This episode breaches the peace treaty with Tetsuya Nomura
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This is like hump day, but for videogame awards. So, we’re wrapping up 2014 with some general categories. I mean, these are all general 2014 categories, but we’re not looking to reward any particular aspect of a game. Rather, these awards go to a certain game as a whole.
Anyhow, we’ve got some real sick Top 10 lists, as per usual. Everyone’s favorite Managing Editor, John Michonski, has his personal list available, in addition to a list from Chooch friend Myles Cox! Go check those out.
Here’s the awards for today!
Best DLC or Expansion: FTL: Advanced Edition (Runner-up: BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2)
To say we gave this award to FTL because of Mike’s newfound addiction severely downplays the level of quality found in this completely free expansion. Yeah, you’ve got to pay for the iPad version, but PC owners got the Advanced Edition upgrade on the house. Even before you consider the wealth of new systems and random events that drastically change the meta of this deliciously addicting space roguelike, there’s nothing better than free content — especially when the content ends up being arguably superior to the main game.
Best Game Not Released in 2014 That We All Played in 2014: Fire Emblem Awakening (Runner-up: TLOU)
This category, more often than not, has been used to highlight a game we never quite got around to honoring last year. So, by that definition, Fire Emblem: Awakening fits the bill, with combat and social mechanics that flow together, forming a series of engaging systems that gel into a stellar whole. In a parallel world, that game would’ve made the site’s Top 10, maybe even grabbing the top spot. It certainly helps that everybody on staff played and enjoyed Awakening this year, cementing its place as a certified 3DS classic. Even if strategy isn’t usually your bag, give this game a look. You won’t regret it.
Most Disappointing Game: The Walking Dead Season Two (Runner-up: Destiny)
After the release of The Walking Dead Season One, Telltale had the world on a string. Whether you agree with the idea that indie games deserve a place alongside bigger releases in year-end discussions (and you should), The Walking Dead’s award-winning first season changed the conversation. Any follow-up would have the unenviable position of being compared to one of the most important games of the last generation, especially after Season One’s creative team left to form Campo Santo, so it should come as no surprise that The Walking Dead Season Two is just not as good.
It’s certainly not a bad game by any stretch, but it’s the equivalent of a victory lap. Whereas the first game’s tender moments felt earned after hours of hardship, Season Two’s attempts at tearjerking moments feel unnatural, even forced. You can’t take the world by storm a second time, Telltale, but maybe you would’ve had better luck if you actually tried.
Best Surprise: Wolfenstein: The New Order (Runner-up: Murdered: Soul Suspect)
Nobody expected this game to light the world on fire, least of all the staff of Video Game Choo Choo. Even considering Machine Games’ pedigree, nobody knew what a new Wolfenstein would look like in 2014. Apparently, the answer was to double down on the game’s story, crafting a surprisingly compelling narrative and turing archetypical white male protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz into a real character. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Wolfenstein: The New Order is that people will remember it years from now. This game just resurrected a franchise.