TA Top Five: Staff Game of the Year 2014

By Jonathan Barnes, 1 year ago
Happy Monday, Achievement Hunters!

As I'm sure you all have seen, voting is now open for the TrueAchievements Game of the Year 2014. Please exercise your democratic right to vote... or else you're a communist... or fascist... or monarchist... or some other political ideology that cares not about the whims of constituents.

Anyway, as has been tradition for a few years, the TrueAchievements staff recently sat down, put on a pot of coffee, threw it at each other (again, sorry about that, Beanpotter), and fought tooth and nail over our staff picks for Game of the Year. As you can expect, it was a mature and reasonable discussion.

As you weigh the merits of your own choices, here are the Top Five games (as judged by the staff) of 2014, a few honorable mentions, and our Mobile Winner and Runner Up.

Mobile Runner Up

Despicable Me: Minion Rush (WP)

Let's hand it off to Walkthrough Manager, MC0REBE for a quick bit on Minion Rush:

This game hasn't been Xbox LIVE Enabled for a long time, but I started playing it when it was released on the WP. Needless to say that this endless runner is one of the better games on the mobile devices.Alright, full disclosure, there was technically a tie for Staff Mobile GOTY (with a whopping four votes each!), but the tie was broken by Moderator, xPut Name Herex, who graciously organized the melee. Here is his explanation:

OK, so they actually tied for votes (4), and both are available on WP/Win8/iOS/Android (as voting wasn't exclusive to having it on your tag). I made the call for one reason: **TOP GAME** was actually released in 2014, while Despicable Me was a 2013 brought to the XBL world in 2013....and here is that Top Game.

Staff Mobile Game of the Year

Wordament Snap Attack (Win 8)

Moderator, DrCanadianNinja, graced us with his prescription for why Snap Attack takes home the prize:

No Windows device? No problem! Stretching back out to iOS and Android, Wordament returns for another twist on the formula, this time closer to Scrabble than Boggle. It's a simple game, but dangerously addictive; pop on for one two and a half minute game, but then someone else is playing and they're doing better, so you need to do better, then you got a good score and you have to keep playing, culminating in wondering where the last hour disappeared to.Now that we've teased you a bit with a mobile appetizer, let's get to the meat and potatoes of our GotY tussle, starting with some Honorable Mentions.

Honorable Mentions

Destiny

I'll be honest, this garnered more support than I thought it would, but more than a few staff members discussed this for good and for ill in deliberations. I'll leave it to Walkthrough Supervisor, iMaginaryy, to explain the pick:

While certainly not perfect, one of very few games that I've enjoyed playing far past completion. Great multiplayer experience whether just hanging out with friends or playing competitively.Another (somewhat surprising) entry to receive support was our next honorable mention.

Thomas Was Alone

Reported Content Evaluator, Nomstuff, jumped in with a case for Thomas:

I love this game, it was a fun little platformer with a great storyline and the best narrator ever! The HD upgrade of the Thomas was amazing! He looked so much more realistic than he used to! I'd already played it on Steam, so I knew I'd like this game when it came our, so it was nice to see an extra 20 levels added for the Xbox release. Which added more to the story.Our final honorable mention will appeal to the cheapskates in you (for a limited time only).

D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die

I'll bring it back to our favorite canuck ninja health care provider for some plaudits:

It's been a long time since I didn't know what to expect from a game. Then I played D4, and in ten minutes it bowled me over holding a mouse in its mouth, then told me to dust myself off and get on an airplane as of yesterday. It's an adventure styled murder mystery with a pinch of time travel and a punch of surreal, a combination I didn't know was lacking in the market until I experienced it. Nothing else quite captured my interest half as much as Swery's latest. Obligatory avant-garde here.Other games receiving support were: Wolfenstein: The New Order, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Sunset Overdrive, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, Trials Fusion, Shadow Warrior, The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Outlast, LIMBO, Grand Theft Auto V, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition, http://www.trueachievements.com/Dark-Souls-II-Xbox-360/....htm, Costume Quest 2, Alien: Isolation, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Child of Light, and Assassin's Creed Unity.

But enough with the best losers, let's get into the Top Five!

Top Five

5 - Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
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Game Info Editor, Zonrith1, made an eloquent case for this mash-up of awesome stuff:

A combination of the Batman AA/AC stealth mechanics in one of the greatest fantasy settings ever created. Mordor looks like Mordor, but it goes beyond a visual nod to the films (something The Lord of the Rings: War in the North also accomplished visually, I might add). The story, both the main and the tidbits told via the collectables, reference far deeper elements of the Tolkien written works than have normally been explored (namely elements from The Silmarillion).

The combat is fluid, it makes sense for the character, and the sandbox is big enough to play in to feel free, small enough to not feel overwhelming, and focused enough not to feel disparate in its offerings (no silly bowling minigames here!). Voice acting is solid and the overall presentation is attractive.
4 - South Park: The Stick of Truth
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We'll bring back in MC0REBE for a good case for raunchiness:

I love South Park. I live South Park. Every time a new episode is available, I'm waiting impatiently to be able to watch it. I pre-ordered this game 2 years before it was launched and still under "construction" at THQ. After waiting for a VERY long time, Ubisoft released it and I'm so happy Matt and Trey worked so hard on this because it just feels like another episode.3 - Forza Horizon 2
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Walkthrough Supervisor, Eurydace, presents the compelling case for a return to racing excellence:

Quite a few great games came out this year. This one was the best. From the first race I played one thing jumped out at me: this game is pure fun. It doesn't get better than this. One moment you'll be racing down the track cutting tight corners to shave milliseconds off your time. The next you'll be hurtling over the top of a hill only to come crashing down out of control. It's the best experience. This is not only the best game of the year, but the best racing game in a decade. It simply doesn't get better than this.2 - Dragon Age: Inquisition
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There was a massive outpouring of support for two games this year and Inquisition feel just short of top honors (by three votes). You can read our Official Review of Inquisition for more extensive praise, but here's a quick blurb of gushing support from Walkthrough Supervisor, FullMetal594:

In a year of remakes and sequels, this one stood out for me. This game had a fantastic blend of combat, story and a ton of content to explore. Compared to the second DA, this was a vast improvement and successfully captured all the beloved elements of the DA series. The character acting was top notch and the choices you were faced with forced you to carefully consider the consequences of your actions. It has been awhile that I have lost myself so fully in a game that it would be 4am and I was still going, "Just one more quest!"And now the moment you've all been waiting for, our staff pick for Game of the Year 2014!

1 - Titanfall
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Like Inquisition you can read our Official Review of Titanfall for tons of good words, but I'm going to turn it over to our contest organizer, xPut Name Herex, who certainly did not rig this vote in any way:

You will play this game. Sure, it may go by the name "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare", "Halo 5", or some other competitive FPS, but eventually you be will playing this game. Much like Call of Duty 4, and Halo CE before that, Titanfall marks a new stage of the FPS. With a range of motion not just extended, but perfected in the vertical direction, good twitch gameplay, and proof you don't need a story or just needless customization options to produce a good game. Plus, who doesn't like the ability to drop a ton of metal into the battlefield and just go ballistic?Now that you've read all of our votes, cases, and ideas, be sure to cast your ballot for our official TA Game of the Year!
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.