept me hooked.

5. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call ; I loved the first game and this is basically just overall better version of it. Feels like a very good expansion pack rather than a sequel in a good way. The song list just feels much better with the additions, option to use buttons instead of stylus and the online modes make the first game obsolete. One of the best FF spinoffs, up there with Dissidia Duodecim when it comes to just pure fan service.

6. Ys: Memories of Celceta ; Great game coming as a fan of Ys 7. Gameplay and music is the strong point in this one while sadly it's one of those games that could have looked much better on Vita I think. Non-native resolution being the worst offender.

7. Infamous Second Son ; Graphically very impressive open world game. It was my first game in the series and I really liked it. The best thing about it are the different ways you move in the city with your different superpowers similar to how it feels in Arkham games but with little more variety. Sort of a spiritual successor to the great Spider-Man 2 I feel.

8. The Evil Within ; While making the list EW is still one of the dissapointments of the year for me. I expected more but I still was content with a ''shitty RE4 mixed with Silent Hill''. Everything in this game ranges from great to bad but as a horror fan I still had a good time with it. Not one of the greats for me tho sadly.

9. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes ; Not much to say about this other than what everyone else has said. Pretty good but too short for the price they were asking at launch.

10. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd ; I'm a sucker for rythm games so I had to include this. It doesn't touch TFF:CC, I didn't like the songs as much as the ones in the first game but I still had a good time. Bonus points for actually localizing the Vita version day 1 this time.
 

Empty

Member
Sep 20, 2009
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1. mario kart 8 ; the happiest place in the world
2. monument valley ; a beautiful thing to hold, admire and touch
3. captain toad: treasure tracker ; adorable and clever
4. forza horizon 2 ; the outrun fantasy lives on in a new shell
5. p.t ; perfectly controlled
6. bayonetta 2 ; boom bash boom bang bash boom crash bang boom. fuck it, let's go again.
7. mgsv: ground zeroes ; kojima is always the same, yet he never stands still
8. desert golf ; hypnotherapy
9. danganronpa: trigger happy havoc ; the anxiety of influence is crushed underneath a high speed train. best to jump on.
10. the sailor's dream ; a mysterious warmth on the open sea

x. luftrausers ; it's seemingly exactly what i like but missing a little something and i have no idea what is is
x. super smash bros for wii u ; a bit overwhelming
x. gtav remastered ; i played 1 hour of the ps4 version in first person at my friends and just admired the details of the world. totally breathtaking.

games i'm sad i missed: tropical freeze, alien isolation, transistor, d4, dark souls 2, the last of us left behind, jazzpunk, this war of mine.
 

ViviOggi

Member
Feb 22, 2013
10,886
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0
1. Bayonetta 2 ; The queen.

2. Transistor ; Impeccable audiovisual direction, some neat storytelling quirks and a deep, rewarding combat system. Whatever the Supergiant crew is planning next, I'll be there.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; The last thing I expected from a Wolfenstein game was a genuinely engaging, at times even touching narrative. It's Starbreeze alright.

4. Alien Isolation ; Creative Assembly delivered a bold, expertly designed 1st person horror game and the most faithful movie adaptation to date, proving they're much more than a Total War factory. Kudos.

5. Hearthstone ; It makes me mad but I keep coming back

6. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ;

7. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ; Yes, again.

8. Dark Souls 2 ; I've never binged a Souls game this hard so it can't be all that bad

9. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; David Wise is a god

10. Shovel Knight ;


Honorable Mentions in no particular order
x. Endless Legend ; A fascinating spin on the 4X genre with an unusual fantasy setting I definitely need to put more time into.
x. Hyrule Warriors ; The first musou that got me hooked with unreal amounts of content.
x. Divinity Original Sin ;
x. Super Time Force Ultra ;
x. Mario Kart 8 ;
x. Jazzpunk ;
x. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes ;
 

entremet

Member
Dec 6, 2008
85,648
326
1,335
Sadly, I'm going into this knowing that my post will be a bit weak this year. I simply didn't have the time to play everything I would have liked to play to the extent that I would have liked to play it, largely due to spending more time playing more multiplayer games with friends, pouring a lot of my time into working on a game of my own, and playing games more slowly in general due to taking them on in more difficult ways.

but whatever let's go


For the tally:

