2018 Community Game of the Year

Eleima wrote:
karmajay wrote:

Thanks to Eleima for keeping up with this thread and Clocky for initially creating this series! Thanks to all who post in this thread.

Well actually, if you check my second post in the thread and the history of GOTY threads, you'll find out Sinatar was actually the first person to run these community GOTYs. Not that Clocky isn't absolutely the best. <3

Aww. <3

But yes, credit where it's due. Sinatar originally ran these threads. My major contribution after I took them over was to implement the "new to you" rule.

I have made no such contribution. Heh.

Eleima wrote:

Realize what now? Heh. You're buttering me up so I'll accept The Legend of Zelda which you previously played with your 3rd grade friend... Fine, I'll allow it.

Where did the "significant time" rule go!? Oh well. We were 3rd graders--he played and I got to watch. It was OG E-Sports.

Hehehe, you’ve convinced me!
(Not that you really needed to, you know )
I’m kinda amazed though, because that’s one super old game...

The Short List

Here’s the short version of my list for tabulation purposes:


1. Red Dead Redemption 2
2. Destiny 2: Forsaken
3. Tetris Effect
4. God of War
5. Forza Horizon 4
6. Into the Breach
7. Assassin’s Creed Origins
8. Pyre
9. Gravity Rush 2
10. Rez Infinite

This year was really hard to settle on an order for.

The top two games on the list were easy to set above the rest, but how to pick between them when what they offered me was so different? And then the rest (as well as a few games that ended up as honorable mentions) generally just formed a second tier of games that I loved all in equal quantities for very different reasons. So, in the list above I’ve numbered them 1 through 10 after painstaking deliberation. But below, please understand that in many ways I loved number 10 just as much or more than number 3, and vice versa, and the ordering is much more about how much they represent what this year in games was about for me.

Also, I’m afraid I need to let Clocky down once again: Elite Dangerous didn’t make the list this year. Destiny 2 solidly claimed my “games as a service” slot for the last twelve months, and although I might be about to jump back in the Elite cockpit for another extended run to enjoy the significant new content that was added to the game this year, I just didn’t play enough for it to qualify. Maybe next year though!

My 2018 Games of the Year

Red Dead Redemption 2

Other than Elite: Dangerous, I’m unable to think of another game that I love as much as this one that I would struggle as hard to recommend. Or at least, to recommend beyond saying, “this game does something amazing that you simply have to see, despite the fact that you’ll quite possibly hate playing it and would be entirely justified in doing so if you did.” And, interestingly, it’s for similar reasons — in both cases, the developers have very specific and ambitious ideas about the experience they want to create, and they had the confidence to pursue those ideas despite knowing full well it would limit the spectrum of appeal of the game they were making.

What’s crazy about Red Dead 2 is that unlike Elite, which started as a small, tightly managed production with a scope and scale commensurate with the niche product the developers were making, Rockstar somehow had the institutional resolve to decide they could make this kind of game and put half a billion dollars into doing so. It would have been the most unfathomable act of hubris ever committed in this industry, except that somehow Rockstar knew that their mystique was bulletproof.

They knew that people would at least buy and try whatever game they made on the strength of that mystique alone, even if it was a quirky, unforgiving, experiential cowboy simulator. They didn’t give a damn that no other company could sell a game with similar design choices to more than just a small but dedicated audience of people who love this kind of sh*t. People that value immersion over convenience. People who love needlessly complex interlocking simulation systems that don’t really need to exist other than for their own sake. People who adore clunky arcane interfaces and obtuse unfriendly control schemes that are meant to communicate ideas at the cost of being functional — even when they don’t even communicate those ideas all that well. People that feel like a beautiful world that is open and expansive and full of lovingly crafted detail and life is a thing worth delighting in, in and of itself.

They just decided that this was the game they wanted to make, and that people would either love or hate those design choices, and that was just fine by them. They did wrap all those quirky, often contrarian choices in the same kind of epic, theatrical narrative that is a large part of what has earned them the indulgent adoration of such large audiences, so maybe that helped them maintain the confidence that they wouldn’t have a player revolt on their hands. Or, I dunno, maybe they just didn’t care either way?
Whatever the case may be, as a person who loves games that are bold enough to make those kinds of choices, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I feel bad for (and entirely understand) players who don’t, but I do, even when the result is a bit of a mess. And, to be frank, there are many ways in which Red Dead 2 is a bit of a mess, but its spectacular, audacious successes in the realms of storytelling, character development, world building, and technical artistry shined so brightly for me that I couldn’t even begin to care.
Ironically, I actually nearly passed on the game because I had grown to feel Rockstar was increasingly less capable of making a narrative I was interested in. Like many people, I was impressed by the story told in Red Dead 1 — Mexico aside — but the trend I saw developing through GTA4 and GTA5 (and in the Mexico section of Red Dead) was one towards callous cynicism and nihilism, and indicated that they had no interest in maturing along with the rest of the industry. But, I am so glad I gave them one more chance. There are still notable places where the story told in Red Dead 2 is a bit problematic, and small isolated instances where that trademark cynicism flared up, but much of the time it’s hard to believe this game was written by the same people.

Instead of what I’d feared, I got a story told with humanity, empathy and thoughtful nuance. It maybe could have stood to be worked on a bit more by a talented editor, but for the most part I found myself reveling in the fact that it was overlong, since I just wanted to spend more time as part of the lives of its vibrant cast of characters. Not since the Mass Effect games have I been this impressed by and invested in the characters presented by a video game, and Arthur Morgan very easily sits among both my favorite and the best realized characters I’ve ever had the joy to inhabit, with the likes of Commander Shepard and Geralt of Rivia.
Anyway, I could continue signing the praises of this game for many more paragraphs (for example, I could do at least a few just talking about the mind boggling, hand crafted beauty of the expansive world this game lets you explore), but I have nine other games to potentially write walls of text about as well, so I’ll just return to where I began: if you haven’t already checked this game out, there are truly amazing things to see, but you quite easily and understandably might hate playing it. If you don’t, though, you are in for a very rare treat in a great many ways. And for me, only a single game even competed for my favorite game this year, and that was largely because I basically played a year of that game.


Destiny 2: Forsaken

Seriously, no kidding around. I played Destiny 2 all year long, with very few breaks. The game was real, real good to start with and it got better with every update throughout year 1, culminating with the tremendous bang of the first major yearly expansion in Forsaken, and continuing on after that with the first minor update of year 2. It’s a game designed to keep you playing, and I just kept playing it. Seriously, show the screenshots in this album to someone who is familiar with the game, and they’ll tell you just how borderline obsessive I’ve been about playing this game all year long.
The original release was also number 2 on my list last year (where it was also beat out by a once in a generation genre defining AND defying single player open world exploration game), and you can read more of my thoughts on why I loved it even when so many others were a bit bummed about it then if you’d like. So, given that Forsaken has generally pleased most of those previously disappointed players, perhaps you can imagine how thrilled I am with the game these days?

Very thrilled, obviously.

Too thrilled, really, since every time I sit down to play a game I think for a moment, “maybe today I should try something new” and then I just decide that killing a few more aliens with Bungie’s still best in class shooter mechanics sounds more appealing (see my shockingly extensive but not at all comprehensive list of games I wish I had gotten around to playing below for an illustration of what I mean here). During the last week the year I managed to reach the current hard leveling cap on all three of my characters (until the next content drop in February or March, that is), and instead of using the last few days of the year to check out something everyone has been raving about, like Obra Dinn, or finishing up something I genuinely love the start of, like Astro Bot, I just kept waking up wanting to play nothing but more Destiny.


This game is spectacular and I love it so much, and it’s only because Red Dead 2 and Breath of the Wild were such singular, audacious achievements of design and development that this wasn’t my game of the year two years running as Elite Dangerous was the two years previous to that.

