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Game of the Year Awards 2018

We celebrate the best games of the past year with our annual feature

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Introduction  |  Gameplay Awards  |  Special Awards  |  Genre Awards  |  GOTY

Best Story
best story 2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 winner badge Red Dead Redemption 2

"The missions get better as the story moves along, even though they are somewhat limited in creativity given the historical setting. You'll rob trains and coaches, stations and banks, free friends from the law or rival gangs, and occasionally experience some trademark Rockstar wackiness. The game takes itself seriously most of the time, and so the lighthearted moments come as a welcome reprieve. It always feels like you're watching a high production Western, and these characters and their exchanges wouldn't feel out of place in a blockbuster film." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: God of War, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Detroit: Become Human

 

Best Graphics (Art)
best graphics art 2018 GRIS winner badge GRIS

"GRIS has rather great presentation. Its art design is lovely, with a unique style that may remind you of The Banner Saga, but is nonetheless its own. The visuals are sharp and the animations flow nicely together. The various regions have their own color palette and atmosphere, making them memorable. You'll encounter collapsed ruins, strange creatures, and explore dark caves. The static camera effectively zooms in and out to showcase the wonderful art and background, and gives the game a sense of scale. The vivid colors of each environment are always great to look at, as they blend and contrast against each other depending on the situation." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: The Banner Saga 3, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Octopath Traveler

 

Best Graphics (Technical)
Best Graphics (Technical) 2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 winner badge Red Dead Redemption 2

"Aside from the typically well made cutscenes, this is probably the best looking open world game of the year. From a technical perspective, the environmental visuals are rather astounding, and this is not a hyperbole used lightly. The draw distance is rather striking and the game runs at an unshakable framerate. Attention to detail is also a highlight – the way Arthur brushes leaves out of the way when riding, the detailed animal skinning animation, and the terrifying melee encounters with predators. Or the way that roads become muddy during rainfall and dry up again, puddles forming in crevices as you leave hoofprints behind." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: God of War, Forza Horizon 4, Marvel's Spider-Man

 

Best Music
best music 2018 Celeste winner badge Celeste

"Celeste has a great soundtrack, a synth-y rhythmic melody that is equal parts emotional and inspiring. It’s electronic, but avoids the cliché chiptune sound, and is used to effectively help carry the game through some of the more emotional moments." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: Red Dead Redemption 2, Forza Horizon 4, GRIS

 

Best Sound Design
best sound design 2018 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 winner badge Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

"In competitive multiplayer, Black Ops 4 continues the series' trend of having precise and balanced sounds for everything, from the decimating scorestreaks overhead to the hum of an incoming RC-XD. Voice work across the Specialists brings great distinction and maps have the perfect aural ambience. In Black Ops 4, everything sounds just as it should and this provides clarity and tactical awareness in every combat situation." - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: Red Dead Redemption 2, Subnautica, Insurgency: Sandstorm

 

Best Atmosphere
best atmosphere 2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 winner badge Red Dead Redemption 2

"From the dry plains, snowy mountains and the swamps, to the centre streets of towns, the game's visuals are unparalleled in their fidelity. But most impressive are the lighting and fog effects, creating a sense of atmosphere simply unmatched anywhere else, while retaining a very sharp look to the environment, and not just blurring out the background. Add to that an immersive day and night cycle, and occasional weather changes, and you've got an extremely well designed world." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Monster Hunter: World, God of War, Kingdom Come: Deliverance

 

Best Voice Acting
best voice acting 2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 winner badge Red Dead Redemption 2

"Throughout the story, players will get to observe the dynamics of the gang, and spend plenty of time with the strong supporting cast that includes Sadie, Bill, Micah, Bill, and others. Everyone has their own thoughts on how the group should conduct themselves, but Dutch usually has the final word, and he is a passionate and charismatic leader that only wants the best for his people. A lot of credit has to go to the very good writing and voice acting; the dialogue is strong throughout and the line delivery is of very high quality." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: God of War, Detroit: Become Human, Marvel's Spider-Man

 

Most Memorable Character
Most Memorable Character 2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 Arthur Morgan winner badge Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2)

"This open world sequel takes place in 1899, as players follow the story of Van der Linde gang and assume the role of Arthur Morgan, its prominent member and effective gunslinger. The gang is led by Dutch Van der Linde himself, while Arthur is his trusted advisor and almost like a son. Arthur is a memorable character, one with a strong personality, dedication to his crew, motivation to keep everyone fed and alive, and a strict moral code." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Madeline (Celeste), Dutch (Red Dead Redemption 2), Father Godwin (Kingdom Come: Deliverance)

 

Best Original Gameplay Design
Best Original Gameplay Design 2018 Kingdom Come: Deliverance winner badge Kingdom Come: Deliverance

"Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the sort of game that only comes along once in a while. Possessing great ambition and loads of original ideas that make it charming and captivating, even if several aspects of the experience don’t quite come together as well as they could. In this case, it is a unique realism-driven approach to role-playing game design in regards to both subject matter and gameplay mechanics that allow Kingdom Come to really stand out from the crowd in a landscape that sees bigger games smoothing the edges off to make them as easily digestible as possible." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Marvel's Spider-Man, Donut County, Subnautica

 

Best Singleplayer
Best singleplayer 2018 God of War winner badge God of War

"This reboot is steeped in Norse mythology, and it is as excellently adapted as the Greeks' was in the previous games. Kratos and his son will meet a few different characters along their journey, some friend, some foe, and most being superhuman in one way or another. Just as most modern cinematic action games, you will explore a series of compact linear levels, occasionally finding a side-path for an extra chest. You'll also need to sometimes overcome environmental puzzles, which are usually straightforward but still fun to solve. It wouldn't be a modern action game without RPG elements, so God of War adds those as well. The combat has been redesigned to be slower paced with a new emphasis on blocking and dodging, though you can still successfully hack away at weaker foes." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Celeste, Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

 

Best Multiplayer
Best Multiplayer 2018 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 winner badge Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

"Modes staple to the series are back, including TDM, FFA, Kill Confirmed, Search & Destroy, Domination, and Hardpoint. Two new modes, Control and Heist, further emphasize the game’s shift towards tactical, team-based action. One big change to the combat is needing to manually heal after taking damage. Paired with higher time-to-kill, this elongates encounters and adds another tactical layer. There is one big map and it is used for the separate battle royale mode — Blackout. It is surprising to see such a large playable landmass in a Call of Duty game. Lastly, never fear, Zombies is still here. The upside of dropping the solo campaign is that Zombies is more fleshed out this time." - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: Forza Horizon 4, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Monster Hunter: World

 

Best Gameplay
Best gameplay 2018 Marvel's Spider-Man winner badge Marvel's Spider-Man

"When you get to pick up the controller, Marvel's Spider-Man begins to shine. The excellent animations smoothly chain together web swinging, parkour, and combat. The movement and web-slinging controls are rather excellent. The sense of speed, catching big air, swinging between buildings, and the excitement of performing movie-like pirouettes in the middle of Manhattan combine to create a purely enjoyable experience. The action in Marvel's Spider-Man plays out similarly to the Batman Arkham series on a basic level, with some melee combos to put foes down. But the combat system goes way beyond that, with plenty of focus on web moves, and being able to swing freely in and out of battle, which is refreshing." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Celeste, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Monster Hunter: World

 

The Awards continue on the next page!

 

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