Different year: same rules. A game of the month for each of the twelve months of the year, followed by a game of the year. I’ll also be dishing out additional awards too, so keep an eye out for those.
January – Broken Age: Act 1
Contrary to many armchair video game publishers online I’ve been nothing but impressed with Broken Age. A wonderfully crafted adventure game that is both super approachable in design yet also manages to maintain the charm Schafer was known for with his LucasArts work. Top notch, can’t wait wait for Act 2.
Only Halo Game on Steam Award – Halo: Spartan Assault
Because nothing says fun or good-quality-video-game like a port of a mobile phone game.
February – The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors
Well it certainly wasn’t going to be Thief. The Wolf Among Us is great. Sure the first episode came out in 2013, but I didn’t play it then and The Wolf Among Us still deserves some recognition. Is it better than The Walking Dead? Yes. Well, no. But I want to say yes. Does Assassin’s Creed IV: Freedom Cry count for February? I’d actually say sure why not, but I’ve not played it, so sorry about that.
Failing to Reach the High Bar Set by Dishonored Award – Thief (2014)
Dishonored, one of the few games with DLC that is actually better than the main game, is absolutely fantastic. It’s made by some of the same team as the original Thief. Is Thief (2014) made by some of the same team as the original Thief? I literally don’t know, but I wouldn’t think so. Dishonored would win GOTY 2014 for me if it came out this year.
March – Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Sure, it only took me roughly 58 minutes to “beat” the game, but I’ve spent several more hours already truly experiencing everything Ground Zeroes has to offer. What does it have to offer exactly? Everything a stealth fan could dream of. My boss says it’s the only next-gen game that really feels next-gen to him, and I have to agree. It’s pretty much the only game worth playing on next-gen, though the PC port is fantastic and blows those out of the water. If it wasn’t for the other games in the series it might be the only game worth playing period. Ridiculously polished in a way only Mr. Kojima can. A true evolution of Metal Gear Solid, it really understands all of the intricacies that make the series great and builds upon it. I didn’t even dislike Keifer Sutherland in it (and we all know David Hayter will return as Young Solid Snake anyway).
Failure to Understand All of the Intricacies That Make the Series Great Award – Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z
There’s actually not as much to dislike with Yaiba as I thought there might be. The main character is an asshole, but he is a bad guy. The story doesn’t take itself too seriously either, and the zombie antics are often comically fun. Even cutting swathes through hordes of zombies is pretty fun. But it really falls down with the fights against stronger enemies and the bosses, which is one element Ninja Gaiden has almost always been great at. Frustrating, boring, dull, not fun all describe those fights pretty well, and they are incredibly frequent. I didn’t make it past chapter 2.
April – NES Remix 2
The NES Remix series redefines gaming nostalgia. They present you with a series of game emulations and give you a bunch of WarioWare-style challenges to do in a short space of time, from doing actual secrets from the game, to playing a level backwards. It’s better than you think.
Almost Pretty Good but Ruined by One Awful Gameplay Feature Award – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
They took the citizens in distress mechanic from the ludicrously good Spider-Man 2 and managed to completely ruin it. In The Amazing Spider-Man 2 there’s perhaps the worst Morality System ever conceived, where Spider-Man is deemed to be either a “hero” or a “menace” which gives rewards when high (hero) or punishments when low (menace). The latter involves being actively hunted down, which is super annoying when trying to explore the large open world. But the citizens in distress mechanic is linked to it. Every one of the repetitive and boring missions is on a timer, and if you don’t get to it in time you lose morality. Either you play those missions over and over, or have a horrible time going for collectibles. Or stop playing like I did.
May – Mario Kart 8
The best Mario Kart to date, dethroning my somewhat controversial previous favourite Mario Kart: Double Dash!! The same Mario Kart formula is in there, but with a whole load of polish and tweak to make it stand out from the others. It also has fantastic DLC. Nintendo took a while to get on the DLC train, but they might just be the best at it yet!
