By Nick Schifani
It’s that time of the year again. No, I’m not talking about the holiday season. I’m talking about Game Awards season! For the past several years Geoff Keighley has been putting on a spectacular Game Awards show, with each year getting bigger than the previous. This year tends to be no different. He likes to go all out. From big-time guests (this year the Russo Brothers) to world-premiere game trailers. There’s no stopping the “hype-train”! Though at the end of the day, it’s all about the awards, and what game can land the prized Game of the Year award.
This year has been loaded with awesome games and much like last year the competition has been fierce. God of War saw a remaking of Kratus and a side we’ve never seen of him. Fortnite reigned supreme, as streamers like Ninja helped popularize it. The indie games showed up and showed out giving some Triple-A games a run for their money (Literally!). And we got a console exclusive Spider-Man, which could pave the way for an all-new type of superhero games moving forward. Today I’m going to give my predictions on some of the categories for the show. I will skip a few. Most of those are the eSports categories, RPGs, VR, and others. Mainly because those were the type of games I was unable to get into this year. Nothing against them, I simply didn’t have the time. But shout-out to games like Moss and Beat Saber (VR). Those are games that I heard a lot about and would love to jump into one day.
Anyways, enough my babbling on to the predictions! Quick aside these predictions are my personal picks. I don’t find any value in what I think will win. No fun in that, but if you click the hyper-link in the titles you can vote on the games too! Likewise, I will get kind of long in my descriptions of the winners. So, it won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t read them all. Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @Nerd901Nick if you want to chat anything regarding the Game Award Show!
Winner: God of War
Wow, this game! If you want a really in-depth reason why I think it’s my GOTY pick you can head back to a podcast we did earlier in the year about the game. But for here, I’ll break down quick. God of War gave m everything I could ask for in a video game. It covered it all. Things like storytelling, fleshed out characters, beautiful art, fun (new) mechanics, and a few twists. Plus, it didn’t hurt that it was challenging, yet not Bloodbourne challenging. It was the first game I ACTUALLY wanted to platinum and spend a lot of time playing. And those feels…oh man, those feels. So damn good! GoW gave us so much in such a robust game and still made us want to come back for more. It truly is in its own class.
This category is described as “a game for outstanding development of ongoing content that evolves the player experience over time”. Yeah, if that doesn’t describe Fortnite, I don’t know what does. Fortnite has evolved since its initial release. Now, as the battle royale mode is the end-all-be-all, Fortnite has a new season pass (the new one out today!) every few months. It allows for evolving the map and how players have to approach their strategy each time the jump from the Battle Bus.
Winner: God of War
This game is awarded to the most outstanding creative vision and innovation for a game. Once again, this screams an obvious answer to me, both critically and personally. The first three GoW games were mashing buttons and tons of over-the-top violence. While the violence stayed, this installment in the series set aside the mashing and made you really think out your next moves. The camera itself never once cuts from behind Kratos shoulder. Pile all that on top of having his son, Arteus (boy!), not turning out to be an annoying sidekick but a crucial part of the gameplay. Cory Barlog, the game's director, hands down deserves this award.
Nominees: Detroit: Become Human; God of War; Life is Strange: Episode 1; Spider-Man; Red Dead Redemption 2
Okay, hear me out on this one. I get I just deemed God of War best direction, but that doesn’t mean I think it had the best narrative. Also, yes, I gave it GOTY so one would think I would attach this award to its name too. Not so fast! I believe the narrative in a game is not only about story-telling but about connecting all the events to one another. That’s why I believe Spider-Man has the best narrative of the nominees. Every mission, side mission, and even interactions you have with by-standers (shout-out to Shirtless Spider-Man) all drive the narrative. Spider-Man does a fantastic job of making every small thing mean more the further you progress through the game. It’s (as I wrote in my review for the game) his relationships with every single person in the game that really builds the story and pushing the narrative forward. Each relationship and interaction with the other characters is as important as the previous one. It all leads up to one of the best endings in a video game I’ve seen in a long time. It had enough narrative in the game to make me want to cry my eyes out for hours.
Winner: Red Dead Redemption 2
I feel like this is one I should abstain from only because I don’t feel too connected to this category. However, I did play at least two of the games (ACO and GoW) on the list. I’ve watched Adam play Octopath, and as much as I’d love for it to win, this does seem like the category right up RDR2’s alley. Everything you read and hear about this game’s art specific points towards this award. Even right down to the real as life horse genitals.
