Game of The Year 2014 Users Choice

I had trouble putting this list together, while I don't think it was a bad year for games, a lot of games landed and were disappointing. I played and was frustrated by Titanfall, Watch Dogs and Destiny and all those games at one point were on this list, I was just glad some gems came in at the end to push them off. I played a little Massive Chalice and Banner Saga but haven't had a chance to go back to them. I also own but haven't yet played Alien: Isolation, Lords of the Fallen, Transistor, Wasteland 2 and Never Alone all of which I'm sure could have made a dent. Oh and I only just stopped myself from including Tales from the Borderlands, if it stays as strong as that first episode, it'll be here next year, same goes for Broken Age but honestly, if both had been all we were getting, they probably would have made it.

List items

  • I fell into the Dark Souls hole this year and don't regret it for a second. This is really a vote for the first one too which is a tighter game in terms of world, but 2 really makes a lot of improvements in other areas and still has that same eerie feel of an ancient lived in and now depressed world. To me, that is key to what makes these games work, it's not just the tight challenging gameplay, but the mystery of the world built around it. To say I'm excited to go back and replay this on on next gen would be an understatement. The hours I've spent not only working my way through this game and its DLC but also hours watching lore videos on YouTube to help me extract tiny morsels of story from the experience too. We're not just talking my favourite game of the year here, we're talking about one of my favourite games ever. As for the first one, I'm calling it as my number one...of all time.

  • They said it was going to be an awesomepoclypse and I can't really disagree with that. Strikes the same tone that made me chuckle a lot in Borderlands, that isn't for everyone, but the gameplay that backs it up is amazing. Once everything clicks you'll get frustrated from the minor mistake of hitting the ground and I appreciated the the game rewarded me so much for getting good at it. It's also a treat in world design and colour with some truly memorable boss battles. Simply put, I don't think there was a game I had as much fun with which is why it grinds its way to number two.

  • A couple of high profile and strongly marketed multi-player focused shooters came out this year and I found both of them a little lacking, probably because I played this before both of them and as a story focused FPS, it completely adjusted my expectations for the genre. It's hard to create a game in which you essentially play a killing machine and make the player care about any character. This one not only nails it, it does it in an underhanded way which makes it seem like it is no big deal. There's just so much here, big moments and small that make it easily one of the years best.

  • World War 2 is one of the most overused wars in games where World War 1 is less touched, mainly because it wouldn't make a good "action" game. Ubi Soft decided to solve that by not making an action game. In doing so, they've crafted a very heartfelt adventure that can also be an excellent history lesson for anyone confused about the great war. Like that war, the difference between good and evil is often hard to fathom, but the game uses those shades of grey to its advantage to tell an often heartwarming story. It may not be the defining story of the first world war, but it goes a long way to displaying ways in which war can be explored in games that isn't a first person or strategy game.

  • I loved the original Bayonetta and when the reviews for this one hit, my excitement was at fever pitch. So I ended up being a little underwhelmed because, well, it was just more Bayonetta. While it doesn't really bring anything new to the table, just more Bayonetta is still better than a lot of what games had to offer this year including the fact that it was a game that I never once had a hold up on a technical level. I still prefer the original, but this one, with its fluid combat, great enemy design and an insane story that gets oh so close to incomprehensible, remains great.

  • I feel like this is the part of the list where I begin to talk down on games as to why they aren't higher. I really liked Shadow of Mordor, I got 100% in it and had the combat down by the end. I was a total killing machine and owned any orc that came close to me. Which is part of the problem, I never had that connection with any of the orcs that others seemed to have. In fact, when I saw my nemesis at the end of the game, I didn't even recognise him. The guy who I thought was really my nemesis was taken out by someone else it seems. It's a shame, I just got too good at it too soon. Having said that, going through a whole bunch of Orcs that included killing about 6 captains in one battle was a pretty amazing experience. That's mainly why this game is here.

  • Why isn't it higher? Simply put, because it's too long and too buggy. I love the original Dragon Age and I actually appreciated the smaller scale story the second one was trying to tell. This one goes back to the epic that is the first game and for the most part, it does a good job. There are significant gameplay changes however including the ways the open world hubs work. It creates problems with the pacing, especially if you play these games the way I do. I also encountered bugs that really removed me from the game and look, we're three games in and we're still getting clipping on certain armor sets? It's just minor issues like this that really annoyed me, if it had been tighter, this could have easily challenged for the number two spot on the list. It's still strong, but I don't see myself going for four play throughs the way I did the first game.

  • It seems so long ago since I played this so I was having trouble even remembering to fit it on the list. It was really great though and as a long lapsed fan of the show, it was good to be reminded of the often hilarious humour. More than that though, it provided a great template of how to do this sort of thing right, full of references and call backs while still telling a new and fun story. I know not every franchise will get a big sprawling RPG, but we can dream.

  • The fact that this game ends with a To Be Continued may in fact make it a modern day Shenmue 2. If that's the case (and I suspect it will be) I'm still okay with that because we got a weird and fun game out of it that I'm sure people will be talking about well into the future, at least those that remember it. The big thing here for me is the memorable characters, something which Deadly Premonition also excelled at. It's more than that though, it is a mystery where I don't really know where it's going. The gameplay also works in that telltale manner getting rid of a lot of the frustrating elements found in Deadly Premonition. If this is all we get, then it was a great little slice of madness while it lasted.

  • How much would you pay for a game? I paid nearly $800 for this game which would usually be cause for a great deal of regret, especially when the final game hits. Nah, I loved what may be one final journey into the world of Tex Murphy. It was worth it and I say that without having a single physical reward yet. Technically, the game leaves a lot to be desired from a modern stand point, but that wasn't why I was playing, I was playing to see some old friends and I got that and so much more. Is it only on the list for nostalgia reasons? Because my photo appears in it? Sure, there's some of that to it, but I still couldn't take the smile off my face while playing it.