image

Back in February 2014, we announced that The Escapist would be formally covering whole new facets of nerd culture. We’ve always talked about comics, or robots, or nerdy television shows like Game of Thrones, but this year we shifted to making those a core part of the website. Our five channels have expanded over the last year and we’re super proud of the insightful articles and discussions we’ve had on each channel’s podcast. So when it was time to start discussing our annual Game of the Year choices, it occurred to us that we should probably expand the scope to encompass all our channels.

Welcome to new Escapist Awards! Here you’ll read all about the nominees for each category of games, movies, comics, tabletop games, and technology. We’ve nominated things like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Guardians of the Galaxy, Ms. Marvel and Dungeons & Dragons.

So without further ado, here are the categories we’ll be presenting in The Escapist Awards for 2014. Click the category link below to get a list of the nominees or just scroll this article to see an overview of the best in geek entertainment this year. I hope you have as much fun reading about our nominees as much as we did arguing about what to put on this list!

Here are the nominees:

Video Games

Best Shooter of 2014
Best RPG of 2014
Best Strategy Game of 2014
Best Action/Adventure Game of 2014
Game of the Year 2014

Movies and TV

Best Movie of 2014
Best TV Series of 2014

Tabletop

Best Card Game of 2014
Best Board Game of 2014
Best Tabletop Roleplaying Game of 2014
Best RPG Supplement of 2014

Comics and Cosplay

Best Single Comic Book Issue of 2014
Best Comic Book Series of 2014
Best Comic Book Art of 2014
Best Comic Book Writing of 2014

Science and Tech

Best Gaming Mouse of 2014
Best Gaming Headset of 2014
Best Gaming Keyboard of 2014
Most Significant Breakthrough in Science & Technology of 2014

image

image

Best Shooter of 2014 Nominees

02

Destiny


Developed by Bungie
Published by Activision
Released September 9, 2014
Available on PS4, Xbox One
Destiny – PlayStation 4image


Despite its underwhelming first impressions, Destiny‘s power at continuing to bring players together to perform strikes is still strong even 3 months after its release. The concentrated first-person shooter gameplay is simply fun and engaging enough to draw players to it again and again. It remains to be seen whether Destiny will justify its hype/investment in the long run, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a multiplayer shooter played by more people in 2014.

Excerpts from Jim Sterling’s review:

In that effort, Bungie is largely successful. The game is structured like a big open-world RPG, but its combat will feel instantly familiar to anybody who played the studio’s landmark Xbox-exclusive series. The guns and enemy behaviors look and feel like they’d be right at home in Master Chief’s backyard, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good insofar as the general quality of the combat is rock-solid. Guns feel weighty, and it can be satisfying to chew through an enemy’s resistant health bar and finally drop the sucker.

At its core, Destiny is an MMO, in a derivative science fiction universe. That said, it did keep its hooks into me for hours upon hours at a time, so it’s certainly doing something right.

Far Cry 4

farcry_ 4_sla_hunter

Developed by Ubisoft Montreal
Published by Ubisoft
Released on November 18, 2014
Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Far Cry 4 – Xbox Oneimage


Departing the tropical theme of previous iterations, Far Cry 4 heads to the Himalayas and fine-tunes the open world shooter series’ mechanics to a bayonette point. After the amazing opening sequence showcasing the vocal talents of Troy Baker playing the flamboyant antagonist Pagan Min, the fictional region of Kyrat opens up for you to explore however you want. Far Cry 4 even features weaponized honey badgers – what more needs to be said.

Excerpts from Paul Goodman’s review:

The amount of flexibility you’re given in almost any firefight is almost overwhelming. You can chuck grenades around like a madman, snipe enemies from afar, sneak around and stab guards in the throat, or emulate John Rambo by finding the biggest gun you can and holding down the trigger until the hammer goes “click”. And those are just the more straightforward methods of Far Cry 4‘s action, as you can now experiment with throwing bait around to lure predators down on enemies or riding an elephant into battle and smashing cars aside like toys. Aside from a few missions where you’re forced to approach an objective in a certain way, Far Cry 4 does a fantastic job of giving players a large degree of agency in how they’d like to engage with its action sequences. There is no funneling into a glorified hallway as seen in other shooters.

A definite highlight of the game is seen in the Shangri-La missions. As you collect parts of a thangka, you’re treated to “visions” of an ancient warrior who has traveled to the mythical land of Shangri-La. This beautiful world is filled with rich red and golden color aesthetics, and the darkened teal and blue of lurking masked demons. While more linear than the rest of the game, these missions are more evenly-paced and a welcome break from the bullet-filled Kyrat.

The main antagonist, Pagan Min, at first acts like he’s little more than a Saturday-morning-cartoon-style villain who does evil “just because,” while taunting you via your radio from time to time. But as the story progresses, he’ll have a few poignant moments where he will openly express regrets at not giving up rule of Kyrat to instead live a simpler life with your mother in America, making him seem a little more human than a stereotypical evil-doer.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

02

Developed by MachineGames
Published by Bethesda
Released May 20, 2014
Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Wolfenstein: The New Orderimage


The latest Wolfenstein expanded from its pedigree by showing an alternate history 1960s in which the German Nazis won World War II, largely by exploiting robotic and cybernetic technology. The New Order was glorious on the new console hardware and delivered the rare modern shooter that’s not afraid to just be a shooter. And even though the gameplay is straight-forward, the imagery and storytelling were anything but.

Excerpts from Jim Sterling’s review:

Weird difficulty spikes notwithstanding, Wolfenstein is a pretty enjoyable romp with a number of notable highlights. An entire section set in a Nazi war camp is particularly engrossing, as is the entire beginning section during the 1940s assault on Deathshead’s compound.

Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.

image

image

Best RPG of 2014 Nominees

Bravely Default

03

Developed by Silicon Studio & Square Enix
Published by Square Enix & Nintendo
Released February 7, 2014
Available on Nintendo 3DS
Bravely Default – Nintendo 3DSimage


The success of this handheld title single-handedly convinced Square Enix to pursue more traditional JRPGs again. That fact alone should give this game an award, but that only happened because Bravely Default is an excellently designed romp in traditional turn-based combat and colorful characters.

Excerpts from Justin Clouse’s review:

Bravely Default gives you more freedom and choices to make in the combat itself. While the game is an otherwise traditional turn-based system, there are two additional commands outside of the ones your used to seeing. Default allows you to store up your action for the turn while also defending yourself. In tandem, Braves let you take multiple actions during that turn, even going into the negatives, but you’ll have to wait out the deficit. It’s a clever addition that forces you to balance when your characters are going all out, or when you want to keep them reactive. There are a lot of subtle interactions worth chaining together too, like say an ability that increases your damage for that turn.

It doesn’t take long to get the gist of what Bravely Default is attempting to do. The game seeks to be a bridge between old-school JRPGs of yesteryear and the modern social mechanics available to it on the 3DS. Sometimes this comes to bare in odd ways, like a completely unnecessary and throwaway inclusion of microtransactions, but thankfully none of this compromises the core game. Bravely Default is a damn-near perfect throwback to games like Final Fantasy in all but the name.

Dark Souls II


Developed by From Software
Published by Bandai Namco Games
Released March 11, 2014.
Available on PS3, PC (April 25th) and Xbox 360
Dark Souls II – Playstation 3image


From Software makes some of the most difficult – and terrifyingly satisfying – RPGs in the business. Dark Souls II continues the tradition of rewarding the diligent, patient and sometimes just damn lucky player, and it deserves its place among the best of the year.

Excerpts from Justin Clouse’s review:

Everything that made Dark Souls into a cult success carries over: complex game mechanics, punishing but fair gameplay and a richly detailed setting if you dig a little deeper. To keep things fresh, this is peppered with a mix of new elements, from improved graphics and game engine to a better designed starting sequence and new mechanics. Dark Souls II is a perfect sequel to Dark Souls.

Dark Souls II is also littered with a number of smaller gameplay changes that really come together to improve the experience overall. Enemy AI is noticeably smarter, certainly far less prone from falling off things and plummeting to their deaths. The first time you realize you can’t use this to your advantage any more is going to be a bit of an “oh crap” moment.

Dragon Age Inquisition

daireview12

Developed by BioWare
Published by Electronic Arts
Released November 18, 2014
Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Dragon Age Inquisition – Xbox Oneimage


It took BioWare long enough, but the veteran RPG designer was busy making a monument to everything players love about huge, sweeping epic fantasy stories. The third Dragon Age is one of the year’s best games, but it deserves special accolades for how it allows you to play the role you want to play.

Excerpts from Greg Tito’s review:

The story is full of twists and reveals – often referencing previous Dragon Age games and DLC. An important meeting between the Templars of the Chantry and the Mages who rebelled against them in Dragon Age II is disrupted by a huge explosion and your character is the only one there who survived. Finding out how and why takes up the bulk of the plot, but there are some interesting discoveries as to the nature of the darkspawn adversaries in Origin and the religion of the Chantry as a whole.

