Congratulations! The Game Awards 2014 went off in fantastic fashion, and was a clear success in honoring video games, game creators, as well as gamers and gaming culture.
You’ve probably already read the results and know who the winners are, and it goes without saying that all of the nominees were not only fantastic, but deserve the acclaim that they were given. What we want to do here is reanalyze the choices, and give a round out of which games didn’t get their chance in the spotlight. Who are some of the competitors that deserved the top spots?
Don’t forget to let us know who you thought should have won some of the awards down in the comments! I definitely want to hear who you think should have won Best Indie Game.
Best Performance – Troy Baker (Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor)
It goes without saying that Troy Baker is an icon of voices in games. He could have been nominated for so many games that it’s almost hard to find the right place for him. His acting for Pagan Minn in Far Cry 4 (not nominated this year) is beyond fantastic, not to mention his part as Rhys is Tales of Borderlands. As for his role in the snubbed Shadow of Mordor, this was a huge let-down for his talent that he didn’t get this award. His vocal talents lent a power to Talion that nobody else could offer.
Best Score/Soundtrack – Transistor
The award goes to Destiny? Come off it. Destiny has a great score, let’s not mince words here. But reprising his talents from the Bastion soundtrack, Darren Korb’s remarkable, moody, and ethereal wizardry of instrumental music, along with the beautiful vocals of Ashley Barret, easily earned Transistor this award. Transistor has one of those soundtracks that never gets old, and one that you can easily introduce to non-gamer audiophiles to perk their ears and impress them.
Best Mobile/Handheld Game – Bravely Default
Hearthstone, we love you. 20 million players and growing proves that we love you. But your ridiculous mathematics stole the show from the true winner in this category: Bravely Default. Easily the best JRPG in a decade, this game had Square-Enix returning to their roots in a big way. So big that they have made a committment to make more turned-based RPGs in the future.
Fantastic art, beautiful score, compelling gameplay, a huge world to explore, and mechanics unique to the RPG genre, allowing for altering of random encounters. We can’t express enough love for such a wondrous game, and eagerly await Bravely Second.
Games For Change – This War of Mine
Valiant Hearts: The Great War easily earned Best Narrative at this year’s Game Awards. It was the first game to really delve deep into the emotional turmoil of war, and one of the very few to address the gruesome horrors of World War I, they earned that privilege. But a game for change? I think not. If you want to see a game eagerly seeking to make social change happen, look no further than This War of Mine.
Also capturing the grittiness of wartime, they instead focus on the human element of civilians caught up in a war that wasn’t wanted or asked for. The crossfire is a dangerous place to eek out survival, and the horrid decisions you must make in This War of Mine will scar you in a real way, a grim reminder that many of our neighbors on the planet are locked in this exact reality as we speak.
Best Remaster – The Last of Us Remastered
Grand Theft Auto V, tonight’s winner, has done fantastic things with their arrival on PS4, Xbox One, and soon the PC. This is especially true with their introduction of first-person mode, which has revolutionized the way we play the game. But nothing can quite compare to the sheer beauty of The Last of Us.
With upgraded graphics, it brings a truer and more visceral experience to the already punch-in-the-gut narrative. Couple that with Last of Us getting snubbed in the Games For Change category, the lack of honor to Naughty Dog was a huge upset.
Best Role-Playing Game – Divinity: Original Sin
Come on now, Bioware. You already got your praise as Game of the Year for the Game Awards. Dragon Age: Inquisition is a great game, and we all know it. But the true beauty of the RPG genre is brought out by Divinity: Original Sin.
This throwback to fantastic RPGs and CRPGs like Baldur’s Gate does everything Dragon Age tried to do with tactical mode, except better and with more detail. The isometric camera angles, which bring back those nostalgic moments of games like Fallout, along with the deep moral choices and freedom of player agency and customization draws in comparisons to Dungeons & Dragons. Divinity easily won this award.
Best Online Experience – Dark Souls II
If you question folks about Destiny, you’ll learn that the lack of online features was one of this huge game’s biggest disappointments. It often felt less like an MMO, and more like “Halo, except bigger.” And while Hearthstone was a healthy contender for this award, the true winner should have gone to From Software and Dark Souls II.
This game continues to thrive due to the highly competitive online element of hijacking people’s games and ruining their fun. It is consistently on the top viewed charts of Twitch, has a thriving community, and is despicably hard. Of this list, few others can claim the level of hardcore Dark Souls II was able to achieve.
Trending Gamer – Pewdiepie
This is more of a shock than a snub. Of the many Game Awards community votes, I can say I was one of the many who pushed my vote toward the winner, Totalbiscuit (John Bain), the fantastically talented reviewer on YouTube. But the fact that Pewdiepie, self-made millionaire let’s player with literally over twenty-million fans, somehow didn’t win an award at the Game Awards comes as a huge shock.
Although he’s usually teased for his screaming and vulgar language, you’ll likely hear no complaints from Felix Kjellberg, who off-camera is exceptionally humble and sincere. If you disagree, check out his recent talks on the BROKEN Podcast with CinnamonToastKen to get a more honest view of the man who literally sets the trends in the gaming world these days.
Best Indie Game – All of Them
Best Indie Game was my most contentious category of the entire Game Awards, because everything on show was phenomenally good. Shovel Knight won, and completely was within its rights to the top spot (it was my favorite for the category). But every single game that was nominated deserved the utmost critical praise.
Broken Age tells a fantastic story, even as the first act, and will have its second part out soon. Monument Valley is an insanely gorgeous mobile game that blows all competition in its field out of the water. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is shockingly vivid and imaginative, with an intriguing paranormal narrative to boot. And Transistor is every bit as brilliant as Supergiant’s successor, Bastion. All of these games earned a top spot with ease.
Developer of the Year – Telltale Games
Nintendo certainly earned their achievements with this award, as did Blizzard’s stellar performance in 2014. But easily overlooked among these giants in the industry is humble Telltale Games. Not only do they make some of the most gripping and emotional games for our modern tastes – Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and now Game of Thrones as well as Tales from the Borderlands – these folks do some fantastic work with a simple and exceptionally effective formula. The fact that a studio that has largely remained independent can so consistently deliver with fascinating and engaging games, as well as some of the best crossover franchises in game history, speaks volumes to their talent.
Game of the Year – Hearthstone
No, I’m not saying this just because Yami predicted it would win. Hearthstone is amazing. 20 million players do not lie. This game has a bustling esports community, a highly competitive playerbase, a huge amount of depth and strategy, and is endlessly fun. While Dragon Age: Inquisition did make an impressive game worthy of its award at the Game Awards, the game that will continue to be played for years will remain Hearthstone, gaining ever growing complexity as Blizzard continues to design new decks and upgrades for the game.