1. The Evil Within ; Among Mikami's very best games.
2. Bayonetta 2 ;
3. Wolfenstein: The New Order ;
4. Guilty Gear Xrd ;
5. Dark Souls II ;
6. Alien Isolation ;
7. Crimzon Clover WORLD IGNITION ;
8. Super Smash Bros. For Wii U ;
9. Divinity: Original Sin ;
10. D4 ;
x. Gunhound EX ;
x. Far Cry 4 ;
x. Titanfall ;
x. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor ;
xx. Quake II VR ;
Great post. I always look forward to your yearly picks as your taste is very eclectic.
 

n8

Unconfirmed Member
Jul 19, 2009
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0
1. Hexcells Infinite ; Regardless, this game is perfect. But going beyond that, this game was right for me at this point in my life. I can make sense of everything, complete it, and do it again. Nirvana.
2. Luftrausers ; Everything is made perfectly; I can zen out in a world that is right.
3. Sportfriends ; I like to play games with people, and if I can make noncompetitive people play a game competitively, I'm golden.
4. Smash Bros for 3DS ; Maybe it would make more sense for me to vote for the Wii U version, but I honestly played this more and enjoyed my time.
5. 1001 Spikes ; Not normally a fan of these type of platforms, but I honestly felt they designed all the traps perfectly in a way that progression is fun.
6. Mario Kart 8 ; Nintendo has finely crafted another Mario Kart.
7. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ; Would have been more profound if I haven't played the game already, but this is a game still brings the heat.
8. Desert Golfing ; Classic, simple. Mechanics not present in this kind of game make this one above par.
9. Jazzpunk ; Can't beat a game that knows what it is, a video game.
10. Velvet Sundown ; Crowd sourced character creations at their finest.

Wish I had more time to play other games this year, along with talking about the games that I liked this year, but I'm at least glad I submitted something.
 

Staal

Member
Jan 23, 2012
715
0
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Amsterdam
1. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; An unexpectedly characterized Blaskowitz, this was a fantastic shooter with old-school elements. Plus, shooting nazi's is always fun.
2. OlliOlli ; I really enjoyed this, perfect controls and excellent gameplay. Can't wait for the sequel.
3. Hitman Go ; Perfect Hitman for on the Ipad. Almost better than Absolution.
4. The Walking Dead: Season Two: Episodes 2-5 ; Surprising season, I like the TT style for this setting.
5. Trials Fusion ; More Trials, but the tricksystem wasn't that good. I liked the setting of Evolution a bit more.
6. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ; This is just a fucked up game.
7. Velocity 2X ; Liked the sense of speed, until I got stuck on level 27.


Honorable Mentions
x. Fez ; replaying it for a bit just reminded me how special this game is.
x. Spelunky ; This is one of the best games of all time, also on PS4. It just made me go back and reinstall it on the Vita and play it there.

A bit of a meh year for new games, but I had a blast playing older games this year. That trend will continue.
 

TJ Bennett

TJ Hooker
Dec 14, 2004
1,649
0
0
39
Santa Monica, CA
1. Destiny [PS4]; I put more hours into Destiny than every other 2014 game combined. So many things need to be fixed, but the core gameplay is rock solid.
2. Super Smash Bros. [Wii U]; The addicting gameplay is more fun than ever. So many opitons.
3. Mario Kart 8 [Wii U]; The best Mario Kart iteration in years. Massive fun.
4. Hearthstone [PC]; Brilliant little game that I need to invest more time in. Blizzard does it again.
 

Semblance

shhh Graham I'm still compiling this Radiant map
Dec 2, 2004
6,026
1
0
I didn't have any notes or thoughts going into this, as I had no intentions of making a list this year, but was convinced to at least try by JetSetRez. This all came out at once. I'll make whatever necessary touch ups after a nap. I am exhausted.




1. Bayonetta 2 ; The queen is dead, long live the queen.

2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; The total package. Tropical Freeze was the last game on my list to play and it excelled on every front. Every single section of every single level feels carefully thought out and tested, it's kind of unreal. I died - I died a lot - but always knew it was on my own fault, never felt like a poorly placed spike pit or unfair set of enemies were to blame. David Wise's soundtrack to my many deaths was something special (special shout out to Seashore War), and while maybe not quite on par with Smash 4, the visuals were still a nice treat. Check out that fur tech.

