By Jeff Neuenschwander / January 31st, 2015
It’s Console Day here at the oprainfall Awards. The finalists for each award are games that were exclusive to a console or deemed superior to that console. Games that appear on one company’s consoles can qualify for one of the company’s categories. All other games will fall under Multiplatform. Exceptions can be made in some cases. All of this leads up to our choice for Game of the Year.
To start things off, we have Lead Translator Will Whitehurst and Reporting Manager Steve Baltimore for Best Wii U and PS4 games respectively.
BEST WII U GAME
2013: The Wonderful 101
WILL: 2014 brought a lot of excellent games for Nintendo’s eighth-gen system, which seems to have finally gained footing after all this time. With so much in the way of new games for the Wii U, it’s almost hard to imagine it was struggling so much just a year ago. All five of these nominees are eager to showcase Nintendo’s commitment to its system after a rough start, and showcase the Wii U’s true potential. Without further ado, here they are:
Kicking off the list is cult developer Platinum Games’ new gold standard in breathtaking hardcore action. In this long-awaited sequel, the eponymous heroine gets dragged to Hell to save her best friend Jeanne―and once again gets in the middle of the long-standing clash between witches and Lumen Sages. From the opening scene, where Bayonetta fights a rogue demon from Inferno on top of a building, to the thrilling climax, Bayonetta 2 sucks you in and doesn’t let go throughout its 16 incredible chapters. Sure, the story is a little convoluted, but the action on display more than makes up for it. And, of course, there’s Bayonetta herself. Add incredible art design, smooth graphics, a killer soundtrack, numerous unlockables, a touch of Nintendo fanservice, and even a Wii U port of the entire first game to the mix, and it’s easy to see the sheer amount of polish Platinum has put in Bayonetta 2.
Super Mario 3D World, one of last year’s nominees, was an incredibly charming and critically acclaimed platformer. The Captain Toad levels, which gave the eponymous toadstool character the spotlight, were a definite highlight of that game’s great platforming experience, and perfect for a full-fledged game. With Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Nintendo has raised the bar again. The levels, as well as the full game, take away one mechanic — Toad’s ability to jump — and work around it with numerous levels that take cues from puzzle games and platformers alike. But the full game increases the scope and fine-tunes the experience with adorable cutscenes, fearsome boss battles and plenty of loot. The game is also a perfect showcase for the GamePad’s quirks, as it utilizes the touchscreen, microphone and gyroscope.
While fans eagerly wait for the new Zelda, Nintendo teamed up with Koei Tecmo and Omega Force to tide them over with a Warriors installment set in the Zelda universe. The results are the closest thing to an official fanfic one can get, in the best way possible. Those who fear Koei Tecmo’s involvement in a beloved Nintendo franchise after the decidedly mixed reception to Metroid: Other M should fret not, as this game seamlessly takes the Warriors style of combat and numerous playable characters and ties three Zelda timelines together with ease. It’s not canon, of course, but Zelda fans will love the staggering amount of fanservice wrapped up in a great little package, and Warriors fans will appreciate the mechanics added in from the Zelda side (lock-on targeting, for one) and characters for every play style. The Warriors franchise is not one for everybody, so those looking for a great introduction to the franchise should look no further than Hyrule Warriors.
The latest installment in Nintendo’s venerable kart racing series quickly became the Wii U’s best-selling game just after its first weekend on sale, a feat which it still holds as of this writing. And it’s not hard to imagine why. Mario Kart 8 takes the series’ trademark element―kart racing―and not only perfects it, but turns things around with new sections where players can ride upside down, on walls and even underwater. As with other recent iterations, there are 32 tracks in all, but the robust DLC (which deservedly won this year’s Best DLC award yesterday) increases the track and character count even more. With great multiplayer, both online and off, beautiful graphics that run at a smooth and constant 60fps, plenty of characters and kart parts to unlock, and highlight reels that can be customized and even uploaded to YouTube, Mario Kart 8 is simply fantastic.