The Runners Up

3. Tetris Effect

Tetsuya Mizuguchi has long wanted to make a version of Tetris that married that game’s timelessly perfect mechanical brilliance with his passion for creating synesthetic interactive experiences where sound, visuals, haptic feedback, and gameplay are integrated with a level of artistry rarely found in other games. Fifteen years ago, he wasn’t able get the license to make Tetris, and so instead he created Lumines, the only puzzle game to perhaps match the perfection of design that Tetris represents. Personally, I liked it even more than any Tetris game I’d ever played, and I almost certainly played it more obsessively than any other puzzle game in my life. In fact, the 2006 Xbox Live arcade version was at the top of the very first game of the year list I ever posted on Gamers With Jobs, beating out a lot of other very good games.
So, fifteen years later, he has now finally had the chance to make his version of Tetris. Guess what? It’s the best version of Tetris. Shocked? Neither am I — anyone who has played Lumines or Rez probably had a pretty good idea that this would be great. However, I am a bit shocked that I can now saw that I bought my first VR headset to play Tetris, which is an absolutely ludicrously thing to be true, but here we are, eh? Anyway, if you like Tetris you should own this. Mizuguchi’s beautiful, blissful, meditative audiovisual interactive magic version of Tetris is every bit as joyful as you would imagine it to be, and then if for some reason you get tired of that, you’ve got a really good version of regular Tetris with sweet music and visuals to play as well.

4. God of War

Boy! Write a paragraph about how surprisingly mature and thoughtful this game was. Boy! Be sure to mention how well it mixed the just right pieces of Metroid and RPG design in with the high quality, accessible character action gameplay the series is known for. BOY! Don’t forget to wax poetic about the fact that it felt just new enough to be worth playing while providing a satisfying hit of a favorite genre that has gone out of vogue in recent years.


Boy! Good work. Boy! I love you.


5. Forza Horizon 4

Another year, another Forza. Maybe one of these years they’ll disappoint me, but not this year. Everything that is good about the Forza games is here in spades, set in another beautifully rendered and well chosen setting (northern England and southern Scotland, with an expansion set in the Hebrides). And while this is definitely a series where “more of the same, but bigger and prettier” is pretty much all I ever expect or need, this year’s marquee feature addition — seasons that change on a weekly schedule — actually genuinely added something new and special, and that has kept me even more engaged and excited to come back and play more week after week.


Let’s go to Japan next time, though, okay Playground Games? Turn 10 doesn’t seem to want to give us Fujimi Kaido back, but you could give us entire mountain ranges instead. Make it happen!


6. Into the Breach
It was hard to imagine that the followup to FTL could possibly meet the standard of simple, refined mechanical and stylistic perfection set by that game. And yet Into the Breach far exceeds that standard, taking the best parts of the tactical combat genre and boiling them down to their most pure, sticky, undeniable forms, and then wrapping it in a super stylish retro-futurist presentation. There are no frills, there is no filler, just pure, focused perfection here. I don’t care if you don’t like tactics games, or don’t like giant robots, or don’t like retro pixel art graphics — you must at least try this game, because chances are it will work its magic on you regardless.

7. Assassin's Creed Origins
I’ve always been a bit more forgiving of this series’ excesses than most people seem to be. For example, I love the silly modern day meta stories, and I played every major home console release until Syndicate (I missed Liberation as well, but mostly because I didn’t own a Vita to play its original release) despite the fact that the quality of the storytelling took steep dive after Brotherhood, and the mechanical inventiveness has been more or less stagnant since then as well. And honestly, I nearly passed on this one too, as evidenced by the fact that it’s appearing on my list this year rather than last.
But, I’m really glad I gave it a chance, because for the most part the magic came back with Origins. Bayek and Aya are genuinely likable and relatable protagonists, perhaps even my favorite in the series, and while not every experiment they tried with regard to mixing up the standard formula was to my liking, I give them a lot of credit for trying this time around. And with unequivocal certainty I loved every minute of my time running around this game’s lovingly reconstructed rendition of ancient Egypt, and as I’m thinking back on it and reading through this thread I’m finding myself eagerly anticipating finding some time to drop in and check out ancient Greece in Odyssey. (Oops, seems as though I might have just accidentally bought it on the Steam sale. Funny how that happens, right?)

8. Pyre
This game is beautiful beyond belief and a feast for the ears. But, that’s par for the course for a Supergiant game. As is also par for the course with Supergiant games, it blends those amazing audiovisual aesthetics with surprisingly deep, engaging, and unique gameplay mechanics that are an integral part of the game’s narrative, not just a scaffold around which it’s built. And while Transistor’s story may have resonated with me a bit more, Supergiant really upped their game in terms of character development, world building, and storytelling this time around in a way that was really impressive to witness. Can’t wait for Hades to be done, because so far they’ve gone three for three making games I absolutely love.

9. Gravity Rush Remastered and Gravity Rush 2
I don’t really enjoy portable games (I’ll play them when there’s a game I’m exceptionally interested in and there’s no other option, but that’s about it), so I missed the first Gravity Rush despite it seeming reasonably interesting at the time. While I probably would have been totally fine never having played it, I’m thrilled that I decided to go back and pick up the PS4 remaster, especially in conjunction with the even better 2017 PS4 exclusive sequel.

These games are bright, fun, and (mostly) cheerful even in the face of at times oppressive and drab circumstances, and tonally and presentationally were a delightful breath of fresh air. And while there are certainly significant aspects of the gameplay that could have stood a bit more refinement via an extra design pass or two, it’s very easy to overlook given that on the whole it presents a novel and exciting new approach to the concept of an open world superhero game. Also, it’s the first time since Crackdown that I’ve felt this engaged and rewarded by the simple process of exploring to collect silly glowing things around a virtual world, which is certainly a notable achievement.

10. Rez Infinite

Thanks to my indulgence in buying a PSVR unit for Tetris Effect, I’ve now finally gotten a chance to also play Mizuguchi’s rail shooter classic in VR. I’m counting this as a new experience eligible for this list not only for the VR aspect, but also for the newly added Area X, which is a proof of concept for what a Rez game could be like if it was designed from the ground up with VR in mind. Anyway, the game was even more brilliant than I remembered when played in this context, and I fell in love with it all over again. What I did not fall in love with were the Playstation Move controllers. Frankly, they’re kind of crappy, and their poor tracking and performance was a bit of a wet blanket on an otherwise sublime gaming experience. You can bet your ass that I’ll be buying Rez Infinite again whenever I get around to getting a proper PC based VR solution, though — I’m already excited at the idea of having the same experience but playing it with input tools that actually work.

Honorable Mentions

A clever, unique, beautiful, oddly thoughtful and sad puzzle game. Don’t pass on this one.

Octopath Traveler
A really delightful throwback to the glory days of SNES JRPGs, with beautiful art and design work. Honestly, if I had played a bit more of it, it might have made my list. Unfortunately, while I managed to play a nice chunk of this while on vacation this summer, once I returned home it slipped away from me. Perhaps the next time I find myself in a place where a mobile gaming experience makes sense I’ll pick it back up again, and it will make a future year’s top ten.

Yoku's Island Express
Metroidvania Pinball. Tons of fun to be had here, and well worth playing if you enjoy either pinball or Metroidvania games.

Donut County
A fun, quirky new take on the concept of Katamari Damacy, that dares to ask “what if we made it about gentrification rather than rampant consumerism?” It’s a joy to look at and listen to, and it’s oddly relaxing and satisfying to play.

FAR: Lone Sails
This game reminded me a lot of Inside both from a structural and a tonal standpoint. Well worth a look if you like that sort of thing.

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
I’ve only played the first hour or so, but whatever praise you may have heard elsewhere already seems justified. I’m reserving the right to put this on my list next year if it continues on the same trajectory as I play through the rest of it.

Night in the Woods
I once again did a really bad job of playing small games this year. I did manage to play the first hour or two of this one, though, and I really should go back and see the rest of it soon, since I adored what I did get to experience of it.

This Year’s Pile

And, here’s all the games I would have played (or played more of) with more time, that I expect I would have very much enjoyed from what I’ve seen and heard. As ever, it’s a big list this year -- hope I’ll have time for at least a few of them before I find myself writing another one of these posts.