The new healing system does create a nice feeling of exploration and, well, occupation. The areas you explore in Inquisition are gigantic. According to the materials provided by BioWare, the first open area you encounter, the Hinterlands, is bigger than the total explorable area in Origins and Dragon Age II combined. Now, bigger is not always better, but what these huge areas give the player is a sense of the growing power and influence of the Inquisition.

Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.

image

image

Best Strategy Game of 2014 Nominees

Endless Legend


Developed by Amplitude Studios
Published by Iceberg Interactive
Released September 18, 2014
Available on PC
Endless Legend (PC DVD)image


There isn’t much we love more than a strategy 4x game that uses hexagons – ala our long-lasting love affair with Civilization V. Combine that addictive just-one-more-turn gameplay with a game that’s a pleasure to play and beautiful to look and and you’ve got science-fantasy romp Endless Legend. With a gorgeously easy and intuitive interface and beautiful painted pastel aesthetic, the game’s user experience really captured our hearts. On top of that, each of the game’s eight factions is completely unique, utilizing mechanics and units much different from what you’d expect in a typical game of Civ. When a game is addictive and has style like this it’s hard not to sink in dozens of hours.

Excerpt from Jon Bolding’s review:

Endless Legend seems willing to do the one thing other games in its genre aren’t: Break the rules. Whether it’s making a faction that simply doesn’t use one of the major resources or taking away direct control or your units, the game is a masterclass in shattering your expectations. While it’s not always executed flawlessly, the differences between factions, missions, and maps make every hour of the game unique.

Hearthstone

vlcsnap-2013-12-10-10h05m20s194.png

Developed by Blizzard
Published by Activision-Blizzard
Released March 11, 2014
Available on PC, iOS, Android
Hearthstone- PC


We at The Escapist have made no secret of our love for this digital card game. Hearthstone just works on every level as a free-to-play game that feels fun and rewarding no matter how much money you throw at it. You can spend nothing and still love it – what other strategy game from 2014 can say that so emphatically?

Excerpts from Josh Vanderwall’s Review:

Hearthstone is the epitome of casual. It’s easily approachable. It’s free to play. There are plenty of microtransactions. You can also sink hours and hours into it without realizing it, even though a match can take as few as five minutes. Most importantly, it’s highly addictive. Whether you’re drawn to the collection side of things, powering through Arena runs (which we’ll touch on later) for the prize pack, or drawn to the competition available in Ranked play, if you’ve got a compulsive bone in your body, you’ll have a hard time putting it down.

Hearthstone is the kind of game that virtually everybody can enjoy for at least a while. Some will burn out quickly, and others will play for a long time to come, but it’s hard to imagine anybody that simply doesn’t appreciate the simple elegance that is the stripped down ruleset of Hearthstone. If you love Magic, Hearthstone will offer a good diversion, even if it may seem a little simplistic in light of your experience. More so, if you just want to love Magic, but don’t have the wherewithal to plod through 200 pages of rules, the barebones Hearthstone is exactly what you need.

Tropico 5

02

Developed by Haemimont Games
Published by Kalypso Media
Released May 23, 2014
Available on PC, PS4, Xbox 360
Tropico 5 – (PC)image


The shtick of Tropico 5 has been around for ages – it’s essentially the history of typical banana republics but, you know, in a fun tongue-in-cheek way – but Haemimont nailed it with this fifth iteration in the series. It may have flown a bit under the radar in 2014, but Tropico 5 deserves all the accolades. We were not threatened to say this by El Presidente.

Excerpts from Jon Bolding’s review:

The game’s new eras are a welcome addition to play, with each giving an interesting objective and flavor to what you’re doing as you move through the stages of city expansion. In the early game you’ll be building through the colonial era, a race to kick off a revolution before your term as governor expires. You then settle into the world wars, a balance of appeasing the Axis & Allies respectively, lest one or the other invade your country – or you can throw that out the window, ally with one for massive benefits, and fight off invasions from the other.

The writing can be pretty funny, even, when it’s not being uncomfortably or offensively stereotypical. The graphics look quite good on a high end PC. The music is, as usual, just incredible. The mix of latin jazz and dance music is superb, well curated, and varied enough that you’ll come to love particular tracks and want to pause for a dance break when they come up.

Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.

image

image

Best Action/Adventure Game of 2014 Nominees

Alien: Isolation

01

Developed by Creative Assembly
Published by Sega
Released October 7, 2014
Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.
Alien: Isolation – PlayStation 4image


A truly frightening survival horror game told in first person, Alien: Isolation lives up to Ridley Scott’s vision of the Xenomorph like no other game has before. The Alien is a deadly implacable force and it is looking for you.

Excerpts from Jim Sterling’s review:

The mark of a truly effective piece of horror lies not in what it does, but in what it doesn’t do. A piece of art that can terrify you without even having to show anything, that can make you afraid without a monster, without something leaping out of the shadows, has accomplished something rare and powerful. Alien, the movie that spawned one of the most inspirational science fiction franchises in history, knew this well. For all the moments that we actually see the titular Alien, its those moments where we don’t know where it is, where there’s no trace of the extraterrestrial killer, that are the most fear-inducing… Alien: Isolation is at its scariest when it’s not doing anything, and I don’t mean that as an insult. This is a game that not only understands its source material, it lives up to it.

The audiovisual presentation matches the quality of the scares, and are crucial parts of building an oppressive atmosphere. What I love most is just how authentic everything feels. From the beige padded walls to the steam-spewing pipes and tubing that always looks like a Xeno in the corner of one’s eye, everything in Isolation looks like it belongs right in the original movie’s universe. Never has an Alien game tried so hard to look, sound, and feel like a real part of franchise, and never has one been so successful.

Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor

shadowofmordor_domination_print

Developed by Monolith Productions
Published by Warner Bros. Interactive
Released September 30, 2014
Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Xbox Oneimage


The works of J.R.R. Tolkien mean a lot to us, and Shadow of Mordor throws it all out the window. It’s a story the grand fantasist would never tell, but Shadow of Mordor is the first game that let you feel like you were mucking around in Middle-earth. The combat was counter-based and addictive, the open nature of the nemesis was excellently implemented, and the plans you enacted were awesome, or not.

Excerpts from Greg Tito’s Review:

It is difficult to sum up in words just exactly how this system is so fun to play around with. Once you learn the rules, it’s a really a strategy game you play out in third person action. In order to take out the war chiefs, you have to target the bodyguards first. To discover the weaknesses of the bodyguards, you have to get intel on them. You get intel by interrogating specially marked orcs called “worms” which means keeping them alive while you murder the group they are with. Once you finally get the intel, you use it to find the captain’s location and exploit his weaknesses. You lure him near a caragor cage and release the beast just at the right moment for it to throttle the poor bastard. You put together plans and see them through. Or, you improvise when things go wrong. You create diversions. You maximize advantages and try to minimize disadvantages. All this is done to avenge your family. It’s remarkable.

So many games set in Middle-earth fall into the same tired tropes of heroic fantasy. The theme of revenge is one Tolkien rejected in his writing, yet it is refreshing to see it explored in Shadow of Mordor. Boromir wanted to use the One Ring to attack Mordor but his views were ignored by the Council of Elrond – Tolkien did not support using the tools of the enemy and favored forgiveness over revenge. Shadow of Mordor posits what would have happened if the power of the Rings had been used against the orcs. Does committing evil act as recompense for the evil you have suffered? Is it more important to see justice served than to live your life? Talion and the wraith possessing him do not ask these questions explicitly, but the theme is clear from the dialogue and the mechanics of the game itself. At points, I was not playing the game in the most effective way because I was blinded by revenge against the orc who killed me. I can’t say Shadow of Mordor was the deepest narrative I ever experienced in a video game, but it was more successful than most at conveying a human truth.

Watch Dogs

02

Developed by Ubisoft Montreal
Published by Ubisoft
Released May 27, 2014. Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.
Watch Dogs – PlayStation 4image


The first game in a new open-world franchise from Ubisoft, Watch Dogs borrows a lot form games like Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed but does so by focusing those mechanics like a laser beam. The fantasy hacking in modern Chicago made for some unique gameplay like using security cameras to engage with enemies and blackouts to escape from the cops.

Excerpts from Jim Sterling’s review:

Watch Dogs‘ ultimate triumph is in just how alive it makes Chicago feel. More than Saints Row, more than even Grand Theft Auto V, Ubisoft’s Chicago feels populated, thriving, buzzing with life. There’s an ambiance to it, a sense of belonging to the world that no other city-based game has managed to capture as well. From the amount of civilians on display, to the random snippets of conversation and the bundles of optional content and dialogue, Watch Dogs‘ world is satisfying to simply be a part of.

Watch Dogs is seen by some as the true herald of a new generation of videogames, a view that Ubisoft itself has done little to discourage. An open world game sold on impressive visual quality and the unique promise of “hacking the world,” this story of cyber crime and info brokering is not quite the revolution it may first appear to be. It is, however, a slickly produced, highly polished example of sandbox gaming with an embarrassment of riches in the content department.

Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.

image

image

Game of the Year 2014 Nominees

Alien: Isolation


Developed by Creative Assembly
Published by Sega
Released October 7, 2014
Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.
Alien: Isolation – PlayStation 4image


A truly frightening survival horror game told in first person, Alien: Isolation lives up to Ridley Scott’s vision of the Xenomorph like no other game has before. The Alien is a deadly implacable force and it is looking for you.

Excerpts from Jim Sterling’s review:

The mark of a truly effective piece of horror lies not in what it does, but in what it doesn’t do. A piece of art that can terrify you without even having to show anything, that can make you afraid without a monster, without something leaping out of the shadows, has accomplished something rare and powerful. Alien, the movie that spawned one of the most inspirational science fiction franchises in history, knew this well. For all the moments that we actually see the titular Alien, its those moments where we don’t know where it is, where there’s no trace of the extraterrestrial killer, that are the most fear-inducing… Alien: Isolation is at its scariest when it’s not doing anything, and I don’t mean that as an insult. This is a game that not only understands its source material, it lives up to it.

The audiovisual presentation matches the quality of the scares, and are crucial parts of building an oppressive atmosphere. What I love most is just how authentic everything feels. From the beige padded walls to the steam-spewing pipes and tubing that always looks like a Xeno in the corner of one’s eye, everything in Isolation looks like it belongs right in the original movie’s universe. Never has an Alien game tried so hard to look, sound, and feel like a real part of franchise, and never has one been so successful.

Dragon Age Inquisition

daireview12

Developed by BioWare
Published by Electronic Arts
Released November 18, 2014
Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Dragon Age Inquisition – Xbox Oneimage


It took BioWare long enough, but the veteran RPG designer was busy making a monument to everything players love about huge, sweeping epic fantasy stories. The third Dragon Age is one of the year’s best games, but it deserves special accolades for how it allows you to play the role you want to play.

Excerpts from Greg Tito’s review:

The story is full of twists and reveals – often referencing previous Dragon Age games and DLC. An important meeting between the Templars of the Chantry and the Mages who rebelled against them in Dragon Age II is disrupted by a huge explosion and your character is the only one there who survived. Finding out how and why takes up the bulk of the plot, but there are some interesting discoveries as to the nature of the darkspawn adversaries in Origin and the religion of the Chantry as a whole.

The new healing system does create a nice feeling of exploration and, well, occupation. The areas you explore in Inquisition are gigantic. According to the materials provided by BioWare, the first open area you encounter, the Hinterlands, is bigger than the total explorable area in Origins and Dragon Age II combined. Now, bigger is not always better, but what these huge areas give the player is a sense of the growing power and influence of the Inquisition.

Far Cry 4

farcry_ 4_sla_hunter

Developed by Ubisoft Montreal
Published by Ubisoft
Released on November 18, 2014
Available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Far Cry 4 – Xbox Oneimage


Departing the tropical theme of previous iterations, Far Cry 4 heads to the Himalayas and fine-tunes the open world shooter series’ mechanics to a bayonette point. After the amazing opening sequence showcasing the vocal talents of Troy Baker playing the flamboyant antagonist Pagan Min, the fictional region of Kyrat opens up for you to explore however you want. Far Cry 4 even features weaponized honey badgers – what more needs to be said.

Excerpts from Paul Goodman’s review:

The amount of flexibility you’re given in almost any firefight is almost overwhelming. You can chuck grenades around like a madman, snipe enemies from afar, sneak around and stab guards in the throat, or emulate John Rambo by finding the biggest gun you can and holding down the trigger until the hammer goes “click”. And those are just the more straightforward methods of Far Cry 4‘s action, as you can now experiment with throwing bait around to lure predators down on enemies or riding an elephant into battle and smashing cars aside like toys. Aside from a few missions where you’re forced to approach an objective in a certain way, Far Cry 4 does a fantastic job of giving players a large degree of agency in how they’d like to engage with its action sequences. There is no funneling into a glorified hallway as seen in other shooters.

A definite highlight of the game is seen in the Shangri-La missions. As you collect parts of a thangka, you’re treated to “visions” of an ancient warrior who has traveled to the mythical land of Shangri-La. This beautiful world is filled with rich red and golden color aesthetics, and the darkened teal and blue of lurking masked demons. While more linear than the rest of the game, these missions are more evenly-paced and a welcome break from the bullet-filled Kyrat.

The main antagonist, Pagan Min, at first acts like he’s little more than a Saturday-morning-cartoon-style villain who does evil “just because,” while taunting you via your radio from time to time. But as the story progresses, he’ll have a few poignant moments where he will openly express regrets at not giving up rule of Kyrat to instead live a simpler life with your mother in America, making him seem a little more human than a stereotypical evil-doer.

Hearthstone


Developed by Blizzard
Published by Activision-Blizzard
Released March 11, 2014
Available on PC, iOS, Android


We at The Escapist have made no secret of our love for this digital card game. Hearthstone just works on every level as a free-to-play game that feels fun and rewarding no matter how much money you throw at it. You can spend nothing and still love it – what other strategy game from 2014 can say that so emphatically?

Excerpts from Josh Vanderwall’s Review:

Hearthstone is the epitome of casual. It’s easily approachable. It’s free to play. There are plenty of microtransactions. You can also sink hours and hours into it without realizing it, even though a match can take as few as five minutes. Most importantly, it’s highly addictive. Whether you’re drawn to the collection side of things, powering through Arena runs (which we’ll touch on later) for the prize pack, or drawn to the competition available in Ranked play, if you’ve got a compulsive bone in your body, you’ll have a hard time putting it down.

Hearthstone is the kind of game that virtually everybody can enjoy for at least a while. Some will burn out quickly, and others will play for a long time to come, but it’s hard to imagine anybody that simply doesn’t appreciate the simple elegance that is the stripped down ruleset of Hearthstone. If you love Magic, Hearthstone will offer a good diversion, even if it may seem a little simplistic in light of your experience. More so, if you just want to love Magic, but don’t have the wherewithal to plod through 200 pages of rules, the barebones Hearthstone is exactly what you need.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor


Developed by Monolith Productions
Published by Warner Bros. Interactive
Released September 30, 2014
Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Xbox Oneimage


The works of J.R.R. Tolkien mean a lot to us, and Shadow of Mordor throws it all out the window. It’s a story the grand fantasist would never tell, but Shadow of Mordor is the first game that let you feel like you were mucking around in Middle-earth. The combat was counter-based and addictive, the open nature of the nemesis was excellently implemented, and the plans you enacted were awesome, or not.

Excerpts from Greg Tito’s Review:

It is difficult to sum up in words just exactly how this system is so fun to play around with. Once you learn the rules, it’s a really a strategy game you play out in third person action. In order to take out the war chiefs, you have to target the bodyguards first. To discover the weaknesses of the bodyguards, you have to get intel on them. You get intel by interrogating specially marked orcs called “worms” which means keeping them alive while you murder the group they are with. Once you finally get the intel, you use it to find the captain’s location and exploit his weaknesses. You lure him near a caragor cage and release the beast just at the right moment for it to throttle the poor bastard. You put together plans and see them through. Or, you improvise when things go wrong. You create diversions. You maximize advantages and try to minimize disadvantages. All this is done to avenge your family. It’s remarkable.

So many games set in Middle-earth fall into the same tired tropes of heroic fantasy. The theme of revenge is one Tolkien rejected in his writing, yet it is refreshing to see it explored in Shadow of Mordor. Boromir wanted to use the One Ring to attack Mordor but his views were ignored by the Council of Elrond – Tolkien did not support using the tools of the enemy and favored forgiveness over revenge. Shadow of Mordor posits what would have happened if the power of the Rings had been used against the orcs. Does committing evil act as recompense for the evil you have suffered? Is it more important to see justice served than to live your life? Talion and the wraith possessing him do not ask these questions explicitly, but the theme is clear from the dialogue and the mechanics of the game itself. At points, I was not playing the game in the most effective way because I was blinded by revenge against the orc who killed me. I can’t say Shadow of Mordor was the deepest narrative I ever experienced in a video game, but it was more successful than most at conveying a human truth.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

gannondorf 02

Developed by Sora Ltd.
Published by Nintendo.
Released on November 21, 2014. Available on Wii U.
Super Smash Bros. – Nintendo Wii Uimage


Fighting games like Super Smash Bros. have the potential to nail its competitive gameplay so well that it will be played and discussed for decades. The developers accomplished a game that’s fun to against (and with!) 8 of your friends, choosing from a massive roster of Nintendo characters to duke it out. Even in single-player or online mode, it just works, and Super Smash Bros. is just what the ailing Wii U console needed.

Excerpts from Jon Bolding’s review:

Smash is delightfully colorful in HD, with style and animation easily making it look better than games running on platforms twice as powerful. The sprawling eight-player stages look superb, as do the lightly retouched versions of favorites returning from Smash-es past – like the Donkey Kong level from the original, which retains the chunky polygons and saturated colors of the N64 era. The characters and animations look excellent, and it’s a continual wonder how the cartoonish design of Pikachu looks good next to the fantasy aesthetic of the Fire Emblem characters – but it does.

