Polyblog: 2018 Brizzy Awards
Welcome to the 2nd Annual Brizzy Awards, where the categories are made up, and the points don't matter! This is where I highlight some of my favorite things from the year in gaming, so settle in and let's see if your tastes are as good as mine!
The Brizzy for Best Narrative goes to...
I'm giving the award for Best Narrative to Detroit for one main reason: It fulfilled the promise of a branching narrative in which your choices actually change the story. Telltale Games claimed to carry that torch, but when my friends and I compared our experiences with those games, the story was always pretty much the same. However, when Travis, Musty, and I compared our Detroit stories, we were blown away by how different they were. Our characters went to totally different places, and their stories all ended in very different ways. The stories of the three main characters were all interesting, and each presented dilemmas that didn't always have an easy solution. Detroit even managed to incorporate the game's menu into the narrative, which was neat little trick.
The Brizzy for Best VR Game goes to...
If you know anything about me, this should be no surprise. I love Skyrim and all things Bethesda Game Studios, so when they brought this to VR, I was all over it. Just like Fallout 4 VR before it, this is the full game in VR. All those majestic mountains, terrifying frost trolls, and glorious moons in VR. I played on Vive using motion controllers, which lets you use bows, weapons, and shields realistically, and let's you aim two magic spells in different directions which can be pretty useful. Being on PC, I was able to install mods, and tweak settings to get the game running just right on my machine, but the best thing I did was just turning off enemy health bars. It's amazing how much more immersive it is when you're just fighting things instead of staring at a red bar. Check out some of my gameplay below:
The Brizzy for Best Value goes to...
Here's a list of games added to Game Pass just in December:
Mutant Year Zero (December 4th)
Strange Brigade (December 6th)
Mortal Kombat X (December 7th)
Ashen (December 7th)
Kingdom Two Crowns (December 11th)
Spintires: Mudrunner (December 13th)
PES 2019 (December 13th)
Below (December 14th)
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (December 17th)
Ori and the Blind Forest (December 20th)
Shadow Warrior 2 (December 20th)
In total there's now about 254 games available on Game Pass. If you own an Xbox One, you're a fool if you're not paying for Game Pass. And yes, I am talking to you, Travis. A 12-month subscription was recently on sale for $70. That's barely more than the cost of a single game! Also, If you don't mind answering little trivia quizzes, you can earn months of Game Pass for free with Microsoft Rewards. My subscription is paid up through January 2020.
The Brizzy for "I Can't Believe These Graphics" goes to...
Occasionally a game comes out, and the graphics are so awesome, it makes me pause and think "I can't believe how good games look now." Horizon: Zero Dawn was one of those games last year. God of War and Detroit were a couple earlier this year. But the mother of them all has to be Red Dead Redemption 2. The amazingly detailed and varied world, and the super realistic lighting, shadows, and particle effects team up to create incredible scenes almost every where you look. Add to that the incredibly animated and detailed player character (and horse), and you almost feel like you're watching a movie rather than playing a game. It's hard to imagine a game looking better than this one, but I'm sure I'll be back here next year feeling the same awe over something new. What a time to be alive.
The Brizzy for Best Game goes to…
God of War was such a perfect game. From the epic boss fights, to the quiet moments rowing a boat across a lake, every moment of this game felt like it was polished to a mirror-like shine. If games were cars, God of War would be the fine-tuned, precision engineered German luxury car. The story and characters were compelling, and the combat was visceral and gratifying. But the attention given to the little things is what makes it a complete package. Like when Atreus wants to do a side mission for a spirit, and Kratos says "I do not run errands for spirits, boy", but you do the mission anyway, and things go awry, and Atreus is like "why'd you help", and Kratos explains that it was to teach him a lesson. Thus allowing us to do side missions while still maintaining Kratos's badass nature. Or the little legends that Mimir tells you while you're rowing across the lake, which I'd often stop and listen to even after reaching my destination. On top of all that, Sony Santa Monica managed to make this epic game with virtually no bugs, which is unheard of these days.
The Brizzy for "Fuck You, I Like It" goes to...
If you don't like Fallout 76, that's fine. It's different. I get that it's controversial. What I don't get is people that are upset about the game because it's different. Bethesda was very up front that this game was NOT Fallout 5. But if you went on reddit when this game came out, you'd think Bethesda had just said all future RPGs would be multiplayer going forward, and that they were swearing off single player games. The idiocy is maddening.
Without going too much into it since I've already release a video on the topic (which you can see below), I'll just say that Bethesda's trademark open world exploration is zen for me. I can spend hours just exploring new areas on the map. I don't need a quest, or NPCs, or even other players. Just me, sneaking through the shadows, blasting robots, mutants, and monsters, and upgrading my gear and stats is all I need. And Fallout 76 has a whole Fallout game worth of stuff to discover. I've played the game a ton, and there are still large areas of the map that I haven't even been to yet. I'll be playing this long after the credits on other "better" games have rolled.
Alright, that wraps up the 2018 Brizzy Awards. Hopefully you liked all the things I liked, and validated that you have impeccable taste! If not, better luck next year! Hit me up on twitter @HokieBriz if you want to tell me how great the #BrizzyAwards were!