Game of the Year - 2014!

Oh boy, 2014. It sure has been a weird year for games. Seems like we fully made the switch from "last-gen" to "current-gen" this year. 2014 started off with some big releases on the 360/PS3 yet to come, but as the year went on the attention fully shifted to the new machines. The end of 2014 left us with a burning pile of some big, broken releases. Some laughed manically at big publishers failing to release working products, while others went to social media to issue death threats to developers. Oh and there were some people that kept their cool as well. So, hey, lets check out some honorary mentions first and then my personal best games of the year!

Biggest Disappointment!

And the award goes to: Forza Horizon 2

While also being one of my favourite games this year, this was also a huge disappointment. Horizon 2 doesn't greatly improve anything compared to it's predecessor which is one of my favourite games of the last generation, so I guess I just expected something more. Very competent game, but also very "safe".

Runner-Up: Trials Fusion

Most surprisingly good game!

And the award goes to: Wolfenstein: The New Order

A new Wolfenstein game, made by a new developer, singleplayer only and it was actually fun?! Yes, this happened.

Runner-Up: Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Most broken game!

And the award goes to: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Matchmaking issues, campaign progress doesn't save, achievements don't unlock...it's mostly fixed now, but man, that was a big fuck-up for such a big release.

Runner-Up: I haven't played it, but probably...Driveclub.

Good game that just missed the list!

And the award goes to: The Crew

Same as Elite: Dangerous, I liked this game very much (even though it has it's fair share of issues) but it was released too late into the year for me to have played enough of it to warrant a spot on this list. Elite gets it's spot because of the playable beta phases, but I just couldn't put enough time into The Crew.

Runner-Up: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

And now...the real list starts here.

List items

  • Holy shit, this game started of slow. Great opening (I don't think Pagan is too similar to Vaas at all), then it dumps you into an open-world with all this serious civil war stuff, expects you to pick a side and then populates the map with literally a million things to do. I couldn't play this game for more than 30-45min at first, but then it clicked. I don't know exactly when, but once I got a decent assault rifle that actually felt like I could shoot people reliably and the tone of the story got a lot more lighthearted I started to enjoy this game so goddamn much. It looks great, the weapon selection is big and diverse, there is a shit ton to do (almost too much, as mentioned earlier), you can set almost everything on fire and the random stuff that happens in the world makes for some great moments. Once I got the grasp of things this has become my favourite game of 2014 by far.

    Also that alternate ending is one of the best things in gaming.

  • I hate LotR. I don't like fantasy. Assassin's Creed is awful.

    Why the fuck do I like this game so much?

    The nemesis system. Much has been said about it already, but it really improves open-world assassination games by so much, it's strange no-one thought of this sooner. Mordor feels like a condensed version of other open-world games of the same kind, the result being that everything is much faster and tighter than in any AC game. It's also so light on actual LotR stuff (notice LotR is even missing from it's title?) that it is a total none issue of you don't know much or even anything about it.

  • No, this is not a typo. Really.

    As someone who (mostly) likes current wrestling, this game is far from perfect but it is a step in the right direction, at least for my taste. I don't have the slightest interest in VGCW or other "crazy/dumb" stuff/creations so the missing stuff in the customisation suite doesn't bother me (though the lack of a story creator is super disappointing, but I'm guessing that will come next year. Right?) and the lack of classic wrestlers is also a non-issue for me as this has been done to death with the Attitude Era mode in '13 and the 30 Years of Wrestlemania in '14. MyCareer is also a bit disappointing, but a solid foundation for the years to come. Why is this so high on my list then? I enjoy the new pacing, more realistic ring size and most of the new systems quite a bit and somehow put 50 hours into this and I'm not tired yet. Call me crazy.

  • Also technically a 2013 release for the PC, this year was the first time Reaper of Souls came to consoles with all the adjustments (and even some new features!) made for a console release. The action is fast and fun, the loot system is addicting, there is plenty of content and unlike Destiny the action never gets slowed down by story content when leveling your second (or third, or...) character. It looks and runs way better than the original D3 on last gen and you can even import your old character to start the new content right away. Neat!

  • Oh hey, controversial game here.

    Yes, I totally agree that this is one of the most disappointing games of the year. But it is also one I enjoyed pretty damn much. The Raid, you guys. It gets pretty good. Much has been said already about the lack of content or story, but actually I would prefer even less story. Either that or make a good one, but as it stands right now even the few story bits that are ingame totally annoy the heck out of me when leveling other characters. It's not fun to stand around while waiting for Dinklage to finish talking or watching unskippable cutscenes. There's been another game this year that solved this stuff way better. And that game is Diablo III, incidentally a spot above this one.

  • (Season 2)

    While Killer Instinct technically released in 2013, Iron Galaxy took over development from Double Helix this year and completely revamped the interface, re-balanced the game and introduced 4 new fighters already (with 4 more still to come), so I'm counting this as a 2014 game. Iron Galaxy really did a stellar job at improving the presentation and the new fighters are all totally to play.

    Also: #GFB Industries.

  • Don't get me wrong, Horizon 2 is a great game, but nothing in it is greatly improved from its direct predecessor and some interface stuff is worse or straight up impossible when compared to Forza Motorsport 5, which is on the same engine (hello, buying/upgrading cars while being in a multiplayer road trip). The off-road stuff also put me off as well, since it's poorly implemented for people that play from the cockpit view (visibility/clipping issues). But otherwise this is a content rich open-world racer that looks and plays pretty great.

  • Everything about this game looked very off-putting before release. The art style, the humour and Insomniac's previous effort (ugh, Fuse) really made me doubt this game. Then it came out and received glowing reviews, which was somewhat unexpected so I gave it a try.

    It's great. While the humour can be a bit hit or miss it is mostly funny, the game looks great, the style is coherent and well presented and there is a shit ton of stuff to do. Definitely give it a try, even if it doesn't seem appealing to you at first.

  • Yes, this game came out this year. I almost forgot as well.

    While not being as well crafted as Dark Souls 1, this is still a pretty amazing game. Everything you love from the Souls series is here, the punishing but fair difficulty, the sparsely told but interesting story, a beautiful world and PvP invasions that can make or break your whole day and so on. But it feels like everything was a bit more thought out and better built in the predecessor, a theme that'll also come up for another game later.

  • Just released this past Tuesday, the game has been playable in development stages for quite some time now, so I guess it's fair to judge it (although a lack of gameplay time might've kept this from a higher spot on the list). If you played any of the old Elite games this needs no description.

    If you haven't: It's basically Euro Truck Simulator 2. In space. With pirates. Oh and also it's online, so you can be a pirate as well or become the most feared coffee trader in the galaxy. It's your space sandbox (and also the one of several other thousand players as well).