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- 2014's voting thread
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01. Bayonetta 2 = 1132 points, 12 honorable mentions
Colorful, confident and relentless, Bayonetta 2 is an assault on the senses and reflexes from start to finish that improves on the original from top to bottom. A campaign where each chapter is a spectacle and every character wants to go to Fimbulvinter, a trove of challenges and unlockables to work towards after completion and brilliant gameplay further refined to be as stylish, fluid and fun to execute as any I've come across in the genre. At it's heart, Bayonetta 2 is pure arcade action; the DNA of Sega, Capcom and Nintendo combining to infuse Platinum's work with old school sensibilities alongside a generous serving of cheesecake and chaos.
Bayonetta 2 is to Bayonetta as Mario Galaxy 2 is to Mario Galaxy. It takes the foundations of its predecessor and shows us just how far they can take it, and it's executed perfectly. It was this game, more than any other this year, that I can point to and say "this is why I love this hobby."
Sexy, sassy and triumphantly video game-y. I'd rank it alongside Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy as among the best thing(s) Nintendo has ever touched, and I'm super grateful that they decided to work with Platinum.
By far the best game of the year. Nobody expected it, Nintendo saved it, people cried about it, but more importantly, we've been able to play it. It being the sequel of one of the best games of last generation, arguably in the top 3 3D BTA. Great OST, awesome controls, fun costumes, better balanced than the first one. The game of this generation so far, and will be remembered for years to come.
02. Mario Kart 8 = 925 points, 21 honorable mentions
The best Mario Kart title yet and one that brings real change while refining the good old Mario Kart gameplay to what feels like utter perfection. I can't compliment this game enough! The gameplay is rock solid, the track design and selection is fantastic, the online is smooth and presentation is the best it has ever been. The added benefit of having the best DLC of the year is just the cherry on top. A proper battle mode would have been great but the game doesn't feel like it's any less complete. It may not be my GOTY but in five years time with the benefit of age it could definitely find itself a GOTG contender for me.
There are good Mario Kart games and there are great ones. Then there is the best. The latest Kart isn't just the culmination of iteration over decades. This was made with love, passion, and inspiration. In a year plagued with so many flubbed launches, drops in quality assurance, and just plain cynical entries in long-standing IPs, Mario Kart 8 doesn't need to draw attention to how insanely polished it is from top to bottom. It simply sings and soars. It's beautiful. It's balanced. It's diverse. It is generous and thoughtful in its DLC in ways that other major IP are not, or simply cannot be. It is all the more special for being the game that my wife and I will both play together for hours straight. This is a game with real heart and soul--an exceedingly rare quality in the AAA space these days.
03. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U = 850 points, 20 honorable mentions
Smash has a low skill floor and a high skill ceiling, which is the testament of it's impeccable design. It is full of depth and nuance to make it worthwhile experience for the competitive/hardcore audience yet it is also straightforward to understand for newcomers . It is a ton of fun with friends, it looks fantastic, the music is awesome and most importantly it feels good to play. There is a mountain of variety in stages, characters and game modes. Smash Wii U is a must have for any fighting game enthusiast.
Back and better than ever, the latest Smash Bros. for the Wii U checks off nearly every box that a 2014 Smash Bros. has to. Multiplayer has been a blast, both online and locally, and the sheer volume of modes and customization options available in both realms is staggering and very much welcome. Whether I'm looking for complete and utter chaos or a more purist-route at any given time, it's all there at my fingertips and has been a ton of fun in the short time I've spent with it so far. And let's not forget about the single-player, which is filled to the brim with content and sports dozens of challenges that I suspect will keep me busy for many months and years to come. With the newest entry into the franchise, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U maintains the series standing as one of the most fun multiplayer experiences and a celebration of all things Nintendo.
04. Dragon Age: Inquisition = 803 points, 22 honorable mentions
An excellent return to form, reminding you just how engrossing a good Bioware RPG can be in case you ever forgot. They clearly took a lot of pointers from one Skyrim in terms of the amount of content and the exploration possibilities, and it certainly scratches those Bethesda RPG itches damn well - much better than any previous Bioware game. Also helps that the story and characters are great, the environments are beautiful to look at and the combat is rather enjoyable, too. I've already sunk an awful lot of time into this game, and I'm quite happy to sink an awful lot more in. If this is the template Bioware are working from on their future games, I'm really looking forward to the next Mass Effect.
It's the best RPG I've played since Skyrim. Beautiful, detailed and creative world with interesting characters and quests. This is coming from someone who isn't really a Dragon Age fan at all. I didn't play the first and I pretty much loathed the second. It has it's problems undoubtedly but I assume it's a learning curve for Bioware as it's their most ambitious game yet. Even with the fetch quests... I enjoyed every minute of the 150 hours I put in. So much lore, dialogue to sink your teeth into. I'm already aching for DLC. It's not often I say that.
05. Dark Souls II = 721 points, 10 honorable mentions
Dark Souls II is the Metal Gear Solid 2 of the Souls series, a twisted fever dream and meditation on its predecessor that is simultaneously "not as good" and "better than" the rest of the series. Its batshit crazy, polarizing, and we need more games like it.
