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Brutal Gamer Awards 2018: Individual Honors

Part 2 of our Game of the Year presentation looks at Individual Honors like Most Innovative, Best Graphics, and the year’s Biggest Surprise.

If you missed part 1 of our GotY series for 2018, you can catch that here. IN it, we revealed our picks for Game of the Year in categories like Best Action Game and Best RPG.

Some of those same titles will be crossing over into today’s part of the show, in which we look at BG’s choices for Individual Honors. Today you’ll see which games we though had the very best graphics, best voice-acting, and which title offered the very best multiplayer experience. We’ll also relate what we thought was the biggest surprise of the year. And on the flip side, what we tagged as the biggest disappointment.

There’s lots of fun to be had, and quite a few categories to pour over, so let’s get right to it!

Best Graphics

If there’s a category that everyone loves to talk about, it’s Best Graphics. It’s a crowd-pleaser of an award since gamers pretty much all love a good-looking game, even if they say they don’t really care.

And man, did 2018 have some stunning tiles to choose from. Actually, too many. The vote split here at BG and we actually named a pair of titles as bests of the year. They’re 2 very different games, with somewhat similar themes.

The nominees for Best Graphics of 2018 are…

  • God of War
  • Spider-Man
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Octopath Traveller

And the winners are…

BG’s award for Best Graphics of 2018 goes to God of War…
…and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

While there were many games that looked great in 2018, few approached God of War and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

God of War effectively served as a soft reboot for perhaps Sony’s biggest franchise, and did so in stunning style. Moving the setting from Greece to the Norse realms was a gamble, and one that paid off. Kratos’ latest adventure accomplished that feat in part by looking as good as anything ever has on the PS4. And that’s saying something.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey meanwhile was just as gorgeous. No small task for a game that delivered a massive, open-world experience. The rocky terrain and choppy seas of ancient Greece were displayed in style in a game that shook up the AC formula in surprising ways.

Best Sound or Voice Acting

Oft forgotten and glossed over, sound is almost as important in telling a good story as looks. While we all love pretty graphics, the sound design and voice over work in a game can make sure you’re pulled into a game’s world and kept there.

As time goes by, these kind of production values become more commonplace too. We’re at the post now where the score and voice-acting in some games can rival motion pictures in quality.

Much like with the Best Graphics vote, this one was very, very close. Though unlike that previous category, we had a decisive winner.

And the nominees for Best Sound or Voice-Acting are…

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • God of War
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Lethal League Blaze
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

And the winner is…

BG’s pick for Best Sound and Voice-Acting of 2018 is Marvel’s Spider-Man

One of the very best superhero games of recent memory, Marvel’s Spider-Man was absolutely glorious in just about every way. It’s score and voice-acting though, were both standouts.

From the rousing musical accompaniment to the street sounds of NYC and everything in-between, Spider-Man is a treat for the ears. Likewise, the cast is excellent, and seems perfectly cast, whether we’re talking about Peter himself, or the mighty Kingpin of Crime.

You want audio detail? I can’t remember a game in years that did a better job. Spider-Man is flawless, right down to the way the lines Peter Parker delivers sound different whether he’s perched on a rooftop or swinging through the skyscrapers of the greatest city in the world.

No game in 2018 sounded better than this PS4-exclusive.

Best Story

Graphics and sound can impress enough to attract a gamer or two, but what is it that keeps players in a game’s universe for the long haul? It takes a quality story to intrigue a gamer enough to actually want to put in the sometimes dozens of hours it takes to “beat” a game’s campaign.

As with graphics and sound, narrative has improved as well, to an incredible degree. The best of the best games have stories that easily are as deep and complex as a motion picture, and often quiet a bit more imaginative and fun.

Our nominees for Best Story are…

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • God of War
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Darksiders III
  • Celeste

And the winner is…

BG’s pick for Best Sound and Voice-Acting of 2018 is Marvel’s Spider-Man

It’s been a very long time since there’s been a Spider-Man game with a story as good as Marvel’s Spider-Man. Actually, it’s been a very long time since any Marvel Comics game has had one.

