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

Giant Bomb's 2014 award ceremony continues with Best Story, Best Music, Most Disappointing Game, and Best Short-Time Game.

After the first day of awards went so well, we figured we might as well do it all over again! So here is the second day of our awards with four more categories. Remember to watch the video component if you want to see us revisit another game in Quick Look form along with some various hijinks. And if you want to know more about how we came to these infallible conclusions, the podcast contains our full deliberations.

Best Story

The Fall

Not everyone comes to games to experience a compelling story. “I will avenge [insert emotional tie] by mysteriously gaining new abilities and by the by save the world. Oh, also I was fated to do this since [insert flashback].” The rarity of a well-done, original narrative integrated into complementary gameplay speaks to how difficult it is. Though only in its first episode, The Fall manages to weave a tightly told tale into gameplay and visuals that support and propel you through a science fiction adventure that doesn’t overstay its welcome.

No Caption Provided

The premise for the game is that you have suffered an incapacitating fall (out of the sky, I should note) and ARID, your combat suit’s artificial intelligence, has taken over all functions for your now unconscious pilot. ARID. has one primary function: seek medical assistance and protect her pilot.

With the actual human pilot asleep at the wheel, many of the combat suit’s systems are offline and locked out. Fortunately, ARID is able to use a loophole that allows certain systems to come online if her pilot finds himself in imminent danger. This ruthless logic plays out in stellar fashion as ARID. makes her way through the derelict robot repurposing facility she and her pilot have crash landed on. The encounters with other A.I. are smartly written, and you’ll quickly realize that not everything in abandoned-robot-decomissioning land is functioning as intended. In fact, your A.I. is rather shocked and dismayed to discover other points of view standing in her way. It’s these battles of logic ARID. finds herself engaged in that really make this one memorable and the best story this year.

Runners-up: Broken Age: Act 1, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Best Music

Luftrausers

No Caption Provided

There's a pumping, grinding march to Luftrausers' soundtrack that just can't be beat. Finnish musician Jukio "KOZILEK" Kallio has assembled a militaristic theme that absolutely pushes Vlambeer's shooter to new heights. It also takes that main theme and contorts it a number of different ways, essentially giving you a different remix that depends entirely on which different parts you use to assemble your rauser. If you're the sort of person who sets the plane parts to random, this means you're essentially getting a different take on the theme each time you play. It's the sort of theme that makes you want to get up and stomp around, go for a run, clean up the apartment, get things done. Or maybe you just want to blow up a million planes and boats while nodding your head. Either way.

Here, take a listen:

Runners-up: Shovel Knight, Transistor

Most Disappointing Game

Watch_Dogs

It probably says something about 2014 that this ended up being one of the more contentious categories. As a category that ends up speaking to the gulf between expectations and delivery, no gulf was wider than Watch_Dogs.

No Caption Provided

Watch_Dogs started setting up expectations early, with E3 trailers and a certain coyness on Ubisoft's part about which platforms, exactly, the game would appear on. Of course, the eventual list ended up included a pair of platforms that hadn't even been announced yet, and minds raced. The trailers got picked apart as people tried to figure out what, exactly, the new platforms would be capable of. Watch_Dogs ended up becoming a symbol for all things new, a new piece of intellectual property that, hopefully, would help usher in a new era.

Flash forward past a delay into 2014 and, well, when Watch_Dogs was finally released, players found a new game that called upon too many different facets of the Ubisoft open-world template. With action that often felt clunky, mission design that got pretty repetitive, and a hacking motif that sounded a lot cooler before the game was released, Watch_Dogs was a real disappointment.

At least it worked?

Runners-Up: Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Destiny

Best Short-Time Game

Threes!