Return of the Obra Dinn
I know, I know, I really should have played this already. I promise I’ll get to it soon!

This also came with the PSVR. My wife tried it when she was drunk and it looked cool, but it did not play well her inebriated state. Looking forward to digging in once we finish Astro Bot, though.

I keep almost starting this, and then I think about how cool it would be to play in VR. Not sure whether I’ll keep waiting for a PC VR setup, or I’ll give in, but there’s a lot about this that seems to be my jam, so I hope to get to it at some point.

Dragon Quest 11
It’s sitting on my hard drive, waiting for me to play it. Have to be in the right mood for a big JRPG though, and I haven’t been for a while, but I’m looking forward to it when I am.

I don’t play tactical/strategy games often, but when I do they often involve giant robots, so this seems like I should give it a try. Also, can I please have another Front Mission game? Thanks!

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Yeah, I just bought this while thinking back about how much fun I had with Origins. Bring on yet more running around big worlds and stabbing dudes in the neck!

Valkyria Chronicles 4
Really enjoyed the original game, completely skipped the second and third. I think they were on portable systems or something? Anyway, I think it may be time for a bit more of this.

Xenoblade 2: Torna - The Golden Country
The original game was a favorite of mine last year, and so I’d really like to give this expansion/prequel some time. The problem is, I expect that like the original it will demand a LOT of time, so it’s still on the list for now.

Looks intriguing!

This came out during a busy time for me, and I just didn’t find time for it. Maybe some time soon? Maybe not though, given the list of games above it.

Previous Years’ Pile

And, mostly for my own record keeping, here’s the games that remain on my radar from before this year.


Divinity: Original Sin 2
The first game didn’t quite click for me, but I didn’t really give it enough of a chance either. Sounds like the sequel is even better, and totally in my wheelhouse too. I actually almost started it during the summer, too, but then I decided to wait for the definitive edition to be available — and then I got wrapped up in something else by the time that happened.

I really dig this kind of game, but I just wasn’t in the right place to play one when it came out, and I was busy with a ton of other things. Hopefully sometime soon though. I did buy it on sale, just in case I have the inclination at some point.

Dead Cells
I really enjoyed what I played of it during it’s early access days a two years ago, but I never got back to it after the final version became available.

Previous Lists


Lumines Live, Final Fantasy 12, Shadow of the Colossus, Okami, Zelda: Twilight Princess, Oblivion, Gears of War, Chromehounds, Viva Pinata, Dead Rising, Saint’s Row

Mass Effect, Rock Band, Halo 3, Bioshock, Persona 3, Portal, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Forza 2, Super Mario Galaxy, Crackdown

Missing link!
WoW: Wrath of the Lich King, Rock Band 2, Fallout 3, The Witcher Enhanced Edition, Far Cry 2, Burnout Paradise, Fable 2, Left for Dead, Gears of War 2, Saints Row 2, Persona 4, GTA4

Missing link!
Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed 2, Dragon Age, Forza 3, Shadow Complex, Batman Arkham Asylum, Uncharted 2, Flower, Red Faction Guerrilla, Left for Dead 2

Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed 2 Brotherhood, Red Dead Redemption, WoW: Cataclysm, Halo Reach, Just Cause 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Fallout New Vegas, Dragon Quest 9, Heavy Rain

Skyrim, Forza 4, Xenoblade Chronicles, Portal 2, Witcher 2, Dead Space 2, Batman Arkham City, Bastion, Dragon Age 2, Saints Row 3

Missing link!
Mass Effect 3, Forza Horizon, Journey, Dishonored, Borderlands 2, Dragon’s Dogma, Xcom, Guild Wars 2, FTL, Mark of the Ninja, 1000000

Forza 5, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Assassin's Creed 4, Mass Effect 3 DLC, Bioshock Infinite, Rogue Legacy, Gone Home, Tomb Raider, GTA5, Forza Horizon Rally Expansion

Dragon Age Inquisition, Forza Horizon 2, Elite Dangerous, Transistor, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Link Between Worlds, South Park Stick of Truth, Shadow of Mordor, Threes, A Story About My Uncle

Elite Dangerous, Witcher 3, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid 5, Forza 6, The Beginner’s Guide, Halo 5, You Must Build A Boat, Ori and the Blind Forest

Elite Dangerous, Forza Horizon 3, Witcher 3 DLC, Abzu, Final Fantasy XV, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Firewatch, The Witness, Inside, No Man’s Sky

Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Destiny 2, Nier: Automata, Mass Effect Andromeda, Persona 5, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mario Odyssey, Forza 7, Dishonored 2

In before the lock!
Games I played and enjoyed the most of in 2018:

10.The Hunt Showdown (PC)
9. Moonlighter (Switch)
8. Into The Breach (PC)
7. Super Smash Brothers (Switch)
6. Subnautica (PC)
5. Stardew Valley (Switch)
4. Binding of Isaac (Switch)
3. Hollow Knight (Switch)
2. COD Blackout --Not Multiplayer-- (PC)
1. Dead Cells (Switch)

Looking forward to the Oculus Quest in 2019 and getting into VR games!

I've enjoyed reading everybody's lists! Here's mine:

10. Battletech (PC)
9. Portal (PC)
8. Nier: Automata (PC)
7. Warframe (PC)
6. Vermentide 2 (PC)
5. Quake Champions (PC)
4. Dead Cells (PC)
3. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)
2. Hollow Knight (Switch)
1. Slay the Spire (PC)

Oh, I just saw that this existed! 95% of my visits to this site are me just looking at new posts on threads I've already entered. I will post my list by the deadline. I thought this was a pretty incredible year for games, I'm excited to look back on everything I played this year.

1) Red Dead Redemption 2
2) God of War
3) Beatsaber
4) Marvel's Spider-Man
5) Zelda: Breath of the Wild
6) The Witcher 3
7) Rocket League
8) Fortnite
9) Super Mario Odyssey
10) Overcooked

I thought I'd had quite a poor year in gaming, not really playing too much new, but I wrote everything down and I've actually played a fair amount! Albeit, a lot of the games I've played I haven't felt blew me away, and my top game of the year I actually played 3 years ago! I thought I'd give the re-played games a bit of a shout out since I can't include them in the list

Re-played games not eligible: (Eleima - ignore these, they're just shout outs!)

Rocket League
By far and away the game that defined 2018 for me. I played Rocket League when it was originally a free game on PS Plus years ago. I did enjoy the game, and put in quite a few hours, but 2018 was the year I got it. And it all started thanks to GWJ! PUBG was my new go to game for about a year or so, when I was playing with Musicman one day and he said "this game is so frustrating, I'm off to play Rocket League instead." Musicman suggested I get it so I could play with him. Since I already owned the game on PS4, I was a bit hesitant about double dipping on the game, especially since I felt that I'd maybe only play it once or twice. That was the end of May, and I've since ploughed 197 hours into it. Back when the game first game out, I didn't appreciate how complex a game it could be in terms of skill, but now I'm feeling free hours trying to get better at the game. There's no drop off in sight either; I can easily see myself getting to 500 hours played by the time 2020 comes around. My only nuisance around the game is that I can't play more with the GWJ Bottle Rockets crew, as I think the majority of them are on the west coast, so time difference means I rarely see anyone on Discord. Saying that, I've spent plenty time playing with Musicman and Mattbo, so it's been thoroughly enjoyable!

Shenmue 1
OK, it was a little bit of a crappy port, but for me as someone who loved Shenmue when it first came out, this flooded back so many memories. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who didn't enjoy the originals, however. Although still playable, the Yakuza series is probably a better choice. I didn't get around to the 2nd Shenmue game, but that's on the list for 2019!

Crash Bandicoot 1 & 2:
Weirdly enough, one of the reasons I bought a PS4 was in the hope that I'd be able to download and replay the original Crash Bandicoot games. I was mythed as to why they were not there, but then as a remaster edition came out I jumped for joy. And what was the best thing about this game? The fact that loads of my friends also bought it and were getting that same nostalgia rush! It was almost a shock to the system for all of us as to how hard the first game is. A really well done remaster, and I'll hopefully tie up the third game in 2019.

