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The Official Rllmuk Awards 2018 - Get Your Votes in Before January 14th!

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Game of the Year

A1. Tetris Effect

A2. Celeste 

A3. Monster Hunter: World 

A4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

A5. Black Bird

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)

Z1. PS1 Classic

Z2. Xbox exclusives

Z3.

Z4.

Z5.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Tetris Effect 

S2. Celeste 

S3. Monster Hunter: World

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Tetris Effect 

V2. Celeste

V3. Shadow of the Colossus

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Red Dead Redemption 2

W2. Celeste

W3. Swords of Ditto

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year

F1. PS4

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Enhance

 

Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year

B1. Destiny 2

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

X1. GT Sport

 

Best game character of the year

C1. Teostra (Monster Hunter: World) 

C2. Isabelle (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)

C3. Madeline (Celeste)

  • Upvote 2

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I played a decent number of games last year. Missed a few big ones and I only played RDR2 for a couple of days so I can't really include it yet. 100% confidence in Celeste though.

 

Game of the Year

A1. Celeste

"This is the perfect game for me. A platform game which offers heaps of challenge without being too punishing. It carries over the sprite-squishing kinetics of Towerfall and rewards swift and precise movement. The themes of self doubt marry well with the gameplay as you struggle yet persevere. It builds up to a lovely finale enhanced by the incredible soundtrack's use of leitmotif. After the credits roll there's a huge amount still to do."

A2. Hollow Knight

"I was obsessed with this for its duration. And it's pretty long; 43 hours to 107% completion. Super Metroid was a quarter of that. Comments about its difficulty put me off initially but in reality it's not too bad. Exploring the world and growing your skillset alongside your confidence means you'll soon be zipping around the world making light work of enemies you once thought impossible. The post game content is exceptional too, even if the latter parts are genuinely impossible for any human. The pace and precision of the moveset makes it's fun to keep trying though".

A3. Pocket Rumble

"Many fighting games try to simplify things in the name of accessibility but this is one of the few games I've played which got it right. Incredible character variety for a game with only two buttons."

A4. Super Smash Bros Ultimate

"The new visual effect and pause when you land an attack strong enough to KO is hugely satisfying. I love it. Falcon PAUNCH!"

A5. Into The Breach

"I only started this in January but it's impressed me enough to sneak into fifth in place of God of War. I reckon if I'd played it for much longer I'd be rating it even more highly. It neatly distills so much of what I enjoyed in games like Advance Wars but with the layer of using pushes and flips to turn the enemies' own telegraphed attacks against them. A short campaign which is built around repeated plays. I regret not getting stuck in sooner."

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)

Z1. No new Pilotwings game

Z2. Adverts in Street Fighter V

"An optional but ill-advised additional to the game as Capcom strive for new ways to profit from its esports focus. The virtual currency reward for turning them on was so meagre that it might as well have been nothing. They're gone now but that's probably just because no real sponsors have taken them up on the offer."

Z3.

Z4.

Z5.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Hollow Knight

"The caverns echoing the knight's nail's meaty thwacks and splattering globs of bugs' bust bodies makes this game a joy to play with headphones."

S2. Celeste

S3. Tetris Effect

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Gorogoa

"The intricate visuals are the game. The consideration that's gone into each finely-detailed panels look to form seamless paths between seemingly incongruous patters in awe-inspiring."

V2. Florence

V3. Dragon Ball FighterZ
"It's built on the foundations laid down by the incredible Guilty Gear Xrd almost five years ago but it's still breathtakingly beautiful. Nerds assure me it's very faithful to the cartoon too."

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Florence

W2. Red Dead Redemption 2

"I've not played a huge amount of this so I've no clue how the main story plays out out however there's no denying the breadth and quality of the incidental dialogue as you mosey around town."

W3. Celeste

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year

F1. Nintendo Switch

"I manage to play far more videogames now, especially since we can easily play two-player games when out and about."

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Devolver Digital

"Genital Jousting."

 

Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year

B1. Street Fighter V

"I don't follow any other games closely enough to compare so, despite missteps, Street Fighter V's 2018 support was great. Especially G and Cody and significant lowering of loading times."

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

X1. Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

"I was given this a gift just after its initial launch but didn't get around to playing it until a year later. It's magnificent; far better than it had any right to be. A lovely turn-based strategy game with loads of variety and charming characters. I don't even hate Rabbids anymore."

