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Giant Bomb's 2014 Game of the Year Awards: Day Five Text Recap

Our awards come to a conclusion with Best Horror Game, PLEASE STOP, Worst Game, and... Best Game! Yayyyyy!

Well, that's just about it from us here at Giant Bomb. Enjoy what's left of your 2014, check out today's mammoth podcast and the conclusion to our video documentary, and we'll be back at you with fresh faces, fresh places, and fresh... spaces? For 2015? OK, that doesn't really make any sense. Hey, just have a good time and stay safe out there. Thanks for checking out our awards!

Best Horror Game

P.T.

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While big-budget video games forgot about horror for a few years, independent developers picked up the slack. Amnesia: The Dark Descent remains worthy of horror's crown, but P.T. reminded us what happens when unlimited resources are thrown at a horror experience. P.T. simply asks players to walk down the most detailed hallway ever created for a video game and see what happens. Teaser, demo, whatever--it was the scariest thing made in 2014.

The Silent Hills connection makes it even more fascinating; no one's given a damn about Silent Hill in years. Konami hasn't treated the seminal horror series very well, but it hasn't stopped it from making new games every so often. For whatever reason, perhaps out of desperation to do something new, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima decided to take Silent Hill under his wing, and unleashed P.T. on us this year.

Thank you.

Every time you walk down the hallway, something changes. Or maybe it doesn't? A closed door is now open. Some floorboards creak in the distance. A baby wails around the corner. Shadowy figures watch from the floor above. A bloody casket, wired to the ceiling, bangs back and forth. P.T.'s repetition lulls players into lowered expectations, and finds terrifying success over and over. It uses surprise to terrify.

P.T. literally stands for Playable Teaser, and it's a nightmarish glimpse into what Kojima and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro are crafting for Silent Hills, a game that's most likely years off. Even if Silent Hills doesn't pan out and the series remains in creative limbo, we'll always have P.T. That hallway will never go away, beckoning the daring to make one more trip through. Who knows what's waiting this time?

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Runners-up: Neverending Nightmares, Alien: Isolation

PLEASE STOP

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Shipping Broke-Ass Games

Look, we could get into some exhaustive list of messed-up games and break down why broken games ship and how that's still not OK, but let's just be blunt. We're all aware of the issues faced by many different games this year. It's unacceptable. Stop shipping broke-ass games, you idiots, you're messing it up for everyone.

Runners-Up: Sonic the Fucking Hedgehog, Ubisoft's Standardized Open-World Template

Worst Game

Ghostship: Aftermath

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As we scoured Steam for games to Quick Look, we came across a reminder that it wasn’t just big-budget triple-A games that were busted this year. Ghostship: Aftermath tries to ape the spooky space vibe of Alien and Event Horizon, but instead offers up the glitchiest, most tedious experience of the year.

Every element of the game reeks of low-budget slapdashery, from the laughable voice-over work to the unlicensed use of actual Coke and Pepsi logos. It tries to keep the action fresh as the entire ship is randomly generated between deaths, but this means having to listen to the same unskippable cutscenes time and time again. If you can survive long enough to get to the actual shooting, keep an eye out for the manic, walking butts that randomly clip through every part of the environment.

Runners-up: Rambo: The Video Game, Enforcer: Police. Crime. Action.

Best Game

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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Ah, 2014. What a long, strange year it's been. This was the first full calendar year on the books after the launch of all the new consoles, the year we expected those new machines to truly come into their own with a healthy slate of impressive software that said "this is what next-gen video games look like." Then a ton of those games got delayed into 2015.

There were still plenty of eminently worthwhile games that did release this year, though, and choosing our consensus favorite was perhaps easier than it's ever been. Whittling down a list of the best games of the year until we find the one game everyone can agree on, the one game everyone is happiest with, is usually grueling and results in someone feeling bitter or shortchanged. Not this year. There was scarcely a person on staff who didn't feel good about Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, what it brought to its respective genre, and how much fun it was to play.

Coming out of E3, Mordor went from a game nobody was talking about to one we cautiously hoped would bring something genuinely new to the open-world genre, and the game didn't just meet those expectations, it surpassed them. The Nemesis system that populates Mordor with dozens of uniquely characterized enemies gave the game's open world a feeling of dynamism and unpredictability that's not quite like anything we've seen in this genre. While it's a little trite to say that we hope every open-world game has a Nemesis equivalent going forward, this does feel like a small inflection point for action games, where ingenuity in game design meets more advanced AI, simulation, and computing power to generate video game worlds that feel just a little less faceless and a little more real than they used to.

Even setting Nemesis aside, Mordor's fundamental gameplay was entertaining as hell for hours and hours. Climbing around on ancient ruins and stabbing bad guys in the back has never been this much fun, and we hope other such franchises take a long look at everything Shadow of Mordor does right before they move on to their next installments.

