2018. What a year for video games. What a year for Battle Royale games and modes. No, I don’t have any of those games and modes on this list.
Unfortunately I did not play a ton of games this year. Fortunately, the ones I did play were remarkable. This list will start with some honorable mentions and then my top five. Let’s get into it shall we?
Is the story meaningful? Yes. Is the gameplay sublime? Yes. Did I finish this game? No. Will I finish this game? Yes, in 2019.
Hollow Knight - Switch
Oh Hollow Knight. A game that was beloved in 2017 by many a gaming journalism outlet. A game that I actually did not fully dive into until the Switch release in 2018 so that is why it is on this list. Everything about this game is special but again, I just did not finish it. I used my Switch more and more within the year of 2018 but it was mainly in short bursts of time. I will be spending more time with this masterpiece in the new year.
Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee
A damn near perfect recreation of Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow. I, along with many others, initially shrugged off the new catching mechanics that take heavily from Pokemon GO. I then shut the fuck up about it and played the game. And damn am I happy I did. Being able to see the Pokemon in the wild makes for a much more enjoyable and engrossing experience instead of having to rely on random battles. Also, those catching mechanics I mentioned before? Yeah, they work. And they work very well. Do you want to be enveloped in a blanket of warm and comforting nostalgia? Then play this game. I am going to keep it real with you though, that is really all this game is. A recreation of nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong, that is NOT a bad thing but quite the contrary. That is also the reason it does not have a spot in my actual list.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
I like Smash. I play Smash. I am still unlocking characters in Smash. I think the Spirits mode is long, confusing, and rad in Smash. Ask me in a month if I am still playing Smash.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Blackout? Nah. Zombies? Nah. Campaign? I WISH! Seriously though, the last time I had this much fun with a Call of Duty multiplayer was back in Modern Warfare 2. The new manual heal system is game changing in the best possible way. I also don’t give a shit what you have to say, Call of Duty’s shooting mechanics are tied with Destiny’s. They are simply sublime. Halo Infinite isn’t coming until 2020 (don’t @ me) so I needed another FPS to hold me over. Black Ops 4’s multiplayer is doing just that for me.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Yeah, Read Dead Redemption 2 is on my honorable mentions list and not in my top five. Look. I am taking this one slow. Reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallll slow. So slow in fact that I play sometimes one mission per play session. I am still in chapter two. Also, this game is fucking slow. I can’t stand the horse riding (still). I think the cinematic camera is a gameplay cop-out. This game makes my PlayStation 4 sound like a fucking jet engine and I would be lying if I said that doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of the game (yes, my PS4 fan is clean). I will see this one to completion in 2019. I just didn’t have the patience in 2018 to do it.
The Top Five
Alright Josh, you left some pretty incredible games back in that honorable mentions section. You better have some good ones lined up for your top five? Well I do, and here they are.
5. Destiny 2: Forsaken
So for this and my number 4, I am going to get a LOT of shit. Look, like I said earlier in the Black Ops 4 post, the shooting mechanics in Destiny are impeccable. The game just FEELS good to play no matter what you are doing within it. Destiny 2 also came to PC for the first time which means higher framerates are obtainable. Destiny 2 at 60 FPS plays like a completely different game. I can not and will not go back.
Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room. Destiny 2 should have been what Forsaken is at launch. There is no getting around that. The story is better, the gear is better, the secrets are better, the gameplay loop is just better. Does that give Bungie an excuse for their poor decisions? Absolutely not. I am just saying Destiny 2: Forsaken is the game I wanted Destiny 2 to be. It is here now and I am happy for it.
They better not fuck up the next installment in this franchise. I am done being the Destiny apologist.
4. Forza Horizon 4
Another year, another Forza game which means another Forza game in my top five. I do not know how they do it but Forza Horizon 4 is the best Forza game that has ever released. The new location (UK) has way more variety in its landscapes that initially thought. The amount of cars, events, races, and just things to do is staggering. I am a fan of racing games. Forza Horizon 4 is simply the best one of those to have released this year and is actually one of the greatest of all time.
And if the rumors are true, and there is not another mainline Forza game releasing in 2019, then you do not have to worry about another Forza games being on my game of the year list for 2019. I still hope for another Forza game in 2019.
I said Forza a lot in this post. That is enough talk about Forza for now.
3. Tetris Effect
This game is number three on my top five and I barely even played it. Instead, I experienced it alongside my wife who is a Tetris fanatic. When I saw this game announced, I knew immediately that this had my wife written all over it. Who knew then that this game would have me glued to screen while she played? I certainly did not see it coming.
Tetris Effect takes the all too familiar gameplay loop of Tetris while also incorporating music and visuals, culminating into something wholly unique. My wife played this on a standard PS4 without VR and we were still mesmerized by everything happening on screen.
The music is easily the best part of this game and I hope the official soundtrack gets released separately soon (the developer has come out and said it is in the works). There really isn’t much else I can say about this game without spoiling what makes it so special. Again, I BARELY played this myself and it is my number three game of the year.
Play it. It has the best soundtrack of the year. It is the best looking game of the year. It has one of the best stories of the year without having dialogue. It is also three hours long so I am not going to say anything else about this masterpiece.
1. God of War
Well this shouldn’t be a surprise.
I have loved the God of War franchise since its very beginning. When I heard about the design changes, specifically with the son, I was a little put off. Then I played through the game and I was floored.
Simply put, they made Kratos a likable character. They made me care for the characters within a God of War game.
Let’s get the easy shit out of the way first. The combat is some of the most satisfying in the genre. The story is meaningful and memorable. The characters are engrossing. The music sets the tone perfectly. The game is absolutely gorgeous. And yes, Kratos says ‘BOY’ a lot.
A lot of what is not said about this game are the little moments that happen throughout the journey of Kratos and Atreus. I am not going to sit here and spoiler these moments for you. Instead, I am going to tell you to play this game. If you have a PS4, you owe it to yourself to experience this masterclass in game design and story telling. If you do not have a PS4, then at the very least watch a playthrough on YouTube.
That does it! Those are my favorite games of 2018.
Looking towards 2019, there is a lot of great stuff coming. Not only in games but also in life. I have my baby girl (Linea) coming in March. I am back in school (for IT). I am coming back to streaming after taking the last year off. The future looks bright. Here is to an incredible new year.
Thank you for reading.
- Josh AKA JKFire