What is your Game of the Year for the first half of 2014?
Courtney Osborn, Founder & Editor in Chief:
Let me start by saying that I have played most of the major games this year, such as Mario Kart 8, Watch Dogs, Wolfenstein, Infamous: Second Son, etc. But I am such a huge JRPG fan that I wish I could say it was something like Final Fantasy X/X-2, Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, or Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. However, as fun as those games all are, I honestly had much more fun playing Wolfenstein: The New Order. This may be because I expected all of the JRPGs to be great games and I had no idea what to expect of Wolfenstein? Or that IGN’s podcasts made me think that Wolfenstein was going to be a horrible game? Whatever the reason, Wolfenstein blew me away. It was the perfect blend of storytelling in a first person shooter. It had a fun storyline and great gameplay, and at the end of the day those are what matter most. I’ve been asked several times, “What is the best game (or first person shooter) on PlayStation 4?”, and I always answer that it is Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Lou Contaldi, Senior Editor:
Hands down, Shovel Knight. The beginning of a system’s launch is always a dry spell, so that knocks off Xbox One and PlayStation 4. As for Wii U, Mario Kart 8 was a ton of fun but still just another Mario Kart title. Shovel Knight was able to bring a lot of fresh ideas to the table and highlight some of the best parts of gaming history — while I doubt it will stay there all year, the spaded cavalier is taking first place so far.
Chad Waller, Editor:
So I’ve only played two games that have come out in this, the year of our Lord 2014: Transistor and Bound by Flame. While I felt like Transistor had some noticeable problems, it’s not utter rubbish like Bound by Flame. Transistor wins by default, though it’s still a good game all things considered. I recommend it.
Shawn Richards, Editor:
I have mostly been digging into my backlog this year and not much into new games. But I will say that inFAMOUS: Second Son is high on my list from what I have seen. I don’t like retro games like Shovel Knight that much, but I will say that I believe that the GotY will be in the second half of the year. I am sad to say that Watch_Dogs isn’t on my list. I guess we have to see what else 2014 has in store.
Steven Shearer, Editor:
Mine would easily be Watch Dogs! Maybe that is because I’m a massive open world fan and that was really the only massive open world game that has been released this year. However South Park: The Stick of Truth does deserve a mention; that was a brilliant game as well!
Ryan Latuso, Editor:
At this point in the year it’s South Park: The Stick of Truth. It’s not special because it’s a great RPG, it’s solid. What separates it is the sense of humor that kept me laughing the entire game. A close 2nd is Child of Light. That game sparked me on an RPG kick that I’m still on. I’m also considering buying it again for vita. It’s also worth mentioning Bravely Default. I haven’t finished it so I won’t judge it completely yet but I’m enjoying it a lot.
Dustin LaRoe, Editor:
So far this year I’ve been hooked on a few great games. On Xbox One I’ve spent a lot of time on Trials: Fusion and Super Time Force. On the 3DS, I’ve put a ton of hours into Mario Golf and Bravely Default. On the Wii U, I’ve invested time into Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Finally, on PC, I’ve wasted countless hours on Nidhogg, Civilization 5 (still!!) and FTL: Advanced Edition.
There are many more games I’ve tackled, but they are either older games with less playtime, or just not worth considering for game of the year.
Based on the amount of pure fun and entertainment I’ve had, I’ll call Super Time Force my Game of the 1st Half of 2014.
Benjamin Luthi, Editor:
There have been a number of great games this year already, like Kirby Triple Deluxe, Mario Golf World Tour, and NES Remix 2. But I think that so far, the game to beat is Mario Kart 8. I’ve been playing it constantly since release and I’m not tired of it yet, which is kind of amazing. My friends and I were playing Mario Kart Wii multiple times per week, and we haven’t touched it since Mario Kart 8 was released.
Myles Farrington, Editor:
I admit, I haven’t been able to play a lot of things as of right now… so I’ll just say that the Destiny Beta is clearly my top pick at the moment. The game was easily the most fun that I’ve had out of any of the games that I’ve had a chance to play on my PS4… which is pretty much the only system I have at this time.
