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Games of the Year 2014

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  • I have spent hundreds of hours in various free-to-play titles over the years without spending a cent of my own money on in-game items. Hearthstone was the game that broke me in regards to this.

    I sunk a bunch of time back in the beta and throughout the year, I kept coming back for more. Each month, I would earn my cardback and each month I would sink more and more money into building my card collection - and I don't regret a cent.

    It's been incredible to watch Blizzard build Hearthstone up from an effective and appealing starting point for digital CRPGs into a highly competitive and strategic title in its own right - and I can't wait to see that continue next year with more adventure and expansion packs.

  • I never thought I would be the kind of gamer who enjoyed visual novels but Danganronpa blew me away. It was one of my first purchases for my Vita and I found myself absolutely enveloped in the characters and mysteries of its world - not to mention the off-beat sense of humor.

  • Like many this year, Shadow of Mordor ended up being one of the big surprises. What I expected to be a cheap cash-in ended up being one of the year's most ambitious and innovative titles thanks to the Nemesis system. On top of that, the game had a fun appreciation for the expanded lore of Tolkien's world and the aesthetics of Peter Jackson's film - wrapping them together in a fun gameplay formula that's equal parts Assassins Creed and Arkham Asylum.

  • Still early days for this but I'm absolutely loving my time in Thedas. It's a successor to everything I loved about Dragon Age: Origins and I can't see my opinion changing about it by the time I finish it - assuming I ever finish it.

  • While I was never really in the 'Diablo-3-was-a-letdown' camp, the game's first expansion and string of patches gave me a great reason to go back to Blizzard's premier ARPG.

    Act V was fun and fleshed out in all the right ways and like Hearthstone I kept coming back throughout the year. Additionally, the game's new adventure mode gave me a great pathway into the Diablo endgame I've always wanted to sink my teeth into.

  • It did what it said on the tin.

    While the second half was definitely weaker than the first, there was a lot I liked about Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! I found the new mechanics and fun story stuff (particularly the game's Australian sense of humor) to be really on-point in a lot of ways and it got me interested in a series I thought I was done with.

  • Though I was saddened at the somewhat tepid response this game received, I found it to be a solid FPS with some tight gunplay. Respawn really nailed the map design and the balance between pilots and titans kept things interesting enough for me to sink thirty or so hours into.

    Sign me up for Titanfall 2.

  • Danganronpa 2 took me a lot longer to warm to compared to its predecessor but once things got rolling, they got fucking rolling. It managed to draw me back into its riveting Japanese intrigue.

    While the game's new cast and refreshing twists on the formula let it come close to the highs of the original, it doesn't quite top them - that said, I can't wait to see them try again with Danganronpa 3.

  • Came a little late to the party on this one but ended up having a ball with it. Came for the Norse-flavored fantasy epic, stuck around for the fantastic turn-based tactics and dramatic branching decisions.

  • A gem that I missed from last year. Fantastic design ideas behind the game that didn't always pay off, but made it stand out as one of the most original games I played this year.