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.
Making realistic sound can be done any day, but making sounds that don’t actually exist is a serious challenge. Every sound, breath, whisper, grunt, and weapon slash brings you into the game and helps make you feel like you’re really there. Even the voice of the World Serpent’s rumble is eerie and actually made me a little uncomfortable.
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.
A great multiplayer game makes you want to come back and engages all players. Communication, fun factor, and great modes are what make a multiplayer game great. We didn’t get too many multiplayer exclusive games like we did last year, that really stood out, but some had great multiplayer modes.
Monster Hunter: World
You don’t always have to wipe each other out or curse profanities at someone because your quick-scope wasn’t quick enough. Sometimes playing together can be just as rewarding as fragging someone and Monster Hunter World proved that this year. There’s nothing more satisfying than wiping out a high-level monster with 3 friends and screaming and cheering on the mic…or dishing out mom jokes when they don’t listen to you. Guess you can’t win them all.
God of War almost got overtaken by RDR2 on this one, but the combat system in God of War revolutionizes its own genre and just feels astoundingly perfect and insanely intuitive yet also very deep. The scripted scenes are also out of the world and the best ever seen in a game, you can’t beat the action here
This was a great year for multi-platform games. Exclusives were a bit dry, so many heavy hitters came out of the woodworks, so you were happy with any system you owned.
Red Dead Redemption II
Red Dead was the biggest contender against God of War this year and is a no-brainer for the best Multi-Platform game. The level of detail in this game hasn’t been seen since GTAV and has an unprecedented amount of love put into it. There’s no other game like this out there.