Whether playing on PC, handheld or consoles old and new, 2014 has been another sensational year for role-playing games. Over the past twelve months we’ve seen the return of several modern mainstays alongside some new blood, making for quite a diverse roster of finalists. Still, that hasn’t stopped one game in particular from romping home to victory.
What’s great about being a fan of the genre is that, no matter what time of year, you’re bound to stumble upon something suited towards your tastes. What’s more is that, in true RPG fashion, these games stretch way past the usual eight to ten hours we’ve come to expect from new releases, often littering our backlogs long after that initial purchase.
Heralding the new year, we finally witnessed the launch of Stoic Games’ The Banner Saga on PC, the gorgeous SRPG due for console release next year. Soon after that came several more anticipated titles, including Dark Souls II and South Park: The Stick of Truth. A few months later came the divisive Bound By Flame just before the regular Summer slowdown. The release schedule soon picked up again, however, with role-playing/shooter hybrid Destiny leading the vanguard.
In its wake came a cluster of more traditional RPGs, including yet another Pokémon sequel as well as new kid on the block, Lords of the Fallen. Still, no matter how fresh or inventive any of these titles are, BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition has taken the award with a staggering margin. Boasting an gargantuan fantasy universe, compelling characters, and refined combat mechanics, the sequel gobbled up 43.9% of the total votes, more than twice that of second place runner up, South Park.
Inquisition’s success won’t as a surprise to everyone. Although expectations were lowered following Dragon Age II’s mixed reception, BioWare really threw itself behind this fantasy sequel, branding it as a template for the studio’s future releases. What worked especially for them was the combination of traditional and modern genre tropes, allowing players to tackle the game however they wished. Whether blitzing Inquisition head-on or fully immersing yourself in the world of Thedas, either way it proves just as accommodating.
On top of that, the latest Dragon Age looks divine on current-gen systems. Though plagued by the raft of minor glitches role-playing fans have come to expect, the sheer vastness and beauty of its open world has granted Inquisition a degree of reverence enjoyed by few games in what is still a hotly-contested genre.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is TheSixthAxis’ Role-Playing Game of the Year 2014.