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Runners-up: Bayonetta 2, Far Cry 4, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Jazzpunk, Shovel Knight, Mario Kart 8, Destiny

166 Comments

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CosmicQueso

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CosmicQueso • 

What a great list of games up for GOTY. Big ups to Monolith.

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Cerberus3Dog

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Edited By Cerberus3Dog • 

Oh shit! Shadows of Mordor takes it!

Laughing at Destiny getting in a number 10 it seems and at "Sonic the Fucking Hedgehog"

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SomeJerk

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SomeJerk • 

Good GOTY, well earned, I hope the rest of the publishers learn!

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ollieg_94

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ollieg_94 • 

Pretty strong list. Personally, I'm just happy Mario Kart made the cut.

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Edited By KaneRobot • 

Congrats to Mordor. My number one as well. Was mildly concerned they'd go with something else just to be "different," but it's definitely a deserving winner.

----

Fucking Destiny.

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Grimmy616

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Grimmy616 • 

So... Destiny made the top 10 buy Dragon Age: Inquisition didn't. Holy crap I can't wait to listen to the podcast and listen to Brad shove Destiny down everyone's throats.

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zombie2011

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zombie2011 • 

Was hoping this was the Forza Horizon would get some love from GB, oh well maybe FH3!!

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viewtifulchloe

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ht101

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ht101 • 

@grimmy616: This. I was hoping they could bully Brad into not having it on the list but somehow he won once more. I wonder if it will be as bad as Skyrim beating out Saints Row The Third for GotY 3 years ago.

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pr1mus

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pr1mus • 

Brad pulled a Brad on the goty list. Again!

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Korolev

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Korolev • 

Destiny is on that list? Well, it certainly is one of the most addictive games of 2014, but I don't know about "best".

Shadows of Mordor is a good game - I get the feeling that it was the only one they could agree with without strangling each other, and that's why it was picked. 2014 has been an extremely divisive year, with a lot of disappointment and overall mediocrity.

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lcwest23

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lcwest23 • 

Dragon Age didn't even make it on the nominees for GOTY? disappointed

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ShadowSwordmaster

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Zeeman155

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Zeeman155 • 

Jazz Punk gets up there but not Transistor? Sayyy whaaaa?

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forteexe21

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Chicken008

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Chicken008 • 

Mario Kart over Smash? Battle mode ruins that game.

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Quantris

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Quantris • 

Are the GOTY runners-up ordered (last year made it more obvious)? I guess that will be clearer after having listened to the podcast...

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Lurkero

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Lurkero • 

The fact that Destiny made the GOTY list above some of the titles that were nominated for non-negative awards is baffling, and it makes me want to listen to the argument someone had for shoving Destiny in there.

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DorkyMohr

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TheHT

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Edited By TheHT • 

INQUISITION DIDN'T EVEN RANK?!

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hookem1883

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hookem1883 • 

Climbing around on ancient ruins and stabbing bad guys in the back has never been this much fun...

Assassin's Creed? I can respect the love for Shadow of Mordor, but I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than an AC/Batman clone. I guess I'll just have to play it for myself.

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gerrid

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gerrid • 

Actually quite surprised to see Call of Duty in there

Shovel Knight tho, what a game.

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yevinorion

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yevinorion • 

Given the hate Destiny got, I'm pretty surprised it even showed up on this list. Overall it's a pretty strong list. A bit different from my own naturally, but I'm glad to see some of my fave games on there. Needs more Transistor though...

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budgietheii

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budgietheii • 

Bayonetta was robbed!!

Great bunch of end of year content as always, looking forward to catching up on the deliberation podcasts once back in work.

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radioactivez0r

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radioactivez0r • 

The list overall is pretty cool, but man it seems like Mordor is winning a lot of GOTY awards by default because nothing really amazing came out this year. You wonder if, should next year's ridiculous lineup be as good as it seems, it would even land in the top 10 of 2015. Looking forward to listening to the podcast all the same.

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Jazz_Lafayette

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Edited By Jazz_Lafayette • 

EVERY SINGLE LIST APPEARING ON GIANT BOMB HAS BEEN 100 PERCENT ACCURATE AND ALSO FLAWLESS AND ALSO UNIMPEACHABLE.

That said, you can freely dismiss the remainder of these comments.

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GiantLizardKing

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RavioliSumo

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RavioliSumo • 

I dont understand how they can poop on generic open world templates and then give it to an open world game with batman combat. Oh well! Thanks for the great year guys keep it up.

