Assassin's Creed: Origins
I really thought to myself “what if Assassins Creed: Origins is my actual Game of the Year?” and that made me realize how the AC series is viewed by the gaming community. It has been so saturated with yearly releases that thinking of an AC title as GOTY year material is like saying COD deserves it or Nickelback is a good band. It is not what we are supposed to do. Yes, Ubisoft is a lot to blame for annualizing the franchise, but what are they supposed to do...not make money?
The 2 year break between AC titles turned out to be just what the series needed. The world is massive and fully realized. I am not putting it on par with The Witcher 3 or GTA V, but it is just a level below and that is a big compliment. Yes, there are endless fetch quests (it is an open world game), but side missions feel like they are more than just “here waste some time”. Bayek is the best character AC has had in a long time, second only to Edward Kenway, and I like the story of Origins better than Black Flag.
The ending is the only irksome thing about the game, but I cannot fault it after spending almost 70 hours exploring Egypt and all its hidden tombs and bandit camps.
Also..I can ride a chocobo. Come on, man. A chocobo.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
This should be filed under: What happens when developers are trusted to create their own IP.
Guerrilla was basically Sony’s Killzone machine. Don’t get me wrong I like Killzone. Killzone 3 was really, really good. Still, it was all they were known for. Sony gave Guerrilla free range (and budget) and they crafted a wonderfully different tale of Aloy and the futuristic world of mechanical dinosaurs. I mean, who doesn’t think that a game about robot dinosaurs on a future Earth where society has reverted back to caveman weapons does not sound awesome?
Resident Evil VII
This damn game.
As someone who absolutely hated Resident Evil 5 & 6 with the fury of a thousand suns, Resident Evil 7 filled my heart with giddy feelings and a whole lot of fucking fear. It is like Capcom took the utter creepiness from the first season of True Detective and married it to my childhood fear of watching the end of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, seeing the Sawyer family delight in the torture of Sally, and made a game as a dare for me to play. Exploring the Baker family compound as each member hunts you is exhilarating in the best “I might piss myself” way. The oil monsters get a little tiring towards the end, yet it does not hamper the experience and brings Resident Evil back to what it is supposed to be...survival horror.
Best of the Rest
The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild
I know. I know. It’s not my GOTY and it is on a “best of the rest” list. Blah blah blah.
Super Mario Odyssey
This game is nothing but fun on an acid trip. I haven’t put the time into it that I can say it is my GOTY though. That is why it is here.
Friday the 13th
When it worked, it was a blast to play. It just didn’t work at all for like the first 2 months and even now has problems. Still, when it is working it is so damn enjoyable.
Most Disappointing Game of the Year
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
South Park: The Stick of Truth was my GOTY in 2014. I don’t know why Fractured But Whole did not connect with me like that one did. You would think with the superhero setting it would have drawn me in more, but it left me feeling like I was missing something. It is still funny, because South Park, it just didn’t come anywhere close to its predecessor.
Worst Game of the Year
How many mulligans will we give Bungie? Destiny 1 got one because it was the first game in their new series and you could tell it was a big, audacious attempt at merging the MMO and the first person story driven game into one cohesive thing. Unfortunately it came out like Wilford Brimley at the end of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Part man, part dog, part slime.
Now here comes Destiny 2. Yes, it has a story that you can follow. But it is a run of the mill sci-fi story that could have been written by anyone and gives you no further attachment to the universe Bungie is trying to create. The gameplay mechanics are great, because it is a Bungie FPS, but we are needing more than this.
Then we get into the Eververse being their veiled attempt at lootboxes and players discovering Bungie was throttling XP to make it so they would want to go to the Eververse more and once again...Destiny shit the bed.