Al Unlocked Game of the Year Extravaganza – My 5 Biggest Missed Opportunities of 2018

Last time we went on a pretty depressing train of thought about games I was glad I didn’t get a chance to play this year. This time we’re going to take a slightly more positive look (but still a little depressing) at 2018. There was a lot of games I didn’t have the chance to play, a lot of amazing games. I’m going to talk about my biggest missed opportunities of this year; games that I wanted to play but couldn’t, that wound up sounding like they could have met or exceeded my expectations according to critics. Obviously, this means that none of these games will be on my Game of the Year list, so don’t be surprised when they aren’t. Let’s talk about some good games now, shall we?

5. Marvel’s Spider-Man

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I’m one of those people who thinks that PS2/Gamecube/Xbox era Spider-Man 2 is one of the greatest superhero games ever made. Swinging around Manhattan was unlike anything I had ever experienced at the time, and it had a faithfulness to how Spider-Man is as a character that no other superhero title outside of the Batman Arkham games have come close to matching. I was ecstatic when I heard that Insomniac Games was making a new Spider-Man game. I love the Ratchet and Clank games, so just based on that I had a lot of faith in them to make a good Spider-Man game. Rocking a score of 87 on Metacritic, it looks like I wouldn’t have been disappointed in this game. The general consensus sounds like combat and movement are amazing, which is exactly what I loved about the old Spider-Man 2. I’m sorry I missed out on this one, and I’m hoping I get the opportunity to play it in 2019.

4. Red Dead Redemption 2

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What do you mean this was on my Dodged Bullets list? I still wanted to play this game, despite what I had heard about it. If you missed my Dodged Bullets list (which you can read here), I said that Red Dead Redemption was one of my absolute favourite games from last generation. It only makes sense that I would want to play the second game, and still want to play it despite the mixed feedback. At this point I just want to see for myself whether I would like the game despite how slowly paced everything is. The critics seem to disagree with the negative feedback about Red Dead Redemption 2, as it’s sitting pretty with a near-perfect score of 97 on Metacritic. I don’t know, should I give this game a chance in 2019? Could I get over the slow pace? Only one way to find out I guess.

3. God of War

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I love character-based action games, and I really don’t play enough of them. I feel like I’ve committed a cardinal sin against this genre by having only played God of War 2 on the PS2. This new God of War game for the PS4 sought to make a complete departure from the original trilogy in both gameplay style and motif, moving from set camera angles and fast combat against the Greek pantheon of gods to a third-person, behind the back perspective with weighty combat against a Norse backdrop. However, the thing that sold me the most on God of War was the casting of Christopher Judge as Kratos. It may seem like a super shallow reason, and you’re right! I am a huge Stargate fan, and have always loved Judge’s portrayal of Teal’c in Stargate: SG-1. Apparently hearing Judge scream “BOY!” a lot isn’t the only thing I’d enjoy about God of War, as it’s got a 94 on Metacritic right now, and it won Game of the Year at The Game Awards. This is a game I’m sorely regretting missing out on this year, but I seek to fix that in 2019!

2. Octopath Traveler

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I’m a bit of an RPG junkie, and a lot of RPGs I would rank on my hypothetical favourite games of all time list. I was very intrigued when I saw a trailer for Square Enix’s Project: Octopath Traveler as a Nintendo Switch exclusive. I loved Bravely Default, and knowing that Octopath was being made by a lot of the same people intrigued me even more. I also love games that make use of storytelling from multiple character perspectives, and Octopath definitely looked to scratch that itch with it’s eight different character storylines to play through. I didn’t really know much else about the game other than that, and I never played the demo leading up to the game’s release. I was honestly too deep into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to even think about adding another RPG to my backlog. I did listen to the soundtrack a LOT however. The music in that game is amazing, and has still kept that game relevant in my mind. It’s also one that should stay relevant from the sounds of things, with Octopath Traveller sitting at a very nice 83 on Metacritic, with critics citing amazing combat, an amazing soundtrack, and an amazing setting. I’m looking forward to being amazed in 2019!

1. Celeste

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The biggest missed opportunity for me this year was Celeste. A beautiful looking 2D platformer that really pushes the “tough-but-fair” design philosophy with it’s mechanics. I’ve also heard that the story starts simple enough, but then takes a real deep turn later on. I’ve seen the game in motion and it looks so incredibly satisfying to play, and the TAS speedrun of this game is one of the most mind blowing things I’ve ever seen come out of a video game. So what have I missed out on then? Celeste sits at an amazing 92 on Metacritic, and has received an amazing number of awards and nominations up there with a lot of big triple-A titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, and God of War. That’s super impressive for an indie game with a relatively small team behind it. I’m going to try and make a point of playing this game in 2019, because I have a feeling I’m going to fall in love with it and play it again, and again.

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