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Game of the Year

Nominees for Destructoid's Best PC Game of 2015

Dec 12 // Steven Hansen
Here are the nominees for Destructoid's Best PC Game of 2015: The Beginner's Guide Downwell Her Story Heroes of the Storm Invisible Inc. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Rocket League Soma Tales from the Borderlands Undertale The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
Best PC Game 2015 photo
Got a PC? Then you've got a computer!
The personal computer ("PC," to those in the know) is always good for a clutch of unexpected surprises and in 2015 it was no different. There heavy hitters are there, from Metal Gear to The Witcher. But there is also an unexp...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Mobile Game of 2015

Dec 11 // Darren Nakamura
Best Mobile Game of 2015 Alphabear Downwell Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Lara Croft GO Steven Universe: Attack the Light! [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]  
Best Mobile Game photo
Great gaming on the go
Mobile gaming often gets a bad rap among the hardcore crowd, but looking at 2015 it seems like the platform is really coming into its own. These aren't your Candy Crush or Flappy Bird clones; these are some legitimately great...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Wii U Game of 2015

Dec 10 // Jordan Devore
Best Wii U Game of 2015 Affordable Space Adventures Splatoon Super Mario Maker Yoshi's Woolly World Xenoblade Chronicles X [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
Best Wii U Game photo
Fun for everyone
As much as the Wii U isn't the runaway commercial success Nintendo would like it to be, and as much as it's more of a first-party machine than anything else, it remains one of my favorite consoles in recent memory. The game r...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Xbox One Game of 2015

Dec 10 // Brett Makedonski
Life is Strange Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Ori and the Blind Forest Resident Evil HD Remaster Rise of the Tomb Raider Shovel Knight: Xbox One Edition Tales from the Borderlands The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
Best Xbox Game photo
The Gold Standard
What are you looking for from a game on Xbox One? Do you want narrative excellence? Action perfection? Platforming prowess? Xbox One had all of that in spades in 2015. That is to say, a lot of good games came to Microsoft's c...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Vita Game of 2015

Dec 09 // Laura Kate Dale
Best Vita Game of 2015 OlliOlli2 Grim Fandango Remastered Persona 4: Dancing All Night Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires Super Star Wars Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
Vita GOTY photo
Slip into something more portable
Oh, hey there reader, you've just caught me at that time of year where I and the other Destructoid editorial staff are beginning the long and often vicious process of putting together our Game of the Year awards. First come t...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best 3DS Game of 2015

Dec 09 // Chris Carter
Best 3DS Game of 2015 Pokemon Shuffle Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D Xenoblade Chronicles 3D Yo-Kai Watch Boxboy Pokemon Picross [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
GOTY 2015 photo
What a lovely handheld
The 3DS has gone through a tremendous change since its launch. While Nintendo did its best to completely fumble its initial year with a weak launch lineup, paltry Virtual Console offerings, and hardly any third-party support,...

Lords of the Fallen photo
Lords of the Fallen

Lords of the Fallen to get a Game of the Year Edition

Apparently someone gave it that award
May 25
// Joe Parlock
Lords of the Fallen, City Interactive and Deck 13’s Souls-like, is getting a Game of the Year edition on June 26. Yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinking: ‘who even gave Lords of the Fallen their GOTY award?&...

Here are all of Destructoid's Game of the Year 2014 editorials

Jan 01 // Jonathan Holmes
GOTY Nomination lists (includes otherwise unlisted games) Nominees for Destructoid's Overall Best Game of 2014 Nominees for Destructoid's Best World Design of 2014 Nominees for Destructoid's Best Game Mechanics of 2014 Nominees for Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014 Nominees for Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of 2014 Personal GOTY lists from regular Dtoid contributors Mr Andy Dixon's top 10 games I played drunk in 2014 Laura Dale's attempt to nail down some Game of the Year 2014 winners Alessandro Fillari's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 Patrick Hancock's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 Brittany Vincent's random assortment of Game of the Year 2014 picks Nic Rowen's list of the best games of the year Bill Platt's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 Kyle MacGregor's sexy picks for Game of the Year 2014 Darren Nakamura's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 Brett Makedonski's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 Chris Carter's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014 Jonathan's personal GOTY for best butt goes to... Steven Hansen Presents: The other GOTY awards GOTY 2014: Best evidence that we should go full communism GOTY 2014: Best willful misspelling in a title GOTY 2014: Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum GOTY 2014: Best musical Guest GOTY awards and related editorial  Rust Cohle's GOTY games for 2014 Adam Tierney's favorite games of 2014 2014: Go F*ck Yourself (The Badger) 2014: I want to make love to you. Seriously. (The Wombat) Winners of Dtoid's GOTY awards The winner of Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of the year is... The award for Best Game Mechanics of 2014 goes to... The winner of Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014 is... The award for Best World Design of 2014 goes to... Destructoid's award for Overall Best Game of 2014 goes to... Community Action Destructoid's Game of the Year 2014 Community Choice Award! Cblog Recaps End of the Year Recap 2014 Super Ultramax: Tournament Edition
GOTY recap photo
Which writer do you agree with the most or hate the least?
With so much to organize and help put together, I didn't get a chance to do my own personal Game of the Year list for 2014. It's probably for the best, as picking favorites games is very difficult for me. It's like picking fa...

Mr Andy's drunk GOTY photo
Mr Andy's drunk GOTY

Mr Andy Dixon's top 10 games I played drunk in 2014

Spoiler: I didn't actually play 10 games this year
Dec 31
// mrandydixon
Confession #1: I don't play a lot of videogames. Confession #2: The ones I do play, I play drunk. Huh huh. Number two do do. Here are the games I liked the best this year, and what I was drinking when I played them.
Enter The Wombat photo
Enter The Wombat

2014: I want to make love to you. Seriously.

Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Dec 31
// TheWombat
[Enter the anti-Badger. --Mr Andy Dixon] Note: The Wombat could be anyone -- a Destructoid community member, a gaemz jurnalizmer, even some random Dutch guy. They could be just one person or Legion. You'll probably never find...

Laura Dale's attempt to nail down some Game of the Year 2014 winners

Dec 31 // Laura Kate Dale
Best Conversations I Understood the Nuances of: The Fall I have Asperger's Syndrome, which basically means I'm terrible at reading into the nuances of conversational tone, second meanings in phrases and facial expressions. I can do all of those things, it just takes a lot more effort than I would like to invest when gaming. The Fall is a narrative-rich videogame about AI who speak very directly with each other, have understandable motivations and conversational restrictions, and who are ruled by surface-level visible desires. I didn't know going in, but The Fall is exactly what I wanted in a videogame narrative; it's a game that I can enjoy on that level without having to think too much. That's rare in games, and I really appreciate that. Oh, and it's a kick-ass non-linear puzzle exploration horror title set in an abandoned facility roamed by deadly robots. That's pretty cool. Best Game My Girlfriend and I Could Enjoy Together: Broken Age: Act 1 My girlfriend and I don't often get to play through videogames together. She gets motion sick when controlling 3D cameras, her level of videogame core literacy is weaker than my own (unsurprisingly, considering I write about games for a living), and I typically have to rush through games for work too quickly to share the experience with her. Broken Age: Act 1 was the one title this year which was different. Broken Age: Act 1 had a set camera angle, simple controls, and a story that really benefits from going through more than once and discussing with a friend. It ended on such a gripping, world-changing, cliffhanger conclusion that changed so much of the narrative in hindsight, I was more than happy to watch her replay the experience, help her when stuck, and be there to discuss the ending with her once she finished. It's a fantastically written, funny, and engrossing experience that my less videogame-oriented partner and I were able to bond over. That deserves an award of some sort. Best Video Game Branded Product: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Monster Assualt Energy: The Drink I'm pretty sure the title alone explains why this drink won the award. Best Game for Making Me Smile Uncontrollably: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which is somehow still not officially released in the UK despite our primary games retailer putting it on sale weeks ago, has been a source of smiles and joy for the last couple of weeks for me. You play as a smiling, defenseless mushroom man who is terrified by everything around him, but soldiers onward for minimal recognition. It's an adorable way to flesh out one of the Mushroom Kingdom's least appreciated heroes, and I really want to see him in the next Smash Bros. I am serious, I want to see a Smash Bros. fighter who can't jump and is terrified of everyone around him. If they can make the Wii Fit Trainer combat ready, why not Captain Toad? Yeah, Treasure Tracker is pretty damn adorable. Best Game That Made Me Feel Empowered Like a Goddess: Bayonetta 2 Could this award have gone to anything else? No, it could not. Sure the Bayonetta games make heavy use of the male gaze, and at points, reinforce the objectification of women. Sure, the largely male creative team has a lot of control over the agency we apply to Bayonetta as a character, but honestly, I do not care. For me, all of the obvious and real negatives present in the game are outweighed by how flawless the presentation and combat are. That, and the fact that by god does playing as Bayonetta make me feel like I could do anything. It may be misplaced agency, but Bayonetta is the only character to remind me how I felt aspiring to being as powerful as Super Saiyan 4 Goku as a child. It's rare that a female character in media is given the kind of awe-inspiring power that I find my inner-child fantasizing about fighting people as them. Bayonetta 2 is not perfect, but it made me feel like I could rip the planet in half if I so chose, which is pretty cool. Best Fish Sex Simulator: Coming Out On Top Coming Out On Top is a male gay dating sim full of innuendo, awkward situations, masturbation sound effects, and pictures of dicks. There are really not enough dicks in videogames. What I thought would just be a fun chance to giggle at seeing dicks became something so much more impressive when I discovered that one of my in-game options was to date a goldfish. I was shocked, yet intrigued, so I wandered into uncertain territory. I won't spoil the ins and outs of the relationship, but dating a gigantic human-sized goldfish and fucking its brains out might have been the greatest moment of my year. Seriously, it was damn sexy. And there you have it, my top games this year. Shovel Knight was also pretty awesome and lacking in flaws, but it struggles to stand up against the likes of fish sex. Hopefully 2015 has a little more of that fish sex action in store.
Laura's GOTY picks photo
It's raining awards, hallelujah!
It's that wonderful time of year again where I'm expected to sum up my thoughts on an entire year of videogames in one digestible list of what was objectively best and what I enjoyed subjectively in various categories. It's t...

