Monday, 22 December 2014

The Gadgets and Khajiits Insignificant Awards 2014!

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As Festivus is around the corner and metal pipes populate the living rooms of many households, it's time to look back at 2014 and remember the spoils that the gaming gods have granted us. That's what the Gadgets and Khajiits Insignificant Awards are for, so here goes!

World of The Year: Thedas (Dragon Age: Inquisition)
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From ancient elf cities to the Gamordan Peaks, Dragon Age Inquistion's continent of Thedas is easily the most immersive world of the year. The world may be littered with activities and quests to partake in, but sometimes the best thing to do is head in one direction and see where the lands take you. Just how diverse Thedas is makes this one of the best game settings in a while, and if there weren't any dragons around, it would be a great place to break out the hacky sack and have a picnic.

Best Art Style: Sunset Overdrive
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With more colours and splashes than a Pink Floyd-induced trip, Sunset Overdrive's style is one of the most vibrant and lively in recent years, standing out especially thanks to the influx of grey corridor shooters in recent years. Bright orange onomatopoeia erupts out of Poppers. Explosions are dazzling. The city exudes colour and liveliness. After an hour or so of Sunset Overdrive, you'll have all of those things burnt into the back of your eyes.

Best Local Multiplayer: Mario Kart 8
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In a year that's seemed slightly quieter than other years in terms of games, frat houses and families alike have been spoilt for choice when it comes to couch multiplayer games. There's been Gang Beasts, Towerfall: Ascension, Sportsfriends, Super Smash Bros, Toybox Turbos: countless bruised arms and broken friendships have occurred. This was the hardest category to choose, but the winner had to be Mario Kart 8. It's simply a love letter to all Mario Kart fans: a combination of all of the mechanics that have worked in Mario Kart games combined with a lovely lick of HD paint and a huge smorgasbord of Mario Kart maps old and new. Simply put: Mario Kart 8 is simply an ode to the series.

Best Online Multiplayer: Titanfall
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Never before has a shooter really been fun to watch: Call of Duty, despite its eSports league, still seems a little repetitive, and Battlefield can be a little slow at times. Titanfall is exhilarating, with many an "Oh My God!" moment to be had per match: and that's just how to describe watching it. Playing Titanfall is one of the fastest and most fun experiences when playing online, and one of the most organic at that. The Titans never feel overpowered, and the Pilots feel versatile. 

Best Soundtrack: Far Cry 4
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Not many games have managed to bolster the player's experience with music, but Far Cry 4's soundtrack adds a whole new dynamic to its missions. The most memorable missions in Far Cry 4 (And there are A LOT of them) always had a perfectly fitting soundtrack that spurred the player on and made the set-pieces feel a lot more spectacular. From the catchy Bollywood music in "Advanced Chemistry" to the early-1900s film music in "Ashes to Ashes", Far Cry 4 combines all exotic flavours of music to create many an atmosphere.

Level of the Year: The Wolf of Rishi (Star Wars: The Old Republic)
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A whole slew of new content was added in SWTOR's 3.0 Update this year, but perhaps the biggest and best addition is the new Wolf of Rishi mission. The whole community feel of this level made it what is was, and because of its spectacular difficulty, teamwork and community is essential: if you haven't played an MMO, think Destiny's Raids, but a helluva lot bigger and a helluva lot harder. The huge, instakilling monsters only add to the huge scale of the level, and since SWTOR is free, we highly suggest that you give this level a try.

Character of the Year: Pagan Min (Far Cry 4)
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There haven't been too many memorable characters in the past year, but if there ever was a game that would deliver one, it would be Far Cry 4. Firstly, I thought that Ubisoft were trying a little too hard after seeing the first trailer, but after playing the game, it reveals just how much of a character Pagan Min is. What Vaas has in insane ideals, Min has in insane humor: there are many pop culture references whenever Min is about, and he ends up being the most likeable character in the game, despite his dictatorship and relentless killing. Guess that some people have their bad points, right?

Game of the Year: Far Cry 4
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Winning 3 awards isn't bad for Far Cry 4, and it's the game of the year that it deserves most: the addition of open world co-op is spot-on, the world is full of things to do and the various flora and fauna litter the place waiting to be harvested, the campaign's missions are memorable and varied, the soundtrack is exotic and the game is almost perfect. 

Console of the Year: Wii U
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Despite the huge selling figures of the PS4 and the comeback from the Xbox One, the Wii U, in purely game quality terms, is the home of the most and the best exclusives of this year: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has its fiendish difficulty, Mario Kart 8 has its local multiplayer mayhem as has Super Smash Bros, Bayonetta 2 is made by Platinum Games (Nuff said), and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker has cuteness in spades. Nintendo is quickly making the Wii U the only place to get the best exclusives.

Stay tuned in the week for Sam, Joe and Carlo's personal best games of the year!


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