GOTY2014-Day01_Feature4

Game of the Year 2014: Part 1

Another year is coming to a close, and we at Press Play TV are ready to choose our favorite video games from the past 12 months. We’re so excited to jump back into the heated arguments about some of our favorite titles, because that just means there were a whole bunch of great games this year to talk about! Our lists for 2014 are filled with titles large and small, and it’s actually been pretty surprising which major categories have had two indies beat out everything else to face each other for the top spot. Our awards this year are a testament to how blurred the line between ‘independent’ and ‘AAA’ has become; we truly believe that decades from now everyone who played games in 2014 will be able to say ‘we were there’ when the industry had its renaissance. Without further ado, enjoy the first batch of categories for Press Play TV’s Game of the Year 2014 Awards!

We will be releasing five lists over the course of this week, each covering genres or facets of the games scene that we think are important to our industry, culminating with the final “Game of the Year” decision. With each ultimate choice, you can also see the individual choices of our three judges: Senior Producer Nick Hawryluk, and guest judges Chris Nagy and Peter Kendall from How Do I Jump. We’ve tried to be as fair as possible, but we don’t make any claims to have played every game that came out this year- we even have a category for the best ones we missed from last year’s awards!  Plus, in the interest of transparency, you can also listen to our entire deliberations process in the embedded podcast below.

Jump to another part of our Game of the Year 2014 series:
Part 1 • Part 2 Part 3 • Part 4 Part 5

 

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If there’s anything video games are known for doing well, it’s action. There were several worthy contenders in the running for this one, but from one look at the insane gameplay in Sunset Overdrive the choice becomes pretty clear. The humor is take-it-or-leave-it, but the set pieces can’t be argued with, and the way rail grinding was encouraged and worked into combat once the game got going reminded us of Tony Hawk’s video game glory days. Insomniac Games deviated from its usual course of bombastic action last gen with the Resistance series and Fuse, and as their first Xbox One offering Sunset Overdrive felt like a true return to form. Did we mention that when things explode the mushroom clouds have text inside them that says “BOOM”? For making video games just plain fun again, Sunset Overdrive is our Best Action Game of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Dark Souls II
Pete: Sunset Overdrive
Nick: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

 

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When SWERY65 comes out with a new game, we pay attention. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die was amazing for all the insane reasons fans have come to expect, but at its core it was also a great adventure game. Focusing heavily on the Xbox One’s Kinect for gameplay inputs, D4 had so much for players to find within its scenes. It’s interesting to play a point-and-click adventure that’s controlled by physically waving your arm and grabbing things- after a while we started choosing what to interact with based on how tired our arms were! Quicktime events using broad hand motions were a big hit for us as well- smashing our hands down onto the table in front of us to open a fortune cookie was surprisingly satisfying. Of course there’s also an option to play sans-Kinect, but we think a lot of this game’s magic lies in having to get physical. Because it allowed us act out the crazy, super-Japanese things that SWERY characters do, D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is our Best Adventure Game of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
Pete: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Nick: D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die

 

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Even though it’s officially a sequel to 2009’s Wolfenstein, we felt like Wolfenstein: The New Order gave the series a much-needed fresh coat of paint. It’s still a dumb shooter, and just about every gun in the game can be dual wielded for maximum Nazi killing, but MachineGames added some surprisingly open-ended mechanics, a provocative setting and compelling characters to separate The New Order from the pack. This game is set in an alternate 1960 in which the Nazis have taken over the world, and the Orwellian saga that ensues was genuinely interesting to us. Both the production design and character designs were stellar, and there was so much universe-building going on around the edges to keep things interesting. What set it over the top were the amazing alternate German versions of notable 60’s pop groups and songs, and the music tracks you could find around the world weren’t just amusing- they were genuinely good! Because we never thought we’d care about the Wolfenstein franchise again, Wolfenstein: The New Order wins for Best Reboot of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Gauntlet
Pete: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Nick: Wolfenstein: The New Order

 

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Dragon Age: Inquisition is an amazing game. Bringing back some of the tactical elements of the original and adding some novel military planning mechanics, it felt like this game’s universe was much more connected to our choices than in previous entries. Add to that a beautiful, sprawling open world, and the Dragon Age series has more than made up for its love-it-or-hate-it second showing in our eyes. This game found the perfect balance between hardcore role-playing mechanics and more accessible action gameplay, and for that Dragon Age: Inquisition is our Best RPG of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Pete: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Nick: Dark Souls II

 

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If the events of this game were considered canon, Talion from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor would not only be the biggest badass of the Third Age, but the biggest badass Middle-earth has ever seen. Considering the amount of orcs and uruks he was able to simultaneously take on and behead without breaking a sweat, we doubt Sauron or even Morgoth himself could hold a candle against our undead hero. This game is a power fantasy if there ever was one- players are tasked to take out the entire military infrastructure of Mordor from within, and by the end of the game basically every orc along the Plains of Gorgoroth knew of Talion the ranger as a bogeyman who deals death as he sees fit. The so-called Nemesis System allowed even further ego trips, like brainwashing orc squadron leaders to start clan wars or collect intel. We’re sure Tolkien is rolling in his grave, but it can’t be denied that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is the Best Badass-Enabler of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Pete: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Nick: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

 

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The two Dark Souls games have had a pretty stellar downloadable content showing. In 2012, the first Dark Souls won our Best DLC award for ‘Artorias of the Abyss,’ and Dark Souls II really came out swinging with three excellent offerings. The final piece of the Drangleic puzzle stood out to us though, bringing even more challenge than we Dark Souls fans were used to. We also got more of the lore about the world we’ve known and loved, and some of the revelations in this chapter were genuinely shocking. For being even more Souls-y than Dark Souls II usually was, and wrapping up an excellent series of downloadable chapters, Dark Souls II: Crown of the Ivory King is our Best DLC of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Dark Souls II: Crown of the Ivory King
Pete: Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
Nick: Shadowrun: Dragonfall

 

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There’s no game that can get people laughing and having a good time faster than Mount Your Friends. On the top level, it’s a pass-the-controller multiplayer experience, in which burly men try to scale a pile of other burly men. What really kills is the way these guys flail about as they try to climb, or even walk on the ground. The controls are reminiscent of Bennett Foddy’s QWOP- each of the four face buttons on an Xbox 360 controller is assigned to an extremity, and it’s up the the player to fling his arms and legs to get where he needs to go. Any arm or leg that’s touching something is stuck to that surface unless selected, and the sheer amount of times this game made us doubt how well we know an Xbox 360 controller is shocking. It’s like trying to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time, and we’ve never heard our friends scream louder than when something would go horribly wrong and a man would tumble from the makeshift Tower of Babel we’d created. We didn’t discover Mount Your Friends until it was re-released on Steam this year, and it instantly ran, swung and flailed away with our hearts. For that, Mount Your Friends is our Best Overlooked Game from 2013!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Mars: War Logs
Pete: Gears of War Judgment
Nick: Mount Your Friends

 


GOTY2014-TrophyThe Game of the Year 2014 Awards were judged by Press Play TV Senior Producer Nick Hawryluk with guests Chris Nagy and Peter Kendall from How Do I Jump. Don’t think we made the right choices in a category? Let us know what you think should have won in the comments below!

Trophy from The Noun Project



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