GOTY 2014: Best evidence that we should go full communism

Dec 31 // Steven Hansen
Honorable mentions Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (?): I can never remember what this game is called. I had "Armored Warfare" at first, but I don't think that's right. And yet, these games make those capitalist bucks, playing on jingoistic paranoia and military fetishization that dress enchanting feedback loops, rewiring your brain to think ReagThatch were good and some Mountain Dew would look good in your newborn's bottle. Maybe if Spacey had a MMF threesome we could overlook that -- perhaps in favor of the plastic-producing Skylanders or Disney Infinity -- but here we are, hoorah. Wolfenstein: New Order: Whoa, this flippin' "Nazi party" over here, they're some bad dudes! Definitely not any party I would want to be a part of, imo. Probably wouldn't be any Ecto Cooler there. If there's any argument for communism, well, look at the alternative. If these Nazis won the second Great War instead of the Communists, we'd be stuck in some militarized police state with government sanctioned killer robots, like in Wolfenstein. The Last of Us: Remastered: Nine $1 pieces of "special executions" DLC.  Execution animations should be a government promised and regulated utility like electricity, the Internet, and a healthy supply of Dario Argento movies. - Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014: Best willful misspelling in a titleSteven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014: Best musicalSteven Hansen's Destructoid's GOTY 2014: Best interpretive representation of Jeff Goldblum
GOTY Full communism photo
Which game scored top Marx?
I'm back, baby! You thought Steven Hansen's Destructoid's 2014 GOTY awards were done at three, come sambuca con la mosca? That we want health, happiness, and prosperity, rather than four (death)? We're up all night to get unl...

Alessandro Fillari's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014

Dec 31 // Alessandro Fillari
5. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Who would've thought that during the period where Peter Jackson made a trilogy of middling Hobbit movies, Monolith Games would come of nowhere with one of the most original takes on Middle-earth? Granted, on the surface it looks like a cross between Assassin's Creed and Batman: Arkham Asylum set in the Tolkien's universe, but its approach to narrative, specifically player-made narrative, shows that even those established brands could learn some things from Shadow of Mordor.The much-hyped Nemesis system turned out to be the real deal, and even offered some truer storytelling than the main narrative. It's one of the rare games where actions forge a personal nemesis. With Talion's quest for vengeance feeling like background noise, I was far more invested in his moves to undermine the legions of Orcs. However, my true appreciation for the system came after the end of the main story. I realized I felt more of a connection to a particular warchief, who was the most ruthless and cunning foe I faced in the game, than I did with the game's final boss. Seeing him grow from a peon to major player in Sauron's army, who somehow knew my own weaknesses and dislikes, made me feel a bit sad that such a worthy foe had bit the dust. Uthra The Mad, if you're out there: I miss you, man. 4. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls I was one of the many who got swept up in the Diablo III craze before its release back in 2012. With the series' status as a major influence to PC gaming, it was a quite a treat to be a part of the next installment right when it was released. But man, vanilla Diablo III was not the game I had in mind. Even though I had a lot of fun in the 60 hours I spent with it, it was padded out with phases that felt like I was doing chores. After only a few months, I ditched the game and barely touched it for a long time. But that all changed once Reaper of Souls was released.To me, this expansion represents a culmination of nearly two years of outreach and addressing player criticisms. Reaper of Souls basically fixed everything corrosive with Diablo III, starting with the removal of the game killing auction house, and adding much needed content outside of the main story. It simply made the game satisfying and fun, just like its predecessors. Blizzard did a remarkable job of giving new life to a game that many wrote off, while showing that they've still got it when it comes to loot-focused action-RPG titles. 3. P.T. This is definitely the strangest of my picks, but it's well deserved. Obviously, the enigmatic title released during gamescom turned out to be a teaser for the upcoming Silent Hills project. But even when the surprise came out only a few hours after its unveiling, people still kept playing it. If anything, its relation to Silent Hill brought more attention to this perplexing and haunting downloadable title. While it's often referred to as just an advertisement for a bigger game, the impact P.T. had will certainly make it one to remember.Using a minimalistic approach to storytelling and design, players simply had to make it through a door at the end of the hallway. It was truly one of the few titles that felt like an actual event for the audience to take part in. Communities online began to formulate their own theories and tips on how to solve each 'loop' while avoiding the presence of Lisa, who will easily go down as one of the scariest enemies in gaming. Even when Silent Hills will eventually be released, I'll certainly still remember the rush I got from playing P.T. in a dark room with friends for the first time. 2. Wolfenstein: The New Order In a time where first person shooters emulate Call of Duty and other generic military action games with drab storylines and scripted moments, Wolfenstein: The New Order returns to the roots of the genre and shows that it's okay to just let players cut loose. Made by former developers from Starbreeze, Machine Games' new take on the classic Wolfenstein gave me a somewhat iffy first impression, but getting my hands on the title made me realize how wrong I was. Despite the meathead-looking protagonist and the cliched Nazi alternate history storyline, there's a lot more going with the spectacle than you might think.The New Order is very much a throwback title trying to reconcile its place in the modern area, and that comes out in the best way possible. Instead of conforming to the standards of the present, it recontextualizes the sterile conventions of today to fit its bombastic and high-octane nature. Featuring a storyline that channels the ultra-violence of Inglourious Basterds with extra cheese and a surprising amount of heart and humanity for its characters, Wolfenstein blends the best of big-budget FPS games of today with the pure action-oriented gameplay of the past. It's truly the best of both worlds, and it offered the most fun I've had with a first-person shooter in a long time. 1. Alien: Isolation I almost lost hope for games based off of the Alien franchise after the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines. But who would've thought they'd rebound so quickly after such a misfire? Helmed by Creative Assembly, and modeling itself after the original film (which is the best), the developers wanted Alien: Isolation to feel very much like a cleansing of all the tropes found in videogame sci-fi, while restoring faith in what the franchise can aspire to be. And it all starts with humbling the player and instilling fear for the Alien once again. With no space marine in sight, and firearms as the least useful tools, players have to rely on wits and careful planning to evade the gaze of the lone Xenomorph stalking the halls of the space station Sevastopol. Though the reception has been somewhat polarizing for its uncompromising stealth gameplay and save system, no other game has inspired so much dread and terror from deciding whether to make a run for it or waiting another agonizing moment for the creature to leave the area. Even the smallest of victories feel like a triumph, and getting the best of the Alien is immensely satisfying. Not only is this one of the best examples of doing a videogame adaption of a movie justice, it's also one of the best things to happen to the Alien franchise in a long time.Honorable Mentions: This War of Mine, Far Cry 4, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, The Evil Within, Valiant Hearts The subject of war was given a lot of attention with the releases of This War of Mine and Valiant Hearts. Though the latter was one of the smaller titles released by Ubisoft this year, it's definitely the one with the biggest heart. I had a great time chatting with the developers of both games this year, and seeing games tackle the subject from a different perspective was incredibly refreshing. Here's hoping these two titles have inspired others to treat the subject a bit differently.Games for my 2015 backlog: Bayonetta 2, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mario Kart 8, Shovel Knight, Super Smash Bros. Wii U I'm not kidding when I say this, but the original Bayonetta was not only my favorite game of 2010, but also my favorite of console Generation 7 (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii). Though it breaks my heart that I wasn't there to give her the first dance on Wii U, I'm super delighted to hear that Bayonetta 2 has found new life on Nintendo's console. Once I get the system, she'll be the first I spent my time with.And the game I'll still play despite hating on it: Destiny Was Destiny a disappointing title? Yes. Does it feel like a virtual Skinner box? Oh yeah. Am I still playing it? Yep. Despite feeling like a newly released free-to-play title lacking content and leaving a lot of players disappointed, Destiny is still a fun and well polished shooter. Even though I'm still trying to figure out what the hell happened to the game that was shown off in the pre-release trailers, the ground work for something wonderful is still there. Here's hoping they can someday get to it.
Alessandro's GOTY picks photo
I was dreamin' when I wrote this
What a ride 2014 has been, right? There's definitely been a few ups and downs for everyone, including some that wanted to get their last licks before the year closes out. Still, we got to see some pretty exciting titles relea...

