As each year takes its turn, we gamers are blessed with bigger and better games than the previous year provided. Who could have known back when Atari’s Pong was a big hit, that forty years later we would be playing games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or Halo 4? Maybe those big dreamers are who we have to thank for the masterpieces that we play today. Gaming only gets better by the year, I’ve always lead myself to believe, and with each year there’s always a best of the batch when it comes to gaming.
In the following article, you’ll find the nominees for Game of the Year picked by a few staff members from BagoGames.
Trevor Kincaid (Editor’s Pick) | Alien Isolation
Trevor says: A huge fan of Resident Evil and Silent Hill growing up I truly love the classic survival horror game. In the past few years though this genre has been mostly turned into action-type shoot em up games save the first Dead Space game which was true to the genre. The original terrifying environments, wickedly hard puzzles, overall eeriness and terror were pretty much replaced with just shooting. It’s sad really. It wasn’t until games like The Evil Within came out and Silent Hills was announced that any hope of this genre seeing new life ever became possible to me, that was until I played Alien Isolation. Gripping and yes at times slow paced this game brought the old feelings I used to have when I was thirteen and terrified playing Resident Evil 3 in my living room. I played it with a friend and really think it was my best pick for the year (I honestly didn’t play as much as I would have wanted to this year) and for the survival horror genre as well which badly needed more additions like this to kick start it back to life. I look forward to the rumored sequel, as we were literally left hanging at the end, and for future titles in the genre.
Honorable Mentions | Tell Tale’s The Walking Dead Season 2 & The Evil Within
HeroSpark | Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
HeroSpark says: I knew from the moment I bought the game that Super Smash Bros would be the best game I’ve played all year. I’ve been a fan of Smash since the original came out for the Nintendo 64. Smash 4 is my pick because I can spend hours playing the game without even trying to, there’s just so much to do in it.
Even if Smash Tour left a bad taste in my mouth, the game still has enough pros to greatly make up for it. I also adore the new Stage Builder mode because its improvements make things so much easier, I barely used it in Brawl, but use it weekly in 4. Master Core also gives me a new goal to fight for in Smash 4, and it also brings a wide selection of new characters I’ll need to master. Who would’ve guessed that such a great series could have started out as a battle of the polygons?
Honorable Mentions | Titanfall & The Legend of Korra
Corey Atwood | Shovel Knight
Corey says: Aside from a few standout titles, 2014 was a bit of a mediocre year. Destiny, the game a lot of sites named GOTY, did introduce console gamers to idea of an MMOFPS, yet its complaints of repetitive missions and lack of multiplayer options are completely valid. Watch Dogs may have suffered from a mediocre story, but its multiplayer segments, which allowed players to secretly hack into each other’s single-player games, was thrilling.
The atmosphere and attention to detail found in Alien: Isolation was second to none, yet it’s clunky controls and tiring campaign significantly detracted from the experience. Fantasy Life, an adorable RPG, gave me reason to pick up my 3DS again, but it’s verbose campaign dialogue became incredibly tedious to sit through.
In the end, I’d have to choose Shovel Knight as my nomination for GOTY. The game successfully tugged at the heartstrings of my generation, presenting everything we fondly remember from the NES era, while leaving out the bad things we tend to forget. With all the hotly anticipated titles that got pushed back, I think 2014 will just be remembered as the year that came before 2015. Plus, this time next year, we’ll all have hoverboards, so that’ll be sweet.
Honorable Mention | Fantasy Life
Nate Munson | Dragon Age: Inquisition
Nate says: Picking my favorite game of the year was really hard. It was like choosing a favorite friend or pet – no, it was like choosing a favorite body part and having to lose the rest. The games this year were so good! I managed though, and as a Skyrim fan, I pretty much had to pick Dragon Age: Inquisition. Inquisition is such a big game to describe. It supplies me with a Dragon Age game that felt like a proper mix between Dragon Age: Origins and Skyrim. Thought it’s got the classic Bioware bugs and overflows with filler at times, I love the game all the same, even if it could’ve used some cameos from previous series entries.
Right now, I’ve imported all my choices from the first two games and am closing in on the final quarter of the game. Side questing’s taking up a large amount of my time and I’m trying to max out my Inquisition experience. I especially want to be able to walk up to Corypheus and slap him around when I get there, after all.
At times, I feel that Mass Effect gets more love from Bioware than Dragon Age. These feelings are probably leftover from the misconception that Dragon Age is a trilogy rather than an anthology. I’ve heard rumblings that there are still more places to visit and more things to do with the franchise and I hope this is true, because I could really use more RPGs like this. Very few other games can keep my attention for over 120 hours. I’m certain I’ve got dozens of hours of gameplay left to go.
