It’s that time again. Time to come out with an incredibly flawed list that I still keep doing. This time, it’s for the DICE awards. This is my first time actually watching the DICE awards, and I will say I enjoyed them more than any other game award show. The Game Awards are fun to watch, but they are more of a spectacle while this felt like a true award show. But enough about that, let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?
How this works is that I go through each award winner and talk about why I agree or disagree with it. Please keep in mind this list is flawed considering I haven’t played every single game released in 2018, but I still try to be as unbiased as I can. The awards are in order of how they were announced, and I will say that I went into this show completely blind on who got nominated for what (which I will probably never do again). Now let’s get down into the nitty gritty.
Best Action Game: Celeste. Disagree
This one is hard, because it is ultimately how you approach this award. If you single out the action elements of this game and judge on that alone, I would say this game isn’t the best of the year. I haven’t played this game, so I can’t be certain, but I feel that other games with action elements are better than the action elements of this game. If you look at this game as a whole, however, I can see why this game was chosen over the other four options. Still, I think a game like Dead Cells should’ve at least got nominated for this award.
Best Character: Kratos from God of War. Agree
This one is also hard to judge (get it?) because I haven’t experienced every character nominated. One thing I can tell you for sure though is that I think Christopher Judge’s character is much better and more developed than Sunny Suljic’s. While his character arc is much more subtle, I think the transformation he goes through in the game is incredible, and I have to applaud Sony Santa Monica for making an angry screaming guy age and become such a complex character. I have heard about the great performance of the other nominees, and I would be fine if Red Dead 2 or Spiderman won, but I’m glad to see Kratos win because he is the one I am familiar with.
Best Story: God of War. Agree
Pretty much everything I said about character also applies here. I haven’t experienced every single one of those games, but I know about how great the stories are in these other games. Ultimately, I thought this award was going to come down to God of War and Red Dead 2, but Red Dead 2 wasn’t even nominated, so it pretty much just left me with God of War.
Best Online Game: Fortnite. Agree
Even though I like to crap on this game, I can’t deny the outstanding support and widespread influence of this game. This is one of the few games that breached into mainstream media, with [insert celebrity here] doing Fortnite dances and so on. I would like to say Black Ops 4 or Monster Hunter: World, but I can understand why they weren’t chosen (but I can’t understand why they weren’t at least nominated over Sea of Thieves. I didn’t feel strongly about all of the other contenders, but I will shout out Laser League for being a fun game and making a surprise nomination appearance for this award.
Best Game Design: God of War. Disagree
This one is a really close contender, and I am fine with God of War taking it, but I also feel that some of the other games are stronger. Personally, I feel that the game design of Obra Dinn and Into the Breach inches out over the winner because of how unique and how innovated they are.
Technical Achievement: Red Dead Redemption 2. Agree
Those 100 hour work weeks sure did pay off. Honestly, this game could probably take technical achievement of the decade because of how amazing all of that stuff is, and I haven’t even played the game. I will say God of War has some neat stuff like the endless tracking shot, but the level of detail in Red Dead 2 is second-to-none.
Best Art Direction: God of War. Disagree
This one felt like the easiest to me: Obra Dinn. Every year brings a game with an art style that just amazes, and I felt it was Lucas Pope’s game that did it for me. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t even nominated, and God of War took the cheddar. While I can see why that game won for its beauty in its color palette, environment, and character design, I felt that even Gris should’ve taken the award over it.
Best Animation: Spiderman. Disagree
It’s hard to judge this award without playing every nominee (which I haven’t), but I feel that Red Dead 2 should’ve taken the cake for this one. I can see why Spiderman would win this award for its swinging and various combat animations, but I think that this was a Red Dead award from the start.
Best Racing Game: Forza Horizon 4. Agree
Is there really a need for a conversation here? I haven’t played any of the nominees, but I could see from a mile away Forza would take this award.
Best Sports Game: Mario Tennis Aces. Agree
Even though it got only okay reviews, I still felt stronger about Mario because it isn’t a yearly released sports title like the other two nominees.
