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

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... a game that really rolls off the tongue

[Image credit: Mike Lambert]

The idea behind the best mechanics category is to highlight games that you'd love to play even if they had stick-figure graphics, no multiplayer, no music, and no story. Some of them may be filled with complex operations. Others may be simple one-button affairs. Regardless, these are games that keep you coming back again and again, hoping to get all the parts to fit together just a little bit better each time.  

The votes were really all over the place here. Games that I figured had a good chance of taking the top spot like Sunset Overdrive and Geometry Wars 3 were beat out by write-ins like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, The Castle Doctrine and Divinity: Original Sin. Other surprise staff nominations like Wolfenstein: The New Order, Xeodrifter, Road Not Taken, Mario Kart 8, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Bravely Default, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Xenonauts, Mercenary Kings, Freedom Wars, Destiny, and Infamous: Second Son didn't do quite as well, but regardless, the message is clear: the Destructoid staff plays a lot of different kinds of games strictly for the mechanics. 

There was also a three-way tie for third place in this category, between three games that couldn't be much more different. In the end, Bayonetta 2, Octodad, and Shovel Knight all tied for the bronze medal in this particular popularity contest. Now that's a three-way crossover I'd pay top dollar for. With those games down, only OlliOlli and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor remained. Keep reading to see which one landed on top, and don't forget to vote in our Reader's Poll for your favorite game of 2014

I'd like to say that this was a close one, but it wasn't. OlliOlli did incredibly well considering it's a new IP only available on a select number of platforms, but in the end, nothing even came close to beating out Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. I chalk it up to how well the game's moment-to-moment mechanics tie into the larger overarching self-directed narrative, forming a portrait of violence and survival that's a joy to experience from every perspective. It's taught and compelling on both a micro and macro level, simultaneously believable and fantastic, primitively satisfying and awe inducing. 

On paper, it may not sound that special. Pretty much all you do in the game is play cat-and-mouse with a bunch of flesh eating jerks, but you could say the same thing about Pac-Man and that series is still going strong 30 years later. It will be interesting to see if Shadow of Mordor has the same kind of longevity. The Tolkien universe it's based on has been a mainstream hit in Hollywood for over ten years now, and people used to think those books were only for nerds so you never know. 

Regardless of what the future holds for Shadow of Mordor, it is in this shining moment a Destructoid GOTY winner. Congratulations to the team at Monolith for their success, and tune in tomorrow when we announce the winner of best narrative design of 2014.

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Jonathan Holmes
Jonathan HolmesBad Joke Uncle   gamer profile

"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Ju... more + disclosures


 




 



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