I hope Vinny doesn't forget about Later Alligator for best style or something. Not sure it would win anything, but it did a cool thing.
They'll complain that it was a weak year for games while downplaying or ignoring some of the best games that came out this year. It's fine though I still love 'em. Other than the ones already mentioned I think Risk of Rain 2 is going to fall by the wayside, but will probably be in my personal top ten.
Slay the Spire is definitely the game I think is most likely to be deserving but not really to the crew's tastes. FE3H is the game that should get a push (Dan seemed to really like it in particular) but won't actually come up as much as you'd think. Wargroove might end up being in a similar spot, I think the difficulty spikes of that game might have ended up bumping the staff off it a bit. I hope Judgement gets a good showing as Vinny has also been playing it, but after Yakuza 0 I wouldn't expect too much.
Sekiro I think will come up but possibly get pushed aside as the, "we all liked it but nobody loved it" game (unless Ben has gone back to finish it). Disco Elysium is the game people will get mad about in the comments because Vinny, probably the most likely to click with it, seems to not be enjoying his time with it so far yet everyone on staff seems to like The Outer Worlds (the game that has become its main comparison point this year). Dauntless is the game I'll be a little sad about because Jason didn't really stick with it (that game's not as good as Iceborne, but it still has eaten well over 100h of my time and counting).
It's going to be an interesting year. I'm glad Mike Mahardy was on last week's Beastcast to counter Dan's "it's been a bit of a weak year" because while the volume of top-tier games might not be quite as high, the quality is certainly there. Outer Wilds? The Outer Worlds? DMC5? RE2make? Hypnospace Outlaw? Apex Legends? All those games mentioned above? And there's still a ton more still to come out. It's been a good one for me.
oh right, i forgot Slay The Spire actually released this year. I didn't think i would like that game all that much, given it's awful style and uninspired enemy design, but once i got my hands on it it was all i wanted to do. Also a shoutout to the daily challenges actually shaking up that game in a way that makes it feel quite different from the normal runs.
Going to second someone else here and say Heaven's Vault. It's an exceptionally well written game, and the way the threads of the story function as a cohesive game system is a really remarkable achievement in game/narrative system design (there are some cracks in the system, like when the narrative feeds you information you shouldn't know, but they are forgivable given how complex all the interactions are.) It starts out a bit slow, but once the overriding mystery gets going, it really picks up, and there's such a great natural flow to the game that feels unique to the individual player. It also doesn't really trade in any cliches, which is so refreshing for a video game story. I wish there were a few more puzzle elements, but translating stuff is a pretty fun mechanic that breaks up the constant narrative stuff pretty well, and makes you feel like you're learning a language (I guess not "like," you literally are, though it's a simplistic made up one).
It wasn't as good as Outer Wilds, but it presents a lush world full of mystery in much of the same way that Outer Wilds does. Heaven's Vault and Outer Wilds are my two favorite games this year, precisely because they both build worlds in truly unique ways and let the player explore them without restriction. They do that in very different ways, but the core feeling I had with both games was the same, that I was an explorer in a mysterious world.
Shadowbringers is tremendous and is the only game I genuinely liked this year, but I can't see it being featured mostly because its an xpac to an MMO and is locked behind what I'd guess is ~200 hours of said MMO. The only category I can see it appearing would be Best Music, but even that would require someone getting through it which isn't happening.
@doctordonkey: Dan and Ben will definitely give FE: Three Houses some love. They both loved it a lot, so I'm not sure why you say that.
DMC 5 will mostly just get love from Jason and Dan, and Dan won't give it enough love and Jason usually gets overrulled by the others. So, yes, I'd agree that DMC5 won't get its due unfortunately. :/
As annoying as the Outer Worlds/Wilds naming is, at least it will keep Wilds in the conversation. I'm just getting really into it now and it's creeping right behind REMake2 as my personal GOTY. There are some really great moments here, but it takes a while to really GET it so I can totally see it being passed over. Hope Vinny fights for it!
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