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Game of the Year

Joe Parlock's personal picks for Game of the Year 2015

Jan 01 // Joe Parlock
Honorable Mentions Here are the games I really liked this year, but weren’t in my top five for various reasons. Some I forgot about after playing, some had huge glaring problems, and some just got pushed down by games I liked more. Bloodborne: I’ve said it numerous times, but my least favourite game of all time is Dark Souls. So it’s hugely impressive that I do massively enjoy Bloodborne. It simplifies the Souls formula with less esoteric stats, snappier combat, and more easily readable level design. Plus the setting of Yharnam is just swell. Creepy, sure, but also swell. The big problem I had with Bloodborne was its pacing and multiple seemingly arbitrary difficulty spikes. Often I would go hours with few problems, only to spend the next dozen throwing myself at a brick wall. Cities: Skylines: Easily the best city-sim I’ve ever played. Skylines had the pure fun of designing an efficient city, and the in-depth simulation to keep things interesting once the city was all set up. I found the interface a bit wonky at times, and could’ve done without the faux-twitter yelling at me whenever I accidentally flooded a district, but I had a bloody good time with Cities. The Beginner’s Guide: A fantastic look at the creative process and the moral problems that can arise from it. A few of the riskier storytelling elements didn’t quite land for me, but it still gave me a lot to think about in the months after playing it. That was going to be #5 on my list, but then I remembered another game and it, unfortunately, got pushed down. Grow Home: Grow Home showed that big-name publishers like Ubisoft still have hints of creative brilliance deep inside somewhere. While it is yet another Ubisoft game about climbing a structure to unlock more areas, Grow Home did it in an utterly charming, colourful and low-poly style that made exploration a treat. Dying Light: As a spiritual successor to the pretty alright Dead Island, Dying Light improved on it in almost every way. Fantastic combat combined with some of the best parkour I’ve seen since Mirror’s Edge in the dense and detailed city of Harran kept me playing for way longer than it really should have. While the main story is generic Soldier-saves-the-world guff, the side-missions were far more memorable. The Top Five #5: Undertale Undertale was by far the best game I didn’t like playing this year. Gently tucked away inside some genuinely hilarious dialogue is an incredibly self-aware and emotionally engaging story fit to burst with lovable and memorable characters. Exploring the underground, hearing Toby Fox’s excellent soundtrack, Undertale is just bloody lovely. The only problem is I wasn’t entirely sold on the core gameplay. I’m not a fan of JRPGs in general, and while Undertale played with JRPG conventions in really cool ways at times, once you got past all the meta elements it was still ultimately a JRPG with turn-based combat and random encounters. I love Undertale as a cultural phenomenon, with its fanart and fabulous soundtrack remixes… but playing it really felt like a chore at times. #4: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate It’s an absolute miracle that Syndicate was even remotely good. After the trainwreck that was last year’s Unity, I – a massive fan of the series ever since the first game – had become convinced that Assassin’s Creed was on the decline. And Syndicate waltzes in and makes me fall in love with probably my favourite series of games all over again. The buginess and unbalanced combat of Unity was a thing of the past. Instead, we were treated to a fantastically recreated Victorian London that was fun to run and swing around in, and plenty of engaging side-missions to discover to work through. Syndicate isn’t only my fourth favourite game of this year, it’s also now my favourite of the entire series. Let’s hope Ubisoft can keep this momentum going for next year’s inevitable edition. #3: Crypt of the Necrodancer I very nearly forgot about rhythmic roguelike Crypt of the Necrodancer. I first played it when it released in early access last year, and would’ve gladly put it on my top games of 2014 had it not been in early access. After it finally got its full release earlier this year, and I can safely say it’s one of the best roguelikes that has ever been made. Necrodancer manages to have almost all of the standard genre trappings that are so appealing: permadeath, procedural generation, an entire bestiary of enemies and unending torrents of loot. On top of that, it managed to also ram in a pretty damn solid rhythm game too. DannyB’s stellar soundtrack works perfectly with interesting enemy patterns that make each encounter a fast-paced ballroom dance of a puzzle that kept me hooked in a way not even the likes of The Binding of Isaac have managed to. To me, Crypt of the Necrodancer is the perfect roguelike. Every other one I play now is compared to it, and most of them fall far short of being anywhere near as good. Oh, and the Deep Blues boss music has been stuck in my head all goddamn year. #2: Life is Strange With the episodes lasting from January to October, Life is Strange took up almost my entire year. During those ten months, no other game occupied my thoughts or conversations with friends quite like it did. There were times when I was incredibly worried it would collapse under the weight of its sometimes darker subject matter. Dealing with topics like suicide, teen pregnancy and sexual assault in a game is difficult at the best of times, but in an episodic series where those narrative threads are left dangling for months at a time, there was always the risk of them really going wrong with it. Fortunately, each time I doubted they could pull it off, developer Dontnod managed to come straight back with a respectful, engaging and memorable story with multi-dimensional and sympathetic characters. I cared deeply about Arcadia Bay and all of the people who live in it, and by the time the final episode came around I was genuinely sad to see the series come to an end. None of this is even mentioning how well done the sci-fi elements, and the often incredibly designed time-travel focused puzzles resulting from it, are. They’re never layered on too thickly or too blatantly, making the whole thing feel like what would happen if The Twilight Zone happened in 2013. Life is Strange wasn’t without its flaws, though. I feel that the series as a whole had a habit of introducing plot points to shock the player, only to drop them a little later and carry on like nothing happened. One of the most interesting and challenging decisions I’ve had to make in a game ever seemingly had no consequence further down the line, which was a huge shame. What I’m trying to say in a roundabout and somewhat pretentious way is that Life is Strange is hella rad, especially when you play it on a tasty plasma. #1: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture I’ve never been massively into “walking simulators.” Not due to any dislike of the genre, and I certainly don’t believe they’re “not games,” I’d just never found one that I enjoyed. I think I’m too young to really appreciate the '90s nostalgia of Gone Home, and Dear Esther was slightly too poetic for me to keep track of, but Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was easily the most memorable experience I’ve had with a game this year. Developed by The Chinese Room of Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs fame, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture takes place in the quiet, fictional Shropshire village of Yaughton after the world has come to an end. As nobody is left, the story is told through echoes of conversations the villagers had while they came to terms with the rapture. What struck me about Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is that it took what I liked about Life is Strange and went in a very different direction with it. Both games are sci-fi stories lightly draped over very personal drama, and neither of them avoids dealing with darker themes. Over the course of Rapture’s multiple interconnected stories, the topics of religion, euthanasia, infidelity, disability, criminal justice and more all come into play at different times.  The difference between the two is that while Life is Strange used its hard-hitting topics to up the ante at the end of each episode, Rapture takes a more introspective approach, dealing with them in a calm, quiet and very hands-off way. . Both games do what they do incredibly well, but I appreciated Rapture’s approach to it just that little bit more. The Chinese Room managed to nail the non-linear storytelling of Rapture, effortlessly juggling and weaving together its multiple narratives in a way that was easy for me to follow, while also not giving away major plot details too quickly Plot aside, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was just lovely to take in. It’s beautiful both from an art direction and a technical standpoint, with its rolling fields, fascinating world design, and excellent lighting effects. In a year where we’ve had technical powerhouses like The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V, the fact that Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is still the prettiest game I’ve played this year is a big deal. The true star of the show, however, is Jessica Curry’s amazing soundtrack. I don’t usually remember the soundtrack of a game by what’s happening while it was playing, but every time I listen to The Pattern Calls Out I vividly remember the planes flying overhead, and with Carry Me Back to Her Arms I remember the sun rising over the fields. It sends shivers down my spine every time. It’s so good I even bought the limited vinyl run they did, and I don’t have a record player to listen to it on! Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is my personal game of the year by quite a wide margin. Other people had complaints about it being a very slow and plodding game, but the atmosphere, the setting and the story all came together to make it a game I loved from start to finish. It’s not for everyone, but I’m super glad it was for me. Thanks, The Chinese Room. -- Thank you very much for helping make 2015 one of my best years ever, Destructoid! Here’s hoping 2016 is just as good and full of just as many awesome games! Honorable Mentions Here are the games I really liked this year, but weren’t in my top five for various reasons. Some I forgot about after playing, some had huge glaring problems, and some just got pushed down by games I liked more. Bloodborne: I’ve said it numerous times, but my least favourite game of all time is Dark Souls. So it’s hugely impressive that I do massively enjoy Bloodborne. It simplifies theSouls formula with less esoteric stats, snappier combat, and more easily readable level design. Plus the setting of Yharnam is just swell. Creepy, sure, but also swell. The big problem I had with Bloodborne was its pacing and multiple seemingly arbitrary difficulty spikes. Often I would go hours with few problems, only to spend the next dozen throwing myself at a brick wall. Cities: Skylines: Easily the best city-sim I’ve ever played. Skylines had the pure fun of designing an efficient city, and the in-depth simulation to keep things interesting once the city was all set up. I found the interface a bit wonky at times, and could’ve done without the faux-twitter yelling at me whenever I accidentally flooded a district, but I had a bloody good time with Cities. The Beginner’s Guide: A fantastic look at the creative process and the moral problems that can arise from it. A few of the riskier storytelling elements didn’t quite land for me, but it still gave me a lot to think about in the months after playing it. That was going to be #5 in my list, but then I remembered another game and it, unfortunately, got pushed down. Grow Home: Grow Home showed that big-name publishers like Ubisoft still have hints of creative brilliance deep inside somewhere. While it is yet another Ubisoft game about climbing a structure to unlock more areas, Grow Home did it in an utterly charming, colourful and low-poly style that made exploration a treat. Dying Light: As a spiritual successor to the pretty alright Dead Island, Dying Lightimproved on it in almost every way. Fantastic combat combined with some of the best parkour I’ve seen since Mirror’s Edge in the dense and detailed city of Harran kept me playing for way longer than it really should have. While the main story is generic Soldier-saves-the-world guff, the side-missions were far more memorable. The Top Five #5: Undertale Undertale was by far the best game I didn’t like playing this year. Gently tucked away inside some genuinely hilarious dialogue is an incredibly self-aware and emotionally engaging story fit to burst with loveable and memorable characters. Exploring the underground, hearing Toby Fox’s excellent soundtrack, Undertale is just bloody lovely. The only problem is I wasn’t entirely sold on the core gameplay. I’m not a fan of JRPGs in general, and while Undertale played with JRPG conventions in really cool ways at times, once you got past all the meta elements it was still ultimately a JRPG with turn-based combat and random encounters. I love Undertale as a cultural phenomenon, with its fanart and fabulous soundtrack remixes… but playing it really felt like a chore at times. #4: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate It’s an absolute miracle that Syndicate was even remotely good. After the trainwreck that was last year’s Unity, I – a massive fan of the series ever since the first game – had become convinced that Assassin’s Creed was on the decline. And Syndicate waltzes in and makes me fall in love with probably my favourite series of games all over again. The buginess and unbalanced combat of Unity was a thing of the past. Instead, we were treated to a fantastically recreated