2014 Game of the Year Awards: Special Categories

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Another year has bit the dust, and here we are to sweep up the ashes.  Our winners (and losers in some cases) follow below. Unless otherwise stated, the following categories were debated by a panel of 7 people until consensus was reached. Naturally, some were easier to agree on that others, but either way, we all hope you enjoy our picks.

Best Non-2014 Gaming Experience (Personal)

This category is designed for us to be able to talk any great standouts from our backlogs, any unfinished episodic games, and early access games that have not officially released yet.

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Paul – Spec Ops / Binary Domain

Thomas – Pokémon Omega Ruby

Zach – I Am Bread

Drew – Chrono Trigger

Isaiah – League of Legends

Brock – Dark Souls

Alex – NES Everything

Most Surprisingly Good (Personal)

This category is for going over the biggest expectation buster (in a positive direction).

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Paul – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Zach – Pix the Cat

Drew – Earth Defense Force 2025

Thomas – Lethal League

Alex – Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

Brock – Dragon Age: Inquisition

Most Original/Innovative

Most Original/Innovative rewards games that strike out and do something different.

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Winner

P.T.

P.T. definitely does something different. Traversing a hallway over and over noting the changes and going mildly insane was certainly one of the most unique experiences 2014 had to offer.

Runners-up

Velvet Sundown

Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball

Biggest Disappointment (Personal)

Time for the sadness, the games that bummed us out and didn’t live up to the expectations we had for them.

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Drew – Destiny

Brock – Yoshi’s New Island

Paul – Destiny

Zach – Destiny

Isaiah – The Legend of Korra

Alex – Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney

Thomas – Watch Dogs

Most Addictive (Personal)

These are the games that gripped us and wouldn’t let us go.

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Alex – The Banner Saga

Thomas – Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Drew – inFamous: Second Son

Brock – Dark Souls II

Paul – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Zach – Destiny

Isaiah – Tap Titans

Best Looking Game

We combine all aesthetics, technical proficiency, and art direction to form our category for Best Looking Game. It is as simple as it sounds.

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Winner

P.T.

The game looks like some found footage horror movie. We haven’t seen a more realistic looking game making P.T. our Best Looking game of 2014.

Runners-up

Mario Kart 8

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Best Boss Fights

Many could consider this category somewhat antiquated, but we here at the EXP. Shared podcast still love us a great boss encounter.

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Winner

Freedom Planet

Runners-up

Shovel Knight

The Evil Within

Best Voice Performance

A new category for us this year! Who delivered the best vocal performance of the year?

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Winner

Erin Fitzgerald & Amanda Miller as Junko Enoshima from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Junko’s voice performance was no easy task. No spoilers here, but the fact that two people had to voice her character should be a hint to how much her awesomeness cannot be contained.

Runners-up

Mamoru Miyano as Rintaro Okabe from Steins;Gate

Troy Baker as Pagan Min from Far Cry 4

Best Voice Acting

Where Best Voice Performance looks at only one specific voice acting entry, Best Voice Acting examines the game as a whole and rewards the game with the best vocal talent across the board.

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Winner

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Danganronpa has an edge due to the sheer impressive amount of voice acting in this half-visual novel experience. The cast is varied with no weak links in the 16+ person cast. Again, Danganronpa has both quality and quantity when it comes to great voice acting making it our winner for this category.

Runners-up

South Park: The Stick of Truth

The Wolf Among Us

Best Multiplayer

In what was our most contentious category at Game of the Half-Year 2014, we had much less strife in selecting our winner here at Full Year. We combine both local and online multiplayer experiences for this category.

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Winner

Super Smash Bros. for WiiU

This was not a shocker. We are pretty big Smash fans, but it was experiencing the game’s 8-player mode that made this category go so much smoother for us this time around. Smash’s greatness as a local multiplayer get together staple is undeniable.

Runner-up

Towerfall: Ascension

Lethal League

Best Amiibo

As Amiibogeddon still strikes fear into the hearts of millions with its crippling supply shortages, we tasked ourselves is deciding which one of the first two waves is the best one. There were no clear parameters for how we determined which one was “The Best One,” so we just argued for a while about the little Nintendo figurines.

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Winner

Luigi

…because of course it is. His pose is perfect and encapsulates everything that is the Man in Green.

Runners-up

Zelda

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Best Music

Best Music includes a game’s soundtrack and how a game uses music.

