A documentary made by Valve highlighting the grand finals of The International 2018, the largest annual Dota 2 tournament (it’s basically the Stanley Cup of Dota 2). Watching the grand finals live is honestly one of the most memorable moments in my entire life. I became emotionally invested in OG’s journey in the months leading up to the tournament and all the way into the grand finals where they faced PSG.LGD, who are a complete powerhouse in the Dota 2 scene.
The documentary gives us a ton of backstage footage as we see the players preparing for the games ahead and taking breaks between the games. We also get an inside look into the pods that the players play in along with in-game footage, player footage, and player voices. As with almost everything that Valve does, the documentary is very high quality. The production values are definitely present in every aspect, such as the fantastic audio and video editing, as well as the excellent use of music.
For a documentary that is only 1 hour long, it does a brilliant job of summarizing the entirety of the grand finals, which lasted several hours in real time while it was live. It also brought back a lot of memories, especially with game 4 and game 5 which left me completely speechless when I first watched them. OG’s comebacks in each of these games were absolutely thrilling and they did a decent job in capturing those emotions in a condensed format.
My biggest complaint, however, was that there was not enough of a focus on the HUGE plays that happened throughout the series. Some of the big plays were briefly mentioned or shown, but not in a way that necessarily highlighted the amazing skill required to pull them off. Perhaps including edits of interviews with people involved in professional Dota 2 whenever a big play happens. For example, the reaction of a pro player on another team when they saw a specific play happen while watching the grand finals. I think this would help to emphasize specific plays that completely changed the outcome of a game.
Dota 2 is a game that is incredibly special to me and The International 2018 was one of the most thrilling viewing experiences I have ever heard, if not THE most thrilling. The grand finals were amazingly epic and this documentary captures the magic quite well.
8/10 – Great