Nominees: Celeste; God of War; Spider-Man; Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom; Ocotopath Traveler; Red Dead Redemption 2
Winner: God of War
Yeah, it seems as if GoW is going to start racking up some awards come Thursday evening. The music in this game as you traveled to different realms and rode in the boat only helped build to your journey with Arteous. Each realm has its own different music as you tear through your enemies. Chalk one up for Kratos and Boy!
Nominees: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4; Forza Horizon 4; God of War; Spider-Man; Red Dead Redemption 2
I know for a fact there is no chance Spider-Man has any shot winning more awards than RDR2. But as I said earlier, these are my personal picks. It’s why I truly think Spider-Man has a shot at winning this category. This category is meant for best in-game audio and sound design. The way Insomniac Games was able to build a lot with using sound alone in the game was outstanding. The swelling music as you plummet down through the air. The perfect “THWIP” noise as you shot webs out of the Wall-Crawler’s wrist. Each kick, punch, and web-ball impacted sounded like it would if a comic were to come to life. I can still hear it all now. What sweet sounds of joy!?
Nominees: Bryan Dechart (Connor, Detroit: Become Human); Christopher Judge (Kratos, God of War); Melissanthi Mahut (Kassandra, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey); Roger Clark (Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2); Yuri Lowenthal (Peter Parker, Spider-Man)
Winner: Yuri Lowenthal (Peter Parker, Spider-Man)
As much as I loved the performance of both Judge and Mahut, I’ve got to go with Yuri Lowenthal. Judge’s performance of a character that really didn’t have much character development in the previous series is quite a feat. And Mahut has the ability to make us care so much about Kassandra’s story and her past deserves a nod. Though, at the end of the day, it’s Lowenthal’s version of Peter Parker that had tears rolling down my cheeks. He established maybe one of the best Peter Parker’s we’ve ever had. AND THAT’S COMING OFF OF HOW GREAT TOM HOLLAND HAS BEEN! Yuri’s deliver on every single line and beat throughout the game is breath-taking, from small to big events. Nothing falls through the cracks for him during his time as Peter. He takes this role and makes it his own. He deserves this award.
Nominees: 11-11 Memories Retold; Celeste; Florence; Life is Strange 2: Episode 1; The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories
I’m going to count this as my winner for Best Indie Game as well. I think this game has such a powerful meaning behind it and can be used to help people with self-doubt. The reason being is it’s a game all about overcoming self-doubt. The story is about climbing a mountain, yet fighting your internal demons the entire way up. It’s the darker side of you in which you have to battle with constantly. Not the mountain, or the level enemies, or puzzles, only the self-doubting creeping in. It has almost a perfect representation of life. Each time you make a mistake in the game you immediately re-spawn. It allows the player to make the correction instantly. And much life can be (sometimes) when we make mistakes; we can turn around and fix them, granted they aren’t too drastic. It’s a beautiful game with a beautiful message to anyone who’s ever battled self-doubt or loathing.
Nominees: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey; God of War; Spider-Man; Red Dead Redemption 2; Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Winner: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
When I first started to write about this pick I had originally picked RDR2. I thought for sure this going to win (for the record, I’m sure it will), but then I though…ahh fuck it this is personal picks. I haven’t spent any actual time with RDR2. I’ve only seen what Twitch and YouTube influencers have to say about the game. So, I don’t think it would be fair for me to go with the “correct” pick; instead, I wanted to go with MY pick. AC caught me way off guard. I’d never played more than 3 hours of any Assassin’s Creed game. I tried this one on a whim. I fell in love with Kassandra and her story. Then I realized I was only three hours into the freaking game and had not even begun to scratch the surface. Each mission I dove into opened a new adventure to me and led to some fun action. I would deeply love for AC to take this award home.
Winner: Dragon Ball Fighterz
Yes, my last category pick of the night. I know we’ve finally got to it. DBFZ, as a whole, is one of the easiest games for even the newest gamers to the fighting genre to ever get into. Yet, still has tons of technical and skillful play layered into the game. I truly believe it brought a new way to approach fighting games altogether. Too many fighting games over the past few years don’t allow novice players to enjoy the fun for multiple hours. DBFZ not only allows this but allows the player to pop into a game for 20 or 30 minutes for tons of action-packed, Super Saiyan fun. All the other nominees are wonderful in their own ways, but Dragon Ball Fighterz is a breath of fresh air in a genre slowly crawling back into popularity.