Marvel’s Spider-Man weaved a narrative that focused on both Peter Parker and his alter ego. There’s no doubt as to who was the central figure of the game. But it also touched on the love of his life Mary Jane, and maybe the best written version of Miles Morales ever (and I include the comics in that).

If you love Spidey, I’d find it hard to believe you could do anything but fall in love with the tale told here. Classic and iconic villains, a story that paints the original comics’ tales with all new angles and surprises, and some truly unexpected twists and turns abounded. Insomniac created a story in Marvel’s Spider-Man that was not just a great narrative for a superhero game, but a great narrative period.

Oh, and stay through the credits. You’ll be glad you did.

Most Innovative

Innovation is something that video gaming companies strive for, though sometimes miss the mark on. It’s a typical occurrence that some innovative new gameplay gimmick backfires. Sometimes that can mean major industry initiatives falling apart.

Occasionally though, these risks pay off. The result is a game that garners heaps of acclaim and maybe sets a trend that the whole of video-gamedom follows. The Horde-mode springs to mind. Those are rare happenings, but when the talent comes together, can result in something oh so sweet.

This past year saw a few titles tied new ground, though one stood above all others for us.

Our nominees for Most Innovative game of 2018 are…

  • Dead Cells
  • The Messenger
  • A Way Out
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Tetris Effect

And the winner is…

BG’s Most Innovative Game of 2018: A Way Out

EA’s A Way Out was a PS4 exclusive, and easily delivered a whole new way to play. The game forced players to work in co-op fashion, with no AI-controlled bot to fill in.

You and a friend play as prisoners breaking out of the big house. Along the way you’ll both run into problems that neither of you can handle alone. And so you both must work as a team to survive.

Unfortunately that choice might’ve limited the overall appeal of the game. There’s no way to play unless you had a human partner to play with, after all. But if it did, then it equally created something entirely new. A true innovation from a publishing giant.

Biggest Surprise

Always a fun category, the Biggest Surprise was something of a runaway this year in BG’s voting. There were a few choices, but really only one clear winner. It was something that fans have been waiting a good long time for.

The nominees for Biggest Surprise of 2018 are…

  • The next generation of console talk begins
  • Tetris Effect beautifully updates a classic
  • The PSOne Classic is announced
  • No N64 Classic is announced
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance
BG’s Biggest Surprise of 2018: Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Was there a bigger shock announcement in 2018 than Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order? If there was, then we didn’t hear about it.

The game was revealed at a Nintendo Direct, and revitalizes a dead series that started with the X-Men Legends games several generations ago. MUA3 is set to bring back all the looks, detail, and depth of those classics in a brand new adventure.

Not only that, but it’ll be a Switch exclusive to boot. How’s that for a coup? We can’t wait to dig into this one.

Biggest Letdown

Last year had some highs, but it also had some lows. Disappointments like missed release dates, non-announcements, and retail failures are all things that every year sees.

In 2018 we had a few major ones.

The nominees for Biggest Letdown of 2018 are…

  • The PSOne classic kind of… sucks
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 is loaded with boredom
  • Black Ops 4 has no single-player campaign
  • The “lost” Avengers game is apparently still lost
  • Fallout 76 hits and immediately flops

And the, uh, winner is…

BG’s Biggest Letdown of 2018 is Red Dead Redemption 2 (sort of)

Now don’t get crazy. Of course we all realize that Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 is a landmark game. The open-world title is vast, filled with activities, and has a dark and serious story to play thorough. But it’s not perfect.

While the world is big, at times it feels too big thanks to a terrible fast-travel system. It can take flat-out forever to traverse it. And yes, it’s filled with activities too, but some are stunningly tedious.

RDR2 is a winner and an achievement, but it’s in many ways also an example of making a game too big and too deep. It’s meandering, and can fail to keep all but the most dedicated on the path to completion.

About Jason

Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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