Now for the real list (Eleima - these are the games to include!):

10. Battlefield V (PS4)
I feel a bit guilty putting this on here since it's the one I've played least, as there were games I actually completed (Detective Pikachu and Mario Tennis, in particular), that deserve a shout. It's a shame they messed up the launch a bit, as it does a good job in terms of atmosphere and mechanics. My favourite thing about the Battlefield series is how it rewards you for playing different roles in a war, meaning that it's not all about the high kill counts.

9. Yakuza Kiwami (PS4)
This is my second Yakuza game, and one I actually started over Christmas! I'm a fair bit into the game, and once again the best part of the game is the side quests. They're nothing special in terms of mechanics, but they are so funny at times. It's nice to have a game that doesn't take itself too serious. My biggest problem with Yakuza 0 is that the game was a bit long for my liking, and the side quests you just so happen to stumble upon happen less frequently in the final 10 hours. That's not the case here, as the game seems to be tighter.

8. Hearts of Iron IV
HOI IV is a good game, but it does feel that it has some potential to realise, thus is the Paradox model. It's definitely one of the easier Paradox grand strategy games to get into, but even then there's a high barrier of entry. It can be a bit of a slow burner without much happening at times, but when the war does get going, it can really crank things up. I recently just did a game as Spain to win the Civil War, but once I got attacked by Germany and Italy in WW2, it made me realise there's so much more to learn about this game.

7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)
Super Smash Bros is everything I wanted in the game; it's just a pure nostalgia trip. I'll admit, I haven't digged into the game as much as I'd like to, but what I have played has just been pure fun. I'm sure across 2019 I will play plenty more, as it's so easy to just pick up and play in short bursts. There's also loads of content here, so I have plenty to chip away at.

6. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PC)
I played PUBG almost religiously for about a year and a half, despite have a rather old computer with a 770 that could barely keep up. I was fairly dreadful at the game, but what kept me going was being able to play with the GWJ community. This year I built my first ever PC, and one of the reasons for this is that I wanted a better PUBG experience. By the time I got around to it, Black Ops 4 came out and was somewhat the reason I've never installed PUBG on the new rig. OK, this is COD and it's a bit out there and silly at times, but Blackout mode really does feel like something PUBG aspires to be. It's a bit of a faster pace than PUBG, but that's fine, as you know what you're signing up for with COD. It's the first real game to test out my PC (I tried the beta with this on my 770 and let's just say that was...interesting), and I don't regret purchasing it. The GWJ player base is a little bit smaller, but I'm still having fun times playing with them when the opportunity arises!

5. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
I absolutely adored Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D on the 3DS, it was exactly what I was looking for at the time. And with Tropical Freze, it's pretty much a bit more of the same! I would say I maybe found the game a bit easier than Returns 3D, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable. I ended up giving it away to a friend so he could enjoy it to, as I love platformers and really need to recruit plenty people onto this message so we get more (particularly a new Rayman Origins/Legends!). It also features Funky Kong.

4. Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4)
I think I won't be the only one that may have earmarked this one as a shoe-in for number 1, but it's only number 4 for me. I think, for me, the game had a bit too much of "press F to pay respects" syndrome, while the story missions get a bit repetitive; it didn't blow me away entirely like the first one did. I felt the story missions got a bit in the way of enjoying the world, which really is something truly stunning in terms of design. There's absolutely no filler out there, and there's plenty of joy just to be had; you can lose hours doing all sorts of things. I've certainly gotten plenty of great memories from the game, and I'm looking forward to giving the online a go (even though I didn't enjoy the GTA V online experience!)

3. Football Manager 2019 (PC)
It's a yearly thing, and I think I've probably throw one of these in a few times, but this year FM19 really is good! It's felt like a general consensus over the past few years that the series has been a little stagnant. It's hard to tell what is different about this year, but the overhaul in tactics is a welcome change. Whereas in previous versions it felt like your tactical tweaks were not doing what you think they should do, FM19 really does make you feel like you can make the game more open when you need to, or shut things down in defence. I'd still say it's overwhelming for new players and people not as familiar with football, but as someone who has struggled to love the series as much as I used to, FM19 has really brought me back around!

2. Overcooked (Switch)
Me and my girlfriend enjoy playing the odd board game together, in particular she really enjoys Hive, Waggle Dance and Patchwork. Video games have been a bridge to far for her, however. It's often made me reflect on things like how many gamers can take things like a controller (particularly analogue controls) for granted, as well as moving in a 3D space. I remember when I first got Smash Bros on Switch and she took one look and said "oh, there looks like there's too much going on in this game for me to play it." On the controller side, she did enjoy playing Crash Bandicoot 1, but often used the old d-pad controls. I've often struggled to find games she'd enjoy, so we haven't really played too much together. I had heard a lot of good things about Overcooked though, and thought it would be worth a shot.

Although she was fairly open-minded about it, I really didn't expect her to get as enthusiastic about the game as she has done; she absolutely adores it and it's all she talks about. She insists we get 3 stars on every level before we move onto the next one and would happily sit there for hours playing if I didn't say we need to have a break! I think it's helped a lot how the controls aren't too overwhelming either, they've done a really good job in making the game accessible to people who maybe aren't as familiar with games. And on top of that it's just plain fun! For me, the best part of the game was getting to share my favourite hobby with the person I love the most.

1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I'm a big Zelda fan, but was worried I wouldn't enjoy BoW. In 2017, I played Horizon Zero Dawn and, although completing it, just couldn't get into it and often felt bored playing. It made me think my time with the open world genre was done. Open world games just felt like one big list of flashy markers I needed to check off and I felt I just couldn't stomach it anymore.

BoW totally changed my perspective on gaming, as it actually made me invested in the world by doing the total opposite of many western open-world games: the map full of markers was gone and it was up to me to explore the vast world ahead. I remember the first moment the game just leaves you alone to guide your own way, and almost implicitly I thought to myself "OK, let's just check a guide to see where I'm supposed to go first." But I suddenly stopped myself half way through my google search for a guide, as it's the total opposite of what the game wants you to do, there is no set "you must do this quest". There's absolutely no set order and I love it. I realised that I'd become fairly used to hand holding in games, that when a game finally took off the training wheels, I didn't have the impetus to just get out there and explore. So this game made me change my ways, and got me back to just enjoying single player games a bit more.

Ooh, I didn't miss the cutoff! (I've been "offline" since late December.)

Here's my final ordered list...managed to play more games this year than I'd first thought, and there are still some totally awesome games that didn't make top 10! [commentary in brackets!]

10 - Skyrim (PC) ---------------------------- [intro to modding!]
9 - Ratchet & Clank (PS4) --------------- [yay PS+!]
8 - Overcooked (Switch) ---------------- [best multiplayer]
7 - Bravely Second (3DS) --------------- [chibi-est]
6 - Just Cause 3 (PC) --------------------- [best tethers]
5 - Gorogoa (iPad) ------------------------ [mind blowing-est]
4 - Witcher 2 (PC) ------------------------- [best prequel to Witcher 3]
3 - Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch) ---[best fan service, best single player content in a multiplayer game]
2 - Mario + Rabbids (Switch)-----------[game that is the most better-than-it-has-any-right-to-be, best SFX]
1 - Witcher 3 (PC) -------------------------[new favorite video game of all time!]

honorable mentions: Mario Oddysey, ABZU, Pokemon GO. [Had fun playing all these games, but there can be only ten most-fun!] In retrospect, it's ridiculous how little I played the PS4 this year, but my partner Beldera made good use of it and I enjoyed watching (among others) her play: FF XII (remastered), Persona 5, Ni No Kuni II and XCOM 2.

Happy New Year Y'all!

zeroKFE wrote:

Also, I’m afraid I need to let Clocky down once again: Elite Dangerous didn’t make the list this year.

You've let us all down.

