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LONG BLOG

Gamemaniac3434's mysterious bubbling bucket full of GOTY picks for 2018

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I like dem videogarmes. Honestly, I think these past few years are some of my favorite ever in terms of the games we've seen. Theres been such a glut of great games, with so many of them really exploring what the medium can do or exploring excellent stories. 2018 wasn’t as packed and strong as the previous two years, yet it also had its own lovely experiences. As with all years, this is basically a summation of the things wot I liked this year-I don’t limit myself to arbitrary numbers or preset categories. 

Worst Game of the year?

I tend to curate my tastes carefully. I keep an eye out for reviews, other people's opinions and go for games that fall in my sphere of interest. And as of now, I’m pleased to report I don’t have a worst game of this year-I managed to avoid any major duds, disappointments and the like. The closest its really gotten for me this year is Horizon Zero Dawn and honestly that was more meh for me than anything. Horizon Zero dawn was a game I didn't click with and didn't see to the end. Wasn't a terrible painful experience, but at the same time it was the game I found the least enjoyment in this year. 

Best Dad Simulator and overall GOTY

I thought GOW4 was a terrible idea. After the third game came out, it had been suggested that Kratos should go kill other pantheons, especially considering that-spoiler alert for something spoiled by the fact 4 exists at all-Kratos somehow managed to survive stabbing himself with the blade of olympus in the third game. The third game had a lot of problems anyways and I didn't find the story to be up to much, so the way it ended seemed fine I suppose. I just didn’t see why we needed to continue his story-it would have been better to focus on a new character, a new pantheon and so on. Kratos’s story was done to me, and I just didn’t see the point aside from banking off the name recognition. Add in that initially the new camera angle and combat style didn’t appeal to me, and I just was not interested.

And man was I wrong.

I fully admit that-I was incredibly wrong. The game started getting massively good scores, and I was intrigued by the words of my good friend and talentless hack at any videogame, TheLimomaker. So I decided on a lark to go and grab a copy from a local Best Buy. What that led into was a game with a beautiful soundtrack, a really pleasing aesthetic, phenomenal voice acting and a really personal interesting story. This is such an interesting route to take with Kratos, and it's the most humanized I’ve seen him in any of these games. It does so much interesting stuff with him and his son in terms of growth and friction in their relationship. The game also never shys away from the horrible things Kratos has done, and part of the central conflict is his terror of his son finding out who he was in his past. I also love seeing the relationship form-theres a lot of subtlties in the way Kratos and Atreus interact, things change as the game progresses and it feels pretty well done overall. Also, Mimir is the best-the voice actor gives a great performance and I would often just sit in the boat on the lake that serves somewhat as the hub of the world to hear his stories in full. 

Are there problems? Yeah, but given the strength of most of the game I’m willing to forgive them as stumbling steps out of the gate for this new direction and gameplay system. I was very happy with this game, and it felt like it had such clarity of vision in the story it wanted to tell. It didn’t feel like another game in a series made just to bank off of its name-it felt like a game made because the team wanted to explore a character and deepen him in the process. I sincerely hope they manage to stick the landing on the next two. 

Best wildlife murder simulator

Monster Hunter World. A franchise I had never played up until this year, but one so colossal that I couldn’t help but be exposed to it throughout the years. When the beta/demo came out for the game I decided to see what the deal was with me buddies, including Siege loving casual TheLimoMaker. After a few monster fights where we grappled with the controls, we managed to get a giant fish monster to wrap itself around and severely hurt a muddy t-rex dinosaur thing. And it was at that organic moment I was completely sold on getting and trying out the game, as well as the gorgeous vistas and environments.

115 hours and counting later, yeah I can say I like this game. There are a lot of problems here taking a look at the game: there's a decent amount of jank in how the combat can work, certain monsters have really poorly thought out hitboxes and the menus/multiplayer functionality is a lot clunkier than it needs to be. Hell it was actually better in the demo than in the final game near as I can tell. The story is also meh and the handler who walks you through it has the most annoying voice in the universe, in any language. (And yes, I’m aware its considered to be worse in other iterations but I haven’t played those.)

And yet. Once you get past the initial feeling of jank, the games so damn fun. It's full of organic moments, environmental tools, gear and armor sets for different hunts, a massive amount of weapons and styles to choose from, excellent environment and monster design and a lovely soundtrack. Once you get how things work the game can be immensely satisfying, fun to mess with and incredibly fun to coop with. The game just works and it's a joy when it kicks into full motion for some epic fights and confrontations. For a first run at consoles, I can forgive a lot of issues here and honestly I’ve had such a fantastic time with this game that I’m on board for whatever comes next.

There's also a monster that uses its microbiome as a weapon, and really using bacteria as a weapon just rockets you up high in the list if you do it right. Especially given that it lives in an area full of rot and fungus that really touches me soul in a good way. 

