Gameplay is the heart and soul of any game. No matter how good your story is, no matter how big your budget and production values, no matter how much hype you have, if the gameplay doesn’t deliver, your game has failed.
There were plenty of games that provided excellent gameplay in 2018. Whether it was refinements of tested mechanics, innovative concepts, or immersive interactivity, 2018 gave us some gameplay greats. But one in particular stood out for me…
Winner: Marvel’s Spider-Man
There were admittedly a few top contenders for this award. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate represents one of the greatest multiplayer franchises at its very best. Red Dead Redemption 2 gave us a world with an unrivaled amount of ways to play. God of War delivered the series’ trademark action, while delving further into exploration elements. And Celeste was a testament to how simple gameplay can create deep games.
But in the end, I had to go with Marvel’s Spider-Man. Why? For the very simple reason that Spider-Man controls just as you’d always hoped he would. From running up walls to swinging across buildings, Marvel’s Spider-Man really made you feel like the friendly neighborhood web-slinger.
Granted, some of the combat sections drag on a bit, but they’re still fun. Spider-Man’s constantly expanding moveset, repertoire of gadgets, and unique costumes all add to the experience, making for quite the varied combat variety.
Yes, Spider-Man walks away with this award because it made me feel like Spider-Man as much as I think a game could at this point. The simple act of controlling a character has rarely been so satisfying.
Runner-up: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
2014: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
2016: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
2017: Super Mario Odyssey
*Retroactively awarded after further consideration