We made it, folks. 2018 is nearly over and 2019 is finally upon us — with all the illogical promise that each new year brings. To celebrate, we’re going over some of our favoritest games of this year, in an attempt to find some bright spots in these horrible times. And these really are some bright spots indeed.
This category is “Best Snack.” This award goes to the character in video games that made us bite our lips and go “mmm.” That can mean a lot of things, of course, but… Come on. We all know what this list is about. Let’s just get to the winners, shall we?
Runner-up: Kassandra from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Kassandra brings guns to every sword fight. Her biceps are the things Greek sculptors would have made statues of, but couldn’t do justice to them. That alone should be enough for a lot of thirsty, thirsty Assassin’s Creed players. Thankfully it doesn’t have to.
Kassandra also carries a kind of haughty, half-serious smugness to every conversation in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. Her voice actor, Melissanthi Mahut, seems like she’s in on the game’s frankly-not-very-good script. So she rolls with it. And Kassandra’s confidence feels both well-earned and playful. Also, thanks to the Odyssey’s romance mechanic, she can get down off-screen with just about anyone you meet in the game.
It would just be nice if all that “romance” wasn’t functionally meaningless and basically hollow. There are no long-term relationships in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. Kassandra (or Alexios, if you play that way) just sort of flirts with side quest vendors until the game cuts to black. It’d be nice we got something — anything — to hold up the other end of Kassandra’ universal chemistry.
-Steven Strom, Managing Editor
Best Snack 2018: Kazuma Kiryu
Kazuma Kiryu, leading man of the indomitable Yakuza franchise, has been a hottie for more than 10 years now. But he’s never looked as good as he does on PlayStation 4 and PC — despite, or perhaps because of him becoming a canonical grandpa by now. Age only distinguishes the career criminal and all-around positive male role model.
Sure, he loves to tear off his shirt and get into fights. And yes, he looks incredibly good doing it. But he also spends his shirtless time talking about his feelings, telling his fellow manly men they can achieve anything, and helping all the needy in a 50-mile radius. He’s not just physically attractive. He’s emotionally supportive to a fault. Kiryu is the complete package.
It also doesn’t hurt the most recent Yakuza games — Kiwami, Kiwami 2, and Yakuza 6 — leans further into the series’ queer “coding” than ever. One sub-quest features the old gangster making men weak in the knees with the world’s strongest kabedon. Another mission has him voice a boy’s love anime. Yakuza 6 really wants to hammer home that this man’s sexual magnetism knows no gender, or even sexuality. It’s a fitting way to send off the Dragon of Dojima in his final starring role (for now).
Steven Strom, Managing Editor