Alongside the annual rush of racers, shooters, and role-playing games, the action adventure genre continues to be a thriving staple, forever changing in shape and form. This year has been a testament to its sheer scope for diversity, producing everything from superpowered sandboxes to intimate, story-driven experiences. Needless to say, it’s the one category of games rarely susceptible to fatigue.
This year’s shortlist of action adventure candidates have each been unique in their own way. Whether introducing new and innovative ideas or simply renovating old ones, there isn’t one nominee among them that hasn’t in some way surprised us in their execution.
Not far behind the top two, we had Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive with 22.3%. Combining fluid movement with over-the-top cartoon violence and a bonkers arsenal of weaponry, it certainly injected some colour into the Xbox One’s exclusive line-up. Aside from that, it proved to many that Insomniac could be just as cool and creative without having to align itself with PlayStation.
Speaking of exclusives, Bayonetta 2 also made the cut, albeit with 4.0% of the total vote. Also fighting for scraps, we had Watch Dogs and Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. Elsewhere, both The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us managed to squeeze their way in. No doubt, if our voting window was stretched a little further, both Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones would have made the list too.
Missing out on the top spot by just one percent (ouch) was September’s astonishing Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. For a long time Tolkien fans had to make do with a series of half-baked adaptations and tie-ins before Monolith bravely stepped up to the challenge. The end result: a relentlessly entertaining open world romp. Although not entirely original as a whole, the game’s “Nemesis” system was something truly inventive, allowing enemy NPCs to remember your actions throughout the course of Talion’s adventure. Hopefully it’s a mechanic we’ll see more of in next year’s suite of open-world games.
Narrowly coming out on top of this year’s poll was PlayStation 4 marquee exclusive, inFamous Second Son, netting 30% of the overall vote. Despite having released way back in March, the game’s liberating fun factor and consistent sense of style helped it snatch first place several months after. No doubt the launch of Sucker Punch’s full-bodied expansion, First Light, also had something to do with it.
inFamous Second Son is TheSixthAxis’ Action Adventure Game of the Year 2014.