No Caption Provided

With most of our staff in San Francisco and New York, several of us are usually on the lookout for something to play during our public transportation commute. This year, nothing grabbed more of us than the deceivingly simple Threes. Its core is adequately explained by the short tutorial - two 3 tiles merge together to make a 6, two 6 tiles merge together to make a 12, etc. Once you’ve spent some time with the game, however, its depth becomes apparent. Terms like number highways, checkerboarding, and the corner strategy aren’t taught by the tutorial, but they’re concepts that high-level players should learn if they want to up their position on the leaderboards.

Because of its surprising amount of strategy, Threes can easily turn into hours-long bouts of “after this turn, I’m going to bed. No, this one…” That said, it’s also perfect as a quick time-killer during a morning commute. Threes can certainly hook you for extended sessions, but nothing from 2014 is better if you just have a little time to kill.

Runners-up: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Hitman Go

106 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for rbal5491
Posted By rbal5491

Woo! Day 2!

Avatar image for donchipotle
Posted By DonChipotle

Whoa, upset at Most Disappointing, whoooo shit

Avatar image for efesell
Posted By Efesell

I like those three for best music but Transistor should be on top.

Avatar image for development
Posted By development

So glad Watch Dogs got its just prize.

Avatar image for zeeman155
Posted By Zeeman155

Stellar choices. I find myself much more agreeable with these. WOOHOO THE FALL!

Avatar image for xite
Posted By xite

Pleasantly surprised to see The Fall get some recognition.

Avatar image for daemon069
Posted By Daemon069

Seeing Destiny make the top three for Most Disappointing has me super excited to listen to the Bombcast and hear Brads reaction to that.

Avatar image for mclargepants
Posted By McLargepants

The Fall probably won't make it on the final top 10 list, I'm super happy it got its due for the story!

Avatar image for cerberus3dog
Posted By Cerberus3Dog

THE DESTINY ROPE A DOPE

Avatar image for dynamix
Edited By Dynamix

Got Threes! yesterday on a whim. Little did I know I had just purchased a GB awarded title.

Also nice to see The Fall get some love. That game was amazing and I can't wait for the next episode.

Avatar image for westernwizard
Posted By WesternWizard

Great choices for best music, love the soundtracks of all 3 games. Personally my Top would've been Transistor but can't really argue since all three were so good.

Avatar image for billymaysrip
Posted By BillyMaysRIP

DANGANRONPA! TRICKS IS A GOD AMONGST MEN.

I've been singing the praises of Kozilek for years, I hope people buy his albums and listen to his stuff more. The main theme to Nuclear Throne is amazing.

Avatar image for solh0und
Posted By Solh0und

So glad Watch_Dawgs got most disappointing game. It deserved it way more than Destiny did.

Avatar image for kanerobot
Edited By KaneRobot

Destiny is still the most disappointing when you look at what was expected versus what was delivered, but Watch Dogs is a deserving candidate as well. Is this the category Brad picked to ruin this year on the podcast?

Up until literally last week Halo was my number one for disappointment, but now that it seems to work mostly as intended and we're getting ODST for free, I find it acceptable enough (although still disappointing). it's a little different from the other two in that the problems with it or more technical, while Destiny and Watch Dogs' problems are more content and design based.

Avatar image for nasar7
Posted By Nasar7

Watch Dogs always looked like utter shit. Destiny could have been so much more.

Avatar image for killem_dafoe
Edited By KillEm_Dafoe

Now I'm not saying that Watch Dogs wasn't disappointing, because obviously it was, but c'mon, man...Destiny is far and away the worse offender here. It shouldn't even be debatable. I can't think of any game that ended up being more different than what the developer was marketing. At least Watch Dogs felt like a complete package. The action actually was pretty solid in that game, and there was a good variety of things to do.

Can't wait to hear how Brad bullied his way through this category.

Avatar image for nightriff
Posted By Nightriff

That disappointing game was a surprise to me. Brad must pull out the big guns to NOT have Destiny "win" that category. Good for him?