This is one of those games where it’s easy to say “just one more match” for five hours longer than you wanted to play. It absorbs and addicts you, drawing you further and further into screaming obscenities at not just your friends, but at obscure challenges and events built into the game itself. At the same time, it’s surprisingly easy to have someone join you for co-op midsession or transfer over to multiplayer matches when a third person shows up, and since basically any match counts for unlocking you don’t feel like you’re not getting anything. Smash is as good as a video game gets – it’s fun, accessible, easy to play, and absolutely packed with features at its price point.

The Walking Dead Season Two


Developed by Telltale Games
Published by Telltale Games
Released October 14, 2014 (retail version)
Available on PC, iOS, Android, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
The Walking Dead: Season 2 – Xbox 360image


The first season of Telltale’s adventure game set in the Southern United States after a zombie outbreak has killed most of the population was a favorite game of 2012. This second season of five excruciating episodes follows the adventures of Clementine, a young girl dealing with growing up and the terrible decisions facing humans surviving amongst the walkers. Every bit as heart-wrenching, the second season fully abandons adventure game puzzles in favor of nuanced conversation choices and a branching story. Get your tissues.

Excerpts from Jim Sterling’s review of the final episode “No Going Back”:

Telltale continues to prove why it’s among the masters of storytelling in videogames today, with an almost unmatched grasp of how to write believable characters, meaningful situations, and create a sense of tragedy and horror that truly engages with the player, thanks to a depth and nuance that you just don’t see in other games.

The strongest element of [final episode] “No Going Back” is its ability to tie together everything we’ve seen previously in the series. Story elements that seemed to be filler, or to have no lasting effect on the narrative, are thematically brought into the final episode. This is most true of Carver, whose influence on the story comes to a vicious head, with Kenny at the forefront.

image

image

Best Movie of 2014 Nominees

Big Hero 6


Stars: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Génesis Rodríguez, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., and T. J. Miller
Directors: Don Hall and Chris Williams
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Released on November 7, 2014
Big Hero 6 (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)image


Marvel properties outside of the hands of Marvel Studios haven’t always been hits, but Disney’s first outing with their own spin on a Marvel team works as a Disney movie and as a Marvel movie. Big Hero 6 isn’t just a good animated family film: it’s a great superhero flick.

Excerpts from Bob Chipman’s review:

While it’s ultimately a team story and is clearly angling to kickstart a series, this inaugural installment is mainly built around nominal team-leader Hiro Hamada, a rebellious young robotics genius whose fast-track to early college has been waylaid by grief over the tragic death of a family member – I mean, what else would it be, in a superhero origin? – that he comes to suspect was not an accident but part of a mysterious supervillain’s sinister plot involving next-generation nanomachine technology stolen from him. To aid in his investigation, he conscripts the aid of Baymax, an inflatable medical robot whom Hiro retrofits into a war machine. Baymax, for its part, goes along with the plan strictly because it fits with his programming to do whatever will aid Hiro’s emotional and physical recuperation.

The big winner is Baymax, who along with being a marvel of character design is also one of the best renderings of what practical A.I. might actually look and behave like since the excellent, underappreciated Robot & Frank.There’s never any suggestion that Baymax has a “soul” is magically developing into something humanlike, just that his programming is so reactive and functional that it allows a user (or an audience) to project humanity onto him – if in fact “him” is even the right phrase.

Snowpiercer


Stars: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Ed Harris
Director: Joon-ho Bong
Distributed by RADiUS-TWC
Released on June 27, 2014
Snowpiercer [Blu-ray]image


You wouldn’t expect a South Korean film based on a French graphic novel to become a sleeper hit in the United States, but there’s no denying Snowpiercer’s success. The film had a rocky path to distribution in the US, where the Weinstein Company wanted 20 minutes of footage cut and new opening and closing monologues added for an American audience. The director refused, however, which led to the film getting a fairly limited release, state-side, through Weinstein’s arthouse label, RADiUS-TWC.

Fortunately for movie fans everywhere, Snowpiercer was widely available on video on demand services which helped it rise to cult status — and today it can even be found on Netflix. If you haven’t watched it, this dark sci-fi flick featuring Captain America’s Chris Evans, you’ve got no excuses not to.

The LEGO Movie


Stars: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman
Directors: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Roadshow Entertainment
Released on February 7, 2014
The LEGO Movie (Blu-ray + DVD)image


How did anyone manage to make a movie about LEGOs and have it not feel like a feature-length LEGO commercial? We’re still not sure, but we unabashedly love The LEGO Movie.

Excerpts from Bob Chipman’s review:

Watching The LEGO Movie is akin to seeing some kind of daredevil high-wire act happening live right before your eyes. It’s not just unbelievable that these maniacs pulled this off, it’s unbelievable that they’ve been allowed to. How did anyone convince a major studio and a global corporate brand with everything to lose on a misfire and absolutely zero good reason not to play it safe to throw their weight behind something so specific and bizarre as this movie. At times it feels like we’re watching a practical joke in progress, as though some mischievous film school anarchist snuck into the projection booth and swapped out whatever bland, flavorless movie one has every right to expect from a Warner Brothers toy property with their own devilishly goofy fan film. It’s not that I’m shocked you can make a good movie out of LEGO, I’m just amazed anybody got away with it.

Guardians of the Galaxy


Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace,Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro
Director: James Gunn
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Released on July 21, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy (3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital Copy)image


Guardians is everything you could want from a good summer action flick — though it works just as well if you pop it into your DVD player today, too. We’ll let Bob Chipman’s review speak for it:

A wildly irreverent action-comedy set in a richly textured, fully-realized world overflowing with memorable characters and crackling, humorous dialog. The kind of playfully joyous but emotionally satisfying ride that used to define the summer blockbuster before punishing dourness and bloated runtimes were the order of the day. If The Avengers was an expertly polished Disneyland fireworks show, this is more like a bunch of friends lighting off bottle rockets over a cooler of beer at the beach.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier


Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson,Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson
Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Released on April 4, 2014
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DVD)image


Marvel’s been on a roll with solid superhero movies, and even though this isn’t the only Marvel movie in our top 5, we’d be remiss to neglect it. The Winter Soldier is a superhero movie that’s taken a sharp right turn into spy thriller territory, and the change in tone works beautifully as a way to watch Cap finding his way in the modern world with an expanded ensemble cast.

Excerpts from Bob Chipman’s review:

This second solo outing for Captain America might as well be something out of John le Carre: a spy thriller where everyone is keeping secrets, everything has a dark undercurrent, and the whole thing seems to be one level of amoral corruption fighting other levels of the same. Well, almost everything: that’s the film’s quietly brilliant conceit. Drop Captain America into an otherwise semi-realistic espionage setting and watch him work like a reverse virus, a figure of absolute good whose mere presence upsets the machinery of deceit.

image

image

Best TV Show of 2014 Nominees

Doctor Who


Stars: Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman
Airs on BBC, BBC America

Doctor Who (The Complete Series 8)image


Doctor Who got off to a rocky start this season as it introduced Peter Capaldi as a grumpier take on our favorite Time Lord. The season also fleshed out Jenna Coleman’s character of Clara in some great ways, breathing life into a character that felt pretty two-dimensional in recent years.

Of particular note is the episode “Flatline,” which is some of the best sci-fi we’ve seen on TV all year. Excerpts from Elizabeth Harper’s review:

While many episodes put both The Doctor and Clara at risk, it’s rare that you actually feel there’s a danger: with The Doctor often acting over-confident, it’s hard to think that they won’t make it. But here, with The Doctor on his own there are moments when he clearly doesn’t think he’s going to make it, going so far as to try to encourage Clara she can save the group without him and giving a dramatic goodbye speech when life support in the TARDIS starts failing. “You made a mighty fine Doctor,” he tells Clara without being sure she can hear him… and anyone watching would have to agree, because being in charge is something she manages extremely well (aside from constantly bungling things with Danny). And, after seeing this version of The Doctor be thoroughly uncaring this season, it’s good to see that he’s not entirely immune from feeling and fear.

“Flatline” isn’t just a great Doctor Who story, it’s a great hour of innovative science fiction. The episode’s thoroughly strange story is backed up by compellingly creepy visuals — no bubble wrap monsters here — that make it a treat, both narratively and visually.

Legend of Korra


Stars: Janet Varney, David Faustino, P. J. Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Mindy Sterling, Seychelle Gabriel
Airs on Nick
Rebel Spirit [HD]image


The final two seasons (or books, in Korra-parlance) of Legend of Korra have aired in rapid succession in 2014 which means we’ve had lots of episodes to love… though it also means we won’t have more of this Avatar sequel to enjoy next year. Still, we’re greedy enough to take what we can get.

Our favorite episode of Book 4 is probably “Korra Alone,” which follows Korra’s attempts to heal after a devastating fight at the end of Book 3. We’ll let Mike Hoffman’s review explain what makes this episode of Korra so great:

Everything about this episode makes it one of the best, even if it is lacking in the supporting cast both ATLA and LoK do so well. Korra’s journey is emotional and every moment lands thanks to a brilliant script, masterful music, beautiful visuals, and perfect pacing.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Stars: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Nick Blood
Airs on ABC
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1 [Blu-ray]image


The second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has really upped its game. (In fact, the show’s been much more watchable since Captain America: The Winter Soldier upended its premise.) This season’s character dynamics are better, the villains are more threatening, and every episode is packed with the kind of Marvel arcana that fans (like us) love.

