Biggest Surprise Of The Year
Josh’s Pick: The game that really surprised me this year was Fantasy Life. I hadn’t heard much about the game before it’s release, and it seemed to pretty much come out of nowhere. It was a solid mix of many popular simulation and rpg titles, and I was addicted to this games for a few weeks. Switching up job classes and complimenting skills with each other was a ton of fun, and hopefully the DLC for Fantasy Life keeps on coming. If you want to hear more, check out our review from earlier in the year. Runner up: Kirby Triple Deluxe.
Wedge’s Pick: Know how movie license games usually suck really hard? Well two titles that came out in the last half of the year broke that mold, Alien: Isolation, and Shadows of Mordor, which were not only decent, but were good, really good. From Isolation’s strong atmosphere and unscripted suspense, to Mordor’s seamless open world and compelling nemesis system, there was surprisingly a lot of enjoyable moments from both games. Is it possible that this will lead to a trend for more good movie licensed games? Probably not, but regardless it’s nice to see when such traditions are broken.
Justin’s Pick: For me, this year’s biggest surprise was Sunset Overdrive. It seems that Insomniac has been a little off for the past few years, and from the previews it seemed the humour of SO didn’t seem to click with me, nor am I generally a fan of open world games. Turns out it’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time: they nailed everything. They took the most basic action that you can have in a game, movement, and built a game around making it as fun and fast as possible. The humour eneded up being right up my alley, and I even had fun with the open world primarily due to how fun it was just to move around. Well done, Insomniac!
Biggest Disappointment Of The Year
Josh’s Pick: I would have to say the biggest disappointment in 2014 for me was Harvest Moon 3D: The Lost Valley. I reviewed The Lost Valley earlier this year, and was extremely disappointed in the amount of features that were stripped away. The terraforming feature was sort of neat, but it definitely did not make up for what was taken away. Hopefully Natsume will right their wrongs in the new year.
Wedge’s Pick: The biggest disappointment I’ve come to realize is the lack of exclusive titles for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The majority of titles that have been released since the system’s debut have been cross-platform, including the last generation systems Playstation 3 and the 360. The graphics are better, sure, but in my opinion it’s not enough to justify shelling out a butt-load of money for a new console when you’re really just playing the same game. That is sure to change in the near future however, with the announcement of such games as Bloodborne, and Final Fantasy XV. Hopefully…
Justin’s Pick: Without any doubt in my mind I choose Destiny. I got sucked into the hype and honestly believed that Bungie’s first post-Halo game would be the definitive FPS for the new generation and light the world on fire the same way that Halo did so many years ago. It doesn’t just make my list because it failed to meet those impossibly high standards (which, really, is my own fault entirely) but because it just fails to be an entertaining game, period. So much potential was wasted and instead we got one of the most boring, repetitive games I’ve played in years.
Console Of The Year
Josh’s Pick: To me this seems like a no brainer, you have to go with the Wii U on this one. Nintendo did an excellent job with making up for lost time by releasing two huge games in the final quarter of 2014: Super Smash Bros. & Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Of course there are other big WiiU titles that have been getting a very positive response, such as Bayonetta II and Hyrule Warriors. Combine the success of those games with the solid launch of the Amiibo figurines, and Nintendo seems to have blown away the competitors in 2014.
Wedge’s Pick: I’ve found myself playing a lot of my 3DS, which is not too surprising with the recent release of Pokémon: Omega Ruby and Alpha Saphire. But it hasn’t been just Pokémon, Monster Hunter is also addicting as ever – IF you have a circle pad pro – as well as replaying old DS titles in my collection. I even purchased a new model with the old school NES controller on it, just so I can do my portable gaming in style. Why? Well because I’m that materialistic, that’s why!
Justin’s Pick: Wii U by a country mile. What the console lacks in third-party hits it more than makes up for with first party efforts. Nintendo was absolutely on the ball this year and delivered some of the best games they’ve ever created. They started the year with one of the greatest platformers ever made: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and kept the hits coming with Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 1/2, Hyrule Warriors, Super smash Bros. for Wii U, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Throw in the digital-only titles that the Wii U received this year (Shovel Knight, Pushmo World, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse) and the Virtual Console re-releases and you’ve got a lineup that would be considered exceptional if it were spread out over the lifetime of a console, nevermind compressed into a single year.
Game Of The Year
Josh’s Pick: I thought I had my pick locked in with a certain sequel that came out earlier in the year, but this month there was a game that really blew me away. I’m going to go with Co-Games of the year: Dark Souls II & Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Dark Souls II was definitely the most challenging and rewarding game I’ve played all year. At times the game felt relentless, much like it’s predecessors, but the feeling of triumph when I completed the game was more than worth the times of frustration. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was extremely addicting and innovative, and as I said before it was one of the games that made the Wii U the console of the year in my eyes. Runner ups: Bravely Default, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Wedge’s Pick: Not to sound like a broken record, but Dark Souls II is unquestioningly my game of choice as well. I completed the game in little over a week since I got it on release, and I still to this day continue to play it. I’m never one to declare something perfect – as I do believe there is always room for improvement – but there is really nothing I can think of that I’d want to change in Dark Souls II. I love everything about it, especially how damn hard it is. Admittedly I was quite skeptical about it when I first heard it announced, but this happened to be one of those rare experiences were expectations were not only achieved, but exceeded, and its such experiences that make its success all the more triumphant.
Justin’s Pick: It’s a close call, but ultimately I have to pick Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. From its stunning production values to its mind-boggling amount of content, Smash Bros. is probably the biggest game released this year and is definitely the most fun. Simple to learn but taking a lifetime to master, it’s Smash in arguably its greatest form ever, and no other game can make the hours fly by in quite the same way.