Honorable Mention | Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Jerry Dobracki | The Evil Within
Jerry says: Survival horror has been having a rough go of it since Dead Space almost brought it back to the glory days of the PlayStation Resident Evil masterpieces. Thankfully Shinji Mikami brought himself back into the genre with The Evil Within, and it is yet to disappoint. The game had me in gooseflesh from the minute Sebastian wakes up, I never knew I could enjoy so much time in a locker hiding from chainsaw wielding freaks.
Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t choose Alien: Isolation over The Evil Within, and it’s because of the perspective. I was raised on third person games, and The Evil Within just felt like home to me. The confinement and helplessness I feel in the game, the fact that I’m always wondering if I should have wasted that bullet or not keep me hooked, even long after my Xbox One is off. I love not knowing what may kill me at every corner, and having to figure out where to go and what to do with no hand holding. The Evil Within and Alien: Isolation are both great jaunts into survival horror. Hopefully these two games will mark the resurrection of survival horror across all systems.
Honorable Mention | Alien Isolation
Dr. Kendo | Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Kendo says: As a Wii U enthusiast, and lover of all things Nintendo, perhaps my Game Of The Year is quite obvious: Super Smash Bros for Wii U. Being that it is another addition to a series of already-wildly popular games, the Smash Bros brand is one that gamers everywhere know and love, and was an easy choice for me as GOTY.
It’seasy to be charmed by the play-style and overall “feel” that we’re familiar with in the Smash Bros series, and while this game continues on that path, it also brings so much more than that. Super Smash Bros for Wii U is an absolute must-have and is honestly a very expansive and thorough addition to a series of games that is already heralded as one of the best in the world.
Honorable Mention | Mario Kart 8
Rob Walton | Civilization: Beyond Earth
Rob says: If you know me, you know I’m a massive strategy game buff, so it’s no surprise that my GOTY is a strategy game. It also doesn’t really help that it’s one of the only games I even played from 2014. The Civilization games have always been loved by many, and Civilization: Beyond Earth is no exception.
Though many fans thought it was a simple re-texturing of Civ 5 as a cash grab, it’s more than that. The vast, reworked tech tree, social policy trees, and unit upgrade trees, allowing for tons of different play styles. The unfamiliarity of an alien planet, giving you the feeling of being lost in a vast, hostile world that you have no knowledge of. The different quests that allow you to make decisions to affect how you adapt to the planet. All of it makes this game fresh and exciting, and a must have for any strategy fan.
Honorable Mention | Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
Patrick Kennedy | The Evil Within
Patrick says: To best describe the Evil Within to you is a grand testament to the older generations of survival horror and a game which has polarised gamers right down the middle. The game engulfs players into a nightmarish world of twisted creatures, surreal surroundings and injects broken fragments of a physiological mind f*** of a story.
The Evil Within is set in the mind of a deranged killer and poor you, you’re trapped in there for him to do with as he pleases. Which includes manic chainsaw wielding freaks, giant blood covered spider women and dudes with safes on theirs heads. The gameplay is a relentless, brutal test of your survival skills, not only against hoards of terrifying foes but also a game world which has its own murderous agenda. The Evil Within makes you accept that its relentless brutality will come with no reward other than your own survival on your horrifying journey.
Ambitious and all-around terrifying, The Evil Within is a true joy for any old school survival horror fan. It envelopes the nature of older survival horror games and gives a new dynamic perceptive with the design With thought provoking resource management, fierce combat and nerve wrecking tension. The Evil Within offers an intense experience and one that is unforgiving but satisfying and enriching to those who love horror. Think of it this way, you could play this brilliant game or play Resident Evil 6.
Eleni DiCarlo | Hyrule Warriors
Eleni says: Out of all the game releases in 2014, Hryule Warriors is the one game that outshines the others. The Dynasty Warriors franchise has had their share of ups and downs, it seems mostly down for the past few games. But the collaboration between Omega Force / Tecmo Koei and Nintendo has brought together one spectacular game. In Hyrule Warriors the story of Zelda, Link, and the dangers that threaten Hyrule blend with the mechanics of the Dynasty Warriors game beautifully. The hack ’n slash style of fighting hundreds of enemies at once works well with the game’s crafting aspect and doubly adds a thoughtful level of mental stimulation that really needs to be in a button-mashing game.