Avatar image for vasari
Edited By Vasari

Destiny is far less disappointing than Watch Dogs. Destiny gets alot of things wrong but it's still absolutely a fun game. Watch Dogs was supposed to be the reason to buy a new console. Compare the possibilities of the open-world hacking game we were promised at E3 with the dull shooty Ubisoft Ur-Game we ended up with.

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but if you're all assuming that Brad is the only one who was going to bat for Destiny then you've forgotten just how disappointed everyone else on the team was with Watch Dogs when it came out. The only reason Destiny gets ragged on so much on the podcast is because people are actually still playing it.

Oh and The Fall is really good. Like, REALLY good.

Avatar image for stonyman65
Posted By Stonyman65

@solh0und: Really? I thought Destiny was way more disappointing. I kind of always expect mediocre-to-bad from Ubisoft, but not from Bungie.

Avatar image for von_wemberg
Posted By von_wemberg

Best music was surprising... but I guess I have to go back to it and play with the other plane configurations. Transistor and Shovel Knight have really good music though.

Avatar image for ghostiet
Posted By Ghostiet

It's really good that The Fall got kudos from the crew, I bought it recently and played some of it, it's pretty good. Controls are clunky and the combat wasn't exactly needed in that game, but it's real fun and the writing is smart. I hope this gets some of GB's users to get it, because it's a real shame that game sold nothing.

Avatar image for joe423
Posted By Joe423

Man, credit to Patrick for somehow getting Danganronpa some recognition!

Avatar image for twolines
Posted By TwoLines

Biggest disappointment of the year? Brad defending Destiny. Boo Brad. Boo.

Avatar image for kerafyrm
Edited By Kerafyrm

Destiny for me, I watched that opening cinematic and was pumped... the game turned out to be nothing like that however and instead was this boring cartoony grind. I was expecting this amazing sci-fi story after that opening, I don't get what the actual game has to do with it though? Totally different contrast.

At least Watchdogs had meat to it, Destiny was just running through the same boring levels again and again. The level design was super bland, the combat had no depth to it, there was hardly any gear and there was no story! The game was nothing like that opening cinematic, I was expecting Nasa but instead got some Disney crap...

Destiny is probably one of the worst games I've played in years and it annoys me that Brad champions it so much. I haven't met a single person who likes it, all my friends played a few hours, got bored and never went back to it :\ All I hear from people is how much of a let down it is and not what they wanted from Bungie.

Avatar image for xchairmandrekx
Posted By XChairmanDrekX

@twolines said:

Biggest disappointment of the year? Brad defending Destiny. Boo Brad. Boo.

No man, biggest disappointment was the crew dismissing and actually shitting on the music of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. I mean holy shit, come on what the fuck? And Luftrausers sounds like very typical heavy bass shit that Hotline Miami did way better anyway a couple years ago.

Yes I'm mad if you are asking.

Avatar image for draugen
Posted By Draugen

Man, Banner Saga getting short shrift. I felt it was a natural for a top 3 in both of the first categories. This might be the year of the biggest rift I've had with the crew. I've really not agreed with a single category yet. Good discussion though. They don't disappoint.

Avatar image for lurkero
Posted By Lurkero

Most disappointing is exactly what I thought it would be - which is ironically disappointing. Perhaps during the discussion somebody brings up some interesting games.

Avatar image for the_nubster
Posted By The_Nubster

@dynamix said:

Got Threes! yesterday on a whim. Little did I know I had just purchased a GB awarded title.

Also nice to see The Fall get some love. That game was amazing and I can't wait for the next episode.

Yeah! I was chomping for more once the credits rolled. I'm excited for more.

Avatar image for humanity
Posted By Humanity

@vasari: I think most people were just lukewarm on Watch Dogs, while Destiny seemed to disappoint on this completely different level.

Avatar image for hadokinz
Posted By Hadokinz

@kerafyrm said:

Destiny for me, I watched that opening cinematic and was pumped... the game turned out to be nothing like that however and instead was this boring cartoony grind. I was expecting this amazing sci-fi story after that opening, I don't get what the actual game has to do with it though? Totally different contrast.