Patrick Hancock's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014

Dec 31 // Patrick Hancock
Games I did not play enough of or at all oh god I'm so sorry: Bayonetta 2, Captain Toad, Hyrule Warriors, The Talos Principle, Shovel Knight, Super Time Force, Alien: Isolation, This War of Mine 1. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U Well, this isn't really a surprise. I've been a hardcore Smash Bros. fan ever since that fateful day I discovered that there were advanced techniques in Melee. I LOVE highly competitive game with high skill ceilings, and Melee fit the bill! When Brawl came out, most of my friends and I were in college, and the online wasn't too stellar, and so it didn't see as much playtime.  But with Smash 4, we play all the damn time! The online is really good, the core mechanics are wonderful, and we can have up to 8 players! With the best roster in the series, Smash 4 is my favorite Super Smash Bros. game to date. I really do miss Fox's "Shine Spike," but I've learned to love all that is currently in Smash 4.  2. Sportsfriends (+TENNNES + Get on Top) First of all, since I backed Sportsfriends on Kickstarter, I received Get on Top and TENNNES as part of the package, so I'm including them in this spot. Sportsfriends is such an amazing collection of local multiplayer games that I don't even know where to begin. Hokra is a minimalist sports game that boils competition down to it's more pure form and runs with it. Super Pole Riders seems like it has wonky controls at first, but they're actually easy to master, which then leads to some really amazing (and hilarious) rounds! BariBariBall is my least favorite of the bunch, but still puts an exciting twist on what would otherwise be a fighting game.  And then there's Johann Sebastian Joust. While I can't play this on my Windows computer (not that I'd have the controllers to anyway), I have played JS Joust at E3 before. Playing (and even winning, once!) Joust is easily one of the most memorable moments in my gaming career. It's a game with no rules, and all fun. Whenever you have a chance to, PLAY IT! 2. Towerfall Ascension (a tie!) I can't in good faith call Towerfall better or worse than Sportsfriends, since I consider them of the same, amazing ilk: that of the local multiplayer party bash. Towerfall is an incredible game. It has singleplayer components that really scratch an itch, and is one of the best multiplayer games ever created. Every game is exciting and intense, or hilariously quick. The first night I introduced Towerfall: Ascension to my local multiplayer night, it dominated the entire night. People who started the night getting no kills and stomped on round after round were eventually winning rounds with confidence. It doesn't take long to "get" how to play Towerfall, which is a large part of its beauty.  3. Valiant Hearts: The Great War As a history teacher and videogame lover, I am obligated to put this game high on my list. Plus, it's a flippin' amazing game! Easily the best World War I game available, because it truly does give a sense of dread and hopelessness that came with "The Great War." It's strongest aspect is the fact that it's a war game without being a shooter. Plus, it has a dog and dogs are the best. 4. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Maybe it's because Murdered: Soul Suspect came out earlier and was literally the worst game I've played all year, but Ethan Carter blew me away. It's a mystery game that actually involves the player, with an ending that isn't complete bullshit (I'm looking at you Heavy Rain). Placing events in order takes critical thinking and has a sense of accomplishment to it that many games lack. It's realistic at times, bizarre at others, and always completely gorgeous. 5. 1001 Spikes 1001 Spikes is one of the most well-designed games I have ever played. It is a game about learning and execution. The player is constantly learning throughout the entirety of the game, even the bonus levels! Each stage introduces something to the player, even if it's a small idea. The result is that the player constantly feels a sense of skill progression, which leads to more confidence to take on the harder levels. I really can't say enough about how perfectly 1001 Spikes' design is. 6. Kentucky Route Zero Act III Anyone who has played through Act III of Kentucky Route Zero knows exactly why this is on my list. And to them I'll just say: wasn't that part AMAZING?! 7. Legend of Grimrock 2 A perfect sequel. Grimrock 2 takes everything that made the first game amazing, brought it up a notch, and put it in a beautiful new world with intensely hard puzzles. The fact that I can bring a Farmer with me on my adventure, and then to have him be the HIGHEST LEVEL CHARACTER is simply amazing. 8. Divinity: Original Sin Any game where my buddy tells me "make sure you talk to the dog!" is a game worthy of making a GOTY list. Especially when I respond "you know I already did!" 9. Jazzpunk So I just finished Jazzpunk yesterday, and I am completely blown away. Everything about Jazzpunk oozes style and uniqueness. From the moment I picked stuff off a guy's face until I was spinning records in a penthouse suite, I loved every single moment of Jazzpunk. If I had more time to process it all, this game would likely be higher on this list, but for now, I just need to give it a mention. This is a game, like The Real Texas or FEZ, that will stick in my mind forever. 10. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor I hate open-world games, which is a strong testament to how great Mordor really is. The beginning kind of just throws the player out there with a vague sense of what to do, and lets them go nuts. Soon after descending from the starting tower I came across a group of orcs. "No biggie," I say to myself. Well, wouldn't you know it, two named orcs show up and kick my ass. Seeking them, alongside many others, out in order to murder them in the most gruesome ways possible is one of my favorite ~*memories*~ from 2014. This is the kind of emergent gameplay I can get behind! 11. Dragon Age: Inquisition Hooray! Another Dragon Age game worthy of the title! While the "Tactical View" leaves a bit to be desired, Inquisition is a great PC RPG. It starts off a little slow, with characters I'm not a big fan of and very MMO-esque quests, but soon picks up into a Dragon Age game I can easily recommend to anyone. 12. Mercenary Kings Apparently I'm one of the few people who enjoyed Mercenary Kings? At least, according to Metacritic I'm one of the few "critics" who enjoyed it. Mercenary Kings really is likeMonster Hunter mixed with Metal Slug, though people don't seem to appreciate revisiting the same locales. People easily dismiss this as "lazy" or "uninspired," but just like Dota 2, the map is a character that needs to be understood and learned.  Learning how the map is structured and how the enemies move and attack is crucial to success in Mercenary Kings. Sure, maybe they're revisited a little too much, but as someone who's spent countless hours in Monster Hunter over the years, I can appreciate the design decision behind it. Plus, it looks freaking beautiful! Mobile Games I Actually Enjoy Playing from 2014 Monument Valley It's not overly complex, it doesn't make me wrack my brain, but Monument Valley is an experience that is worth having a million times over. It is relaxing and it is interesting, two qualities that don't come up too often on the mobile side of things. The musicality of the game really makes it stand out from everything else. Threes I think I may have spent more time defending Threes than actually playing it this year. Threes is a wonderfully deep game, rewarding players who plan their next move and punishing those or swipe all willy-nilly, unlike the cheap knock-off 2048. This is the game that launched 1,000 clones. Crossy Road An endless Frogger doesn't really sound all too appealing, but Crossy Road proves that it is. It's free, but the "BUY STUFF" can certainly get annoying at times, althoughit's too intrusive. Plus, every 6 hours it gives me free coins to use and entices me to play a few more rounds, which I always do. I just gotta collect all the characters! Desert Golfing Leigh Alexander said words about Desert Golfing way better than I can say words about Desert Golfing. I'll just say that I got three hole-in-ones in a row, had no fanfare, and I flippin' loved it. Top Three Games from past years I'm still playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf Let me update you on Tobytown. I finally got Queenie to move out; her personality just wasn't appreciated here. It took MONTHS of ignoring, but she finally got the hint. Now I have some awesome new villagers like Ribbot and Lucky! Also, Axel has been wearing the shirt I designed for months now! I figured he'd take it off pretty quick, but me and him are homies now because of his excellent fashion taste. My town is in a good spot, but I still need some Public Works Projects that aren't yet suggested!  Team Fortress 2 Every update brings me back. New game modes, new movies, new weapons, NEW HATS, everything is still appealing to me. The recent Demoman changes are a perfect way to bring the class in line with the others. Running around with a Loch 'n' Load doesn't feel useless now, and in fact it might be my new favorite way to play Demoman!  Dota 2 Yup, my game of the forever. I'll take any chance I can get to talk about Dota 2. Constant balance changes that shake up the meta is what I live for. The new Lifestealer is definitely intruiging, but I am sad that Ogre Magi (aka Ogre Magoo) was hit hard with nerfs. This is a game that keeps on giving and even when I don't feel like playing, I can always simply watch. Dota 2 isn't going away any time soon, and that makes me incredibly happy.
Hancock's GOTY picks photo
Year of the local multiplayer
What a magical year this was! It's hard coming up with a GOTY list, especially if you force yourself to pick only 10. That's why I didn't, I picked as many as I needed to! It's thirteen; I picked thirteen games.  There w...

Adam Tierney's GOTY photo
Adam Tierney's GOTY

Adam Tierney's favorite games of 2014

Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Dec 31
// AdamTierney
[Game developer Adam Tierney took to our Community Blogs to share his short list of 2014 favorites. Want to share your own GOTY stories? Go write something! --Mr Andy Dixon] Hey Destructoid! I'm Adam Tierney, a videogame desi...
Community Choice Award photo
Community Choice Award

Destructoid's Game of the Year 2014 Community Choice Award!

And the winner is...
Dec 29
// mrandydixon
What a wild year it's been for us gamers. In spite of all the insanity this industry inevitably attracts, when we look back on everything that has happened over the last 12 months, I think there's one thing we can all agree o...