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Sunjammer

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Sunjammer • 

Mordor over Bayonetta 2 is a fucking tragedy. You put "the ubisoft open world template" in your "please stop" category ffs, and Mordor *embraces* that shit. It does ONE thing of any interest and innovation, and that nemesis system is so gameable I coasted through the second half of the game without a smidgeon of resistance. I owned every Orc in town to the point where when the game was confronting me with "my nemesis" it was some low level fucker that had just been generated to have SOMETHING to show me.

THIS IS A FARCE RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE.

Anyway. Bayonetta 2 you guys. Bayonetta 2. Holy shit.

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Quarters

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Quarters • 

Destiny was a runner up but not Dragon Age? COME ON, BRAD.

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leinad44

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leinad44 • 

@wes899: Shows how much the nemesis system keeps things interesting

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paulunga

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Edited By paulunga • 

Destiny is in the top ten best games. GODDAMMIT BRAD! This entire GOTY list is now a farce. Again.

Also, this year couldn't have been that bad if people are still arguing what the ten best games have been. I for one have been thouroughly entertained.

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RavioliSumo

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RavioliSumo • 

@leinad44: True enough, hopefully any potential sequel actually tries and isn't just "more of the same in a good way 4/5"

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Edited By Shaanyboi • 

Mordor over Bayo 2... no. Just no. Outside of the ingenuity of the Nemesis System, that game does not stack up. The mission variety is painfully low, its story/characters are dull as shit, its combat is just lifted from Batman, the world is really dull and one-note.

Mordor can best be summed up as one great idea competently put together versus Bayo 2 which is masterfully put together.

Just... ugh

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Edited By ThePickle • 

The guys gave Origins the shaft back in 2009, so I wasn't expecting Inquisition to get GOTY but it was at least among the 10 best games of the year if not the best game.

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CornBREDX • 

I'm so glad Monolith was able to put a mark on video games with their AI... again. They did the same with F.E.A.R but with that they weren't the first, they were following Valve's lead and ramping it up. With Mordor they got to break some new ground and I'm so happy to see they're still a contender and not another casualty of my video game childhood.

I'm so happy about that, and I haven't even been able to play that game yet.

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KillEm_Dafoe • 

Motherfucker, Brad really got his way and managed to shove Destiny into the top 10. Hilarious, but there are plenty of actual good games that would've enjoyed that spot more. It's sad that Wolfenstein got so overlooked this year.

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EthanielRain • 

I picked up Mordor a couple days ago on PSN sale, despite not really liking open-world games/AC/Batman. I'm glad I did, it's really fun murdering orcs like an angel of death.

I'm excited by the idea of the Nemesis system being iterated upon.

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Edited By devise22 • 

Brad you awesome person! Destiny did deserve to be on the top ten, as it was a good game, just not a complete game. The argument that if the game had more of a story and more content that it easily would of been game of the year holds perfectly true. The shooting/mechanics in Destiny as well as the art design are really some of the best of the year. I'm really curious to hear the debates to see how much of a fight the others put up specifically Jeff for getting it in the top ten. Great GOTY videos and ideas this time out though GB! Here is to a great 2015!

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Edited By ArbitraryWater • 

Of course Brad got Destiny on the top 10. Of course he did.

Also Bayonetta was robbed, etc, etc.

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DS23

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DS23 • 

Sonic The Fucking Hedgehog. I am dying.

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ds9143

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ds9143 • 

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but just seeing Destiny at number 10,

I can't help but thinking... fucking Brad. :smh:

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viking_funeral

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viking_funeral • 

That is a damn good top 10. Save Destiny. That should've been Dark Souls II's spot.

But!

I had a feeling Destiny would make it onto the list, and position 10 is an acceptably compromise, even if it still seems to be the people's disappointment of the year.

I also had the feeling the top 2 spots would go to Bayonetta 2 and Shadow of Mordor. I'm glad Shadow took that spot. Yeah, some people may not be happy, but what year does that not happen?

Looking forward to hearing how Hearthstone made the list when I finally listen to the podcasts. I finally approached that game in the last 3 weeks, and it immediately snuck into my top 10 list in the 4th spot. What a polished, fun, quick game.

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teaoverlord

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Edited By AlexanderSheen • 

@pr1mus said:

Brad pulled a Brad on the goty list. Again!

You know what? At least Dota 2 is not on the list.

@teaoverlord said:

Runners-up: ... Destiny

Brad why

Runner-up for both Best Game and Most Disappointing Game. Amazing!

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Skeksis

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Edited By Skeksis • 

Just seems like most of the guys didn't have enough time to put into Dragon Age for it to make their lists. Hopefully it gets some love next year in the old Game of the Year category.

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Mystyr_E

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Mystyr_E • 

I'm with everyone here, Mordor over Bayonetta 2?

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Sergio • 

My guess is that everyone in the office played some bit of Mordor but not many played Bayonetta 2. I'll find out once I listen to the podcast.