3. Smite ; I was obsessed with Dota 2 in 2013 and World of Warcraft's Arena way back when, so I immediately felt right at home with Smite. What kept me interested was how fast-paced matches felt in comparison to other MOBAs. Laning stages are much shorter here, levels and gold accrue quickly. Unlike other MOBAs I'm really into playing as a jungler here, slinking around the map, jumping over walls and mauling someone in if they step a little too far forward. My favorite character is Scylla though, a little mage in a petticoat who specializes in obscene AoE damage. Obliterating multiple people at once with her ultimate attack, where she uses her tentacles to puncture the ground in front of her, was my single favorite ability of any game in 2014.

4. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; I mean, if I'm being honest, that there was a game in 2014 that let me fire ricochet rounds out of a shotgun was enough to make my list, but thankfully there's more to Wolf than that. Like dual-wielding shotguns that fire ricochet rounds! Hot damn. Seriously though, TNO's combat kind of reminded me of a better executed Rage. Guns pack a similar hefty punch and the way enemies react, the way their bodies jerk, bleed, and shred when shot is super rewarding. Really, just blasting a guy feels so damn good, and there's a varied arsenal to do that with as well. Campaign mixes up everything quite well, and aside from the sewer section, I appreciated all of it. The quieter moments that pieced together all the explosions surprised me most of all - yeah, Wolfenstein's a big, loud action game, but one with a bit of heart, too.

5. Crimzon Clover World Ignition ; One-man band Yotsubane delivers probably the best STG I've played from a company not named Cave. Favorite level is the fourth stage, where over a sleeping city and through the clouds, these soaring synths urge you on as you try to maneuver your way through waves of pink and blue bullets.

6. The Evil Within ; This is Mikami's Best Of album. His fan favorites are well represented here, with REmake and Resident Evil 4 making up the bulk of the playlist. The mansion in chapter nine, the tension as you try to hit a jittery zombie when you only have one bullet left, the splattering headshot that occurs when you do blow that zombie's brains out. This stuff is as great as it's ever been, with some new classic material mixed in, like nailing a creature right in the face with a harpoon and sending it flying backwards (weapon of the year, guys) or dancing around with Boxhead as deadly gas fills up the room. Unfortunately, TEW is a little too inconsistent to be Mikami's truly best work to date, but it at least reminded me why he's such an incredible artist.

7. Lethal League ; Pong meets Smash, with the crazy slider turned all the way up. It's a pretty simple concept, but the ball eventually accelerates to a point where your eyes can't even follow it. Laugh, and let out loud expletives, as you and your friends all scramble around, desperately swinging away, hoping to hit the ball with your weapon instead of your face. Lethal League is straight up nerve-racking once things are completely out of control, and it's amazing. It's especially chaotic with four people, where there's only just enough wiggle room on screen.

8. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call ; I've always had a soft spot for rhythm games and feel this one could stand up to my favorites from yesteryear quite easily. While the absurd amount of content is excellent, and the art style is very cute, and getting top scores in Ultimate difficulty is extremely gratifying, it's these songs that really do it for me. I haven't heard A Place To Call Home in over a decade and just about melted the first time I loaded it up.

9. Mario Kart 8 ; A shame the single player still does nothing for me. After Sonic Transformed, I want to see a bit more effort put into these campaigns. It's w/e though, the star of the show, the multiplayer, is as dope as I expected it to be, and that alone is enough. Banking green shells off walls and hitting someone as soon as they turn a corner, boosting into first place inches away from the finish line. This stuff never gets old. It all looks so pretty too, with loads of charm and personality, from characters to background props. Love the way my dude Donkey Kong flexes his Scott Steiner arms as he jumps off ramps. Also love the way SomewhatGroovy's Peach always struggles behind me in second place. Man, what a great game.

10. Killer is Dead: Nightmare Edition ; I'm admittedly a little cynical when it comes to Grasshopper, but Killer is Dead does so much right without sacrificing any of what they did have going on for them before, namely their weirdness. Though as amusing as accepting a mission from an Audrey Hepburn lookalike to take back her mansion on the moon is, the combat is why we're here. The sword slashing mechanics are all on point. Particularly enjoyed how when you have a decent-sized combo rolling, your attacks come flying out faster and faster, making you feel like you're a frenzied killing machine. Surprisingly large amount of variety too, in terms of levels and combat scenarios, with a strong challenge on the harder difficulties that never let me mindlessly hack away.

