It was worth the wait
This year, the Doublejump Management decided to use Game of the Year time to allow each of its writers to shine individually by producing a short article containing their Game of the Year selection for 2018 along with up to two honourable mentions and up to five things that they’re looking forward to seeing in gaming in 2019. As always, we more than welcome your thoughts and opinions as well; head on over to our Discord server or our newly-created Facebook Group to discuss gaming’s past year with our team and our community!
My Game of the Year: Marvel’s Spider-Man
I had been waiting what felt like a lifetime for a viable and worthy Spider-Man game, something I had not experienced since Spider-Man 2 all the way back in 2004. Finally, finally, fourteen years later we have the ultimate Spider-Man experience (no pun intended). It’s a horrid cliche, but Marvel’s Spider-Man excels in the most complete way at making you truly feel like Spider-Man as you experience the rush of swinging and flying through the concrete jungle known as New York.
It seems so simple and basic, but it’s sad to note that web-swinging – you know, Spider-Man’s most famous ability – has rarely been executed to a decent degree. In fact, it’s arguable that we haven’t experienced enjoyable, satisfying web-swinging since the aforementioned Spider-Man 2; fortunately, Insomniac Studios absolutely nailed it, which saw me spend hours upon hours just swinging around the developer’s recreation of Manhattan Island. The mechanics is complemented by graphics that are absolutely mesmerising at all times throughout the game’s mission-based day/night cycle, and gorgeous weather effects to boot.
The thing that struck me the most about Marvel’s Spider-Man, though, is that it’s the first time in a long time that a developer has shown that it cares about both Spider-Man and Peter Parker as separate characters, exploring the dynamic the alter-ego creates and the collision of the two characters’ very different worlds. Insomniac delivers a moving, intensely emotional story not just for Peter and Spidey, but for all of the important and iconic characters in their lives, while also managing a perfectly satisfying ending and giving us just enough teasers for what may come in a sequel that I already can’t wait for.
Honourable mention: God of War
This was my first foray into the God of War series and its lore, and although I didn’t know much about Kratos and his history, God of War managed to keep me hooked. It’s an enthralling and beautiful story about a boy and his (somewhat-reformed) father whose relationship develops massively as they embark on an emotional and physical journey together. Coupled with beautiful graphics and some of the most brutal and captivating action I’ve ever encountered in a video game, God of War makes for a gorgeous and incredibly visceral experience that I couldn’t recommend more highly.
Honourable mention: Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Although the Assassin’s Creed series lost me years ago, I tried my absolute best to give Origins the time of day. Unfortunately, I found neither the gameplay or the characters enthralling enough to invest too much time in. I’m not sure why I picked Odyssey up given that, but I did; the gameplay is much the same, with subtle improvements and period-specific differences, but the characters and the story… that’s the Assassin’s Creed that gripped me. By the time I’d finished the lengthy campaign, I was left debating whether Odyssey was not only my favourite Assassin’s Creed since the second, but whether it was my favourite overall.
What I’m Looking Forward to in 2019:
Pokémon 2019: Pokémon has finally arrived on the Switch in the form of Let’s Go: Pikachu and Eevee, and it’s our first taste of what a full-fledged Pokémon experience might look like. Although the Let’s Go games were directed at newcomers and the “Pokémon GO generation”, it’s exciting to know that the 2019 game(s) will be set in a new region, with a new generation of Pokémon, and directed at the long-time, hardcore fans. I simply can’t wait.
A new hope for single player games: If 2019 taught us anything, it’s that story-oriented single-player games are far from dead. Cop that, EA! With the likes of God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Marvel’s Spider-Man cleaning up the end-of-year awards, gamers were treated to the best selection of single-player games we’ve seen in years. Here’s hoping that that trend continues.
The (hopeful) death of microtransactions: Microtransactions, specifically loot boxes, have become such a toxin in the gaming community, yet they continue to stick around. Companies such as EA (through Star Wars Battlefront and its Ultimate Team sports game mode) and Visual Concepts (through NBA 2K) continue to build their games in such a way that the only way to stay competitive online is to put extra money into it, and that’s a real disgrace. With EA receiving huge backlash over the way it’s treated the Star Wars brand, Visual Concepts being investigated for promoting underage gambling and even countries moving to outlaw loot boxes altogether, it looks like the industry is finally fighting back. Microtransactions for cosmetics are fine, don’t get me wrong – although all upgrades should be available without microtransactions as well – but when a game goes to great lengths to encourage players to spend more money on it… that’s where the problem is.
The rise of the Switch: Although the Switch came out of the gates with a couple of home runs, it concerned me somewhat after its initial release. Sure, the sales numbers were – and continue to be – amazing, but outside of a bevy of indie offerings, the Switch didn’t have much other content until recently with Pokémon: Let’s Go! and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’d be encouraging to see more first-party support for the Switch. Luckily, we know that a new, fully fledged, eighth-generation Pokémon game is on the way, and we know that new Metroid and Yoshi titles are in the works (hopefully for 2019 releases!). I’m both anxious and excited to see where the Switch goes in 2019.
Cyberpunk 2077: Frankly, I don’t know much about this game. All I know is that the gameplay looks brutal, it looks captivating, and it looks like Blade Runner came to life. I’ve only seen the cinematic trailers and a 45 minute gameplay walkthrough, but I’m already sold on this game being good.
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