It has felt like a flash, but the year is almost over. This was the first full year of the newest generation of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, and, in this first year, there were a plethora of great games released on the new consoles and games that came to this generation and the last.
Next week, The Game Awards, one of the most significant events in gaming, returns. This year, unlike most, the Game of the Year award seems to be entirely up in the air. Today, we are looking at each of the six games nominated for Game of the Year at this year's The Game Awards. Any game could win between the six nominees.
Starting off the nominees is one of the two new-generation PlayStation 5 exclusives in Arkane's Deathloop. Deathloop puts players in the shoes of a man named Colt, who is stuck in a time loop of a single day and is trying to escape the loop by taking out eight characters in a single loop without restarting. The game is about learning and finding clues to get these characters together to be taken out in tandem, and Colt can break the loop. The gameplay combines first-person shooting with supernatural powers akin to Arkane's Dishonored series, offering many options for combat encounters.
Then, Julianna is set to stop Colt from breaking the loop by invading the area you are currently in. You can't leave the area until Julianna is taken out, or you can hack the door system to open the exits again. Julianna is so attractive because she can be controlled by an AI or another player who has invaded your game, making these scenarios more intense. A neat story premise, a wide variety of gameplay options, and a great sense of discovery while exploring make Deathloop a grand contender for Game of the Year at this year's The Game Awards.
It Takes Two
Josef Fares stole the gaming world's hearts back during an impassioned interview with Geoff Keighley at the 2017 The Game Awards. Last year, his next game and current nominee for Game of the Year, It Takes Two, was announced what sets it apart from all the other nominees on the list is an entirely co-op-only game. You can't play it yourself; you need someone to experience the game with.
It Takes Two tells the tale of a set of parents going through the early stages of divorce, which is then magically transported into the body of dolls owned by their daughters. They must work together to overcome their predicament and return to their real bodies. It Takes Two tells a gripping story of a failing relationship and the characters' attempts to overcome their struggles. The game's mandatory co-op nature shows it takes two to make a relationship work. For its unique nature of being co-op and its rich storytelling, it Takes Two deserves its spot on the list of nominees for Game of the Year this year.
Nintendo returned to the Game of the Year nominee spotlight with the return of Samus Aran and the Metroid franchise in the form of Metroid Dread. Metroid Dread is the first new 2D Metroid game in 20 years, and Nintendo knocked it out of the park with their return to the genre. The game plays incredibly with combat feeling fast, and the more weapons and abilities you unlock, the better the game feels.
Metroid Dread showcases intensely atmospheric moments with Samus exploring the planet ZDR. That intensity ramps up perfectly when the EMMI robots appear, sometimes frighteningly so, and chase Samus trying to end your run in one shot. The exploration and puzzles to find and unlock hidden items give a sense of accomplishment once they are overcome. Metroid Dread is a well-done entry in one of Nintendo's longest-running and most beloved franchises. It certainly holds its own compared to the other nominees on the list.
Next up is one of Microsoft's newest first-party studios' nominees on the list with Psychonauts 2. The sequel to the cult classic original first found its footing being crowdfunded back in late 2015. After years of development and delays, along with the purchase of Double Fine by Microsoft, Psychonauts 2 finally took the stage earlier this summer. The game brought the beloved characters and world to the modern-day perfectly. Psychonauts 2 sees the return of Raz, who is officially a Psychonaut and has players accompany Raz along with his first true mission.
The game has Raz jumping between the minds of different characters. Each character's mind is entirely different, with different visual aesthetics and gameplay elements that tie into each level. You can go from a trippy festival concert featuring Jack Black to a casino and hospital mixup to a crazy food-based game show, and they all feel like they fit perfectly in the wacky world that is Psychonauts. The game introduces several fun new characters and some neat new abilities to use. Psychonauts 2 is a well-deserved follow-up to 2005 original and a strong contender for Game of the Year.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
Now we get to Sony's first party's nominee, the second PlayStation 5 exclusive, and the game with the highest production value on the list with Insomniac's Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart feels like you are playing a Pixar movie. The game is breathtaking with the phenomenal look of its environments and characters, and it is easily one of, if not the best-looking games released this year.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart feels like a remarkable entry in the series. There many unique and extraordinary weapons for players to use, and the planets are all visually distinct and fun to explore. The cross-dimensional story offers some great set pieces. The game also takes full advantage of the PlayStation 5's features. The haptics and triggers of the DualSense respond masterfully to the sounds, and weapons have their feel when pulling the trigger. The dimensional shifting that is instantaneous shows the speed of the PS5's SSD incredibly well. Being the showpiece of the PlayStation 5 and an overall fantastic experience quickly demonstrates why Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart deserves to be nominated this year.
Resident Evil Village
Completing the list of nominees is Resident Evil Village. After a few remakes of classic entries in the series, Capcom returned with the newest entry in the series with Resident Evil Village. The game is a direct follow-up to Resident Evil VII and sees protagonist Ethan Winters and his family living near a small European village. In the game, Ethan attempts to rescue his daughter from the clutches of the lords of the village. While the story sounds simple, it's full of great moments and twists that fans of the series will love.
Resident Evil Village is full of atmosphere and, while not as terrifying as its predecessor, has some of the absolute scariest moments in any game. From the stunning castle of Lady Dimitrescu to the absolute horror of House Beneviento, Moreau's eerie reservoir, or Heisenberg's malicious factory, each of the lords offers distinct areas in the game for players to explore and confront them. Resident Evil Village shows Capcom is still firing on all cylinders with their biggest franchise, and the game is deserving of being nominated for Game of the Year this year.