The Digital Fix Game of the Year Debate 2014 - Part Three

And so our Game of the Year 'awards' come to a close. Edd has a few words for Early Access, Liam embraces the remaster and James rejects them like the plague. As always, let us know your comments below!

Edd Harwood, Staff Writer

5. Dungeon of the Endless - It's a buggy mess, but if they got around to fixing it and balancing it, this might be the rogue-like I continue playing for some time.
4. Alien Isolation - Great depiction of the franchise but gameplay wears thin a little too quickly
3. Age of Wonders III - This has a disturbing amount of depth and might be a game I never finish playing (maybe replacing HoMM III as I've played virtually every map / mod / anything of that now...)
2. 80 Days - Someone else mentioned this. How on earth is a simple text adventure game so atmospheric and ingenious?
1. Dark Souls II - not DS, but still better than anything else I've played all year...

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The 'What is the difference between preview, beta, early access and buggy final release that needs serious patching?' goes to...
Virtually every game I've played on Steam. Congratulations guys! Special credit in order of alleged completed status goes to Onikira: Demon Killer, Maia, Prison Architect, Dungeon of the Endless, Banished, Magicite... I guess you may as well extend this to most AAA releases these days too...

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Liam Croft, Staff Writer

5. Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare
4. Titanfall
3. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
2. Alien: Isolation
1. Grand Theft Auto V

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Game of the Year: Grand Theft Auto V
I had some pretty bad luck when Grand Theft Auto V released for previous generation consoles back in 2013. After I had sunk only about four hours into the game, my PlayStation 3 broke. Without any sort of warranty on my console, the only options I had were either buy another PS3 or hope that the game would be re-released on the PlayStation 4. I decided to move on and get a PlayStation 4 and thankfully, my hopes were answered.

Grand Theft Auto V was still pretty much a new game to me upon its PS4 release which meant I could enjoy it with those better graphics and a smooth framerate. And to say I enjoyed the game would be an understatement. The minute to minute gameplay is so much fun, the variety in missions is staggering, all three main characters are brilliantly acted and voiced, and the plethora of activities on offer keep you coming back well after the story is done. Grand Theft Auto V has set a new standard for open-world games this generation.

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The Best Broken Mess Of The Year: Halo: The Master Chief Collection
I was stuck in matchmaking for 20 minutes multiple times, the Halo: Combat Evolved campaign skipped a level, multiplayer matches ended prematurely for no reason, achievements wouldn't unlock, I lost singleplayer progress due to some unknown reasoning, and the game crashed my Xbox One a few times. This is just a taster of the problems I have experienced when playing Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Despite all these problems, I still find myself returning to the collection multiple times a week, because well, it’s Halo. Having the ability to play all four of these games on one system using one unified interface is a dream come true for fans, and so it almost feels wrong to just move on and forget about the wealth of content we have at the end of our fingertips. Halo multiplayer is some of the best you can get on any console in history, and the campaigns provide a fantastic story as well as fun and engaging gameplay.

It’s all going to work properly…one day.

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The Best Stealth Game Of The Year: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
I love every single thing about the Metal Gear Solid series, it’s easily my favourite videogame franchise of all time, and so you could imagine my excitement upon the release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

For saying the game takes place in only one small area, the amount of different ways you can tackle the main mission, as well as the side missions is truly spectacular. You could sneak past every guard, silently taking them out as and when you need to. There is the option of not harming anyone at all and accomplishing your mission without an enemy ever knowing you were there. Or, if you’re feeling brave, you could ditch stealth altogether and make a full on assault on the base, alerting everyone around you and setting off alarms for fun. After playing the game for twenty hours, I think I've tried pretty much every way of tackling the mission that’s possible within the game. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is the best stealth game released this year because it lets you tackle the objective the way you want to, using any degree of stealth that you see fit.

And yes, I do let out a small squeal of excitement at the thought of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain releasing later this year.

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James Marshall, Features Editor

2014 was an odd year. Looking back on it, it’s actually hard to remember what I played, let alone anything that stood out above the rest. Sure, there are some remasters of 2013’s best games but it feels like cheating by saying they were the year’s greatest. I’ve tried not to include any in my top five, so here goes…

5. Wolfenstein: The New Order
4. Forza Horizon 2
3. P.T.
2. Alien: Isolation
1. The Last of Us - Left Behind

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Game of the Year: The Last of Us - Left Behind
Yes, DLC from Naughty Dog bests just about everything else this year. Confession: I’m in the camp that doesn’t see The Last of Us as a game worthy of full scores across the board. Something about the mechanics of the game means that it falls into a strange uncanny valley of game design, as if the minute enemies appear the immersive story takes a backseat. Then there were the moments late in the game where I felt disconnected from Joel, totally unwilling to follow through on an action the game forced me to take. Left Behind rectified all of this. The combat was still there but more focus was given to the story, Naughty Dog unafraid to linger on character beats or exploration. I never felt connected to Ellie in the main story, so an emotional look at her backstory was just enough to push me into empathy. That empathy opened the floodgates and I finally saw not only the game’s greatness but also a future unhindered by requisite action set-pieces. Here’s to more games emphasising story over combat.

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The Left Out of the Loop Award: Destiny
It’s heartening to see a few of our writers agreeing on Destiny as a huge disappointment. I’d long been a secret Bungie fan. Halo hasn’t been as good as it was in the heyday of the series, but I’ve gone along with it and enjoyed the ride. Destiny looked to be the next great space opera - tight gameplay, grand vistas and a bit of Bungie magic. The Beta showed that the game felt right only… it played exactly the same in the retail release. There was no story. There was just grinding. Hours of pointless grinding. A hardcore fanbase has me doubting my thoughts, questioning whether my Bungie loyalty should remain steadfast.
Runner up: Shadow of Mordor. Aside from the brilliant Nemesis system, I didn’t think Shadow of Mordor was all that. Seeing it in so many Best of 2014 lists has me fearing for my gaming credentials.

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The Proof of Concept Award for Trendsetting: P.T.
I didn’t finish P.T.. Not because I was scared witless - I was - but because of the hoops you have to jump through to trigger that final teaser trailer. I did, however, love the metagame - reading forum posts, seeing Twitter speculation and the resultant bizarre solutions that arose over the course of a few weeks. If there was one thing that came of the P.T. experiment, it’s that releasing a demo that isn’t really a demo is fantastic way of building buzz about your game. More of this please.

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