Features & News
End of Year 2014: Game of the Year
December 31, 2014, Author: The TIMJ Team
Welcome to the final entry in our ‘End of Year’ run, and it’s the one you’ve all been waiting for! What are our staff member’s picks for Game of the Year?
You know what to do to find out!
Dan Moore (Staff Writer) – Destiny
Destiny. I know it’s probably the obvious answer based on my choices in previous categories, but I kinda love what it has been trying to do. I can see why so many people say the lack of content is a problem, but honestly I find it great to be able to jump in, run a strike or farm some items, then head out again.
Few people can deny the way it looks as well. Say what you will about the gameplay, but tell me Destiny doesn’t look amazing? Bungie sure gets the most out of their artists, and Destiny proves it from top to bottom. It sounds pretty great as well, minus Peter Dinklage’s somewhat dubious voice acting, of course, but as previously stated, the soundtrack is fantastic and helps bring it all together.
Runners Up: OlliOlli, Halo: Master Chief Collection
Andy Buick (Features Editor) – Velocity 2X
It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that’s been following our review of 2014 that Velocity 2X comes out on top for me. It’s the perfect blend of silky smooth graphics, phenomenal level and sound design, married to sensible controls that require utter mastery if you want to get everything in the game. Also, the last few levels are utterly brain-melting! The draw to just shave off a little more time, or complete a level perfectly kept me coming back again and again.
Runners Up: Child of Light, Dust: An Elysian Tail
Josué Cardona (Staff Writer) – Destiny
My game of the year is Destiny. In a year in where so many games had glitches and online problems, Destiny stands out as a big, polished title that worked as promised out of the gate, and is still setting an example.
It truly is a first-person MMO RPG shooter that changed the way I think about each of those genres and it has led to the best multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve never had so many text messages and invites related to one game: “Let’s raid!“, “I need help with a bounty!“, “jump in so we can get some strange coins!“, “Xur has Suros” and “I hate the ******* Cryptarch!”
I receive messages like this almost every day.
It’s been an incredible experience for me because of the communities that surround the game and Bungie’s involvement. Destiny keeps evolving with small and big changes, but what is most surprising is that it manages to create reasons to bring me back. I enjoy it, sure, but it has also impressed me technically and I can’t wait to see how it continues to change and grow.
Runners Up: South Park: The Stick of Truth, InFamous: Second Son
Andy Corrigan (Editor In Chief) – Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
For most of the year, I thought that this would be a close call between Wolfenstein: The New Order, Danganronpa and Valiant Hearts, however, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth has come out of nowhere to pip them all at the post.
I don’t want to say too much as I’m still reviewing for TIMJ and most of my thoughts will go into that, but developer Atlus has pulled all the charming, strong and relatable characters from Personas 3 and 4 and thrown them together in whole a new adventure. The result sees them meeting and interacting for the first time with comical and fascinating results, while the exploration and challenging battle systems are pitch-perfect; pretty much what you’d expect from a Persona game. The music is pure gold too.
The biggest compliment that I can pay it at this point is that I’ve sunk well over fifty hours so far, and it really has seemed like no time at all. It gets the ‘Andy Corrigan double thumbs up’ seal of approval.
Runners Up: Wolfenstein: The New Order, Valiant Hearts: The Great War
Jonn Blanchard (Staff Writer) – Alien: Isolation
My choice this year is responsible for more near trouser accidents than any game I can remember. Alien: Isolation complements one of the greatest movies ever made and it’s the first time a game has managed to provide the same sense of fear. I’ve had the pleasure of trying this game both with and without the Oculus equipment, but the feeling of panic when you hear a noise or see the Xeno in the distance is the same even when you are viewing it on a flat TV screen.
It is, simply, a work of art. The level design looks like it came out of the original film, the pacing is spot on and the alien looks and acts just how you’d expect it to. Yes, it does start to drag when you get into the final few hours, but the time you spend leading up to that point are some of the greatest moments in gaming history.
How good is it? It’s good enough to wipe the sour memory of Colonial Marines from my memory.
Runners Up: Sunset Overdrive, Dark Souls 2
Jade Sayers (Staff Writer) – The Wolf Among Us
2014 really was year of the wolf. Where I anticipate at least some of my fellow Joystick-ers will opt for Wolfenstein, I’m going with The Wolf Among Us for game of the year. I’ve used it as my answer so much in our year-end round-up that I’m almost running out of things to say about it.