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
The fourth installment of Nintendo’s highly popular fighting game franchise was one of the most anticipated games for the system (along with its 3DS little brother), and it was definitely worth the wait. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, like previous games in the series, does so much with a seemingly simple concept: a fighting game with Nintendo characters. It’s much more than that, of course, as the Wii U edition caters both to new players and the vibrant competitive Smash scene. The sheer variety of characters, stages, items, modes and unlockables is unmatched. Some of the numerous new features in the Wii U version include the chaotic 8-Player Smash, the party-oriented Smash Tour, the new Master Orders and Crazy Orders event modes, fantastic online play (they learned their lesson from Brawl) and seamless GameCube controller support and Amiibo compatibility to top it all off.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
More so than any other year, I would have been happy to see any of the nominees win this award. For the record, it should come as no surprise that this was Nintendo’s year, but I’m going be frank: just about every Wii U owner out there has been looking forward to the latest installment of Nintendo’s series of love letters to its hardcore fanbase. This is the kind of game that, like its predecessors, comes out only once in a generation, and never fails to liven up the party with new characters, items, stages, modes, and several years’ worth of unlockable content. This is the game we think no Wii U owner should be without. This is Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and we crown it with our coveted Best Wii U Game award. I bet, once again, Shulk is really feeling it.
BEST PS4 GAME
STEVE: The PlayStation 4 has sold a ton of consoles in its first year. Though there aren’t a lot of niche choices for the console out right now, the future looks bright. But that doesn’t mean there were not great games to be had this year. Here are the nominees for Best PlayStation 4 Game.
- Secret Ponchos
First up we have Secret Ponchos. This one is a top-down mulitplayer shooter featuring a western theme. You pick an outlaw and duke it out online in a few different match types. Each outlaw has their own unique skills and weapons. Which means you will have to figure out all the little quirks and tricks of each character to get the most out of them.
- InFAMOUS: First Light
Next up we have InFAMOUS: First Light. This is a standalone expansion to InFAMOUS: Second Son, which will be showing up on down in the list. This solid action title follows the adventures of a young conduit named Abigail Walker, who has been locked up in a prison for a crimes she didn’t commit. She must now escape and do justice to those who did her wrong.
- LittleBigPlanet 3
Now we have have LittleBigPlanet 3. Sackboy is back, and for the first time in the series he has some new friends you can play with. Oddsock, a dog like character with wall jumps; Swoop, a bird that can pick up other characters; and last but not least Toggle, who can gain weight to trip switches. With 70 new level creation tools, fully backwards compatibility with DLC items from the first two titles and some fun mutliplayer, no wonder it made it onto this list.
Our next nominee is InFAMOUS: Second Son. This the third mainline entry in the series. Talking place seven years after Cole MacGrath’s adventure, the government has began to hunt down conduits, proclaiming them “Bio Terrorists”. This story follows the exploits of Delsin Rowe, a graffiti artist and a local delinquent. His unique ability is to absorb the power of other conduits. As you can bet, this one is rich in story and has great third person action gameplay. No wonder it is one of this year’s top choices.
Lastly we have Akiba’s Trip. This third person action game has you wandering the streets of Akihabara stripping vampires. Though the game refers the them as Synthisters, they feed off the inhabits social energy. While this one is available on the PS3 and Vita, the PS4 version is the definitive one, sporting an all new Toybox Mode that let’s you start with any items you want and a neat Visual Editor that lets you change the entire look of the game.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Looks like our contributors had a blast running around Akihabara stripping folks. And with tons of items to collect, lots of side-quests, and several different partners to team up with, it’s no wonder that they did.
Akibas tripBayonetta 2Bravely DefaultConception II: Children of the Seven StarsD4: Dark Dreams Don't DieDivinity: Original SinDragon Age: InquisitionFantasy LifeFive Nights at Freddy'sGame of the YearHyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1Infamous: Second SonMario Kart 8Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinthsecret ponchosSenran Kagura: Shinovi VersusShovel KnightSunset OverdriveSuper Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii UTales of Hearts RTales of Xillia 2Wasteland 2