No runner-ups. I played almost everything this year that I wanted to, only Dark Souls II got left behind. I'm sure it would've made my list, but oh well. No list to link from 2013, I didn't make one. Dota 2 would've been at the top of my list if I had made one though. If LTTP votes were still a thing, Super Mario 3D World would've been my pick.
 

Mr. RHC

Member
Apr 16, 2012
5,564
2
450

1. Ace Attorney Investigations 2 ; I can't believe I was able to play this game last year. First and foremost, A game only released in a language I do not understand translated by an amazing team of amazing individuals and I hereby want to thank you. I am by no means an expert when it comes to localizations or what it takes to perfectly localize a game but I think I can say that this really must have been done with plenty of expertize! I will thank the guys of gbatemp again with everyone I can find at the end of this post. Thanks to your talent, dedication and commitment you enabled Ace Attorney fans all over the world to experience what could very well be one of the best titles of the series, Gyakuten Kenji 2 also known as AA: Prosecutor's Path:

Where to even begin. This is one hell of a game and experience, a visual novel adventure par excellence with beautiful animations and drawings, witty dialogues and I mean it, likeable and believeable characters and a thrilling story. I have written a text on the music of AAI2, you can read it in the Soundtrack Of The Year 2014 thread. Without spoiling everything regarding the story all I can say is that it really was nice to see one character always mentioned in previous AA titles and he was even given a whole Turnabout to rise and shine. The story was established around one or two central themes which are reflected at several occasions and paint a really interesting and fascinating picture once the parts of the puzzle come together. I really found that fascinating, the game never is direct about this but the character relationships reflect these themes very strongly. The fun thing is, it comes in so many facettes and variations, also spanning over previous Ace Attorney titles and decades in the game's story. Richly developed character relationships is very big in this game and I love it!

I'm honest with you guys, I'm not a believer in 3D Ace Attorney. This really sank in again after playing this game after Dual Destinies. There is just something that get's lost in translation from 2D and 3D and I'm not sure if they will find it. 2D AA will always have a special place in my heart. So will this game as my GOTY 2014.



2. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 ; It's funny. I was incredibly excited for this game after seeing the brilliance that was the CGI trailer but I was really disappointed when I heart the game did not convince the critics. It was also disheartening to hear that the developers had a hard time creating this game for whatever reasons. But rest assured Mercury Steam fans, this game indeed is brilliant! Brilliant visuals, art direction, atmosphere, soundtrack(check the SOTY thread for my impressions) and story most of the time. I will admit, I had a different vision or rather some different ideas for a sequel to Lords of Shadow since I really, really love LoS1. I could write a LoS2 fan fiction and it would be quite different from the story of the final game. Nevertheless, the story of LoS2 is fun and it makes sense it in the end with incredible direction and some moments I did not predict which were pretty epic. I also created a LTTP for this game, so no need to repeat everything again here.In the end LoS2 turned out to be a sweet ending to the trilogy, I'm kind of sad Castlevania will move on now.. :(


3. Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 1 ; Surprise of the year for me! I'm so excited to see future episodes. This is just different from your usual Telltale games.The characters are not dead( :) ) serious and the story is crazy and funny and filled with over the top action. The Uncharted of Telltale games.


4. Final Fantasy X HD Remaster ; Everything looked so good. A great Final Fantasy game. This game was meant to be remastered and Square Enix delivered. Thank you Square Enix.


5. The Wolf Among Us: Episodes 2-5 ; It was alright, ending fell kind of flat but I really loved the dark and gritty atmosphere as well as the soundtrack.

----

Thank you note/credits for the team over at gbatemp.net for translating Ace Attorney Investigations 2:
Hacking/format discovery: Hackotedelaplaque, jjjewel, Henke37 and Auryn (myself).

Tools: Hackotedelaplaque (Sprite and Text Studio), Henke37 (GKTool) and Whivel (AceFontII).

Translation: BigKlingy, Choky, N-Forza, Tanaka Houji, Runebearer, Jin, Mracy, Dowolf, Bad Player, Mirii-chan and kimchi314.

Localization: mmcgeehin, AustinM11, Sorenwind, Gerkuman, Waffleman, Rollingball, RaymanFan, Redjiggly, Lisainverse, FinalClipX, Wolfefrog, Fatalfeline,

Arglefumph, Irradiance, Themackers, Jorpho, SacredSugar, Accord, HawkofNavarre, Paladia, SuperAj3, Jamdy, KneehighPark, j00m, GyakutenGodot, Rahky, Junebug493, Xalusc.