Just why have we fallen in love with this season of Agents? We’ll let Bob Chipman explain, from his look at what season 2 has done right:

Yes, it was a bit refreshing that in the first season the heroes were a Scooby Gang of happy-go-lucky misfits, but that kind of “aw shucks” dynamic can only extend so far before you start undermining tension. Season 2 has taken the events of both the first year’s finale and Captain America: The Winter Soldier as an occasion to make everyone a little bit more interesting by “breaking” them all, just a little bit (or a lot, in some cases). Examples: Fitz/Simmons as platonic BFF’s finishing each other’s sentences? Cute. Fitz/Simmons as friends who used to finish each other’s sentences but now don’t because one’s romantic crush on the other came out in a dark moment? Interesting.

Hannibal


Stars: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Hettienne Park, Laurence Fishburne, Gillian Anderson
Airs on NBC

Hannibal Season 2 [Blu-ray]image


Hannibal tells the tale of serial killer Hannibal Lector, showing us his earlier days, when he’s a practicing psychologist who helps the FBI with tough cases. Though the entire premise begs the question of why one would try to recreate a character that was so beautifully portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, the show’s high style and refusal to back away from even the most gruesome content makes it stand on its own. Mads Mikkelsen makes for a thoroughly terrifying Hannibal as we watch him charm and manipulate the show’s characters to his whims.

We can’t call out any particular episode as the best: really, you should watch them all. Phil Hornshaw sums up season 2 in his review:

How does a monster make a friend? In the case of Hannibal Lecter, he has to create another monster, one which understands him and which he can understand. Hannibal Season 2 focuses intensely on Hannibal’s attempts to make a killer out of Will Graham in hopes of finally being less alone in the world.

The Flash


Stars: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Rick Cosnett, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin
Airs on The CW
The Flash – CW


Somehow one of our least favorite premieres of 2014 has turned into one of our favorite shows of the year. Bucking the trend of all DC Comics adaptations aspiring to be Christopher Nolan’s grim Batman universe, The Flash has an inherent sense of optimism which is lacking from the universe’s other recent cinematic outings. Its light-hearted nature is a little goofy at times, but it works when you’re dealing with a character whose superpower is runs really fast and it also seems to offer the show an opportunity to roll out a crazy cast of villains who just wouldn’t work in DC’s grimdark cinematic universe.

In a review of the most recent episode, “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” Ross Lincoln explains:

The Flash doesn’t appear capable of letting me down. It’s definitely the best superhero show on TV, among the greatest comic book adaptations of all time, and damn fun television to boot. Binge the entire season and then watch this episode twice.

image

image

Best Card Game of 2014 Nominees

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest Core Set


Designed by Eric M. Lang, Nate French, and Brad Andres
Published by Fantasy Flight Games
Warhammer 40K Conquest: The Card Gameimage


Using simple to learn design and coupling it with the uh, charmingly murderous world of Warhammer 40k, Conquest is a delightful game that balances quicker victory now against the possibility that you’ll deny your opponent victory in the future. At its price point, it’s a fun game that’s hard to argue with, and you’ll be able to make some decidedly fascinating – if non-canonical – combinations of classic 40k factions.

Excerpt from Justin Clouse’s review:

When Conquest is at its best, a lot of the strategy comes down to figuring out where you want your points of contention to be; usually it will involve your third matching planet in the row. Like a good game of chess, you need to think a few turns ahead.

Doomtown: Reloaded Core Set


Designed by Mark Wootton. Orignal Design by David Williams. Additional development by Eric Jome, Konstantinos Thoukydidis, and Steven Martino.
Published by Alderac Entertainment Group
Doomtown: Reloaded Base Setimage


The heady mix of Cowboys, Zombies, Demons, Wizards, Mad Scientists, Magic Trains, and Steam-Powered Six Shooters that is Deadlands has been charming gamers since the mid 1990s, and nearly a quarter-century later we’ve not forgotten about it one whit. So when Doomtown came back we were thrilled to crack open the packs, saddle up our dudes, and send our enemies to boot hill.

Excerpt from Jon Bolding’s review:

Unlike games such as Magic: The Gathering, and more like Android: Netrunner, the positional element of Doomtown really twists how players think about and play the game. It’s a harrowing experience that begs players to push their luck, attempt interesting plays, coming back to the game again and again. It scales remarkably well into three or four player multiplayer game experiences. Add to that the interesting battle mechanics involving poker hands, and the formula for a unique and fun game quickly emerges

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2014


Designed by Wizards of the Coast. Original design by Richard Garfield.
Published by Wizards of the Coast.
Magic the Gathering (MTG) Commander 2014 – Complete Set of All 5 Decksimage


There’s not too many years where you can say Magic: The Gathering is overflowing with awesome stuff – but this year it was. Taking the crown, though, was the game’s Commander 2014 product. With five great decks, each really playable right out of the box and definitely including an obvious upgrade path for the deckbuilding-curious, this is a product you and a few friends can have a great time with even if you’re not Magic experts.

You can hear more we have to say on Commander here or watch us play a free-for-all brawl with the new decks here.

image

image

Best Board Game of 2014 Nominees

Evolution


Designed by Dominic Crapuchettes
Published by North Star Games
Evolution Board Gameimage


A game of cuddly fat things, hard shells, and carnivorous climbers, Evolution charmed us and made us wish we could play game after game to explore all the combinations. A straightforwardly vicious game of eat-or-be-eaten, this is one where building a point engine can be secondary to defending yourself from others’ stable to freaky creations, but you’ve got to balance the drive to survive against the need to win.

Excerpt from Jon Bolding’s review:

The choices you make every turn are distinctly satisfying. What will each card you spend be spent on? Which kinds of traits will you exploit before destroying, and which will you keep in the long term? Will you gamble on a few carnivores, or try to defend your herbivores from predators? Most of the choices are straightforward, but the random card draws keep the game varied while not being punishingly uncontrollable.

five tribes board state

Five Tribes


Designed by Bruno Cathala
Published by Days of Wonder
Five Tribesimage


Board game trendsetters Days of Wonder don’t often create a game for “Hardcore Gamers” in the tabletop sector, those seekers of games about points, scoring points, and nothing but the points, but when they do you should sit up and take notice. Five Tribes is their standout game from this year, pushing a strong element of indirect competition with its charming mancala-esque gameplay. When played well, it’s a quick game that plays twice in the time most games have only played once, for two more satisfying experiences than you’ll have elsewhere. There’s not much here to hate aside from a smattering of questionable art direction decisions, and you can’t blame otherwise flawless design by Bruno Cathala for that.

You can watch us playing Five Tribes and hear some thoughts right here and you can watch the Shut Up & Sit Down review here.

shadowrun crossfire cover

Shadowrun: Crossfire


Designed by Mike Elliott, Rob Heinsoo, Jim Lin, Gregory Marques, Sean McCarthy, and Rob Watkins
Published by Catalyst Game Labs
Shadowrun Crossfire Base Gameimage


The world of Shadowrun is a favorite of many Escapist staffers, so when we heard about this game from catalyst we were cautiously optimistic. We were rewarded with a difficult, fun game of teamwork and cooperation, where finishing missions gives permanent bonuses (using stickers!) to your runners. Definitely one for the consistent game nights of the world. Where Crossfire really excels is that it’s a consistently challenging experience in a world of milquetoast cooperative games designed to be beatable on the second or third try – something we haven’t seen since the release of Pandemic quite a few years ago.

You can hear our thoughts on Shadowrun: Crossfire here.

King’s Forge


Designed by Nick Sibicky
Published by Clever Mojo Games


While King’s Forge didn’t initially blow us away, with repeated plays this game has grown in our hearts to a place of honor. It’s fast, fun, and doesn’t require too much investment on the players’ parts. Plus, you get to roll giant double fistfuls of dice, and who doesn’t like that?

Excerpt from Jon Bolding’s review:

It’s a blend of small-scale strategic thinking and the immediate satisfaction of deciding how few dice you can keep in your pool to have good odds of making an item well. You’ll find yourself throwing out a few dice in early rounds, burning them quickly for a good shot at getting a hard early craft – then you build an engine of dice to spend each turn, accumulating a huge pool that you can use to get rare Magic and Gem dice quickly. Finally, you’ll burn that engine out, trying to roll each turn and grab every possible advantage to race your opponents to victory. Occasionally, you’ll get foiled by a timely steal on an enemy’s part. Sometimes there’ll be surprise victories as a player pulls out a surprise win of perfect rolls on a round you decided to build up your pool.

image

image

Best Tabletop RolePlaying Game of 2014 Nominees

firefly rpg cover

Firefly Roleplaying Game


Designed by Monica Valentinelli.
Published by Margaret Weis Productions
Firefly RPGimage


Building on the clever Cortex+ rules established in last year’s Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and utilizing the until-now-unavailable rights to the perennially popular show Firefly. The recently released Firefly RPG does its job of making taking a ship and crew out into the black for misadventures and big damn heroics about as fun as you might want it to be. With some of the fastest fast-play rules in a recent RPG, and clever examples of play based on each individual episode of the TV show, you’ll be evading Reavers and plundering Alliance wrecks in no time.