 

Best game character of the year

C1. Madeline (Celeste)

C2. The long Tertromino (Tetris Effect)

C3. The Knight (Hollow Knight)

  • Upvote 8

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Played DUSK after my initial votes and am adding it to a few categories on the list, highlighted the changes below:

 

On 10/12/2018 at 10:11, dirk_beefhammer said:

Game of the Year

A1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze DUSK

A2. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

A3. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition

A4.

A5.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)

Z1. Fallout 76

"I've not played it, but seeing Bethesda ruin the franchise makes me sad."

Z2.

Z3.

Z4.

Z5.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze DUSK

S2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

S3. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

"Retro Studios know how to animate monkeys in lovely environments"

V2. DUSK

V3. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Divinity: Original Sin 2 DUSK

W2. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition

W3.

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year

F1. PC

"Just for the ludicrous number of bargains and free games"

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Sega New Blood Interactive

 

Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year

B1. Overwatch

"The hamsterball was the single-greatest addition to Overwatch since it came out."

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

X1. Prey (2017)

"Oh boy, how to properly articulate my love for this game. I made a big mistake last year not having this at the top of my list ahead of Zelda. In my defence, I had only played a few hours of what turned out to be a bit of a slow burn, but was eventually utterly absorbed by the game's mechanics, atmosphere, story and attention to detail in its environments/world. Having finished it now, it is possibly up there as my favourite game of the current gen. And also tops the list of "Best Destruction of Glass in Games""

 

Best game character of the year

C1. Hammond the Hamsterball

C2. Dixie Kong

C3. Cranky Kong

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Game of the Year

A1. Red Dead Redemption 2 - You could write an essay detailing the flaws and mis-steps in Rockstar's latest sprawling epic - the convoluted control system and UI, the absurd mission fail states, the layers upon layers of systems that never quite amount to anything. But you could also write an equally long essay on how it is home to the greatest, most evocative and detailed open world in gaming, compelling characters and stunning spectacle. You have to take the rough with the smooth but when it all comes together it is simply stunning. 

A2. Hollow Knight - An absurdly generous, challenging and atmospheric Metroidvania with more than a dollop of Dark Souls thrown in there too.

A3. Shadow of the Colossus - An incredible remake of a unique timeless classic with many of the rough edges and irritations sanded away.

A4. Super Smash Bros Ultimate - The only game in the franchise which managed to click for me. I'm not entirely sure why this one did where the others didn't, but I'm glad I could finally understand the hype with this one.

A5. Tetris Effect 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)

Z1. God of War - A potentially very good 15 hour game stretched out to what felt like more than double that, it is by turns impressive and frustrating. Rote puzzles and level design, repetitive enemy encounters and bosses, and a plot which frequently feels like a neverending hunt for an arbitrary new Macguffin ultimately suffocate a solid combat system, decent world building and competent but inconsistent character development.

Z2. Below - Years in making and the end result is a frustrating mish-mash of conflicting ideas, mechanics and systems.

Z3. PlayStation Classic

Z4. Fallout 76

Z5. Ashen

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Tetris Effect

S2. Celeste

S3. Red Dead Redemption 2

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Red Dead Redemption 2

V2. Hollow Knight

V3. Tetris Effect

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Red Dead Redemption 2

W2. Celeste

W3. Spider-Man - Although honestly, the fact this is at three for writing says more about the fact that the best games I played this year generally weren't great because of their writing.

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year

F1. PlayStation 4

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. IO Interactive - For managing to overcome the hurdle of being dropped by Square-Enix and putting out another excellent new Hitman game, albeit one that didn't quite make any of my other lists this year due to slight oversimilarity to Hitman 2016.

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

X1. Uncharted: Lost Legacy

 

Best game character of the year

C1. Arthur Morgan - RDR2

C2. Dr Octopus - Spider-Man

C3. Madeline - Celeste

  • Upvote 2

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Game of the Year
A1. Astro Bot
A2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
A3. Dead Cells 
A4. Labo
A5. Bandersnatch

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)
Z1. Fallout 76
Z2.
Z3.
Z4.
Z5.

 

Sound Design of the Year
S1.
S2.
S3.

 

Visual Design of the Year
V1. Gris
V2. Astro Bot 
V3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

 

Writing of the Year
W1.
W2.
W3.

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year
F1. PSVR

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year
P1. Sony 

 

Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year
B1. Enter the Gungeon

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

X1. Enter the Gungeon 

 

Best game character of the year
C1. Astro Bot
C2.
C3.

