2014 has been very different compared to 2013 in regards to gaming. The ascension of the next generation consoles along with the continuing power of the PC meant that 2014 had something to offer for every type of gamer. This year, there might not be a game with the same great impact of The Last of Us, but there are still many awesome games to play, no matter which platform you choose to play on. So, here are the nominees for RestartReplay’s Best Games of 2014!
Mollie Chard: So many great titles got released in 2014, including the brilliant Far Cry 4 and Destiny, both of which I found engaging and addictive. However, my Game of the Year has to be Game of Thrones by Telltale Games. Game of Thrones Episode 1: ‘Iron from Ice’ is an engaging game that successfully immerses you in the mythology of George R. R. Martin’s epic series. After playing through The Walking Dead games, I was expecting big things from Telltale Games, especially as I am a huge Game of Thrones fan. I’m happy to say that they didn’t disappoint! This game will certainly satisfy anyone’s Game of Thrones obsession, providing you with your Thrones-style fix of violence and dark humour before the new season arrives. What’s great about this game is that it keeps you on the edge of your seat consistently. You have to make timed decisions that are both exhilarating and scary, as virtually every choice can possibly mean life-or-death.
Jay Britton: So my choice for Game of the Year is Shadow of Mordor on the Playstation 4. I’ll be honest though despite 2 new consoles launching this year it’s not really been a great year for games. I’ve chosen Shadow of Mordor not because it stands out in my mind as an amazing game but more because it’s the best of a bad bunch. No game launched this year can hold a candle to the likes of Bioshock Infinite or the Last of Us from 2013, I may be being unfair but when I came to think of a Game of the Year for 2014, every one I thought of was actually from 2013, anyway I digress! Shadow of Mordor might be modestly above a low average but it is still the game I’ve enjoyed most this year.
It’s the only title I’ve slipped into my PS4 that has genuinely felt like a next gen game, the visuals are fantastic and the combat is fluid, nerve wracking and exciting. I also have to give a shout out to the sound team as the both the sound track and sound effects are top notch, evoking similar feelings to the movies. Discussing it with the other reviewers here at Restart Replay we described it as a mix of Assassins Creed and Batman….with swords. There are a couple of nice touches as well that make Shadow of Mordor unique, the idea that you can have a hand in controlling the enemies army, down to who gets promoted from within is a great idea, as is gaining Intel to learn an enemies weakness (a number of Captains fell to a single, fully charged, arrow to the head thanks to intel I’d gained before attacking). I also found the fact that the major enemies would remember your previous encounters a great touch, it made the battles feel more personal and as if there was personal pride riding on the outcome. It was also the first game for me that really nailed the Lord of the Rings world, after the films and some poorly executed Lord of the Rings games Shadow of Mordor really felt like the universe of Tolkien’s dark books. There was also enough content to keep the game going and the skill tree was just complex enough to make it interesting but not so complex that I felt like I’d miss out on anything if I missed up. All in all Shadow of Mordor is a great game, it wouldn’t win GoTY in other years but for me it was the only game in 2014 that had me coming back to play again and again and because of that it’s my Game of the Year.
John Noon: Whilst sales of Sony’s handheld still come under scrutiny, there were still a myriad of wonderful games released on the platform this year. From the audacious AAA efforts from 2k for Borderlands 2 (post patch, clearly), to the much smaller but sublime efforts of Llamasoft with TxK the Vita has been a breeding ground for a wide variety of game genres and developers alike. Games that deserve special mention in this category without taking the title this year include Child of Light for it’s beautiful aesthetics , The Swapper for its ingenious take on cloning and puzzle solving, Murasaki Baby simply for the originality it brought with it as well as the plethora of JRPG titles that hit the platform. The award however came down to a fight between 2 very different titles.
