God of War is my favorite game to have been released this year without a shadow of a doubt. In fact, the first ever PSLS Dev Spotlight was shone on none other than Cory Barlog himself—I'll admit that I am a little biased toward Cory, but he really did direct an utterly phenomenal game in God of War. I'm a Norse mythology buff, too, so seeing Kratos taking on the Aesir made me feel as if it were Christmas every day.
Anyway, the reason you should play this if you haven't yet is because it's an innovative, narrative-driven adventure filled with highs and lows that will make you laugh and cry at a moment's notice. Kratos' desire to become a better father is juxtaposed with his usual destructive violence, making God of War an amalgamation of vivid storytelling and visceral combat. This is my own personal GOTY, and I have faith in it to do the business at The 2018 Game Awards.
Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 was the subject of much controversy this year due to the reports of crunch that surfaced online towards the end of its development. Although the practices involved in making Red Dead Redemption 2 are something that the games industry has failed to address for a very long time, it has to be said that Red Dead Redemption 2 is genuinely a great game. A very important article on Kotaku drew attention to the fact that despite the mistreatment of Rockstar's staff, they would still want you to buy the game that they worked so hard to create.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a spectacle of realism in games, offers a compelling—albeit a bit stretched out—story, and showcases some of the most up-to-date game design in the world right now. If you like your AAAs, you really should look into getting Red Dead Redemption 2, as it's right up your alley.
Ben Esposito's Donut County is one of my favorite games to have been released in a long time—so much so, that at the time of writing this article I've just finished this month's Dev Spotlight, which was shone on Esposito himself. Whether or not this article goes up before or after that is something I'm not sure of right now, but if it is up, check it out. Ben Esposito is brilliant.
Donut County is a charming puzzle game in which you play as a literal hole in the ground. It's lighthearted, funny, and surprisingly hard-hitting. It won't break the bank, either, so if you've not played it yet, do yourself a favor and get yourself a present. You absolutely won't regret it.
Marvel's Spider-Man is absolutely breathtaking. Insomniac's latest is a huge addition to the canon of superhero games, as it features brilliant combat, meaningful collectibles, and offers one of the most genuinely fun map-traversal mechanics to date. I spent hours just swinging around the rooftops of Manhattan without actually committing to doing anything quest-like.
If you're a fan of the eponymous hero, this is the game for you. This, like God of War, is a PS4 exclusive, so as a reader of PlayStation LifeStyle, you're one of the people this game was designed for. Check it out if you haven't yet, and if you have—well, dive right back in and start cleaning up Manhattan! Marvel's Spider-Man is a hell of a ride that you'd seriously be missing out on if you opted not to play it.
The Assassin's Creed franchise lost its way for a while, but Ubisoft's Odyssey carries on from Origins, offering an immersive, historically-based game rooted in a beautiful and utterly packed world. It is important to note that this is more in line with Greek mythology than actual history, but if you haven't gotten to know Kassandra yet, you really should.
Odyssey is a step in the right direction for Assassin's Creed. If you, like me, became a skeptic of the franchise in recent years, give Odyssey a chance to draw you right back in.
I must confess—I haven't actually finished Celeste yet. It is, however, already more than deserving of a place on my GOTY list. Celeste is a breathtakingly beautiful platformer from TowerFall creator Matt Makes Games, and you really should check it out. Celeste launched to unanimously positive reviews and is the only indie game to have been nominated for the official 2018 Game of the Year list. I think this could well be one of the most innovative and affecting games to have been released in quite some time. Please, check it out. You'll love it.