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Voting template:

 

Game of the Year

A1. Astro Bot

"Astro Bot delivers completely on the promise of a great platformer in VR. There are some really tropey mechanisms here, but because of the new perspective and the gameplay elements that brings, it's so fresh if not always original. Peaking around corners, up and below you and shifting your body around the environment to do the camera work yourself is so effortlessly intuitive and smartly implemented. The  bosses too deserve mention for being so well animated and great use of scale. It helps that it's all ridiculously charming too."

A2. Tetris Effect

"The most middle-aged game of the year. Its no surprise that this is a rllmuk favourite. It's got a game that everyone knows, with some new mechanics and new old mechanics for anybody who hasnt played a Tetris since 1989, wrapped in backdrops straight out of a set of 90s windows screensavers/winamp skins. This pairing down makes it feel like it's mediocre and some of it is (VR in particular is a disappointment for not serving the gameplay like Polybius or REZ does). But the soundtrack saves it, and it does play a good version of Tetris, and you just have to kinda go along with the naffness. Because it kinda is, and that's refreshing when everything in gaming is going for deeper meanings. Join in! - OPEN YOUR EYEZ AND U WILL SEE. I CAN LEAD U HOME JUST FOLLOW ME."

A3. Iconoclasts

"A really beautiful and pretty game. I really appreciate the mix of influences that I traced back to Wonder Boy, Treasure titles and a colour palette that reminds me of SNES games more than any other game this year. The animation too is just sublime."

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)

Z1. Shitty Management Practices

"Be it Rockstar with its overtime culture, Midboss with it's not paying staff and sexual harassment, or Riot Games with its toxic work culture - there has been too much unpleasantness surrounding gaming this year"

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Astro Bot

V2. Tetris Effect

V3. Iconoclasts

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year

F1. PS4

"The best supported VR headset, an incredible line-up of huge first party titles, a continuous supply of amazing indie titles and the most obscure Visual Novel getting physical release (Silver Case 25th Ward and Shibuya Scramble respectively), and another year with TWO YAKUZA games. Untouchable."

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. SEGA

 "So yeah, TWO YAKUZA games alongside Shenmue re-released after 15 years, Streets of Rage IV announced, Sonic Mania getting a victory lap, Fist of the (You're already drunk!) Star, and Judgement which is the first game I've known to get both English Subs and English Dub (ie: TWO different translations)"

 

Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year

B1. Pokémon Go

"This year I really feel that the content, the regular community events, and now trainer battles, have just made Pokémon Go even more well rounded and complete. The best AR game"

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

X1. Kero Blaster 

"Best run and gun in years"

  • Upvote 4

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Voting template:
 
Game of the Year
A1. Spider-Man
A2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
A3. Monster Hunter World
A4. Bayonetta 2 (Switch)
A5. Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu!
 
Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)
Z1. God of War
Z2. Street Fighter V Arcade Edition
Z3. Street Fighter Anniversary
Z4. Red Dead Redemption 2
Z5. Onrush
 
Sound Design of the Year
S1. Monster Hunter World
S2. Spider-Man
S3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
 
Visual Design of the Year
V1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
V2. Gris
V3. Red Dead Redemption 2
 
Writing of the Year
W1. Spider-Man
W2. God of War
W3. RDR2
 
Gaming Format (System) of the Year
F1. Nintendo Switch
 
Developer of the Year
P1. Insomniac
 
Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year
B1. ARMS
 
Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)
X1. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
 
Best game character of the year
C1. Bayonetta (Switch & Smash Bros.)
C2. Spider-Man
C3. Pikachu (Let’s Go!)

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I only really played the big guns this year so my list is pretty heavy on the mega blockbusters. Not quite up to the outrageous 2017 in terms of quality of releases it was still a great year that saw some stunning games released. I still need to play the likes of Spider-Man, Hitman 2 and Far Cry 5 and there's a whole load of smaller indie titles like Dead Cells and Hollow Knight that are on my radar too. 2019 is looking like it could be a great year with the likes of Sekiro coming out and the backlog is ever growing. What a time to be alive as a fan of videogames.

 

 

Game of the Year

 

A1. Red Dead Redemption 2

 

Leaden and sluggish controls that in the quest for visual authenticity place animation priority above all else and sometimes demand the dexterity of an octopus.

Outdated and infuriatingly prescriptive missions that impose fail states for committing the heinous crime of walking ten metres away from an NPC.

Pointless gameplay systems and mechanics that serve no real appreciable purpose. 

A paper thin veneer of a reactive world of NPCs that respond to your actions but never adequately explains its rules and often punishes you through no fault of your own.   