Brittany Vincent's random assortment of Game of the Year 2014 picks

Dec 29 // Brittany Vincent
Best Game For #1 Handsy Boys: Tomodachi Life I quit playing this life sim when I realized there was no real endgame despite how much I enjoyed its day-to-day moments and I'd never accomplish anything beyond creating a Josh Homme Mii or making a baby with my in-game and IRL boyfriend. It was a lot of fun while it lasted. I'm sure everyone is either really angry with each other now or rotting away in their diminutive apartments, having died of starvation because they can't fend for themselves, despite how close the store is to their dwelling place. Runner-Up: Trying to Figure Out Why Sailor Moon Crystal had Such Terrible Art I think I spent a few hours trying to decipher this game's objectives, but gave up shortly after. Best Racing Game That I Raced In: Mario Kart 8 I feel like if you don't get why Mario Kart 8 is a good game at this point, you probably never will. Would you look at that? Just look at it. I always use Rosalina, because I feel like her emo swoop, like Red Bull, gives me wings. Actually, I don't drink Red Bull. It's disgusting and gives me little or no caffeine buzz, possibly because I'm addicted to caffeine. I do quite enjoy using the Wii U's Game Pad for 15-minute gaming sessions, since that's about how long the battery lasts. Runner-Up: Deciding Against Preordering amiibo That Later Were Extremely Difficult to Procure I should have just gone ahead and preordered every single one of them. Instead, I spent long, sleepless nights trolling r/amiibo looking for a silver lining in the ominous cloud that is being a purveyor of useless Nintendo crap. I can't help it. They're cute. I won't even open them, because they're going to pay for my non-existent future childrens' college fund. Just kidding. They'll sit pretty on my shelf and I'll continue to hoard them. And I've got Shulk on lock. Don't even play. Best Baby Game: Disney Magical World There's no shame in running errands for Mickey and Minnie, especially when you get stickers and outfits for doing so. Donald Duck is a straight up gangsta in this game, too. He stands by that little fishing hole all day waiting for something to bite, but I know from experience that he's only ever going to encounter the same three or four fish over and over. I wish there would have been some way to integrate this game with Disney Infinity, but I know they're all completely different developers and whatnot. Between you and me, this was much more fun than Infinity ever seemed -- but maybe it's because I'm not a Marvel fan and all I ever wanted to do was get Elsa's figure. I also wanted Sulley from Monsters, Inc. but it's impossible to grab a solo version without buying the crystal version. And those are just lame, boring crystal reprints of figures that are already out. Runner-Up: Singing out of Tune to Every Song that Came on Spotify While Writing This Right now it's "Wrecking Ball." A few minutes ago it was "We Can't Stop." It relieves a lot of stress, especially when it's 1:11 AM. I recommend going through Britney's discography for this purpose, honestly. You already know all the words, and you don't have to throw in a "yeah" on the offbeat to try and turn every song you're ruining into a rap song.  Best JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Game: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA. (Check out my review here, you bunch of roundabouts. It wasn't perfect, but I had a lot of fun.) Best PlayStation Game I Previously Had to Jump Through Hoops to Play, so I Never Did Except for That One Time and a Few Others: Vib-Ribbon There are things that happen in life sometimes that you can't control, like wishing extremely hard that you could purchase something but just can't. Like, you've got money in hand and want so badly to purchase a good, but for whatever reason you just can't. It's like walking into an Apple Store and asking to buy an item and being put on a waiting list with a bunch of caterwauling miscreants who got there before you and being told "I'd love to help you out, but there are other people who have been here waiting about 20 minutes, so as soon as it's your turn I'll get you taken care of." With games that don't simply come out in your region (save from importing and going to a lot of trouble, which I had to end up doing most of the time) you can't tell the Apple employee that you already know what you want and have cash in-hand to buy in a manner that clearly communicates that you're not just some schmuck looking to peruse their parade of overpriced (yet deliciously luxurious) products and are a Real Man. You just have to hope the game gets imported so you don't have to mod your console or buy a brand new one. Or emulate it. Sony made Vib-Ribbon available for me this year, and now it's the classic that every blogger gets to pretend they'd heard about or cared about writing features for before when they only got interested because it was Buzzworthy™.  Runner-Up: Keeping my Opinions on Controversial Topics to Myself on Various Social Media Channels  I'm a nobody who writes about games. I don't need to share any of that. Getting involved is a wicked game to play. Best Reason to Put Family Guy on for Ambient Noise Because I'm too Scared to be in my Own Apartment in the Dark at Night After Playing: P.T. It may have been a demo, but it sure did trump nearly everything else I played this year. I think they're going to ruin it with some episodic nonsense or whatever, which is really just a bad idea. Let me tell you how much I retain of Telltale's games after I complete an episode when it's time to dive into the next one: Nothing at all. I just get irrationally angry when I have to wait for the next installment. Runner-Up: TWIN PEAKS IS COMING BACK OH MY GOD   Oh my god. Oh, oh my god. I'm so hot right now.  Best Reason to Forgo Sleep: Bayonetta 2 You may have heard that Bayonetta is an inspirational single mother or some other nonsense like that, and that is absolutely true. She's a hard-working mom who takes good care of Cereza despite the fact that Enzo doesn't pay child support. I think that's an admirable quality in a strong female character, too. Her son Loki (by Luca) may be a bit of a troublemaker, but she reveals a surprising amount of grace with every interaction where Loki is concerned. It's heartwarming, and an inspiration to me as a woman who enjoys video games. Runner-Up: Realizing None of the Above is True When You Actually Play the Game and I Made all of it up for Comic Effect Bayonetta 2 is perfection. Actually, take away the weird motion comic-styled cut scenes, and then it'd be perfection. You don’t control the lithe and lethal Umbra Witch so much as become her, chaining together a mixture of buttery-smooth combos and over-the-top moves that feel as natural as your very own movements. It’s a joy to watch the action unfold onscreen, and even more so to participate. From every Wicked Weave attack to the punishments that rain down upon the unsuspecting Angels, it’s clear that excellence oozes out of every single pore. Gorgeous level design, insane boss battles, and a wide array of costumes and unlockables combine to make Bayonetta 2 one of the greatest games of this console generation, and the best this year had to offer. You don't f*ck with a witch. That's 2014. I also enjoyed Pokémon: Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as well as the Senran Kagura games. I played a lot of World of Warcraft this year too, or really, near the end of the year. So yeah.
Brittany's GOTY picks photo
I'm not entirely sure what year it is. Is it 2015? That's what I keep hearing around the internet. I'm pretty sure it's still 2014, at least for a few more days though. Who can be sure in tumultuous times like these? Anyway, ...

Destructoid's award for Overall Best Game of 2014 goes to...

Dec 26 // Jonathan Holmes
Someone once said that Bayonetta is a cross between '90s-era Madonna, Neo (from The Matrix). and Nomi Malone of Showgirls fame. That someone was me, which is why I'm more than proud to help name Bayonetta 2 Destructoid's overall Game of the Year for 2014. Bayonetta 2 had to fight to be born. Despite the relative popularity of the original game, Sega and Platinum struggled to justify the funding for a follow-up. Nintendo swooped in, securing the exclusive publishing rights for the sequel. In doing so, the company signaled to fans that it was opening its doors to third-party developers in all-new ways, and that it was willing to shed its "family friendly" image when it felt it was right to do so. The game hasn't been embraced by Wii U owners in the same way that Smash Bros. or Mario Kart 8 have, but that's sadly to be expected. What's important is the people who love Bayonetta 2 really, really love it. I'm yet to meet someone who has played through the game who didn't name it as one of their top titles of 2014.  What is it about Bayonetta 2 that inspires so much joy? For me, it has to do with the notion of "guilty pleasures," and how the game turns them on their heads. Videogames are often considered guilty pleasures. For some, playing a game instead of "doing something useful" is a form of rejecting authority. For others, they are a new form of fantasy that reject commonly held standards for class and appropriateness. There's also the fact that a lot of games today contain sex and/or violence. These are all things we're meant to feel guilty about in American culture. Bayonetta wraps them all up in a ball, erases the guilt from all of them, and maximizes all the pleasure. She takes joy in her physicality, her ability to dominate others, and in her own body in whatever way she sees fit. She rejects all outside judgments, from her father, her friends, and even God himself. She doesn't give a fuck, period, end of sentence. That ability to reject self-consciousness and fear of vulnerability allows her (and the player) to reach unimaginable heights of power. She takes you on a rambunctious, ridiculous thrill ride, smirking all the while, totally unconcerned with the sacrilegious absurdity of it all while encouraging you to feel the same.   Thanks to everyone for voting, and stay tuned for more Personal GOTY awards from our editors as the year closes out. 
Overall GOTY photo
... a game that will never stop
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] Why do we love videogames? Some say it's the escapism, or the ability to wrap you up in a story that you get to help tell as it's being told to you. Others say it's the way they can bring fri...

The award for Best World Design of 2014 goes to...

Dec 25 // Jonathan Holmes
Alien: Isolation won, you guys. As imaginative, inviting, and endlessly charming as the world of Bravely Default may be, it just couldn't beat out the dark hallway, half-open lockers, and claustrophobic air vents of The Anesidora. Like with the original film, the ship in Alien: Isolation is arguably the most important character in the game. While the titular alien takes the spotlight, the game is really about the player's relationship with the environment. How well you know and understand your surroundings will determine if you live or die, or more like if you live for another 20 minutes or another 60 seconds. Likewise, the game itself lives or dies by how deeply convincing it is to the player. If you don't feel like The Anesidora is a real place, then there is no reason to feel that your plight is real, that the alien is real, or that you're in any form of danger worth being invested in. Thankfully, the game pulled it off better than many expected after a recent failed attempt, which is part of why it won our award.  Congratulations to the team at Creative Assembly for their win, and tune in tomorrow when we crown the winner of Destructoid's overall Game of the Year. Don't be mad if Bayonetta 2 doesn't get the top spot. Instead, buy it for a friend. Then everybody wins. 
World 2014 photo
...a place both new and familar
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] Growing up, a lot of kids I knew liked to try to sound grown up by saying they played videogames "for the story". Maybe they had adapted the phrase from the adults they saw on TV who said the...

