Oh, it’s that time of the year again: game of the year. Time to piss off your friends by telling them their opinions are wrong and yours are right and if they don’t agree they can go to hell.
Every year, I get crap from the Kinda Funny Gamescast crew because I do this list and spoil my Gamecast Top 10 segment. So this year, I’m leaving Octopath Traveller and Valkyria Chronicles 4 off my Giant Bomb list. You’ll have to watch or listen to the Gamescast to see where I put them. (Also, I forgot about them when I wrote this, so that’s the excuse I’m using to not retool this whole thing.)
Before we get into my Giant Bomb list, however, let’s run through my honorable mentions. Astro Bot, you’re incredible, and I intend to Platinum you over break. Overcooked 2, I had a blast marathoning you for a weekend with my best friend Po. Tetris Effect, I love you with all my heart, but I’m so bad at you. Guacamelee 2, you’re a joy to play.
But this is my Giant Bomb Top 10 of 2018. Only 10 games could advance to have the honor of being on my list. And the winners are...
Yes, just like last year’s list, I’m wasting a Top 10 spot on a remastered PSP game. Why? Because Lumines is a criminally underrated puzzle game, and Lumines Remastered brings everything I love to the PS4. You can zone out and make squares to amazing music, you can push yourself to try and clear 180 squares in 180 seconds, and you can compare all your scores to your friends with online leaderboards. It’s a year where Tetris Effect is going to get all the love, and I totally get why, but for my money, I’d rather play Lumines Remastered any day of the week.
Short and sweet, Moss is the game that set the tone for PSVR this year. It came around with a stunning atmosphere, showed how traditional controls could merge with a VR perspective, and introduced the world to Quill, a cute-as-a-button protagonist. I’ll never forget starting in the game’s massive library, craning my neck around obstructions to guide Quill to objectives, or solving the game’s delicious puzzles. Moss feels like playing a storybook, and I can’t wait for more.
Some of the most fun I had online this year was in Firewall Zero Hour. A PlayStation VR game that’s basically 4v4 Rainbow Six, Kevin from Kinda Funny and I would play it night after night and come in the next day saying the same thing: “I can’t believe it works.” Seriously, being in a lobby and talking to Kevin’s avatar as if he can see me, infiltrating as a team, having each other’s backs, planting explosives--this is what I DREAMED of VR being like. We were there in those games, y’know?
Florence is a 45-minute iPhone game that I played while my wife and I each had an earbud in. It covers the start, bliss, and end of a relationship, and it’s fucking beautiful. The art is gorgeous, the music is touching, and the gameplay is simple but does so much to put us in that couple’s shoes. My wife cried, I got pretty close, and we played the soundtrack on Spotify for days after the credits rolled. Florence says its piece and leaves you to deal with the aftermath. I love it.
I’ve been talking about games professionally for 12 years, so I remember when Fortnite was announced, years later when it was re-revealed at pre-E3, and when it said “Hey, we love PUBG, so we’re gonna try that.” None of it moved the needle for me, so I thought I’d never pick it up. Then, this E3, it came to the Switch, and I found a Nintendo audience as oblivious to the basic game mechanics as I was. For weeks, the Kinda Funny crew, a bajillion Switch owners, and myself learned together, and it was so much fun. I bought the Battle Pass, dropped in Tilted, and spent late nights rambling about assault rifles. When Season 6 came around, the obsession had passed, and I didn’t play a match. After the Game Awards, I dropped into Season 7, and I’m hooked again. (This time on my PS4). Fortnite is amazing. Sure, plenty of people hate on it for a number of reasons, but the game reinvents itself every few weeks, works on every machine you’ve got with the same account, and appeals to gamers of every age. I’m in awe of it, and I’m excited to unlock the next reward tonight. It’s gaming comfort food.
I played 130 hours of Monster Hunter: World. The obsession got so bad that my wife and I moved a second TV into the living room so that we could play side-by-side together, and when she went away for the weekend, Kevin came over for a Monster Hunter: World sleepover. I reviewed Monster Hunter for IGN back in the day, and it never clicked. In fact, I wrote a piece about how Capcom could and should tweak the game for Western audiences, and I thought it fell on deaf ears. I was wrong. Monster Hunter: World did everything I asked for in that article and gave me a gear treadmill I never wanted to end. From the joy of discovering how new clothing items would lead to gold drops to farming teeth, I loved this game. Every moment.
When I reviewed Batman: Arkham Asylum back in the day, I thought we had turned a corner; now that we had this success, clearly every big DC and Marvel hero would get games designed with the same TLC. That didn’t happen for lots of heroes, but this year it happened for Spidey. Insomniac’s Spider-Man is--wait for it--amazing. The story is fun, the performances are great, New York is alive, and it feels great to be Spider-Man. I wish there were a few more twists in the story and that I didn’t find the Sable outposts so annoying, but that doesn’t detract from the joyride Spider-Man is.
3. Beat Saber
I’m fat, I don’t like working out, and I’ve never had a gym membership stick. I’m up sweating my ass off at 7 a.m. most weekdays playing Beat Saber. It started when I came back from work after a 4 a.m. wake-up call. I thought I’d try Beat Saber for a bit and pass out at 8:30 p.m. I played for an hour, and I felt revitalized. I stayed up until--you know, you don’t need the whole itinerary. What I’m saying is that playing this game makes me feel better so I start my mornings with it. I know that I look like a fool playing it, but I feel like a badass. It’s visually stunning, an auditory delight, and a rhythm game that I feel in control of. Plus, it’s you wielding lightsabers. What’s not to love?
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the best Assassin’s Creed game of all time. Kassandra’s story is riveting with worthwhile payoffs for every chapter, Ancient Greece is so beautiful it feels like I’m on vacation, and the world is PACKED with content. I’m still flabbergasted by this game. I dug the combat of Origins, but the world and characters didn’t click for me. When I got behind Kassandra’s spear in Odyssey, it was love at first stab. The dialogue choices gave me ownership of the character, I loved building my loadout of skills and weapons, and each and every side quest seemed to have some character or moment that resonated with me. There aren’t many games I regale my wife with tales of exploits in, but Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is one of them. I love this game.
1. Fallout 76
A departure from the norm, Fallout 76 caught the world--and me--off guard. NPCs? Gone. Single-player? Not a chance. Greg’s Game of the Year? No. God of War is my game of the year for 2018 and possibly my favorite game of all time. I just know that everyone knows God of War is awesome and why it’s awesome so I thought I’d put Fallout 76 in this slot’s headline to see how many people actually read this blurb and don’t go straight to Twitter to yell at me. God of War is dope, man. Dope. Play it.