Game of the Year 2014: Part 5
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 final batch of categories for Press Play TV’s Game of the Year 2014 Awards!
We’ve been releasing 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
It’s hard to argue that Bungie wasn’t one of the most prolific game developers of the last two generations. With our lukewarm reaction to 343’s work on Halo 4, we couldn’t have been more ready to see the king returning, freed from the shackles of an established mega-franchise. Destiny was to be the first chapter in a completely new saga for Bungie, and when it finally came out… it was basically a less interesting Halo. Enemy designs and behaviors were all familiar territory for the studio, and there was a little floating sphere following us around (played straight into the ground by Peter Dinklage). Hell, the player characters even sort of looked like Spartans! Even ignoring the unimaginative concepts though, this one was just a chore to play. Every combat encounter (barring the single raid mission buried dozens of hours deep) was a slog through tired arena battles, set up with near-contempt by the laughably thin plot. The shooting mechanics were very well tuned, and an argument could be made that while it’s woefully bankrupt design-wise, the ‘content’ within is virtually endless. Yes, it’s possible to spend a lot of time playing Destiny, but it’s possible to spend a lot of time watching paint dry, too. That doesn’t mean we recommend doing it. For being so universally anticipated and turning out so aggressively mediocre, Destiny is our Biggest Disappointment of 2014.EDITORS’ PICKS: Chris: Assassin’s Creed Unity Pete: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Nick: Destiny
Much like its animatronic antagonists, Five Nights at Freddy’s came out of nowhere. It had some oppressively scary horror tactics, always limiting our visibility and making us feel utterly helpless. Then, just as we started to recover from the sleepless nights that Five Nights at Freddy’ caused, a sequel was released. Unannounced. Three months later. And it was good! The surprise of the second one’s release was enough to match anything that happened in the actual games, and that’s why the Five Nights at Freddy’s Series is our Biggest Surprise of 2014!EDITORS’ PICKS: Chris: Tales from the Borderlands Pete: Five Nights at Freddy’s Series Nick: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Resident Evil 4 did so much for not only the horror genre, but video games as a whole. It basically reinvented the way a third-person shooter should be framed, and despite its ‘tanky’ controls, brought a tightness to combat that created huge amounts of tension. Nine years later, we’re so glad to see Shinji Mikami return to form with The Evil Within, and he really went all-out with this one. This was a much more psychological thriller than Resident Evil 4, and because of that some seriously weird things would happen to our hero. We don’t want to go too much into specifics because we think you should experience them for yourself, but we particularly enjoyed some of the insane scene transitions, which played with the limits of the medium in some interesting ways. For never going where we expected it would, the entire game of The Evil Within is our Best WTF Moment of 2014!EDITORS’ PICKS: Chris: The Evil Within (The whole game) Pete: Destiny (Ending) Nick: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series: Episode 1 (Ending)
Dragon Age: Inquisition has already won its share of awards over the last five days, but in the end we just couldn’t let it walk away without the big one. We mused during our deliberations that this one could have been a contender for ‘Biggest Surprise’ as well, considering the huge leap in quality and content from the series’ somewhat dubious previous entry. There’s not much more we can say without retreading the same praises we’ve already sung, but mostly this game thrust us into a world we simply didn’t want to leave. We’ll be thinking about this one well into 2015, and we can’t wait to see what Bioware does next. For pulling the Dragon Age series from the depths and offering us dozens of hours of fun, Dragon Age: Inquisition is our Game of the Year for 2014!EDITORS’ PICKS: Chris: Dragon Age: Inquisition Pete: Dragon Age: Inquisition Nick: This War of Mine
The 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