 

I've heard all of the above criticisms and more many times on here and elsewhere and I can't really argue with any of them. But I honestly don't care because for three or so magical weeks when I had some time off work I lived the life and tale of Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang in 1899 in the final fading days of the American Old West and it's as real and memorable as anything I've ever experienced. 

 

I've never had an experience in games or any entertainment medium for that matter that has utterly engrossed and immersed me as much as this one did and I roleplayed the living shit out of Arthur in a way that no game has ever prompted me to before. The fidelity and detail of its extraordinarily crafted world is so many leagues ahead of anything seen before that to do anything else felt like a disservice that would only break the spell it cast over me.

 

I'd sit round the campfire at night and listen to Hosea reminiscing and dispensing pearls of wisdom while Bill and Micah squared up over the poker table and Reverend Swanson passed out flat on his back drunk as a skunk once again. I'd just sit there and take it all in, learning and observing the foibles and quirks of this motley gang of ne'er-do-wells. I'd brew up and drink coffee every morning, exchange pleasantries with Mary-Beth as the early morning dew glistened on the grass, brushed and fed my horse every time before saddling up, always walked in the towns and returned the greetings of anyone polite enough to offer them. When supplies in the camp were low I'd set out on hunting trips that would last for days at a time, navigating by sight and landmarks alone, heading up through the Cumberland Forest, crossing over the Dakota River by the trails near Fort Wallace and up into Ambarino and the Grizzlies where hungry bears and foraging buck could be found. After a day's hunting I'd set up camp and live off what I'd hunted that day, silently eating under the stars as wolves howled and the Donner Falls roared in the distance.   

 

I could write pages of this kind of thing, of the experience of the thick, cloying humidity of the Bayou Nwa and the Nightfolk emerging unannounced from the swampy gloom, the industrial smog that came as a shock upon first entering the civilisation of Saint Denis that signified in stark fashion the encroachment of the modern world upon a time rapidly fading into history, a time still visible in the pastoral beauty of the wildflower meadows in Big Valley and the sweeping grandeur of Twin Stacks Pass and The Heartlands.

 

But a world is nothing without a story to be told within it and Arthur's tale of redemption and his place within the dysfunctional family of the gang had me hooked the whole way through. It took some unexpected turns which I won't spoil here and although there were a few missteps as it headed towards its conclusion, by the end I was as emotionally engaged as I've ever been with a game. Although the shooting mechanics are decent enough when you've tweaked the settings a bit it's never going to rival the best in the genre in that regard but many of the missions were moody and memorable and the pitch-perfect music score would kick in at the opportune moment and I'd find myself haring across the plains with lawmen in pursuit with a huge grin plastered across my face. From those quiet moments in the lonely wilderness to the frenetic shootouts in the towns, I had an absolute blast from start to finish. 

 

For the most part though it's a game that has a curiously languid pace that hasn't really been seen in a triple-A title of this nature before and it demands that you really slow down to properly take it all in. I wonder if I didn't have the luxury of being able to do just that for a few weeks whether I'd be quite so effusive in my praise for it. When you come home from work and have a couple of hours to spare and just want to sprint to the next mission marker and play a smooth, frictionless cowboy action game it falls flat on its face like Arthur's horse colliding with a tree. But if you bought wholesale into what Rockstar were trying to achieve and went along for the ride it provided something that I can't compare to anything else. The Housers would love chatting to me because I can completely see what their vision for this game was and they delivered it in spades. For me personally that sense of place and an authentic, believable world to explore and get completely lost in in every sense of the term counts for a huge amount. For its ability to do this like nothing else has before and tell a compelling tale along the way it's my game of the year without question and up there with Zelda as game of the generation.  

 

A2. Assassin's Creed Odyssey

 

The recasting of Assassin's Creed as a huge, sprawling open-world action RPG that was begun with Origins is here continued as Odyssey takes the ball and runs with it.

 

I was wary of starting this so soon after Origins (which I loved) as I feared that I'd be burned out on it but my doubts were misplaced. It's a wonderful game that adds several extra layers of depth and expands on the RPG elements introduced in Origins, adding a new focus on crafting a build tailored to your preferred playstyle, conversation options that give more depth to the quests, more variety and choices to make in weapon and gear selection and wraps it all up in an astonishingly beautiful rendition of ancient Greece. This is another epic featuring an enormous world that I've been more than happy to take my time with and really explore all that it has to offer.