Beyond those basics, the deep story functions of Cortex+ come to the fore, with characters creating advantages to get a few extra dice, and the easy scalability of the dice pool system providing statistics for ships and their doings as easily as aircraft, trains, people, and horses. Where some might have lamented the loss of Marvel Heroic and the loss of its clever game design, Firefly salvages that system and brings it right back to the fore.

the strange cover

The Strange


Designed by Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell
Published by Monte Cook Games
The Strange RPGimage


Publisher Monte Cook Games exploded onto the scene last year with Numenera and the Cypher System. Their second outing, The Strange adds designer Bruce Cordell and refines the Cypher System into a fine-edged scalpel of focused gaming. The new system and world leverage story driven mechanics to help you get to the specifics and oddities of interdimensional travel and policing in just the exact way you want to. Plus, the Cyphers the game system is named after only get better once you add the “unlimited worlds, unlimited possibilities” ideas that The Strange is based on, as you’re messing with anything from Potions of Healing to Antimatter Pistols and Astrolabes. Better yet, your interdimensional agents must face the fact that everything in humanity’s collective unconscious exists out there in the strange, from Narnia and Middle-earth to the terrors of the Alien universe, so your gamemaster is going to throw a lot of, uh, surprises at you before this campaign is over.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition


Designed by Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Bruce Cordell, Peter Lee, Robert J. Schwalb, Rodney Thompson, James Wyatt.
Published by Wizards of the Coast.
Player’s Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons)image

Monster Manual (D&D Core Rulebook)image

Dungeon Master’s Guide (D&D Core Rulebook)image


It’s no secret that Dungeons & Dragons is a favorite pastime of The Escapist crew, so when the fifth edition of the game was confirmed for release this year we were more than a little nervous. Without need, it seems, because this is the D&D we’ve been waiting for. Taking the best parts of the last few editions of the game and combining them into a recognizable whole, it smacks of D&Ds past and future while streamlining and innovating where it needs to. Core mechanics like the proficiency bonus and the reworked magic systems are clever twists on the formula, and the Advantage/Disadvantage system is a truly inspired piece of game design.

Excerpts from Jon Bolding’s Player’s Handbook review:

The game’s classes are an absolute gem of design. They have a structured feel, with characters getting new powers and abilities at every level, but each manages to feel quite different from the others. They’re loaded with little gimmicks, with magic, and with unique game mechanics that other classes don’t use. On top of that, each class has a handful of specializations, meaning your bard can be the classic magical songsmith or a melee-combat reveling battle skald. Your call.

D&D hasn’t been this straightforward in decades.

Excerpt from Jon Bolding’s Monster Manual review:

There’s a lot of variety, with the best of the old books represented: A cross-section of both fan favorites from older editions and forgotten oddities. Each individual monster is dripping with fascinating details and seeds for adventures, with text accompanying every entry that alludes to worlds of adventures yet to be had and cues the DM on how the creature fits into the roleplaying aspect of the game.

image

image

Best RPG Supplement of 2014 Nominees

deep magic cover

Deep Magic


Designed by a laundry list of famous designers.
Published by Kobold Press.
Deep Magic: 13th Age Compatible Editionimage


Funded via Kickstarter in 2013, this titanic tome of magics for either 13th Age or Pathfinder would be impressive in its sheer breadth of weird subjects – any one of which would make a campaign unique – if it weren’t more impressive for the fact that a whole host of brilliant designers took part in its creation. From the ever-reliable Kobold Press, this thing is a go to design tool for campaigns or adventures that want to make magic more interesting than spell levels and save difficulties.

Pathfinder Advanced Class Guide


Designed and Published by Paizo.
Pathfinder RPG: Advanced Class Guide (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)image


Fantasy game frontrunner in recent years, Pathfinder‘s growth shows no signs of slowing any time soon. Publisher Paizo has always been wary about bloating their game with too many new base classes, preferring to focus on customizable options instead, so when they went whole-hog on a pile of new classes this year we suspected it was going to be good – and lo and behold, they’re fun designs and neat twists on established formulas. Where other games often stumble when increasing the basic options for players, Pathfinder seems to have taken the additions in strade.

ninth world bestiary spread

The Ninth World Bestiary


Designed by Monte Cook, Bruce Cordell, and Shanna Germain.
Published by Monte Cook Games.
Numenera Ninth World Bestiaryimage


In a year that also featured the awesome new D&D bestiary, you’d think we’d be hard pressed to come up with another bestiary we like more, but you’d be wrong. Numenera‘s science-fantasy aesthetic delivers strongly with The Ninth World Bestiary, and the sheer variety of robots, genetically engineered monstrosities, and odd denizens of the future-earth is mind boggling. Nearly everything in this book is worthy of a page, and there’s handily a year or more of gaming stemming from this book alone. A quality product from beginning to end that adds nothing but value to the Numenera system.

13 true ways cover

13 True Ways


Designed by Rob Heinsoo, Ash Law, Robin D. Laws, Cal Moore, and Jonathan Tweet.
Published by Pelgrane Press.
13th Age: 13 True Waysimage


13th Age is one of the Fate Freeport Companionimage


Green Ronin‘s wonderful pirates-and-eldritch-terrors Freeport was a blast for Pathfinder after its Kickstarter last year, but it’s the Fate Core edition that really convinced us we should do something other than just read the thing – we should play it. The pulp atmosphere of Freeport and the fast playing, high adventure mindset that Fate encourages offer up some real opportunities for hilarious fun and swashbuckling derring-do. Where sometimes the setting felt bogged down by the heavier Pathfinder rules, the Fate ruleset propagated the atmosphere, and the advice for playing using the rules really carried the book.

image

image

Best Single Comic Book Issue of 2014 Nominees

Single Comic Rocket Raccoon 5

Rocket Raccoon #5


Publisher: Marvel Comics
Art and Writing: Skottie Young
Release Date: 11/5/14


An inventive issue that demonstrates how effective a comic can be when the wit of the artists and writers are allowed to shine, Rocket Raccoon #5 features a story told by Groot using all “I am Groot”s. Even signs in the backgrounds of panels were rendered as Grootspeak. It’s hilarious, awesome, and a perfect example of mainstream comics done right.

Single Comic Astro City Vol 3 Ep 8

Astro City Vol. 3 #8


Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
Written by: Kurt Busiek
Art: Alex Ross (covers), Brent Anderson (issues)
Release Date: March, 2014


One of the genuine pleasures of Kurt Busiek’s long-running slice-of-life superhero series is the way he slowly, deliberately develops core myth arcs with tiny tidbits of information. Often provided with simple hints in the background, or via one-off references or seemingly throw-away lines, elements that appear insignificant when first mentioned during one story arc will turn out years later to be hugely important.

Never has this been more apparent than with this year’s “Victory” arc, the first in the series to focus on Wonder Woman analogue Winged Victory. This four-issue story is basically the Astro City version of a Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman team up. Issue #8, part two of the storyline, gets heavy, examining the pressure women in the workplace feel to exceed their male colleagues, and the risk that by asking for help, they’ll be seen as inferior no matter their accomplishments. Featuring some of Busiek’s best writing (which is saying something considering how long he’s been penning the series), it’s essential reading, even for people who are only now getting into the series.

Southern Bastards #4

southern bastards 4

Publisher: Image Comics
Written by: Jason Aaron
Art: Jason Latour
Release Date: 09/03/2014


As Marshall Lemon put it a couple of months ago, “Bastards tells the story of the people of Craw County, Alabama, where football is everything and will be kept that way, no matter the cost. Its first storyline introduced the conflict between Craw County’s corrupt leader, Coach Boss, and the one man who chose to stand up to him, Earl Tubb. If this were say, a Western, it would be about how Tubbs’ struggles were vindicated by the good citizens of Craw County, but this is the American South. And by the time you end the first storyline, you’ll be painfully reminded of why life isn’t like the movies.”

So, yeah. Southern noir, football, and awesomeness. Issue four was a particular standout for Marshall, for a lot of reasons. It features a brutal fight scene done on a double page spread in 24 panels, brutal, deceptively simple art and color, and the culmination, partially, of an important plotline. Great art, great writing, and difficult to stomach storytelling. What else can you say but “awesome”?
image

image

Best Comic Book Series of 2014 Nominees

Comic Series Saga

Saga


Publisher: Image Comics
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staple


Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples’ epic, crazy weird space opera/romance is widely loved for good reason. Since 2012, it’s featured the best writing of Vaughan’s career, complemented perfectly by Staples’ beautiful, often awe-inspiring art. Plus, what’s not to like about a story of lovers on the run from their enemies, in a universe consumed by war between a magic users and tech users, plus a corrupt royal family consisting of humanoids who have CRT monitors for heads?

