The Aggie Awards – The Best Adventure Games of 2018 page 7

Continued from the previous page...

Best Concept: Call of Cthulhu, The Council (tie)


Great minds think alike! While narrative RPGs aren’t entirely new, historically they’ve been a mash-up of traditional genre conventions rather than an integration of role-playing into a proper adventure game. But this year, not one but TWO different games embraced the complex challenge of tailoring rich investigative mysteries to personal gameplay preferences. Unavowed did this as well, but to a lesser extent than Call of Cthulhu and The Council, which implemented a similar conceit in surprisingly different ways. They did so to varying degrees of success overall, but it’s the core idea driving each that has earned them the shared 2018 Aggie Award for Best Concept, along with our sincere hope that we see more hybrids of this type in future.

Cyanide Studio's Call of Cthulhu is Lovecraft done right, and in a way that we’ve really never seen in a video game before. As a P.I. visiting the island township of Darkwater in 1924, you find yourself beset on all sides by the threat of madness, with nothing but your chosen abilities to further your investigation and guard you from unspeakable cosmic entities – what little comfort that is. Whether you're the type of player who favours the more delicate solutions that persuasion and observation skills afford, or one who prefers the reliability of physical strength, there are plenty of ways to customize your gameplay experience. Each of them are equally valid but available only to those whose attributes are best suited to resolving them, making the distribution of “Character Points” a thoughtful, personal matter throughout. These role-playing elements come honestly, as the game is based on Chaosium’s pen and paper RPG, and they add a welcome strategic element to the rich Lovecraftian experience.

In a game about manipulating others into seeing things your way, two things are of great importance: a sense of agency, and conversations that flow naturally. By tapping into RPG mechanics, Big Bad Wolf’s The Council does far more with these than a more conventional point-and-click can do. Its resource management and skill point systems encourage planning and allow for many small but very tangible rewards to be earned for thoroughness and early successes. The confrontation system is far more organic and tense than the infinite retries of a traditional dialogue tree, further promoting figuring out people's strengths, weaknesses and secrets beforehand. With failure punished both statistically and story-wise, this is a game where every choice is meaningful but not equally viable. The added complexity is a refreshing change from the norm that makes it hard to go back to the same old-fashioned click-through conversations.    

Runners-Up:


Return of the Obra Dinn

STAY

The Gardens Between

We Were Here Too
 



Readers’ Choice: Return of the Obra Dinn


It’s rare, but sometimes a game comes along with an idea so simple that works so exceedingly well that you can only wonder why no one thought of it before. It took Lucas Pope to marry what amounts to a giant logic grid puzzle with outstanding environmental storytelling. It sounds so easy: discover the names and gruesome cause of death of everyone aboard a 19th century ghost ship, as well as the killer where applicable. Actually identifying 60 different corpses is delightfully challenging, however, armed only with a crew roster, a few group sketches, a glossary of nautical terms and jobs, and a map of the boat’s layout, along with a magic stopwatch that lets you view a frozen scene of the deceased’s moment of death. For our readers, this added up to an overwhelming victory for Return of the Obra Dinn for best concept.

Runners-Up:


Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry

Unavowed

The Council

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption
 



Next up: Best Setting... the envelope, please!

Continued on the next page...


content continues below
Comments

DaveGilbert DaveGilbert
Feb 21, 2019

I don’t often comment on these things for obvious reasons, but I just wanted to make one small correction.

“Violet Young deserves a special shout-out for convincingly providing several young girl voices – a notoriously difficult role for adults to get right.”

Violet Young was able to convincingly play a child because she is a child herself. She is 12 years old. Smile

Either way, thanks so much! Back to hiding. /swooshes away

Jackal Jackal
Feb 21, 2019

D’oh! Well, that’s quite the achievement in its own right! But I’ll correct.

(And congrats!)

DaveGilbert DaveGilbert
Feb 22, 2019

(Also: there was never a game called The Blackwell Conspiracy)

(sorry)

Jackal Jackal
Feb 22, 2019

I don’t know WHAT possessed me when I wrote that. Tongue

SplinterX
Feb 23, 2019

It is so inconvinient without the summary. I want to see all winers for all categories with all nomenees in one page. It is annoying to go to different pages so often just to see the whole picture. I mean this awards can be a reason to play such games. I want to see a list of them not a sheet.

Corduroy Sombrero Corduroy Sombrero
Feb 25, 2019

Fantastic to see Larry back and getting some mentions Smile

CaliMonk CaliMonk
Feb 25, 2019

We’re working on a sub-category on the site in which you can find an easy overview of Aggie Award winners, per category, per year.

Doraleous
Feb 25, 2019

Bravo, Unavowed made me come back to this genre after years of pretty much only MOBA’ing. What a f***** good game.

CaliMonk CaliMonk
Feb 27, 2019

Great game indeed :-)

small dickie small dickie
Mar 5, 2019

Great Aggie Awards! Really enjoyed them. Great videos, superbly voiced by Ivy Dupler

But i have one questions: Why was The Red Strings Club not considered for the awards? I just started to play it and i noticed that it was released in 2018

Jackal Jackal
Mar 5, 2019

We just felt it was ultimately more of an interactive story game than an adventure game proper. Certainly close enough to cover here at AG, but we try to reserve the Aggies for games that meet our full genre criteria.

Post a comment

You need to be logged in to post comments. Not a member? Register now!
feature