The Game Awards 2018: List of Winners
Though 2018 isn’t formally over yet, the industry lists its most prominent events and titles in December. The candidates in the Game Awards 2018 are quite predictable, but the outcome of the rivalry remained mysterious till the very last day. Some of them may draw even the attention of an experienced and aware gamer.
The ancient story transferred from Greece to Asgard and nearby -gards is king now, winning Best Game Direction, Best Action/Adventure Game, and (applause!) Game of the Year. The restart is a big success, and the idea of it met the perfect embodiment, so adventures of the former Greek god in Norse Universe are as stunning and immersive as they get.
Though the game gave us a solid waiting time of three years under production, it paid in full. The developers wanted to make the gameplay follow the quest Kratos has to complete to reveal his bright, human side. The narrative combined with graphics and controls is what makes games so big now. Neglecting any of these will ruin the project; all the parts elaborate will make a masterpiece.
When speaking of what they call the Wild West GTA, its list of prizes rather reminds of movie awards. No wonder: they include Best Narrative, Best Score/Music, Best Audio Design, and Best Performance (for Arthur Morgan by Roger Clark).
Meanwhile, RDR2 failed all the nominations that concern gameplay part of it, including Game of the Year and Action/Adventure Game. Is it a signal for Rockstar to sign papers with Netflix while it’s hot? The narrative seems too large for a cinema flick, but a season or two would reveal more of what’s been untold.
With its two prizes won, as Best Ongoing Game and Best Multiplayer Game, Fortnite (we mean Battle Royale, first of all, right?) seems to commemorate the triumph of hardcore casual gaming. The entry level for Fortnite is low down to casual, with luck factor and most of your opponents just as casual (though it doesn’t deny training and mastering). It hit all the platforms and provides cross-platform matches, so it even reduces the entering fee.
Revolutionizing action games with its there-can-be-only-one simplicity, Fortnite has loads of followers now, with luminary franchises introducing Battle Royale mode as well. Even being a bit secondary to PUBG doesn’t stop Fortnite from becoming a proper noun, skipping the BR commentary.
That’s what you get from combining metroidvania and rogue-like games. This hybrid by Motion Twin looks like a classical platformer, with your character being a strange creature trying to get out of the labyrinth, but the gameplay is highly influenced by rogue-like games. That is, the levels are generated randomly, and you only have one life, with no checkpoints or saves.
Looking quite modern, this game has gained high popularity, maybe because can easily be twitched if you like to expose your skills. This type of game is skill-based, so if you want to show off, just come on.
Forza Horizon 4
Despite innovations in NBA 2K19 and the revamped Pro Evolution Soccer, Forza Horizon 4 by Microsoft has outrun all of them in Best Sports/Racing. It’s a brilliant racing game, looking natural, realistic, and at the same time fantastic, with speeds and vehicles taken from past and present days to the future. 88 miles an hour won’t impress in Forza Horizon 4: you’re already through all times of cult cars, velocity and shine.
The Best RPG offers just what it says on the tin: you travel the world and hunt monster, with hunting process on top of it. But the developers from Capcom did their best to create a living world, with ecosystems the monster can live in and rich locations to explore. Open world principle does it good, and the game, not being the first of its series, has introduced it to wider audience than ever.
The latest installment of Dragon Ball series by Bandai Namco has all we love this series for. Never too much, that’s the motto. The anime-styled action game is so rich in graphics and visual effects that even those not into Oriental fantasy esthetics will probably be charmed by spectacular combats and wild imagination of the developers. No wonder Dragon Ball FighterZ is the Best Fighting game of 2018
Cooking simulators have always been fun, and it’s kind of a pity that Overcooked 2 by Ghost Town Games had no serious rival this year. Made with all attention to details and sometimes absurd humor, it has become the Best Family Game. The game makes no sense if you’re playing alone; but for a family or a party it offers loads of fun.
Though some might say it lacks elaborate graphics and sounds, we reply that these games are not about visual polish at all. Being a bit cartoonish has never been a flaw for the genre, but you can run Overcooked 2 even on a budget or ultra-compact PCs.
