The following is a script from the attached video. It’s my awards for 2018. Please enjoy:
Hello and welcome to part 2 of End of Year celebration 2018 edition. It is totally not late, The official calendar people, that I am not making up, has declared New Years videos are officially 2018 videos. Now that we have the last minute reviews out of the way, we can have some real fun. It is Award time.
This year I’ve reviewed a lot of games, between 98 and 100 depending on how you like to count my reviews of the three JackBoxes I’m going to skip reading the list of all the games, because, well it takes a long time. However, I’ve taken that list and reviewed it multiple times, cutting every game I could from it. I wanted to look at 5 games. However, I got to 6 games and found a point where I want to talk about each to the point where I couldn’t choose one to cut.
The rules for being on this list is I had to give the game an official review, on the website. The score doesn’t matter, in fact, some 5s are missing, TIS-100, and Ori and The Blind Forest. I tried not to focus on games reviewed late in the year and I think I succeeded.
The point of this is to award these six games for standing out in some way. I came up with 6 categories that show why the game is on the list. I’ll explain the award and give a little speech for each.
We’ll start the video with
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Both of these games are fantastic for Story. I always say “Gameplay is King”, and I still do, but Danganronpa definitely made me question that rule quite a big. Both of these games don’t have a perfect score but it’s the gameplay that holds them back. However, Danganronpa’s story is fantastic, now I’m avoiding spoilers of course, but while I have issues with the story of the first game, they are very minor ones. The fact is, the story is delivered so well and done in such an interesting way, Danganronpa stuck with me for a very long time, to the point that I picked up Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, which had an even better story.
Both of these games have amazing characters, and they each are developed so well that I can’t express how well it’s done. The story is interesting, the secrets are very well done, and even when I could guess what was about to happen, I wanted to see how the information was delivered. Honestly, I’ve had issues in the past with digital Novels, but these two have made me reconsider. We might see some visual novels or even some dating sims coming up because of them. I’m not sure, but I can almost guarantee that by the end of next year, at least one of two sequels of the series will be reviewed, and I might even have to watch the anime, from what I hear.
I thought of second awards for all of these games, and honestly, I’d give Danganronpa
Best Sequel, because it’s the only one.
Yes, It would be a default award, but it doesn’t mean any less. The fact is, this is the only game I felt I had to review a second game for. The story was good and interesting, how could I avoid learning more.
On the other hand Danganronpa 2, while having some new issues with it, is a better game, the story is a little better, there are fantastic connections between the two games, and most of the issues probably came from the feedback of the first game. I know I gave similar feedback.
The fact is, Danganronpa 2 is what I want from sequels, a more polished product, that took a few risks, even if they didn’t pay off, but it continued the compelling story and that’s what was important. Honestly, this is a great series, and if you’ve slept on it, you might want to take a look
Way to go Spike Chunsoft, you’ve done an exceptional job here.
Into the Breach
Yes, our first 5/5, and the fact is. Into the Breach is just fantastic. I’m absolutely blown away at how well done Into the Breach is. But I want to talk about the design.
Into the breach really doesn’t have flaws in my opinion. It’s been polished to the point that it shines, and honestly, most games should be able to do that. But Into the Breach takes it a step further and shows that the game has also been expertly designed beyond just a polish stage. As I played through the game, I never noticed that I wanted something different.
There are three difficulties and each is well balanced and interesting. I barely touched the highest but I’m still more than happy with my time here. The use of achievements to unlock new units is so well done, and the diversity of units is excellent as well.
Each Playthrough feels great, and honestly, I can see the designer’s hand as I play, seeing what must have taken hundreds of iterations to perfect, and the end result deserves recognition. Into the Breach is that good.
Which leads us to a second award I would have for Into the Breach,
Pretty much the same story, this game is polished, not just in gameplay, but that design, and the design really allows the player to think about the perfect move, and make it. The enemy isn’t always perfect, and that’s fine, but the player constantly has to use mastery of all the game systems to get optimal results. I love playing Into the Breach because it fills the same need I have for playing Chess, or board games. There is the smallest amount of randomness, mostly in the grid defense area, but it is a safety net, not an intended part of the
Into the Breach is just an exceptional strategic game, and for that, again, there was no question in my mind, Into the Breach deserved an award.
