Everyone gets along pretty well here at Game Informer. And then it’s time for our annual Game of the Year awards. At that point, it all falls apart. Friendships are tested, reputations are ruined, and most of us walk away with the sneaking suspicion that our co-workers might actually be dumb and bad. And then we move on with our lives until the next December rolls around.
People will always tear our picks to shreds (and some of that criticism may be coming from inside the building), but we make a point of letting readers get involved in our annual (you guessed it) reader poll. How closely did the collective voices match up with ours? Did they get it right in those few cases where a person could make a convincing argument that we completely missed the boat? As usual, there were plenty of solid picks across the categories, as well as some surprises and what were undoubtedly troll contributions from budding class clowns.
Read on for the complete results in all categories, as well as some (hopefully) interesting context that makes it a bit more engaging than reading through a bunch of poll-based blurbs. And be sure to check out our game-of-the-year picks, too.
Best Exclusives Awards
Best Sony Exclusive – God Of War
The mighty Kratos had an appropriately mighty showing in the Best Sony Exclusive category. About 65 percent of you thought it was the best PlayStation exclusive in 2018, beating out Spider-Man’s second-place showing with 23 percent of votes. Detroit: Become Human garnered about five percent of votes, which was enough to snatch third place. And it looks like there are 21 comedians out there who said the PSVR exclusive horror game The Inpatient was the best thing to hit the console last year. Or perhaps those votes were cast in all sincerity. Sorry?
Microsoft had one third as many exclusives as Sony or Nintendo, which makes it easy to run down the top three. Forza Horizon 4 took the lead position with 67 percent of votes, followed by Sea of Thieves (21 percent) and State of Decay 2 (12 percent).
In another absolute drubbing, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate took the top Nintendo exclusive prize with more than 71 percent of reader votes. Old-school RPG Octopath Traveler was a distant second, with 13 percent, followed up with Super Mario Party’s 9 percent.
On the PC front, things were a little closer. About 100 votes separated first and second place. Ultimately, Civilization VI: Rise and Fall took the win with 19 percent of reader votes, followed by World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth with 18 percent. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire was a fairly close third, with 15 percent.
Best Genre Awards
Best Action Game – God Of War
Now that platform exclusivity is out of the way, things start to get interesting. Actually, we take that back. God of War handily took the Best Action Game prize, despite it being a PlayStation exclusive. Red Dead Redemption II took second, but its 24 percent couldn’t compete with God of War’s 41. Another PlayStation exclusive, Spider-Man, snagged third place with 10 percent of votes. And we see you, Dauntless fans. More than 500 of you guys rallied together, and while it wasn’t enough to edge past Monster Hunter: World or Mega Man 11, it was still a respectable showing. Quick note: This was also the most popular category overall.
Quantic Dream’s “robots as a racial allegory” made it an easy target for online snark, but Detroit: Become Human clearly had its fans. Forty-one percent of respondents named it their favorite adventure game for 2018, ahead of Subnautica (21 percent) and Batman: The Enemy Within (13 percent). Life is Strange: Before the Storm snagged one solitary vote, which was kind of weird. Keep flying that freak flag, lone voter, and stay strong!
Nintendo included an ambitious single-player mode in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but who cares? It seems you guys are more interested in beating the pastel-colored stuffing out of each other. Ultimate was the victor when it came to best competitive multiplayer, scoring about 23 percent of the vote. Call of Duty eschewed the campaign altogether, but it only took second with 19 percent. And even though it was only in beta, Red Dead Redemption II’s online component impressed enough of you guys to put it in the third-place position. Yee haw!
The field for co-op games was as tight as we’ve seen so far, with the top three winners barely edging past the other candidates. Red Dead Redemption II squeaked by to a first-place finish, with 15 percent of votes. A Way Out was next with 14 percent, and Monster Hunter: World’s 13 percent helped it take the third spot. Three of you cast your votes for Echo Combat, so there’s that.
Pretend the debate over whether Smash Bros. games are technically fighting games isn’t a thing for a second. Okay. Good. That’ll make it easier to accept that our readers overwhelmingly say it was the best fighting game of 2018. Nearly half of you gave it a respectful nod, beating out Dragon Ball FighterZ (23 percent) and Soulcalibur VI (15 percent). We’re assuming items are off and all that business.
The best racing game category was another absolute blowout. Forza Horizon 4 took the
checkered flag pole position first place with 66 percent of votes, followed by the Crew 2’s 9 percent. Third place went to Hello Kitty Cruisers with five percent because y’all are hilarious.
Ubisoft Quebec said it was going full RPG with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and that decision clearly paid off. Odyssey was your favorite RPG for 2018, with more than 36 percent of respondents casting their vote for the adventures of Alexios/Kassandra. Next up was Kingdom Come: Deliverance, with 15 percent, and Octopath Traveler, with 13 percent. Fourth place was close enough to mention: Lost Sphear took that position, with 11 percent.
