GOTY 2018: Staff Picks
Have you listened to our overall game of the year podcast? If so and you want more clarity on our individual lists then you’re in luck.
On this very
Craig Shields – Editor-In-Chief
Well, 2018 was certainly a year that existed, that’s for sure. We’ve seen a wide range of stories in the games industry, many of which question current labour practices, highlight rampant redundancy and also shown a lack of disrespect for consumers.
Thankfully, there’s also been a few great games to help us through all the negative stuff. So, in true Pause Resume list fashion, here’s my top ten games for 2018:
10. The Gardens Between
There were a number of games I could’ve chosen in the number ten spot, many of which were lavish triple A games with hundreds of hours of content but none of them captured me quite like The Gardens Between. A short game but the puzzles that The Gardens Between wove and the tale it told resonated with me in a way few games do. So much so I just wish it was a little bit longer.
9. Hitman 2
There isn’t much difference in the basics of 2016’s Hitman and this sequel. That’s because there wasn’t much that needs changing. Hitman 2’s best moments are when everything goes wrong and you have to make quick decisions that create a chain reaction that affects everything. Chaos is great, especially when you’re Agent 47.
Another short game but one that captivated me from beginning to end. If it wasn’t a VR game Moss wouldn’t be anything special, but it’s because it’s a VR game that blends so well with traditional platofrming that helps it to stand out in a field that is becoming cluttered by short experiences. Moss is one of VR’s first true fully packaged games and one that needs to be played by those who own a VR headset.
7. Yakuza 6
Between this and Kiwami 2, Yakuza fans like myself have been kept busy with the goings-on in Kamurocho this year. In truth, it was hard to pick just one for my list but given that Kiwami 2 is a remake (a stunning one at that) I went for the newer Yakuza 6 which brought an end to everyone’s idol: Kazuma Kiryu. What a legend.
6. Astro Bot Rescue Mission
Another game that came out of nowhere and not only gave me a delightful game to play but also a reason to don my PlayStation VR. Astro Bot is a game that reeks of Nintendo – but in a good way. Its design, its music and its innovative use of VR all
s innovative use of VR all
5. Pokemon Let’s Go
Having not played a Pokemon game since the original Pokemon Red on the Game Boy, Pokemon Let’s Go gave me the perfect opportunity to get back into the franchise. A little bit of it was nostalgia but I really appreciated the going back to Kanto, even if it lacks some of the more complicated mechanics of latter game. Over 40 hours in and I still want to catch them all.
4. Marvel’s Spider-Man
We all had a laugh when all the reviews commented that playing Marvel’s Spider-Man made you “feel like Spider-Man” but seriously, it was the superhero game we’ve all wanted for a long time that wasn’t Batman. I particularly enjoyed its’ well-measured world that wasn’t overly big and complicated like so many other worlds; everything felt reachable, to the point where you start to recognise familiar areas and locations. The most exciting part about Spider-Man though is that it could be the start of something very special moving forward.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
I have a love/hate relationship with Red Dead Redemption 2. On one hand the game is stuck in the past with its structure and mechanics but on the other, it’s a game that is oozing in storytelling, character, personality and style.
1. Celeste and God of War
Honestly, I couldn’t separate these two. So for my own list, I’m going to chicken out and give my top spot to both of them.
Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think a game like Celeste would capture me like it did.
It wasn’t just Celeste’s captivating gameplay but its a tale of depression, self-doubt and anxiety that made me fall in love with it in a way that I rarely do with a video game. Oh and that soundtrack, just, wow.1
Like so many others on my list, I slept on God of War, aiming to play it just to say I had done so rather than actively wanting to. Oh boy, was I wrong. What Santa Monica were able to do with Kratos is simply remarkable. The franchise and character were past their best by the time Ascension released on the PS3 but this reboot has taken it to a whole new level, one that has seen it rocket near the top of my favourite games of all time.
Alexandra Collinson – Content Editor
God of War
A game I never thought that I would be interested, however, this game entirely took my breath away. A reinvention of a game that I had no interest has become my game of 2018.
Two Point Hospital
I always enjoyed the original Theme Hospital by Bullfrog and on learning that some of the same people were now making a spiritual successor I was instantly hooked. This game brings back to me all my childhood memories with a renewed look for 2018.
Detroit: Become Human
Fight for humanity? Not many people do anymore in a world where tech seems to be ever more on the rise, Detroit shows us how this will change in the coming years and how humans will get along (or not) with Androids – a presence that is ever looming in the future of our lives. This game gave me much to think about and choosing the direction of each character made me think about my own humanity in this world. This game is Quantic Dreams best game since Heavy Rain, the characters are complex and hooking and keep you wanting to play more.
