Game Of The Year 2014: Stu's Picks

2014 was a year that I bought lots of games, but did not seem to play many. I am not really sure why that was.

Truth be told, 2014 was not a great year for games or the industry. Not so much the quality of releases – although this year did bring controversy with several big games needing multiple patches to be release ready.

Outside of the games there were lots of issues with the community surrounding the industry; It's something that we at GoPlayThat have proudly stayed out of, but I think overall it has put a bit of a damper on gaming in 2014.

That being said, there were many great games, big and small. Again however, for some reason, I did not get round to playing that many of them, which is a shame, therefore my list is a little smaller than the other guys - although all games here (aside from number 5) I played to 100%.

I will do better in 2015!

5. Destiny (Bungie | September)

Well, this was a mightily divisive game. Lots of love, lots of hate and lots of people playing without really understanding why! I really enjoyed my time with Destiny. I got to the soft level cap and was grinding light levels when I kind of hit a brick wall. I found myself logging on and just floating in Orbit as my friends would already be doing different things and at times it could be hard to join. I don't think I will return to Destiny.

Maybe I will if they add matchmaking for the weekly strikes and raids. But I think we will have to wait until Destiny 2 for that.

4. Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek | October - PC)

The inclusion of this game on my list will probably surprise a lot of people and maybe it's because I am biased and I just got an awesome PC and I can play this game in its Ultra settings, but boy is this game gorgeous! The story is great, the acting is superb and again it looks incredible.

The gameplay itself is very repetitive but at its core very fun, so I found it was best played in small doses. A level a day until completion. It is also one of the easiest games I have ever played unfortunately. Even on the hardest difficulty setting.

I am finding owning a decent gaming PC and a PS4 is a good combination. It seems likely that most Xbox One games will come to PC. Fingers crossed for Sunset Overdrive!

3. Child of Light (Ubisoft | April)

Ubisoft is obviously known for its big AAA releases but this year I found that they also released two of the best “indie” games of the year (see number 2).

Like Bob, I was completely captivated by this game. The art was beautiful, the story like a melancholic fairy tale. I know some people hated it (Rob) but again like Bob I loved that the whole game was written in a rhyme. That must have taken some doing!

The game itself plays out like a pretty standard Western take on a JRPG but the music, the visuals and everything else really elevate it to the next level. A truly euphoric experience.

2. Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Ubisoft | June)

“Indie game” number 2 from Ubisoft. A game that tackles a subject that not many before it have: World War 1. How The Great War played out, heavy with trench warfare and an overall depressing nature does not really lend itself well to videogames, probably why it has not been attempted many times, and why Ubisoft went the direction they did with this. A story based adventure which covers the conflict from outbreak to resolution through multiple points of views, from all sides of the war.

Like Child of Light above, the art and music of this game is stunning. The game itself plays out like a narrative driven point and click style puzzle adventure. Again, the only real way I think it could have been done.

This game is also like an interactive history lesson and one I highly recommend is played with your kids if you have them – at an appropriate age of course.

1. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith | October)

mordor.jpg

I absolutely love Monolith. From No-One Lives Forever, Aliens Versus Predator 2, Condemned and F.E.A.R., I just love how their games look, thanks in part to the gorgeously chunky LithTech engine. So I was not surprised to discover how much I loved Mordor. Although prior to release I did have some concerns as it did not look highly original but it turns out that my concerns were unfounded. Whilst it does not revolutionise it does a lot of things very well and very fun.

Troy Baker also puts in another star turn as Talion, doing his best Sean Bean impression. I am growing to love his work both in games and his other artistic pursuits.

A lot has been said of the Nemesis system which whilst fascinating did not blow me away, but that is probably because you can't see what is really going on beneath the surface of it, so I don't want to take away the achievements of the developers as many people have heralded this game as the first true Next Gen experience. As Rob mentions, it was mainly due to this system that it was so fun to get the Platinum trophy on this game as it really encouraged me to experiment.

I am happy to see that Monolith are still making quality games in 2014 and look forward to more from them!