5 Good Reasons to Buy 2018's GAME OF THE YEAR... Now!

There’s little doubt, 2018 has been a truly epic ‘Game of Thrones’ contest between console releases, between modern world settings like New York and the Wild West, and the mythical or fantastical. Hugely complex and detailed open-world games such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and the long-awaited, sweeping arrival of a new Rockstar ‘world’, that need not even be mentioned.


Perhaps it’s something to do with that ‘bakers mix’ of character POV and the connections it creates with the landscape. It could be something to do with the eternal trade-off in immediate game-play 'enthralment' versus the more slow-paced, but far-reaching, longer-lasting(?) (and multiplayer) experience.


There are also the subtle limitations that a real-world setting can impose, restricting the sense of sheer, child-like wonder. But then, for Rockstar gamers, the freedom and detail of a fresh sandbox world was always the best kick.


God of War, from Santa Monica Studio, with its focus on emotional narrative and character while rebooting effectively its hack-and-slash legacy, has however enabled it to succeed on a middle ground and slip through to seize the throne. It also has its own, enormous scale.


What a Mighty Crown!


Even so, it’s still no mean feat, and can’t merely be attributed to just a more accessible approach. Therefore let’s quickly mention some of the possible reasons and stand-out traits to the jaw-dropped Rockstar cowboys in the room.


1. Detailed


A PlayStation Pro and top-flight TV is said to keep your eyes watering throughout sessions of visually stunning exploration, and for such a massive game, the level of detail is astounding on standard console versions too. You will be stopped in your button-pressing tracks, simply agog at what a console can produce.

2. It’s Addictive but not Overbearing


It’s not a game that involves grinding through more dreary missions to get to more exciting moments. You’ll actually be trying to find a place to stop playing it, rather than telling yourself to keep at it. Let’s just say that here be dragons, with carrots continually dangling. Meanwhile, the choice of what fluid attack approach and weapon selections will matter all through. Destruction is more like artistry that will keep you wanting to perfect your talent.


3. Character


There are many memorable characters from many memorable video games. But God of War shows us what video games can do for character. You have to be honest and ask just how many characters from games are (still) so 2-dimensional? Answer = most. Well here, the ones you control and the ones sharing the adventure with you, reacting to incredible creatures you will encounter, have a believable, meaningful resonance to the continuous quest. It’s a realistic force that underpins the desire to keep playing and reaching into the game’s fantastical depths. You could also learn a thing or two about life.


4. Narrative


So what is this epic story that drives or fuels the game-play? Surprisingly for any game, it’s a mature tale about loss or mourning that is also revealed by the unfolding relationship of father to son. Some have commented that the whole experience has this dark, Game of Thrones -type intrigue and humor to their quest. A nice touch is the opening camera POV, which never varies until the end, highlighting that this is one fluid ‘story’ shot, akin to other potent game relationships such as The Last of Us.


5. God of War IS a sweeping but fast-paced Epic


At the most basic level, the game-play mechanics from the outset ensures God of War is a delight to play, and plays with the pre-set expectations that you’re headed for just another ‘hack and slash’ experience. However, the level of exploration and regions to explore are incredible. You may reach the end of the game without having played a lot of it.



Game of the Year

Games continue to get more and more epic, but the emotionally-centred ones still naturally win us over, just as with great movies. Should the award for Game of the Year always respond to this, instead of just a game which is vast and detailed ('No Man's Sky'..?) Well, obviously there are different categories, and filling most of them inside one, all-round experience will always create legendary titles that will steal awards.


Will we see a lot more 'relationship/stories' in open-world games emerge now? Apparently, there is a novelization that's been written for God of War. Who will come up with the next idea for a killer 'epic' game character, and then execute it so well? Will such a character be facing more zombies, mythological characters, historical settings and their own inner demons or past? Or will it be something more unexpected...?