The Old Guard
- Oct 24, 2017
- Big thanks to Muzy, BeardedMan01, Rösti, OneAndOnly, Hecht, ratrosaw and all of the site staff for assisting in this year's GOTY effort.
- This year's trophy was designed and created by Rösti.
- Thank you community for voting and commenting. ResetEra GOTY would not be successful without your participation and support.
- 2018 Voting Thread
1. God of War = 2351 points, 3 honorable mentions
A masterful reimagining of the franchise, God of War is beautiful, emotional, and fun to play. Kratos, once a character who was only serviceable, was given immense depth and development as a father to Atreus. The world-building of Norse Mythology was top-notch, and it was a joy to explore. Combat was just as good as the past games, and the Leviathan Axe is one of the most enjoyable weapons in gaming. Sony Santa Monica knocked it out of the park, and I can't wait for the sequel.
The measuring stick by which all gameplay-reboots will be measured going forward. It is at once a sequel and something extraordinarily new, and makes us care for a protagonist who was previously as one-dimensional and unsympathetic as things got. An incredible journey.
Some games strive to tell a compelling story, and some games strive to create compelling gameplay. Few developers are able to accomplish even just one of these goals, but almost nobody is able to do both simultaneously. God of War 2018 not only does both, but is able to sustain them over an approx. 40-hour runtime that grips the player until its very last moment.
2. Marvel's Spider-Man = 1463 points, 4 honorable mentions
This is the dream Spider-Man game. As someone who has played almost every console Spider-Man game, this is easily the best one. They game knew who the characters were, didn't make them do things they probably wouldn't normally do, and wrote a story that was true to Spider-Man. Add in the fun webswinging and combat and it's easily one of the most enjoyable superhero games out there. The open world design may feel a little outdated, but traversing was fun enough that it wasn't a hindrance.
Insomniac Games and Spider-Man seemed like a match made in heaven and for the most part, they absolutely were. Awesome web-slinging, slick traversal and good combat met an incredibly well-portrayed and realistic cast. I think the marketing gave away too much about the villains and some of the side content is definitely filler, but the story is bold and goes to some surprising places.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2 = 1442 points, 6 honorable mentions
Meticulously slow and deliberately takes its time. The viciousness on display makes my stomach crawl but the landscapes and vistas are a joy to behold. The amount of detail and dynamic systems are one of a kind and push the boundaries of what an open-world can encompass, especially on a technical level. Arthur Morgan is my favourite character Rockstar has ever written. The story and his perspective on things are what won me over. There's so much great dialogue to be found here.
I can't remember the last time an open world had me so captivated that I spent hours just riding around, enjoying the view. Days would go by without making any progress with the game's story due to taking Arthur out hunting or simply exploring.
4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate = 1082 points, 5 honorable mentions
You get exactly what it says on the tin: the ultimate Super Smash Bros. game. The fighting mechanics are polished to a sheen, and probably my favorite in the series yet, the roster is staggering, World of Light is surprisingly compelling, the included soundtrack is ridiculously great, it's just the most generous package in gaming I remember in a while.
There are a lot of reasons to look forward to a new Smash game but more than anything it always feels reflective of the years since the last one. Seeing the new characters, music, stages, trophies (or in this case Spirits) added; each new Smash game gives me a new perspective on Nintendo's history in a way that no other game does. That, and of course, it's the tightest controlling and best feeling Smash game ever.
5. Monster Hunter: World = 843 points, 3 honorable mentions
The successful streamlining of a series that once seemed impenetrable. Capcom finds a way to convince most people what makes Monster Hunter so thrilling by distilling what it’s truly about: the gameplay loop of hunting monsters and crafting gear. It’s an immensely rewarding game since everything in it requires some investment: learning a new weapon’s moveset and your role with it, or adapting to a monster’s behavior and exploiting its weakness thus being able to efficiently hunt them with optimized gear and equipment. There’s always a sense of progression, even when you’re hunting the same monsters. A game as a service done right.
A huge evolution in visuals, massive QOL changes, more advanced A.I and physic additions to a game renowned for great combat for both solo and co-op experiences makes this one of the best games and a great foundation for future games.
6. Celeste = 833 points, 3 honorable mentions
My first gaming memory is playing Super Mario Bros. 3 at a babysitter's house and having such a strong emotional connection with it that it became one of my main hobbies for the next few decades. This year Celeste gave me the strongest emotional connection to a platformer since that time. The tight, well-designed gameplay and levels would have been enough, but what really completes the package is the meaningful story about depression and self-worth and one of the best soundtracks of the year giving it a fantastic atmosphere.
One of the best platformers ever made. The soundtrack is one of my favorites of all time and the gameplay is extremely tight and polished. The storyline was moving and personally impactful for me. I had an absolute blast from start to finish completing everything this game had to offer.
7. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age = 575 points, 2 honorable mentions
Dragon Quest XI has nostalgia-evocative gameplay design that feels elegant and streamlined compared to its JRPG peers thanks to its mostly unbending dedication to the series’ legacy, feeling breezy and simple in many of the game’s exploratory segments and demanding just enough attention and care to strategy in its most tense portions, this game feels classically paced and tempered. Its presentation relies on a vibrance that’s not often matched in other games today, and it features a cast of characters that’s so charming and mechanically synergetic that they carried my attention and emotional investment from start to finish in satisfying measure. This is a JRPG that feels masterful in evoking the type of tone and charm that got me into the genre as a young kid while wrapping itself in a modern presentation and resonant storytelling that’s earned it a sure spot in my top 10 games of 2018!
On the other end of the RPG spectrum, DQ11 plays it safe. However this game shows why DQ has stood the test of time. The battle system remains familiar, but with enough bells and whistles to keep things fresh. Each party member gets at least one good story beat and seeing Toriyma art in a gorgeous 3D world never gets old. Unfortunately, the chiptune music knocks it down a few pegs, but I still spent 100 hours beating everything. Easy recommendation for any fan new or old of turn based RPGs. Also, everyone should experience the flamboyant whirlwind that is Sylvando.
8. Astro Bot Rescue Mission = 520 points, 1 honorable mentions
This game is incredible and though I enjoy 3D platformers they aren’t my favorite genres of games. This game transcends the 3D platformer, the way that you can interact with the world and how perspective in this 3D world plays out is so amazing. You are constantly turning, straining, standing up, looking all around to see hidden surprises and collect items and coins which adds something that has never been in game like this. The game surprises throughout, they continue to add mechanics and introduce new environments. Also this game was clearly made with passion, the attention to detail is truly amazing. The animation, physics, water effects, particle effects and much more are amazing and don’t get enough attention because the gameplay is so rock solid.
The definitive VR experience. When PSVR launched and I played the Robot Rescue demo I hoped for a full game based on it and not only did they do it but made it one of the best platformers i've played in years. Every level is packed with charm, variety and creative ideas. Also the boss battles are some of the most fun i've had in the genre.
9. Assassin's Creed Odyssey = 459 points, 3 honorable mentions
After about 100 hours exploring Peloponnesian War-era Greece I'm still having a blast. All the systems come together to make for a extremely fun and fulfilling experience. And the story, combat, and new gameplay elements like choice-based dialog all make it feel more like the Witcher 3 or Horizon Zero Dawn than an Assassin's creed game, which is a good thing. The game is designed with the player experience in mind, with an extremely rewarding gameplay loop that never sacrifices fun for the sake of sim-like realism. It probably helps that I played this immediately after Red Dead 2, which is the exact opposite. Also, I love Kassandra.
I thought I'd have enough of Origins and I could wait before sinking my teeth into that one, but someone generously gifted me a key a few weeks back and... well, it devoured my life. This game is huge. A bit too much. But, well, its gameplay loop is addictive, its world is beautiful and intricately detailed, and it even has a pretty decent story too. And Kassandra is just that damn cool.
10. Detroit: Become Human = 436 points, 6 honorable mentions
Quantic Dream continues to push the envelope in terms of the visuals achievable in a video game. While I had issues with the line delivery in some scenes and some conversations that felt a bit too on the nose, performances in general were incredibly well done. I was especially fond of Connor’s development as a character and the relationship building between himself and the seasoned detective Hank (played by the masterful Clancy Brown). I found myself caring for the androids’ freedom and ensuring their survival. I was thrown in to so many scenarios with hard decisions that I felt myself clam up, not sure of what to do next.
I grew up watching a lot of anime and playing games like Kingdom Hearts, stuff where the dialogue writing and internal consistency of the plot is often thrown to the wind. A literary critic would probably tear that kind of stuff to shreds, but while I can acknowledge those sorts of flaws, the themes of those works, and the raw emotion that they often convey, is often enough to win me over. That's what Detroit is like. Yes, there's ten billion plotholes and it's melodramatic as fuck. But I still fell in love with the characters and sympathized with their goals (even if I deliberately turned Connor into a villain just to see what would happen). It's also a shining example of branching story paths done right. This game was a rare case where I actually sought out other people's playthroughs just to see what could happen, and damn, there are just straight up entirely different scenarios depending on what you do. An entire chapter can just change in this game. I think the game deserves praise for at least that, if nothing else.