Best orphan arsonist experience

Peer Pressure forced me to get this game far faster than I anticipated-I wasn’t overly hype for Spiderman but it was getting talked about so much, constantly, endlessly on dtoid and communicord that I buckled and traded in Code of Princess-slap an alright on that one in terms of my feelings-and Mario Odysseus to get it. And yeah, the hype was deserved-this is a damn good game. The gameplay feels so good, with swinging around being an immensely satisfying experience that kept me from using fast travel very often. Combat is generally solid though it somewhat lacks the tightness and flow of Akrham Asylum and its ilk so it was a little hard to settle into. Once I got it more though, I enjoyed it a fair bit and the tools you can use really help with the more brutal fights.

It looks pretty darn good, the story is surprisingly well written and personally affecting with some extra touches brought by the acting team that I was made aware of by notable devourer of orphans TheLimomaker. It brought me back into a universe that years of Sony stewardship had made me forget how much I enjoyed-this game nails the feeling of being Spiderman and the character of him/Peter Parker. This doesn't feel like a game made out of obligation to anyone, but a game that the team geuninely wanted to make and one that I think is worth experiencing with the issues as minor as they are. 

Biggest Surprise of the year

Rabbids are a thing I’ve never found particularly appealing and I never really bothered getting anything with them in it. So upon hearing that Mario v Rabbids Kingdom battle was going to happen I was a bit baffled, and not really overly hopeful at the prospects of this crossover. But as is so often the case, I found that once I actually got the game I was really impressed with it. Its a fun, graphically appealing and visually interesting tactical game that is a lot more amusing than I would have guessed at first with some real teeth as the game goes on. Add in a lovely if somewhat repetitive soundtrack by Grant Kirkhope of Banjo Kazooie fame, and you got yourself a good ol time on your switch. If you've been at all hesitant about it, I'd say just take the plunge and give it a chance-its a pretty fun game and I'm hopeful a sequel will aid in adding more and fixing issues. 

Best console

I mean. What else could it be aside from my switch? I do plan on writing up something about this soon enough, but handhelds are my shit and the switch is such a lovely handheld. I'm a fan of the design, the way it handles controllers, and its had some great experiences on it this year. Its become the spirtual successor to my vita, and as of now its my go to indie/portable machine. Despite my initial concerns and worries, I think its a great system despite its issues-ala the store not being as good as it could probably be and a lack of themes-I can still recccomend it. I got my console during a really hard week of my life during a hard week of work, and I'm very thankful for it. 

Best Nintendo game that has Samus in it

Smash Bros Ultimate probably. Because it has Ridley and Samus in it, which by default makes it the best. I've been having a good time with it meself despite some issues, and yeah I think overall its going to be a good time for a while to come once I start playing with others. I've been playing these games since the N64 one, and while I missed the Wii U version I've always had fun with the ones that came before-this ones no exception so far and I'm having a blast with Ridley and Samus. 

Best game that caused me existential crises

I have regrets in this life. We all do, I suppose, especially TheLimomaker. And one of those regrets is not grabbing SOMA when it first came out because hot damn is that a good game. I suppose it's for the best-by the time it came out on PS4s PS Plus service the safe mode had been introduce, which neutered the monsters in the game. I found this to be a positive as opposed to a negative-the monsters would probably have gotten in the way of the story and reading notes I think. And what a story it is-I won’t spoil much, but the setting is wonderful and even with safe mode on the game is pretty tense and atmospheric. It’s a fascinating story about what it means to be human, and about the nature of the self and what makes you, you. It's a great game and I’d highly recommend you give it a run.

Best girl of the year

Giga Mermaid: Best girl of this year, of all years, forever. Artwork is courtesy of Triggerpigking, does good work indeed. 

Also this one from Descruff that I only changed some colors on. Hes a good boy who made me good kawaii avatars of Giga Mermaid and Miriam. Hes also an evil boy who forced me and the rest of the bad movie night peoples to watch notorious tentacle rape anime Legend of The Overfiend, at the suggestion of notorious trapper of self in open bathrooms while drunk, TheLimomaker. 

And that should be about it. I'd like to give short mentions to three games before I go-Guacamelee! 2 is a swell metroidvania that I really liked and had a good time with, Stardew Valley is a fantastic zen game with the other best girl of all time Abigail in it, and Hyper Light Drifter is a pretty fun game that has great visuals and music. 

There were some games I might have missed, but overall I do have to try to keep this to a glances back up at rest of blog semi-reasonable length. Feel free to share your thoughts and your own games of the year below! Thanks for reading. 

 

 

Also please be aware Limo and I are friends and all the jabs are friendly.

- “If you don't like bacteria, you're on the wrong planet.” ― Stewart Brand


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About Gamemaniac3434one of us since 11:25 PM on 02.01.2013

Who am I? I'm an avid gamer, beer snob, coffee snob and aspiring microbiologist. I love all sorts of different genres of games and different games from different years and as of recent years I've tried to get more into multiplayer games. I also really love microbiology and if you get me started on it, you will never get me to shut up about it.
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