This is always the hardest category for me to pick and I always spend weeks thinking about it. What makes a game better than all the others? Does it have to be revolutionary? One of a kind? Bigger than any other game? Not necessarily. GotY is usually for a game that exceeds expectations and feels solid, structured, fun, and memorable, and just stands out as a whole over any other game. This was a hard year to pick from as there were so many fantastic games that fell under these criteria.
It was really only a close call between God of War and Red Dead II this year with Spider-Man right behind them. This was one of those rare years where I had to analyze each and every piece of both games to determine the winner. They both have fantastic acting, characters, gameplay elements, and visuals. God of War however did most of this with more finesse and less experimentation. I felt the story of Kratos and Atrius cut a little deeper and I felt more attached and wanted to die to see the next cut-scene while Red Dead II was a really slow burn. The gameplay in God of War single-handedly reshaped combat for its own genre while Red Dead II just refined it. They both had large open worlds, but God of War’s was more memorable and had so much incredible detail that Red Dead just didn’t have.
The story is probably the second most important aspect of a game next to the gameplay. A good story can be memorable, impactful, controversial, enlightening, frightening, and any other emotion humans can feel. We didn’t have many games with memorable stories this year, but there were some out there that stood out.
There weren’t that many engaging stories this year, and there seems to be less and less every year, but God of War not only portrayed memorable characters, but the story Kratos goes through is very memorable and something you talk about long after the game is complete. Stories that stand the test of time are the ones that are remembered through history.
God of War is not only one of the best looking games of all time, but the art direction is on another planet with a beautiful recreation of Norse mythology and an atmosphere that really brings you into the world and makes you feel like you’re really there. From every texture to leaf and creature, God of War is a piece of moving art.
This was a weird year for RPGs. We didn’t get many big names, but the ones we did were lackluster or not the game changers they normally are. However, picking apart the list, we did get some awesome RPGs that are bound to keep you busy for hours.
Octopath Traveler really masters the JRPG formula down to every sprite and action the player can choose. The characters and story are rich, and the visuals are phenomenal with a fantastic art style. A fresh JRPG like this hasn’t been released in a really long time and it feels nice to see the genre keep up with the times
This was one of the strongest console launches I can ever remember. For a first-year, Nintendo pumped out some fantastic games, as well as the strongest third-party support they have had in a decade. The system still has room to grow, but so far it’s impressive.
The Switch had a good year but was mostly filled with more ports and remasters, and Octopath shows Square still love Nintendo and can make amazing RPGs. While the game still feels old-school, there’s enough story and great characters to keep you hooked for hours.