It's no secret that I love video games. And hey! I decided to write an article about some of my favorites that have released this year. Sometime later I will be writing a follow-up article about what my game of the year is, but for now, it's still all up in the way. Let's get to it!
1. God of War
God of War has a left a mark on me in a way that I hardly ever experience playing video games. Few have stuck with me in such a way for such a long time. I'm tempted to put it up in the same arena as some of my other favorites like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
It was such a fantastic experience from beginning to end. The combat felt like it had weight and power behind it, the story was emotional and captivated me (almost putting me into tears at some points), and the graphics left my mouth agape more times than I care to admit. I never expected to be this moved by the story in a God of War title. The series is mostly known for its bloody hack-and-slash combat and set-piece boss battles. This one was an emotional roller-coaster for me.
Cory Balrog and Santa Monica studios transformed Kratos, a character associated with anger and revenge, into someone who is broken and somewhat depressed. He is now a father, trying to guide his son Atreus throughout the world of Asgard, and not letting him fall down the path he followed in his youth.
I could write an entire article just on the combat in this game alone. It feels so damn good to plunge the Leviathan Axe into the skull of an ogre boss battle. The music compliments everything so well. It can go from being slow and thought-provoking in cut-scenes, to hearing Gregorian chants and heart-pounding drums and violins in combat situations.
Perhaps in the future, I'll write more about this game, but as it stands now, God of War is a very close contender for being my favorite game of the year.
When I was a kid, all I wanted to be was Spider-Man. His personality was quirky and funny, he had the coolest suit, and he had the ability to swing around and climb up whatever he wanted. Like most kids, I thought he was clearly the best superhero. Well, now it's 2018 and I am 20-years-old. And I'm so happy to say that Insomniac's Spider-Man made me feel like a kid again.
I'm probably going to say this in all the games I talk about on this list, but this game feels so damn good to play. Seriously. I was so anxious to get my hands on this game because it looked incredible to play. Movement and the way you interact with the environment is one of the most important aspects of gameplay to me, and I'm so happy that Insomniac absolutely nailed movement in this game.
It's my dream come true! I spent hours upon hours just swinging around, solving crimes, and beating baddies in Spider-Man. It's one of the very few games I 100% completed nowadays, and that's saying something to me. The story is surprisingly deep and thoughtful, whereas I was expecting typical Marvel schlock in that department.
Like if I was doing individual "awards", Spider-Man would hands down win for the most fun I had playing a video game in 2018. It's Spider-Man. You play a game as Spider-Man. What more do I even say?
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
I'm going to be completely honest right now: as of writing this article, I only have put about an hour into the game so far. BUT. That doesn't mean I don't like it or recognize it's excellence. I just haven't had much time in the past few weeks to really sink my teeth into this game.
Rockstar is one of the best developers today, hands down. It's difficult to challenge that with their history of top-tier titles like Max Payne, LA Noire, and Grand Theft Auto. I really enjoyed GTA V and what I've played of Red Dead Redemption 2, I just haven't played enough to put concrete thoughts down.
If you're familiar at all with Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead is basically that, but with cowboys instead of gangsters. This one seems to be headed more in the direction of a realistic simulation of what the "wild west" was like, supposedly. You must eat to keep your health and mood up, your hair grows in real time, you can only carry a couple weapons at a time, and you can talk to just about any person you come across.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is exactly the type of game I like, I just need to put more time into it. I definitely plan on doing a follow-up article about my thoughts on the game once I finish it, so look forward to reading that in the (hopefully) coming months.
4. Octopath Traveler
I am a total sucker for JRPG's (Japanese role-playing games). I love Final Fantasy, Persona, and Suikoden name a few. So when I heard that Square-Enix was developing a brand new JRPG styled after old school games on the SNES, I was pretty excited. But did it live up to the hype?
Hoo boy, did it.
The first thing that caught my eye about Octopath Traveler is its unique art-style. It blends together 16-bit sprites with pseudo-3D rendered environments to explore. I encourage you to look into it, even if just for the artwork. It really is something else.
Combat is your typical turn-based fare, nothing too fancy there. But it doesn't really need to be anything more, in my opinion. This is a simple game that hearkens back to the "good ol' days" of gaming, while still maintaining a "modern" feel, if that makes sense.
The way Octopath Traveler tells it's story is interesting though, and I've seen people either love it or hate it. Instead of having one over-arching goal or objective to complete, it's entirely character driven. There are 8 playable characters within the game to play as an experience their own tales.
So my party ended up being a cleric who wanted to find the cure to an illness that befell her father, a thief who got caught up in a bad job, a scholar trying to locate a missing book from his college's library, and a traveling merchant who just implies wanting to see the world. They all have their own agendas but are willing to help one another. It's entirely character driven, and I ended up falling in love with the party I had.
I still have 4 more characters to play as an experience, so I'm excited to do another playthrough in the future. But for now, I'll keep my eyes open to other games. Speaking of which...
5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Now I know what you're thinking, "Jacob, you idiot. This game isn't even out yet. How could you consider this to be a GOTY contender when you haven't even played it?". Well, your right about all that. But you have to remember, this is Super Smash Bros we are talking about. SUPER. SMASH. BROS.
If you aren't familiar at all with the series, let me fill you in. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fourth game in a fighting game franchise whose goal is to bring together all of the greatest gaming icons for a "party" of sorts. I've been playing the series since Melee on the Gamecube, and it has become one of my favorite series in video games.
There's nothing like hanging out with a bunch of your best friends and dueling it out for hours on end. I'm sure once Ultimate launches, we'll all try to get together and throw fists one more time.
Once the new year rolls around (it's insane to me that it is almost 2019), I'll make a follow-up article to this stating what my game of the year is and all that jazz. So that should be a good time.
Anyway, go play some video games! There are too many incredible games that are just begging to be experienced, so check some out!P.S., my 2017 GOTY was Persona 5. Please go check that game out if you haven't already, It's life-changing.