Few games this year grabbed me like Control did. It combines a lot of things I already liked (creepypasta, Lost, Remedy Games, The X-Files) and put it into this beautiful, dark package.
Runner Up: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
2019’s 2018 Game of the Year
Return of the Obra Dinn
What a unique adventure game. I was into it the minute it was announced as the next game from the maker of Papers, Please but it absolutely delivers as a tantalizing mystery and an experience that’s impossible for other media to replicate.
Runner Up: Timespinner
The “I Wish I Liked This More” Award for Games Everyone But Me Loved
The Outer Wilds
If you accused me of not giving The Outer Wilds a fair shake, you’d probably be right. I’ve played it long enough to figure out its “trick” but I haven’t gone back since. It’s obviously well loved by many, and I’m likely to go back and give it a real go someday this year, but I find myself challenged to start up a game that gives me such an easy stopping point.
Runner Up: Metro: Exodus
The “You Tried” Award for Games Punching Above Their Weight
Terminator: Resistance isn’t a great game. It’s a fairly basic FPS, only extraordinary for being a decent Terminator series game. But looking at this developer’s abysmal track record, Terminator: Resistance is easily the best game they’ve made and it’s a huge improvement over their past. This game could’ve been a Rambo: The Video Game level disaster, but it turned out pretty good.
Runner Up: A Plague Tale: Innocence
Movie of the Year – Us. Runners Up: Shazam, Alita: Battle Angel.
Album of the Year – 1000 Gecs by 100 Gecs. Runners Up: Young Enough by Charly Bliss, Fear Innoculum by Tool.
Book of the Year – Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes. Runners Up: The Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (I do not care if it came out in 2016, I just read it this year), One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence.
2018 wasn’t exactly a great year for me and video games. I played a lot of games and very few of them stuck with me. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the games, but I wasn’t really feeling much of anything. Even the two games I spent the most time playing this year, Final Fantasy XV and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, didn’t make the top of my awards. They merely consumed the most time. As I look around at other GOTY lists, I’m seeing a lot of stuff I’m either not interested in, not on a platform I own (or even compelling enough to buy that platform to play it), or some combination of the two. But that doesn’t mean that there were no good games! I absolutely loved my GOTY, and many of the others on this list! It just means that most of these are only going to have one honorable mention, and some of them may not be from 2018.
2018 Game of the Year
Right, this was an easy choice. I love DUSK. It’s a Quake/Heretic/Blood sequel I never got. It’s ugly but fun. It’s an amazing emulation of games from the mid-90’s, but even better. Many games have tried to make neo-retro work and failed. They usually get the look right, but not the feeling. DUSK nails it all.
Runner Up: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
2018’s 2017 Game of the Year
Assassin’s Creed Origins
I’ve had a long-lived love/hate relationship with Assassin’s Creed. I almost always finish them, but I rarely enjoy them. They’re just kind of mindless filler, and after Unity, I was pretty much done with the series. Until Origins. Origins brought me back because it changed so much of the Assassin’s Creed formula. It changed so much that it’s more or less a different game entirely from its predecessors. The same could almost be said for Final Fantasy XV. This is a series that I’ve played (nearly) every game but never enjoyed them and never finished them. I enjoyed FFXV and finished it. Dark Souls 3 didn’t particularly change much of the series but it is the first one I enjoyed enough to finish
Runners Up: Final Fantasy XV, Dark Souls 3
The “I Wish I Had More Time for This” Award
Battletech could almost go into “Wish I Liked This More” because I enjoyed the short time I’ve played it, but maybe not enough to go back. I love the Battletech world, but I’m much more of a Mechwarrior type of person. Still, I came home from Gencon and wanted to jump right into Battletech. I got humbled on my first real mission and I haven’t worked up the nerve to go back. I want to. I eyeball it. But I don’t know if I’ve got the time to invest in re-running the beginning or starting up again and seeing if I’ve dug myself into too deep of a hole to get out of.
Runner Up: Into the Breach
The “I Wish I Liked This Game More” Award
Hollow Knight is the clearest winner of this award, maybe the easiest choice of the year. I really enjoyed the demo for Hollow Knight, so much that I bought it immediately upon release. But the punishing difficulty, often aimless design, and awful body retrieval mechanic turned me off eventually. This is a beautiful game, fun in many parts, and doesn’t want you to enjoy it. I love a good Metroidvania. Hollow Knight hates me and I refuse to stay in an abusive relationship with it.
Runner Up: CrossCode
The “I’m Never Going to Finish This, But It’s Still Great” Award
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
This isn’t entirely fair, because Super Smash Bros. Ultimate just came out weeks ago, but there’s so much in there that there’s essentially no possibility I’ll ever see the end of it. There’s so many character unlocks, so many spirits, so many minigames, just an unholy amount of video game. Even the World of Light seems like a nearly impossible task for all but the most dedicated SSBU player. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot. The same could be said for Forza Horizon 4. It’s a fun game, but I play racing games in 2-5 hour spurts maybe three or four times a year. When I want to play one, I enjoy it, but I get my fill of them pretty quickly.
Runner Up: Forza Horizon 4
Awards for Things That Aren’t Video Games That I Loved in 2018
Best Film – Annihilation
Best Album Single – Childish Gambino This is America
Best Novel – Peter Watts The Freeze-Frame Revolution