Victorian London that was fun to run and swing around in, and plenty of engaging side-missions to discover to work through. Syndicate isn’t only my fourth favourite game of this year, it’s also now my favourite of the entire series. Let’s hope Ubisoft can keep this momentum going for next year’s inevitable edition. #3: Crypt of the Necrodancer I very nearly forgot about rhythmic roguelike Crypt of the Necrodancer. I first played it when it released in early access last year, and would’ve gladly put it on my top games of 2014 had it not been in early access. After it finally got its full release earlier this year, and I can safely say it’s one of the best roguelikes that has ever been made. Necrodancer manages to have almost all of the standard genre trappings that are so appealing: permadeath, procedural generation, an entire bestiary of enemies and unending torrents of loot. On top of that, it managed to also ram in a pretty damn solid rhythm game too. DannyB’s stellar soundtrack works perfectly with interesting enemy patterns that make each encounter a fast-paced ballroom dance of a puzzle that kept me hooked in a way not even the likes of The Binding of Isaac have managed to. To me, Crypt of the Necrodancer is the perfect roguelike. Every other one I play now is compared to it, and most of them fall far short of being anywhere near as good. Oh, and the Deep Blues boss music has been stuck in my head all goddamn year. #2: Life is Strange With the episodes lasting from January to October, Life is Strange took up almost my entire year. During those ten months, no other game occupied my thoughts or conversations with friends quite like it did. There were times when I was incredibly worried it would collapse under the weight of its sometimes darker subject matter. Dealing with topics like suicide, teen pregnancy and sexual assault in a game is difficult at the best of times, but in an episodic series where those narrative threads are left dangling for months at a time, there was always the risk of them really going wrong with it. Fortunately, each time I doubted they could pull it off, developer Dontnot managed to come straight back with a respectful, engaging and memorable story with multi-dimensional and sympathetic characters. I cared deeply about Arcadia Bay and all of the people who live in it, and by the time the final episode came around I was genuinely sad to see the series come to an end. None of this is even mentioning how well done the sci-fi elements, and the often incredibly designed time-travel focused puzzles resulting from it, are. They’re never layered on too thickly or too blatantly, making the whole thing feel like what would happen if The Twilight Zone happened in 2013. Life is Strange wasn’t without its flaws, though. I feel that the series as a whole had a habit of introducing plot points to shock the player, only to drop them a little later and carry on like nothing happened. One of the most interesting and challenging decisions I’ve had to make in a game ever seemingly had no consequence further down the line, which was a huge shame. What I’m trying to say in a roundabout and somewhat pretentious way is that Life is Strange is hella rad, especially when you play it on a tasty plasma. #1: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture I’ve never been massively into “walking simulators”. Not due to any dislike of the genre, and I certainly don’t believe they’re “not games”, I’d just never found one that I enjoyed. I think I’m too young to really appreciate the 90s nostalgia of Gone Home, and Dear Estherwas slightly too poetic for me to keep track of, but Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was easily the most memorable experience I’ve had with a game this year. Developed by The Chinese Room of Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs fame,Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture takes place in the quiet, fictional Shropshire village of Yaughton after the world has come to an end. As nobody is left, the story is told through echoes of conversations the villagers had while they came to terms with the rapture. What struck me about Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is that it took what I liked aboutLife is Strange and went in a very different direction with it. Both games are sci-fi stories lightly draped over very personal drama, and neither of them avoids dealing with darker themes. Over the course of Rapture’s multiple interconnected stories, the topics of religion, euthanasia, infidelity, disability, criminal justice and more all come into play at different times.  The difference between the two is that while Life is Strange used its hard-hitting topics to up the ante at the end of each episode, Rapture takes a more introspective approach, dealing with them in a calm, quiet and very hands-off way. . Both games do what they do incredibly well, but I appreciated Rapture’s approach to it just that little bit more. The Chinese Room managed to nail the non-linear storytelling of Rapture, effortlessly juggling and weaving together its multiple narratives in a way that was easy for me to follow, while also not giving away major plot details too quickly Plot aside, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was just lovely to take in. It’s beautiful both from an art direction and a technical standpoint, with its rolling fields, fascinating world design, and excellent lighting effects. In a year where we’ve had technical powerhouses likeThe Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V, the fact that Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is still the prettiest game I’ve played this year is a big deal. The true star of the show, however, is Jessica Curry’s amazing soundtrack. I don’t usually remember the soundtrack of a game by what’s happening while it was playing, but every time I listen to The Pattern Calls Out I vividly remember the planes flying overhead, and whenever I listen to Carry Me Back to Her Arms I remember the sun rising over the fields. It sends shivers down my spine every time. It’s so good I even bought the limited Vinyl run they did, and I don’t have a record player to listen to it on! Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is my personal game of the year by quite a wide margin. Other people had complaints about it being a very slow and plodding game, but the atmosphere, the setting and the story all came together to make it a game I loved from start to finish. It’s not for everyone, but I’m super glad it was for me. Thanks, The Chinese Room. -- Thank you very much for helping make 2015 one of my best years ever, Destructoid! Here’s hoping 2016 is just as good and full of just as many awesome games!
Game of the Year photo
I can't get over how good 2015 was!
Bloody hell 2015 has been a fantastic year, hasn’t it? I started Destructoid in back April with this being my first regular position at a major video game site and my god has it been a good year to come into it. We&rsqu...

