With 2018 on the way out, our contributors have been looking back at the best the year’s had to offer in terms of video games. There’s no shortage of great games to choose from this year, but we felt these were the cream of the crop.
Last week, our contributors broke down their individual top lists for the year in movies (read Part 1 and Part 2), but today, we’ve turned to our gaming crew to highlight the best games of the year. Once again, it’s a difficult list to narrow down, but we forced ourselves to stick to only five choices:
As is the case every year, my best of gaming list is kind of eclectic. Considering that with all the kids in the house it’s difficult for me to play the most recent releases, I spend most of my time catching up on LAST year’s release. As such, I can only pick from the games I’ve actually played this year, which means some “obvious” choices may be absent.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom - The first Ni No Kuni remains one of my all time favorite RPGs. The combat system, story, and aesthetic are just so much fun and engaging. As such, my hype for Revenant Kingdom was through the roof. Thankfully, I felt the game delivered. Despite changes to the core of combat, it’s a highly addictive game with lovable characters and neat surprises along the way.
Starlink: Battle For Atlas - Oh man! If ever there was a game that felt specifically built for me, it’s Starlink. Hands-down, it’s one of the best starfighting games I’ve played and has a surprisingly fun story/cast of characters. While it can get a bit repetitive, it’s unique use the toys-to-life stuff makes this a true gem that shouldn’t be passed up.
Marvel’s Spider-Man - I’ve always been a sucker for Spider-Man games and swinging around the open world. Sadly, the last several years of Spidey titles haven’t been that good, but Insomniac absolutely delivered the goods with their take on the webslinger. Not only is it a great (definitive) Spider-Man experience, it’s easily one of the best games of the last couple years.
Pokemon Let’s Go - My Pokemaniac status has been well documented on the site, but I still wasn’t expecting to love the Let’s Go games as much as I have. These Red/Blue/Yellow remakes change up the formula just a little bit, but manage to do so in a way that feels like a natural evolution of the franchise. It’s different, but so much addictive fun that I can’t stop playing.
Dragon Ball FighterZ - I’m not the biggest fan of fighting games (mostly because I’m no good at them), but I do love Dragon Ball Z and (most) games associated with the franchise. Bandai totally knocked FighterZ out of the park, delivering a unique DBZ experience with an all new story along with one of the most competent fighting games around.
God of War - I usually miss all of the big triple A game releases, but I knew I had to get my hands on God of War the moment it was announced. In fact, before its release I didn’t have a PS4, and so we bought the God of War edition of the PS4 and put a lot of faith into the game rocking our socks off, and so it did. In a time where reboots are the new hip thing to make, this reboot stood out the most for how it transformed the series. In the original games, Kratos was a rather despicable character, so it was especially surprising to really feel for him in this new God of War. Fatherhood was a challenge I never thought I would see Kratos overcome, and indeed it seemed like the most difficult task for him to tackle despite fighting creatures and gods through a bunch of dangerous worlds. The puzzles were fun, the combat was snappy, and the father-son relationship tugged expertly at the heartstrings.
Deltarune - This one seemed to come out of nowhere, and although it’s only a single chapter of the full game, it sucked me in just like Undertale before it. Undertale always held a special place in my heart, so I’m probably a bit biased, but so far Deltarune offers an experience that’s, quite literally, parallel to the beauty and intrigue of Undertale. Everything feels comfortably familiar while adding just enough spin to the Undertale formula to keep me interested. Toby Fox creates games with a keen eye for detail, and I can feel him building up some great mystery in the chapters to come. Filled to the brim with loveable characters, this is a game that any fan of Undertale can enjoy, and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for Deltarune.
Subnautica - This game was in early access forever, but it finally released this year. I was skeptical that I would find this game fun but I gave it a try after some prodding from a friend of mine who loved it. The game isn’t perfect; there’s a lot that needs to be fixed that the developers seem fine with not addressing and, instead, are moving onto making DLC. However, even despite the rather worrying bugs I came across in my playthrough, Subnautica was a blast to play and stream. Had the setting been on Earth, the game would have already been unique enough in being able to explore a giant open ocean. However, the game is set on an alien planet, which makes exploring and discovering new things to craft all the more exciting. The dark depths of the ocean hide strange and dangerous creatures, but the voyage to the bottom of the ocean is a real trip that keeps pulling you in deeper and deeper.
Metal Gear Survive - JUST KIDDING
God of War - This is not just a game, this is a masterpiece. God of War as a franchise is already one of my favorite in the history of gaming, but this game sets a new standard for the series. Not only do we see a side of Kratos that we have never seen before, we also see a game with such high graphical presentation I found myself getting goosebumps every minutes of the game. The story, voice acting, music, and world is really some of the best I have seen in years. IN ANY GAME. EVER.
Red Dead Redemption 2 - There was a part of me that thought RDR2 would not live up to Red Dead 1...but damn was i wrong. This game has become one of the best title I have played in sometime. The world is not just huge and open, it is alive! I have never played a game that actually makes changes to the world the more you play. Also, with the addition of online this game will have years and years of fun!
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey - Although I have not had a lot of time to spend with said game, the time I have played it has been really amazing. Kassandra is the character I chose and she is by far one of the best characters in an Assassin's Creed title year to date! One other thing that makes this game great is that it doesn't feel like a normal Assassin's Creed title. Doing what Origins did best, this game is very open and lets you choose how to play!
