GOTY 2014

What an incredible year for my own GOTY 2014 list. Destiny was a game that fluctuated from not making my list at all to being in my top 3 and everything in between. Also, if you had told me that Halo: MCC and Forza Horizon 2 weren't going to make it on my list, I would have thought you were crazy. Well, the MCC was a dumpster fire of a release, and I just could not get into Forza Horizon 2. I tried playing the FH2 demo several times, one of which I literally fell asleep. This was quite a shocker since I loved the original so much, but I think ultimately I just have not been in the mood for a racing game, particularly after the complete disaster that was FM5 last year. But, If anyone has checked out my other GOTY lists recently though, they will have noticed that I like to look back and tinker, so there will likely be some changes in the future.

Other Pile of Shame titles - I haven't gotten to these other notable games as well, and they could potentially make the list. I'll update if I play them before December 30th, but it might be unlikely. 1) Velocity 2X, 2) The Banner Saga, and 3) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (I haven't played a CoD game since MW2 and the only one that really awed me at an E3 demo was CoD4, so it says something that this one's showing and good word of mouth has piqued my interest).

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Hitman GO - What a treat. Super fun puzzle game with a wholly unique take on the franchise, giving us a gorgeous board game like aesthetic.

Volgarr the Viking - I never watched the full Breaking Brad series for this, but was excited to see what it was all about when this game went free via Games with Gold. This is a fun 16-bit throwback with difficulty that can be mastered with repetition that does not feel like a chore.

List items

  • I don't think there is much to be said about Dark Souls 2. Much like the first game, I really enjoyed discovering the lore, exploring the locales, finding items, etc, all with higher accessibility via UI and gameplay improvements. I can go on about what I liked more in DS1 then this game, but it doesn't change the fact that this was a great game and still my game of the year. I'm looking forward to the next gen version as I've held out on the DLC.

  • I grew up on id games so this latest Wolfenstein (along with all the other past iterations) is something that I was going to play no matter what. Even as an id fanboy, I can admit that while I enjoyed all of the games, most are not GOTY material. What a pleasant surprise then, to find that one of my favorite properties received a proper excellent game with a fantastic story. I can't wait for the sequel.

  • I can't think of a more divisive game in recent years than Destiny. Even for me, this game has fluctuated from not making the list at all to easily being in the top 3. Some days I will be grinding away and think, "I hate grinding, why am I doing this?" and the answer is usually "oh, because the shooting is still perfect and fun."

    I described this game to a friend recently as this: If Diablo's grinding married WoW's MMO trappings, and they had a baby boy who grew up to marry and father a child with the daughter of Halo's shooting mechanics and Dark Souls convoluted items and story telling, they would name that baby Destiny.

    There are lots of design flaws and issues with the game to be sure, but I am still hooked and I applaud Bungie's ambition.

  • Much was made about the poor launch of this game, but I guess I got lucky. Outside of a glitch or two and a few frame rate drops (nothing out of the ordinary for an AC game) the game ran well for me....and compared to Halo: MCC, this game's launch was flawless.

    Couple the gorgeous next gen graphics and tech (consider the wonderful lighting, the fact that there is no loading screens in the entirety of Paris, that the entire world runs in the background while you are doing missions), with a new locale and character, and this was an exciting and fun take on the series.

    The game isn't without flaws - I do think the combat was nerfed just a little bit too much, and I didn't like the new upgrade system as much either. I admit that AC seems to have an automatic spot in my top 10s, but I'm not apologizing for being a fan. Looking forward to 'Victory,' and hope that the traditional multiplayer returns.

  • This game would have made by GOTY 2013, but since I never finished that list until recently, I'm doing a bit of time travel since I replayed it on Next Gen with the new edition. Though consoles got Loot 2.0 ahead of PC versions, you could not help but feel left out of updates and patches in general. I'm glad that Blizzard seems to be supporting the next gen versions more, particularly with character import. This felt much more like the complete game and I tackled all Acts again on Torment, taking my Monk up to Level 70 + Paragon Level...well, I lost count. A great dungeon crawling loot fest grind.

  • What a simple, addictive game. I don't think there is a timer in the app, but I would be curious too know just how much I played. It helped that I got into a high score battle with my sister (I'm currently at 23k...I just have not yet been able to combine 768s), but it really says something that I haven't stopped playing it all year. Asher Volmer has a gift...I loved Puzzlejuice and I am excited for Close Castles.

  • Though Cappy has great pedigree, this game was really not on my radar. When it went free with Games with Gold, I dove in and fell in love. The game mechanics are one of a kind and the puntastic humor keeps you going. There is something great about brute forcing your way through a boss with 10 Jean Rambeaux's barraging him with machine gun supers and watching that health bar go down in seconds.

  • You know what would make CoD even better? Mechs. Duh.

    I haven't gotten deep into a multiplayer shooter since BF3, and certainly not CoD games since MW2. But the unique twists that Titanfall brought to the table in regards to mobility, minions/creeps, and GIANT ROBOTS, brought me back in. You have to point out that the upgrades and unlocks were rather shallow, and the 'Campaign' was a joke. But the gameplay was still addictive, fun, and unique (as in, the new mechanics). Looking forward to what they can do next.

  • A small-indie-retro-ultra-hard-platformer might not be news, but this one came out of nowhere for me and hooked me instantly. I really though that the two jump buttons were going to be a deal breaker, but I was impressed with how quickly they became second nature. The instant restart keeps frustration to a minimum. This was a perfect vita game, but I might pick it up on XBox ONe as well to replay it. Highly recommended.

  • The truth is that I have only scratched the surface of Far Cry 4, because I'm having a hard time tearing myself away from the Destiny grind (My gaming time is limited). But I have seen enough to know that this is more of Far Cry 3, my 2012 GOTY, and that it will surely be on this list. In a year where Forza Horizon 2 and Halo: MCC did not make my list, that might be a bold thing to say, but unless the story turns out to be a dud, this can easily make it into my Top 5 and shake things up. For now, I'm keeping it as a placeholder at #10. Maybe I'll get to finish it before Dec 31st.