The Dear Leader said:
From's return to the hardcore punishing arena, Dark Souls II takes the series in a more streamlined direction, giving players more options while taking some of the challenge out of the experience, with top notch controls, intense gameplay, it's one of the best Action RPG's of the last decade.
06. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze = 675 points, 16 honorable mentions
DKCR is a bit of a chink in Retro's otherwise fairly nice armor. I don't dislike the game, but it didn't blow me away like I had expected it would. It was fairly by the numbers without a huge emphasis on excellent platforming or level design. Tropical Freeze definitely fixes that by being one of the tightest, most well-designed platformers around. The organic care that's put into the world is unmatched in any other platformer out there and Retro should be proud of this effort.
This game, man. This game. Colorful, gorgeous visuals. Smooth framerate. Flawless controls. Challenging levels. Absolutely insane soundtrack you will listen to for years to come. This game was labeled as "just another Donkey Kong game", but it's much more than that. It's the best one yet.
07. Wolfenstein: The New Order = 607 points, 19 honorable mentions
In a time where FPS titles emulate Call of Duty and other generic military action games, Wolfenstein: The New Order returns to the roots of the genre and shows that sometimes you need just to let players shoot shit up. In many ways, it feels like a throwback title trying to reconcile its place in the modern area, and it totally works in its favor. TNO blends the best of high-budget FPS game of today, with the pure action oriented gameplay of the past. It's truly the best of both worlds.
I've always had a weakness for first person shooters but lately I feel like they've been getting progressively worse. Enter The New Order, a game that seems to ignore all the Call of Duties and Battlefields of recent years and instead builds upon slightly older genre staples. The maps are larger and there's multiple ways to approach them with pretty clever secrets to try to find throughout. Also the gunplay is phenomenal and the health system manages to feel like a breath of fresh air. To sum it up Wolfenstein TNO is a return to format for the first person genre and I look forward to what Machinehead games will give us next.
08. South Park: The Stick of Truth = 564 points, 12 honorable mentions
zero shift said:
This is such a good licensed game that I don't even consider it to be a licensed game. It is a legitimate playable episode of South Park. It has the exact same graphics as the show, the same writing, the same cast, etc. The only difference is that the game entertained me and made me laugh more than the show has in years.Matt Stone and Trey Parker are at their peak with this game with their satirical and gross out humor is as well. The game hits all the right notes as it entertains the player and explore the lore of the South Park universe. Sure the game isn't as deep as Wasteland or Shin Megami Tensei, but it isn't suppose to be. It's suppose to be a whimsical playable episode of the show and it achieves that perfectly. The game also pushes the ESRB "M" rating as much as possible was the game has full frontal nudity, sex, and people going into a guy's ass. And those aren't even the worst things in the game. Curious to what those things are? Buy the game.
I'm not sure a game has ever used its source material so perfectly. It just can't be overstated how true to the show that the game really is. Matt and Trey's work and influence can be seen in every corner of the game and the story and combat are both hilarious and engaging from beginning to end.
09. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor = 559 points, 25 honorable mentions
Mordor was a game a friend told me he was glad was good, because video games were starting to be a bummer. I can't help but agree, in a year where we're marrying broken games to a total lack of gameplay ambition to excuse said problems, Mordor bucked that trend by employing the Nemesis system into its fundamental game design. The game feels good to play, it feels good to fight and move around, it's a strong game all around. I am excited for a Mordor 2 with a bit more design and a little more flesh around the bones, but the first stab is still incredible.
Hands down the most fun I had playing any game this year. The Nemesis System brings something that is not only fresh and new, but also something that has been very well executed. Never have I had such a strong reaction to taking out an NPC than I did when I finally killed that damn orc that got really powerful from killing me over and over. The combat system may have been shamelessly borrowed from the Arkham series, but it fits so well with the game that I don't mind at all. This game became my first platinum trophy and I had a blast the whole time.
10. Shovel Knight = 549 points, 14 honorable mentions
A timeless game that would be just as good if it was released in the 1980's as it is in 2014, this NES style adventure harkens back to some of the greatest classics of that era and does so in superb fashion. Tight controls, cool chip tune beats and a colorful art style make this game one of the more memorable 8-bit re-imaginings in recent memory.
Nintendo tier retro platformer. Plays like a dream . Best soundtrack of the year possibly. I'd love to see a sequel making the jump to pseudo 16 bit and a bigger scope, with interconnected world design and adventure elements. Done right Super Shovel Knight could be GOTY material.
11. Alien: Isolation = 395 points, 15 honorable mentions
I actually didn't expect this game to be as good as it was. The lighting is probably the best I've ever seen, the sound design is impeccable, the alien AI is surprising and challenging, the adherence to the original film's tone and horror is unmatched, and I liked the protagonist's journey throughout this game. Definitely the best Alien video game adaptation to grace the medium.
12. Destiny = 344 points, 21 honorable mentions
Mechanically perfect and the most compelling, time consuming, interesting game of the year by a wide margin. The core shooting game is so tight and enjoyable, that all its flaws are secondary to the fun I have, each and every time I play it. Grind doesn't feel like grind if you enjoy what you're doing. Whether I'm out on Patrol, or doing Strikes, Heroic dailies or chasing bounties, none of it has felt stale yet as the core shooting is so good. Aside from a couple of PSN wobbles, haven't had a single blip with online, with matchmaking taking seconds not minutes. In 2014, that was an achievement in itself.
13. Infamous: Second Son = 342 points, 21 honorable mentions
I had a blast with this game. I played both infamous games before hand and felt this was the best of both. The powers were unique and fun to use, the story was interesting, and the graphics were absolutely stunning. While some found it too short I found it just the perfect length. By the time the credits rolled I was still itching for more and hopped right into a second play through to catch the other side of the Karma tree. Something I never wanted to do with the previous games.
14. Divinity: Original Sin = 339 points, 7 honorable mentions
I almost didn't play this game based on the reputation of Larian, the developer -- previously known as the maker of janky, awkward Euro RPGs that people have been picking up in random bundles for a few years now. Compared to their previous work, though, this game is a revelation. D:OS was built with the ambition of reviving a style of classic-fantasy Western RPG that's been distressingly absent, and it accomplishes it far better than most people seem to have expected. On a story level, the game trades tedious exposition for a huge volume of individually entertaining quests with a surprisingly wide range of possible solutions. The game's character system provides clear class roles but provides a huge amount of flexibility to customize your PCs into whatever mix of them you want, with a good mix of combat and utility abilities. The place it excels the most, though, is in its combat system -- a turn-based, action-point system that has the deepest and most intricate system of environmental interactions I've ever encountered; I put 100 hours into this game and never got to the point where I stopped finding cool new ways to engage with the system. This is undoubtedly the best RPG of 2014, and one of the best of its kind in years.
15. Sunset Overdrive = 313 points, 11 honorable mentions
A truly unique new IP with a new twist on gameplay which, in this day and age, should be celebrated. Insomniac nailed virtually every aspect, but absolutely killed it on the movement and traversal options which are neither automatically driven, nor cumbersome, but allow you to quickly and effectively move through the city-scape in fun, fast, and exciting ways.
16. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc = 298 points, 12 honorable mentions
Deserves to be in any top ten for delivering some exciting, thought-provoking and interesting storytelling – one of the best stories of the year – while throwing in fun court-room drama with speedier gameplay than the likes of the brilliant Ace Attorney games, along with a wonderful soundtrack to boot. Danganronpa wouldn’t let me put the Vita down; showcasing its strong hold on me while I tried to uncover what the hell was going on in this twisted murder mystery game.
17. Transistor = 279 points, 16 honorable mentions
Endo Punk said:
Best game I played this year. Pick any aspect of the game and you would be hard pressed to find a flaw, from soundtrack to story to gameplay to visuals it's just an experience Im very thankful for as a gamer. Its deep and absorbing and doesn't let up from the start to finish. Story though minimal is full off surprises and doesn't get in the way of the gameplay which shines so damn bright. Customization and experimentation is key to get as much out the game weeks after you have initially beat it. And you have a dedicated button to hum along to the soundtrack, so good.
18. The Evil Within = 278 points, 19 honorable mentions
This is one of the most creative games I've played in a while. No, it wasn't the return to survival horror that Mikami promised it would be. It was, however, the best action horror game since Dead Space. This is a game that demanded the player respect it's rules. If you try to play it like a standard shooter, you will pay dearly. My favorite thing about the game was the sheer variety across a meaty campaign. From the encounter design to the environments, something new was always around the corner. I also loved the reoccurring boss battles. They were unique in their execution and they felt like true adversaries that kept coming back no matter how hard you tried to kill them. I was also one of the few who enjoyed the story, even though it didn't make too much sense. But I wasn't expecting greatness in that area, as it is a Mikami game.
19. Far Cry 4 = 255 points, 14 honorable mentions
Having never played a game in this series before, this game was quite a surprise for me. I got addicted, and ended up not only Platinuming the game, but I also got 100% completion, as in all Shangri-La, all collectiables... EVERYTHING. I FUCKING LOVED IT. Just the vistas, exploring the unknown, hunting animals, stealthing outposts, it all just felt good. I loved almost every minute I spent in Kyrat, and while many don't like the Shangri-La portions of the game, I fell in love with them, the atmospehre there was something else.
20. Driveclub = 255 points, 7 honorable mentions
DriveClub is not only an extremely fun, addictive game to play with its excellent handling model and strong social hooks, but it was also the first game to show me that, in terms of visuals, the new generation really has arrived. It's no exaggeration to say that it's the best looking game I've ever played - at times it genuinely looks real. And, as a lover of eye candy, it's that photorealism combined with the exhilaration provided by the purity of its racing that ultimately secures my 2014 top spot.