Jaggy’s Games of the Year – 2018

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Game of the Year – BattleTech

It is my GOTY for a large variety of reasons starting with the vast universe. The BattleTech world is one that many people grew up loving, which is quite evident when listening to those initial streams by the game creators. There’s a reason why I immediately put my name down for this game. As I explained in my review, this game spawned from an epic series of books that became a popular tabletop RPG. (In fact, I loved playing Heavy Gear which was another RPG that was created as a result of BattleTech.) Later, BattleTech inspired video games like Mechwarrior and Mech Commander. But what I love about BattleTech is the two levels of strategy used in playing the game. I absolutely adore the music and the story told between the warring human factions. It’s graphically beautiful and it includes bits of the character’s backstory in dialogue options. In other words, BattleTech gives me all the things I look for in a video game which are: challenging strategies, beautiful presentation, story, customization, and amazing musical accompaniment. Honestly, this game is at the top of my list for a whole host of reasons. (Also, PPC’s are godly weapons. That is all.)

First Runner Up – Vampyr

It should be no surprise that I am a vampire fan. For the better part of a year, when I discovered that SquareEnix was to release this game (right after I had finished Life is Strange – another game I absolutely love), I was immediately in need of it. Once I had the opportunity to play the game, I loved many aspects of it like the attention to detail with NPC backstories, the moral choices players have to make, and the ability to customize combat without being needlessly complicated. Not only did I appreciate the depth of this game, but I loved that it forced players to make tough choices regarding the life of the people. Part of the reason I needed to play Vampyr is that I needed to know which aspect of vampire lore they used as the game’s foundation because people have certain ideas about the mythos without consideration for others. While the developers stuck with the notion that vampires cannot go into sunlight, Dr. Johnathan Reid operates out of a hospital in London. At the time of the Spanish Flu outbreak, most of London followed Christianity in some form. Vampyr portrays this fact through one NPC that holds up a cross to keep the vampire at bay. In short, their portrayal of the commonly known vampire mythos was handled properly. It is gritty and dark and I absolutely fell in love with it right from the beginning, which is why it’s the first runner up for GOTY.

Second Runner Up – Shadow of the Tomb Raider

I know that many people did not like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, especially after hearing that a different ending was patched out before most people could play it, leaving behind a lesser story option in its place. But the fact remains that I will always love Tomb Raider for a number of reasons. It offers players the ability to be stealthy or aggressive in combat situations. Lara Croft is not a stupid character and it is one of the main reasons that I absolutely love this series. Lara is quite clever and knowledgeable, strong-willed and tough as nails, except for the first game where she was quite wimpy to the point of annoyance. Tomb Raider offers environmental puzzles in the tombs she explores and this helps to showcase how adaptable Lara Croft is as a character. What I also love about Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the newly released DLC, “The Forge”, where players are given replayability through the time trials and co-op tomb completion. While Shadow of the Tomb Raider might have fallen short for many gamers, I still hold Tomb Raider in a special place because of the characters, combat and stealth elements, and artifact discoveries. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the last installment in this reboot and while it might not hold a candle to the other two, I have the series on a high pedestal. Therefore, it makes the second runner up. (You can hate me all you want.)

Biggest Surprise – The Gardens Between

This game had been on my radar for over a year and I was immediately intrigued by what I saw, which was mostly its art style. I knew that I would love The Gardens Between for its look but also because of the fact that it is an abstract puzzle game. After playing through the game, I found myself enjoying it much more than I anticipated because the story is cleverly told through the levels. So, this game makes a lot more sense as you progress through the levels (Although, there was a streamer that figured it out in the first level which took away from the enjoyment, in my opinion). By the end of the story, I discovered what the game was about and I found myself relating to the two characters. The reason this game surprised me the most is that normally puzzle games aren’t meant to have players relate to the characters. I felt sad at the end of The Gardens Between, and that is never a reaction I’ve had as a result of a pure puzzle game. It is a charming little tale that I loved as a result of the developer’s unique vision and presentation of the story they wanted to tell.

Guilty Pleasure – Maple Story 2

I had never played the first Maple Story, so when a streamer was part of a major event that promoted this free-to-play MMO, I became interested. Maple Story 2 is the game that I call ‘cuteness overwhelming’ because it quite literally exemplifies that description. And while it is not the most epic MMO on the planet, it is adorable as hell. Maple Story 2 has a fairly easy leveling progression, making it more favorable to me than other MMOs because I despise games that are too grindy. (Usually, that is due to poor storytelling or pointless fetch quests. MMOs that do this tend to bug me.) Traveling in this game has a ton of variety like ground/flying mounts, a taxi service, and a helicopter, making it easy to complete quests. This adds a ton of bonus points in my book. In short, I love cuteness overwhelming because it is accessible to a broad range, is free to play, and it simply makes me smile. It wouldn’t be a guilty pleasure if not for that, right?

Article by: Susan N.



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