Text Insertion: etherealblade, RPGamer, Rollingball, mujie, black imperator, pockyrin, gameleon, Xalusc, bluebomber1815, Ginko, missyquints, Shiro09,

Wellington2k, Vi3trice, ducksFANjason, AustinM11, Blueorb, ChaosArgate, yuudachi, TheOmega-Fire100, Aleister, jacunni.

Voice editing/ Voice Insertion: HanOnimous, Vi3trice

Voice Actors: Crayed Ninja, Wuigi, SonicShadow, Byronic Hero, Draginite, ProZD, Wellington2k.

Voice Actors Entries:Negihyga90, RPGamer, Zergrinch, Tivanenk, HanOnimous, Name145, Mattgavin, Prittchard, GantClap76, dfurnas, Inverseman, Kamilla,
coolzzzzzzz, Accord, Wellington2k, Joestar, ChristopherBrown1988, Jamdy, Katya-Edgeworth, SLeon, Fusionmaster, Mracy, Purple Handprint, iViking, Sempemania,
PVHD, MagnetEdge, AJS, Trina Deuhard, Bii, MSAnemanja2, Super saiyan, Spario the endernerd (Wario).


Graphics Editing / Graphics Insertion: Mrichston, Secretmonster, Jinnai, Hamster, Percei, Shiro09, Purple Handprint and Auryn (myself).

Missing in the ending credits but we can merge this with Graphic Editing
Cake Movie: Wellington2K and Mrichston

Testing / Debugging: Mrichston, Hackotedelaplaque, Choky, Rollingball, Henke37, Plaster Wright, Xalusc, Shiro9, Accord, FinalClipX, HanOnimous and Auryn

(myself).

A thanks to DeMatador, Tateyuki Shigaraki and Henke37
Permafry_42, Lusankya
Special thanks to the head localizer Auryn for the instructions to the patch!
 

VaultBoy101

Member
May 29, 2013
1,923
0
0
1. Alien Isolation ; The most pure and genuine gaming experience of the year, and an instant classic of the horror genre.

2. Dark Souls II ; Perhaps not the masterpiece that its predecessor was, but nevertheless an awe-inspiring game and one of this year's very best.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; The best single-player FPS of the year, with unforgettable characters and an engaging sense of variety.

4. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; Hilariously true to its source material and yet incredibly entertaining to play.

5. Far Cry 4 ; Takes the formula from the previous game and improves upon it in nearly every way. Endless amounts of fun.

6. Sunset Overdrive ; A game that is bold, colorful, and unapologetically revels in its own self-awareness.

7. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; A huge, staggeringly gorgeous game, with many memorable characters. Bioware's best work in years. Best title screen of the year as well!

8. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition ; A modern Diablo that lives up to the classics of old. Addictive fun, with a replayability that's off the charts.

9. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare ; The most enjoyable multiplayer experience in years. Great for both casuals and pros.

10. Child of Light ; So beautiful, and so much fun to play, that it overcomes its own significant faults (namely, the atrocious rhyming dialogue).
 

toythatkills

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,337
3
0
Thames Ditton, UK
I wasn't greatly impressed by gaming this year, in all honesty. Mostly I played stuff which was new to PS4 but had been out for ages elsewhere, and it doesn't really feel right to vote for that stuff. Spelunky was my favourite game this year and it's my favourite game of all years, but just because the PS4 port had leaderboard replays doesn't make it feel new, yanno? Anyway, this list thing!

1. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call ; Game of the Year by a distance. It's one of those special games which gets everything right. There's a bloody TON of content, for starters. Over 200 songs has got to be the highest number of songs in a boxed rhythm game, hasn't it? Then there's the way it tickles the collecty part of my brain. It understands that players like to earn stuff, it's wired into us, it's why we do what we do, it's why we get addicted. Theatrhythm has loads of this. Every time you complete a song you'll get experience, you'll level up and earn new skills, you'll get items, you'll get cards, you'll get rhythmia towards more items and towards unlocking characters, you'll tick a few more squares off on the critical chart. Even though I've played ever song over and over again now, it still feels like there's never a wasted second. Every song you beat offers you something new at the end of it, and it's kept me playing for months. Then, of course, there's the terrific music which has been in my head since I got it (Gold Saucer has a way of sticking there) and the gameplay itself, which is almost like 3.5 rhythm games in one with the way EMS, FMS and BMS change things up. And there's the modes, with a vague adventure mode, online play, track selection, and, well, honestly I just feel like I've never played such a content rich game. Even if it's an illusion, sometimes, it's just incredible at what it does. Game of the Year.
2. Pix the Cat ; I got so addicted to this. Chasing high scores and designing and executing the perfect run was just amazing fun.
3. Desert Golfing ; I was so surprised by this. It's a nothing game, really, and yet it kept me addicted for a thousand holes and I'll go back to it. It's just the perfect mobile game, you can sit and play for half an hour or half a minute and still achieve something, and it's not hampered by its controls at all, it uses the device perfectly. It's the only game I've ever played where I've used a calculator each time I stopped. Had to keep track of my average so bad. Under 2.5 over the first thousand holes in the end, felt so good!
4. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker ; Snuck out just in time for Christmas, and was my Christmas Day game. Couldn't have asked for anything better.
5. Mario Kart 8 ; I didn't get into this as much as I thought I would but even from the time I spent with it, its quality is obvious for all to see and it's something I'll always want on standby.
6. Race the Sun ; Perfect chillout gaming.
7. Rusty's Real Deal Baseball ; Downloaded this on a whim the other day and have spent all my money on baseball minigames. I don't even like baseball. Nintendo doing what Nintendo does best.
8. Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails ; Complaints about the controls were wildly exaggerated. Cats, man.
9. Trials Fusion ; This was a bit of a disappointment, really, but at the same time it was still more Trials, and that's enough to justify a place in any top ten. The base game is that good that it's almost impossible to mess it up, try as they might.
10. Defense Grid 2 ; Is it as good as Defense Grid? Maybe not, but that still makes it the second best tower defence game ever.

Ban request for anyone on the front page who reserved a post and didn't come back. POOR FORM.
 

Dynasty8

Formerly 'A-One'
Jan 30, 2014
2,107
279
615
1. Dark Souls 2 ; Gets a lot of hate for not being as good as the first one... IMO, it was just as good. Loved every aspect of it and wish it got more recognition.

2. Dragon Age: Inquisition ; Awesome exploration, story, characters, and combat. Huge improvement over DA2.

3. Super Smash Bros. Wii U ; Flawless fighter. Fun, frantic, and the funnest multiplayer game this year by far.

4. Destiny ; I had a much different experience than everyone else. You have to play this game with friends otherwise it's not fun. The Raids are still the greatest gameplay I've experienced in years.

5. Titanfall ; The first time I played it, it felt like CoD on crack. The gameplay is very fluid and fun. I only wish there was a single player campaign...would have been amazing.

6. Child of Light ; Old school RPG with a Grandia like battle system. The game was amazing. I only wish we see more of these kind of "indies" in the near future.

7. Mario Kart 8 ; Had a decent amount of fun with this one with friends.

8. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX ; It's KH. Enough said.

9. South Park - The Stick of Truth ; Made me laugh multiple times. Games just don't do that to me nowadays. Not to mention the game was awesome and I loved exploring the town.

10. Halo: MCC ; Would have been much higher if it wasn't broken.
 

NotLiquid

Member
Aug 30, 2012
17,950
2
0


1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ; The sheer amalgam that circulates Retro's second foray into platforming is nothing short of a mind bender. Just as Rare proved ten years ago with Donkey Kong Country 2 that it's predecessor was the proving grounds for greater things, Tropical Freeze does the same to Returns by now having a greater understanding of the mechanics that define this franchise and weaving it into something that is, to put it mildly, a masterpiece of design. It did something no other game managed to do this year for me; make me feel young again and excited about video games. But it doesn't do this through copious amounts of capitalizing on old level designs or tried tropes, nor does it knowingly abuse David Wise's presence in order to make remixes of tracks he'd already made. What Tropical Freeze manages to do is evoke that sense through mastery of instrumentation, design, orchestration and composition of every single facet surrounding the level design, visual design, game play design and audio. Not a single beat is missed what-so-ever, everything is new, yet it all feels familiar, mostly as a means of just creating worlds that coalesce in a way only this franchise can provide. Things like platforming across a savanna of dancing animals evokes an immeasurable feeling. It lives up to it's Country name in a whole new way with it's original new locales. Every single piece of the design is deliberate. Everything is a learning experience, and yet it still provides insane thrills. Tropical Freeze is one of, if not the best 2D platformer of all time, contending only with DKC2 for that crown, and I don't say that lightly.



