The COG Collective’s Best Games of 2014


Every year the writing team here at COG assembles their personal best games of the year list. This isn’t a definitive list according to the site but individual choices based on each writer’s own experiences. There are some easy calls (and a clear winner it would seem) in here as well as a few surprises too. Have a look and let us know your personal bests in the comments section below.


Dragon Age: Inquisition

After a couple of lacklustre entries, BioWare seemed to be pulling a Pixar and phoning in its sequels. Then, Dragon Age: Inquisition came around, blew my expectations out of the water and gave me the most fun I’ve had all year. Immense, immersive, intriguing and alliteration inducing, DA:I sucked up every spare minute I had and gave me the most satisfying RPG I’ve played in a while. The battle system, the crafting, the character development, the expansive landscape and the plethora of side missions breathed new life into the Dragon Age franchise and has given me a next-gen RPG that will keep me captivated far beyond the 115(ish) hours I plugged into my first play through. – DOUG MERCER

“A compelling storyline, challenging gameplay and characters you truly enjoy (or love to hate) make it an immersive title like no other.”


When Dragon Age: Origins was released I was immediately in love. It took me back to the days of playing games like Baldur’s Gate or Planescape: Torment which consumed countless hours of my life. I beat DA:O multiple times and finished every piece of the fantastic DLC that was released. While DA2 wasn’t what I’d hoped it to be the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition signals Bioware’s return to form in the DA franchise. A compelling storyline, challenging gameplay and characters you truly enjoy (or love to hate) make it an immersive title like no other. The dialogue is well written and the world is stunningly crafted as well. Bioware made me care about the Dragon Age franchise again which is no small feat because after DA2 I was ready to walk away and never look back. – SHAWN PETRASCHUK

While I love Bioware mainly for the Mass Effect series, I now love Bioware even more because of Dragon Age Inquisition. Dragon Age 2 definitely made me skeptical about the franchise, but after putting 50+ hours into DA:I and counting, they’ve gained another fan of Thedas.  With shocking, humorous, intense, and sometimes absurd dialogues (I’m looking at you Sera), the characters actually feel like your comrades and family. Also, with “The Keep” not only can returning fans brush up on the story but even if you’re new to the series you can be caught right up. The layout and presentation of the game made my gameplay smooth and relaxing which is exactly what I hoped for. – JUDI AZMAND

“It goes beyond what I think most people were expecting and delivers a really fun experience that will capture you and not let go.”


I’m 40+ hours into the game and nowhere near completion. I’ve spent roughly five hours playing co-op and have yet to complete a campaign on perilous. The dialogue is well written, the combat is fun, and the world is beautiful. Not only is Inquisition a huge step up from the nightmare that was Dragon Age 2, but it goes beyond what I think most people were expecting and delivers a really fun experience that will capture you and not let go. Bioware is back on track, and if the next game they release is anywhere near the quality of DA:I, I’ll definitely be picking it up. – NICHOLAS PLOUFFE

Dragon Age Inquisition is the only full priced game I played all year that truly immersed me. Many frustrations arose in my forty hour adventure but thanks to strong characterization, beautiful atmosphere and great world building, I was finally able to sit down, forget about life and venture off into a different universe. Mass Effect 3 had me worried for Bioware’s next game. Dragon Age Inquisition has me eagerly anticipating whatever their next big project may be an achievement in-of-itself. – LUCAS RAYCEVICK


Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

I had a TON of difficulty choosing my GOTY. I was going back and forth in my head between this and Dark Souls 2 for at least a couple weeks. In the end, I decided on Mordor, but mostly just because I had to pick something eventually. An absolutely excellent game, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor found a perfect blend of borrowed concepts and new ideas. A lot of the gameplay is similar to Assassin’s Creed, but somehow Monolith made all those concepts much smoother and more fluid than AC in their first attempt. Layer in the incredible Nemesis system and my beloved Middle Earth setting and it was a fantastic experience. I found the ending supremely underwhelming, which is a shame, but overall the experience was absolutely fantastic. Dark Souls is mostly just more Dark Souls, which I absolutely love, but I’m giving the nod to the newcomer this year! Special honourable mention to Valiant Hearts as well. What an incredible and heart-breaking story. – BRIAN CONNOR

“It was a game I couldn’t wait to play more of – my gold standard for excellence in a game.”




Stalking around the plains of Mordor as a semi-undead elf ranger with magic powers? That’s a clear recipe for success. But Shadow of Mordor doesn’t quit there – it has an engaging and lore friendly storyline, super satisfying combat, and the utterly revolutionary nemesis system. Charging into battle only to discover multiple powerful orcs  who had already killed me in the area was constantly exhilarating. It was a game I couldn’t wait to play more of – my gold standard for excellence in a game. Certainly there are blemishes – Gollum is shoehorned in unnecessarily, and the control isn’t as tight as it could be, but on the whole Monolith knocked this project out of the proverbial park. – PAUL SULLIVAN


Wolfenstein: The New Order

Choosing my favourite game of the year was a struggle. I wanted to give the Call of Duty franchise some props for finally bringing back some innovation. Likewise, I don’t think I have ever busted a gut as much as I did when I played South Park: Stick of Truth earlier this year. There have been boatloads of fantastic games over the past year so picking just one is tough. Aside from some launch fails, it’s been a really good year for gamers. One game that stands out from the crowd however is Wolfenstein: The New Order. The New Order didn’t reinvent the franchise or give us anything particularly innovative but what it did do was give us a deep shooter experience, stunning next gen visuals, memorable characters, a terrific soundtrack and frantically entertaining gameplay. Wolfenstein: The New Order was hard to put down and for good reason – it simply kicked ass. – TREVOR HOUSTON

