usagi704′s BEST GAMES PLAYED 2014 Awards

THIS YEAR’S RULES FOR GAMES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NOMINATION

(List of games eligible for this year’s awards)

– THE GAME MUST HAVE BEEN PLAYED FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR
– THE GAME DOES NOT HAVE TO HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY RELEASED THIS YEAR

BEST VISUALS

• Bayonetta 2 (WU)
• inFamous: Second Son (PS4)
• Tearaway (PSV)
• Destiny (PS4)
• God of War: Ascension (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Destiny (PS4)

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For as early in the year as this game came out, inFamous: Second Son really impresses with its vision of Seattle in all of its rain soaked, beautifully lit glory!

BEST MUSIC

• Hotline Miami (PSV)
• Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PSP)
• TxK (PSV)
• Rez (PS2)
• Destiny (PS4)

RUNNER-UP: Destiny (PS4)

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In recent years I’ve grown a larger appreciation for electronic music as evidenced by last year’s Best Music winner, DmC. While this winner isn’t specifically dubstep tinged, it is still fantastic electronic music that makes playing this Tempest clone all the more enjoyable.

BEST SHOOTER

• Warframe (PS4)
• Binary Domain (PS3)
• Dead Space 3 (PS3)
• Syndicate (PS3)
• Destiny (PS4)

RUNNER-UP: Binary Domain (PS3)

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I can’t think of a game with better, more impressive core shooting in years. The act of just firing a weapon in Destiny feels so good and so responsive. Early on I wasn’t feeling sniper rifles or hand cannons at all, but once I picked up The Devil You Know and The Supremacy, I instantly knew I judged those weapon types all wrong.

BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE

• Infamous: Second Son (PS4)
• Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PS3)
• Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
• Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4)
• Bayonetta 2 (WU)

RUNNER-UP: Infamous: Second Son (PS4)

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With Bayonetta being my favorite action game of all-time, the sequel was bound to impress and impress it did! The silky smooth 60 frames per second made playing this entry more enjoyable in many ways than even the first game.

MOST SURPRISINGLY GOOD GAME

• Gun-Dec (FC)
• Binary Domain (PS3)
• Blast Factor (PS3)
• Dead Space 3 (PS3)
• Syndicate (PS3)

RUNNER-UP: Dead Space 3 (PS3)

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Based on what I heard before playing, I was incredibly surprised by how much I enjoyed Syndicate. Get some friends together and kick ass in the amazing online co-op. You will not be disappointed!

MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME

• Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (PS2)
• Deus Ex: The Conspiracy (PS2)
• Jet Set Radio Future (XB)
• Shovel Knight (3DS)
• The Wonderful 101 (WU)

RUNNER-UP: Shovel Knight (3DS)

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The biggest issue with this game is that it was released for the Wii U during the first year of the system’s life when developers still felt the need to force players to fuck around with the Wii U’s gimmicky features. This led to game design that made the game a chore to play and a lot less enjoyable overall than I hoped. The largely successful streak for Platinum Games in my eyes had to come to a halt at some point and playing The Wonderful 101 was that point.

WORST GAME PLAYED

• Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PS3)
• Mega Man II (GB)
• Forever Kingdom (PS2)
• The Wonderful 101 (WU)
• Mighty Gunvolt (3DS)

RUNNER-UP: Mighty Gunvolt (3DS)

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Back in early 2012 I played the previous game in this series, Evergrace. It wasn’t good, but it did have a strange charm that I liked enough to be okay with the game. The sequel, however, ratcheted up the difficulty to the point to making the game completely unenjoyable. To make matters worse, the super weird soundtrack from the first game is back and it’s still just as fucking crazy as ever!

GAME OF THE YEAR

• Destiny (PS4)
• Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4)
• BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND (PS3/PSV)
• Azure Striker: Gunvolt (3DS)
• Syndicate (PS3)
• Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
• inFamous: Second Son (PS4)
• Binary Domain (PS3)
• Bayonetta 2 (WU)
• Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (WU)

RUNNER-UP: Bayonetta 2 (WU)

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A lot has been said about Destiny since it came out. While I agree with some of the criticism to an extent, I feel it was mostly blown out of proportion because they were expecting way too much instead of being more realistic about it like I was. The shooting is fantastic, being awarded a new legendary or exotic weapon or armor piece feels meaningful because it isn’t doled out at a ridiculous rate, besting a difficult challenge like the weekly nightfall strike or raid is incredibly satisfying. Playing this game is super fun with others and I have the feeling a lot of the detractors liked it a lot more than they were willing to admit. I saw people overreact and tear Destiny a new asshole, but then what were they still doing weeks later? That’s right, still playing Destiny. In spite of what I feel is a bad business decision to make non-expansion owners feel like they need to get the expansion, my time with Destiny in 2014 was way too good to award any other game than it for my highest honor.