Soul Calibur VI - Soul Calibur has always been one of my favorite fighting series so sometime now. When SC6 was announced I was excited because the new dynamic story and beautiful graphics, but I never knew i would love the game so much for its multiplayer mode and creation mode. These two modes were not even on my radar at launch, but now have become two of my favorite features of the game. If you are a fighting fan, you have to pick this beautiful and amazing title up now!
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Yes, it doesn't have a story mode...but this game is by far my favorite Black Ops title since Black Ops II. The Zombie mode is spectacular, multiplayer is really great and more fast paced, as well as having the new addition of the Blackout mode! This Battle Royale mode is a great addition to the already sprawling Call of Duty game modes and I can’t wait to see what else they add in the coming months!
This is always a hard category to fill out. Every year there are just so many incredible games and 2018 continued that trend. Still, I was able to narrow it down to my top 5. These are 5 that left me speechless, gave me infinite fun, and had me coming back for more.
God of War - The Game of the Year-winning, God of War is my favorite game of 2018. That should come as no surprise to anyone, because God of War was simply the most complete game in 2018, providing all the feels and depth for a character that was previously one note. The story Santa Monica Studios told was a one of heartbreak and discovery in a world with limitless possibilities. It was fascinating and it left room for more, in later games. Plus, the combat mechanics and action-packed moments were breathtaking and brutal. It was everything we wanted and needed. Definitely a must-play.
Marvel’s Spider-Man - Sony really killed it this year with two incredible games in God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man. While there are reasons why Spider-man was just shy of game of the year, it was still a narrow competition. Insomniac Games allowed us to live as Peter Parker in the complete replication of New York City. Iconic villains, Aunt May, Miles Morales, and Mary Jane all took their turns in the spotlight in a game that turned out to be more of an ensemble than a solely Spider-Man epic. The combat and the webslinging were smooth and perfect. The upgrades and the suits were even cooler. Plus, the amount of DLC pushed out is some of the best, most consistent, I’ve seen.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey - If you don’t know by now, I’m Greek. So, it should come as little shock that AC: Odyssey was one of my favorite games of the year. In fact, it may just be my favorite Assassin’s Creed title I’ve played thus far, cultural bias aside. The game was just filled with accuracies and improvements on an ever-improving combat system. Plus, the acting was some of the best I’ve ever seen. Ubisoft really shined with this one and should be the bar for the rest moving forward.
Far Cry 5 - Another Ubisoft game that probably deserves more recognition is Far Cry 5. The next installment of the Far Cry series was an absolute gem with its high-octane action, memorable and hilarious characters, and a story that felt all-too real. It was a bit formulaic and repetitive, but it never got tiresome. Ubisoft poured a lot of money into this title and it appears to have all been worth it.
Destiny 2: Forsaken - This is a bit of a strange one put on my list, because technically Destiny 2 released last year. The thing is, though, Destiny 2: Forsaken felt like a whole new game, as it released an impactful and interesting story, loads of new content, and a brand new world to get lost in. Plus, they finally capitalized on all of the lore they had been developing by incorporating it in the story. What’s even better is that Bungie and Activision haven’t even finished developing new content. They’ve done something few have been able to do and that’s release new content on a weekly basis. That’s just mind-blowing.
Honorable Mentions: Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, Hitman 2, Pokemon Let’s Go, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Firewall: Zero Hour - Honestly will probably be the most underrated game of the generation. Literally the reason I got a VR was because of experiences like this. It isn’t a rail shooter, it doesn’t have enemies just popping up and falling, and it isn’t a horror game. It’s literally Rainbow Six Siege in VR, and my god it’s so good at it. Literally being able to duck in real life, or peek corners, and being able to look around, it’s all so unreal. Yes there are some things that could be worked on, but being a first generation title makes this an amazing leap that shouldn’t be overlooked. Grab the Aim Controller bundle, you won’t regret it.
Forza Horizon 4 - I don’t really care for the core Forza series, but Horizon is so much fun and the 4th installment really pushed the series forward. It scratches that arcade street racing itch, and it looks beautiful doing it.
Call of Duty : Black Ops 4 - Honestly if Activision would notice that the franchise is losing steam and just stop here I’d be fine. Keep updating this game, and keep it active. This is the best Call of Duty has been since Black Ops 2. Unless they want to do the same celebration for Modern Warfare and keep both games active, I don’t really see a need to kill this game within a year. Treyarch are the gods of the franchise.
Overcooked 2 - I honestly have had so much fun in this game, and playing it with others. We spent hours getting 100 percent and were so sad when it ended! Everyone I know that comes to my house plays this game and loves it within minutes. There is always the “let’s try just one more time!” mentality, and not many games have that hook. We can’t wait for more content!
Darksider III - Speaking of undervalued games, Darksiders made a return and anyone that loves the franchise was thrilled with this one. It’s nice to see someone trying to keep the classic THQ alive, and these are the games we need, but they just don’t get pushed out there like they need to be.
Games that shouldn’t even exist: Metal Gear Survive...
2018 delivered on a plethora of great games across many platforms and various genres making it a year where just about everyone could find something to enjoy playing. While our team had the most fun with these titles, there were plenty of other great games as well. What were some of your favorite games of the year?