 

And then there's Kassandra. By some distance the best protagonist that the series has had and fantastically voice-acted she's been an absolute pleasure to guide as the wandering misthios in a game that lives up to its name of odyssey with aplomb. 

 

About 80 hours in now and nowhere near the end which suits me fine as I've enjoyed every single second.

 

A3. Monster Hunter: World

 

My first Monster Hunter and one that I ended up playing for over 200 hours, the core gameplay loop of hunt monster, carve for parts, forge armour and do it again and again had me hopelessly hooked. I'd never really seen the appeal of the series before but once it had its claws into me I understood perfectly why so many are dedicated fans.

 

Gorgeous and densely detailed areas to explore bursting with life in every direction and a combat system that reveals its depths the more you play it. The manner in which you learn the attacks of the superbly animated monsters themselves and then feed this information into your repertoire of moves is masterfully judged. When you first attempt to take some of these monsters down it seems like an almost possible task but after learning and refining your approach you end up being a deft hand at it and they fall in mere minutes. It's an incredibly compelling experience when it all clicks and a cracking game whose expansion this year can't come soon enough. 

 

A4. Battlefield V

 

Tighter gunplay, much more of a demand on your situational awareness and a push towards a more tactical, squad-based approach makes this an excellent entry in the very best multiplayer shooter around. Not as polished or evocative as Battlefield 1 and there are issues with the game which is why it's also on my list of disappointments but they shouldn't detract too much from what at its core is frequently the most intense and rewarding game there is. When you're hunkered down desperately defending an objective as bullets and squadmates fly and fall around you there's nothing that can compare. There's just something about Battlefield that nothing else can provide and this will see almost constant play for the next two years or so.

 

A5. God of War

 

This was an excellent rebooting of the series that ticked all the boxes. It looks stunning, it tells an interesting tale, utilises the Norse mythology setting well, has a great central relationship between Kratos and his BOI and it has satisfyingly meaty and thunderous combat.

 

It's very, very good. But yet I didn't quite get all the overwhelming praise and game of the year awards that it got showered with. Americans in particular seemed to go absolutely bonkers for it. As much as I liked the semi-open world I found the levels themselves to be sometimes quite restrictive, the puzzles to be quite repetitive and I was always waiting for it to really take off and yet it never quite did. There's some real invention on show in places with some of the locales and sequences but it needed more varied boss fights and more of those bombastic high points like the dragon.

 

It sounds like I'm being a bit down on it which would be unfair because I really enjoyed it when I played it but several months on my assessment of it has cooled a little and I don't place it in the pantheon of the greats like many others seem to have. Still, it's deserving of praise as yet another high-quality Sony first-party cinematic action game release and the series is well and truly refreshed and well placed to go on from here. 

 

 

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)

 

Z1. Fallout 76

 

Didn't actually play it (why the hell would I?) but it's quite clearly an absolute clusterfuck that should never have been released in the state it was and is perhaps the worst launch of a supposedly triple-A game I can remember. The concept had me intrigued but the execution is by all accounts an unmitigated disaster that puts a serious dent in Bethesda Game Studios' reputation. I'm afraid she's gonna need a new engine, Sir.

 

Z2. Battlefield V

 

Yes it's number 4 in my games of the year list and is a superb game in many respects that in the long run will see more hours play from me than any other in this list by a significant margin. But it's glaringly obvious that it was rushed out and compromised in order for EA to have their tentpole FPS franchise out in time for Christmas. Another six months to a year in development would have seen a masterpiece but as it is we're left with a game that has rock-solid core mechanics and plays a fantastic game as only Battlefield can but is nevertheless riddled with irksome bugs and whose half-assed presentation just doesn't provide the definitive WW2 experience that DICE are capable of delivering. 

 

Z3. Nintendo Switch release schedule

 

Was never going to live up to that absolutely stellar first year but I'm nevertheless left disappointed in the lack of must-have full-fat software releases for the Switch in the last twelve months. I'm afraid Smash Bros. and a spin-off Pokemon game don't really do it for me personally and while its indie support is excellent and it's played host to the likes of the superb Into the Breach the fact is that I've played on it this year for a fraction of the time that I did the last, so on the list it goes. Let's hope that 2019 and the release of games like Fire Emblem and Metroid Prime 4 (wishful thinking, I know) see it regain its place in my affections.

 

Z4.

Z5.