How is it Still not on PC Yet Award – Peggle 2
June – Marvel Heroes 2015
Yep, a “2015” game winning a “2014” gaming list award. I hate when this happens. Marvel Heroes deserves an award though because after an initially disappointing release in 2013 Gazillion really put the hammer (you know which one) to the table to put together a much improved game – and it really does deserve a re-release title and a spot on this list. Great work pulling it out of its grave, proving that sometimes the cut-and-run approach isn’t always best.
I Really Wanted to Love You Award – Murdered: Soul Suspect
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot I like about Murdered: Soul Suspect. It’s like a cross between L.A. Noire and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective except nowhere near as good as either of those games. One of the best final bosses, though. It just wasn’t the next-gen story experience I was hoping for, or the one it seemed to promise. Still, worth it for the bargain prices its often found for these days.
July – All Right, I Got Nothing
Still a PS4 Exclusive Award – Oddworld New ‘n’ Tasty!
Just let me play you.
August – Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed
More comical than menacing, this strip ’em up is actually surprisingly fun, even if the gameplay is a little bit repetitive. Some would argue this game is too anime, others not anime enough. But what can you do? It’s anime.
How Have We Come so Far? Award – BioShock iOS
BioShock. On iOS. What kind of black magic is this?
September – Hyrule Warriors
Reasons to own a Wii U stack up slowly, one by one. This is one of them. I’ve not played a Warriors game before, so I didn’t know what to expect going in. What I got was some terrifically over the top Zelda nostalgia in a hack and slash package, and that’s more than okay with me. Using the fire rod as a main weapon to summon columns of flame to decimate tens of moblins? 10/10. I wrote a review of it here.
My Girlfriend Says it’s Good Award – The Sims 4
She thinks it’s the best one yet.
October – Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta was already an almost perfect gaming experience, and Bayonetta 2 builds on that in every way, cutting off a lot of the fat that plagued replays of the original game. The best stylish action game to date — and that’s just a fact. Platinum Games are truly the masters of the genre.
Not the Best Stylish Action Game to Date, but a Solid Attempt – The Legend of Korra
Many eyebrows rose when it turned out The Legend of Korra game, a cartoon (yes, anime) tie-in, was being developed by Platinum Games, the masters of the stylish action game genre. It’s no Bayonetta 2, but you know what? It’s pretty good for the budget title it is.
November – Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
As with Mario Kart 8, it’s just the best Super Smash Bros. yet. That same winning Smash formula polished and tweaked to definitively be a fantastic experience. Sure, we lost Snake, one of my favourite Brawl characters, but we gained Pac-Man and Mega Man and they’re both really good. All the fighters feel properly unique this time around, and there’s a great range of game modes and stages. The best thing though? It feels suitably different to its October counterpart, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, and I feel they can both compliment one another, and stand apart as their own games.
Biggest Fuck-Up of 2014 Award (all from November)
- Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
- Assassin’s Creed: Unity
- Digimon All-Star Rumble
Unity is at least a good game when you look past its many, many technical flaws. It’s a spectacular technical achievement in places, even, and that should be celebrated as a stepping stone to better things. Digimon All-Star Rumble is bad. Read my review here. But was it really ever meant to be good or just a shovel-ware mini game collection / brawler for kids? Clue: it’s the second of those things. Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is just bad, despite all of the apparent effort and desire to be good that went into it. It’s a depressing mess no matter which way you cut it. Awful.
Game I’m Most Ashamed to Have Played Award – Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit!
I need not say more.
December – Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
The Steam version. Yeah, it’s on here twice. But it’s just that good. The PC version blows the other versions out of the water too. Ubisoft, take note — this is how you do a PC port. After the excellent Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance port in January things are look really great for Steam fans. Steam fans such as myself.
Game of the Year Award – Metal Gear Solid V
Note the lack of Ground Zeroes. I’m giving the Game of the Year award to Metal Gear Solid V in its entirety. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a sort of prologue to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which comes out next year. I’m so impressed by Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes that, you know what, Mr. Kojima? I don’t even need to see Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Both games win my Game of the Year Award as a unit. Well done. You’ve earned it. I will be waiting. Huh?