Best Platforming Game – Celeste
Let’s face it: This is a weird category. The top vote-getter was the fiendishly difficult Celeste, with 32 percent of votes. Then it bounced over to our pink friend, Kirby, who sucked up 14 percent. PSVR exclusive Astro Bot Rescue Mission was a close third, with 12 percent of votes – 44 votes ahead of Unravel Two, who had to settle for fourth. Sorry, Yarny.
You like puzzles? Apparently not. This category was the most-skipped one among respondents, with more than 6,000 of you passing by without bothering to vote. So don’t come crawling back to us if you don’t think Tetris Effect was the best puzzle game for 2018 and you weren’t among the 50 percent of voters who did. After that, Return of the Obra Dinn took second with 14, while Donut County was in third with 11 percent. Seriously, more people voted for VR games. What gives, guys?
Best MMO – The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset
There were only two candidates in this category, and it was a close race. Ultimately, 52 percent of you picked The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset over World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. Even though we know you guys don’t like puzzles, we’ll let you do the math and figure out what percentage of the vote Blizzard’s game received.
This was another close one, but someone has to win. This time around, it was Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Treyarch’s game was five points ahead of Far Cry 5, which took second place with 24 percent of votes. Battlefield V rounded out the top three with 17 percent.
You guys really like this Civ thing, eh? About a third of you chose this one, but that’s not the most interesting part. Frostpunk and Jurassic World Evolution took second and third place, respectively, with a measly five votes separating their positions. Your vote counts, people, don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise. Oh yeah, the Nintendo Labo Variety Kit was after that, with 11 percent.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 was the favorite here, but that’s not the most interesting part. Wait, did we already do that? Rats. Regardless, the sentiment still stands. You think five votes is close? That’s nothing! A single vote gave Into the Breach the lead over Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. Crazy, right?
Nintendo fans strike again. Remember Mario Tennis Aces? Apparently, a lot of you do. About a quarter of you thought it was the best sports game of 2018, which is certainly a choice. After that came FIFA 19, with 18 percent of votes. Inexplicably, 51 of you cast your votes for RBI Baseball 18. Weird!
This was another close one. Beat Saber had 31.73 percent of votes, while Tetris Effect managed to connect with 31.12 percent of you. Astro Bot Rescue Mission was a bit further behind, netting about 22 percent of votes. It looks like Astro Bot has some kind of third-place curse going on.
Best Rhythm / Music Game – Beat Saber
Hello again, Beat Saber! It’s hard not to notice you standing over there with your 50 percent of votes. That’s way more than Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight could muster, with its 22 percent. You’re doing all right for yourself there, Just Dance 2019. Sixteen percent ain’t nothing. Who did you piss off, Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight? You’re in second-to-last place for some reason. Okay then.
You know who likes Shadow of the Colossus? Aside from just about everybody else? Why, it’s you guys! 23 percent of you said the PlayStation 4 remake was as good as it got in 2018, nearly twice as many as did Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu/Evee. Keeping things Switchy, 10 percent of you thought Dark Souls was pretty okay on Nintendo’s portable thankyouverymuch.
Best Games-As-Service – Fortnite
Yeah yeah, we can hear the groans from all you serious gamers. You may not personally like the dances and the back bling and the base-building that Fortnite offers, but you know who does? Nineteen percent of your fellow readers. That’s more than the people who rooted for Overwatch (13 percent) and Rainbow Six Siege (10 percent). A special shout-out goes to the 21 of you who lent their support to Ghost Recon Wildlands. That game is super great, right? You’re not alone.
Game Of The Year
Game of the Year – God Of War
Finally, it’s the big one. How did you guys do? Oh. I see. It looks like 34 percent of you thought God of War was game of the year. Fair enough. No judging. It’s a great game, after all. Good stuff. Some cool moments. After that was Red Dead Redemption II, with 27 percent of votes. Then it gets weird. Kingdom Come: Deliverance fans knew how to mobilize, getting enough votes for a third-place finish – eight votes ahead of fourth place Spider-Man, in fact. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came in fifth after that, with about four percent. And more than 400 Dauntless fans pushed the button for that game – several hundred more than Monster Hunter: World managed. Heh.
Finally, a whole slew of games managed to get exactly one vote. Whether by mistake or pure passion, we’ll never know. But let’s all join in for a moment of silence to honor the following games. You might not have won a game of the year award, but you have earned the deep respect of at least one reader. Unless, again, it was by mistake, in which case I don’t know what to tell you.
- 39 Days to Mars
- Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers
- F1 2018
- Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise
- Frozen Synapse 2
- House Flipper
- Just Dance 2019
- Little Dragon’s Café
- Mario Tennis Aces
- MLB the Show 18
- NASCAR Heat 3
- NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
- Nintendo Labo Variety Kit
- Overkill’s the Walking Dead
- Pokemon Quest
- Return of Double Dragon
- Super Daryl Deluxe
- Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet
- Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!
- The Crew 2
- The Room: Old Sins
- The Swords of Ditto
- Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr
- Way of the Passive Fist