Thank you zeroKFE, Tempest, Ax7, guitarlicks4, Clusks and PewPewRobo for your lists! I have to say, thank you all for being so awesome, and keeping the process smooth and easy for me, you've been so great. I've now got 128 goodjers with 426 games!!! That's amazing! And things have shifted again! Impressive!

Reminder, you all have until Saturday, January 5th, 2019, 9am GMT+1 (that's 3am EST, Jan 4th midnight PST) to post your lists!

I should have a little time to myself to post mine tomorrow. If I manage to nail down the rankings (which are in no way influenced by the vote tallying, none of my games are gonna make it into the top 50, never mind the top 10 ). It's rough this year. Just like a lot of you, I keep moving them up and down.

7. Brawl Stars - ios - I want to like this game. It has some really fun elements. I think it would be better on the switch with real controllers.

6. RWBY Amity Arena ios - This game had some real promise. A clash Royale type of game in an interesting world. I loved the introduction and the Anime that it was based on. The characters were an interesting mix of characters from the story and grunts. The biggest problems I had with it were the aiming on the special attacks and the matchmaking. I think they didn't have enough interest in the game to keep the matches balanced. I had way too many matches where I was over or under valued by 200 trophies.

5. Super Smash Brothers - Switch - I am not sure I should include this on this list since I have only had a chance to play it about an hour. But. I bought it when my 3 nephews came into town for Christmas. They don't always get along with my son, especially the youngest. Once I bought it and put it on my Switch on Christmas Eve, they played it straight for 3 days. They unlocked all of the characters and played a ton of tournaments with out fighting each other. Best 60 dollars I have spent this year.

4. Pokemon Lets Go Pikachu - Switch - I have never played a traditional Pokemon game before Pokemon Go came out My son loves the Pokemon series, so I figured I would try it. I have managed to play 10 hours over the last 4 days and I am having a blast. I still need to figure out which types are good against each other, but my little tank Pikachu is a total destroyer.

3. Splatoon 2 - Switch - I am on record as saying I hate 1st person shooters. And, I really am not fond of online multiplayer games. Yet, somehow, this game got its hooks into me. I figured that I would play it with my son and mostly the single player campaign, but ended up not doing either of those, instead playing he online stuff with a roller. I still cant figure out how to move the camera, but as long as I spat in the direction I am going, I do ok.

2. Mario Kart 7 - Switch - I love this game. It still cheats a ton, but I love the way it feels. The ability to play it on the small screen and big TV just feels so different, but both modes are a ton of fun.

1. Marvel Strike Force - ios - I am a sucker for FTP collectible games. I think I have played most of the Marvel ios games. They give me a ton to do and I am pretty good without feeling like I need to pay anyone. I have easily put over 100 hours on this game this year and will continue to play for a long time.

Eleima, I hope you'll forgive my indulgence but I've got a single shift in my Top 10. Hope there's still time, but if not that's okay too.

I've spent more time over the holidays with the 90's-inspired shooter DUSK and it just has to move up in the charts. Just wowzers.

Original order:

1. Star Traders: Frontiers
2. Subnautica
3. Prey
4. Two Point Hospital
5. Return of the Obra Dinn
6. SteamWorld Dig 2
7. House Flipper
8. Dusk
9. Hitman 2
10. Football, Tactics & Glory

New order:

1. Star Traders: Frontiers
2. Subnautica
3. Prey
4. Dusk
5. Two Point Hospital
6. Return of the Obra Dinn
7. SteamWorld Dig 2
8. House Flipper
9. Hitman 2
10. Football, Tactics & Glory

Thanks for your consideration and thanks for hosting the GWJ GOTY Awards!

This year I did not play that many new-to-me games, I spent a lot of time in familiar favorites (like Skyrim). Here are my top games that qualify:

1. Slay the Spire
2. Dungeon Warfare 2
3. Surviving Mars
4. Dead Cells
5. Opus Magnum
6. Tower of Time
7. Prismata

I went through my Steam/PSN/XBL playlists and have figured out what all I played in 2018 that was new to me, and have come up with the following list!

10. Fallout 76 (XBO): All of your criticisms of this game are correct. And yet! I put in a good 20 or so hours with this game via a Redbox rental and had a lot of fun. I like Fallout's mechanics, I liked the design of the world, I am not bothered by the "collect diaries/voice recordings" storytelling method, and it just felt good to have an objective on the map, discover a new area, explore, kill some monsters/robots, find an item, read/listen to a moderately engaging bit of story, and then move on to the next quest in the chain. I now own a copy of the game and haven't gone back to it yet, but I aspire to at some point, especially as they make improvements.

9. Assassin's Creed Origins (PC): I think I got this for Christmas last year, but I didn't dig into it until early 2018. It's an interesting revision to the AC model, with good characters and neat new mechanics. I found the main story to become a bit of a slog later, and was a little frustrated at how level-dependent combat had become at times (I don't care that a bad guy is level 30 when I'm level 20, if I jump off the top of a building and fall on him with my hidden blade, he should die!), but I like where they're taking this franchise, and have also been enjoying the little I've gotten into Odyssey (which doesn't make the list because I haven't played too much yet).

8. Hitman 2 (XBO): (BTW, does this game have a thread on the site? I can't find one) I had watched a ton of 2016 Hitman (mostly played by Giant Bomb) but didn't finish that game myself until earlier this year when it came to Game Pass. When I received Hitman 2 for Christmas this year, I devoured it. Each mission was interesting and fun, and they have made such smart improvements to the systems. I've made it through all of the levels at least once now, and can't wait to dig back into it as I will play these maps again and again over time. I feel like if I didn't start the game until 2019, it'd end up being a lock to go much higher on my 2019 list, but oh well.

7. God of War (PS4): I liked this game a lot! It was a little longer than I would've liked--with a shorter main story, I think I would've spent more time in the side quests--and some of the story beats weren't the best, but overall it was a really well-composed and thought out experience. I love a solid cinematic action-adventure, but would not have guessed how well God of War fit into that genre before this game.

6. Paladins (Switch): I don't know why this is on my list either, but it's undeniable that it sunk its hooks into me this summer. It's like Overwatch except worse in every aspect of the game, on a weird platform for shooters, with a very small community. I think because it's a less attractive, lower-profile game, I felt like my typically very poor skills were a fair bit stronger relative to the competition than I'm used to. And it was just handy to be able to pick this up and play it anywhere.

5. Elder Scrolls Online (XBO): This was the game that caused me to fall in love with Game Pass. I'd been mildly curious about ESO at points in the past, and tried out previous trials of the game once or twice, but it was just never something I was going to buy. But when I signed up for Game Pass and it was just there, I gave it a try. 60 hours or so later, I had explored every last bit of the original main campaign and had a ton of fun doing it. Somewhat similar to Fallout 76, I found this to be a really relaxing, game-y experience, where what drew me in most was exploring the world and following the interesting little story lines spread throughout the world. I think ESO may be the game I spent the most time on in 2018, and I never would've predicted that at the start of the year.

4. Vampyr (PS4): DONTNOD is a developer that cares about the things I care about: compelling stories and bold decisions. Vampyr had a ton of interesting ideas, a solid story and excellent voice acting. The combat wasn't as good as it needed to be to place higher on the list, but was still interesting and challenging. I think the main reason this doesn't place even higher on my list is that, despite completing an extremely difficult no-kill playthrough, the game somehow screwed up and did not recognize my achievement and gave me the 2nd tier ending instead. When you place an emphasis on the importance of the decisions you make, the game really really needs to register your choices correctly. A bit of a bad taste in my mouth, but not enough to sour me on the whole experience. I'd be surprised if this got a sequel, but I would also be excited.

3. Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4): I was back and forth on this game a lot. There's a lot of stuff I don't like in it! It's overstuffed, its controls suck, and I got so sick of riding that horse a million miles between adventures. But there were so many parts of the story that I found so affecting, and I loved the characters and their performances. The Lenny mission will remain one of my all-time favorite missions in a video game. And I really enjoyed the epilogues--if they were to announce single player DLC of the scope of the epilogues focusing on other characters, which I know they won't, that would make me so happy. Still, a very memorable experience, flaws and all.

2. Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 / Captain Spirit (PC): I'm treating this as one game. Life is Strange season 1 was my GOTY for the year that I played it, and it truly represents everything I want out of video games. Both Captain Spirit and the first episode of LiS 2 continued the magic. Story, choices, exploration. There's a theme here! I can't wait to play more.

1. Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4): What a wonderful surprise this was. All the way until release, I thought this might be a bad game. Just something about it looked to me like one of those games that looked pretty that you didn't really play. Instead it was just such a joy, in every aspect, Movement felt good, combat was intuitive. The characters and story was a brilliant mix of the familiar plot points and characters with smart new twists. This is the first game I platinumed on Playstation that wasn't a Telltale game. I enjoyed every minute I spent with the game, and when I finished the very last trophy in the game, it was the perfect moment of feeling like I had just spent the last minute with the game I wanted to spend right as I had wrung the last drop out of it. Just a perfect experience.

Short list for tabulation purposes


1. God of War
2. Subnautica
3. Spiderman PS4
4. The Division
5. Dead Cells
6. Ratchet and Clank PS4
7. Donut County
8. Northgard
9. Surviving Mars
10. No Man's Sky

Honourable Mentions:
FIFA 2018
They Are Billions
Destiny 2
Slay the Spire

Now a detailed-ish list. A disclaimer: I call Rockstar out a lot in my post, consider yourself warned, or skip to the dishonourable mention/2018's Game section to read my despondency with RDR2:

1. God of War

My #2 all-time game. I adore ancient mythology and the crafting of the Norse world and the characters was brilliant. The development of Kratos from pure rage bro-dude to having to play a father was one of the most deep and intelligent character portraits I have ever seen in any media form (Kratos makes Thanos look like a 1-dimensional wet noodle in comparison). Boy, or Atreus, was a poignant comic relief and character who genuinely grows from annoying twerp to lovable companion. The character design and crafting in this game was truly spectacular (looking straight down your abhorrent work conditions, dead eyes, and sloppy story Rockstar). The boat traversal and use as a mechanic to tell stories was so fun (hey Rockstar, throw another 10 minute horse journey about a story that doesn't matter at me why don't you)

The graphics and sound design in this game set a new standard for beauty and theme in a game. No greyscale DC washout, the world pops with colour and distinct areas have their own feel. The brightly coloured meadows or the bleak cliffs contrast with the dark caverns and ancient dwarf fortresses. And sound, oh my, if you haven't felt the guttural groan of the World Serpent shaking your cochlea, you haven't experienced sound in a video game. I was finishing up the last of the boss characters I needed for the Platinum trophy over Christmas and fell in love with the world design and sound all over again. I NEVER play New Game+, but I might just do that to play this one again for the story and experience.

A very very end game spoiler, don't read if you don't want a MAJOR plot point spoiled


The reveal of Artreus as Loki was perhaps the most unexpected surprises I have ever experienced in a video game. I literally gasped out loud and then smiled a stupid grin when the reveal happened. That is a gaming moment I will remember forever

P.S. Go back to your home after you finish the game, it's so worth it

2. Subnautica

My #3 all time game. THIS GAME. If you haven't played it, go play it now! It's crazy that my #2 and #3 all time games released in the same year, and I couldn't think of two games that were more dichotomous. I normally detest survival games, but I love crafting/collecting and building when it's done right. And I can't say Subnautica got it 100% right because some of the inventory management and resource stacking things are a pain, but their support of mods means it's a quick fix (I added extra inventory space, converting any metal to ingots, auto craft from nearby lockers, and a few more). The similarity between my #1 and #2 games has to be atmosphere, because for as good as God of War was, Subnautica has one of the most immersive (literally) game worlds ever. The storytelling is brilliant and there's no hand-holding in the game without it being oppressively hard. I got stuck in a crafting/building loop for 25-30 hours mid-game and then accidentally was able to swim down to an end-game area, but the game just lets you do that!

The building is really fun and making little outposts around the map is one of the coolest things I've done in games. Naming the beacons and outposts and seeing them on your map and the unique stories around each one is so great. Even having not played the game in 6 months, I can tell you exactly where all 5 of my bases are and stories around each one of them. I admittedly have not finished the game yet but that should tell you something that it ended up #2 with more than 40 hours sunk in and I have yet to wrap it up.

3. Spiderman PS4

My 2nd ever platinum trophy on PS4 (also the easiest by far), I have never binge played a game like this one. I finished up in the span of a weekend playing 6 hours on Friday and only stopping to sleep and eat on the weekend. It was an enthralling gaming binge that sucked me in and kept me happy throughout. I have no special allegiance to Spiderman, the comics or the movies, but I loved Insomniacs rendition of Peter Parker and Octavius. Heck I loved the little mini science and electricity games too while appreciating they included the option to turn them off if people wanted to.

I was slightly disappointed by the transformation of the city in Act 3 to a violent, burning, and dark place, and put on hold my collect-itis to burn through the story as fast as possible and turn New York back to a bright, vibrant place.

This game is a perfect treat. Sweet, just big enough, and full of love and charm.

4. The Division

An older game, I moved well away from home and wanted a way to reconnect with my Dad through a regular gaming night. We'd tried playing Saints Row 3 on PS3 but ran into connection issues and a story that was pretty average. I've always wanted to try an MMO or variant with my Dad but we really don't enjoy PvP content and just wanted a fun, enjoyable PvE experience. This delivered a thousand times over.

Every Sunday my Dad an I would make coffee, pop on our headsets, and play 2-4 hours of the Division. We put in almost 40 hours leveling our characters, exploring New York, and going through the story content. The "boss" levels in the game were fun and challenging shooting galleries that had us wipe and retry a couple times. The enemy variety and archetypes were unique challenges, shooting the canisters off cleaners or find a boss' weak points. The perk and ability system was interesting and really allowed us to play to our styles, my dad prefers to sit back and calculate so he took seeker grenades and a turret, and I prefer long range accuracy or up close agro so I took a bunch of loud guns which let me pull the enemy attention while my dad shot the distracted enemies.

I appreciate that the game never "scores" your skill so even though I know I was doing 60-70% of the damage, we still had lots of fun together because it always felt like you were contributing to the battles and at the end it doesn't say "You killed 56 enemies, Dad killed 12". We also had technical constraints as my parents live off of mobile internet so they have a pretty low data cap and high latency, but that was never an issue in the game, it never used a tonne of bandwidth and we only had a few connection/disconnection issues over MANY Sundays.

I'm so looking forward to continuing exploring the world with my Dad and staying connected when we live 2500 miles apart, and we're definitely thinking about making the Division 2 a day one purchase!

5. Dead Cells

My second run ever in the game I reached the final boss and had it down to 1/4 health. I have never even reached halfway to that point again.

And yet I still love playing and will check in a couple times a month to see if maybe "this is the day". I fell off of a lot of other Rogue-lites but this one just has an amazing "stick" factor to it that is hard to really put into words.

I'll be playing a lot more in 2019.

6. Ratchet and Clank PS4

I've only been playing games for the past 10ish years so I missed the Ratchet and Clank series, but man oh man was this an absolute riot to play through. The level and weapon design is brilliant and it's just a cheeky little action platformer that I'll go back to when I'm feeling a little malaise and want a palette cleanser. I haven't finished the game (got stuck in a bullet hell room and never mustered the energy to blast through) but I want to finish it this year and play around with more of the gun upgrades too.

7. Donut County

The hardest game to place. I LOVED this game for what it was. It made me laugh out loud and was stupid, silly, and fun in all the right ways, but I don't think I'll remember it. It was like a bowl of Lucky Charms: amazing and sweet when you're eating it, and by supper you can't remember what you had for breakfast other than it made you smile. Just go play it. It's worth whatever money you spend on it.