Destructoid's award for Overall Best Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 23 // Niero Desu
Speaking of cereal business: The accidental legacy of the cock-branded corn flakes goes back to the late 19th century, when a team of Seventh-day Adventists began to develop new food to adhere to the vegetarian diet recommended by the church. In 1894, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the superintendent of The Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan and an Adventist, used these recipes as part of a strict vegetarian regimen for his patients, which also included no alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine. The diet he imposed consisted entirely of bland foods. A follower of Sylvester Graham, the inventor of graham crackers and graham bread, Kellogg believed that spicy or sweet foods would "increase passions." Pictured: Mergo's Wet Nurse This idea for corn flakes began by accident when Kellogg and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, left some cooked wheat to sit while they attended to some pressing matters at the sanitarium. When they returned, they found that the wheat had gone stale, but being on a strict budget, they decided to continue to process it by forcing it through rollers, hoping to obtain long sheets of the dough. To their surprise, what they found instead were flakes, which they toasted and served to the insane, who loved it.  In 1906, Will Keith Kellogg, who served as the business manager of the sanitarium, decided to try to mass-market the new food. At his new company, Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, Will added sugar to the flakes to make them more palatable to a mass audience, but this caused a rift between his brother and him. John thought the sugary version of corn flakes would get people laid. Heaven forbid: sex leads to babies, who are born bloody and can go on to produce murderous vicars and martyrs at sixty frames a second. Gross. Photo Credit: Blame Canada In 1907, his same company ran an ad campaign which offered a free box of cereal to any woman who winked at her grocer. To increase sales, in 1909, he added a special offer, the Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Booklet. You probably had no idea how much the church, insane people, and masturbation have affected what many of you put into your mouths every morning. Luckily, moving pictures have evolved since. Congratulations, Miss Colombia, you're our game of the year. No seriously, she won. Fuck it, I own Destructoid, the Niero does what he wants. Duuude, have you seen that T-Shirt that has the old American food pyramid, but instead it says "I do what I want"? That's hilarious. Also, congratulations to Bloodborne and everyone at Sony and From Software. Sick game. [GOTY artwork design by Raul Cordoba. Miss Colombia photo credit: El Heraldo Colombia] Also, a huge thanks to the game's lead programmer, Jun Ito, who rarely gets his name mentioned by the Western press. I don't know anything about this person or the countless others that also contributed, but Ito-san is surely like many of hard-working developers in the industry who sacrificed countless nights of restful sleep. Taihen arigatou gozaimashita.
GOTY 2015 photo
Jun Ito
The downfall of Japanese game development has been greatly exaggerated. It sort of reminds me of what happened a century ago, when Dr. Kellogg introduced Kellogg's Corn Flakes in hopes that it would reduce masturbation. Kello...

