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Another busy year of gaming is in the books. Hayden Meikle and Simon Bishop take their usual look at how it all unfolded.
Game of the Year
Meikle: The easiest decision I have made since (double checks when the original was released) 2010. Red Dead Redemption 2 may be the pinnacle of console gaming. An epic in every sense of the world: stunning, stunning, stunning. Honourable mention to Monster Hunter World, which confused me at times, but was quite brilliant.
Bishop: For me, Spider-Man was my favourite game this year. Brilliant fun the entire way, great story, great humour, and great use of the licence. Let down a little by repetitive side quests, this nonetheless was a thrill ride from start to finish. Honourable mention to God of War. Very different from previous ones, but a refreshing change to the series.
Meikle: Very tempting to declare this a tie, as there were two games vastly different in scale to compare. H1Z1 really caught me by surprise. The free-to-play spin on battle royale was a bit rough around the edges, but was an engaging experience. Battlefield V was obviously a bit different, backed as it is by many millions of development dollars. BFV will around a while, so let’s give it the nod.
Bishop: In a strange twist of fate, I didn’t play many shooters this year. That being said, Far Cry 5 sticks in my mind. Despite being more of the same, and missing a golden opportunity to actually make a very topical stand on current world politics, it managed to be fun, funny and provide hours of entertainment. I imagine if I’d played more Black Ops 4 or Red Dead they may have featured here.
Meikle: Honestly, this wasn’t a memorable year. Fifa, meh. Madden, meh. Didn’t even play a golf game. MLB The Show 18 was very good. But I will cheat slightly here and award this to Forza Horizon 4. Not strictly sport, obviously, but the most fun I’ve had in a car racing game in years.
Bishop: Madden 19 wins it for me. Excellent game, though online is still ruined by people exploiting the game to win rather than trying to play the game properly. F1 2018 was pretty good too, but its horrendous online left a bad taste in my mouth also. Hopefully 2019 is the year of good online sports games.
Meikle: I didn’t expect to enjoy Sea of Thieves so much. It’s a pleasant way to spend an evening, so long as you don’t get harassed by rival pirates. And water has never looked so impressive in a game.
Bishop: Hard to pick again this year. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was a surprise in a bad way — really seemed to have slipped but hard to put your finger on why. Just wasn’t as good as the previous ones. Fallout 76 was a surprise in a way, too — jury is still out though.
Meikle: The Crew 2 was just awful, and a massive letdown after the original. It’s also extremely disappointing I didn’t play God of War or Spider-Man.
Bishop: Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Graphically downgraded from the previous game somehow, story isn’t interesting, hub worlds weren’t exciting, but the game itself still plays so well. Hopefully redeemed in the next one (if there is one!).
Meikle: Yikes, I really had to think about this. Didn’t really play much that was remastered at all. I’ll have to go with the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Edition. Brought back some good memories — though Mortal Kombat is still better.
Bishop: Tough category. In some ways, some of the best games out this year were remasters. My winner is Burnout Paradise Remastered — amazingly fun game, terrific to play online and almost completely seamless between online and offline. It was amazing in 2008 and it’s just as good now. Also the mountains of DLC being included gives it so much content, it’s a no-brainer. Honourable mentions to the Spyro Trilogy and Red Faction Guerrilla Remastered.
Anticipated games of 2019
Meikle: Anthem, The Division 2, Fifa 20.
Bishop: Looking forward to Days Gone, the new Sony property. Rocksteady should announce what they’re doing post Batman. Perhaps most looking forward to Metro Exodus — big, big fan of the first two games.