It’s tempting to avoid honoring one of the most popular and successful comics currently running, but Saga is a rare example of something this huge being exactly as good as everyone says. Touching, vulgar, sexy, ambitious, and weird in way that recalls Nexus or back issues of Heavy Metal, Saga is exhibit B of why comics still matters as an art form.

Comic Series Hawkeye

Hawkeye


Publisher: Marvel Comics
Written by: Matt Fraction
Art: Annie Wu and Javier Pulido


Volume four of the series focused on the Avenger with the least amount of coolness turns out to be one of the nicest surprises of the last 2 years. Bringing Hawkeye’s everyday life to the fore, writer Matt Fraction has managed to take a character often ignored (if not outright mocked) and turn him into one of the most compelling protagonists of recent times.

Not that the series is just a day-by-day trip down off-hours lane – it has plenty of superheroic action to keep you turning the page obsessively. But Marvel has always been notable for titles that explore the intersection between its heroes’ personal and (super) professional lives, something that in the last decade or so has become synonymous with Soap Opera excess. Hawkeye is a nice return to form, focused around a hero whose private life feels positively ordinary. Great stuff courtesy of a great writer.

Comic Series Ms Marvel

Ms. Marvel (Marvel Comics)


Publisher: Marvel Comics
Written by: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Sara Pichelli


Pretty much every person writing for the comics and cosplay channel suggested this series as one of the year’s best, and for good reason.

Kamala Khan, a young Muslim of Pakistani descent, suddenly develops super powers and in tribute to her hero, Carol Danvers (now Marvel’s current Captain Marvel), Khan adopts Danvers’ old nom-de-superhero as her own. “Great, it’s a Marvel style story,” you say. Sure, but it’s more than just that. As I put it in my five favorites, the series strikes “a great balance between telling a coming of age story, exploring the immigrant experience in America, and delivering thrilling superheroic adventure. Better, for people who love lore porn, the series very quickly ties Kamala to Marvel’s Inhumans.” Not bad.

Written by G. Willow Wilson and drawn by Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel is the perfect gateway drug for people wanting to start reading Marvel comics but don’t know where to start. It’s also just damn good, period.
image

image

Best Comics Art of 2014 Nominees

Ben Dewey – Tooth and Claw

Comics Art Tooth and Claw

Publisher: Image Comics
Writing: Kurt Busiek
Art: Ben Dewey


This new series by Astro City mastermind Kurt Busiek obviously has great writing, but the real standout is the gorgeous drawings by Ben Dewey. Described aptly by Image as “Conan meets Game of Thrones meets Kamandi,” Tooth and Claw is high fantasy epic about a group of wizards who attempt to bring a long-vanished champion back into the world, after which everything goes completely tits up. Also, all the characters are anthropomorphic animals.

As befits a story about talking animals, Dewey’s art calls to mind The Wind in the Willows and the animated adaptation of Watership Down, which is to say, it’s charming and quaint, but also grim and ominous. Beautifully textured landscapes and environments and richly drawn characters are flung into the reader’s eye so casually that you almost become spoiled for all other comics. Simply put, Dewey is a phenomenal talent, one of the best comics artists since P. Craig Russell or Mark Buckingham.

Jesse Moynihan – Forming II

Comics Art Forming

Publisher: Nobrow Press
Art and writing: Jesse Moynihan


Forming is difficult to describe. It tells the story of the birth of human civilization, except that in this version, we result from what amounts to a resource acquisition dispute within a major corporation run by aliens, who also happen to be the gods of various earthly religions. Involving multiple pantheons, aliens sleeping with people, corporate politics, and rebellious humans (and half-humans) themselves, the story provides massive amounts of family drama, labor unrest, and cosmic-level violence as the origins of the universe, not to mention most modern religions, are revealed.

Mounihan’s art is deliberately simplistic, often resembling a child’s watercolor paintings. That’s a good choice, because as the story gets more complex, so do his drawings, conveying (at least to this reader) a sense of the development of humanity itself as it is manipulated, abused, sexed-up, and exploited by the gods and corporate titans desperate to get their hands on Earthly resources. If you haven’t read the series, or even heard of it, rectify that mistake immediately.

Tom Neely – The Humans

Comics Art Humans

Publisher: Image Comics
Writing: Keenan Marshall Keller
Art: Tom Neely


I struggled with this one, because – Full Disclosure – Tom Neely is a personal friend of mine. But in all honesty, The Humans, a new series from Image, is absolutely one of the best-drawn comics in 2014. Concerning the adventures of a 1970s motorcycle gang comprised of various types of anthropomorphic apes, it’s a gritty, terrifying and hilarious look at the collapse of the American dream in the weird cultural dystopia that was the post-Vietnam era.

Neely’s art is trippy, angry, graphic and profane, and it feels like the painted-equivalent of a room full of overflowing ashtrays and stale vomit. (This is quite often literally true, considering what The Humans get up to in this series.) You don’t have to trust my take on it though, pick up the first issue and see it for yourself in all its drug-fueled, disgusting glory.
image

image

Best Comic Book Writing of 2014 Nominees

Comics Writing Lazarus

Greg Rucka – Lazarus


Publisher: Image Comics
Art: Michael Lark, Owen Freeman (covers)


Want to be depressed but feel awesome about it? Read Lazarus and wait until it sinks in just how much of its brutal corporate dystopia feels unsettlingly familiar. Set in a world where governments have all but vanished the former nation states divided between rival wealthy families, the series explores the horrors of systemic poverty, the corruption inherent in feudal-style societies, and the way everyone suffers when the only law is who has the deepest pockets.

Of course, you don’t have to pay attention that closely if you don’t want to, because Lazarus is also a story about conspiracies, science-gone-mad, the battle for control of the world – hell, think Game of Thrones meets Gattaca. Which is why writer Greg Rucka makes this list. This series has a lot to recommend it, but the most impressive thing about it is the way Rucka has wrapped deep, divisive and difficult political issues inside a pulpy shell, without hurting either.

the wicked the divine 5

Kieron Gillen – The Wicked + The Divine


Publisher: Image Comics
Art: Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson (covers)


The new Image series begins with the premise that every ninety years, twelve gods are reincarnated as humans (who, inconveniently, already existed before they were suddenly given divine powers). Worshiped like pop stars, members of this pantheon have it pretty good – except for the unfortunate fact that they will die within two years of becoming empowered.

Marla Desat has been raving about this series for months. As she put it, “[it] keeps blowing my mind and making me scrape the brain bits off the floor, for both writing and art.” That’s about as good a recommendation as we can imagine. Thought provoking, hilarious and difficult to take at times, it’s a great comment on current culture, and a kick as story as well.

Comics Writing Saga

Brian K. Vaughan – Saga


Publisher: Image Comics
Art: Fiona Staples


You know we love Saga – it’s one of our nominees for best series. Nimble, romantic, and kind of batshit in the best possible way, Saga is, simply put, one of the best comics ever produced. Vaughan has conjured up a story with the kind of awe and wonder that Star Wars did for film fans of the 70s. Framing the series as a memoir of sorts, via voice over narration that underscores the adventure and lends it an air of slow-building tragedy. Characters, meanwhile, are complex, difficult, and real, despite the fact that some of them have wings, others have horns, while still others are talking robots who somehow still have sex. It’s remarkable work.

Vaughan’s writing has only matured as a result of his time spent working on television, and with Saga, he’s turned in the strongest work of his career in comics.
image

image

Best Gaming Mouse of 2014 Nominees

Note: To qualify for this award, the product must have initially released in 2014, or had a new version release in 2014.

Mouse G502 Proteus Core

G502 Proteus Core


Manufactured by Logitech
Logitech G502 Proteus Core product pageimage


This mouse has 11 programmable buttons, an optical sensor of up to 12,000 DPI, and a polling rate of one millisecond. But beyond that, a weight and balance tuning system lets you not only make the mouse lighter or heavier, but also shift its center of balance, and a surface tuning calibration system adjusts the mouse sensor to your specific surface for maximum precision.

Mouse DeathAdder Chroma

DeathAdder Chroma


Manufactured by Razer
Razer DeathAdder Chroma product pageimage


The Razer DeathAdder has been one of the best gaming mice for years, and the Chroma is, effectively, a 2014 re-release with 16.8 million color customizable lighting. It has a 10,000 DPI optical sensor, five programmable buttons, and while ergonomics tend to be a personal choice, it feels just right to most people.

Mouse M65 RGB

M65 RGB


Manufactured by Corsair
Corsair M65 RGB product pageimage


This laser mouse has custom-tuned 8,200 DPI sensor, 16.8 million color options, an adjustable weight system, eight buttons, and the ability to choose between a response time of as low as 1000Hz (1ms) or as high as to 125Hz (8ms).