Destructoid's award for Best Xbox Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 23 // Brett Makedonski
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games that are not fair to assess as standalone 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
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Before Nathan Drake, there was Lara Croft. This is important to note because recently, for a good number of years, Nathan Drake was Lara Croft. Shrewdly, developer Naughty Dog took the cinematic action baton and ran far,...

Best Mobile Game photo
Downwell
There were some great slow-paced, methodical games up for this award (Lara Croft GO, Alphabear), but Downwell proves twitch action can still work on phones. It achieves this through its dedication to simplicity. Three colors....

Destructoid's award for Best Vita Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 22 // Laura Kate Dale
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games 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
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
The PlayStation Vita has not had the strongest year for releases. With some of the system's biggest exclusives moving to PS4 and a drastic reduction in the number of new games being produced by first-party developers, many ha...

Destructoid's award for Best PC Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 22 // Steven Hansen
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games 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
Undertale
This quirky, JRPG-inspired lovefest has been the unexpected smash hit of 2015, resonating strongly with a legion of fans that helped propel it to victory in a large "Best. Game. Ever." poll against some of the indelible class...

Destructoid's award for Best Wii U Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 21 // Jordan Devore
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games that are not fair to assess as standalone 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
Splatoon
Simply put, Splatoon delivered. Nintendo's inventive take on the shooter genre was the best in its field this year and so much more. It's a multiplayer experience that is both competitive and joyful, one where seasoned player...

Destructoid's award for Best 3DS Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 20 // Chris Carter
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games 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
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
The 3DS had a rough launch, but over the course of a few years, it bounced back in a big way. At this point if you count digital releases, it's one of my favorite platforms of all time -- and I'm not just talking about the po...

Destructoid's award for Best PS4 Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 19 // Kyle MacGregor
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games 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
Bloodborne
Was there ever any doubt? Of all the distinguished and exemplary titles to grace the PlayStation 4 in 2015, few approach the wit and artistry of From Software and Hidetaka Miyazaki's Bloodborne. As the latest installment in w...

