Our shortlists our in, the votes have been cast, and it's time to choose the Dealspwn Game of the Year 2014!
What we said: Bayonetta 2 is mechanically perfect, yet it is also a game that is stuffed with personality and wit and charm and an abundance of ideas and imagery and symbolism that its poor story cannot hope to make sense of or contain. But that's okay -- it is the finest game Platinum have ever made, and the best thing to grace the Wii U thus far.
What we said: A star filled, explosion-packed blockbuster smash of a campaign mode with a set of stellar multiplayer modes where Kill Confirmed and the new ball-based sport, Uplink, are set to become new favourites. Both the campaign and multiplayer owe a huge debt to the exoskeleton, which has proven to be the ultimate catalyst in pushing Call of Duty back to the top this year.
What we said: Macabre yet playful, disturbing yet uplifting, thought-provoking and intensely compelling, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a masterpiece of storytelling and characterisation. So long as you're prepared for a visual novel as opposed to a full-blooded adventure game, it's a truly essential purchase, and a Vita exclusive you'll savour over two dozen rewarding hours.
What we said: An incredibly deep and engaging RPG, Larian have delivered one of the finest RPGs of the last decade in a paean to player choice and freedom, all presented with the knowing smile and cheeky wink we've come to expect from them. Divinity: Original Sin might prove a little overwhelming for some, but old-school RPG fans will absolutely adore this.
What we said: Forget the disappointments of the previous instalment – BioWare are back on top form with Dragon Age: Inquisition. With huge expansive locations to explore, a rich and detailed world to be immersed in, and a branching narrative that has the player make tough choices, it is not only one of the best RPGs of the year, but a strong last-minute contender for game of the year.
What we said: Dungeon Of The Endless is the best Real-Time Turn-Based Strategic 4X Tower Defence Sci-Fi Roguelike RPG hybrid you'll play this week. And easily one of the very best games you'll play this year. Absolutely unmissable.
What we said: Mario Kart 8 is a great example of how to keep a 20-odd year old franchise relevant. It isn't shy to give you what you've already had before with it's predictable racing fun. But conversely it also offers up so much more with this latest installment thanks to brilliant track design, item tweaking, customisation and a strong online offering to keep you coming back for more for months to come.
What we said: A fantastic start for what we hope will become a fresh Tolkien franchise. There are some solid (if not borrowed) foundations and the Nemesis surpasses our expectations by providing a fresh experience to enemy design. Improvements next time should see a little more variety added to the combat brawls, but you’re going to love taking advantage of an enemy’s weaknesses from afar with the rich range of underhanded subterfuge tactics. Well played, Monolith.
What we said: The Wolf Among Us ends on a high: a masterful conclusion that delivers massive revelations, ties up loose ends and even delivers some profoundly satisfying catharsis without losing touch with Willingham's bittersweet gritty universe. Most of the choices we've feel impactful and important, whether big or small, while Cry Wolf saves some of its biggest for last. Dealspwn will remember that." Bring on Season 2.
What we said: Titanfall doesn't do anything truly revolutionary, but Respawn's rollicking shooter delivers a welcome shot of adrenaline directly into the heart of the genre, packaging familiar components in a truly satisfying and accessible way. More importantly, though, it's fantastic fun, regardless of whether you're a hardcore FPS gamer or just want to blow off some steam. Every match feels like an epic battle, from first charge to desperate extraction, set throughout some of the best maps that we've rampaged through in years.
Winner | Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
We all had different shouts for Game of the Year 2014, but there was one game that popped up on everyone's list, bar one, and given that we're fairly democratic about these sorts of things, consensus counts for a lot.
We've been raving about the Nemesis system in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor ever since the game came out, and it seems fitting to bestow the Game of the Year crown on one of the few games that bothered to try and strive for something new this year, making no concessions or compromising itself in the name of generational feature parity. Instead, Monolith returned triumphantly with a game that leveraged the new consoles' power to make things personal, shaking up the open world action genre in the process, and ultimately showing up Ubisoft's rapidly-ageing template for expansive games.
Shadow of Mordor isn't perfect, but it's been a breath of fresh air in a genre that has become increasingly stale. It's a game that manages to empower and challenge, not to mention deliver a mature Middle Earth experience that we'd long been coveting. Here is a game that lets us tailor progression to our particular gameplay preferences, styling Talion as we would see him made, with a fluid enemy host that shifts to counter our moves and machinations, and bosses who learn from their mistakes and double-down on their victories.
Finally, in Shadow of Mordor, we saw a glimpse of the potential of this generation from a perspective beside mere graphical upgrades. Words like "persistent" and "dynamic" and "progressive" get thrown around an awful lot, but in this game's carefully constructed land of Mordor, we were able to create real change as players and truly affect the balances of power.
And that felt pretty damn excellent.