11. Into The Breach = 398 points, 0 honorable mentions
Wow. I don't know what I was expecting when I booted this for the first time, but it wasn't that I was about to play what might be the most tense, exciting puzzle game ever. It's just so perfectly designed. Every battle is so short that any amount of time you can play is enough to get something done. Every battle is so long that you can go from victory to defeat with a single mistake. It just gives you so much to consider in every single turn, but such basic goals. It gives you so many options and different techniques to gain victory but they boil down so simply that you could explain them to a child. You can play perfect games and feel like a god. You can scrape through every fight by the skin of your teeth and feel like a god. You can die painfully and it's always your fault, you should have been a better god. It's everything and it's nothing, but mostly it's everything. I love Into the Breach.
12. Octopath Traveler = 383 points, 3 honorable mentions
Time and time again, there's a part of me that wants to go back and play an old style jrpg like the old 16-bit era Super Nintendo games of my youth. Square Enix (after trying Bravely Default on the 3DS) finally returns with a console-ish game and boy does it deliver. Octopath Traveler feels and plays almost exactly like a game from that era. From old school turn based combat to environments and sprites that look straight out of a Super Nintendo. Add on top a soundtrack that matches the quality of early Final Fantasy games and this game is a must play for any old school jrpg fan. If the game stumbles in one area, its that the characters don't crossover as much as I'd like and not every story grabs my attention equally. Yet, Octopath Traveler is still something that fills the void for an era that modern jrpgs have long left behind.
13. Tetris Effect = 349 points, 3 honorable mentions
“Every passing day the winds blow in stronger Til they light the way to keep the reminder.” Who knew that combining gameplay with music the way Tetris Effect does it would be the first time anyone could consider video games art? But seriously, the way Tetris Effect works is not just to have different music playing over Tetris. It’s craft. It’s using as many senses as possible to provide a singular experience: The sound of the music, and the effects of the blocks rotating and dropping; the visuals in the background and on the Tetris screen to provide a feeling of heat, serenity, or adventure; the way rumble effect lets you feel the song; and how each track is accompanied by changing speeds to engage the player further. There’s different modes, and ways to improve your high score by locking in blocks or entering ‘the zone’, but it’s all a bonus to the beauty of the core game design.
14. Hitman 2 = 338 points, 1 honorable mentions
There is a way to finish the first mission of Hitman 2 by exiting the map while wearing the big pink flamingo mascot costume. You need the find a helipad and a bird nest with some eggs in it. Crouch down and Agent 47, an ice cold killer on a serious mission, will fly off the screen in his stupid flamingo suit, flapping his arms in the air. Hitman 2 is a fantastic game.
15. Dead Cells = 317 points, 5 honorable mentions
If boiled down to pure mechanics, it'd be hard to beat Dead Cells as the best 'game-ass game' on 2018. Motion Twin's roguelike is a stellar example of how to turn tight controls, simple systems, and light procedure generation into seemingly infinite hours of excitement and thrill - with a damn high skill cap.
16. Forza Horizon 4 = 296 points, 3 honorable mentions
Forza Horizon 4 is ridiculously good, ambitious, beautiful, feature-rich and above all: fun. It's without a doubt my favorite racing game this generation because it caters to multiple play styles with its many events and you never run out of cars to try and events to do. For me Playground Games is now the developer to beat.
17. Return of the Obra Dinn = 287 points, 4 honorable mentions
The game came out of nowhere and absolutely floored me. I had little idea what to expect going into this highly praised indie title, and was instantly hooked as the unique detective plot and gameplay loop began to unravel before me. Struggling to put the game down once I started, uncovering all the games secrets was a joy from start to finish. The perfect length, depth and complexity has the game as one of the most satisfying of the year.
18. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life = 196 points, 5 honorable mentions
A beautiful send-off for Kazuma Kiryu. I spent the first couple of hours marveling at what the new engine could do. All the interiors and the seamless transitions really make the world come alive and feel more real than ever before. Couple that with the first person mode and I was floored. The story and characters (mostly) show they’ve really turned a page since 0. Onomichi and the characters that inhibit it are some of the best characters in the series and they elevate the story to great heights.
19. Dragon Ball FighterZ = 191 points, 1 honorable mentions
As a huge Dragonball fan but someone who has typically shied away from fighting games, I was both excited and skeptical about this one. Thankfully under the fantastic Dragonball aesthetic there’s a very accessible game for newcomers, while still having the deep intricacies for fighting game fans. Hundreds of hours later it’s my most played game of the year, my wife bought me a fight stick for Christmas, and I now know what oki means. It’s been an incredible gateway to a genre I never knew I wanted a part of, and I look forward to playing it throughout 2019 as well.
20. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! = 172 points, 2 honorable mentions
Pokemon Let's Go is a perfect, updated remake of Yellow because it's trying to achieve the same goals that game did. It's welcoming new players with open arms and supplying them with the means to go on the Pokemon adventure that they want to go on. For me, this is the definitive version of Kanto.