The best new IPs of 2015

Dec 18 // Laura Kate Dale
Undertale While Undertale's release this year was a complete surprise to most people who played it, a turn-based JRPG bullet hell game that remembers your actions, allows you to avoid murder, and has dateable skeletons is a pretty easy pitch to get people to check it out. The game has quickly amassed a rather large and dedicated fan following, and it's not hard to see why. The unusual blending of genre mechanics, the homages to EarthBound, the stellar writing, and the screenshotable nature of the cast was just prime for spreading like wild fire. Undertale may not be the longest game, and it's unlikely to ever get a direct sequel, but it has firmly cemented itself deep in the hearts of many a gamer this year. I laughed, I cried a bit, I screamed in frustration, and I walked away guilty. That's more of an emotional ride than can be said for most video games. Even if I now do feel my sins crawling on my back. Bloodborne While Bloodborne had a considerable head start on many of our best new IP contenders, as the spiritual sequel to the highly successful Dark Souls games, this particular IP did not take the easy design route. Taking Dark Souls' unforgiving combat style and pairing it with a rich new lore, additional mechanics that incentivized aggressive combat techniques, and a considerably upped gameplay pace, Bloodborne invites players to fight their way through a world that was memorable, challenging, and surprising on a regular basis. While there is a new Dark Souls on the way, Bloodborne is the franchise I'm more excited to see a sequel to. Splatoon Splatoon is the very embodiment of Nintendo looking at what other people were doing, and creating something fascinating by adding its own Nintendo Twist. The idea is simple: make a competitive online shooter where players' primary aim is not to shoot other characters, but to shoot non-sentient structures and surfaces. Online shooters are incredibly popular as a genre, but there's very little in the way of options for younger players to get into playing (you know, unless they play Call of Duty in spite being seven). It's an under-served market, and Nintendo seized it perfectly. Splatoon not only managed to capture attention with a unique art style and colour palette, its consistent long-term roll-out of new content has kept players engaged longer than many other comparable releases. Life is Strange Okay, I'll be the first to admit my beloved Life is Strange isn't perfect by any stretch. It's melodramatic, it's at times stilted in its writing, and it has some major issues with pacing. Still, the series is also one of the most memorable things I played this year, and it does things no other games are daring to do. Life is Strange managed to get a lot very right. It used time travel as a gameplay mechanic to get around not knowing the context of your choices in episodic narratives, allowing players to properly commit to choices they made. Pick a choice, watch it play out, rewind, check out another choice, decide which you want to commit to, and go ahead fully in favour of your actions. Life is Strange also managed to tackle some tough themes in a tasteful way, giving agency over real-life situations to powerful effect. Oh, and I really, really like Chloe. I played the entire game constantly trying to kiss her at every possible moment. Her Story Her Story is an ambitious game that tried something untested, and managed to pull it off. Set on a late-nineties British Police computer database, the game tells a nonlinear narrative through tagged, live-action video files. The concept was simple. Start with the word "murder," search the database for any relevant clips, investigate a woman's statements to police, and unravel a deeply bizarre crime. The performances of the game's leading lady were truly top notch, as was the narrative and the natural structure for unraveling plot threads. There was always something to look for more information on, and as additional clues became visible, the plot had numerous unexpected turns. Seriously, Her Story is really damn strong. SOMA SOMA is a terrifyingly grounded horror story about themes of desolation, humanity, sacrifice, and what it means to truly exist. Yep, those are heavy themes to tackle, but SOMA handles them admirably. Giving a wholly bleak view of humanity's future, it makes a strong case that everything we do is ultimately meaningless. Not a depressing thought at all. Besides the strong story, it also wowed with its presentation. From elaborate degrading structures to creature designs that twist expectations, I was constantly impressed with the cohesive structure of the game. Also, SOMA is just plain scary. Until Dawn Until Dawn is an interactive horror movie game, built from a collection of well-known genre tropes mashed together. Throw a bunch of kids in a spooky remote cabin with nightmare monsters, and see what happens. The genius of Until Dawn's design is that the tropes being drawn from are not consistent or predictable, making plot turns hard to see. Experienced horror genre fans will at times see what's coming and be able to make informed choices regarding what to do. Personally, I was a fan of deliberate murder. Let's see what we can do to kill everyone off as gruesomely as possible. I suppose you could try and keep people alive too, if you want.  