At least Watchdogs had meat to it, Destiny was just running through the same boring levels again and again. The level design was super bland, the combat had no depth to it, there was hardly any gear and there was no story! The game was nothing like that opening cinematic, I was expecting Nasa but instead got some Disney crap...

Destiny is probably one of the worst games I've played in years and it annoys me that Brad champions it so much. I haven't met a single person who likes it, all my friends played a few hours, got bored and never went back to it :\ All I hear from people is how much of a let down it is and not what they wanted from Bungie.

100% Agree

Avatar image for cornbredx
Posted By CornBREDX

YA! Broken Age Act 1 got a runner up! I'm good with that.

I really want to check out The Fall, but the reason I haven't is because I fear they won't be able to release the whole story.

Everybody buy The Fall so we can see the whole story!

Avatar image for kevin_cogneto
Posted By Kevin_Cogneto

I guess we can add "Destiny is the most disappointing video game of all time" as one of those internet groupthink opinions that dare not be questioned. Also Mass Effect 3's ending is bad and George Lucas is history's greatest monster.

Avatar image for xchairmandrekx
Posted By XChairmanDrekX

I guess we can add "Destiny is the most disappointing video game of all time" as one of those internet groupthink opinions that dare not be questioned. Also Mass Effect 3's ending is bad and George Lucas is history's greatest monster.

But George Lucas IS history's greatest monster.

For fucks sake he allowed the Star Wars Holiday Special to happen, that qualifies him as such.

Avatar image for magusmaleficus
Posted By MagusMaleficus

I guess Watch Dogs winning Most Disappointing Game seems strange to me simply because it never looked especially great. Right from the get-go I thought that game would be boring. Destiny however seemed like a sure bet but fuuuuck, what a waste of my time...

Avatar image for mystyr_e
Posted By Mystyr_E

I feel Watch Dogs was a hype put on by people (this game will be true next-gen, this is future of open world etc) and maybe some of that was Ubisoft but Destiny and its press coverage made that game seem more bigger, varied and just a different game than what we got.

Avatar image for kevin_cogneto
Edited By Kevin_Cogneto
@xchairmandrekx said:

@kevin_cogneto said:

I guess we can add "Destiny is the most disappointing video game of all time" as one of those internet groupthink opinions that dare not be questioned. Also Mass Effect 3's ending is bad and George Lucas is history's greatest monster.

But George Lucas IS history's greatest monster.

For fucks sake he allowed the Star Wars Holiday Special to happen, that qualifies him as such.

I know you're kidding, but it really gets my goat when people casually treat George Lucas as the internet's whipping boy. He's one of the great philanthropists of the 20th and 21st Centuries, he sold Lucasfilm for $4 Billion and gave nearly every penny of it to charity. But hey, fuck that guy, he made some movies that were kinda lousy.

I haven't even played Destiny, but I don't need to play it to know that the internet backlash against it has snowballed to a proportion that's way out of line with reality. With all the flat-out broken games that came out this year, Destiny is the one everyone feels is worth their scorn? Even if it was the least-fun game ever conceived by man, this level of backlash would be unwarranted. It's just another one of those dumb internet "opinions" that's reached critical mass. Consensus is not truth.

Avatar image for psylockerules
Posted By Psylockerules

thank you for doing this, no text version for day one was tough, had to scroll through alot of BS and was a slog

Avatar image for colourful_hippie
Edited By colourful_hippie

Fuck you Watchdogs, Destiny got robbed!

Avatar image for hef
Posted By Hef

I'm really interested to hear who fought for luftrausers for best music cause I never knew the GB crew was into electronic noise.

Avatar image for vasari
Posted By Vasari

YA! Broken Age Act 1 got a runner up! I'm good with that.

