THE GEEK AWARDS 2014
As 2014 draws to a close, we can’t help but look back at the gaming greats of the past year. It’s really been a fantastic year for gaming on multiple formats and generations of consoles.
We’re only a small team at Geeks Don’t Lie, therefore, we haven’t been able to play everything. However, we’ve decided to list our top picks for the year of 2014. All choices are based on our personal opinion; we’d love to hear your own views and what titles you think should have won in the comments below.
We’ve tried to avoid picking the same game to win multiple categories unless we felt it was absolutely necessary.
Best Action Adventure – Far Cry 4: It was a tough call to pick our favourite action adventure title of 2014. Any other year an Assassin’s Creed title would have undoubtedly reared its head, however, even with two new releases this year, Assassin’s Creed just didn’t cut it for us.
Far Cry 4 has continued and improved upon the awesomeness of Far Cry 3, featuring interesting game-play, engaging story telling, as well as beautiful graphics. We’re eagerly awaiting the additional content from the season pass. If you haven’t yet visited Kyrat, now is the time to buy yourself Far Cry 4.
Honourable mention: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Best Shooter – Titanfall: I’m not that skilled at FPS games, in fact before this year I pretty much sucked. However, Titanfall was of the few titles this year that anyone of any FPS skill could enjoy.
It was fast-paced with relentless action and helped breathe new life into the genre by mixing up the norm with a combination of parkour pilots and heavy-hitting titans. Although online only, Titanfall is well worth buying an Xbox Live gold membership for as it features some of the best multiplayer gameplay of the year.
Honourable mention: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Best Racer – Mario Kart 8: Aiming at a wider family audience doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be a big contender. Mario Kart 8 brought pure enjoyment as Nintendo delivered one of its best games of the year. New courses, items, karts, racers, and more all helped make this the best Mario Kart title to date.
The inclusion of the Nintendo themed DLC that added the likes of Link was a definite treat for big Nintendo fans. You haven’t experienced competitive multiplayer racing at its finest until you’ve played Mario Kart 8 online.
Honourable mention: Forza Horizon 2
Best RPG – South Park: The Stick of Truth: It’s been a fantastic year for RPGs, seriously, I love RPGs. The title that we could all agree was definitely one of the greats this year just had to be The Stick of Truth.
It’s been one of the few times where a movie/TV game title has actually managed to succeed; perhaps our scepticism of how good it would be prior to release is what made it so favourable to us when we actually played it, but damn it was good.
As an RPG fan, I loved the return to form of classic turn-based battle, the job classes, and weapon variety. As a South Park fan, the humour within the game was unparalleled, not to mention the inclusion of most, if not all, the characters from the series was brilliantly achieved.
Honourable mention: Dark Souls 2
Best Fighter – Super Smash Bros for Wii U: Many people believe Nintendo is falling behind in the console race, however, I think 2014 has been pretty strong for good releases from Nintendo.
The highly anticipated Super Smash Bros is our favourite brawler of the year, with the Wii U version obviously impressing us more than the 3DS version. Being able to have an eight man battle with friends is a brilliant addition. Although we lost some Smash fighters such as the Ice Climbers, Super Smash Bros for Wii U boasts the largest roster to date and definitely impresses.
New levels, items and the inclusion of miis as fighters has definitely helped in perfecting this franchise. Additionally, the creation of amiibos might seem like Nintendo cashing in on the latest NFC craze, but as a Nintendo fan, I absolutely loved collecting the figurines and have enjoyed using them in conjunction with Super Smash Bros.
Honourable mention: Persona 4 Arena
Best Handheld game – Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire: It wasn’t hard to pick the latest Pokémon incarnations as the top pick for handheld games. It was actually refreshing to play a Pokémon remake and catch all the critters we know and love rather than getting to grips with the latest Pokémon creations from Game Freak.
Although I think we’re all going a bit crazy with mega-evolutions, personally I don’t really care either way for them, the game was highly enjoyable and completely addictive. Although we lost trainer customisation, I was pleased to see the area search function restored.
I remember the feature from Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 and missed it in X & Y, it allows the player to see which Pokémon they’re missing in each area. Another appealing factor of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire is that it has allowed many players to polish off their Pokédex by ticking off those last few needed Pokémon, including fan-favourite legendaries.
Honourable mention: Fantasy Life
Best online game – World of Warcraft: Because online games are continuous throughout the years, judging the best came down to picking the game that had offered the best content in 2014. Although A Realm Reborn was a strong contender, the launch of World of Warcraft‘s latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, made it an obvious winner.
Warlords of Draenor has managed to claw back veteran players as well as appeal to newcomers as it embarked on a new adventure that conjured up nostalgia for players of old. Re-writing the World of Warcraft lore in this twist in time, the latest expansion has returned the MMO to form.
The new and exciting content such as garrisons, a level cap increase, as well as the much-needed improvement to the graphics of World of Warcraft has injected new life into the game. Unsurprisingly, the game has seen a rise in subscriptions this past year.