Thank you Subset games, this was a real joy to play.
Pinball FX 3
Hey didn’t I just talk about this one? I made my rapid look list without really thinking about the awards, but as I said in that list, Pinball Fx 3 is one of my favorite games. I have over 40 hours between the Steam version of Pinball FX 2 and Pinball Fx 3, and even more spent on The Xbox 360, the Ps3, and even a couple on the Android version.
In fact, let me just mention a potential second award for Pinball FX3 right now.
That’s subjective but this is the game I have the most fun with.
Like I’ve said, this is one of my favorite series, and I adore what they do with Pinball. Now I do like Pinball Arcade as well, but Pinball FX 3 does a little more bending of what is possible with the tables and that’s what keeps me coming back to the same tables. There’s a lot of variety of tables, different challenges, achievements, interesting gameplay, leaderboards, Matchup, Tournaments, and more here for you to keep challenging yourself. In addition, you can buy whichever tables interest you and leave which ones don’t.
I do want to talk about a couple of things I didn’t get to in the short review. First, I mentioned the Williams tables are no longer available to buy in Pinball Arcade, and now some are available in Pinball FX 3. It shows a perfect example of the difference between real pinball tables and what Pinball FX 3 has done over their 80 + tables. The Williams tables look differentl, they kind of feel out of place here. Just not my favorite tables, but that doesn’t hurt the game, and honestly, I’m warming up to them a bit, they are just different styles.
The Matchup, tournaments and leaderboard system is really cool, but the matchup mode expects you to own a number of tables, I do because I’m addicted to the game, but it might be limited for others.
Finally, I just want to reiterate that finding a good table is essential, but the game allows you to play any table for 90 seconds, which is a nice trial period. But this game really has a ton of variety. There are Jurassic World, Universal Studios Movies, Marvel, Star Wars, Bethesda games (Fallout Skyrim and Doom! ) Aliens vs Pinball, Fox TV shows, which include Archer, Valve which is Portal, and Walking Dead and their own tables. That’s an amazing variety and almost every table is extremely unique. If they somehow got Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy VI in there, they’d have everything I love in one place
The thing is Pinball games are meant to be addictive, and Pinball FX 3 has grabbed that ability and like I’ve said enhanced it. Whether it be odd gravity, reversed controls, Wolverine’s claws shooting out of the back, watching two characters fight while I slam that metal ball around, hitting Marty McFly as he skates across the board, or more, Pinball FX 3 does something unique and that’s why I keep talking about it.
Zen Studios. Thank you for Pinball FX 3, and thanks for a great 8 years. I’m still loving it and looking forward to another year of pinball.
I’m going to be honest. Exapunks might not be a 5/5 game for most people, at the same time, it’s my favorite game of this year, and I just love it, and I stand by the 5/5, it’s my site. The thing is its programming, and Zachtronics, I love those guys. I’ll always play their games, and maybe they’re going to be the one completely non-objective score I give, but I’m going to have to live with that.
The thing is though, this game is fun. I ripped through this game in two days enjoying every minute. The challenges are great, the gameplay is fantastic, and the game is so good. It just strokes that inner programmer in me and I love it.
Now it might not be everyone’s favorite, but there’s just something about this game that makes me excited, there are additional puzzles out there that honestly are quite hard, and I’m going to have to go back and tackle them again.
And that optimization is so much fun as I said in my review.
In fact, let’s give the second award for Exapunks, if you haven’t guessed I came up with second awards for all the games.
Best puzzle design.
I wanted to say Best Puzzles but honestly, I don’t know if I can make that case, but the level design or puzzle design here is great. Having to compute Baseball players statistics with one register? Amazing. Having to hack into a video game and kill all the players, hilarious. Recreating the tape battle from Hackers? YES PLEASE! Honestly, some levels might be merely ok, but there are so many puzzles here that are freaking great.
Exapunks is my pleasure, it’s not guilty, it’s not wrong, but you know what, that’s my personal favorite.
