The annual Push Square Towers tradition is back, as we sit down our scribes and pester them once more for their five favourite PlayStation games of the year. With such a strong assortment of software in 2018, it’s always tough deciding upon the cream of the crop. We threatened to send Sammy a truckload of physical press kit tat before he sent us his list.
Fifth Choice: Tetris Effect
I’m really passionate about games that can evoke emotions beyond fun, because I think this medium as a whole underachieves. Yes, I agree it’s entertaining stomping on turtles and drifting around hairpin bends – but can a game make the hairs on the back of my neck prickle and take me to a different mental space? It’s ironic that Tetris Effect, a title inspired by an ancient gameplay format, is able to do that – but I think it’s testament to the genius of Tetsuya Mizuguchi and his ability to craft stunning audiovisual experiences that it does. With a PSVR headset, this is a spiritual experience.
Fourth Choice: Detroit: Become Human
It always amuses me how Quantic Dream is able to bring the fledgling movie critics out of the woodwork, because David Cage may not be the best scriptwriter in the world but Detroit: Become Human is still a staggering achievement. Subtlety is not in this exclusive’s arsenal, but as far as branching narratives go, I don’t think people realise quite how impressive this is; there are entire chapters – sprawling, lengthy scenes – that you may not even see here depending on how your playthrough develops. It’s by far the French developer’s best game, and comfortably one of the most memorable of 2018.
Third Choice: Astro Bot Rescue Mission
I don’t want to sound too salty, but I firmly believe that if Astro Bot Rescue Mission swapped out its protagonist for a certain Italian plumber and was published by a different Japanese publisher then we’d be looking at a Game of the Year candidate on a global scale here. This is comfortably the most innovative 3D platformer in decades, pairing virtual reality with inventive gameplay in ways that I never even imagined. It’s an outstanding achievement and it’s up there with God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man as the best that Sony’s had to offer this year. It’s just that good.
Second Choice: God of War
I thought I knew what God of War was going to be when it was rumoured that Sony Santa Monica was transporting Kratos to Norse mythology, but I guess I just completely underrated the creativity of Cory Barlog and his crew. Not only does Kratos' soft-reboot tell an affecting and relatable tale, but it marries it all to an incredibly well designed world, which constantly promotes experimentation. The writing is excellent throughout, but it’s the thoughtful way in which the landscape is constructed which truly pushed this right to the top of my list. As far as franchise revivals go, this may just be the pinnacle.
First Choice: Red Dead Redemption 2
There are plenty of game worlds I’ve wanted to live in, but none of them are as detailed as Red Dead Redemption 2. This is a ponderous game that plods along at its own pace, but in giving its characters room to breathe it forces you to care about every single one of them. Rockstar rarely ever bends to convention, and so this a clumsy title that loses its way at times. But when it’s at its best – when you’re riding through foggy forests or dancing with gang members under the moonlight – it’s absolutely untouchable as an interactive experience. And that’s why it’s my Game of the Year.
Has Sammy picked similar games to you this year, or do you just have very different taste to our esteemed editor? Remember he wields the ban hammer in the comments section below.