The free copies of X-Com: Enemy Unknown have been handed out and the votes have been tallied, all culminating in a Golden Joysticks awards ceremony that crowned the unforgiving Dark Souls II as the Game of the Year.

From Software's Dark Souls II brings the refinement in controls and graphical freedom that hampered the original's transition from consoles to PC. With the game on par across all platforms, Dark Souls II rises beyond the fanboyism and continues with brutal play that made both Demon Souls and Dark Souls cult hits.

In Dark Souls II, as is the case with its predecessors, the gameplay is tough and the game refuses to hold the hands of players as they make their way through its moody environments. Its the sort of game that makes players feel like they're good enough to progress, but just barely.

While Dark Souls II won Game of the Year, another third-person RPG may be in line to take that honor at the 2015 Golden Joysticks. With a sequel that was everything most people missed from the original, The Witcher II has helped propel The Witcher III: Wild Hunt to the most-wanted game of 2014.

A combined effort from ComputerAndVideoGames and GreenmanGaming, the Golden Joystick awards held its 32nd event in London on Oct. 24. The awards are often deemed the people's choice awards of gaming -- organizers even hand out digital keys to video games for each vote submitted.

"The Joysticks are the people's awards and 2014's winners entirely reflect the creativity and diversity of modern gaming," said Andy Robinson, editor of industry magazine CVG. "I'd like to thank everyone who voted for again joining us in celebration of a passionate and innovative medium that we all love." Organizers said gamers cast 9 million votes.

The rest of the 2014 Golden Joystick Awards winners are as follows:

Best Original Game: DayZ

Best Online Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Best Storytelling: The Last of Us: Left Behind

Best Visual Design: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Best Audio: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Playfire Most Played Game of the Year: Rust

Best Multiplayer: Battlefield 4

Best Indie Game: DayZ

Innovation of the Year: Oculus Rift DK2

Best Gaming Moment: The Last of Us: Left Behind - "The kiss"

Best Handheld Game: Pokemon X & Y

Best Mobile Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Gaming Personality of the Year: PewDiePie

Studio of the Year: Ubisoft Montreal

Gaming Platform of the Year: Steam

Lifetime Achievement: Hideo Kojima

Game of the Year: Dark Souls II

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