Game of the Year 2018

2018. The less said about it the better. So here’s my top 10 games released during the year which I got around to completing.

Late edit 20/01/19 - Subnautica! I forgot about Subnautica. Subnautica was amazing.

...go buy Subnautica.

List items

  • I’m so glad I wrote a review for this because if anyone were to ask me what I thought of Obsidian’s glorious CRPG sequel today all they’d get would be an incomprehensible series of squeals with the police probably being called at some point. 18 years! 18 goddamn years it took to get to this point but they did it, the bastards did it. With Obsidian being bought by Microsoft who knows if we’ll see another, but if not then I’m glad the end was so outrageously good.

  • If the mission statement at the start of the trilogy was to unmask the wretchedness of humankind then it worked, by Christ it worked. One thing they never tell you when you become an adult is that a dangerously large number of your fellow meat sacks have little to no qualms in inflicting vast misery on others if it helps them get what they want. My one overriding memory is of one such character; a scheming, manipulative cunt whose death was only disappointing in that I could not hear every blood curdling scream for myself. Few games manage to capture everything that’s so beautiful and utterly repulsive about our species.

  • The perfect counterpoint to the Banner Saga’s savagery; when life’s jagged, salt-tipped edges tear at my heart Gris is like the hand of a loving boyfriend pressed gently against my cheek. It calms, it soothes and it reminds me of the small, often silent moments that give existence its worth. Gris doesn’t frustrate, it doesn’t challenge, but instead offers sublime feminine beauty and a tale of vulnerability, loss and healing. I happily drown in its waters.

  • One of the few point and click adventures to ensue convoluted puzzles in favour of other, less insane pursuits. In Unavowed’s case it’s some choose your own adventure style choices on top of its urban fantasy trappings. Well written, likeable characters and a story that whilst episodic has a through-line that ropes everything together nicely. More of this please, adventure game developers.

  • Mostly more of the same for anyone who played the first game, but I remember the first game being a pretty excellent metroidvania. Controls like a dream, offers challenge without overt trial and error and makes the often overdone and clichéd world of Mexican stereotypes entertaining.

  • A deliciously amoral sandbox which probably acted as some sort of perverse personal catharsis in the face of the maddening crowd that is the wider world at present. I got to enslave most of the known world, expand my wardrobe in interesting ways and build my own doom fortress on a mountain whilst harvesting the semen of recently butchered men to offer up to my patron deity. Great times those were.

  • For some unearthly reason it isn't the game that first comes to mind when I try to remember Battletech. Oh, to be sure the game itself is great, full of all that lovely tactical stuff that gets the brain all moist and excited, but the first flash in the mind is that of a short lived 80s cartoon call Robotix. Hell, not even the series (which I never actually saw) but an ad for it I watched as a little child... yeah, me neither. So I suppose no matter how good your mech combat game is, the power of cheesy 80s cartoons and their mighty theme tunes will forever be stronger.

  • Moving to the RPG genre was a move I certainly approve of, even if the assassin part of the title is something of a fib these days. The lands are vast yet detailed, the combat is much improved from previous iterations, and just being in the world, roaming around as a bad-ass mercenary queen, was a real pleasure. Not sure how much longer Ubisoft can persist with this particular setup but for now I’ve never enjoyed the series as much as I have done with Odyssey.

  • Young man dresses in a skin-tight bodysuit and shoots lots of sticky white goo at people… yeah fine you can get on my list. It helps that this attempt at yet another spider man game has very strong characterisations, traversal and a general level of production that neatly disguises the fact that there isn’t anything particularly new or inventive on show. Hell it even has forced stealth sections, the festering corpse of game design choices and yet somehow turned out well overall.

  • Another soldier in the battle to keep illusions of England alive; a world of bucolic majesty and gentile dispositions rather than the concrete and piss that characterises much of UK life. Long may the dream last and a hearty cheer for another solid Forza offering, where no amount of annoying NPCs can undermine the gorgeous visuals and ever satisfying car handling.