For this week's "Question of the Week", I asked the team to put their reputations on the line (not really) by asking them to predict what they think will be the game that gets the highest average review score in 2018. It's not an easy task considering how many good games are releasing this year, plus those that we don't know of yet which might take the title. It's a question we will revisit later in the year, but for now, these are the responses from the team:
Sam - God of War
It's crazy to see how far PlayStation's unlovable Spartan warrior has come since his god-slaying days last decade. With 2018's God of War on the horizon, there's a surprisingly subdued level of excitement for some as developer Santa Monica Studios switches up the gameplay to something we've perhaps seen one too many times in The Last of Us or Uncharted, yet feels oddly fresh for the kind of hack and slash formula that the series has become known for.
I believe God of War is going to surprise many with its newfound maturity and should score big with critics and fans alike - perhaps even the highest ratings of the year. There's a whirlwind of potential hidden beneath the game that might take it to bold new emotional heights, and explore a different, more "human" side of Kratos than what we've ever seen before. Sure, you can pass it off as the game trying hard to replicate a gameplay style similar to The Last of Us, but is that really a bad thing? I believe it will work well in its favor and deliver one of the best games of the year.
Douw - Red Dead Redemption 2
The only reason RDR2 wasn't my most anticipated game for 2018 in last week's question is due to my lack of owning a console that can play it on. That said, the follow up to Rockstar's award-winning open-world western promises an even larger world filled with more to do than you could shake an aging outlaw out for redemption at. With a new multiplayer mode coming as well that could prove as addictive as GTA online, everything is pointing towards Rockstar releasing an instant classic, that I will promptly be left pining for over the next few years, waiting on the PC release...
Andrew - Untitled Yoshi game
There are so many games I’d want to be the most critically acclaimed next year. There’s Metro Exodus with its haunting vision of a post-apocalyptic earth, incredible visuals, oppressive atmosphere and survival-horror-shooter gameplay. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom promises another heartstring-tugging story, well-written characters, and jaw-dropping presentation. Red Dead Redemption 2 could once again take us on an incredible western epic, thanks to Rockstar's excellent writing, choice of voice actors, and technically impressive game engine. Darksiders 3 will continue to crib design elements from a number of genres and inject it into their own narrative and the visually distinctive universe.
However, I expect it’ll be a Nintendo IP for the Switch that takes top place again this year, crafted with the exceptional skill of their in-house developers, a game that provides both accessibility and pure, fun gameplay that can be enjoyed by children and anyone willing to indulge their inner child self. As such, I’m going to pick the announced but not-yet-formally-titled Yoshi game as the best candidate for the highest-scoring videogame of 2018. From the cardboard pop-up visual style to the classic gameplay (that looks to blend platforming elements of Yoshi’s Woolly World with the spatial puzzles of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker), this could be Nintendo’s biggest hit next year unless they finally announce another Super Mario Bros game for their current gen machine.
Byron - Catherine
Games from 2017 really pushed the bar in terms quality, with amazing experiences such as Wolfenstein II and Horizon Zero Dawn. Still, they weren't top of the pops in terms of review scores. Picking something for 2018 is tricky. There's a strong line-up this year with God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, Far Cry 5, Dark Souls Remastered, Code Vein and the rumoured games for last quarter all vying for the top score on Metacritic. For me though? It's the upcoming Catherine remake that is going to be the one to take it this year and here's why:
Catherine is being remastered from the PS3 era; it’s a horror-puzzle game with a large focus on relationships between people in various aspects. There's the fact that it’s such niche type of game, with an almost cult-like following, and provides a unique gaming experience.
Some may argue that God of War will be top since it’s confirmed and also has a previous fan base but here’s the difference, God of War is an entirely new game while Catherine is a remake. God of War runs the risk of creative decisions dividing the fan base, whereas Catherine has no such risk. There is no risk of Catherine not appealing to those that review it, almost guaranteeing a high score and that's why it gets my pick.
Garth - Red Dead Redemption 2
Both the Red Dead and GTA franchises are unbelievably popular. So popular that a simple teaser image for RDR2 raised the stock price of its distributor, Take-Two Interactive, by close to 6%. Following the teaser image, the game's debut trailer was released on 20 October 2017 showing the open world environment aspect of RDR2, and currently has over 15 million views.
Even if the game isn't perfect, I can still see it being reviewed above the 9.5 margin if not the illustrious 10/10. Looking at past titles from the devs it's easy to see why.
Jarred - God of War
2018 is already off to a great start with Celeste, Monster Hunter: World, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and many other impressive games scoring in the high 80s and 90s. There's a lot more to come in 2018, with most of the major releases happening later in the year.
There's going to be some tough competition at the head of the leaderboard, but with all things considered my guess is that God of War will be the highest scoring game for 2018. I say that having never enjoyed the previous God of War games (those that I tried at least) and thinking that the new one might put some people off with its change in direction. That said, I think it will be a brilliant game that pulls in new players (hopefully myself included) and will start a chain of new, impressive action-adventure games. Time will tell.
Sarcasm and irony are his greatest tools, sport, adventure and shooting all the fools. Platformers =admiration, horror games = contempt, plans to live forever or die in the attempt.
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