2. Bayonetta 2 ; It'd be easy to say Bayonetta 2 was only really a way for Nintendo to capitalize off of a good deal and win over a hardcore crowd but that does a major disservice to just the thought, effort and quality that the final product presents us with. As crazy as it may have been at the time, with the game in hand, the franchise feels like it fits right at home with Nintendo; not just because all the great Nintendo minutiae is perfectly integrated into the game, but because their mantra of making awesome, timeless games with unrelenting energy is one that they're universally lauded for. In those respects, it's not so weird that Bayonetta 2 ended up feeling like a match made in heaven, and it improves over it's original in a plethora of ways. Any flaws that the original may have had are tidied up and streamlined, with a far more contrasting and aesthetically pleasing visual style, a faster and more refined combat engine, better enemies, snuffed out QTEs, great set pieces, even better boss and level variety and a plot that actually builds itself around the character in a more human light, and does wonders with it's lead character. Everything about Bayonetta 2 is a marked improvement over it's predecessor and the character still continues to be a revelation in the current triple A-sphere, as one of the most empowered female characters in gaming who can still style all over her foes with sheer grace. The queen of action game's return was well worth the wait.



3. Shovel Knight ; When Shovel Knight first hit Kickstarter a couple years or so ago it didn't exactly sell me as much as I had hoped, as at the time it felt like merely a cute Mega Man-esque with Duck Tales pogo mechanics. However, when the game eventually came out that hype became even harder to ignore, and when I bit into the pie I was blown away by how much that ended up being justified. Much like Tropical Freeze it's one big exercise in design school mastery. In fact some of it is so deliberate that when I first played a few of the levels I tried to put myself into the designer's heads to consider the specific placements of each tile, each object, each enemy and each new gimmick the stages had to offer. Every achievement was that of my own, and so was every failure. For most of the game I'd had the biggest smile on my face as the excellent placing and pacing of everything proved to be one of the most enjoyable experiences of the year, and all of it is complemented by an amazing soundtrack that compounds the stellar execution of the throwback.



4. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ; There's a case to be made that a lot of cynicism surrounded this remake, even in spite of it being based on one of the most acclaimed breakout indie titles of it's time. The choice of resorting to pixel graphics was felt by many to have been a loss of a personal touch, as well as jumping onto a fad, while the lack of Danny B to orchestrate the sounds of the basement left something of a hole in many. Yet it's impossible to ignore that the the game still maintains it's design excellency in the hands of Edmund, and with Nicalis at the helm to program and Ridiculon's hard-cutting leads and thundering percussion to reform the game, Binding of Isaac: Rebirth saw a new light - one that fixes a plethora of glitches and performance issues with it's original, adds a new layer of atmosphere that's equally as engrossing, if not more so, than it's predecessor, and an even larger incentive of replayability. Each playthrough always remains a mystery that can go anywhere, and the odds changing at every turn adds a huge incentive to keep trucking with your runs to see where you're headed next. It never loses it's creativity, it never loses it's spark and it always gives you new reasons to explore. The perfect game for replaying really got more perfect.



5. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U ; It's been customary for each iteration of Smash Bros to be treated as an event of it's own and with Smash 4 that remains no exception. With an exponential size increase from Brawl in every way and the first Smash game that gets to be visible in HD, the visual marvel that defined each Smash Bros has been amped to full. The expressive nature of the game is stronger than ever, the mechanics have been more refined since last round, there's a plethora of content that keeps the party alive and really, it's about what you can expect from a fully blown new iteration of Smash Bros. A huge love letter to Nintendo executed in the best way possible, with an incredible visionary that brings everything together in a matter that only Nintendo can claim to have.