Aaron Dobbe, Editor:
It’s gotta be Mario Kart 8 for me. It’s such a skillfully-executed refinement of a great formula; I don’t think Mario Kart has ever felt so good to play. I don’t usually play multiplayer games online, but MK8 manages to keep me engaged for hours at a time even when I’m not playing with friends. (Also, I’m still absent-mindedly humming the soundtrack. A coworker of mine is getting kind of sick of hearing the Dolphin Shoals melody.)
Audrey Lips, Editor:
My inclination is to say South Park: Stick of Truth. It lived up to all the hype and expectations that I had heard surrounding it, and was just downright hilarious. Though, I am a person who prefers a game with a good story over gameplay mechanics, so some may disagree with me.
Mario Kart 8 is a close second for me. It’s my favorite multiplayer game to play since its come out, despite feeling that the tracks feel repetitive and slightly lackluster.
Mike Morrissette, Editor:
Game of the Year so far? That’s rough because I honestly haven’t played that many “new” games recently aside from some MMOs but they’re currently in Beta, so I don’t think they count. I want to want to say South Park: The Stick of Truth, only because from what very little of it I have played, it did what it set out to do and it did it damn well. Sure, the comedy is a little hit or miss, but the games tells a fantastic satirical story of today’s societal issues with a flare of finesse. The game play (Me playing through two battles) was fluid and easy to understand. Overall, it was a great homage to the RPG Turn-based genre. Though, I have a feeling Destiny will end up being the GoTY, I guess we’ll see how everything plays out.
Harry Loizides, Editor:
I’m gonna throw it back to January with Bravely Default for the Nintendo 3DS. This JRPG game which follows a classic Final Fantasy-esque gameplay with stunning graphics and battle scenes. To add, the great thing about the battles is that they are extremely versatile-catering to some all-out battlers or more reserved ones. Regardless of how you want to play it, it’s certainly a great time.
Patrick Garrity, Editor:
I’m leaning towards South Park: The Stick of Truth so far this game. I feel like there was lots to prove with this title, with release date set backs and there never being an actual good South Park game until March of 2014. The feel of the game is what sold it. Nobody can say they didn’t feel as they were an actual part of South Park and interacting with our sadistic friends from there. Music, graphics, gameplay all are top notch. Some were worried with the game play being between 15 – 20 hours but it was just enough in the end. Very good game. I read Shovel Knight is doing awesome, but I had already played through the NES & SNES era of gaming and I do appreciate what they did with it, I do not want to go back there. XD
Andrew Lee, Editor:
Ys: Memories of Celceta (PS Vita) was released earlier in Australia this year. Coming into this year, I was left with very little to play on the Vita and I knew the PS4 library was going to be quite dry for some time. The game’s role playing mechanics is generic and won’t wow anyone. It is just there to get the job done. However, I grew to love the characters, the setting and I found myself fairly intrigued in the story as I pieced together the main protagonist’s memories.
Top that off with a fast and visceral combat system and I found myself with a excellent action RPG. I never heard of the Ys series before and picked the game up because I love the Vita and was looking for something new. I am really glad I picked this game up. Vita owners who love action rpgs, this is a must have.
Shaun Fales, Editor:
For me it would have to be Watch Dogs. I love my open world games and Watch Dogs offered me plenty to do throughout its long campaign. Plus the online hacking was fun and more intense than I thought it would be. While I can tell there will be many more games I enjoy more than Watch Dogs coming out this Fall, I’m still excited to see where Ubisoft can take this young franchise.
Jesse Webster, Editor:
I haven’t played a lot of the games that came out this year, but if it has to be games that came out this year, then I would have to pick South Park: The Stick of Truth. Thanks to Obsidian and South Park Studios, they have made the perfect licensed game. It’s funny, unapologetic, a blast to play, and everything you want out of a South Park game. My true game of the year didn’t even come out this year, and that would be Persona 4.