I just hope we get new Until Dawn games in the future that are not on-rails VR shooters. Ori and the Blind Forest On a simple mechanical level, Ori and the Blind Forest is decent, but nothing special. It's a side-scrolling metroidvania that does everything solidly, but doesn't push much in the way of new ground. So, why is it on this list? Because it was god damn beautifully, visually and as a narrative. Picture those Rayman games from a little while back, but done to a much higher level and accompanied by a Ghibli-esque soundtrack. Ori and the Blind Forest is a technical masterpiece and I can't wait to see what the studio works on next. The Beginner's Guide The Beginner's Guide is a weird game, in that it caused a huge splash upon launch, with many reviewers hesitant to say anything at all about it. People were affected by it, not always positively, and it clearly had a strong impact on many players. A few months on, it's still unclear how genuine the narrative told is, or how much we can rely on the narrator of the experience. But if you have around and hour and a half and want to be floored by an unexpected narrative, you'll be hard pressed to do better than The Beginner's Guide. Just make sure to complete it within your Steam refund window, as there are legitimate reasons to want to return this game after purchase. [To clarify the above statement regarding refunds, while I view this game as a work of fiction, and recommend people play it as such, many players view the narrative as an accurate work of non fiction. If you fall into the camp that view this as non fiction, an aspect of the narrative implies that the content is stolen wholesale from another developer. While I paid for the game and believe doing so is a morally acceptable action, what I wish to make clear is that if players disagree with my reading of the narrative and feel I reccomended them an experience they didn't morally agree with, there is a financial way to back out of that purchase. This is not an encouragement to back out of payment due to length, but simply me pointing out that if you finish the game and believe the narrative to be non fiction, and if you believe that you purchased stolen goods, there is a way to avoid your money remaining with that developer in this very specific case. My initial vague comment was an attempt to avoid a major spoiler for the narrative, but has unfortunately left the reasons for my recommendations open to wider interpretation]  Dropsy In the lead up to launch, many people following Dropsy assumed that before its end, it would take some upsetting or dark horror twist. A point-and-click adventure, it is actually anything but a horror experience. It's a simple game about a socially isolated individual who wants nothing more than the simple joys of companionship. Beneath the initial appearance of Dropsy the clown is an individual whose primary interaction with the world is a hug button. Quests are told through pictorial desires. You bring people together, people see the good in you, and you hug. Dropsy is one of those games that's a beautiful palette cleanser. If you're feeling video game murderer fatigue, it's an experience poised to make you feel just a little better about the world. Gravity Ghost Gravity Ghost is a simple game mechanically. You play the ghost of a young girl, jumping among planets and stars to reunite animal bodies and spirits. It's relaxing. There are no punishments for failure, and the experience is almost mesmerically smooth and simple. It is a gorgeous, laid-back experience hiding a deep and relatable human story. The game deals with themes of growing up. It deals with taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions, processing loss, and the connection that remains to those we lose. Gravity Ghost's narrative is simple, elegant, and resonant in a way few games manage. Read Only Memories Read Only Memories is a charmingly written, wonderfully stylised, instantly memorable point-and click-adventure that released earlier this year. It tells a cyberpunk story of crime, politics, technology, and relationships that's super intriguing from start to finish. Oh, and it also happens to have a cast full to the brim with simply handled diversity. You've got gay characters, trans characters, a bunch of other different types of characters, and the fact they may be gay or transgender never becomes the forefront of who they are. They just happen to be those things without any fanfare, and it's wonderful to behold.
Best New IPs photo
Not every series is Assassin's Creed yet
Video games are increasingly expensive products to create. Every generation as graphics increase in quality, the sheer size of teams required to put together new amazing, fantastic worlds grows dramatically. With video games ...

