Check out all of our Best of 2014 coverage here and Worst of 2014 coverage here.

In a year dominated by ostensibly bankable hits failing to deliver and surefire successes missing the mark, the field of what could be considered the best of 2014 is surprisingly open (as you can see from our best games of 2014 staff list). But amid that instability, and perhaps because of it, the bright spots on the horizon that maintained their warm glow on arrival felt all the more special.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is one such point of light.

So what about this third entry in the fantasy role-playing series deserves top honors in our staff-voted Game of the Year conversation? No one element of Dragon Age: Inquisition drives the experience. Unlike 2013 winner The Last of Us or Telltale’s The Walking Dead the year before that, which both delivered masterful, unflinching storytelling that solidified a personal experience, Dragon Age: Inquisition is a testament to the freedom and imagination unique to this medium.

For many, Inquisition is a return to the roots of the franchise. But more than that, it’s an evolution. Developer BioWare regrouped, bringing with it lessons learned from the previous games in the series, crafting something stronger than the parts that came before. Whether you’re struck by the punchy, engaging combat, smitten by the unique characters and personalities that footnote the journey, or looking to get lost, pulled off the beaten path in fantastic environments housing secrets waiting to be discovered, Dragon Age: Inquisition has something for you.

As the de facto messiah figure in a world torn asunder by an otherworldly, demonic invasion, you’d think that would rank chiefly among your concerns. But Dragon Age: Inquisition is rife with political intrigue, social unrest and injustice, and a procession of those looking to you for solutions to problems big and small. Yet despite the many questions, your commitment is never more or less than the choices you make, and your answers are never right or wrong.

For its many compelling moments, its depth of choice and consequence, its welcome and colorful personalities, and its willingness to let you experience a fantastical world on the brink of calamity on your own terms, Dragon Age: Inquisition is the GamesBeat 2014 Game of the Year.

Read up on our coverage on Dragon Age: Inquisition:

GamesBeat’s 2014 Game of the Year Runners-Up:

  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (PC, Mac, iPad, Android)
  • Bravely Default (3DS)
  • Far Cry 4 (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

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