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Games of the Year 2014

Andrew Barker's Awards
5) Ether One (PC)
I didn't really know what to expect when I volunteered to review indie title Ether One earlier this year. But I was pleasantly surprised by the Myst-style adventure/puzzle world that I found myself in. With beautiful, dream-like aesthetics, its world of empty towns and old lighthouses was an intriguing one to explore. The puzzles were dastardly and, just like in the old days, I kept a notebook by my side to take notes in. It's a modern reminder of how wonderful this sort of game can be.

4) Child of Light (PS3)
I used up all my rhyming in an earlier editorial this year, so I'll refrain from rhyming couplets for the sake of your ears. Child of Light is a beautiful game that manages to combine, nearly flawlessly, a platforming overworld with ATB-style battles. As someone who enjoys traditional fairy tales, Child of Light was a particularly special experience. It did come to a rather sudden end, but Aurora's journey will not be one I forget any time soon.

3) Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (Vita)
Danganronpa had me hooked from the word go. Rarely do I sit and plough through a game like I did with this one. The story was breath-catchingly exciting, and I had to keep playing to find out what would happen. The characters were delightfully unpredictable, and the abstract violence and design captivated my attention. If you have even a passing interest in adventure games, you must give Danganronpa a try. I was slightly less impressed with its sequel, but I would definitely recommend that one too.

2) Drakengard 3 (PS3)
So, so flawed, but incredibly beautiful (well, not graphically). Drakengard 3 almost took the top spot for my picks of 2014. It's a game with many technical problems, but, for me, the overall package was still worth the adventure. Zero and the world of violence and perversion she lives in is truly fascinating. I was driven forward by her blood-thirst from kill-to-kill, and sat through every single ending. The true final boss was a pretty crazy twist, but I thought it suited the game's essence perfectly. Definitely the underrated game of the year.

1) Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS)
As an aspiring Pokémon Master, this is not a surprising choice. Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire blew X/Y out of the water with a host of much-needed new features and changes. The convenience of locating Pokémon with the DexNav was a delight, as was soaring through the sky on the back of Latios and using a traditional RPG world map to travel. Delta Episode and the rest of the post-game content were a very nice addition, and the Groudon/Kyogre cinematics were surprisingly dramatic. Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire are the most impressive remakes of any video games I have ever seen.

Honorable Mention
Bravely Default (3DS)
If you have a freakishly keen memory, you might remember that Bravely Default made it onto my list last year in first place! Since I'm in Australia, we had the game available to us in 2013, so I included it in my picks at the time. In an effort to make sure it wasn't forgotten, it's now an honourable mention for 2014. It's an awesome game, and you should check it out.

Best Non-RPG
The Last of Us Remastered (PS4)
I never got around to picking it up on PS3, but I'm so glad The Last of Us was my first experience with the PS4. I found it a little slow to get started, but I couldn't pull myself away from the beautifully-written characters and thrilling plot. When I started talking to my TV during more dramatic moments, I realised just how involved with Joel and Ellie I was. The visual quality is outstanding; The Last of Us Remastered feels like a blockbuster cinematic experience that you get to play. I haven't had a chance to mess around with the included DLC yet, but I can't wait to do so.

Category Awards
Traditional RPG Action RPG Graphic Adventure Strategy RPG Indie RPG Best Hybrid RPG Port or Re-Release Best Combat Best Visuals Best Sound Best Story Best Protagonist Best Supporting Character Best Ensemble Cast
And the winner is...
Best RPG of 2014
Editors' Picks
Caitlin Argyros Andrew Barker Neal Chandran Josh Curry Derek Heemsbergen Sean Hutton Stephen Meyerink Kyle Miller Mike Salbato Robert Steinman John Tucker Dave Yeager
Readers' Choice
Readers' Choice Best RPG of 2014

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