A note from Alex “Jeddy” Jedraszczak, GameCola’s Editor-in-Chief:
Welcome, one and all, to GameCola’s 2018 GameCola Videogame Awards, presented by GameCola. We here at GameCola pride ourselves on taking a realistic amount of time to play the games released in 2018, which is why we do our awards halfway through the following year.
Seriously, how many more awards would Smash Ultimate have gotten if it was released in January instead of December?! Come on!
I’ll go ahead and let you get to the awards.
Best Licensed Game
John Rizzi: Marvel’s Spider-Man takes full advantage of its license in the most satisfying ways possible to both fans and gamers alike. The combat mechanics, while a bit derivative of another certain GameCola “Best Licensed Game” winner, have an agile feel to them that blends extraordinarily well with the game’s absurdly fun traversal mechanics that will make anyone feel like they can do whatever a spider can.
Spidey’s Manhattan has never felt more realized than it has here, with little details and entire side missions that’ll make any Marvel fan happy.
However, this game’s greatest honor to the license is being the best depiction of the titular character in over a decade. Yes he’s still annoyingly quippy and nerdy, as most adaptations depict him, but the game provides explicit insight into the Spidey’s heart, morals, and down-to-earth struggles and nature that made me remember why I loved this character in the first place.
Honorable Mention: Dragon Ball FighterZ
Best Remake or Re-Release
Shadow of the Colossus
John Rizzi: This could’ve come out so lazy. All they could’ve done was port the PS3 version, up the texture resolution, and call it a day. But no. Bluepoint games went above and beyond audience expectations by remaking all of the game’s assets from the ground up. Making the game look and feel as fresh as ever.
The controls are reworked to feel more natural, new modes are added that reward you with new weapons to use in game, and photo mode is a fantastic addition that gives the option to apply visual filters that can also be left on during the gameplay.
Bottom line, Shadow of the Colossus was an achievement of artistic storytelling in video games when it first came out, and the remake not only does the original justice, but it’s now the definitive way to experience it.
Honorable Mention: Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee
Best New Character
Detective Pikachu (Detective Pikachu)
Terrence Atkins: Did you see that one Pokémon movie where Pikachu talks, and he sounds like some kind of weird infant baby child? I guess he was supposed to sound like his normal “pika-pi!” Pikachu voice, but it was totally creepy. In Detective Pikachu, the titular Detective Pikachu is a rough and tumble dude, and it’s way more awesome. How awesome? I mean, come on—he won Best New Character.
Honorable Mention: Impact Man (Mega Man 11)
Anna Bryniarski: Octopath Traveler takes you on eight separate adventures spanning the land of Osterra. Traveling from one city to the next, you pick up different travelers with their own goals and quests, leading you in all different directions as you complete the chapters of all eight stories.
While every story has its ups and downs, they’re all pretty well put together. Even some of the ongoing side quests have a good story to them. Not everything is perfect, but it’s enjoyable all throughout.
Honorable Mention: Celeste
Daniel Castro: Fallout 76 is a milestone in terrible games. It’s the result of throwing together a bunch of bad ideas, then marketing that as a buyable game expecting that its fanbase would just blindly follow.
The game can be summarized in two words: Fallout Online. That is, let Bethesda Softworks make another bug-ridden glitchfest, just make it online, and instead of a rich and detailed environment with a story to unfold, have a barren land where players can “explore”, collect stuff, and fight with each other. Add microtransactions—because that’s the reason they’re doing this in the first place—but not just cosmetics, oh no! Let’s include repair kits, which solves the equipment deterioration issue they implemented in the first place!
I’m glad that few took the bait this time. The game had to be discounted after only a week to attract more players…screwing everyone who paid full price, who were still not as screwed as those who paid for the Power Armor Edition with the cheap nylon bag (not the canvas bag that was advertised—unless you were an influencer, who got them for free!). And their shameful E3 presentation this year where they announced the game will finally have (Gasp!) freaking NPCs! …this game is just a ride for us watching from the sidelines until Bethesda finally fixes it, or eventually puts it out of its misery.
As someone who’s getting sick of these exploitable online-only titles, I’m rooting for the latter.
Honorable Mention: Metal Gear Survive
Alex Jedraszczak: Donut County is the timeless tale of a girl and the donut-delivering raccoon who’s destroying her town. It’s a puzzle game with a Katamari Damacy level of silly gameplay, broken up by goofy chats between townspeople getting swallowed up by your donut delivery system. While it may not have a lot of hard-hitting laughs, it’s a silly game paced to keep you giggling the entire time. And don’t forget about the item descriptions!
Honorable Mention: Super Mario Party
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Diana Gray: Nintendo did it again. Smash will always be a fantastic multiplayer game, and with a variety of ways to play on the Switch, this entry in the series doesn’t disappoint. Game modes such as Squad Strike allow you to pit your best fighters against your opponents, and an organized tournament bracket makes setting up local tournaments much easier. The ability to create online arenas for friends that allow different battle types and item settings is amazing for streaming or playing with long distance friends and the lag, although present, has been much improved from past entries in the franchise. I also love how accessible the multiplayer is—although it’s not super easy, it’s possible to play with two people on single JoyCons, allowing you to use multiplayer features without buying any additional accessories. Smash is a mainstay in the realm of multiplayer games, and Ultimate‘s new features are steadily improving the series.
Honorable Mention: Super Mario Party
Diana Gray: I feel it’s ironic that I was chosen to write this entry as well as the one for Smash Ultimate, as Stardew‘s update added multiplayer features to the game. Four people can now live together on one farm, working and making money together. Being able to play with others was life-changing because the challenge to make a productive and beautiful farm completely changes with four people to assist in the process. Different players have their own objectives—one player can be farming, one can be mining, one can be fishing, and one can be making friends in the town. The update gave the game the perfect balance of individual objectives and group goals to encourage cooperation and individual exploration. The other huge feature added in this update was a new winter event, the Night Market, which involves shopping and a fishing minigame all taking place on boats on the beach. It adds a fresh breath of life to Pelican Town, especially for crazy people like me who were on Year 5 and only needed a tiny push to fall back into the game for good.
Honorable Mention: Hitman 2
… What’s that? You’re looking for Game of the Year? You must not have been following the GameCola Videogame Awards for very long—and that’s alright! Part 2 tomorrow will contain the BIG winners. Until then, why not share your thoughts in the comments, or on our Discord, or on our Facebook, or on Twitter with the #GCVGA2018 tag? We’d love to hear from you!