 

 

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Red Dead Redemption 2

S2. Assassin's Creed Odyssey

S3. God of War

 

 

 

Visual Design of the Year

 

V1. Red Dead Redemption 2

 

Not really 'design' in the sense that it's merely the closest thing we've yet seen to photo-realism in games but I couldn't really give it to anything else and the team responsible for the lighting are absolute wizards. After 100 hours I was just as much in slack-jawed awe of the sun breaking through the trees as I was when I first saw it and no game has ever come remotely close to portraying moonlight as accurately as this one. I have absolutely no idea how they made my base PS4 produce such sights whatsoever. Remarkable.

 

V2. Monster Hunter: World

 

Beautifully detailed and wonderfully imaginative locales dense with strange flora and quirky fauna and the headline monsters themselves are a joy to behold, each one stomping and thrashing about with a distinctive character and excellent animation that provides crucial visual feedback to aid in taking them down.

 

V3. Assassin's Creed Odyssey

 

Playing this directly after Red Dead 2 meant that the visual impact of it was lessened somewhat as it just can't stand up to Rockstar's extraordinary open-world efforts but it's still undeniably a gorgeous game in its own right and renders its version of ancient Greece with a dizzying sense of scale and an obsessive attention to detail. It's photo mode is one of the best in the business and knocks Rockstar's stupidly limited offering into a cocked hat. Taking perfectly framed sumptuous snaps of sunsets dipping below the horizon of the Aegean is as much a part of the game as creeping round Spartan forts and after 80 hours it still has the ability to routinely take my breath away.  

 

 

 

Writing of the Year

 

W1. Red Dead Redemption 2

W2. God of War

W3. Assassin's Creed Odyssey

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year

F1. PS4

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Sony

 

 

Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year

 

B1. No Man's Sky

 

The NEXT update essentially retooled the entire game and the free updates and additions just keep on coming. I have nothing but admiration for the way that Hello Games responded to the (in many ways justified) outpouring of vitriol that came their way and have just diligently kept their heads down and transformed a once much-maligned game into an utterly unique and breathtakingly ambitious curio that stands apart as very much its own thing. Frankly it's now the game it should have been released as and that we were promised from the start but they're to be applauded for finally seeing that vision through to fruition.  

 

 

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

 

X1. What Remains of Edith Finch

 

I really wish I'd played this in its year of release as it would have easily been in my top 5 but sometimes things work out just the way they're supposed to... One night I was just staring at the line of current games I was playing on my PS4 menu and not really feeling any of them so having had this sat on my hard drive for months I ended playing it in one sitting from midnight to 3am with the lights off, which is surely the perfect way to experience it.

 

It’s just a wonderful experience in every way. Achingly sad and melancholy yet beautiful at times and thought-provoking, I knew very little going into it and I’m so glad I avoided any spoilers. The variety in the vignettes is really well done (Lewis’ concocted fantasy and Barbara’s schlocky horror tale being the particular highlights, but each of them had their own twist that I enjoyed) and I thought the whole thing flowed superbly and the way that you were led up, down, around and through this strange house as the tales unfolded was a compelling way to lead you onwards. For me the ending hit hard too. I can’t really fault it.

 

I play one of these so-called walking simulators once every 6 months or so and have loved every single one of them. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Firewatch, Dear Esther and now this. They appeal to the pensive side of my nature that comes to the surface every so often and they’re a welcome addition to the videogame landscape. This is the best one so far though, I think. Fantastic game and really one not to be missed.

 

 

 

Best game character of the year

 

C1. Arthur Morgan (RDR2)

C2. Kassandra (AC Odyssey)

C3. Sadie Adler (RDR2)

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Haven't played that much. The best game I played last year (and played the most) is Dark Souls Remastered, but not gonna put that on the list. And while I enjoyed Spider-man and God of War well enough, particularly the former, there was only one new game that really made a splash. So my GotY 2018 has to be.

 

Game of the Year

 

A1. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
The one game this year that sparked the same magic of playing Super Mario for the first time, or 64 all those years later. It makes tremendous use of VR in the same way Mario 64 did with the analogue stick, and like Nintendo's best games, continues to come up with fresh ideas over the course of the entire game. It's charming as hell too, never failing to put a smile on my face. Add some lovely world design, some of the best bosses of 2018, bonus challenge stages to sink your teeth in and the best water level in the history of water levels and you have my GotY.

Oh yeah, and this banger of a tune.
 