It simply kicked ass…



This is an easy one for me and could easily fall into the most disappointing title for some as well. The polarizing title from Bungie, Destiny is my pick for Game of the Year. On this day I have played 210 hours of Destiny and it has only been out for around three months. I am averaging about 70 hours a month on a title to many has failed to deliver in areas but for the amount of time that I’ve invested in this title there is a lot of right going on here. Awesome FPS controls, and although a short story, it can blossom into an amazing universe. I am even starting to enjoy the PvP element of the game as I get used to the ins and outs. Staying up hours after I should have gone to bed just to kill Atheon, pushing friends off of cliffs or having a dance party in the middle of a battleground equates to a whole lot of YES! – JOHN ELLIOTT

 “The visuals are pretty, the control is fairly tight, and the desire to get better gear keeps me coming back for more.”





Oh Little Light, it’s not as bad as you think….

If you get that reference, then you’re a fan of Destiny, a game that falls squarely into my game of the year bullseye.  Bungie set the bar high for this title, and unfortunately many believed it missed the mark.  I’ll admit it, I have some issues with the game now and then in terms of gameplay, but in the end it’s the amount of fun that I have with it that really makes it so compelling.  The group of people I tend to “run-with” make this game a true social experience.  Many late nights have been had swapping between fireteams to help each other complete missions, bounties, and in-game challenges, and of course there is the PvP too.  We all laugh at each other, bitch about those better than us, and all around have a great time.  Having logged in over 350 hours or so, I’d say I got my money’s worth.  The visuals are pretty, the control is fairly tight, and the desire to get better gear keeps me coming back for more. – KIRBY YABLONSKI


Alien Isolation

As a survival horror fan I’m always looking for something new to sink my teeth into. When I heard that a new Alien game was being made, the first thing that came to mind was “Oh great another first-person shooter” – and we all know how poorly the last Alien game turned out.  To my surprise, though, they made Alien Isolation into a survival-horror themed first-person adventure… and they did it right! They nailed the Alien universe spot-on, from the look of the environments, the sound design, and the overall feeling of dread that an Alien could pop out of anywhere to kill you. The icing on the cake was how hard it was – some complained it was too hard, but in my mind, this is what a survival game should be, and is thus my top pick of the year. – MATT CULLEN


Super Smash Bros (Wii U)

My game of the year choice is a bit of a surprise for myself, but after much consideration, there really is no question, Super Smash Bros Wii U is my favourite game for 2014. I had such a great time playing this game with my family. 8-player Smash Mode is fantastically chaotic, the Nintendo characters included in the roster are amazing, there are endless collectibles to find, the music and levels are truly awesome, and it offers something for all skill levels. And don’t get me started on the Amiibos, which may or may not be my new obsession. These collectible figures, which act as a support character in game, are a fantastic addition to the Nintendo universe, and I’m anxiously awaiting the release of more characters to add to my gaming shelf. Super Smash Bros Wii U is one of those rare games that I’ll keep playing for not only months, but years to come. It’s that good. – JEN DINGLE

“It’s one of those rare games that I’ll keep playing for not only months, but years to come. It’s that good.”




This year has been one bombshell title after another, and I had a very difficult time choosing. I narrowed it down to three, but in the end just had to go with the game that was closest to my heart and mind for the past two years. Super Smash Bros. for WiiU is my 2014 game of the year. Not only did Smash 4 reinvigorate the competitive feeling that smash lost in Brawl, it added a truck load of cool new characters and game modes to play. That, coupled with Smash’s debut into the world of HD and amiibo functionality, result in a killer app that any gamer of any creed can enjoy. – ROYCE DEAN



If you had told me a year ago that my most played game of 2014 would be a goofy Warcraft themed online card game, I would have been skeptical, both of your abilities as a seer, and of my own apparent descent into madness. Hearthstone is fun and addicting in all the right ways. It’s easy to learn, hard to master, it’s funny and best of all, and it’s all free if you want it to be. What is interesting about it from a trading card game enthusiast’s perspective is that due to its digital nature it can get away with things that real games simply can’t. You can copy cards, steal from opponent’s decks, and do all sorts of wacky nonsense. For me that’s not only a good indicator of what exists now, but what may exist in the future, and that’s enough for it to hook me for the long run. – RYAN MORIARTY


Game Stock Car Extreme

I enjoyed quite a few games this year and it’s a toss-up between the two I spent the most time with – Game Stock Car Extreme and The Last of Us: Remastered. Most of you know about TLOU so I am going to pick the more obscure one – GSCE.

Racing sims are a niche market within the gaming world that do not get much attention. GSCE is a racing simulation created by a Brazilian studio – Reiza -based on the ISI game engine that was used for another racing sim – rFactor. The extensions that Reiza have built upon that ten year game engine are astonishing. GSCE has an excellent mix of open wheel and street car racers. Especially of note is the phenomenally fun Formula Vee which is an excellent entry into open wheel racers. GSCE may not be as flashy as the upcoming Project Cars or more recent racers like rFactor2, Assetto Corsa, or iRacing but it excels on the physics and immersion side of things. Plus it is a complete racer at a modest price with future free upgrades scheduled. – LOU SYTSMA