So here we are. The five games that reached the top of the list for Game of the Year 2014! As discussed on the podcast, 2014 has been a relatively disappointing year with a number of titles not quite hitting the mark as they should have, but there have still been quite a few games that have tickled our fancies this year. Join us as we run down our list from 5 to 1, and see which game takes the crown!
5: Metal Gear Solid V – Ground Zeroes
Gari’s thoughts: It might be a short tease in the grand scale of things as to what’s to come next in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, but what a tease it is. Hideo Kojima has tinkered with the gameplay elements to make it not only more immersive, but still feature the tense moments that MGS is famous for. Add a ‘open world’ setting to the mix and its’ all tied together brilliantly. The classic Kojima-San stealth is here in abundance, and fans of previous instalments won’t be disappointed in what’s on offer with Ground Zeroes. After experiencing Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, I’m extremely excited for the future of MGS. Not only is MGSV: GZ a must-buy for the hardcore following that the series has acquired, but to anyone that owns a platform that can experience this cinematic title. Roll on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I say!
Asim’s thoughts: Sure, Ground Zeroes is “just a prologue” to Phantom Pain, but it more than does its job. Where most Japanese developers have fallen behind the West, Ground Zeroes shows that Kojima Productions has listened, watched and adapted to the current gaming climate. Not only does Ground Zeroes set up Phantom Pain superbly, it strips away all the unnecessary fat, showing everyone that Metal Gear and Kojima still own this genre. Stealth gameplay at its finest, refined to near perfection.
Charles’ thoughts: Light agile foot soldiers that can jump into second story windows, as well heavy destructive Mech Suits, which plummet to the battleground from the stratosphere… all in one arena? Simply epic. This title came at just the right time to inject life into the FPS genre that was starting to stagnate. It’s by no means perfect, but it is a fantastic platform to build off of and hopefully reach new heights in the future.
Ben’s thoughts: If you’d told me that I’d be including a multiplayer-only FPS in my list this time last year, let alone be my personal GOTY, I’d have probably laughed in your face. The genre has become more and more bloated over the last few years, to the point where playing them wasn’t enjoyable in the slightest. Thank god, then, for Titanfall. Whether it’s the feeling as you jump into an enormous robot that’s just landed on the ground in front of you and shoot the guy that’s been bearing down on you, or if it’s the game’s uncanny knack of making you feel like a boss even if you’re bottom of the leaderboard, Titanfall’s mix of on foot gameplay and hulking great “don’t-call-them-mechs” mechs’ firepower is extremely well balanced and has really refreshed the genre. Respawn’s FPS heritage has shone through with this, and I can’t wait for more from the Titanfall universe.
3: Mario Kart 8
Gari’s thoughts: Nintendo have done it again with the Mario Kart series. Mario Kart 8 is a not only a gorgeous looking game, but most importantly, its super fun. MK8 is beautifully designed from top to bottom with gravity being one of the main gameplay mechanics and not only does it work superbly thanks to its track design, but it also adds variety as well. Mario Kart 8 is a game that has received critical acclaim and it deserves all the praise that its been receiving. If you love a bit of Mario and co in Karts and you own a Wii U, this is a must-buy in every respect.
Aaron’s thoughts:The gaming industry is in a weird space where games are being released and needing 20GB patches or yet to leave alpha stage before being experienced by the general public. In the uncertainty that naturally follows, Nintendo remains the beacon of hope for polished complete games and Mario Kart 8 is at the head of that list. A prime example of what a finish product should be and immensely fun to boot. Luigi death stare anyone?
2: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Charles’ thoughts:This new sparkly generation of consoles hasn’t offered up much to salivate over just yet, but Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor has certainly produced something to stand and take note of. For the most part this is down to the fact that, it has been a very long time since I felt truly epic as an in-game protagonist. If anyone has ever watched a Lord of the Rings film, you will understand that a main Character can decimate tons of enemies while those around him struggle. This feeling has been captured in SoM and is surely why we play games! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all plain sailing because the combat can overwhelm you. In any one skirmish the tide can turn so quickly.
As well as a fantastic combat system it’s a game that balances the open world roaming activities perfectly with that of a linear story. It is also a platform for Warner Brothers to launch their Nemesis system, which could turn out to become a popular feature in many games to come.
Aryel’s thoughts:Who knew the best Assassin’s Creed game would actually be a Lord of the Rings game. Monolith Productions have achieved that master assassin feeling whilst introducing the truly unique nemesis system that ensures each individual game experience feels exclusive to the player.
Nick’s thoughts:In a year peppered with well-hyped releases and next-gen promise that had us all sitting on the edge of our seats in anticipation, Warner Bros came and smashed it with a surprise hit from left-field. Shadow of Mordor’s superb action oriented combat might not have been revolutionary, but it honed and developed it in ways that couldn’t be faulted. With an ever-moving open world, an interesting Tolkien-inspired backdrop and some of the most technically astute gameplay I’ve encountered in some time, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’s sequels have become something I’ll certainly be waiting on with bated breath.
NGB’s GAME OF THE YEAR 2014: FAR CRY 4
Asim’s thoughts Confession, I didn’t really get into Far Cry 3. Maybe it was something about the protagonist or the setting, but I played it for a couple of hours and never went back. With Far Cry 4, I was hooked from the fantastic opening right until the credits rolled. The story, without spoiling anything, is incredible. Some proper outside-of-the-box thinking from Ubisoft, making you truly feel the choices you make. Then you have the lush open world, making it one of the best looking games on the new-generation of consoles. Seriously, there were moments where I just stood around taking in the beauty. Not for too long though, I didn’t want to get mauled by a Tiger or stomped by a Rhino after all. This is how you do an engaging and engrossing open world FPS. Simply brilliant.
Aaron’s thoughts: Ubisoft may be having a hard time due to a certain other franchise, but Far Cry has remained strong. This is a game that is designed for you to have fun, on your own, or in co-op, it doesn’t matter. This is the ultimate first Person sandbox shooter.
Aryel’s thoughts:Whilst the main mechanics of the game are copy pasted from Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4 has enough going for it to make it a must buy game of 2014. Kyrat is a beautiful location to traverse whether you’re driving a truck across dirt roads or wingsuiting across mountains tops. Add co-op multiplayer to the mix and you suddenly have one of the best gaming experiences of the year.
And there we have it folks! Our Game of the year for 2014 is Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4. Agree? Disagree? Let us know below and we’ll be back in 2015 with more reviews, news and features than you can shake a relatively large stick at. From all of us here at NGB, thank you for coming here, and we hope we can continue to make content that you guys enjoy. Now go and have fun on New Year’s Eve!