The winner of Destructoid's Best Narrative Design of 2014 is...

Dec 24 // Jonathan Holmes
Jazzpunk and Transistor have nothing in common in terms of tone, but a lot in common in terms of delivery, or lack there of. Instead of sitting you down and telling you a story, they allow the player to inhabit a story, to actively turn the wheels of emergent narratives as they unfold around them. They don't deliver. They transport. Jazzpunk is an absurd comic romp where emergent punchlines are common rewards for effective gameplay. The player is made to feel like they are the ones creating comedy, as opposed passively receiving it. Likewise, Transistor doesn't exactly "tell" you a story. It talks to you, not at you. Sometimes you feel like you're leading the conversation. Sometimes it feels like you're following it. Most of the time though, it feels as though the story is unfolding parallel to your progress, growing with you at the same rate. You are not the audience in either of these games. You are on stage alongside them, interacting with them, creating something between you that's larger than the sum of your parts.  These are not choose-your-own-adventure games or fragmented "cut scene, gameplay, cut scene" experiences. These are games that work to make "story" and "play" one and the same. That's my guess as to why they earned the popular vote of Destructoid's staff for this year's awards. Congratulations to the teams at Supergiant Games and Necrophone Games for your wins. Next up, we'll look at games with the best world design of 2014.  [Disclosure: Jim Sterling, former Reviews Editor at Destructoid, did voice work for Jazzpunk. No relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the Game of the Year voting process.]
Narrative GOTY photo
...not just one game
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] Any game can use cut scenes to tell a great story. That trick was impressive back when CD-ROMs were cutting-edge technology. Today, the expectation for story-focused games is to work towards ...

The award for Best Game Mechanics of 2014 goes to...

Dec 23 // Jonathan Holmes
I'd like to say that this was a close one, but it wasn't. OlliOlli did incredibly well considering it's a new IP only available on a select number of platforms, but in the end, nothing even came close to beating out Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. I chalk it up to how well the game's moment-to-moment mechanics tie into the larger overarching self-directed narrative, forming a portrait of violence and survival that's a joy to experience from every perspective. It's taught and compelling on both a micro and macro level, simultaneously believable and fantastic, primitively satisfying and awe inducing.  On paper, it may not sound that special. Pretty much all you do in the game is play cat-and-mouse with a bunch of flesh eating jerks, but you could say the same thing about Pac-Man and that series is still going strong 30 years later. It will be interesting to see if Shadow of Mordor has the same kind of longevity. The Tolkien universe it's based on has been a mainstream hit in Hollywood for over ten years now, and people used to think those books were only for nerds so you never know.  Regardless of what the future holds for Shadow of Mordor, it is in this shining moment a Destructoid GOTY winner. Congratulations to the team at Monolith for their success, and tune in tomorrow when we announce the winner of best narrative design of 2014.
Mechanics GOTY photo
... a game that really rolls off the tongue
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] The idea behind the best mechanics category is to highlight games that you'd love to play even if they had stick-figure graphics, no multiplayer, no music, and no story. Some of them may be f...

Rust Cohle's GOTY games for 2014

Dec 23 // Rust Cohle Games
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Spike Chunsoft created Danganronpa to grow the hope that they could kill and you are reborn, but into the same despair that you’ve always been born into. It’s an allegory for society’s pressure on students. The world on their young shoulders; a fork in the road to hope or despair. In Danganronpa 2, two idols stand before you. The purveyor of despair, Monokuma. And the governess of hope, Monomi. You know me though, I don’t see the connection between two animals and a murdered anime kid. But hey, I’m from Texas. After I finished Danganronpa 2, I sat up all night looking through the windows up at the stars thinking: This is one story; the oldest. Despair versus hope. Despair has a lot of territory up there in the endless darkness of space, but Monomi taught me an important fact. You see, once there was only dark. Now it’s littered with stars, glimmers of hope. You ask me, hope is winning. Goodbye despair… Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4) Days are nothing. That’s what it’s like when you work cases: makes you miss out on a lot of releases. Days are like lost dogs. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn came out last year, but I lacked the constitution to subscribe at the time. But with the PS4 release, I refused to avert my eyes again. Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by rolling either DPS, tank, or healer. At least that’s what Square Enix wants you to believe. Instead I see propensity for squishy tanks, gold spamming bots, and folks putting what few bucks they do have into the mog station. Rolling a Miqo'te is the transference of fear and self-loathing to a feline vessel. It is cathartic playing as a catgirl. The shunning of Miqo’te represents humanity's innermost jealous of catgirls. We all want a fluffy tail. Instead all we can do is dream. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd Idol worship has existed since we could formulate thought. Certain anthropologists think that Cleopatra was the first: the original waifu. Project Diva reminds us that society would rather project our musicianship on digitized idols than build on our own talents. We reward Miku for authenticity in her music, because despite that she’s just a buncha’ code, the narrative hasn’t been twisted; the world is hers. Life’s barely long enough to get a "perfect" on one Miku song, so I focused on Clover♣Club. In those hours spent trying to master it, I realized something. All the failed notes, all the max combos, all the high scores, all the technical bonuses, all your pain, it was all the same thing. It was all a dream Miku and her vocaloid friends have – a dream about being a person, about being free of this song and dance we force these idols into. And, like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it: You. The Wolf Among Us Never has a game embodied the impunity that us police officers are imbued with. We can do dark things without consequence: huffin’ and puffin’, blowing away your sense of self and security like eraser shavings on a desk. The Wolf Among Us is an allegory for man’s animalism. We’re walking, talking, lying beasts pretending to be civilized, highly functioning organisms. Bigby, much like myself, faces moral quandaries on a day-to-day basis. Like him, I’ve reconciled my nature. A nature which binds me to the sentient flesh and social taboos of my surroundings. The only thing keeping most people civil is a promise of a higher power and the threat that we, the law, bring. Civility in itself is a fairytale. P.T. Time is a flat circle. I’ve echoed this statement before, but it hasn’t been so applicable to anything else. P.T. is Kojima and Del Toro’s answer to something that gamers have been craving. Perhaps it's an answer to their own lives. You can’t change your life, and that in itself is the secret to life: it’s terrible. You’re trapped by a nightmare you keep walking into. Everything we’ve ever done or will do we’re gonna do over and over and over again just to make that fuckin’ baby cry. There’s a cathartic narrative in believing that Lisa is anything more than a victim. She is eternity looking down upon us, begging to be heard. P.T. is about death and futility. There’s nothing to be gained by penance – only action. Maybe that’s why I’m still sitting by the telephone. Norman Reedus and I have both got dirt on our souls.
Rust's GOTY photo
Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Another year, another series of GOTY lists fueled by fanboyism and cognitive dissonance. We all know the AAA games get their fair share of nods and stick shakes. That's why I'm here to tell the world what my GOTY games are fo...

The winner of Destructoid's Best Multiplayer Design of the year is...

Dec 22 // Jonathan Holmes
[Image by Thormeister] Don't act too surprised. Like you might have guessed, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U won our award for Best Multiplayer Design, and for good reason. Eight-player brawls, the Smash Tour board game mode, the incredibly varied and interesting character roster, co-op in just about everything, and the weird "multiplayer against your toys" amiibo integration all added together to help Smash Bros. push past the always crowd-pleasing Mario Kart 8 and the young and plucky Towerfall: Ascension. That's not to say it wasn't close call. This one was a squeaker. If just one of our staff members had voted differently, either of the two runners-up could have taken the top spot. Congratulations to the teams at Nintendo, Bandai Namco Entertainment, and Sora for the win! Now about that rumored Ice Climbers DLC...
Multiplayer GOTY photo
...not a first-person shooter
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] Counting up the votes for Dtoid's Best Multiplayer Design was exciting. I had no idea how the voting would go. Big games like Destiny, Titanfall, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare didn't do ...

