Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice won the Game of the Year award at The Game Awards 2019, while Death Stranding, Control, and Resident Evil 2 Remake were being considered as the top chances of winning the trophy.
Just a quick look at the winners of the GOTY award at TGA through the last three years, make us believe that the jury is extremely focused on the gameplay of the games. Overwatch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and God of War are some of the delicious tastes of this generation but the shiniest part of each title is the gameplay. After developing four consecutive versions of God of War with the same gameplay elements, Santa Monica accepted the risk and brought the series into a whole new way which resulted in an epic success for the franchise, while made it live longer and make its way through the next generation.
One year earlier than God of War, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild from Nintendo brought the RPG genre into a new level with its vast open-world area and superb quest design, while Horizon: Zero Dawn was so close to robbing the award from Nintendo. Although Guerrilla Games’ stunningly detailed action-RPG lost the award in the end, the unique ideas behind its gameplay shouldn’t be forgotten.
When it comes to 2016, the vibe around gameplay even goes further by choosing a multiplayer game as the Game of the Year. Overwatch won the award in a year that most of us were thinking of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End as a winner already. But an online hero-based first-person shooter game as high-quality as Overwatch was something we could’ve only expect from Blizzard, and when it arrived, you definitely can’t hand over the award to a game that added nothing to its genre.
Going over this year’s nominees, while you might think of Death Stranding and Resident Evil 2 as Sekiro’s tough competitors, it was only The Outer Worlds and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that could beat FormSoftware’s action title in the Royale Rumble of games. Death Stranding and Control both were brilliant games, but when it comes to gameplay, they didn’t deliver the maximum quality. Control was a similar experience to Remedy’s previous titles in terms of gunplay and action mechanics. On the other hand, although Kojima did try a very different idea in Death Stranding, it wasn’t executed flawless enough. So what made The Outer Worlds and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate eliminate from the choices?
Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds is exactly the game that the current generation needed after Fallout 4. A flexible gameplay style with a big amount of options and ways to play it as you wish. A huge open-world area with an acceptable story to tell, hundreds of epic side-quests, and a wide variety of ranged and melee weapons to take down the enemies. But the question is could Obsidian shake the body of its gameplay to distinguish itself from its sources of inspiration? No.
On the other hand, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate brought us one of the most entertaining fightings of the last year, but when you compare it to the series’ previous title launched in 2014, Ultimate has only raised the number of characters, stages, and the modes. The core of the gameplay is still the same thing you got in 2014. But how Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice managed to beat all these GOTY contenders?
Obviously, Sekiro has the blood of the Dark Souls series in its veins in case of being a brutally hardcore action game. But when it comes to the basis of the gameplay, which is its combat structure, Sekiro goes beyond the Dark Souls limits and boasts the art of FromSoftware in crafting one of the world’s bests in combat design. The game doesn’t feature many weapons but the simple Strike & Defence mechanic has been created flawless enough to make you enjoy every hit your enemy takes. Let me put it this way that Sekiro Shadows Die Twice is a great example of using a game’s full potential without any losses. It’s the most efficient game of 2019. It brings you much more than you would’ve expected and that’s why it deserves to be chosen as the best game of 2019.
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