The 2014 oprainfall Awards: Part 2

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

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If you missed Part 1 of the oprainfall Awards, click here. And as always with things that deal with us picking something, spoilers abound.

2014 oprainfall Awards - Aesthetics

Image by WishingTikal.

It’s Day 2 of the oprainfall Awards. And if you’ve been with us over the years, you know that means it is Aesthetic Day. Today, we celebrate all the little things that come together to make a game like visuals, gameplay, music, story, and the extras that come after the release. And the day is wrapped up with a surprising Readers’ Game of the Year. More on that later. For now, let’s get started with our favorite gameplay and multiplayer gaming. For that, we bring in Contributor Karli Winata and Assistant Review Manager Tyler Lubben.

oprainfall Raindrop Trophy | oprainfall Awards

BEST GAMEPLAY

Previous Winners
2012: Xenoblade Chronicles
2013: The Wonderful 101

KARLI: Game stories are great. They can take you to different places, different eras, or just places and situations you’d never even thought about going to. But there’s a problem with them though. They never explain the strange little things you do in them. Why are we obsessed with making lines of ten blocks disappear? Scratch that, why do they even disappear in the first place? Why does Cloud and company stand perfectly still in a line while monsters pummel them? Why does punching a guy in the face save you from certain death? Interestingly enough all of them has one simple explanation: Because it’s fun! Every illogical, nonsensical behavior we’ve seen in games is in service of that three-lettered master, reason be damned. So here then are our favorite games from 2014 that threw logic out the window. Because, you know. For fun

Bayonetta 2

Because your feet can totally shoot guns

When David Jaffe felt that the games in the action genre just aren’t crazy enough, he made one that’s ultra violent. When Hideki Kamiya saw the same problem, he made one where you can summon massive demons with your hair in between bouts of shooting monstrous angels in the face with guns attached to your feet. Ultraviolence only gets you so far before it becomes boring and repetitive — and also kind of guilt inducing — but if you do it in style, then you have something special. Bayonetta 2 expands on what made the first one so special, namely the deep combat and the outright joy of watching Bayonetta kick ass and look good doing it.

Bravely Default

Because having multiple jobs is super fun! Right guys?

While the Final Fantasy series continues to find a new direction in the realm of role-playing games, gamers pine for that classic, turn-based RPG fun that Final Fantasy originally popularized. As it turns out, so did the developers of Bravely Default. And that’s how we got one of the best not-Final-Fantasy-except-it-totally-is-games in recent memory. It helps that it also has a rather unique combat system and a deep, mix-and-match job system.

Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars

Because what’s the point of having kids if you can’t use them to murder some monsters

Double entendres are always fun. Especially when it’s laid on thick like they did in Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars. In the world of Conception II, the main character is special because he has so much “ether” than most. He teams up with a girl to fight monsters in dungeons. They’re not alone, though. Through a ritual of “Classmating,” wherein the male “pours” his ether into the female’s “Star Womb,” the duo magically creates several children to fight alongside them. Also, they can make stronger kids by getting to know each other better while they’re outside the dungeons. If it works for the Persona series…

Mario Kart 8

Because chucking turtle shells is just way more satisfying than a Gattling gun

Make a bunch of wacky courses, sprinkle some boost pads and power-ups, and put Mario’s, and company’s, face all over it. That’s it. That’s the Mario Kart formula. Or is it? Eight iterations in, not only is Mario Kart 8 still fun, it may very well be among the best in the series. Clearly there’s more to Nintendo’s magic formula for Mario Kart. Is it a lengthy and comprehensive development cycle? A superb Q and A department? Faustian bargains with the horned ones of the underworld? We’ll never know.

Shovel Knight

Because everybody knows shovels and pogo sticks are interchangeable

For most neophyte gamers, the 2D trappings and pixel art of Shovel Knight is unlikely to win over their polygonal, normal mapped hearts. The graphics are most certainly not meant to appeal to them, but its gameplay should. Harkening back to the days of NES 2D platformers like Mega Man and Ducktales, Shovel Knight demands mastery of the controls in a lot of places. The developers have designed each level to fully use the titular Shovel Knight’s fairly limited capabilities in creative and fun ways. The end result is a satisfying and fun adventure through and through.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Best Gameplay: Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight

The 2D platformer genre has never really gone away. If anything, it too has been evolving through games like Limbo, Braid, and Super Time Force. So it seems only fitting that within a genre that can wholly be considered as retro that there would be retro styled games. Shovel Knight turns the clock back to the NES era of 2D platformers and incorporates the best aspects of the platformers of that era. But if that was all it did, it really wouldn’t be worthy of oprainfall’s coveted Best Gameplay Award. Shovel Knight did it without abandoning modern conveniences, like a more tolerable checkpoint system. This marriage of the best of the old with the lessons we’ve learned since then elevates Shovel Knight’s to win our prestigious award.

oprainfall Raindrop Trophy | oprainfall Awards

BEST MUTLIPLAYER

Previous Winner
2013: Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

TYLER: We here at oprainfall love a good single player experience, as evident by our predilection towards RPGs, but, hey, we have friends! And we like playing games with them, too! 2014 had no shortage of great multiplayer titles, with Nintendo finally busting out two of their most beloved franchises for an amazing twofer of great games. However, from AAA to more niche titles, there were memorable multiplayer experiences to find all around. With that, let’s take a look at the games we felt were best played with others.

Best Multiplayer | Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus

With the fast-paced action inherent to the Senran Kagura franchise, it should come as no surprise that a multiplayer mode would be included to complement the great single player mode. There’s a fair amount of variety in the modes that players can experience online, ensuring that it’ll be quite some time before they get bored with it. A classic death match mode allows combatants to simply fight each other until all but the victor has lost all their HP. The Strip Battle, in classic Senran Kagura fashion, tasks players with, not so much simply beating their opponents, but using powerful attacks to destroy their clothing. The most un-naked player is the victor! And the Understorm match has players race around the arena, collecting as much underwear as possible. Clearly, the multiplayer modes are as quirky as the game series itself, and we all appreciate it.