Nic Rowen's list of the best games of the year

Dec 22 // Nic Rowen
Best Game of the Year – The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth My GOTY should come as no surprise: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was hands down the best game I played all year. Yeah, I know it's a half-remake/half-sequel of the original, but that doesn't matter to me – it's still number one. When you stack up all the games I played this year and measure them based on the sheer number of smiles, gasps, and blood-pressure spiking moments of sublime concentration they brought into my life, Rebirth blows them all away. I gushed all over Rebirth in my 10/10 review, so I'm not going to subject you all to a long litany of praises again. But you wanna know a secret? Something I didn't mention in the review? I've spent just as much time playing Rebirth solo as I have shoulder-to-shoulder with my girlfriend. That toss-away co-op mode that seemed like a polite afterthought ended up being one of my favorite things about the game. Rebirth is an exercise in barely-controlled chaos. Random enemies, random upgrades, and painful trade-offs at every turn. A single bad room can end a potentially great run, while one lucky item grab can turn a dark situation around. It's a balloon filled with wasps that you bat around the living room and try not to smack into the ceiling fan. What could possibly be better than adding another person to that volatile mix? Runners-up – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Call my tastes predictable, but yes, I loved the big showy licensed action game this year. What can I say? I love stabbing monsters, especially when they're as lovingly rendered and gorgeously hideous as the Orcs in Mordor. I still enjoy Arkham-style combat, particularly when it's used for things like beheading an enemy in the middle of a fight, brainwashing a fool into backstabbing his friends, or teleporting into a fleeing dude sword-first like a heavy-metal version of Nightcrawler. Most of all though, I loved the Nemesis system. I'm the kind of nerd who will make up his own stories while playing a game, and a system that will specifically engineer colorful characters and on-going rivalries is so perfectly designed to appeal to me that it is almost scary. If game developers are looking for the next big mechanic to steal, PLEASE make it the Nemesis system. Dark Souls II It feels like sacrilege to place Dark Souls II as a runner-up. My deep affection for the series knows no bounds and I had an amazing time with this sequel. Sadly, its excellence was frequently hindered by small (maybe even petty) quibbles I couldn't help but fixate on. Some uneven difficulty spikes occasionally crossed the line into unfair territory. I expect a Dark Souls game to take me out behind the woodshed from time to time, but I want to learn something in the process, or see how I could have avoided death if I had been smarter. I don't want to get my shit wrecked by five undead suicide bombs charging me from around a corner. Honestly, Dark Souls II's biggest flaw might be that it lives in the shadow of the original. Dark Souls II is a fantastic game, but Dark Souls was a masterpiece – a work of art. It's hard to compare to that standard.   Transistor I am so glad this game exists. Sometimes I just think about Transistor – I consider the look and feel of the game, the melancholy tone, the subtle character touches, that it has a dedicated button to make Red hum a song – and I smile a deep inward smile. I think every gamer secretly dreams about the game they would make if they could, or the one they wish they had made. For me, Transistor is that game. I'm hard pressed to think of a single thing I didn't like about Transistor, other than the fact that there wasn't more of it.   Best Online Multiplayer Game of the Year - Titanfall Holy shit, was I the only person on earth who loved Titanfall? Despite the crazy poop-flinging backlash Titanfall seems to have inspired from some corners of the internet, I absolutely adored my time with the game. I mean c'mon, bouncing from building to building with parkour skills and a jetpack while shooting dudes? Crushing helpless Grunts beneath a Titan's steel foot? Launching streams of missiles at a robot before finishing it off with a pneumatic right-hook? How do you NOT have a great time doing that? Sometimes our choices aren't complicated. The heart wants what the heart wants, and mine beats to the rhythm of stompy robot footfalls. Titanfall put on the biggest and best spectacle I've seen from a online shooter in years and I couldn't get enough. Runner-up – Dark Souls II Dark Souls II threaded the needle between the unique qualities of the original Dark Souls' harsh multiplayer experience and some reasonable concessions to what players were actually getting up to. The end result was a multiplayer system that still embraced chaos, random chance, and isolation, while providing an olive branch to players who wanted to co-op up with specific players or engage in certain kinds of PVP. Kind of a best-of-both-worlds solution that miraculously worked. Make no mistake, this is Dark Souls. You'll still get invaded by bloodthirsty jackals prepped with gear and skills that will let them take a shit in your lunch. You'll still occasionally join a world as a White Phantom only to find out your host takes a bizarre delight in running into every possible trap and enemy. But you can also steer the sails of fate a bit, make it a bit easier to join your brother for some co-op when you want to, or meet up with your pal from the forum for a quick duel. Dark Souls II found a fair compromise. Best Couch Multiplayer – Gang Beasts 2014 was a great year for hanging out with your jerk-ass friends and shouting at each other. While Gang Beasts couldn't make it into Dtoid's official GOTY lists because it's still early access, I'm a totally baller renegade who won't let the “rules” hold me down when it comes to my personal list. Gang Beasts' fat, drunken wrestling babies were one of the highlights of the year in my circle of friends (which sounds kind of weird when you put it like that.) Best Surprise of the Year – Payday 2 To be perfectly accurate, Payday 2 was a 2013 game but I only got around to it this year. But that seems to have been the perfect way to play it. Skipping over several months of thin content and buggy heists, I came in at the perfect time to snatch up steep discounts on the game and DLC, and enjoy a renaissance of armed robbery. Since starting to play the game in June, there have been five or six major updates, injecting new heists, skills, and even characters into the game. There is so much to do that I've had trouble keeping up! When I picked PD2 up on sale I figured it would be fun for a weekend or two and then I'd quietly uninstall it when I had my fill of smashing store windows and zip-tying hostages. But that hasn't happened yet. I'm finding new ways to take down heists, new attachments to my silly-looking machine gun, and having such a great time with my friends it should be illegal (oh wait, it totally is.) Jazzpunk of the Year – Jazzpunk Take two missionoyl and call me in the morning. You'll thank me. Best Creepy Animatronics – Five Nights at Freddy's Let's eat! Seriously, I stabbed a lot of dudes – Mordor Stab, stab, stab, stab...
Nic's Best photo
From my private reserve
2014 was such a weird year in games for me. If you had asked me last January how I thought this list would have shook out, I'd have been far off the mark. For one thing, I would have expected a slew of amazing new Xbox One an...

Bill's GOTY picks photo
Bill's GOTY picks

Bill Platt's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014

2014 was an amazing year!
Dec 22
// ChillyBilly
2014 was a phenomenal year for gaming. I don’t think there was a genre that didn't have a game I absolutely loved. Now, the truth is that I’m easy to please; I could never do reviews. I see the fault in games, but...

Kyle MacGregor's sexy picks for Game of the Year 2014

Dec 21 // Kyle MacGregor
Never Alone: Kisima Inŋitchuŋa Never Alone isn't a terribly good game, but the concept more than makes up for any of its technical shortcomings. Getting to learn about the Iñupiat people and other Alaska Native cultures is one of the more meaningful interactive experiences to be had in 2014. This is a project I respect, appreciate, and want to see more of in the future. I'm hopeful Never Alone will give other indigenous tribes from similarly remote corners of the globe the opportunity to share their stories with the world. We will be richer for it. Helen's Mysterious Castle You've probably never heard of Helen's Mysterious Castle. That's okay. This role-playing game is by far the most obscure name on my ballot, coming from Japanese indie developer Satsu.  Helen's Mysterious Castle may not look like much, given it was created using RPG Maker, but this is a game with a lot of heart. It's synchronously deconstructive and progressive, compelling players to be calculating and defensive like few RPGs before it. Oh, and it's pretty hilarious, too.  Bayonetta 2 Platinum Games knows how to make action games and Bayonetta 2 might just be the studio's magnum opus. This insane battle between Heaven and Hell demands your attention. OlliOlli OlliOlli has been a mainstay in my rotation since its debut on PlayStation Vita this January. It boils the joy of skating games down to its essence, siring an experience so addictive and rewarding you can pick it up for a moment only to lose hours tricking and grinding along rails. Bravely Default Creators often feel the need to reinvent the wheel, throwing out what's worked since time immemorial to craft second-rate facsimiles in the name of "innovation." Bravely Default, on the other hand, takes what made the JRPGs of yore so great and injects contemporary ideas into the mix. The result is something that feels cozily retro, rather than archaic. It's a modern classic. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Persona Q shouldn't work as well as it does. It's a fusion of two incredibly disparate types of role-playing games that could have easily mixed like oil and water, but it's fantastic. Etrian Odyssey and Persona are nothing alike, but fit together like two sides of the same coin. Atlus can do no wrong. Terra Battle Terra Battle is my jam. Yeah, that game with ads plastered all over the site. It's actually good, guys! Mistwalker really blew me away with this mobile strategy game. I love it to death. It's become something of an obsession, really. I might have poured more time into flanking monsters in this tile-based RPG than I've spent with any other game on this list. Drakengard 3 Drakengard 3 is sort of bad. It definitely has problems. But these are my personal favorites, not a list of games with the best frame rates. The storytelling and characterization here are fantastic. This might be the only game released in 2014 that consistently had me in stitches. Astebreed I can't say "Astebreed" with a straight face, but it's a damn fine shmup with many wonderful qualities. Its dynamic camera gives the experience a raw cinematic quality. Panning around cosmic battlefields and shifting between angles, it evokes memories of Einhänder, Radiant Silvergun, and Sin & Punishment all in the space of a few moments. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Persona 4 Arena is one of my favorite fighting games ever, and Ultimax takes it up a notch. Arc System Works and Atlus are masters of their respective crafts, and to see them come together and collaborate on something that highlights their unique strengths is a real treat.  Dark Souls II Dark Souls II grabbed me from the outset and didn't let go until I saw the credits roll. Actually, even then it still had its talons in me. From Software really knows how to make an engrossing RPG. Shovel Knight It was love at first sight when I laid eyes on Shovel Knight at PAX East nearly two years ago. It made me feel like a kid again, seeing videogames for the very first time. Then I played the demo and talked to the good people at Yacht Club Games. The connection only grew stronger. You can feel the love in Shovel Knight. It's something its creators firmly believe in, something they've poured their hearts and souls into, something they've obviously wanted to make all their lives. Upon seeing that first slice of Shovel Knight, I had some pretty lofty expectations for the game. But, it delivered. And then some. It's by far my favorite game of 2014. Bravo!
Kyle's Goaty photo
Hyper Kawaii Suplex Hold
And, suddenly, another year passed us by. It seems like 2014 had only just arrived, and already it's being hauled away, kicking and screaming, never to be seen or heard from ever again. It's important that we take this time t...