Winner

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Bayonetta 2

Honestly, I was not overly impressed by Bayonetta 2’s music as I was playing it. This is likely due to how crazy and over-the-top the game is, so there wasn’t room in my brain to process the music as I running through the game’s onslaught of insanity. However, upon listening to the OST on its own, I was floored. Moon River and Tomorrow is Mine easily steal the show, but the game’s soundtrack is surprisingly diverse and we had to give it to Bayonetta.

Runners-up

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Best Story/Writing

We combine story and writing together for this category because they go hand in hand with each other. For example, though a game like Dragon Age may not have the strongest overarching story, the character-to-character interactions display how well written a game can be despite its story.

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Winner

The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us won this category for us this year due to how well it all comes together. The courtroom like setting at the end brings all of the game’s decisions back and reminds the player that they have made an impact in this world regardless of how they determined to play. It is this feeling of “mattering” that gave strength to the game’s overall story and writing.

Runners-up

Steins;Gate

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Most Funny/Ridiculous

A game doesn’t have to be funny to be nominated or win this category, if it isn’t then it better be pretty ridiculous. We combine the two adjectives to praise games that essentially aren’t boring.

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Winner

Hatoful Boyfriend

Hatoful Boyfriend is a game where the player is a female human who attends a school for all boys… who just so happen to also be birds (mostly pigeons). It is indeed as stupid and ripe for humor as it sounds. The game perfectly encapsulates what we are going for with this category, and though this category appears to get harder to choose a winner every year, it was clear that Hatoful Boyfriend was easily the most funny and ridiculous game of 2014.

Runners-up

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Best New Main Character

A new generation of consoles typically brings a new wave of great new characters, but that was not the case in Generation 8’s first full year.

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Winner

Bigby Wolf from The Wolf Among Us

Bigby’s strength of character and viewing the world through his eyes made him unforgettable this year. Being an established character where everyone had views of him already then choosing to alter them or feed into the expectations made his role in Fabletown an appealing one for players.

Runners-up

Rintaro Okabe from Steins;Gate

Zero from Drakengard 3

Best Secondary Character

A main character cannot stand alone. Most video game protagonists are blank voids for the player to project themselves on, so typically story-heavy games have strong supporting casts. This year was no different. 2014 was full of rich casts and top-notch secondary characters.

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Winner

Nagito Komaeda from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

It was a surprisingly easy decision to give the honors to Nagito. Though one NEEDS to have played Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc to get the most out of Danganronpa 2, it is the continuity between the games that adds so much to Nagito’s character. His name is an anagram for the player character in the first game, and he resembles him as well. Danganronpa 2 is chock full of moments where the player asks, “What is happening!?” And most of those moments come directly from Mr. Komaeda.

Runners-up

Reggie Rowe – inFamous: Second Son

Junko Enoshima – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Most Memorable Moment (Personal)

*SPOILERS!!!* Our most memorable moments of the year follow. Some are sad, some are happy, all are stand-out moments from the year.

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Drew – Reggie’s end in inFamous: Second Son

Thomas – The end of episode 1 of The Wolf Among Us

Alex – Realizing what it means to return to the prime timeline in Steins;Gate

Isaiah – Realizing what it means to return to the prime timeline in Steins;Gate

Zach – The Alien, from Alien: Isolation

Paul – The series of insane happenings that is the end of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Brock – Besting the Dark Souls II DLC

*END SPOILERS*

Most Anticipated Game of 2015 (Personal)

What is going to rev our engine in 2015?

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Thomas – The Order 1886

Zach – The Division

Brock – Hyper Light Drifter

Drew – Kingdom Hearts 3

Paul – No Man’s Sky

Isaiah – Heroes of the Storm

Alex – Persona 5

2014 is the year of …

Our last category (other than Best Game) is what defined the year that was 2014. 2014 wasn’t the best year for games, but what was it that made it that way?

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Winner

Hype Train Derailed

The new consoles brought with them unbelievably high hopes; hopes that were, in many cases, dashed to pieces. Games like Watch Dogs, Destiny, Assassin’s Creed Unity, among others failed to live up to expectations. Even the “good” triple-A games all came with caveats, inFamous: Second Son and Dark Souls II were far from the pinnacle of their respective series; Titanfall had a campaign that was joke, the Halo: Master Chief Collection is a burning ruin of online technical problems, and Platinum Games put out their worst game to date with The Legend of Korra.  The failures at the top of the game’s industry allowed for smaller titles to take center stage, and boy did they step it up. Indie games flourished while the triple-A’s floundered.

Runners-up

The Vita!

Great Multiplayer (both online and off)

Stayed tuned for our ranked list of ALL THE GAMES we played from 2014 coming shortly.

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