Best Multiplayer | Mario Kart 8

  • Mario Kart 8

A fantastic series since its debut on the SNES back in 1992, Nintendo has had to do little to make Mario Kart one of the quintessential multiplayer experiences on almost all of their platforms. Whether players are looking to play the Grand Prix, race one-on-one or blowing each other away in the Battle Mode, there were plenty of options for a great time. With the advent of four-player competition starting in Mario Kart 64 and online play in Mario Kart Wii, players were able to take their skills to the world at large. While the Battle Mode may have been foregone in the latest venture on Wii U, Mario Kart 8’s racing is still top-notch. Whether racing competitively or one a team, with a friend or your whole crew, locally or online, you’re sure to have a good time. Until someone whips out a Blue Shell…

Best Multiplayer | Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Another series that has proven itself over and over again in the multiplayer department, the Super Smash Bros. franchise has changed little since the N64 days. Aside from an ever-growing roster and minor tweaks to the gameplay, the core combat remains much the same as it’s always been. Super Smash Bros. has always featured some great rosters chock full of beloved Nintendo mascots and items to pummel each other with. Now, with glorious HD graphics, a bigger roster than ever and (mostly) better online mechanics, there’s an even better reason than ever duke it out with your pals (or rivals) for hours on end.

Best Multiplayer | Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Having already conquered the real-time strategy and massively-multiplayer online genres, what was the most likely place for the Warcraft franchise to set its sights next? Why, the collectible card gaming racket, obviously. With characters and monsters based on the long-running franchise, as well as interesting strategic gameplay, fans of the series or just CCGs in general are sure to love Hearthstone. And, if you’re looking for a great multiplayer experience, you’re sure to find it here. Putting opponents on a (fairly) equal playing field, quick-thinking and strategy are what will win the battle. Plus, since the game is free to play, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t jump in and start building the perfect deck.

Best Multiplayer | Dark Souls II

While the Souls series has always been chiefly known to offering fantastic single-player experiences, there’s always been a strangely engaging multiplayer mechanic chugging along in the background. Aside from seeing the ghostly images of other warriors wandering around as you play the game, you can also receive hints in the form of glyphs left by other players. The most interesting feature, though, is that, at any given time, another player can invade your game as a Phantom, in an effort to hinder your progress. In a game that already does just about anything to try to horribly murder the player, having someone else invade your game is just about the last thing you’d want. However, this is balanced by the ability to summon friendly players to help you beat particularly tough bosses. It’s an interesting take on multiplayer, to be sure. I’m interested to see what From Software might do with it in Bloodborne.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Best Multiplayer | Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

In a result that absolutely no one saw coming, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U handily takes the top spot for the best multiplayer game of 2014. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U took the best parts of the series and made them bigger and better. With a huge roster, plenty of game modes and the promise of online tournaments and at least one DLC character on the way, it’s very possible that this may be the best multiplayer game well into 2015, as well. Little may have changed since the series’ inception, but it’s obvious that Nintendo has a winning strategy here, and they’re running with it.

Coming up, awards for Story, DLC, and Visual Design.

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.


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  • Violetwisp

    Or the reader’s game of the year could have happened because you retweeted the dev telling people to vote for it. Just a thought.

    • Violetwisp

      Thanks for reposting my comment after I deleted it for being needlessly condescending,

  • ArmyofRPG

    Congrats to all the devs and especially to Chronicles of a Dark Lord’s devs! Looks like Triple A games have taken a backseat to Indie games. I’ll admit, it’s pretty cool. I’m liking indie games far more than Triple A games lately.

  • Taiyaki

    I can’t believe the two winners are games I had to google up. How… absurd.

    • Lord Ackercocke

      Agreed

  • Kroisos

    Two things: these results show that clearly Bayonetta 2 is GOTY and first and second place are…statistical outliers would be the kindest way to say it.

    Second (and I can’t believe I’m about to say this) Shovel Knight won too many awards. It was deserving in the absolute sense of being worthy of them; it just wasn’t the best of the actual options. On the bright side having such quality to choose from is a very, very good problem.

    • TheGhostPepper

      Have you ever even played the games that took first and second place? I’ve played Chronicles of a Dark Lord, and I can honestly say I’d play that over a number of Triple A games that came out last year. People voted for the games that took first and second place because indie games are where it’s at. Btw, Bayonetta 2 was a great game, but it wasn’t nearly as great as the hype made it out to be. If anything, I’m surprised Bayonetta 2 was even nominated.

    • Kroisos

      In all honesty, no, I haven’t played them. Another thing I haven’t done is heard of them, and I consider myself sufficiently and broadly aware enough of the gaming industry that there is no way that there is a game, let alone two, that fully one third of the entire gaming community thinks is the best, and I haven’t so much as heard of it.

      As for indies being where it’s at, first, if that’s how people were voting Shovel Knight was the darling that would have won, and second, not enough people agree for that to matter. I think craft beer is where it’s at, yet ABInBev and BMC have up to 90% of the market.

      Last, like what you want, but to be surprised at what other people like is both naïve and condescending.

  • Retsukuza

    I actually tried to Solo Z with Riki. Give Riki Burn, Freeze, Bleed and Poison, then his heal, his break and topple moves, and his angry aura for his final art. Then have Sharla and Melia in the back with no damage-dealing arts (all heals/auras/elements etc) and constantly change the AI with ZL+up/left+right/down to keep delaying them. It takes forever,but it’s possible!