Darren Nakamura's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014

Dec 21 // Darren Nakamura
10. Mario Kart 8 Growing up, I played way too much Mario Kart. I started with Super Mario Kart, I mastered Mario Kart 64, and I had some fun with Double Dash!! After that, none of the games really grabbed me. They were fine, but I would play each track once and never really touch them again. That changed with Mario Kart 8. For the first time in years, I was not only playing through every cup, but I was also playing to win with each of the (many) characters, and shooting for the elusive three star gold medals. It is difficult to say exactly what unique about this iteration in the franchise that it has been able to hold my attention better than the last few have. It may just be that all of the little things come together to form a dense, quality experience. Also there is a submarine kart called "Steel Driver."  9. Octodad: Dadliest Catch On paper, Octodad sounds like a miserable experience. Simple locomotion is taken for granted in almost every videogame, and breaking it down into each individual physical interaction can lead to impossibly frustrating gameplay (see: QWOP). Octodad: Dadliest Catch succeeds in this light, presenting control that is just awkward enough to convey the discomfort of living as an octopus disguised as a human, but not awkward enough to be infuriating. Couple the unorthodox control scheme with some exploration, light stealth, physical gags, and a Saturday morning cartoon-style story, and Octodad: Dadliest Catch ends up as a charming little game that made me smile throughout. 8. OlliOlli Where Octodad is about living a normal life with stretchy, slippery control, OlliOlli is about being the raddest skater on the helicopter blades with sharp, timing-based control. I have always had a soft spot for skateboarding games, and I never thought a 2D take would ever be able to capture the right feel, but OlliOlli does it. There's something about going for the perfect run, spending an hour and a few layers of thumb skin in the process. Achieving success after such a trial is a powerful high, but since the levels are so short, it's one that I found myself constantly chasing after. Sure, I just finished this really hard challenge and it was intrinsically rewarding... I wonder what the next level has in store for me. 7. The Wolf Among Us I have become a steady fan of Telltale's recent games. The studio has carved out its niche in crafting stories set in interesting worlds full of introspective decisions. That said, I didn't get into The Walking Dead Season 2 as much as I did Season 1, and though I loved the first episodes of Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones, we are not far enough into either series to claim best of the year. The Wolf Among Us was the Telltale game that hit me the hardest this year. Unlike with The Walking Dead, I knew next to nothing about the Fables series going into The Wolf Among Us, so it had the unenviable task of drawing me into the sketchy neighborhood of Fabletown on its merits alone. It succeeded in that endeavor. Though many lament that the choices involved have little impact on the overall plot, there are some that stick with me. Perhaps the most poignant for me is when Snow White asks Bigby if he enjoys becoming the Big Bad Wolf. Despite directing Bigby toward the morally righteous actions more often than not, I had to be truthful: I do enjoy dropping the niceties and tearing off limbs from time to time. 6. Bravely Default Back when I had all the time in the world, I was pretty big on JRPGs. I caught the bug from EarthBound and went into a frenzy on the PlayStation. Since then, I have been saddled with all these dumb responsibilities that keep me from spending hundreds of hours on a single game. Now, I only touch a JRPG about once every couple years. Dragon Quest IX was my previous obsession, but Bravely Default took over early this year. It is no coincidence that the last two role-playing games I dug deep into are handheld titles. The ability to flip open a 3DS, grind out a battle or two, then put it to sleep just as quickly helps tremendously with getting around the time constraints. Past that, the Brave and Default system is such a clever addition to traditional turn-based battles that I will miss it in any other JRPGs I play. But of course, the main strength of a role-playing game is its story, and Bravely Default has a great one. Each of the main characters is interesting in his or her own right, cultivating genuine sympathy by the end. And what an end! Seriously, I don't even know how Bravely Second plans to top that ending. How do you raise the stakes from [SPOILERS REDACTED]? 5. Super Smash Bros. There is a running theme with my Nintendo experience in 2014. As with Mario Kart, I played a ton of Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, but couldn't cultivate lasting interest for the Wii entry. I would only start up Brawl when people were over, and they would say, "Wait, you don't even have all the characters unlocked!" and then we would put it away and play something else, and I would never go back to do single player to unlock the characters. Releasing on the 3DS addressed that. On the handheld, single player is the default for me. As with Bravely Default, the ability to just play one or two matches at a time has allowed me to invest in going through Classic and All-Star modes with every character. I have long since unlocked all of the characters, stages, and options, but I am still at it, going for trophies and customizations. Despite owning both the 3DS and the Wii U versions, and despite liking the controls and graphics better on the Wii U, I still find myself playing the 3DS more often. The thing Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has over its big brother? I always have it with me in my pocket, ready for one match or ten. 4. The Talos Principle For our official awards, December releases are excluded simply because most of the staff has not had the opportunity to play them yet. That said, I have played The Talos Principle, I am putting it on my personal list, and I fully expect it to end up somewhere on Destructoid's Game of the Year awards in 2015. It certainly deserves it. The Talos Principle is easily the smartest game I played all year, and in more ways than one. The base gameplay consists of mentally taxing tool-based puzzles, which are accompanied by thought-provoking philosophical discussions. If it contained the puzzles alone, it would be a great title, but the writing elevates it to one of the best of the year. The strength in Tom Jubert's and Jonas Kyratzes's script is that it not only presents ideas of consciousness, personhood, and morality, but it demands that the player carefully considers those ideas. This is a must for anybody who is not averse to deep thought. 3. Extrasolar I feel for Lazy 8 Studios. It has seen moderate success with Extrasolar, along with high praise from those who played it, but it deserves a lot more recognition than it has as one of the most innovative, fourth wall-breaking titles of 2014. Its fatal flaw is that telling others why it is so good robs those players from the full experience. As I do every time I write about it, I will now urge you to skip the next two paragraphs, go sign up to play, and then come back to this list in a month or two when you are done. It's free. You don't have anything to lose but some time. Extrasolar presents itself as a science simulator in which players control a robotic rover on an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. Players give instructions to the rover, sending it to certain coordinates and taking photographs of the surroundings. Eventually, the game bleeds out into other media: emails come in from characters, PDFs require downloading, faux video chats are held, and more. There is drama, suspense, deception, and murder. Though it is easy to see the tricks it uses, they are robust enough that players can suspend disbelief long enough to really get into the story. It is clearly science fiction, but those who let go can be convinced, if only for a moment, that it is actually happening. There is nothing else like Extrasolar out there. 2. Civilization: Beyond Earth Civilization: Beyond Earth is time-travel software. I can start it up at just about any time during the evening, and then I am transported to 4AM, incredulous about being warped hours into the future with nothing to show for it except for a monstrous alien under my control. There are some gripes with Beyond Earth, most notably that the Affinity system reduces the volume of unique factions in play and that the victory conditions are all too similar, but those don't bother me too much. It still has the classic Civilization draw of building an efficient society, outmaneuvering opponents, and achieving greatness. As a bonus, Beyond Earth includes a narrative that brings up salient points about the present state of the world and asks important questions about the future of the human race. Will our hubris eventually lead to the destruction of Earth? (Yes, probably.) Should we fight to retain what makes us human or speed up evolution to become something greater? (Well, one gets us control of city-sized alien titans and the other doesn't, so...) 1. Tomodachi Life Reflecting on my list, it runs the gamut of genres. There's a racing game, an action adventure, an extreme sports title, an adventure game, a role-playing game, a fighter, a puzzler, a science simulator, and a strategy title. Some require intense dexterity and persistence, others careful thought and consideration. But the game that came out on top is Tomodachi Life, Nintendo's out-of-left-field life simulator. Why? Simple: Tomodachi Life has made me smile more than any other game I played in 2014. No matter what is happening on the bizarre island, I cannot help but have a big grin plastered to my face. When the avatars of people I know in real life do something weird or out of character, I imagine the real people doing it and I laugh. When the Miis say or do something particularly in character, I reminisce on my friends and family and all their goofy mannerisms. This game just makes me happy. Tomodachi Life came out in June, and now in December I am still playing it. Maybe I just collect money and buy some new food, maybe I stick around long enough to play a silly game with my college roommate, or maybe I go all out with solving problems and setting up dates. No matter what I do in the game, it never fails to put a smile on my face. Honorable mentions: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Constant C, The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville, Size DOES Matter, Sokobond
Darren's GOTY picks photo
PC and handheld gems
This has been an unusual year for me. In previous years, coming up with my favorite games has amounted to listing the ten games I played and then ranking them. In 2014 I took on many more reviews than I have in the past, so n...

Nominees for Destructoid's Overall Best Game of 2014

Dec 21 // Jonathan Holmes
Best Overall Game of 2014 Aban Hawkins and the 1001 Spikes Alien Isolation Bayonetta 2 Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Dark Souls 2 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Dragon Age: Inquisition  Far Cry 4 Kentucky Route Zero 3 Shovel Knight Super Smash Bros. for Wii U The Wolf Among Us [NOTE: Re-releases of games that contain minimal new content, incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to asses as stand alone experiences were not eligible for this year's awards. Due to time constraints, games released in December 2014 were also not eligible.]
Overall GOTY photo
The overall best fit
[Image credit: Mike Lambert] I've long been of the opinion that the relationship between a person and a videogame is similar to the relationship between a person and another living being. It's part of why you see people ...