What I will say is that The Wolf Among Us is perfectly realised and well executed, and did everything I want a game to do and, really, that I’ve wanted games to do my whole life. Although Telltale’s The Walking Dead series did it all before in terms of choice and instantly gratifying moral decisions, there’s just something about the fantasy realm of Fabletown and its familiar, yet different characters that really endeared it to me.
Runners Up: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
James Sheppard (Reviews Editor) – Titanfall
For all of the hype surrounding a lot of this year’s big releases, there wasn’t a lot we hadn’t seen before. There was one exception to this in my eyes, however; something which actually felt new and fresh: Titanfall. Paradoxically, its list of influences spans far and wide. The shooting of Call of Duty, the movement of Quake and Tribes, the robots of Mechwarrior, the creeps of DOTA. Yet it feels anything but derivative, weaving all of its ideas into an original, exciting formula which shows us that the first-person shooter genre hasn’t yet been exhausted. Because of this, Titanfall takes the crown for my Game of the Year.
I almost chose Danganronpa, a game which has been in multiple runners up lists of mine and a category winner throughout this TIMJ ‘End of Year’ series. Yet even though the story is extraordinarily captivating, its mechanics as an actual ‘game’ do let it down somewhat. Shadow of Mordor was my other choice, very distinctly an Ubisoft-style open world adventure from Monolith, but one that stands out with its excellent combat and Nemesis system.
Runners Up: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Jasper Pickering (Staff Writer) – Far Cry 4
A lot of people complained that the similarities between the two games meant that there was little improvement made from Far Cry 4‘s predecessor. I would have to agree that not much has changed and Far Cry 5 will have to do something to make up for it, but if it isn’t broke then why bother changing it?
Far Cry 3 had some of the best open-world design in recent memory. It was big, but not too big and the same goes for Far Cry 4. The subtle nuances, such as improved enemy intelligence and a vastly more challenging wildlife (damn Honey Badgers), was just enough for me.
My friend recently started playing Far Cry 3 again and I was amazed by how primitive it felt compared to its successor. That’s a good sign for any sequel and made me choose both entrants in the Far Cry series as my favourite games of their respective release years.
Now I just need to wait for Far Cry 5 as I try and quell my bloodlust for exotic animal skins.
Runners Up: Transistor, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Matt Best (Staff Writer) – Wolfenstein: The New Order
At the beginning of this ‘End of Year’ series, I honestly had no idea what I would give my Game of the Year award to. 2014 had so many great releases such as Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Destiny, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Valiant Hearts: The Great War, to name a few. It was shaping up to be harder to pick than a broken nose.
As I worked my way through the previous categories, one title stood out consistently above the rest. Sure there have been prettier titles, or ones with better soundtracks, even ones which have made better use of new-gen technology, but in my opinion you can’t go past Wolfenstein: The New Order for a good well-rounded release.
It’s not perfect, but then again, no release this year has been. What it provided was a solid game that didn’t take itself too seriously, with tight gameplay, humour, and an overabundance of firepower – not to mention Nazi robots. Throughout this mayhem, MachineGames managed to tell a human story, showing that a FPS can be more than a dudebro shootfest.
At around 15 hours to complete, its length was ideal. Short enough for someone with a busy lifestyle, but long enough to feel you were getting value for money. It has been such a long time since I’ve played an FPS that has grabbed my attention such as Wolfenstein: The New Order did: to the point that it almost warrants another playthrough.
Runners Up: Destiny, Alien: Isolation
Matt Parker (News Editor) – Threes
No, this isn’t some badge of hipster coolness I’m trying to pin on myself. Threes was hands-down my most played game of the year. I honestly had to delete it off my phone as it was keeping me on my phone until well past my bed time.
It’s ridiculously simple and it’s had plenty of pretenders to its throne, but Threes puts every game with the number ’2048′ in its title to shame. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough; just be prepared to delete it and go cold turkey six months from now.
Runners Up: Alien: Isolation, South Park: The Stick of Truth
Feature Type: 2014, End of Year | Tagged Alien: Isolation, Child of Light, Dark Souls 2, Destiny, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Halo Master Chief Collection, inFamous: Second Son, OlliOlli, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Sunset Overdrive, The Wolf Among Us, Threes, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Velocity 2X, Wolfenstein: The New Order