I really want to check out The Fall, but the reason I haven't is because I fear they won't be able to release the whole story.

Everybody buy The Fall so we can see the whole story!

Are you serious

"I don't want to buy this game because they might not make the sequels! Everyone else buy the game instead!"

Like ignoring the terrible logic involved there, maybe the game winning an award for best story is enough proof that it's worth playing?

Avatar image for coma1138
Posted By coma1138

Jeff does an amazing job, once again, explaining why Destiny is the most disappointing game of the year, so it's pretty weird that it didn't "win." I don't know anyone who actually had high hopes for Watch_Dogs when it came out. The writing was on the wall for awhile that it wasn't going to be good. Considering they mostly all loved Black Fag, I don't get how Unity doesn't make the cut. Also, since none of them beyond Drew actually cared about Halo (and it sounds like he's barely played it), it's pretty pointless for them to of included it.

Avatar image for cornbredx
Posted By CornBREDX

@vasari: Maybe you don't know it, but your reply was unnecessarily insulting. I assume you may not be intending to troll since you have a GB sub.

Don't reply to people you don't know. Your reading comprehension and manners lack a thing called tact.

Avatar image for triplestan
Posted By triplestan

I'm sounding like a broken record at this point, but I sure hope Kentucky Route Zero at least got a mention for best story.

Otherwise I'm super happy with The Fall. Checked it out on Vinny's recommendation and loved the story it told, especially the ending.

Avatar image for voodoopc
Posted By VooDooPC

I wish more people would go back and watch that initial E3 trailer for Watch Dogs. That is the exact game Ubisoft released. It wasn't a great game, but it is what Ubisoft said it would be.

Destiny on the other hand....

Avatar image for noizy
Edited By noizy

@triplestan: Is KRZ complete? I think the GB GOTY rule was that episodic games are only considered when all episodes are released.

Avatar image for synthesis_landale
Edited By synthesis_landale

Broken Age gets a runner up for best story? Seriously? I mean, best twist, sure, I can accept that... but that was really the only good 'story' point in the whole thing. The rest of it was typical adventure game non sequiturs... Wolf Among Us, Wolfenstein... hell, as much as I think it's mostly filler even Dragon Age: Inquisition deserves more notice for story than Broken Age did.

At least somehow Patrick cajoled the rest of them into putting Danganronpa on the list, that game definitely deserves mention. Can't wait to hear how Patrick managed that miracle and even more, how they convinced themselves to take other great story driven games off the list in favor of Broken Age.

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Posted By gbrading

Surprised Destiny didn't win Most Disappointing; sure Watch_Dogs was over hyped but come on... Destiny. Also I have no idea why Broken Age was a runner-up in the story category, since apart from the ending twist of Act 1 the plot was mainly so-so. Nice to see Hearthstone get a mention though.

Avatar image for infinitegeass
Posted By InfiniteGeass

More people should play Danganronpa. Both of them. That's all.

Avatar image for viking_funeral
Edited By viking_funeral

I didn't feel that Broken Age's story was that fantastic up until the twist. That was pretty cool, but as Shyamalon proved, a twist is not a substitute for a good story unless you can follow up on it. Part 2 could very well live up to Best Story, but it's a little premature.

Danganronpa came out this year? It feels so much older to me. Who on the squad actually brought up that title?

Need to check out The Fall, I guess. Screenshots make it look like Limbo, but if it's that good I might give it a shot.

Avatar image for highpriest
Edited By HighPriest

@viking_funeral said:

Danganronpa came out this year? It feels so much older to me. Who on the squad actually brought up that title?

Danganronpa saw it's first US release this year, but it came out in 2010 in Japan so you were likely exposed to it through various Let's Play sort of stuff before that. It even has a fan translation floating around from before it's official US release, so if you're one of those people you might have played it.

I haven't reached that point of the Podcast yet but I understand Patrick played through it so he likely brings it up.