The TWRM GOTY 2018 Collab has begun! This special event consists of multiple writers making their best cases for their picks for GOTY 2018. Check out each article posted daily from the 1st through the 15th and listen to their points, then on January 16th you will have the opportunity to vote on which game you think should be crowned TWRM GOTY of 2018!
God of War
Developer: Santa Monica Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: April 20th, 2018
Platform/Console: PlayStation 4
“The following is a contributor post by the Mail Order Ninja Mage.”
Picking my favorite game of the year is usually a daunting task, but 2017 and 2018 have both made it particularly difficult with the onslaught of fantastic games–or they would have if 2017 hadn’t seen my favorite game of all time released in Breath of the Wild and 2018 my second favorite game of all time with God of War.
That is right, I’m not only extolling the virtues of the best game of the year to you today, but one of my favorite games of all time.
I’ve always been a person who likes to take the unbeaten path when I can, sharing the virtues of things others might not be aware of. Though never a contrarian, I don’t always tend to fall in line with what the biggest game running is, even though the last two years would beg to differ. When it comes to God of War, I find myself unable to do this, as it has obviously been the darling of 2018, winning numerous awards including the coveted Game Awards Game of the Year award. There is a very good reason that it is such a popular pick for these awards, and that is because the game is utterly amazing.
It isn’t just a game of the year, it is something that should be in the running for game of the decade, or might even top the best of lists of people like me the world over.
Why though? If you haven’t played the game yourself, that is a fair question to ask. After all, we are talking about a new game in a franchise that has fallen by the wayside a bit, with a new entry not being seen since the early PS3 days. In addition to all that, the main character Kratos wasn’t exactly beloved to many people, in fact by the end of God of War 3 he had become an outright villain despised by a good majority of people, it seemed.
So why is a game from a dead series, with an unlikable protagonist, game of the year, let alone game of the decade?
As a fan of the series previously, even I could see how it would have been easy to throw Kratos away and reboot the franchise with a new protagonist. Instead, the developers decided to take on the challenge of writing a story that revolved around Kratos becoming a father, and the powerful changes that can wrought on an individual. This choice lead to a poignant tale about a small cast of characters, revolving around the evolving relationship of a father and son that just so happen to be Gods. Using Norse mythology it weaves this deeply personal tale into Ragnarok itself, providing an epic story to juxtapose against the more emotional one, and using existing lore many of us know in surprising ways.
If God of War was only an achievement in storytelling, it might not get the praise it has, but it also manages to be a masterful technical achievement as well. In a move I was sure would end in failure, the developers decided to frame the entire game from one perspective, over the bolder-sized shoulder of the God of War himself, and never cutting or fading into another scene. They accomplish this through deft storytelling in a boat and other such clever methods that masterfully hide load times. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you look into it and realize what an enormous undertaking this was, as the developers had to throw away camera tricks that the industry has relied on ever since the switch to 3D happened in the early N64 and PlayStation years. Not only is it a gorgeous game that is stunning to look at, with an amazing art direction that rivals any game on the market, but it also uses a revolutionary new framing device in the world of gaming that makes a huge impact into how personal the entire game feels.
All of this would be for not if the game wasn’t an absolute blast to play, but fortunately for all of us it feels damn near perfect. A lot of this is down to the Leviathan Axe itself, which I will argue for the foreseeable future is the best-feeling weapon in all of gaming. The satisfaction of throwing the axe at an enemy and watching it embed itself into their flesh, turning to pummel another enemy with your fists, and then holding out your hand to hear that lovely sound effect accompanying a slight vibration of the controller as the axe smacks back into your palm—sheer magic. This is partnered with a fluid upgrade system of both armor, weapons, and stats that deepens the entire experience from past games in the franchise, along with simple yet deep and strategic combat that makes every decision in battle feel important.
Each of these things alone would make it a contender for Best of 2018, but combined they create a game that is not only a phenomenal exclusive for PlayStation, but a revolutionary step in gaming that combines the best in technological achievement, fun and rewarding gameplay, and a deep and meaningful story that will stay with me for a long time to come.
There is a reason the game has been showered with awards, and why it should also win TWRM’s Best of 2018—it is just that damn good.
In the words of Kratos himself: “Just vote on my game already…boy. Or girl. Or non-binary other. I don’t know your life.”
+ Technological achievement in both graphics and revolutionary new framing method that masks all loads.
+ Wonderfully engaging and personal story about the bond between parent and child that redeems one of the most hated heroes in gaming.
+ Leviathan Axe—best feeling weapon in gaming.
+ Simple yet deep combat system that makes every choice in battle matter.
+ An in depth leveling and crafting system that allows you to customize your play experience.
+ That one thing I can’t tell you about, because spoilers.
+ The other thing I can’t tell you about, because spoilers.
+ I mean seriously, why are you still reading this and not playing the game already?
– You have to own a PlayStation 4 to play it, so everybody in the world can’t play this game.
– Um….seriously I’ve got nothing. It is a masterpiece, 10 out of 10, OMG kind of game.
– Ok, so maybe angsty Atreus. You’ll know it when you see it.
The Mail Order Ninja Mage loves video games across every console: an assassin of fanboy nonsense. He also really loves martial arts and pizza, though that is of no consequence here. To read more of his random word soup, or to view daily(ish) photo mode screenshots from his favorite games, visit him at Home Button.
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