Honourable mention: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Best Digital Title – Valiant Hearts: The Great War: Point and click games have been making a come-back and Valiant Hearts was definitely one of the best of 2014. With a heart-warming storyline portrayed in an absolutely beautiful art style, Valiant Hearts managed to successfully partner gaming and history into one masterpiece. The game features a variety of level formats that prevents the player from tiring of the same side-scrolling action. The rhythm based healing levels in particular were a treat and a challenge.
Honourable mention: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee New ‘n’ Tasty
Best Mobile Game – Hitman GO: One of our favourite titles of the year, Hitman GO has managed to remain in-keeping with the Hitman style and mythos, whilst utterly re-inventing its gameplay. Playing like a board game, Hitman GO is a puzzle game that has entertained us for hours.
Additional game boards with Hitman GO that are based upon levels from other Hitman titles are a treat for long-time Hitman fans. The style of the game is absolutely charming and makes us wish that a real, physical version would be released in the future. One can only hope.
Honourable mention: Hearthstone
Best Original Soundtrack – Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: This game re-invented classic Donkey Kong tracks from yester-year, whilst simultaneously creating new tracks that perfectly suited the Donkey Kong style. The music really helped elevate the level of enjoyment that players received from the game; even whilst frustrated when stuck on a boss level, you couldn’t help but enjoy the music.
Honourable mention: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call
Best Voice Acting – Adam Harrington as Bigby Wolf in The Wolf Among Us: Adam Harrington really brought the character of Bigby Wolf to life in The Wolf Among Us. I’m a huge fan of the Fables graphic novels and I now can’t read them without hearing Harrington’s voice when Bigby speaks. I’m really hopeful that Telltale Games will revisit this franchise with a second season, and even more hopeful that it was feature the return of Bigby Wolf, with of course Harrington as his voice actor.
Honourable mention: Troy Baker as Talion in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Best Indie Game – Never Alone: This is absolutely one of the most visually stunning and interesting indie titles that you will ever play. Never Alone has managed to convey the culture and morals of the Alaska Native people in a way in which players from other cultures can relate. Never Alone was short but incredibly sweet; the Iñupiat stories that the game is based upon are magical and work very well with the puzzle-platformer genre. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the historical and factual information made available to players. This game has made me wish for similar games from other cultures from all around the world. You can read my full review
Honourable mention: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Best Visual Design – Child of Light: Ubisoft really outdid itself with the beauty of this game. The art style was incredibly alluring and the ethereal watercolour style worked extremely well with the fantasy RPG genre. The motion of Aurora’s hair alone is enough to mesmerize you for a good while. I also adored the paper-puppet style of the characters, especially in the turn-based battles. Definitely a visual treat, as well as being a fantastic game.
Honourable mention: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Biggest Surprise – Wolfenstein: The New Order: I didn’t expect much from Wolfenstein: The New Order, in fact I didn’t even bother buying it – I borrowed it. If you had told me in advance how much I would have enjoyed it, I would never have believed you. I was more expecting a failure along the lines of Duke Nukem Forever.
What I wasn’t expecting was a surprisingly good storyline, a tight shooter, decent difficulty curves, well-used throwbacks to the franchise, and well-rounded game play. I had to applaud the old school health system, that didn’t just enable you to hide and regen health, but force you to explore the map to pick up health and armour. It doesn’t feature any multiplayer, but then it didn’t need it, the game was great just as it was and refreshing not to have focus taken away from the campaign.
Honourable mention: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Best Narrative – The Wolf Among Us: When I first began playing this I was completely engrossed in Telltale’s The Walking Dead and only thought to pass the time with The Wolf Among Us. It didn’t take long for me to become obsessed with The Wolf Among Us, mainly due to its captivating storyline and brilliant characters, and soon I was anticipating the next episode of The Wolf Among Us more than The Walking Dead. I enjoyed the plot so much that I began to read the Fables graphic novels, which are utterly brilliant by the way. The premise of Fabletown works well with Telltale’s signature player-choices that shape the game based upon the decisions made by the player.
Honourable mention: The Last of Us: Remastered
Biggest Let Down – Destiny: I know this decision is going to annoy a lot of readers. I’m not saying Destiny is bad game, I’m saying that I expected so much more from it. Although the multiplayer side of Destiny was really engaging and the Destiny lore held so much promise, it just wasn’t enough for me. I really thought there would be more to the story line, I never felt involved in the plot at all and to be honest there were times where I wasn’t really sure what I was trying to achieve with my guardian. Having said that, I know there is the potential for improvement with the release of future content for Destiny.
Dishonourable mention: Murdered: Soul Suspect
Game of the Year: Dragon Age: Inquisition: By far, this was the easiest choice to make. Dragon Age: Inquisition ticks multiple boxes for me and to be quite honest it was hard not to make it winner of many more categories. The game play is expansive and impressive, the storyline is engaging, beautiful graphics, brilliant soundtrack, the list really does go on. I could talk about Inquisition for hours, you can read my full review here. If you haven’t yet played it, Inquisition really is worth the purchase.
Honourable mention: Far Cry 4
That wraps up our favourites (and least favourite) of 2014. Let’s hope that 2015 is another amazing year of gaming; it should be considering that many titles we were expecting for 2014 have fallen back to next year now.