Best of 2014 – Day Six: Character, Strategy, Adventure, Sports

Over the next ten days, Hardcore Gamer will be revealing its Best of 2014 Awards leading up to our Game of the Year. Today we present you with the Best New Character, Strategy Game, Adventure Game and Sports Game:

Best New Character: Monokuma (Danganronpa 1 & 2)

GOTY2014-Momokumaa

It’s hard not to vote a talking, maniacal, robotic teddy bear as gaming’s best new character. It might sound odd to say this, but Danganronpa’s Monokuma is such a fantastic personality because of how endearingly bat-shit crazy he is. Most of the time in video games, it’s almost impossible to relate to a character that so very overtly shows a lack of empathy for their horrible actions. Monokuma, on the other hand, somehow manages to win players over with his morally-stripped, over-the-top antics nevertheless. Perhaps it’s his absurdly diabolical voice, or his ability to make light of a grisly death scene and dire consequences without blinking an eye; regardless of the reason, Monokuma is one of the most unique characters to come out of gaming in a long time. And he’s so decidedly Japanese in his insanity, that it truly is difficult to not flash a smile each time he pops up on the screen. If you think that games are drowning in cookie-cutter supervillains, just go play Danganronpa for a few minutes. That belief will change quickly.

Runner-Ups
Fizzie (Sunset Overdrive) Elise (Assassin’s Creed Unity) Jonathan Irons (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare) Sera (Dragon Age: Inquisition)

Best Strategy Game: Transistor

GOTY2014-Transistora

Is it an RPG? Is it a strategy game? Is it something else entirely? Transistor’s brilliant mechanics combine so many genre elements together that assigning it a simple label almost doesn’t do it justice. However, because Supergiant’s latest title requires diligent planning and precise maneuvering, it is most definitely the best strategy game of the year. The constant mental debates waging from one’s decision to play out a battle in real-time, time-stopping Turn() mode, or some combination of the two keeps players fully engaged at all times. Picking the correct arsenal of functions before every fight is as much of a thinking-person’s game as the actual combat itself. Of course, aside from all the strategy-heavy gameplay, Transistor has a beautiful story weaved around stunning visuals and a harrowing original soundtrack. Narrowing Transistor down to a single genre is certainly difficult, but its quality in all facets of its combat system prove that fans of strategy simply couldn’t do better than this in 2014.

Runner-Ups
Civilization: Beyond Earth Endless Legend Wasteland 2 Hitman GO

Best Adventure Game: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

GOTY2014-Danganronpa2a

What could be better than Phoenix Wright? Try mixing Phoenix Wright with Battle Royale and cranking the anime levels up to eleven. The Danganronpa games are totally insane from the word go, but the zaniness of their stories is tempered by strong and consistent internal logic – exactly what hardcore adventure gamers demand from their genre of choice. If you’re looking for challenging puzzles, entertaining characters and intricate mysteries, you need look no further than NIS’s quirky visual novel series. The sequel is the stronger (and crazier) of the two games, but both will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

Runner-Ups
The Wolf Among Us D4:Dark Dreams Don’t Die Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Alien Isolation

Best Sports Game: NBA 2K15

GOTY2014-NBA2k15a

For fans of sports gaming, NBA 2K15 was somewhat of a dream come true: this is the closest we’ve ever come to seeing a full-fledged sports RPG. A vastly improved MyCareer mode allows players to take their custom character on a surprisingly realistic journey from undrafted nobody to Hall of Famer. The incredible visual fidelity seen in the current generation version of NBA 2K14 returns with a bang, as player models and uniform physics perform at a staggeringly realistic level. The new shot-meter allows new players to avoid the often frustrating guessing game that results from trying to learn every player’s individual release (let’s be real, who truly knows what John Salmons’ shot looks like?). NBA 2K15 is the best sports game of 2014 due to its technical prowess and brilliant mechanics, but the NBA’s new wave of stars makes this an entry to remember. Seriously, how can you not love taking threes with Steph Curry or swatting away layups with Anthony Davis?

Runner-Ups
Madden NFL 15 Mario Golf World Tour OlliOlli PES 2015

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