8. Northgard

Another game I didn't finish. But I've always been a fan of RTS and civ-builder type games. I think I burned out trying to 3-star every story mission but I'd like to go back and finish because it sits beautifully in my RTS/Norse Mythology wheel house.

9. Surviving Mars

This brilliant little colony simulation was a total joy for the first 5 hours I played as I set up my colony and battled the elements. The unique "mystery" system is fun and challenging. Unfortunately it just ended up flat after 10 hours where my colony wasn't growing, and sure, I could work to add new housing space, but to what end? The lack of an end game or final state hurt this game for me.

10. No Man's Sky

Oh Hello Games, what a treat you've now created. This is the poor man's Subnautica, the exploration not as fun, the story not as tight, a little too open, the building a little less forgiving. I enjoyed the hours I put into the game, but I had no desire to play any more other than to see "Oh hey, this is what NMS has become, cool!"

Honourable Mentions:

FIFA 2018

My first ever FIFA game, the story was a silly treat, I have no real desire to play any more

They Are Billions

This game has POTENTIAL but ends up seeming shallow with not enough building or unit variety. Love the concept and will check back in when it's finished.

Slay the Spire

Have literally only played one round and it was fun. Just not sure if CCGs are my thing...

Meteorfall iOS

But some goofy folks here got me sucked in to Meteorfall and I got my $5 Canadian out of the experience. Again the CCG aspect and gaming on a phone sucks. I'd rather read or listen to a podcast

2018's Game (aka Dishonourable mention of the year)

In a year that could be summed up in a word as a year of disrespect, I can't think of a more fitting champion of the year than Red Dead Redemption 2.

First off, Rockstar, please treat your people better. No one should have to work 100 hour weeks, or 80 hour weeks, or even 60 hour weeks without appropriate financial compensation. If you develop a game for 7 years and you still are crunching, maybe you need to reevaluate your internal processes to help support people a better. I don't think 2019 will be the year that working conditions in the game industry get better, but I hope it's soon. I would pay more money for a game that was ethically created than a Rockstar game.

Second, in the theme of disrespect, this game just doesn't value the player at all. Whether it's the long horse rides, the sparsity of fast travel, the janky 2008 control scheme, it's all Rockstar throwing up the middle finger and saying "F-U" for the sake of "immersion". You know what Rockstar? God of War was immersive and had fast travel and a unique and intuitive control scheme. They used their canned travel scenes intelligently instead of as THE ONLY story telling device in the game.

I'm probably most disappointed with the world breaking issues. You burned people lives out, you ruined your workers and people's mental health for the sake of horse testicles that hang lower when it's hot. But then you just forgot to leave any indication in the game of when I broke Michah out of jail by literally tearing a wall down. I went back to Strawberry and the wall looks identical to before I broke it, they just happened to magically rebuild it perfectly? I killed the sadistic kidnapping store keeper (sorry Graham Rowat) and when I went back, he had respawned!? That broke the game for me, my choices didn't matter (not that I expected them to given the history of Rockstar, but you sold the game as an immersive world). Then there's the gun loadouts that reset every time you log out and back into the game, glitchy horse physics mean some rocks that are the same height you can't jump over, multiple instances of the same random encounter (seriously, set a flag and "if player has encountered event x" delete event x from the random queue, they have more than enough encounters to do this). In a game that promised immersion and does 80% well, that 20% is so jarring, broken, and bad, that it makes the other 80% look bad too. At least Bethesda owns their jank.

I haven't finished the game, I probably should just quit, but I want to see it through to see how much more disappointing things get because at this point I will never buy another Rockstar game until they change (which they won't because RDR2 online will bring in several billion dollars).

I'm really hoping the Game of 2019 can be a game about love, hope, and good things.

It's weird to talk about a year in games when I really didn't do much gaming. I don't know if it's age, or work, or just growing out of it, but I really don't play many games anymore. I still listen to Giant Bomb and read this forum, but that's really for the people I've grown to know over the years. Most of my time has been just mindlessly tooling around in Galaxy of Heroes waiting at the deli.

There is one exception though...

1) Forza Horizon 4 (X1): My TV died, and it was so old ( How old was it?) that it was a tube HDTV. I then bought one of those gee-wiz TVs that is 4K and has HDR. Once I tried to figure out what HDR was, I signed up to Game Pass and downloaded Forza 4 as a showpiece, and wow... it looks amazing. Especially the winter when you're driving around a snowy simulacrum of Scotland... sometimes I just have to stop and look around. It's the perfect game to listen to a podcast and race around. At this point, the Forza Team has perfected the driving experience and there are cars from AMC Gremlins to Bugatis.

This is - by far- is my favorite topic of the year, and thanks again to Eleima for the thankless work of organizing all this.

See you at the end of the year.

Eleima wrote:
zeroKFE wrote:

Also, I’m afraid I need to let Clocky down once again: Elite Dangerous didn’t make the list this year.

You've let us all down.

I'm crushed. It's like I gave up for nothing.

Maybe next year Elite and Destiny 2 will tie for first place.


Joking, but also, you know, it could happen.

Sadly I didnt get to play all that much this year...and certainly did not play that many games all the way through.

1. Dark Souls Remastered (Xbox One X) Once this was announced I was determined to finally finish the entire game plus DLC and I was able to achieve it.. after an aborted start when it released on the 360 and then another aborted start when it was released on PC I was finally able to finish it which means all I have is Demon Soul's to finish to complete my FROM Soulsborne playthroughs.. It's my GOTY but I think many Soulsbornes fan have rose colored glasses on when it comes to this Title.. Bloodborne and DS3 are vastly superior games.

2. Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Xbox One X) I was never an Ass Creed fan.. I barely touched the previous titles with 1-2 hour playthroughs at best.. Origins was the one that finally clicked for me and I suspect its partly the setting and characters and partly the increased Action RPG gameplay. Odyssey went full Witcher and it really clicked for me. While the Quests arent exactly Witcher 3 level depth and storytelling it was still an enjoyable romp and the Dark Souls-Like combat was enjoyable.

3. Moonlighter (PC) I enjoyed this game even though I only got to around 50% or so.. it grew repetitive so I didnt feel like continuing but the core loop was enjoyable with the dungeon ARPG combined with Town and Store building mechanics. Probably a great Switch game and I'll double dip at some point and try and finish the main story.

4. Kingdom Rush Vengeance (iOS) I don't play many Tower Defense titles but for some reason this series has always hit with me. The latest for iOS was a game I found myself wasting hour on the couch watching TV playing. Very enjoyable and despite blatant attempts to in app purchase I only ended up spending $4.99 for a hero I really liked the look of. (The Tank thingie)

5. The Swords of Ditto (PC) Strange Game.. should have really been much better.. what initially seemed to have huge depth was actually very shallow and repetitive. But what at first seemed impossible given the gameplay time limit ended up being achievable and when I did finish the main quest I got a strange sense of achievement. I wanted to dislike and stop playing but somehow managed 85 hours playing (yikes!)

TheGameguru wrote:

t's my GOTY but I think many Soulsbornes fan have rose colored glasses on when it comes to this Title.. Bloodborne and DS3 are vastly superior games.

This man throwing blows in the GOTY thread.

EverythingsTentative wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

t's my GOTY but I think many Soulsbornes fan have rose colored glasses on when it comes to this Title.. Bloodborne and DS3 are vastly superior games.

This man throwing blows in the GOTY thread. :)

Well, he's right.

