Gamebrit Game of the Year Awards 2014
2014 has come and gone, so as is tradition we take a look back at our favourite games from the past twelve months.
If you want to hear how we came to our decisions you’ll want to check out the Game of the Year special of The Gamebrit Podcast.
Also, before you jump into the list below remind yourself of just went down in 2014 in our Year in Review.
Here are our favourites of 2014:
Mobile & Tablet — Hearthstone
In a year that was filled with multiple highly polished mobile releases, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft stands out from the crowd as being the most fun.
Originally a PC game, Hearthstone really feels at home on a tablet; pushing cards out onto the arena, dragging a minion to attack and swiping through your card collection are much more satisfying experiences with a finger rather than a mouse.
Honourable Mentions: Monument Valley, Threes, Hitman Go, Space Age
Handheld — Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Making its handheld debut, Nintendo’s brawler arrived ahead of the Wii U version on the 3DS in October of 2014, bringing the action to the small screen.
Many had concerns as to whether the fighter would translate well to the handheld, and the for the most part, the all-star Nintendo battles felt perfectly at home on the 3DS — even if the four player battles did often at times feel a bit crammed.
Offering a staggering variety in how you could play the game, along with a stack of customisation options, Smash for the 3DS will keep you busy – there’s a lot of game here.
Honourable Mentions: OlliOlli
Indie — Fibbage
A spin on the classic TV quiz show Blankety-Blank, Fibbage uses intuitive controls that implement the players smartphone to create a hilarious party game that’s accessible for the entire family.
When your parents answers start getting a little blue, you know it’s a hit.
Despite not being officially released in the UK yet, Fibbage takes a simple concept and makes it so much fun it became impossible to ignore.
Honourable Mentions: Monument Valley, 1001 Spikes
PC — Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
When the original Diablo 3 was released back in 2012, it wasn’t particularly well received – common complaints included itemisation problems, lack of end-game content, unbalanced difficulty and uninteresting loot. Reaper of Souls fixed all that, and more.
Diablo 3’s first (and hopefully not last) expansion added a good amount of new content and fixed up everything that was previously there. The result was an incredibly fun, polished and replayable game that once again propelled Diablo to the top of the list of “loot games”.
Honourable Mentions: Hearthstone, The Fall
PS4 — P.T
Yup, what many might consider a ‘demo’ has been crowned our favourite PS4 game of 2014. A free interactive playable teaser, P.T surprised many, literally, when it arrived in the summer of 2014.
The horror experience was made available with little fanfare, acting as a demo for a new game from an unknown developer. As is the case with anything mysterious online, it didn’t take long before it was revealed to be a teaser for the next Silent Hills game from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro.
Quickly generating a lot of buzz, P.T even managed to attract those typically uninterested in games to take a trip down its ever-repeating corridor.
P.T proved to be truly captivating, offering an unpredictable, claustrophobic and uniquely terrifying experience.
Honourable Mentions: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, The Last of Us: Remastered
Wii U — Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Nintendo’s all-star brawler returns for the Wii U, offering any Nintendo fan old or new a near-encyclopaedic level of fan service.
Like those before it, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a pure celebration of all things Nintendo. Amazingly, with each iteration in the series it seems to layer on the nostalgia, nods and references – this outing is no different.
Without doubt the definitive version of the fighter, as ever it’s ridiculous fun.
Honourable Mentions: Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8
Xbox One — Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Shadow of Mordor is essentially a game that takes several elements from well-established franchises (the combat from the Batman Arkham games and the traversal of Assassin’s Creed), but polishes them to near-perfection and layers on top an innovative mechanic in the Nemesis system.
This mix results in one of the most fun and satisfying games this year, and a game that empowers the player to progress through the campaign in their own unique way; no two people will have the same experiences with the constantly evolving Uruk hierarchy or the same battles with their dynamic “nemesis”.
Honourable Mentions: Titanfall, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Sunset Overdrive
British Developer of the Year — UsTwo for Monument Valley
UsTwo’s much celebrated Monument Valley made a splash when it arrived on the App Store in April.
A beautifully crafted puzzler, it challenges players to move through a series of mazes and optical illusions, not too dissimilar to the drawings of M. C. Escher.
Although not overly complex or difficult, the game offers a more relaxed, maybe even soothing, approach to the puzzler. Monument Valley excelled thanks to its detailed, beautiful art direction, exceptional sound design and clever puzzle offerings.
The Gamebrit 2014 Game of the Year
If you had told us at the beginning of the year that Gamebrit’s 2014 Game of the Year would be awarded to a free-to-play collectible card game, we’d probably have outright dismissed you. Yet here we are.
Blizzard Entertainment have once again delivered a product that is incredibly accessible and welcoming to all types of players (the tutorial is fantastic), whilst at the same time retaining a huge amount of depth and increasing complexity to those who are willing to dig a little deeper.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, their foray into the CCG market, oozes polish with every click, tap or drag. The way you can interact with each of the “arena elements”, the unique card animations, the seemingly-endless amount of sound clips, the individual taunts for each class; the game looks, sounds and feels like a labour of love.
The game creates “player stories”, a trait only enhanced by the randomness-focused expansion, Goblins vs. Gnomes, which was released in December; on multiple occasions we would finish a match and find ourselves immediately wanting to talk to a friend about something unique that had happened.
Accessible, incredibly deep, polished, smart, addictive; but above all else, it’s just plain fun. Well Met!
We’d love to see what your favourite games of last year were – be sure to let us know in the comments.