GOTY2014-Day02_Feature

Game of the Year 2014: Part 2

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 second 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

 

02-01_FreeToPlay-GOTY2014

MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2 can be impenetrable to anyone who hasn’t spent hundreds of hours learning their ins and outs. That’s why we were so surprised when Smite, a third-person multiplayer action game, sort of tricked us into playing a MOBA without our realizing it. It may be controlled with the WASD keys, but the per-match leveling and 5v5 structure would be familiar to ay Dota 2 or League of Legends player. Because it’s such an accessible introduction to a world we never thought we’d visit, Smite is our Best Free to Play Game of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: n/a
Pete: Smite
Nick: Loadout

 

02-02_Combat-GOTY2014

Nidhogg is the sort of game that comes around and makes you rethink your idea of a video game. In a nutshell, it was about two guys trying to get to opposite sides of the screen. Because only one person could be running to his goal at a time though, the ‘hero’ player would constantly be hounded by his enemy, who would want the chance to run for his own goal. The combat in this one was so incredibly tight and laser-focused that it would either look like a ‘runner’ if the hero was on a roll and evading his enemy, or a choreographed dance during a knock-down, drag-out. It’s interesting because the scuffles would typically be over in mere seconds, making the game extremely fast-paced. We’ve already sung the praises of Nidhogg on this website, and for the insane battles that break out it’s fitting that Nidhogg should win for Best Combat of 2014.

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

 

02-03_Soundtrack-GOTY2014

Like its older brother, SuperGiant Games’ Transistor had a beautiful, haunting soundtrack. This time the studio doubled down on their game’s music, revolving its plot around a lounge singer who lost her voice. As the protagonist wandered down the dystopian cyberpunk cityscape, echoes of her former songs would play. In a particularly inspired design choice, a button on the controller was designated to have her hum the tune of whatever song was playing at the time- a touch that added volumes to the game’s melancholy tone. For sending chills down our spine whenever we hear its score, Transistor wins our award for Best Soundtrack of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
Pete: Transistor
Nick: Luftrausers

 

02-04_Stealth-GOTY2014

The Metal Gear Solid series is the granddaddy of 3D stealth, and it’s no surprise that its newest entry would have some great moments of sneaking. What we didn’t expect however, was just how fluid everything would feel. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes had the best mechanics the series has ever seen, by making the guards frighteningly perceptive and adding several smart new moves to Snake’s arsenal. Much of the series’ signature “hold seven buttons simultaneously” gameplay, especially when holding up guards, had been streamlined into contextual commands as well. The way the guards behaved in this one consistently had us on our toes, and the game could get pretty insanely challenging because of this- especially in some of the ‘Side Ops’ trials. Because its gameplay had us fighting to stay one step ahead of the guards instead of fighting its controls, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is our Best Stealth Game of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Pete: This War of Mine
Nick: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

 

02-05_Mod-GOTY2014

It’s nothing new for a game’s E3 demo to have better graphics than the final shipping product. It was strange however, when Watch Dogs’ graphics looked worse than its demonstration but fans discovered the capability actually existed in the game’s directory. ‘TheWorse Mod’ was a way to put the E3 graphics back into the PC version of the game, with minimal hit to performance. It raised the question of why Ubisoft would intentionally lock out a superior graphical experience from their own game, but to be honest, it would hardly be the most dubious thing the studio did this year. Because we think it’s hilarious, and actually does improve the look of the game, ‘TheWorse Mod’ for Watch Dogs is our Best Mod of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Skyrim “Sharpshooters Extreme Graphics ENB”
Pete: n/a
Nick: Watch Dogs “TheWorse Mod”

 

02-06_FrustratingMoment-GOTY2014

Arguments could be made for several parts of Ground Zeroes being the most frustrating moment this year, but because Nick went for 100% completion (meaning, to S-rank everything and complete every time trial on each difficulty), he had a few war stories about one Side Ops mission in particular. ‘Destroy the Anti-Air Emplacement‘ was just plain mean. In it, Snake was tasked with blowing up three heavily guarded structures, but he could approach the objective from any angle- find a rocket launcher and kill them from afar, plant some C4, or even drive a truck into them. The problem showed itself when an alert status was scripted into the first 30 seconds of  the mission, and never subsided, forcing Big Boss to effectively sneak into a warzone- and there was no OctoCamo this time to help him out! Because of the demoralizing difficulty spikes in trying to complete this mission and its trials, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes‘ ‘Destroy the Anti-Air Emplacement’ mission is our Most Frustrating Moment of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Dark Souls II: Crown of the Ivory King ‘Reindeer from Hell’
Pete: Assassin’s Creed Rogue ‘the veneer of what the game should have been’ 
Nick: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes ‘Destroy the Anti-Air Emplacement’

 

02-07_GreenlightKickstarter-GOTY2014

While many games claim to be a love letter to platforming days of yore, Shovel Knight was one of the few titles that we feel really pulled it off.  Borrowing some of its mechanics and design choices from classics like Mega Man and Super Mario Bros. 3, it felt like the people at Yacht Club Games actually understood what made these titles great. It wasn’t all nostalgia though- there were some interesting touches, like a Dark Souls-esque respawn system and the ability to destroy checkpoints for more risk but greater reward. The way this game evoked the old without directly copying anything made it feel like The Rutles, compared to the rest of the ‘notalgia games’ scene’s Weird Al Yankovic (for the few people out there who will understand that comparison). Add an amazing score to our laundry list of praise and Shovel Knight is our Best Greenlight/Kickstarter Game of 2014!

EDITORS’ PICKS: 
Chris: Five Nights at Freddy’s 2
Pete: n/a
Nick: Shovel Knight

 


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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