The best new characters of 2015

Dec 17 // Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Gortys I didn't know it before, but Gortys was exactly what the Borderlands universe needed. Apart from its particular brand of humor, the series is known for its pessimistic world, where if the indigenous wildlife doesn't kill you, the local bandits will. Countless people live on Pandora and just about everybody hates it. Everybody except Gortys. Gortys's unrelenting enthusiasm is so out of place it highlights just how absurd this world is, after three previous games have numbed players to its oppression. Voice actor Ashley Johnson is perfect in the role, delivering Gortys's unbridled joy and naivete, along with some of the best lines out of the whole cast. My favorite line in the entire series is down a particular dialogue branch; I didn't even hear it the first time playing through. As Gortys is trying to convince a corpse to get moving, Fiona and Rhys explain that he's dead. Gortys gets a sad look on their face, then the protagonists elaborate that the dead man was very bad. Without missing a beat, she perks up, says "Oh, well then good riddance!" and scoots away. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Undertale: Asgore The entire cast of Toby Fox’s runaway success Undertale could’ve made this list, as the entire game is full of interesting and memorable characters. From the skeleton brothers Papyrus and Sans and the awesome fish soldier Undyne, to Alphys the massive weeaboo, the list goes on and on with fantastic monsters to encounter and potentially befriend. However, I don’t think any of them are anywhere near as endearing, tragic, or adorable as King Asgore Dreemurr. Asgore both stole and broke my heart. Originally made out to be an unstoppable, terrifying force who will rip you limb from limb, over the course of the game the various citizens of the underground fill you in on how wonderful he is. He loves making cups of tea and tending to his garden, and each Christmas he’ll dress up as Santa and leave gifts for the monster children of Snowdin village. Not to mention one of his favourite jumpers is a knitted pink one with ‘Mr. Dad Guy’ written on it, and if that doesn’t make Asgore utter perfection, then I don’t know what does. Finding out how lovely King Fluffybuns is only served to destroy me at the conclusion of the game. I’ll avoid specifics because of them being major spoilers, but Asgore is a truly lovable but incredibly emotionally damaged man put into a horrible situation where anything he does will result in causing suffering to a lot of people. What he’s done is truly evil, and while he thinks his actions were necessary, it doesn’t make them any easier for him to come to terms with. I really, really love Asgore. He’s friendly, likable, and kind, yet he’s also one of the most conflicted and multi-dimensional characters in the whole game. Interacting with him and learning more about him as I progressed through Undertale is easily one of the biggest emotional gut-punches I’ve had this year from a game. But for King Goatdad? Totally worth it. Undertale: Papyrus Papyrus is basically the best. ...What? You want to know more? I mean, it should be pretty obvious why he's so great. But if you really want the specifics, here are a few pieces of trivia about our neat skeleton friend. - He likes to say, “Nyeh heh heh!”- He's a member of the highly esteemed Royal Guard! ...well, not yet. But someday he might be!- He's really good at making spaghetti. It's practically edible!- He's very cool and strong. Just check out this picture of his sunglasses. And his biceps. And his biceps' sunglasses.- He has really high standards when it comes to dating. Potential dates must have, AT MINIMUM, zero redeeming qualities.- He dabs only the finest MTT-brand Beauty Yogurt behind his ears. Wait... you're saying he doesn't have ears?!- He's always prepared. In fact, you can't spell “prepared” without several letters from his name!- He has the greatest theme song. I could go on, but you get the idea. Papyrus is simply a cool dude and a great friend. Just ask his brother, Sans! King's Quest: King Graham Okay so he's not entirely "new," and he isn't even a proper king in the first episode, but the updated characterization of Graham really made me fall in love with The Odd Gentlemen's new take on the series. As one part Guybrush Threepwood and two parts lovable scamp, you can feel his unbridled enthusiasm for the adventure through the screen. The storybook style framing only augments the character, as the always wonderful Christopher Lloyd does a great job of playing the older version of Graham, re-telling his tales to his granddaughter. It's adorable, and although narrative techniques tend to overstay their welcome, Lloyd plays it off with such panache that you won't get mad at a death, because it's met with a chuckle and a pun. Although I'd love to see his son Alexander take on the series in the future, this one of the better reboots in recent memory. Splatoon: All the Inklings It would be fair to criticize me for not singling out one specific character for this article, like one of the Squid Sisters or the default "Inkling girl" as she appears in most of Splatoon's promotional art, but that wouldn't be honest. The truth is, the concept of the entire Inkling species and what it represents is my favorite video game character of 2015. The way Inkling culture revolves around the seamless combination of style worship with competitive social cliques is such a fun adaptation of teenage life. Even the physical makeup of the Inkling is feels teenage -- mushy and unstable, stuck between baby-cute and grown-up-tough, not quite one thing or the other. Most teenagers will tell you that depending on what social environment they've been thrust into at the moment, it may be smarter for them to show their true colors or just hide in the ink until they're less likely to be torn apart by their enemies. They may not actually use the word "ink" when describing that scenario, but the underlying feeling remains the same. When it comes to tying visual design, gameplay mechanics, and surrounding lore into central, cohesive metaphor for the teenage experience, the Inkling is about as perfect as it gets. Yo-Kai Watch: Jibanyan Two words: Ghost. Cat. Let those sink in. When you first come across Jibanyan he is waiting on his owner while attempting to beat up passing cars at the very intersection where his physical life was ended by them. After a brief chat Jibanyan tells you how his prized possession, a picture of his owner, was taken by some local Yo-Kai bullies. Once the bullies have been taught a lesson and the picture returned, Jibanyan joins your side with his fierce but adorable Paws of Fury.  There hasn't been a ghost this awesome since Patrick Swayze, nor a living dead cat this feisty since Pet Sematary.
Best new characters photo
Very excited to meet you!
Video games have a fair share of legendary heroes. They've been around for years and their stories have spanned generations (of both consoles and humans). They are household names: Mario, Sonic, Master Chief, Solid Snake. Thi...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best PS4 Game of 2015

Dec 12 // Kyle MacGregor
Bloodborne Life is Strange Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain N++ OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood Rocket League Tales from the Borderlands The Talos Principle Until Dawn 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.]
GOTY 2015 photo
Majestic!
The PlayStation 4 has seen its share of ups and downs in 2015, from the wonderful Bloodborne and unexpected Until Dawn to the disappointing The Order: 1886 and delayed Uncharted 4. It could have been a lot better, but it just...

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
AGRAA ORS TABA ORD AVAVAGO!
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...


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