I posted my top 6 games of 2014 yesterday, but felt remiss for not at least giving mentions to all of the other great (or not so great) games I’ve played that come out this year. So here are the awards I felt best suited to each of them.
Game I expected to be much funnier than it was
– I expected Tim Schafer’s newest game to be hilarious, but suspiciously few laughs were had. An exception is the vomiting tree, that was funny.
Best 14th installment in a franchise
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
– The best Call of Duty I’ve ever played. The only Call of Duty I’ve ever played.
Most avant gaaaaarde
D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
– A game designed for the Kinect and released right after MS announced it was no longer needed. It involves a cat girl, a fashion designer who is in love with a mannequin, a time travelling detective with a bullet lodged in his brain, and food. Lots and lots of food.
Most pointless gear grind
– Honestly, I’ve got nothing amusing to say, this game is just a bore that keeps people playing for better gear despite not actually enjoying most of the time they spend doing it.
Most puzzling use of rock, paper, scissors
Divinity: Original Sin
– In D:OS you get to play as two main characters, each with their own personalities. They may not always agree on your chosen course of action and settle disputes by playing rock, paper, scissors. It’s always fun to lose to yourself in an argument. If I were being less snarky, I’d also give this best old-school rpg of the year.
Best game that I didn’t actually like for the first 20 hours
Dragon Age: Inquisition
– Okay, I’m really done talking about The Hinterlands now.
Game that excels at making people curse angrily at their computers
– Making a clutch move or getting the perfect draw is great. Except when it happens to your opponent. I actually quit Hearthstone in the summer when I realized it was making me curse more than smile.
Let’s adventure like it’s 1992
– This game looks and plays exactly like Quest for Glory 1, except with Norse mythology and a female lead. Do you want to be a hero?
The next generation remaster that got outshone by its own DLC
The Last of Us
– TLoU was good, but Left Behind was perfect.
Best party game
Mario Kart 8
– It’s fast (or slow, if you prefer), fun, and you get to sabotage your friends with red shells. What more could you want? Oh, I know what more I could want. A new Mario Party that doesn’t use any motion controls at all!
Worst game of the year
Moebius: Empire Rising
– Horrific character animations, stupid puzzle solutions, and an insulting 50 screen maze that only exists to bloat the playing time. This is not a good game.
Most likely to turn you into a newt
Murdered: Soul Suspect
– Did I say newt? I meant ghost. The way Murdered killed you right at the start and let you solve your own murder was a pretty cool idea.
An hour of my life I want back
– In the words of Steam user Dorgarr: “By no means is this a Puzzle Game, unless you like to play puzzles in the dark, with half of the pieces from five different jigsaws mixed into one, while a drunken philosophy dropout reads Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” backwards, in a room slowly filling with carbon monoxide.”
Most confounding way to beat a game
– Beating PT is difficult, and I give major props to the people who figured it out themselves. Walk exactly 10 steps at midnight. Stop moving completely as your controller freaks the fuck out. Talk into the microphone (Leeeeeesaaaa). Hopefully babies will laugh. Hopefully the phone will ring.
Most innovative combat system
– Part DDR, part QTE, Rev60 combined timing and slick visuals to create a touch-based combat system that was fast-paced and fun.
Don’t forget the Dramamine
– Sunset Overdrive is like the illegitimate love child of Tony Hawk, Frank West, and a 96-pack of Crayolas that you accidentally put in the clothes dryer. It’s bright and fun, but the constant spinning, sliding, jumping, and gliding does start messing with your equilibrium after a while.
Game that made me hate Wii controllers even more
Super Smash Brothers
– I didn’t think it was possible, but this game takes everything I dislike about each of the WiiU controllers and magnifies them.
Most satisfying hit of nostalgia
The Tesla Effect
– I love the Tex Murphy series of games and though this Kickstarted game was a bit uneven in places, that good old Tex Murphy charm, humour, and puzzle solving made me feel like a teenager again. But in a good way.
Most disappointing ultimate weapon
– Lemme get this straight… my final bow upgrade is a sighted compound bow? Sure, compounds are more powerful, but in terms of visual badassery, they miss the mark. In what world is a (cheating) sighted compound bow cooler than an awesome recurve? Not my world.
– Between sword boyfriend and Ashley Barret’s haunting vocals over an already exceptional soundtrack, Transistor is even more enjoyable to listen to than it is to play.
Best use of Brahms
– The car chase sequences were a highlight of Valiant Hearts, and all the speeding and swerving were set perfectly to Hungarian Dance No. 5.
Most beautiful location
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
– The visuals in this game put most others to shame. I’d love to take a walk around Red Creek Valley (minus all the murder).
Most disappointing sequel
The Walking Dead: Season 2
– After S1, I had high expectations, and unfortunately this game fell short. Though it was fun to play as Clementine, bad writing and character development in the last episodes of the game left me cold.
Best (only?) use of a Teddy Ruxpin doll
– Wasteland 2 is full of easter eggs and inside jokes to those who grew up in the 80s. I had one of those talking Teddy Ruxpin dolls, but I could never find a Grubby that worked.
And, a couple more special awards…
– Thanks in large part to Kickstarter, 2014 saw a number of great Isometric RPGs released – Divinity, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall. It looks like the genre will still be going strong in the next couple years as well with Pillars of Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenera in development.
Thing that needs to go away
Game titles with colons
– If you need a 12 world title with a colon and subtitle, maybe you should just start making new games, rather than new installments of old ones.
Trope that needs a leave of absence for 2015
The dead wife/daughter/sister/family
– Let’s try some new ideas to give your protagonist emotional baggage. Many things can cause emotional trauma, I promise.
What games need more of in 2015
– Give me new characters, from different places, with different backgrounds. Give me stories I haven’t heard too many times before.
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