It is safe to say that 2014 has been a good year for games. It’s not just that we’ve seen spectacular blockbusters released almost from the start of the year, across all game consoles; 2014 has been a spectacular year for game creativity as we’ve seen indies and arthouse titles find real success courtesy of download platforms.
Our awards this year have been the most popular that we’ve ever seen on the site, with well over 1,000 people voting for their favourite games across 16 categories. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be listing the two highly commendeds (second and third place) and winner of each category, one per day.
It’s time to unveil the winner of the single most important award of the year – the overall Game of the Year! It’s been a fascinating year for games, with both niche and mainstream blockbusters throwing up some truly compelling experiences, but in the end it was a humble Vita game that scored the most votes from our community.
Take an intelligent and transgressive narrative and combine that with some incredible high-action gameplay and what do you end up with? Platinum Games’ Bayonetta 2. We can thank Nintendo for having the vision to understand the potential of the Bayonetta franchise, and provide Platinum Games with the kind of funding it needed to take the original game, and really enhance on it, to the point where this God of War ‘clone’ is better than anything the God of War franchise has ever offered.
GUST’s Atelier franchise continues to go from strength to strenght, with Atelier Escha & Logy being a near-perfect combination of simple, charming narrative, engaging characters, entertaining, tactical combat and the Atelier’s trademark item crafting system. People who think the traditional JRPG genre doesn’t still have real legs needs to play this game – they may well find themselves very surprised with just how robust these games can be in the hands of a talented, visionary team.
It might seem a little strange that a humble visual novel might be the best game in 2014 – a year that included some amazing, massive, blockbuster games and hugely complex indie masterpieces, but you only need to play Danganronpa to understand why it was so well regarded by the people that voted in our polls. Danganronpa offers up a narrative easily as complex as the finest works of literature, with some incredible characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing right through to the end. For proof that games can have genuine artistic merit, you only need to look at this game.
– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld