2014 is all but in the books, meaning it’s time for my personal Game of the Year awards. I’ll only be talking about games I’ve played, so some big hitters may be left off the list. Now, let’s start the show!
Best PS4 Game — Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is an awesome, awesome game. The nemesis system is so innovative and implemented so well that I hope other games can copy and/or use it in some way. It can become personal when the same enemy kills you three or four times and starts taunting you. And when you do finally hunt him down and separate his head from his body? There’s no better feeling. Shadow of Mordor is a fantastic game.
Best Xbox 360 Game — South Park: The Stick of Truth
It’s no surprise that the library of newly releasing Xbox 360 games is shrinking by the day, and this may or may not have been the only new Xbox 360 game I played all year (it was), but South Park: The Stick Of Truth isn’t a game to be missed. The nostalgia factor alone is enough to make this game a must-play, but underneath all of the fourth grade antics is a solid RPG with enough class differences and side quests to keep you playing for a while.
Best 3DS Game — Bravely Default
When I played Bravely Default earlier in the year, I mentioned that it was a Game of the Year candidate. I haven’t moved off that position. The brave/default system, allowing you to spend extra turns’ worth of moves in a single burst or store extra moves while blocking adds a fantastic level of depth to standard turn-based combat. Bravely Default has great class diversity, good visuals (especially for a 3DS game), and a solid story. I can’t wait to play Bravely Second whenever it comes stateside.
Best Downloadable Game — Transistor
Supergiant Games hit a home run with their first game, Bastion, a few years back. Transistor had been on my radar for months prior to it’s release and after playing it, it was well worth the wait. Combat is not only fast-paced but tactical in that you can pause the game, map out a few moves, and execute. In what is becoming typical Supergiant fashion, the story is deep and available to those who seek it out via side quests and journal/codex reading. Oh, and the soundtrack! Easily the best soundtrack to a game all year. It’s also quite emotional with an ending that I won’t forget for a long time.
Best Remake — The Last of Us
With so many remakes, re-releases, definitive editions, and collections, I guess they deserve their own category. I didn’t play The Last Of Us on PS3 because I don’t own a PS3, but when the remake was announced for PS4, I was chomping at the bit. The Last of Us on PS4 is an all-timer with a silky smooth framerate, graphics so good they included a photo mode, a heart-wrenching story and classic ammo-conserving, stealthily-moving horror gameplay. If you own either of the last two Sony consoles and you haven’t played The Last of Us, you should fix that ASAP.
Best Free-to-Play Game — Hearthstone
I had a pretty short list to choose from here, which brings me to the conclusion that I’m not using the full benefit of my PS+ membership. In any event, Hearthstone is a hell of a lot of fun. A card battling game set in the Warcraft universe with non-necessary real money transactions? Count me in! Unfortunately, the first big expansion, Goblins vs Gnomes, released right when my PC’s hard drive decided to die. But, the Android release has finally come out, so it might be time for me to hop back in.
Biggest Surprise — Wolfenstein: The New Order
An FPS with no multiplayer, relying completely on it’s story mode? Color me surprised that Wolfenstein: The New Order is actually a pretty good game. The weaponry is over-the-top and the ways those poor Nazi bastards die is almost innumerable. It’s got it’s glitches, sure, but Wolfenstein: The New Order caught me off guard with how much fun it was.
Game of the Year — Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
It came down to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Bravely Default, and Transistor. But, in the end, Shadow of Mordor is both the best game I’ve played all year and the one I enjoyed the most. Killing Orcs and Uruk-hai is just so goddamn satisfying. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is my overall game of the year.