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Game of the Year

A1. Dead Cells 

An incredibly satisfying experience.  I'm not a skilled games player, I don't like roguealike games, I don't like games that force you to repeat sections over and over, and the Souls games never completely clicked with me.  I don't even like platform games.  And yet I love this.  It's so tight, and so beautiful.  The basic rhythm of slashing, dodging, jumping, shooting just feels wonderful.  The game gives you, through it's various enemies, opportunities to do cool things, like dodge-rolling under an incoming arrow, or leaping away from a cluster of explosions.  A stunning game.

A2. Holedown

Another game built around a hugely satisfying mechanic.  There are quite a few games that revolve around balls and the bouncing thereof, but Holedown is the best.  It just is.  There's no paywall bollocks, there's an endless mode, you can have 99 balls.  Who doesn't want to have 99 balls?  It also has a weird ghost worm thing grinning at you from the bottom of the screen who, when tapped on, says encouraging things or communist slogans.  

A3. Warhammer 40000 Mechanicus  

I suspect I'm the only person who voted for this.  Possibly the only person who has played it.  Possibly the only one who has ever heard of it.  It's a Games Workshop game, so you're braced for shitness going in, but it's actually a neat X-Com style tactical thing with a great RPG advancement side and tricky decisions to make on the way to missions.  There's obviously a heavy Warhammer flavour injected into the whole thing, but this is used as an advantage rather than a box the genre is shoehorned into.  The idiocyncrasy of the Adeptus Mechanicus faction (basically priests who worship technology without having any idea how it works, who modify their bodies to become nightmarish squid-like cyborgs, and who combine talking in binary and machine code with religious fanaticism) is exploited to give the story and characters an alluring weirdness.  This oddness is also cleverly visually represented in the RPG side, with each skill enhancement creating a new mechanical tentacle on your characters.  So the stronger they get, the weirder they look.  The gameplay is decent X-Com-lite.  Interestingly, the tactics often come down to not "how do I get my team out of this alive" but "how do I best sacrifice my minions to achieve my goals and keep the important characters alive?"

A4. Florence

A neat little mobile story game.  Not perfect by any means - the story is pretty bare-bones, the ending trite, and the character of Krish is so underdeveloped he may as well have not turned up for the game.  But the way it represents moments is wonderful.  Dialogue is represented as a jigsaw puzzle which gets easier as the conversation becomes easier.  There's one moment involving piecing together a photograph which is spectacularly well done.  The specifics are deliberately glossed-over, but the way it represents the feelings of love and relationships is nicely communicated by the in-game actions.

A5. Donut County

A silly but clever take on Katamari.  Instead of a ball, you have a hole, but the devestation you wreak is the same.  The difference is that this time everyone is annoyed at you for destroying their town, which is a funny take on the genre.  The physics of making things fall down your hole leads to some great slapstick comedy, as you deliberately teeter a guy on a sunbed half over the hole, causing him to wave his arms and legs, before inevitably tumbling into oblivion.  Mua-hahaha!

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)

Z1. Half Life 3

I just thought that when it came out, it probably wasn't worth the wait or the hype.  A shame.

Z2.

Z3.

Z4.

Z5.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Donut County

Great tunes, silly sounds.  Tricky category.

S2. Florence

There's some lovely music in there.

S3. Dead Cells

Good noises.

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Dead Cells

Vibrant and colourful, wonderful to look at.  Also the animation is smooth and satisfyingly cool.

V2. Florence

Looks like an indie graphic novel for grown-ups.  I love indie graphic novels for grown ups.

V3. Donut County

Fun characters, funny design, a duck on a moped.  Looks like a really good, funny kids book.

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Donut County

The idea that everyone is pissed off at you for dropping them in your hole is hilarious, and BK's justifications and attempts at deflection are nicely written.

W2. Florence

Despite my reservations, a lovely little story, of a type that is so rarely seen in games.  

W3. Warhammer 40000 Mechanicus

I know, but hear me out.  If you don't know Warhammer lore it'll probably be infuriating and boring, but I enjoyed it.  There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour!  Inbetween missions there's basically an ongoing argument between a guy who says things like "Aquisition of knowledge > lives of individuals" and a guy who's big idea for fighting an alien invasion is to install loudspeakers everywhere broadcasting prayers.  

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year

F1. PC

Why is the Switch likely to win this?  Sheer fanaticism is the only answer when you consider that the only original release of note is fucking Smash Brothers, which has always been rubbish and will always be rubbish, a throwaway five minute wonder at best, and yet they sell it for £60, I don't know what the world is coming to.  What else was there in 2018?  About a million ports of old indie games.  The PC is better.  It has about a million NEW indie games.

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Motion Twin

Made the best game.