Mouse Tyon

Tyon


Manufactured by ROCCAT
ROCCAT Tyon product pageimage


ROCCAT’s most unique mouse brings some interesting innovation to the company’s well-iterated design. The Tyon features an 8,200 DPI laser sensor, 16.8 million color customizable lighting, four extruded buttons that seem impossible to hit accidentally, ROCCAT’s signature Easy-Shift button that lets you assign and access a secondary function on every button, a “fin” style paddle button that sits between your fingers, and a thumb paddle that gives you new ways to press mouse buttons as easily and intuitively as possible.

Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.
image

image

Best Gaming Headset of 2014 Nominees

Note: To qualify for this award, the product must have initially released in 2014, or had a new version release in 2014.

Headset HyperX Cloud

HyperX Cloud


Manufactured by Kingston
HyperX Cloud product pageimage


When it comes to value, the Cloud offers the quality and features of a headset that is typically found at a higher price point. With solid aluminum construction and padded leather headband with memory foam ear cups, the Cloud is both comfortable and well-built, with good sound range and lots of bass in its 53mm drivers. The cloud also features a detachable mic, audio adapter, and extension cable.

Headset H1500

H1500


Manufactured by Corsair
Corsair H1500 product pageimage


This USB headset has memory foam earpads, Dolby 7.1 surround sound, a noise-cancelling mic, and 50mm drivers with plenty of dynamic range. They’re comfortable, truly circumaural, and sturdily constructed.

9H

9H


Manufactured by Steelseries
SteelSeries 9H product pageimage


This 3.5mm jack headset comes with a USB soundcard that you can plug into if your onboard motherboard sound isn’t up to snuff. Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound helps you locate your enemies in FPS gaming, a retractable noise cancelling microphone gets out of your way when it’s not needed, the extra-padded, all-leather design provides comfort, and the double braided cable helps with durability and tangles.

Headset G4me Zero

G4ME ZERO


Manufactured by Sennheiser
Sennheiser G4ME ZERO product pageimage


When it comes to audio quality, it’s difficult to beat Sennheiser, and this headset won’t disappoint. The G4ME ZERO is also the first gaming headset to feature multiple layers of fitted ear padding, a technology Sennheiser adapted from its professional pilot headsets, so comfort shouldn’t be an issue, either. Add in the professional-grade, noise-cancelling mic and the closed design that prevents sound from leaking in or out, and this headset’s hefty price point becomes understandable.

Headset Kave XTD

Kave XTD


Manufactured by ROCCAT
ROCCAT KAVE XTD product pageimage


The Kave XTD features 5.1-surround sound, a detachable noise-canceling mic, and a multi-channel sound card built into a desktop remote, intended to limit signal noise and interference. You can even hook your smartphone up to the Kave to make and receive calls.

Excerpt from Devin Connor’s Review:

The ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Digital Gaming Headset carries on Roccat’s 5.1 tradition admirably, even after accounting for the speed bumps. The average mic performance doesn’t change that fact that the XTD 5.1 offers solid true surround performance at a decent price. With so many 5.1 solutions eclipsing the $200 mark, a $170 offering will definitely appeal to your wallet. The sound quality, while on the brighter/higher side, can be bent to your will with some tweaking, and sound-heavy titles like BF4 shine.

Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.

image

image

Best Gaming Keyboard of 2014 Nominees

Note: To qualify for this award, the product must have initially released in 2014, or had a new version release in 2014.

Vengeance

Vengeance K70 RGB


Manufactured by Corsair
Vengeance K70 RGB product pageimage


A mechanical gaming keyboard with Cherry MX switches and 16.8 million color customizable per-key illumination, a detachable wrist rest, and full-key rollover, the K70 RGB also enables you to assign macros to any key.

BlackWidow Chroma


Manufactured by Razer
Razer BlackWidow Chroma product pageimage


This iteration of Razer’s famous BlackWidow mechanical keyboard features all new Razer mechanical switches said to last 20 percent longer than standard Cherry MX switches, as well as 16.8 million color customizable backlighting. It has 10-key rollover, and every key – plus its five macro keys – is fully programmable and remappable.

Keyboard Ryos TKL Pro

Ryos TKL Pro


Manufactured by ROCCAT
ROCCAT RYOS TKL Pro product pageimage


A 10-keyless mechanical keyboard with customizable per-key illumination, Cherry MX switches, N-key rollover, and a built-in wrist rest, the Ryos TKL Pro takes ROCCAT’s winning Ryos MK Pro and turns it into a slim-profiled keyboard.

G910 Orion Spark


Manufactured by Logitech
Logitech G910 Orion Spark product pageimage


Logitech Orion Spark

The Orion Spark is a mechanical keyboard built with new Logitech-exclusive Romer-G switches that claim 25 percent faster actuation than competing switches. 16.8 million color customizable per-key illumination, nine programmable macro buttons, and a smart dock that allows you to use your phone or tablet as a display screen round out its features.

Excerpt from Greg Tito’s review:

The lack of a native display may put some folks off, but it really doesn’t impact how great a gaming interface the Orion Spark keyboard really is. All of the features of the keys’ design, the mechanical switches, the lighting and the software support add up to a peripheral that really improves your gaming experience.

If you can afford it, have been thinking about upgrading your keyboard, and don’t need a screen, the Orion Spark is worth considering.

QuickFire Rapid-i


Manufactured by Cooler Master
Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i product pageimage


This 10-keyless mechanical keyboard features white LED backlighting with per-key illumination and responsive lighting effects upon keystrokes. Cherry MX switches, a detachable braided cable with micro-USB connector, and N-key rollover round out its features.

Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.

image

image

Most Significant Breakthrough in Science & Technology of 2014 Nominees

Science and Tech 1st Story

Adult Human Cells Successfully Cloned

Ever since researchers cloned Dolly the sheep in 1996, attempts have been made to clone human cells using the same methods. After years of failed attempts, researchers have finally succeeded in cloning cells from two different adult men, ages 35 and 75. This takes us one step closer to being able to generate healthy replacements for damaged or diseased cells.

Lockheed Martin Makes Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion

Lockheed Martin developed a design for a nuclear fusion reactor that overcomes a longstanding problem that has prevented this fabled technology from becoming a reality. The company believes that it can build and test the design in as little as a year, and that it should have an operational reactor within a decade.

Science and Tech 3rd Story

DARPA Develops 1 THz Circuit

DARPA set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest solid-state amplifier integrated circuit ever measured, which operates at a speed of one terahertz. This breakthrough can lead to revolutionary technologies, including communications networks that have several times the capacity of our current systems.

Biologists Delay Aging Process in Fruit Flies

UCLA biologists identified a gene that slows down the aging process and increased the lifespan of fruit flies by about 30 percent. It is believed that this research could have important implications for delaying aging and disease in humans. This gene could be activated in one easily accessible organ, such as the intestine, and its effects will spread to other organs in body, including the brain.

Science and Tech 5th Story

Researchers Eliminate HIV Virus from Human Cells

A research team developed molecular tools to delete HIV DNA from human cells completely, allowing the cells’ normal gene repair mechanisms to take over and repair the DNA damage. Currently, HIV is a disease that, once contracted, an individual has for life, but if a means can be developed to deliver this HIV-killing agent to every infected cell in the body, it can be cured.

Breakthrough Graphene Synthesis Method

Graphene is being touted as a miracle material, and advances continue to be made in its development, but one key stumbling block has been how costly it is to synthesize. Samsung Electronics made one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history by developing a new synthesis method to speed the commercialization of the material.

Science and Tech 7th Story Good Size

Nanomotors Inserted and Steered within Living Human Cells

A team of chemists and engineers achieved a first this year: inserting synthetic motors inside live human cells – and then controlling their movement magnetically. As these nanomotors would interact with structures inside the cells, they would trigger reactions in the cells that have never been seen before. This is a significant step forward in nanotechnology that can potentially lead to important consequences in the field of medicine.

Researchers Cure Liver Disorder in Mice through Genetics

MIT researchers used a new gene-editing system to cure a rare liver disorder in mice that is caused by a single genetic mutation. These results show promise that this system has the potential to treat many genetic disorders by replacing mutated DNA.

New Means of Destroying Spreading Cancer Cells

Biomedical engineers from Cornell University have developed a new way to destroy metastasizing cancer cells that are traveling through the bloodstream by using a cancer-killing protein that sticks to white blood cells. Metastasis is the spread of cancer cells throughout the body, and most cancer deaths are related to metastases. When the protein was used to treat cancer cells in a saline solution, the researchers found that it killed 60 percent of the cancer cells. But when added to flowing blood that mimicked human-body conditions, it killed nearly 100 percent of the cancer cells thanks to its ability to attach to white blood cells for transport.

Science and Tech 10th Story

Rosetta’s Philae Lander Touches Down on Comet

The ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft reached its destination after a ten-year voyage and successfully deployed its lander on comet 67P, a feat that has never before been accomplished. During its brief life, the lander was able to detect organic molecules on the comet – some of the building blocks for life. These data – and others collected by Rosetta and the Philae lander – are already affecting ideas we had about the origin of water and life on Earth.

Western Prinnies, Line Up for Disgaea 5 on PS4 Next Year

Previous article

Disney Reportedly Releasing Original Star Wars Films on Blu-ray – Update

Next article

Comments

Leave a reply

You may also like