Red Dead Redemption 2
I never played the original Red Dead Redemption but the prequel was compelling. There was always something to do in the world and everyone around you who was playing the game always had a different story from your own going on. This game bought people together in ways normally only online games do (or Pokemon Go!). It was these different moments and conversations that put Red Dead Redemption 2 into my GOTY list.
Pokemon Lets Go: Eevee
I always enjoyed Pokemon on the original Gameboy but didn’t really get into any of the newer generations. It wasn’t until playing Pokemon Go that my interest in Pokemon was restored and since then I couldn’t wait for Let’s Go. There are definitely some parts of this game that I enjoy more than others but for the most part, this is a perfect remake for the Nintendo Switch
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
I have always enjoyed playing Smash Bros and Super Smash Bros Ultimate does not disappoint. I like how the game has gone back to the original Smash Bros, where unlocking characters was the name of the game and fighting was filler. The sheer amount of characters makes every match unpredictable and the World of Light brings some story to the game and a new feature in the form of spirits – a grind for some I have enjoyed these fights and unlocking characters this way.
After enjoying the first Unravel I was pretty excited for the second coming of Yarny and he did not disappoint. I played this alongside Red Dead Redemption 2 and often I left my console thinking Unravel 2 was the much more stunning of the two. Unravel 2 brought new challenges and always having to have two characters brought a whole new level to these.
A game I was very unsure about at first sight. Craig played it and said, Alex, I think you need to play this, so I donned the VR and immediately felt transported into the world of Moss. Every level of Moss is awe-inspiring, the puzzles within the game give you enough food for thought to keep you on your toes and wanting to play more. A true gem of 2018.
The stone cold killer is back and guess what, he is fiercer than ever before. Intent on finding the truth about his past, Hitman 2 brings more merciless killing mixed with a story you want to find out the end to. Hitman 2 had me hooked and not having to wait for each chapter only served to make this game better than the last.
A mobile game that I played on the Switch. At first when I saw Giant Bomb getting excited about this game I just didn’t get it, but then I picked it up myself and realised that the humour in this game was fantastic and controlling a hole was much more fun than I expected. It may only be short but it left me wanting so much more.
Alex Sodhi – Media Editor
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
There was a point where I thought Assasin Creed games had run their course, however with Origins and now Odyssey it feels like Assasins are continually working on their recipes. Alexios and Kassandra deliver some of the best characters in Assassins since Ezio!
We have grown to expect a certain something from Battfield games these games, and 5 delivers on what always have. Sheer and utter destruction and a really well rounded WW2 game. Battlfield continues to deliver on those jaws dropping moments that not many other games can.
Super Mario Party
Super Mario Party brings life back to a series that had for a long time lost its way. With over 80 mini-games, there is so much fun to be had here. Everyone can take part, you don’t need to be a game to enjoy this. It’s a game I will be coming back to for years to come.
Monster Hunter World
I was so surprised by Monster Hunter, I have never played one before but I will certainly be going back. The combat style is so fun and I quickly found myself wanting to track down and hunt every single monster for all of the sweet sweet loot!
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar has created one of the most beautiful open worlds I have ever seen and it’s filled with amazing characters which have such a rich story to tell. It also has some of the most fitting music that I have ever heard in a video game, it always is there at the perfect moment to help build open this beautiful world even more.
God of War
This game is simply a masterpiece. Its storytelling is second to none, its graphics are stunning and the reinvention of Kratos is done perfectly. Be it if you are a fan of God of War or you are brand new to the series, this one is the best it has ever been.
Dragon Ball FigtherZ delivers on almost every level, from its a perfect graphic style to its extremely rewarding combat. It’s without a doubt the best fighting game this year and my personal favourite Dragon Ball game ever!
Spider-Man on PS4 is the best Spider-Man game ever game. It appeals to hardcore fans and does really well at sticking to comic lore, whilst building on it and giving fans who may have no connection with Spider-Man, something really fun to play.
Two Point Hospital
I was a huge fan of Theme Hospital, and Two Point Hospital delivers on every level. Fantastic level design with really fun and engaging challenges!
Overcooked 2 simply builds on its previous success and it does it very well. It’s extremely addictive and very challenging, it kept bringing me back with friends because the challenges led to some of the best laughs this year!
You’ll find our full Game of the Year awards and discussion by listening to our Game of the Year 2018 podcast.