Roll7’s OlliOlli was a master piece of retro skateboarding fun, with a deep house vibe and a replay-ability level that was second to none it has had gamers breaking high scores and competing in the legendary daily grind since release back in January. To beat this in the title race a game had to be very special indeed, and Velocity 2X was that game. Released as a cross buy purchase and then released on PSN+ the space shooter come platformer bathed itself in glory from its introduction. With 50 levels of speed, accuracy, timing, and possibly the hardest platinum medal up for collection going, FuturLab truly exceeded expectations with both game play and matching soundtrack and on the vita, the controls were as tight as a critical urgency time limit.
Ian Lynch: It’s been a weird year for video games. But between disappointments and controversy, Nintendo once again proved their reliability when it comes to making great first party games. The Wii U had a fantastic year. There are a few games I could’ve picked for the Wii U game of the year. Mario Kart 8 and Bayonetta 2 both blew people away.
But Super Smash Bros. did more than that. Smash Bros changed people’s views on the Wii U as a console. In 2014, it went from ridiculed flop to a genuinely must have console. Smash Bros took an “If it ain’t broke…” approach. Instead of needless tinkering, they packed in all kinds of new content, including the insanity of 8 Player Smash battles, and the very addictive Smash Tour. New characters, including Mega Man and Pac Man became instant favourites among fans.
Smash Bros has taken the Wii U to the next level, and Nintendo’s little box is now the most exciting console on the market. Here’s hoping that they get the sales to reflect that.
Brandon Casey: Retro Studios’ Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze isn’t just a good platformer, it is pure gaming bliss. Tropical Freeze is one of the most addicting, challenging and rewarding platformers I have ever played. No two levels are the same and each Kong you can play as make them more diverse. Collectables are abundant and reward you with more levels to challenge your platforming skills. Gorgeous visuals and a downright memorizing soundtrack tie the whole game together. Whether I was swimming through the sea, jumping on Snowmads, riding a runaway rocket barrel or dodging obstacles on a mine cart, I had the most fun with DKCTF more than any game I played this year. Tropical Freeze is not only my Game of The Year but is also one of the best games on the Wii U in my opinion.
Stephen Tillett: Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn’t have the same depth of storyline that Origins had but, strangely, that doesn’t hold it back. Inquisition crafts an enormous, beautiful world with an absolutely incredible amount of content. Heading off to explore and take on side quests never feels like a chore and, while some places will be too difficult at first, you never find yourself grinding for levels. The combat offers a good mix of strategy and challenge, especially when taking on tougher foes like the dragons, and the ability to switch between characters during combat gives you plenty of different options to play around with. Having so much on offer, with a lengthy storyline and ridiculous numbers of optional adventures, Dragon Age Inquisition is an RPG lover’s dream and well deserving of a spot on this GOTY list.
John Noon: 2014 seems to have belonged to the indie scene, and for good reason. With many indie developers bringing out games that thrive on originality, retro styles, or addictive game play and releasing games at cheap prices gamers that dared to take a step away from the big boys have been well rewarded on all platforms. This year the great indie games have included Broforce by Free Lives, which I cannot wait to hit the consoles next year, Coilworks brought speed running to the skies with Cloudbuilt and an award winning soundtrack. There was also PhiGames debut with the uncompromising Tiny Keep, Always Sometimes Monsters was another smash, Heavy Bullets was a blitz of neon fun and the return of Team17 with Flockers was brilliant. There was even time for 3D Realms to release a re-mastered version of Lo Wang in Shadow Warrior, although I’m strictly not sure if they count as indie still, and with the dawn of Oculus Rift, Pixel Rift was another stand out game.
Jay Escobar: Among the Sleep was easily the most satisfying game for me. From start to finish the game encapsulates you in this fantasy world. It’s a horror game and you play from the point of view of a child, so it’s easily a very unique entry in the horror game realm. For anyone who has seen a Guillermo Del Toro film and enjoyed the artwork and style, this game is for you. It’s very pretty, yet evokes such a creepy atmosphere that causes your skin to crawl with every little movement you catch from the corner of your eye. It’s a wonderful twist on the story of innocence.
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