6. South Park: The Stick of Truth ; When the Arkham games came out during the early-mid period of the sixth generation there was a tendency to write off licensed games for generally being quick cash-ins. However, that franchise managed to prove every misconceived preconception wrong, and last year, South Park managed to drive that home even further. The countless delays and the publisher switch that the game had to endure was the price to have to pay for one of the most deliberately fine-tuned true-to-source games that has possibly ever come out. It's a game that commands respect from it's developers to live up to every possible facet that people might expect from a South Park game, and that doesn't come lightly. Not only that, but having the creators be heavily involved with the development shows a true understanding of the medium. Everything looks, sounds, feels and even plays like a full season of South Park, with an insane amount of variety and interesting encounters to have to deal with. And most important of all; it's fun. It plays great. It's like a cross between Earthbound and Paper Mario, with the latter being an itch that hasn't been scratched for a long time due to Nintendo themselves not capitalizing on that formula properly since the Gamecube.



7. Mario Kart 8 ; It's pretty spectacular to see Nintendo pick themselves up so gracefully from Mario Kart Wii. With a much better balance to the racing it not only ends up being a necessary improvement, but the fantastic track variety has proved to be one of the entire game's biggest draws as far as I'm concerned, as there are almost no tracks I find myself having to object for when playing with friends. The anti-gravity mechanic adds an interesting active gimmick to the races while the spectacular visual/audio adds a level of sensory candy that I haven't felt in a Mario game since Galaxy, which is an apt comparison as far as I'm concerned. It does to the Mario Kart series what Galaxy did to Mario platformers. While a better Battle Mode is very much desired, the quality of the game still stands strong as one of Nintendo's best designed yet, is guaranteed to stand the test of time, and has one awesome DLC plan to extend the fun in many more ways.



8. Lethal League ; Couch co-op has seen an interesting revival as of late with the likes of Divekick and Nidhogg stirring up the indie scene in some new exciting ways, but none of these really stood out to me as hard as Lethal League did. This entire game is built on a premise that I actually wish Smash Bros had incorporated as some kind of mode. The high-octane sparring that goes down during the back-and-forth of the ball flying across the arena gives such a level of feedback it's complete intoxication. Few games actually gave me as much of a rush as when I managed to slam a skill shot on a ball that was most likely traveling faster than a speeding bullet. It's like violence in an over-the-top Dodgeball-esque way, and playing with people is so much fun. This is a concept that needs to last, and I want to see more. It's criminal how overlooked the game was this year.



9. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair ; I had many reservations about mentioning this franchise on the list as I had already experienced the first Danganronpa when most of it's western fanbase was comprised of people (myself included) who had read the Something Awful LP. However, Danganronpa 2 was a game I never got to experience that much, partially thanks to SA abandoning it's planned LP, and as such it only ended up being a pure experience for me playing it on the Vita the very same year I first got to experience DR1 as a game. Both games stuck to me, but obviously DR2 did so the most. The franchise already ended up being one of the most engrossing visual novels I had ever played with a hefty dose of Ace Attorney-inspired refuting action. It's interesting how the game play is equally dependent on your general game talents as it is your observational ones. While I found DR2 to fumble a bit with its refined mechanics though, the narrative was a lot bigger of a draw due to the interesting twist it goes by creating it's "escape the room" narrative, and it ends up feeling oddly innovative as a result, with more memorable and fun characters to boot. I find both titles to be close, but I chose to settle with 2 due to it leaving more of an impression on me.



10. Wolfenstein: The New Order ; Like Shovel Knight this was a game I really had no expectations for at first, yet had to turn my head around for when I saw the immense attention the game was receiving even in spite of it's mostly "good" critical scores, and this definitely ended up being another major surprise of the year for me as a result. The general design of the game and its combat mechanics evokes something I thought had been long forgotten in first person shooters, and the developers of the game truly knew how to bring the best parts of the genre out with it. Even with it's realistic attempt at faux-future narrative, the design of the game play, aesthetics, sounds and everything surrounding it evokes that deliberate one-man-vs-the-world feeling that made 90s FPS games feel so raw and fun. It's a fantastic shooter with its tongue relatively in it's cheek, and it elevated my feelings on the genre after a long time of feeling very cynical about it. I couldn't think of a better game to crown the new PC I got this year.
 

Fireblend

Banned
Jul 22, 2006
20,645
0
0
Let's see. I'll make one real quick.

1. Bayonetta 2
2. Shovel Knight
3. Super Smash Bros. For Wii U
4. Mario Kart 8
5. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
6. Kirby Triple Deluxe
7. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
8. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
9. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
10. Bravely Default
 
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