Brett Makedonski's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014

Dec 21 // Brett Makedonski
5. The Wolf Among Us I just about missed out on The Wolf Among Us. I didn't end up playing it until a few weeks ago. The only reason I even picked it up is because I needed something bite-sized, something to act as a palate cleanser after spending most of November slogging through the massive open worlds of Assassin's Creed Rogue and Unity. I knew The Wolf Among Us would do the trick. One episode before bed each night was my goal. That plan didn't last long. Completing the first episode in the wee hours of the morning, I had a tough time containing my excitement to continue. The next day, I burned through episodes two through four. On day three, I wrapped up the saga. It all came as quite a surprise, especially given that I didn't care much for Telltale's Walking Dead games. However, The Wolf Among Us just grabbed me. I don't know if it was the characters, the seedy underbelly of Fabletown, or my Mass Effect-learned compulsion to play everything as "Paragon" as possible. Whatever it is, I loved The Wolf Among Us in a way that I didn't think was possible. 4. Alien: Isolation Alien is probably my favorite sci-fi universe. Giger's creation just strikes a chord with me that no other fictional monster ever has. The Xenomorph has always been the perfect predator in my eyes -- even more perfect than Predator. That said, Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation captures what Alien is all about. It's about being helpless, being the prey. Frankly, it's all about the Alien. Even when it's not around, there's always the possibility that it'll come around. That's almost the more terrifying prospect. There have been a lot of swing-and-misses in the Alien canon. My barometer for quality of entries in the series has always been "If I were trying to sell someone on this franchise, would I want to include this?" Alien: Isolation may be the first game where the answer to that question is a resounding "Yes!" 3. D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die To say that Swery's Dark Dreams Don't Die wasn't on my radar may be an understatement; I'm not sure I knew it existed before my appointment to see it at Tokyo Game Show. Still, after a short hands-off presentation, I couldn't wait to get home and try it. What I ended up finding was weird, off-the-wall, and marvelous -- a fat man devouring entire fish, a zoomorphic roommate with feline qualities, and some seriously slick tequila shot glass tricks. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Despite taking place in fairly small locations, D4 had so much to explore, so much to learn. That was most of the appeal. Trying to piece together what this world was about, all from the viewpoint of someone who was equally confused. As the story progressed and I hit the mandatory action sequences, I delightfully switched the controls over to Kinect. These bits reacted with such precision and were so snappy, I dare say they're the best reason to own the optional motion sensor yet. 2. P.T. Is P.T. a game? It's just an acronym for "playable teaser," right? It's just promotional material for Silent Hills. How can it be a game? P.T. was a full, self-contained experience, and one of the most memorable things I've played in 2014. As far as I'm concerned, that's absolutely enough to be considered a game. However, P.T. isn't something that you describe to someone else. You can't just tell them what makes it so great. You have to get them in a dark room and let them figure it out for themselves. You have to let them encounter Lisa for the first time. You have to let them figure out what the hell that thing in the sink is. In my opinion, P.T.'s greatest downfall is the disparity between the first 98 percent of it, and the difficulty of the final puzzle. Tension and terror give way to frustration and perplexion. Still, the vast majority of it is a masterpiece in horror -- even if it is just a teaser. 1. Valiant Hearts: The Great War My personal game of the year isn't much of a surprise to anyone that pays any attention at all to me. I shoehorn it into posts where it doesn't belong. I always bring it up on Hardline. I won't shut up about it on Twitter. I practically climb on my rooftop and shout to all my neighbors. Valiant Hearts: The Great War is my personal game of the year for 2014 because it's so heavy-handed with such an innocent approach. It imposes the gloom of war with a cute animated style. It juxtaposes love and warm reunions with gutting tragedies. It radiates emotion not through dialogue, but through the curvature of lips. Most importantly, it enforces that behind every conflict of nationalistic powers, there are thousands of individuals -- all with their own stories and their own people that care about them. As far as I'm concerned, Valiant Hearts is the most important game about war ever. There's no grim focus on killing, no "us versus them" mentality. There's so much despair, yet so little shooting. Valiant Hearts is a stark reminder that war isn't something to be glorified, or something to strive for; rather, it's a tornado. Some escape unscathed, others aren't so lucky. Regardless, everyone ends up deeply affected. Honorable Mentions: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Nidhogg, Forza Horizon 2, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
Brett's GOTY photo
Top five
2014 was the most hectic twelve months of my life. Up until late September, I'm fairly certain I spent more of the year on the road than at home. I did so much travelling that I honestly considered eschewing a top five games ...

Chris Carter's personal picks for Game of the Year 2014

Dec 20 // Chris Carter
Shovel Knight Yacht Club Games unequivocally proved its worth with its first title, and wow was it a bombshell. Shovel Knight looks and feels like a retro adventure that would have been considered a classic in that time period, but it has all the bells and whistles of modern game design. Nearly every platform and enemy is painstakingly placed to provide a near-perfect experience, and the bosses themselves are so wonderfully designed that I can recall their patterns and palettes in my head right now. When Yacht Club re-releases the game on Sony consoles next year I can't wait to get lost in it all over again. Oh, and don't forget about all that free bonus content that's still coming. Super Smash Bros. Wii U After being disappointed by Super Smash Bros. Brawl in a multitude of ways, the new Smash was what I needed. The physics feel greatly improved, the cast has a ton of additions that are some of my favorite fighters yet (like Villager), and it just looks beautiful on the Wii U. It also helps that there's a ton of content to sift through, including the eight-player mode, amiibo distractions, Smash Tour, and of course -- trophy hunting. I love that I can take a break from the typical four-player format and have an all-out eight-person brawl. It really helps break up the monotony, and is perfect for casual and hardcore fans alike. It may be my favorite Smash to date. Bayonetta 2 What can be said about Bayonetta 2 that hasn't already been said? Although I stated that this list was in no particular order, I'd be lying if I said Bayonetta wasn't first. It does nearly everything right, and in what could be considered an outlier for this year, it worked at launch and had more stuff to do than most games have a year later with DLC tacked on. Platinum remains one of the best purveyors of action games to this day. I hope the studio stays independent and continues to align itself with companies like Nintendo -- I'd hate to see it run into the ground when it's been so consistently brilliant. Dark Souls II Although I was worried about Dark Souls II (especially after the easy beta), my fears were unfounded. I absolutely loved the third iteration of the Souls series, and I became addicted all over again with searching every nook and cranny for the tiniest upgrade or glimmer of hope. Although there were some parts that could be considered "cheaper" than the past two games, I enjoyed the challenge and thought the environmental diversity more than made up for it. There's also a lot more under the surface, and I probably won't find everything even years later as I replay the base game and the three DLC packs. From Software still has it. D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die I didn't expect much from D4. Heck, I didn't expect anything. Although I'm generally a fan of Swery and his studio Access Games, the trailers for the Xbox One-exclusive adventure game were so erratic that it was hard to get excited for it. Alas, it ended up surprising me, as many games did this year. I loved the characters, the setting, and the entire concept of jumping into objects to relive moments. It had a very Lost feel to it all, on top of the hilarious and wacky Swery touch that I've come to enjoy over the years. I really hope subsequent episodes come sooner than later. Hyrule Warriors Hyrule Warriors, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways -- 300...hours that is. While I am a Dynasty Warriors fan at heart, I'm an even bigger Zelda fan, and this game delivered in all the ways I needed it to. From the amazing soundtrack to a playable rogue's gallery, I was able to live out my dreams of playing as some of my favorite Zelda characters. The fact that Omega Force thought to add the Adventure maps to the game is genius, because although the campaign is rather short, the need to do "just one more" map space is undeniable. This is easily one of my most played games of the year. Cloudbuilt While I'll give any game a chance, there are certain games that come around at just the right time. Cloudbuilt was one such title, as I really felt an itch for a good speedrunning experience. One part Mirror's Edge and another part Mega Man, Cloudbuilt was not only a gorgeous-looking experience, but it was well-crafted and had a ton of depth. The development team also took the time to listen to fans, and fixed a multitude of issues over the course of the game's launch period, augmenting the already strong package into one of my favorites of the year. I still go back and try to best my times, and I think I'll be doing that for years to come. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare As yet another surprise, Garden Warfare took over my living room for a good four weeks straight. I never thought that Electronic Arts could have devised something that broke the shooter mold like this, and although I feel as if most class-based shooters tend to blend over time, Garden did so much to make itself feel unique. From the giant Sunflower defense missions to the sniping cacti, every game was different. In another "not really EA" move, a great deal of free content was released to keep the title relevant, including new modes and maps. This is one game this year that definitely needs more recognition. Deception IV: Blood Ties It's no secret that I love trap games. The joy of setting up a great plan and executing it perfectly is why I enjoy games like Monaco, and I've been wanting a new Deception game for years on end. Blood Ties was able to satisfy me in a particular way that most games just can't, as the gameplay is unique to the series -- there's still almost nothing like it. Similar to Bayonetta 2 and a few other eastern titles this year, there's so much content to dig through it would take you days to uncover it all, and the mysterious and occult nature of the franchise makes it perfect for hiding secrets. I can't wait for the upcoming expansion and the newly announced follow-up. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XII Wait, what?! Yep, Lightning Returns is up here. I bet you never expected that, right? Well too bad, I enjoyed it! While I'm right up there on the rooftops yelling with you in regards to the stark drop in quality of Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning Returns was a much more fun experience in nearly every way. For starters, the developers embraced the silliness tenfold, and gave us ridiculous quests like one man's adventure to become a top chef, and of course, the Lady Gaga-esque Moogle suit. My favorite part though had to be how well each sandbox was designed. Every realm was huge, and distinct on its own terms. I spent hours getting lost in them, searching for new fun sidequests and items, which to me, is what JRPGs are all about. It also had a really kickass battle system and an infuriating (in a good way) final boss that I haven't seen the likes of since the first Prinny game. Honorable mentions: The Wolf Among Us, Strider, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Bravely Default.
Chris' GOTY photo
Top 10
Despite what people may say, I thought 2014 was an excellent year. Heck, nearly every year is great for gaming. I played over 300 titles across all platforms, a little more than last year -- but mostly that's because of my pr...

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