Best Fighting Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Disagree
Even though I am not a fighting game fan and this is the one fighting game that I enjoy playing, I feel that the award should’ve gone to Dragon Ball. Smash is great and all, but the game feels more like a collection than a new game, whereas Dragon Ball felt like it had a greater impact on the fighting genre. I can totally see why Smash won and I even agree with it in some capacity, but I also think it would’ve been cool if Dragon Ball won.
Best Family Game: Unravel Two. Agree
I went in thinking it would be Astro Bot, but now I realize that Unravel Two is better for families. The co-op mechanics offer an easier way to play for younger kids, and I think VR isn’t great for young children. I’m surprised Labo didn’t get nominated, but other than that I think Unravel Two is a good choice.
Best Strategy/Simulation Game: Into the Breach. Agree
There isn’t really any competition here. Into the Breach is one of, if not the best strategy game I have ever played, and its mix of puzzle elements and turn-based strategy is a beautiful blend that makes every moment of that game a joy.
Best Role Playing Game: Monster Hunter World. Agree
I, like many others, am now a fan of the series thanks to this game. It streamlined the experience just enough to make it playable, and it is a series I now love deeply. I could maybe see Pillars of Eternity Two taking this award, but I still think MHW was the right choice.
Best Adventure Game: God of War. Agree
All of the contenders for this award (except for Obra Dinn maybe) are really strong, and it’s hard to say anything except God of War considering it’s the only game I played on this list, but God of War’s adventure with Kratos and Atreus through Midgard and the realms is incredible and is something that ascends above being the adventure game of the year.
Best Indie Game: Celeste. Disagree
While I think this game is a really close contender, I personally think Dead Cells felt more impactful as an indie game. I can see not nominating this game because of its early access nature, but if that’s not the case I can’t see why that game didn’t win.
Best Portable Game: Florence. Agree
It’s not really a shocker to see this one win considering it’s the only mobile game being talked about among the larger titles like Red Dead and God of War. I think a somewhat close second is Donut County, but I knew going in how strong of a title Florence is.
Best Music Composition: God of War. Disagree
God of War has an amazing soundtrack that elevates the already godly game to an even godlier status; but when I think about music in games, I only really think of Tetris Effect. It’s the one game this year that combines the music and the gameplay together in an incredible way, and I think some of the songs that came out of that game are ones worth listening to outside of the experience. I could see an argument for best sound design for Tetris Effect, but seeing how it didn’t make the nomination list for that award, I end up saying Tetris should’ve taken this one.
Best Sound Design: God of War. Agree
This award is both something that is hard to judge without playing every game and something I don’t really care about as much. I did listen to audio from God of War, and I can say it is strong, so I’ll just stick with that and move on.
Immersive Reality Technical Achievement: Tonandi. Agree
I don’t have a strong opinion on this award because all of the best VR games this year that I can think aren’t really pushing the boundaries technically speaking. I guess I’ll say that I am glad an augmented reality experience won because I think that is a more impressive technology in 2019 than VR.
Best Immersive Reality Game: Beat Saber. Agree
This award came down to Beat Saber and Astro Bot, and while I rooted for the former, I thought it was going to be the latter. I’m glad that Beat Saber won because while both are great games, I think Beat Saber had more of an impact on the VR industry. It’s the one game that got me back into VR, and it re-vitalized the industry as a whole.
Best Game Direction: God of War. Agree
This award came down to God of War and Red Dead 2, and while I originally thought this would be a Red Dead award, I realized that the controversies of the workplace there may have an effect on this award. Because of that, I am not surprised God of War won.
Best Game of the Year: God of War. Agree
I didn’t realize until recently just how close the race between God of War and Red Dead 2 is for awards, which is why I feel that this award is more impactful for me. While I think both are incredible games, I believe that the flaws of Red Dead 2 weigh down on the experience a bit more than God of War, which is why I think God of War is the right choice.
That is going to wrap up this list as well as talks about 2018 games. Thank you all for reading, and tune in at around E3 time for the next award show blog.