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AWARDING A WINNER
AWARDING A WINNER
Kara Heady
Friday, December 21, 2018

     The Game of the Year award was created in 2014 to recognize and compare video games across the globe. The nominations are picked by the directors of Game Awards and are chosen based on how well they deliver a creative and advanced technological experience.

     This year’s one hundred nominations have been narrowed down to five choices that have stumped voters around the world. The Game of the Year directors have chosen “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey,” “God of War,” “Celeste,” “Marvel’s Spiderman,” “Monster Hunter: World” and “Red Dead Redemption 2” to possibly be Game of the Year. However, two choices have left voters wondering what to choose: “God of War” or “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.” Both games are similar in mechanics and story and have left a great impression on critics across the world.

     “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey” the eleventh installment in the series, was released on Oct. 5 after being announced by Ubisoft in May. Ubisoft has provided an engaging interactive experience for players and an adventurous storyline. The game follows the story of a Spartan mercenary who is attempting to find and reunite with his family after years of separation.

     The creative team surprised players with a choose your own adventure style game that was accompanied by a feature that allowed players to choose their own gender. Unlike in previous games, where the players had to play as the set protagonist, gamers can now choose between playing as the Spartan mercenary named “Kassandra” or her younger brother, “Alexios.” On top of this new inclusive gaming experience, the game also has options to pursue same-sex relationships or to not have any relationships at all.

     The Ubisoft team did not hold back on new and creative ideas, while also giving a convincing retelling of Ancient Greek history. Players get to receive flashbacks of their character’s life in Sparta that feature true aspects of Spartan history and their ways of life.

     The story is also unique to the series because of its premise. The “Assassin’s Creed” games have usually carried themes of revenge in their stories. However, this story primarily focuses on family and forgiveness. The protagonist wants to atone to their parents and sibling for their actions when they were younger and go searching across Greece to find them, even if it means putting themselves in perilous situations.

     Ubisoft has worked hard to make a game that is inclusive and interesting for all players. It is evident that they have analyzed previous games to see what parts of their content audiences enjoy and what they wanted to see change. In the past, Ubisoft was shamed by players for continually producing games featuring straight white male characters that followed the same plot as the rest of the games. Ubisoft was also scrutinized for saying that there would be no games with female assassins in them because they were too hard to animate. Ubisoft has stepped up and has tried to improve how they represent their characters in their games. The creative team is becoming more aware of the diversity in their audience and is making an effort to represent a wider variety of players.

     “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey” is an amazing game that still has players talking. The developers have worked hard to include a fun and diverse experience for their fans and have made a game that will set a new precedent for the rest of the series.

     “God of War” has shocked the world with its amazing characters, story and game mechanics. “God of War” was created by Studio Santa Monica and released on April 20 by game director Corey Barlog. The game follows the story of Kratos, the Greek god of war, who has fled North after killing the entire pantheon to get revenge after Zeus and his children murdered Kratos’ family.

     In the foreign land, he creates a home and family for himself. But after his wife, Faye, dies leaving him with his eleven-year-old son Atreus, the two embark on a journey to spread Faye’s ashes at the highest peak of the nine realms. However, new gods are chasing after the father and son and will stop at nothing to capture them.

     “God of War” is actually the fourth main installment of the series but was published without the number in its title because Barlog wanted to show that this game would mark a new beginning in the “God of War” franchise. In the previous games, the content was considered a “hack and slash,” where players were encouraged to take out large amounts of enemies and focus primarily on combat rather than plot. Barlog, however, changed how combat is considered by adding an upgrade system that forces players to compare certain items and upgrades to see how they benefit Kratos’ weapons and the developers also included customizable armor. He wanted to players to slow down and consider their actions before continuing on in the game because he wanted the gameplay to reflect the characters.

     Kratos was an out of control monster determined to get his revenge, but now he is a lot older and does not want his son to make the same mistakes he did when he was a young god. Barlog wanted these new mechanics to show players that not only has Kratos changed but so has the “God of War” universe itself. These improvements accurately represent the change that Studio Santa Monica wants to show in their work.

     The studio has worked on “God of War” for over six years. The series itself had come under fire by Sony directors who own Studio Santa Monica. Previous games from the series had failed to meet their sales goals and Sony wanted to pull the plug on the series altogether, but Barlog took on the task of directing and assured Sony that he could produce a game similar to Sony’s other video game bestseller, “The Last of Us.” He proved this by later on selling 3.1 million copies of the game in just three days. “God of War” was a giant improvement to the series but was also a welcome change to fans who were pleased to see a softer side of their favorite protagonist.

     Despite both games following similar paths and having impressive reviews from critics worldwide, players should give their vote to “God of War.” Studio Santa Monica devoted six years into creating an amazing game that utilized its mechanics to reflect its story and kept things interesting and new for players. While Assassin’s Creed also introduced new elements to stories and mechanics, they did not utilize them in a way that would make a great impact on the series itself.

     “God of War” makes players reflect on Kratos’ actions in the past games as well as make them wonder what else Studio Santa Monica has in store. While “Assassin’s Creed” created an interesting game, they only succeeded in providing a singular good game that did nothing to improve upon its past titles. “God of War” has proven itself to be deserving of the title “Game of the Year.”