Earlier this week, we released our detailed list of our 2014 game of the year nominees across various categories. After taking the time to tally up our votes, we are now ready to reveal our winners along with an explanation as to why we made each choice. The games chosen were based specifically off of notable titles that we have all played at some point and time this year.
Game Of The Year: Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
When Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor was first announced, many people were skeptical about this title and what value it could bring to J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous Lord of the Rings franchise. Much to our surprise, this game proved to be even better than advertised and resonated strongly with most of us. Dragon Age: Inquisition came in as a close second and rightfully deserves all the praise that it has been getting. If you still haven’t had a chance to play both of these titles, then you definitely owe it to yourself to do so soon.
Best Indie Game: Transistor
Ever since Sony expressed their strong support of indie development studios, the PS4 has had the distinct pleasure of adding even more indie titles to their catalog. While The Banner Saga was an awesome game on the PC, Transistor resonated more with a lot of us, and came away the winner. This beautifully designed action RPG is currently on the PC and is also a PS4 console exclusive. If you are a fan of Bastion and Supergiant games, then you definitely should give this game a try too.
Best New IP: Destiny
2014 marked the debut of several new IPs across both current and old gen consoles. While Watch Dogs and Titanfall both fell short of everyone’s expectations, Destiny garnered success by offering something different from the creative team over at Bungie. While this game isn’t perfect, it does have qualities about it that will grab your attention and keep you engaged for hours and days on end. These are guidelines any and every new IP should follow and hopefully this shooter can set the bar for future games in the series.
Developer Of The Year: Telltale Games
While Nintendo succeeded in having a great year of releases on both the Wii U and 3DS, Telltale Games achieved far greater things by launching four different critically acclaimed titles based on pre-existing franchises. The Walking Dead: Season Two, The Wolf Among Us, Tales From The Borderlands, and Game of Thrones all proved that this studio has incredible range when it comes to storytelling, creativity, and gameplay. For that reason and that reason alone, they definitely are deserving of our developer of the year award.
Best RPG: Dragon Age: Inquisition
With the successful launch of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bioware have reclaimed their title as masterful storytellers in the world of video games. By giving the player vast worlds to explore and plenty of intriguing choices to make, this RPG delivers on every front and is arguably the best sequel in the series. Divinity: Original Sin is another outstanding RPG that came close in votes, but failed to beat Dragon Age. Regardless, both games are definitely worthy of both your time and money.
Best First-Person Shooter: Destiny
With Destiny already winning our best new IP award, the shooter also seemed to get the most votes for best FPS as well. Both Far Cry 4 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare were in a 3-way tie with Destiny until the last few votes changed all that. Truthfully, the intense gunplay on display in both raids and strikes is one of the most addictive elements about Destiny. Taking all of this into account, Bungie’s title certainly seems worthy of this award.
Best Fighting Game: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
Not surprisingly, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS was the definitive fighting game of 2014. While Ultra Street Fighter IV picked up a few votes, the majority of the staff was blown away by Smash Bros. While this was an easy choice to make, next year’s picks will be even more interesting; the genre will be stacked with new games next year, and if Street Fighter V ends up going head-to-head with Mortal Kombat X, who knows what could happen. This definitely isn’t guaranteed to happen, but it will be quite intriguing if it does.
Best Racing Game: Forza Horizon 2
Racing games have continued to evolve with each passing console generation. This year, Forza Horizon 2 was the clear-cut favorite among many of the staff and rightfully so. The Crew and Driveclub are worthy of being mentioned as new titles, but aren’t anything close to being considered the best when it comes to racing yet. For now, Forza Horizon 2 carries that crown and is arguably the best reason to own an Xbox One right now.
Best Sports Game: NBA 2K15
When it comes to sports simulation games currently on the market, no one can compete with the NBA 2K series. Several of us voted for NBA 2K15 over EA Sports UFC and Madden NFL 15. Every year, these sports games keep on getting better thanks to fan feedback and support. It will be interesting to see if NBA 2K will still be the standout title in this category next year.
Best Xbox Exclusive: Sunset Overdrive
Insomniac Games delivered something special when they released Sunset Overdrive exclusively on the Xbox One back in October. The creative and charming new IP proved that Microsoft was willing to take risks on new projects instead of giving us the same experiences in Halo, Gears of War , and Forza Motorsport. Forza Horizon 2 was another title in this category that received several votes from our staff. However in the end, Sunset proved to be more appealing and is a great showcase piece for the platform.
Best PlayStation Exclusive: inFAMOUS: Second Son
When it comes to PlayStation Exclusives in 2014, inFAMOUS: Second Son was really the only standout title that PS4 owners cared about. We all had a chance to play this game and walked away both satisfied and excited for the future of the console. If you picked up a new PS4 recently, then you owe it to yourself to check out this game before everything else.
Best Nintendo Exclusive: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
While Bayonetta 2 came very close to winning this, the last few votes favored Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS over everything else. Nintendo had the most exclusives this year and yet this game proved to be the one title that fans cared about most. Mario Kart 8 also picked up a few votes, but still didn’t have enough support to win it all.
Best Handheld Game: Shovel Knight
After competing with the likes of Super Smash Bros. and Freedom Wars, Shovel Knight captivated our hearts most and is our choice for best handheld game of 2014. Judging by the reception that this title received during the PlayStation Experience, it’s easy to see why this game is so beloved by many. Do yourself a favor and try out this game so you can see what all the fuss is about.
This concludes our full list of winners for this year. Did any of the games we have listed above make your own personal list? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.