It was one hell of a year for video games in 2018. Several franchises dropped years-in-the-making installments, some gigantic announcements and sequels were made, esports and indie games took things to another level, and everyone yelled about Waluigi for a while. All in all, big wins all around. Except for the Waluigi thing. We stan a king and he is a king.
We wanted to take the time to single out the deserving games that made this year so wonderful, so Bill DiFilippo, Konata Edwards, Chris Barnewall, Bill Hanstock, and Ryan Nagelhout put together some categories and handed out some awards.
Without further ado, here’s the best of the best from 2018 in the world of gaming.
Game Of The Year
Bill DiFilippo: Spider-Man. I so badly wanted to say a game that deserves praise for being beautiful (and for being, objectively, the best game I played this year or any other year), like Red Dead Redemption 2, or a game that had a compelling story and main character, like God of War. But at the end of the day, I think of why I play video games, and it’s because I like doing things that are fun. For me, no game was more fun than Spider-Man, as flying around New York City and fighting crime never stopped being an absolute blast. I have yet to purchase the additional chapters that serve as Downloadable Content, but I cannot wait to do this, because I was legitimately bummed out when I finished the game. Other games might be better, but Spider-Man brought me the most joy, so it wins.
Konata Edwards: Spider-Man. Red Dead Redemption 2 and God Of War were excellent games that should win tons of awards, there’s just no game that spoke to me like Spider-Man did this year.
Chris Barnewall: Red Dead Redemption 2. The criticisms of this game are very fair. Red Dead Redemption 2 is slow, it embraces being slow, and it creates a sense of realism that many don’t want in their games. Some people just want to ride horses, rob banks, and be an outlaw without worrying about their stamina, or the status of their horse, or if they need to shave. But RDR2 embracing its slowness is exactly why it was my favorite game of 2018, because it made me embrace parts of the game I never thought I would. I’ve never sat down at a fire and just watched the flames burn while I relax in a video game, but I did that in RDR2. I’ve never just enjoyed a ride across the land while nature around me changed the way it does in RDR2. It’s those little moments that I was forced to embrace that ended up being my favorite part of the game, and it’s why Red Dead Redemption 2 is my Game of the Year.
Bill Hanstock: God of War. I spoke about it at length in my review, but this game was absolutely stunning. Story, gameplay, design — everything worked on every possible level. While Red Dead Redemption 2 is a remarkable achievement in terms of how a game is built, the story didn’t come close to matching the depth and breadth of God of War, nor was the gameplay anywhere near as fun. Similarly, if Spider-Man had had just a biiiit more story and balance, it would have had a chance of matching up against God of War for my pick as Game of the Year, because I didn’t have more fun playing another game this year. For the full package, though, it’s God of War, hands down.
Ryan Nagelhout: Red Dead Redemption 2. Everyone plays games at their own pace, but one of the most remarkable things about playing and discussing RDR2 is that the way everyone navigated through the game was actually interesting. Talking about the campaign of most games amounts to someone talking about a fantasy football league you’re not in: The concept is the same as what you’re doing, but somehow it’s far more boring. That wasn’t the case with RDR2. The drunken mission is great, and everyone loves telling stories of harrowing escapes from the law with hundreds of dollars on their head, but no one gamer happened to handle the individual bits and parts of the game the same way. There’s something to be said for a game offering a unique experience while still having its essential parts still on rails. I’ve been endlessly fascinated by what players do with Arthur once they escape the cold and get into the world, and it’s made me approach the game in a renewed way each time.