Game of the Year: In Absentia

What follows is an ongoing list of games that would have made it on to my game of the year list for the respective year it came out. I am however, much, much too lazy to go back and edit those lists individually so I thought it would be neat to create a list for those games I got around to late but were pretty great and worthy of a belated mention.

List items

  • (2017, PC)

    An extremely well made metroidvania by the creators of the Jotun. All the elements are smartly designed from the map to the various powers you unlock. It looks great, it sounds great, doesn't overstay its welcome and whilst not especially innovative is clearly made by people who knew what they were doing. Alas, its attempts at moral choice are lost on me when the sublime and monstrous horrors of the void are on offer.

  • (2018, PC)

    Now the only reason this missed out on my game of the year list is because I simply forgot about it, which is a crime because Subnautica is astonishingly good. The variety of its vast and labyrinthine depths was unprecedented and utterly compelling. The atmosphere it evokes and things to discover makes exploring an unmixed delight. Crafting is not only fun but rewarding with the allure of the deep as ample motivation, even if one were to ignore the welcome story beats that keep things moving.

  • (2017, PC)

    It's hard to reconcile the fate of Telltale Games when their output included so many amazing titles, The Enemy Within arguably their crowning glory. The story isn't new in concept, but its executed with so much giddy tension that I was hooked completely. The depictions of Harley Quinn, The Joker, Catwoman and really all the relationship dynamics throughout are excellent, with characters possessing so much more personality and depth than many a big screen version. I love a man in black rubber but this offered so much more.

  • (2018, PC)

    I was never all that into old school shooters back in the day, yet playing Dusk really did convince me that something must have been lost along the way if FPSs used to be like this. It's so satisfying to not have to hide in cover, aim at pixel height enemies and to be left alone to explore and uncover my own path forward. It's just so much fun, so much visceral high speed action that the endorphins are just 'on' all the time. That is has some great atmosphere and design on top is just all the more reason I feel this is a classic in the making.

  • (2017, PC)

    I wasn't a big fan of the original Dungeons and had never played the old Dungeon Keeper games, but thanks to steam trading cards I gave Dungeons 3 a shot and loved it, go figure. It helps that the devs have clearly refined a lot of their work on the last 2 games but the result is potent mix of dungeon builder and mini-rts hero-slayer. Being evil in games can often feel like a long road to a non-standard game over, but Dungeons 3 makes being bad genuinely fun and entertaining with charm and personality on top of village burning and mass slaughter.

  • (2017, Xbox One)

    Avoided it for a while due to having played so much of the Forza Horizon series that I needed some time away from virtual Motorsport. That being said, Forza 7 is a beast of a game. Tons of cars, tracks and with all the great sights and sounds that the series is known for. Very much iterative but for my money the best in the series.

  • (2018, Xbox One)

    It's a soulslike, and while not as compelling in its combat it makes up for it with atmosphere and its fantastic world full of little secrets and awesome set-pieces. Add a smattering of cool loot and my approval is most assuredly granted.