When it came to discussing our Game of the Year, the staff here at Power Up Gaming just couldn’t decide our winners, even after we coaxed Chris down from the fire escape for not including Minecraft in the discussions. In all honesty, we’re too far apart and have played vastly different games from each other to ever come up with a consensus. If that wasn’t difficult enough, 2014 has been a funny old year with the negative headlines surrounding unfinished and delayed games. It seems that we’ve all had enormously diverse experiences this year, especially when someone like me hasn’t played that many AAA releases.
Bearing that in mind, we’ve decided to give our own personal opinions on our Game of the Year choices. We will be posting a different person’s opinion every day between Christmas and New Year, so be sure to keep checking back over the festive period to absorb our unique judgement.
Game of the Year: Far Cry 4
Has any other gaming experience offered you the chance to fly a helicopter directly into an elephant’s face? Far Cry 4 takes all the elements that made the previous title such a hit (the open exploration, the hunting mechanics and dynamic wildlife), and actually manages to craft a story that is worth giving a shit about. Villains like Pagan Min don’t come around all that often, but here he really sets off the story with his cruel dictatorship. But is the alternative Golden Path rebel faction really any better?
Far Cry 4 manages to deliver on everything that it sets out to do, and provides a few extras such as a map editor and a fun co-op mode. Out of all the big-budget shit that Ubisoft have thrown at the wall this year, Far Cry 4 is the only piece that has stuck.
Honorable Mention: Child of Light
The first game to come from Ubisoft’s UbiArt engine, Child of Light, made an amazing first impression with its gorgeous aesthetic and art style. The game simply looks like a storybook come to life with its 2D colourful environments and stunning presentation. But it isn’t just visually charming; the battle system harks back a simpler time with a simple yet robust battle system that is easy to pick up, yet consistently engaging. While the dialogue may read like Vogon poetry, Child of Light is an absolute delight from start to finish.
Honorable Mention: Fez
Although its initial release wasn’t this year, Fez finally arrived on Sony platforms in 2014, giving me the first chance to play the game properly. Fez combines marvellous sound and visual design to create a puzzle/platformer that is at once accessible and extremely complex. Getting the end credits to roll is quite straightforward, but New Game+ provides a challenge that few other games can. Fez is not only one of the original indie games that started this new wave of independent gaming; it is the indie game.