The idea of mindlessly killing the plethora of enemies that are thrown at you for the entirety of Hyrule Warriors is not the only reason to play. The game has mathematical crafting mechanics, which are actually more fun that it sounds. You have options for crafting both skills and weapons for each playable character. and instead of dungeons and puzzles that are always expected, Link (and whatever character you unlock to play as), is able to use specific weapons and upgrade skills after grinding. And even better, Hyrule Warriors will probably take any gamer a good 200 hours if you’re intent on completing everything in it.
Though Hyrule Warriors might not be a canon game, players have a chance to play as their favorite LoZ characters. For the first time, Princess Zelda’s fully playable and we can even play as the big and bad archenemy of Link, Ganondorf. This alone makes Hyrule Warriors worth playing for both serious and causal fans of the Zelda series.
Honorable Mention | Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Adam Koziol | This War of Mine
Adam says: A few months ago I was barely even aware of This War of Mine so the fact that it’s proven itself to be my favourite game this year was not at all what I expected. While 2014 has been mostly filled with remasters, cash-ins and AAA disasters, indie developer 11 Bit Studios has crafted a title that’s engrossing, fun and unique.
The game follows a small group of survivors who are caught up in a long civil war. Trapped in a besieged city, your tiny band of civilians must work together to find food and shelter while avoiding the dangers of disease, depression and deadly gangs. With a near-perfect blend of stealth, action and resource management, This War of Mine offers a truly varied gameplay experience that will keep you hooked right until the end
What’s even more impressive is the game’s use of story. I’ve always been a gameplay-first type gamer and find the plots of most titles to be barely passable at best. What makes This War of Mine work is that it blends gameplay and story together. There’s no long, unskippable cutscenes or endless QTEs. Instead the story is very much crafted by your own actions. Because each character has their own skills and stats, and because death in the game is permenant, I genuinely cared about the various civilians in my party.
This War of Mine is available right now for a very reasonable price on PC. I would recommend it to any gamer who’s looking for a new, fresh experience.
Honorable Mention| South Park: The Stick of Truth
Mike Mahoney | Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Mike says: Back in September at PAX Prime 2014, I wrote a small piece about Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which you can read here. At the time, I professed that Shadow of Mordor was the best game at PAX Prime and should be considered a day one purchase. I still stand behind those words as I feel what WB Games and Monolith have created is to be considered the cream of the crop for this year’s big budget, triple-A games.
Many of my gaming friends refer to Shadow of Mordor as the best Assassin’s Creed game ever made. Of course this is a shot at Ubisoft and some of their failed attempts recently but it also highlights how Monolith didn’t reinvent the wheel with their game but instead took established in-game mechanics and improved upon them. From the fighting system, which is reminiscent of the Batman Arkham games or the aforemtioned traversal system borrowed heavily from the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Shadow of Mordor will feel familiar but yet somehow more convincing and poweful than its predcessors.
Ultimately, what sealed the deal for me, was the introduction of the Nemesis system. Here gamers can see the pecking order into the hierarchy of the Uruk’s (essentially Orcs) leadership. From low level captains to highly decorated War Chiefs, the Nemesis system allows players to target opponents, strategize who to remove from power, and conversely who to align yourself with and see that they rise through the ranks. It’s a fantastic experience and an added dimension which propels Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor to the top of my gaming list for 2014.
Honorable Mention| The Wolf Among Us
Tim Gruver | Bayonetta 2
Tim says: Sexy, confident, brutal, Bayonetta 2 carries herself with the elegance of a dancer and fights like a character possessed, only she’s the one exorcising demons here. Bayonetta 2 embodies the same cruelty and kindness, blowing a kiss before firing a hail of bullets as if teasing its players to keep up. Beneath the theatrics, Bayonetta 2 is no less a game of its predecessor’s high merit; rather, it’s the visual and interactive masterpiece its rivals aspire to be.
In short, Bayonetta 2 sets the gold standard for action, moreover for the Wii U. Here’s a femme fatale that will make you laugh and also give you a healthy dose of controller rage. Playfully mature and darkly satisfying, Bayonetta 2 outdoes itself so often that even perfection can’t ever not seem good enough. Like any addiction, Bayonetta will always make you want more, but two games may have to be enough for us mere mortals.
Honorable Mention | Sunset Overdrive & Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
While many opinions still float about, BagoGames has yet to pick an overall Game Of The Year, but know that the article is on the way, so stay tuned for that. Also, being 2 sides to every coin, we’ll also be crowing the Disappointment Of The Year as well, where it will most likely be Sonic Boom or Watch_Dogs, lol. As we leave 2014, the year 2015 is upon the horizon, along with a new set of games to be reviewed and praised. Thanks for reading bros, be sure to let us know in the comments what your nominees for Game Of The Year would be!