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

"Most of the Specialist characters return, with their unique hero-like abilities, but wall-running and boost jumping have been culled in order to appease the ground-huggers. Many prominent franchise scorestreaks reappear, including the wheeled RC-XD from BO1, which is not easy to control this time around. Apart from TDM and Kill Confirmed, which are both 6v6, all modes have been reduced to 5v5 which, surprisingly, provides enough action because players have unlimited sprint and maps are compact. Since all equipment has a cooldown, there is no grenade spam, which is fantastic." - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: Far Cry 5, Battlefield V, Dusk


Best Action Game
Best Action game 2018 God of War winner badge God of War

"You'll be mostly fighting creatures from the Norse mythos, and there are no humans to be found here, though many foes take on nearly identical humanly shapes such as Hel-Walkers and Primordial Draugrs. The large foes such as trolls and ogres act as mini-bosses. Bosses feature a few unique mechanics that are a neat gameplay challenge. Kratos also does some satisfying takedowns - whether it's a boss or a regular enemy, filling their stun bar (by doing enough damage, especially with shield or Atreus' arrows) allows you to perform an execution move. While the combat doesn't quite match the intensity or scale of the originals, there's still plenty of satisfying action to be had, especially in the second half." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Marvel's Spider-Man, Monster Hunter: World, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey


Best Racing Game
Best racing game 2018 Forza Horizon 4 winner badge Forza Horizon 4

"The arcade racing in Forza Horizon 4 has been nearly perfected at this point. All of the cars handle wonderfully well, balancing accessibility and realism effortlessly. Trying to control a Koenigsegg Regera at night on a twisted wet mountain road is exhilarating, as is perfectly nailing the corner slides with a Subaru in a tight dirt race. Changing weather seasons will alter the conditions, creating new experiences on the same tracks. All of the vehicles are meticulously recreated, and look/sound quite wonderful, from the classics to the modern hypercars. The new shared open world makes for a lively experience no matter what you're doing, and Forzathon gives players a reason to keep playing and meeting up." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Uncontested


Best Strategy Game
Best strategy game 2018 Into the Breach winner badge Into the Breach

Into the Breach is set in the far future where humanity fights against an army of giant monsters collectively called the Vek. To combat them, the player controls soldiers that operate giant mechs that can be equipped with a variety of weapons, armor, and other equipment. The game uses a turn-based combat system, allowing the player to coordinate the actions of their team in response to enemy moves and actions that serve to telegraph their attacks.

Honorable Mentions: Frostpunk, BattleTech, Two Point Hospital


Best Adventure Game
Best adventure game 2018 Detroit: Become Human winner badge Detroit: Become Human

"Detroit follows the story of three androids, caught up in a series of events that lead them down dangerous and unexpected paths. Player choices are obviously a huge part of Detroit, and the way that everything is interconnected is certainly impressive. The way that you handle the revolution with Markus will have an impact on how the characters respond to Kara; the results of Connor's investigations can lead to new outcomes for both humans and androids. This is likely the biggest effort thus far from Quantic Dream, as far as the breadth of the story choices is concerned." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: Unforeseen Incidents, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, Subnautica


Best RPG
Best RPG 2018 Kingdom Come: Deliverance winner badge Kingdom Come: Deliverance

"The gameplay mechanics and character progression also go a long way to immersing you in the world. As a Blacksmith’s apprentice, your skill set outside of this niche trade is extremely limited, meaning you will be quite ineffective at fighting, sneaking, shooting a bow or just about anything else you try early on. Outside of combat, you will need to worry about sleeping, eating and maintaining both the cleanliness and condition of your gear. It is easy to see that a huge amount of passion went into making Kingdom Come: Deliverance the game it is, and when it works properly it is easily one of the most unique, immersive and engaging role playing games I have ever encountered." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Octopath Traveler, Monster Hunter: World, Dragon Quest XI


Best Sports Game
Best sports game 2018 MLB The Show 18 winner badge MLB The Show 18

"When it’s clicking, The Show is still one of the most rewarding sports games to play. The difficulty and unpredictability of the game makes the successes feel all the greater. You can have your timing down and find the right pitch, but the result can still be a ground ball to shortstop or a line drive hit directly to the first baseman. I know that sounds frustrating, but it makes the success so much sweeter when you rocket an extra base hit to the gap or connect on a deep home run. The same is true for pitching. When you are spotting your pitches to perfection and dealing consecutive no-hit innings it feels excellent." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: FIFA 19, NBA 2K19, Super Mega Baseball 2


Best Platformer
Best Platformer 2018 Celeste winner badge Celeste

"The core of the game is simply about Madeline and her battle up this treacherous mountain. A beautiful blend of mechanics makes this far from an average platformer. Not only do you have to time your jumps, but the game also forces you to consistently use a dash mechanic to reach seemingly impossible places. Each platforming challenge stretches and condenses the needed understanding of the controls to constantly test the player in different ways. Just when you think you’ve got the dash move down, you’ll find a level that focuses more on the precision of landing a jump or dodging an object. On top of the deviously brilliant level design, each chapter of the game has a specific mechanic it will use to challenge you." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: GRIS, The Messenger, Spyro Reignited Trilogy


Best Fighting Game
Best Fighting game 2018 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate winner badge Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

"Perhaps the biggest appeal to Ultimate though, is that the game contains every character ever featured in the series. The prospect of unlocking these fighters is usually sufficient to keep the player coming back for more - if the addictive, satisfying beat-em-up gameplay isn’t enough already. Not only do you have an almost overwhelming number of fighters to choose from, but the lineup is as diverse as ever when it comes to movesets and play styles. Each of the whopping 103 stages are available at your disposal right off the bat. Ultimate stands as the definitive version of Super Smash Brothers, surpassing the nostalgic charm of the original, the breadth of Smash 4’s content, and at least matching the intricate, tight mechanics and complexity of Melee." - Stephen LaGioia

Honorable Mentions: Dragon Ball FighterZ, Soulcalibur VI


Best Puzzle Game
Best Puzzle game 2018 Q.U.B.E. 2 winner badge Q.U.B.E. 2

"The six hour adventure is not just one puzzle chamber after another; it’s more organic and the puzzle areas are dissimilar in shape. Given all of the elements, puzzle areas can resemble Rube Goldberg machines as balls bounce off blue springboards, catch fire, and transfer momentum to a box covered in oil. And, sometimes, you become part of these strange contraptions, standing on a box as it gets launched into the air from a repelling magnet. Many puzzles require active participation by placing colors (or deleting boxes) on the fly, although fast reflexes are rarely essential. While the solutions often involve a lot of physics interaction, the level design constraints ensure things play out as intended." - Ben Thomas

Honorable Mentions: The Gardens Between, Donut County, Tetris Effect


You've reached the grand finale! Our 2018 Game of the Year is revealed on the next page!


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