My game of the year stuff is always a bit odd because I tend to play a lot more old games than new ones (19 compared to 9). So Game of the Year becomes Game of _my_ Year.
Metal Gear Solid
Yup, this game is pretty damn old, and people are always praising it. So why is it the biggest surprise? Because I honestly didn’t expect it to actually be good, especially not in 2014. When I decided I wanted to get into MGS, I thought playing 1 would be some old crap that people only like because of nostalgia. But even in 2014 this game manages to come across as a super polished, almost cinematic experience.
TIE: Far Cry 4, Destiny
The big winner here is a combination of a great lighting model and really nice matte paintings. The matte paintings play a huge part in making Destiny look so good, you get a beautiful vista at a super low compute cost. I think Destiny wins in this case, simply because the subject matter is more majestic (Space vs. The Himalayas). As for the lighting, Destiny has those sweet light bleeding effects that made Halo 4 look so good. Where Far Cry 4 uses NVIDIA Godrays(TM) to an extreme, and while they may not be super realistic, they fill the game with warmth and are just beautiful to behold.
Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, 3, and 4
I’m actually hesitant to put this as number 1 because… I’m not really sure exactly what happened in the Metal Gear Solid series. But what I do know, is that it was some crazy Japanese Anime bullshit, and I loved it.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
This is just your typical Japanese high school kids trapped and forced to kill each other story, but hey, you can’t really go wrong with that.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
The music in Dangranronpa plays a huge part in creating the atmosphere that makes the school seem threatening. Wandering through the hallways listening to Beautiful Dead , the moments when Kyoko comes to you with some great revelation and New World Order kicks in just as she lays that sweet truth out, as well as all the great execution themes.
The music is honestly the best thing about this game. I didn’t much care for the combat system, but I could chill out to these jams in Cloudbank all day.
Final Fantasy X & XIII
Hearing tacks like Calm Before the Storm, The Splendid Performance and Braska’s Daughter makes me really appreciate the difference that orchestrated music makes over MIDI. I would love to hear Final Fantasy VII tracks get the same treatment as FFX in this HD remaster.
As for Final Fantasy XIII, the main theme / Serah’s theme and it’s variations are the winner here, but the game has a great score all around.
Most Disappointing Game
After playing the beta I thought, ‘Man, if they just release the game like that, it’ll be a huge bummer’. The final game was literally just the beta but more of it. Maybe I’m just not this game’s target audience, but being a huge fan of Halo, I was so ready to see Bungie kill it with a new game – and they just didn’t.
Best New Character [!!Spoilers]
Kyoko Kirigiri (Danganronpa)
My waifu. (And all the characters in Danganronpa 1 & 2)
Revolver Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid)
[!!Spoilers] I remember when I first defeated this guy I asked my friend, “Does he come back?” his answer was “You could say that”. He makes for a great rival. In MGS3, the way he always gets close to killing Naked Snake, but can just never seem to finish it. All his little phone calls after the credits. The abomination that is Liquid Ocelot, and the final battle with him.
Best Moment or Sequence [!!Spoilers]
The Last of Us: Remastered
[!!Spoilers] Playing as Ellie, being chased by the psycho guy through a burning building. This is honestly probably the tensest sequence I’ve ever played in a video game. The game does a great job of making you feel small and weak against this older and stronger opponent.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
[!!Spoilers] Choosing to let Kyoko lie, even though you know she’s lying and it means you will die. The is the kind of choice I like, because you have to choose to lose, and in that way it almost transcends the reality of the game.
Persona 5 announcement, love me some Persona.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain E3 Trailer & PC announcement, easily the best trailer I’ve seen all year.
Releasing unfinished/unpolished games (Ubisoft)
Bad PC ports (Ubisoft) (Maybe AC:Unity should just be under ‘most disappointing’…)
Best Game of the Year
1. Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, 3, and 4
Playing Metal Gear Sold was truly an amazing experience. Playing all 4 in one year, it should say something that the end of MGS4 still managed to evoke nostalgia for the previous games. This series has easily become one of my all time favourites.
2. The Stanley Parable
“Stanley named ‘The Stanley Parable’ his number one Game of the Year… No I said number one”
3. Final Fantasy X HD
An exceptional story-driven JRPG that is only really brought down by mediocre voice acting (and that fucking Chocobo minigame)
4. The Last of Us: Remastered
I’m not sure I actually enjoyed playing The Last of Us. I was constantly low on supplies and felt threatened by the world. But, that’s kind of the point with this type of game.
5. Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIII starts just like a sexier Final Fantasy X, a heavily story-driven linear JRPG. Then at about 20 hours in it slows right the fuck down and asks you to spend most of your time in battles that start to feel entirely too long. Still, it’s a beautiful world that I’m glad I got to see.
Best Game Actually Released in 2014
1. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpa gets best story and best music (and best waifu) so it should be no surprise to see it here.
2. Far Cry 4
A completely accurate description for Far Cry 4 is “Did you like Far Cry 3? Because, it’s more of that.” And you know what, I really did enjoy Far Cry 3. Far Cry 4 retains all the tings that made 3 so good, and then lets you fly Gyrocopters and ride Elephants with a grenade launcher.
3. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Not as good as Danganronpa 1, but still a great game that had me guessing the whole way through, and does a really good job at playing on your expectations after playing Danganronpa 1.
A lot of Watch_Dogs might boil down to ‘Press X to hack’, and at that point, you may as well be a wizard. But you know what, being a wizard is super fun.
Despite being the biggest disappointment for me, Destiny was still a really satisfying shooter with a great aesthetic. I just wish they’d made the game for me.