GOTY 2018

1: Prey: Mooncrash

Prey still stands in my mind as one of the all time greats and this is a smart as hell rework of it. Not a lot else to say it just distills the things that game did last year into an immensely smart roguelike and manages a lot more story out of the formula than you might expect

2: Destiny 2: Forsaken

By far my most played game of the year as it turns out that if you move cross country with no job prospects but still have a gaming PC something like this is really great at filling time you should be spending on anything else! Also while I have my qualms about some of the changes like the random rolls and don’t really think the weapon system rework is the revelation it’s made out to be it’s still destiny at the best it’s been in a long time. I just hope they screw it up by paying too much attention to reddit and not enough to all the other people that play the game with the first new DLC already feeling a bit like a second job. Which is saying a lot as again, I don’t have a first one

3: Into The Breach

This is a game I loved with a passion when it first came out but is so lacking in rough edges that I can’t help but see it less as a thing I loved and more like a thing I am to admire like a renaissance painting that I am told is a classic but no longer holds room for me to place myself in. Still as far as backhanded compliments go that’s still a hell of a compliment

4: Hades

Supergiant knows how to make a game look, sound, feel, and read well and this one is already in a state where I thought about giving it the number one slot but it’s just a tad stiff and there’s just not quite enough there. Still it’s nice to know what the 2020 game of the year will be

5: Stellaris

The first strategy game to really grab me in a very long time its focus on empire management and story vignettes made it scratch more of a Dwarf Fortress with a UI itch than a Civ one but I’m fine with that. Long may the empire of Uncomfortably Sexual Space Foxes reign!

6: Oxygen Not Included

Speaking of Dwarf Fortress this is a great take on the DF genre that has only gotten better as it has seen more updates, and with it being largely done save some polish it’s finally the one game in this genre I feel like I can recommend to people curious to try it that don’t want to dive in to the woodchipper that is Dwarf Fortress

7: Wizard Of Legend

This game is a lot like Hades but plays better and is more finished but also lacks almost everything else Hades has in spades. It’s still very good no doubt but if you feel like diving in I advise skipping the Switch version as it has a slowdown problem that holds it back a little despite otherwise being a good fit for the platform

8: Pillars Of Eternity II: Deadfire

I have issues with the games handling of things like colonialism and slavery but it never crossed past eyeroll territory in what I saw so for being the best playing game in this CRPG subgenre I’ll give it the nod here with the understanding that this is a personal list and not a buyers guide to be taken at face value

9: Monster Hunter World

Finally they made one of these that is something akin to approachable/It’s a lot of fun to go in and beat the crap out of some dragons and I don’t regret getting the PC version along with the PS4 one (Though I do regret that I did not get a physical PS4 copy for resale reasons) I still find it to be rather shallow with most of the games learning curve being based around going to youtube and finding the two to three combos you will need for your weapon of choice and repeating them ad nauseam. Which after all the hype the series has gotten for it’s obscene depth is a letdown for me. Also the colonialism sucks a whole lot and I can't help but feel like it should have been hit harder for that

10: God Of War

If I am to be totally honest with you this is in many ways my actual Game Of The Year. Much like Horizon last year this is a game who systems all clicked and whose story spoke to me on a very personal level with Horizons climate change allegory striking at the perfect time and the father son relationship in God Of War speaking to my relationship to my mother but much like Horizon last year this game simply f*cks up too much for me to love it the way I want to even as the way it falls only serves to remind me of the ways my mother did

Honorable mentions:

Warhammer Vermintide 2

Left 4 Dead is good and I like loot

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark

The best of the games to try and emulate Final Fantasy Tactics this game would be on the list proper if it was out or if I liked the art a bit more. Still I look forward to the full game being out greatly

Ni No Kuni II

Unlike the last Ni No Kuni this game seems to not be actively bad I just wish I had found more time for it

Dishonorable mentions

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Neir Automata, and Persona 5

I still hate these games a Whole Lot and went out of my way to avoid games I suspected I would have the same issues with which if nothing else has lead to a lot less angry disappointment in game of the year lists

Divinity Original Sin II

I played through this whole game in co op and it was great and I like it a lot, and if Larian would fire their art directer and hire someone who doesn't think "race of elves who are close to nature" should mean the tackiest case of the boob armors I have seen in years, and use those funds to hire some forum moderators so that maybe I wouldn't have been harassed off of them than maybe it would be my GOTY! But they didn't so nah

Best Game I Played All Year

Bloodborne is real good y'all

Ok here’s mine - will keep it simple for the sake of time. In reverse order and updated with new images.

10 Fortnite:

While I hate solo mode, I had tons of fun playing with friends and family in creative mode. It feels like a game of virtual paintball, and I've had a ton of fun creating my own silly objectives and having dance parties.

9. WOW: Battle for Azeroth:

WOW sucked me back in for several hundred hours with the new expansion. I will say the new areas are beautiful and there are plenty of fun quests. This would be higher on my list if the end game wasn’t a grind, and if the big bad villain wasn't so predictable.

8. Marvel Powers United VR:

The best VR game (and second best Marvel game) I played all year. Actually doing the Hulk smash with your hands never gets old.

7. Battletech:

I've only been playing this game for a few days, but so far I'm having a lot of fun with it. It feels like Game of Thrones but with giant freaking robots. Also, the game seems to have all the tactical depth of an average Paradox game but is far more approachable.

6. The Gardens Between:


My favorite game at PAX. I think I enjoy it so much as a parent because it lets me indulge in the fantasy of turning back time on childhood.

5. Pillars of Eternity 2:

It was a lot of fun to take the character I developed during the RPG club playthrough right into the sequel. I loved the new ocean areas, improved combat, and an interesting story that seeks to tackle tough subjects like colonialism.

4. Frostpunk:

The perfect game for embracing the cold winter blues. It’s gorgeous music and art evoke a feeling of ethereal hope in the face of crushing despair.

3. Super Smash Bros:


A wonderful new entry into the series. Basic controls are easier to master while there’s a very high skill ceiling. And I can sometimes beat my son at it ... sometimes.

2. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey:


It’s like taking a Mediterranean cruise where Spartan kicks replace shuffle board as your main form of entertainment. Kassandra is also the best female lead since Femshep.

1. Spider-Man:


This is my first PS4 game and man is it engrossing. The acting and gameplay are both excellent, the story is almost as good as movies like Spiderverse. Also, this was a great game to play with my son as he handled the fighting and I solved the stealth missions and puzzles. Finally, NY looks fantastic in 4K.

TheGameguru wrote:

It's my GOTY but I think many Soulsbornes fan have rose colored glasses on when it comes to this Title.. Bloodborne and DS3 are vastly superior games.

So wrong. DS2 is better than all of them.

Thank you Ego Man, LeapingGnome, mrlogical, staygold, Iridium884, TheGameguru, IHateDRM, jdzappa for your lists! Aaron, your edit has been taken into account, no worries.

I think it's pretty amazing I have to make a ref call this late in the game. I gave it a lot of thought, and although I had initially considered Life Is Strange 2 and Captain Spirit as separate games, I'm now bundling them together. My reasoning is that Captain Spirit, although listed as a separate game in Steam, is presented as a "free demo set in the Life is Strange universe." It's specifically there to set up LiS 2. Thank you, mrlogical, for prompting this line of inner questioning.

jdzappa wrote:

7. Pillars of Eternity 1: I bounced off this back in 2015, but thanks to the RPG club I finally finished it. The ending was worth slogging through the early levels.

That's kinda skirting the "new to you" rule, but I'll allow it.

Thank you all! With 136 goodjers voting for 440, we're really getting some data, here! The top ten has changed again, some games are within a few points of each other, so definitely post your list!!! Even if it's just the games, and nothing else, no matter!

And for the love of Cthulhu.... Choose your friggin' tag, Iridium884.

Shadout wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

It's my GOTY but I think many Soulsbornes fan have rose colored glasses on when it comes to this Title.. Bloodborne and DS3 are vastly superior games.

So wrong. DS2 is better than all of them.

This right here.

I think it comes down to what you like most about the games. If difficulty and meaty combat is your jam, then DS3 doesn't do as much for you. It's the easiest of all the games, but that makes it more appealing to some.

Aaron D. wrote:

I've spent more time over the holidays with the 90's-inspired shooter DUSK and it just has to move up in the charts. Just wowzers.

I picked it up during the Steam sale. Unfortunately I started playing on New Year's Day, otherwise it'd had good chance of making it onto my top 10. That is a goddamn good game.

Woo! GOTY thread! Woo! Vive la GOTY!

Eleima is awesome!