 

Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year

B1. Pokemon Go

Urgh.  But they keep adding stuff so I can't stop playing it.

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

X1. Yakuza 0

An amazing game.  One of the funniest games ever made.  The game's occasionally iffy gender politics somehow becomes a plus as it's all done with a huge slice of naivety and it's heart is obviously in the right place.  The side missions are the best bit.  I've watched soft porn in a booth with another man, taught a band of fake punks how to act tough, and accidentally aquired an eight-year-old girlfriend through the medium of scalextric.  

 

Best game character of the year

C1. BK (Donut County)

He's doomed a town to a like at the bottom of his hole, but he claims he's the victim because his drone got broken.

C2. The worm/ghost thing from Holedown (Holedown)

Seize the means of production!

C3. Florence (Florence)

She seems nice.

 

Obviously, I didn't play many of this year's games.  The only one I played that I haven't given any awards to is Onrush.  Unlucky, Onrush.  I actually quite liked it, in a mindless, drive around trying to crash with oddly unsatisfying crash mechanics kind of way.

 

Many edits - I have tried to adhere to your thread rules, @Benny.  Is this now okay?  I'll be honest, I cannot bring myself to put my comments in quotation marks.  It is just so utterly, completely wrong.  It looks like you're quoting someone else and it has thrown me every single time I have read a comment in this entire thread.  It's such awful, appalling grammer.  It makes me feel sick to look at it.  Sorry.

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Game of the Year

A1. Celeste

A2. Earth Defence Force 5

A3. Forza Horizon 4

A4. Spider-Man

A5. Yoku’s Island Adventure

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else)

Z1. PS classic 

Z2. Fallout 76

Z3. Failing to play through all of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 before KH3 comes out.

Z4.

Z5.

 

Sound Design of the Year

S1. Celeste

S2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

S3. Katamari Damacy Reroll

 

Visual Design of the Year

V1. Subnautica

V2. Forza Horizon 4

V3. Gorogoa

 

Writing of the Year

W1. Celeste

W2. Spider-Man

W3. Minit

 

Gaming Format (System) of the Year

F1. PC

 

Publisher or Developer of the Year

P1. Devolver

 

Best Supported Game (released pre 2018) of the Year

B1. Forza Motorsport 7

 

Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2017 or earlier)

X1. Okami HD

 

Best game character of the year

C1. Madeline (Celeste)

C2. Otto Octavius (Spider-man)

C3. Peter Parker (Spider-man)

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5 minutes ago, Mrs Horribleman said:

Probably an annoying question but how and when will you be announcing the results?

 

Also thanks for doing this! It's very much appreciated. 

 

The same way as last year. Gradually.

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2 hours ago, feltmonkey said:

Many edits - I have tried to adhere to your thread rules, @Benny.  Is this now okay?  I'll be honest, I cannot bring myself to put my comments in quotation marks.  It is just so utterly, completely wrong.  It looks like you're quoting someone else and it has thrown me every single time I have read a comment in this entire thread.  It's such awful, appalling grammer.  It makes me feel sick to look at it.  Sorry.

 

Comments don't need to be in quotes - not sure where I've put a rule for that? Where I mention quotes it meant if people intended to change their votes they have to quote the post.

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5 minutes ago, Benny said:

 

Comments don't need to be in quotes - not sure where I've put a rule for that? Where I mention quotes it meant if people intended to change their votes they have to quote the post.

 

Sorry, I mean speechmarks.  

 

Still not doing it.

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If anyone has not voted yet or is desperate to change their existing votes, please let me know by the end of today and if I have time I might make the updates. The deadline was arbitrary but it's mainly because it has to stop at some point. I haven't started on organising the results just yet so now's your chance for a concession.

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43 minutes ago, Benny said:

Even then, there wasn't a requirement for speechmarks, I'm mystified why people might have added them around comments.

Maybe it was this:

Quote

Comments are allowed, and indeed encouraged: just please put them in speech marks on the line below the vote you're commenting on, so that it's easy for me to separate them from the actual votes.

;)

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Guess I'd better keep to my own rules then -  gotta be consistent. Every entry that didn't use speech marks in the comments is now hereby disqualified.

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59 minutes ago, Benny said:

Even then, there wasn't a requirement for speechmarks, I'm mystified why people might have added them around comments.

 

:lol: 

 

That's so brilliant!  You've no idea how long I genuinely agonised about whether to adhere to this rule I fundamentally disagreed with.  Benny, you've made my day.  Classic Team Blue.

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