GOTY awards are always difficult, especially during such a strong year for gaming. This generation has finally reached its peak and we are getting better games than ever. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony are all making strides forward and setting themselves up for a wonderful future, even if Microsoft may seem like they’re lagging a bit; Microsoft only came out with three studio games this year, but so did Sony. Nintendo also came out with some riveting titles in the second half of the year to offset all the Wii U ports they released for the Switch. Now the question is, what was the best game of 2018? Best Publisher/Developer — Nintendo Nintendo may not have had the year that most had hoped for, but, they did release some excellent titles in the second half of the year, such as Torna The Golden Country, Octopath Traveler, Super Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Pokemon: Let’s Go! That, including the ports released, made for a pretty impressive year for the Big N. Best Narrative and Most Underrated — 428 Shibuya Scramble 428: Shibuya Scramble may be a niche Japanese game that came out nine years ago, but it’s one of the greatest stories ever told in video game format. It’s a true work of art, from the story, the music, writing, visuals, and characters. My 60-hour playthrough doesn’t feel like it was enough. I still want more. It’s an exquisite game that will leave you in tears, tugging at your heartstrings, but not without its’ moments of levity. The presentation is excellent with its’ time chart and overall organization. The gameplay is innovative and unique for the genre, even to this day. There is a reason why Famitsu readers ranked it second only behind Steins;Gate in the adventure game genre. Best RPG — Octopath Traveler Square Enix is back with this excellent RPG for the Nintendo Switch. The narrative tells the story of eight different characters whose stories all ultimately converge, and they fight a common enemy to save the world. It may seem a bit simple, but it’s more complicated than that. With its HD effects and backgrounds, charming sprites, wonderful characters, and exquisite story, this is the best RPG to come out in 2018. Best Sports Game — Forza Horizon 4 Forza Horizon 4 brings something new to the franchise and feels more like a racing game than its predecessor. The addition of seasons is excellent and innovative, changing the basic mechanics of the game. The gameplay is tight and top-notch, which is to be expected from Playground Games. The re-creation of England is masterful and with so many cars to chose from, the game really is a must play, even for non-car fans. Best Multiplayer Experience — Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the ultimate (no pun intended) Nintendo multiplayer game. It’s also the best fighting game to be released in the last 20 years or so. With over 60 characters to chose from, stages (and characters) from every previous game, and new game modes, there’s no reason not to play this. It’s even still compatible with the GameCube controller, which is 17 (?) years old. There’s something to be said about that. It’s the one must-own game on the Switch right now and it’s probably the most fun game out there. Game of the Year — (tie) 428 Shibuya Scramble and Marvel’s Spider-Man This is a tie. It’s hard to compare two games that are so drastically different, but, both gave the same level of satisfaction at the end of its completion. We’ve already spoken about why 428 is so good (it’s one of the best stories ever told in the medium), but Marvel’s Spider-Man is a different kind of game. It’s incredibly enticing and the best iteration of Spider-Man in any medium. It tells a compelling story that will tug at your heart and by the end of the game it will leave you wanting more. It’s been overlooked by most, but Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best game to come out this year, along with 428 Shibuya Scramble.