Though I still have two games left, but Zachtronics, an excellent game this year, and thank you for it.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
If you want to know what I think of this game’s, just listen to my first look, I melt. The audio coming from multiple voices from multiple different directions, the sound design, the experience. Dear God, I just melt on camera. It’s so freaking good I had to pause the game so I can talk about how good it was because I didn’t want to miss a second of it.
The audio design is so well done I can’t express enough, and if you’ve seen my reviews, I don’t normally talk about sound, I don’t really care about sound as much. I listen to the games, I play them, they work. Hellblade sat me down and made me take notice, and oh… so good.
You know what Hellblade has a VR mode. My plan is to get a new computer in the new year and a VR setup, I can’t wait to try that out.
Speaking of which. The Second Award for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Yes, Hellblade didn’t get a perfect score, but every minute of Senua’s journey is wonderful. I love the story here, I love the slow moments, I love exploration and finding stuff, I just adore this game, and honestly, it’s a game where less combat could have been preferable because everything outside of combat is so well done.
The viewpoint puzzles are odd but work, Valravn’s domain is just amazing, and the game is extremely clever. It kept me wanting to see more, and it’s also perfectly paced because the ending of the game left me satisfied in every way.
Hellblade is incredible and if you’re one of the people who has not played it, please, give Ninja Theory the money and play the game. I know they were purchased by Microsoft, I just hope we’ll see their next game on Steam, otherwise…. I honestly might break my PC only policy
Thank you Ninja Theory, what an incredible game.
You know what, I haven’t played everything this year, and that’s just something we have to realize. As a single reviewer, I have to pick and choose what I play and review. But the game that just overwhelmed me this year, was Yakuza 0. It is just an outstanding game with amazing visuals, two awesome stories, great characters, unbelievable mini-games, and just so much content it almost hurts the game. Almost. There’s tons to do in Yakuza, and yet the story is so compelling I had to keep making the hard choice of what to do next.
It doesn’t hurt that characters here are so good, the story is interesting and constantly made me want to see more, and yet I was sitting at the hostess club one of my characters owned teaching girls how to flirt with guys for a couple hours multiple times because I kept getting distracted by the sidequests because they were so compelling. I had to finish the game, and yet I spent two more days playing it because I couldn’t only focus on the story.
The thing is everything was done right. Combat was tight and fun, exploration was rewarding, the side missions are interesting, the characters are great, and while Kiryu is the heart and soul of the Yakuza series, playing as Majima Goro is just so much fun, and he’s hilarious. The breaker style is hilarious as well.
Sega, thank you for Yakuza 0, thank you for bringing the series to PC. And … well, there’s that second award for Yakuza 0.
I want more.
Yeah, if I had to choose a single game I wanted to play more of, Yakuza 0 was it. I know Yakuza Kiwani, the remake of the original game is already announced for PC and supposed to be coming. Yes, the series is out for PlayStation but I review PC games. I’ve watched the news for it, we still don’t have a date, but honestly, that’s the game I really want. SEGA, just give us a release window, please, that’s all I ask. And a little more QA this time, you know. But Yakuza 0 man. Wow.
And those are my awards. Officially all 6 games here are the best of the year for me, I was going to make a top 5 list and give one game the best of the year, but the fact is, each game is great in its own way. I know people want to hear “Game of the year. And so… well, yes Yakuza 0, Best Overall is my official game of the Year. The order of the games as mentioned here can be seen as from lowest to greatest, but really they’re all on this list for different reasons, and none should be looked down on.
It’s been an amazing 2018, I’m blown away by everything that has happened to me and this site. I went from reviewing games on Steam, to running my own websites to creating this channel, and hitting 150 subscribers in a short time. If you want to join, the button is down below I have ideas of what is to come, perhaps even a little more discussion than just reviews, but I don’t want to make that promise if I can’t keep it.
I want to take a moment and thank you, the viewer. It’s been a great year, and thank you for sharing these moments with me. I’ll be back soon to talk about more, but until then. I appreciate our time together.
Until next time, I’m Kinglink and Thank You for Watching.