Some might say that, as independent developers now access markets as easily as major corporations do, there’s no more indie. But still, there is a huge gap between Valve or EA Games and some co-working crew with small laptops and big ideas. So there are two nominations with no country for old names.
Platformers are still alive, though for some FPS or RPG fans it might be a surprise. They offer more of narratives and twists, options and emotional component, but the essence remains. Celeste by Matt Makes Games Inc. is a story of mountain climb where the protagonist fights her inner demons while her body gets through the ordeals. And it’s the Best Independent Game 2018.
Musical is the word, from elaborate piano and synth score to audio tape esthetics. The harder difficulty is named “Side B”, so those who had their time with audio tapes would feel a bit nostalgic. That music is even in visuals, and that’s how magic is made. As immersive as it gets, it won’t take you long to finish that game, but then you’ll launch it again just to listen. That’s what experts appreciate, hear that?
This Best Debut Indie Game is an old-school piece named The Messenger by Sabotage, and (surprise!) it’s a platformer again. The post-apocalyptic story combines with 8-bit graphics, keyboard controls (arrows, not those WASD.
Like Celeste, it’s about music too. The Messenger is full of small 8-bit masterpieces that can be downloaded separately on Steam, and they’re of more demand than one might think. The Messenger is not a second wind to the genre, but a piece of pure, unspoiled nostalgia.
The Best Art Direction winner is an independent story of a lost and found ship, set in the early XIX century. Lucas Pope, the developer of it, is known for Papers, and this time he offers more of a romantic graphic novel than of a game sensu stricto.
A detective storyline requires you to go through the mystery of an abandoned ship with the hints and evidence it has left aboard. You’ll need to show witness and deductive abilities to go through. One against no one, in our world of dog-eat-dog Fortnites: how about that?
It wouldn’t be much of a mistake to qualify student games as “indie” too. Combat 2018 by four students at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences is an action fighting game, full of toy-like and yet futuristic aircraft, explosives, lasers, and all the weapons to imagine. Alas, there’s not much to tell about before its official release. But it’s already stated that the release name will change to Tanknarok.
While consoles and PC remain the gaming mainstream formally, other devices are playable as well. Mobile gaming seems even more popular today (maybe that’s an aberration caused by mission impossible to bring a home console wherever you go). Augmented reality and virtual reality are still far from what we imagined in the early 1990s watching The Lawnmower Man and Disclosure.
The mobile game that outran Fortnite and PUBG (let alone Donut County) may be not this influential, but it’s rather a one-of-a-kind masterpiece than a trendsetter. The romantic story of how a musician makes Florence reopen her eyes on what surrounds her is so charming that it’s hard to recreate.
It can be finished in less than an hour, it costs more than many games with richer graphics and story, it may look like a web comic book, it may seem too naïve and unreal, and the narrative leads to controversial conclusions. But is there any other game with such an Amélie-like aftertaste? We doubt, and the jury must have, too. It’s a must-play one unless you have grown too cynical to value eye-opening love stories less than four bucks.
It’s quite logical that VR games follow the same path the regular ones once went through, and one of the first VR hits is a platformer. Have you ever dreamed to get inside your favorite platforming game? Pixels is the wrong way of doing it, and Astro Bot is the right one. Some PS VR owners might feel some reason for their purchase for the first time.
It’s all quite traditional inside Astro Bot where you channel the space to rescue your crew fellows, with platforms to walk on, gaps to leap through and coins in the air to collect. Innovative is the idea of getting “inside” this tape of games originated as plain 2D pictures. Some compare its revolutionary impact to Super Mario 64 that made Nintendo 64 a cult device, with its 3D to the people.
Of course, with all our respect and trust, any top like this is too subjective. We cannot even mention all the games that fans would complain of being not listed. Still, The Game Awards 2018 is not the law you should obey and submit to; it’s rather a lighthouse in the sea of gaming.