Uncle Lapti's 2018 End of the year games thing!

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2018 has been a weird year for me, because I always feel like I’m really slow to doing more of the stuff that I love. Essentially, I’m off in my own little corner of the world, streaming, doing news podcasts and even trying to make a documentary. It’s all been feeling like one long year of hobbies more than a career, but I keep quiet and do my thing and I’ve had a happier year because of it.

(which also means, sorry I really haven’t blogged much this year.)

BUT, I will try my best to remember what words are and write up some witty dialogue for the years best games… according to me of course. Guaranteed nobody will share the same sentiment I do about some of the games on this list. Statistically, my list doesn’t matter too much, cause I’m not of a certain authority on the matter. Lord knows I’ve tried. No sir, I’m just a person that likes some videogames, and terrible jokes. (but hey, if you agree with some of this stuff, that’s great I guess!)

SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO:

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There are two ways to look at this. One way, I really only had a list of 8 and just needed to top it off a little bit to complete it. The other way is I’ve anticipated Smash Ultimate since E3, and felt it appropriate to throw it on the list given how I can’t seem to put it down instead of well… going to sleep for example.

Yeah, it’s basically the Arcade Edition to the last Smash Bros release, but there’s also some pretty significant changes to the roster and a more robust custom ruleset that this can’t not be the best version of Smash so far. Ganondorf is finally playable, Isabelle is a ringer.

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Back in April I said my piece of how the overall gameplay structure and presentation to Detroit is it’s big problem (I think that’s what I was writing about… April was a long time ago.) But it’s on this list because of the sheer entertainment value out of watching the game and not playing it.

David Cage wants SO HARD to be able to tell a compelling video game story, and some places it definitely works. The Connor storyline is the best part about that game, and it was overshadowed by a tone deaf robot rights story that seems to ignore what happened in our own history. I hope his next game is ‘Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat’ but it’s really just some misunderstood French guy that just wants to make a flashy interactive experience.

Detroit is a game worth heckling.

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I have a confession to make. The Original God of War trilogy was awful. I was probably even the right age to enjoy a game about a shitty person that needs to murder everything and feel nothing. Luckily this new release won me over with a narrative worth caring about and gameplay that isn’t trying to test my patience.

Basically God of War finally grew up (Whether or not some fans were going to). Kratos is still not much of a sympathetic character, but he has something in this game worth caring about, even if he doesn’t know how to do that.

Christopher Judge will now spend the rest of his life being asked if he can say “BOY!”

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It’s once again that time where I put a Picross game onto my top 10 list for no reason other than to keep pointing out that I love these Picross games. Cause really there’s nothing else to talk about. It’s a puzzle game where you make a picture. Sometimes they’re easy, sometimes they’re hard. Sometimes they’re little pictures that are part of a larger picture (my favourite mode.)

There’s not many ways you can talk about Picross, because almost immediately there’s nothing to really say other than “it’s fun”. It would be like someone being really into Crossword puzzles and doesn’t shut up about “Today, a down answer was balloon, Which was enough of a hint for an across word I thought was going to be Ellen but turned out to be Oprah.”

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There’s something about tennis games that don’t need to be thought of as events. But I guess since it’s a ‘Mario’ game, there was a lot of chatter about “Holy shit, this Mario Tennis is really good you guys.” and that brand recognition, is enough to get a lot of people to buy it. Then those people wonder why nobody talks about Mario Tennis anymore, cause they just don’t play it themselves.

I was worried at first that the game was going to be too gimmicky with it’s mechanics, but spending enough time with it makes it feel like it’s more of a fighting or strategy game. Sure, the online mode can be frustrating since people mostly choose the characters that employ the cheapest tactics to win, but by yourself or with friends it’s a solid experience. (and a wonderful babysitting tool) Essentially this is the best tennis game we have now, unless Sega sucks it up and makes Virtua Tennis 5. At least Waluigi plays exactly like Novak Djokovic.

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Yeah this game had a terrible start, but we’re not here to talk about that. While the majority of gamers on the subject enjoy being insufferable cunts about a game they’ll never play, there’s an experience in here that gives me peace. Despite the suspension of disbelief you’d probably need for wherever it fits in the timeline, this is a game that fits into the same category for me as does a Stardew Valley or Viscera Cleanup detail. Exploration, building and holotape lore are three pillars that make up the core experience, and you’re either going to plow through everything or take your time.

It’s nice to have something on my list that lets me say “This is a game for me.” It’s a weird experiment for Bethesda with an engine that clearly needs to be reworked or scrapped. Which is both indefensible and charming. For me, these games have always been about the little things more than the bigger picture and I’m heckin loving the problems of West Virginia.

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I can say a lot of things that I enjoy about the Battlefield games, being a longtime fan of the franchise, but the thing I always felt Dice does really well is the older generation of weapons. Between this and BF1, combat just feels really good to me.

But by no means am I a connoisseur in what’s supposed to make a BF game good. (I like to point the gun and shoot at the guy before dying after running to point D on foot for 30 minutes.) There’s some changes that I think are great, like anyone on your squad can revive each other even if you’re not a medic. Also having a limitation on a healing kit or ammo makes having different character classes much more important. Also, I really enjoy spending time fortifying a position with sandbags so we can defend points a little better. Much like fallout 76 there’s a lot of little things about it that I enjoy. And I’m excited to see it’s long term support, especially if Dice says I don’t have to spend any real money to do so (I’d be more inclined to keep playing that way). Also what’s the point of character customization if I can’t accessorize in Shutter Shades or a cute pair of boots, M I RITE fellas?!

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It’s not so much the 16bit graphics, or the traditional gameplay elements that make it worthwhile, but it’s overall package. It’s the unique way that every character’s class does something to the world around them, whether it’s about trying to barter or steal, an important item off someone. Maybe even talking some information out of them or beating them up to help another townsfolk. The same team behind the Bravely Default series tried their hand at making something new out of something familiar, and maybe I’m a shill for that kind of nostalgia. I had a smile on my face with it’s grand blend of art, music and tedious menus which I appreciate (which I’m sure is a weird statement).

I guess if you think about Square Enix trying to redefine how an RPG should be made, it’s nice that they have a team that understands the fundamentals in what made the old games good. It’s a well they can always tap into, since Final Fantasy 7 won’t be doing anyone any favours.

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Look, Monster Hunter, I know. It’s one of those games that isn’t for everyone with it’s deliberate animation and it’s levels only consisting of “fight the giant shitty monster”. But this is the most accessible the franchise has ever been. Enough to feel spoiled by it. Really.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Monster Hunter since the PS2, and I always try but could never fully get into it (although MH4 on the 3DS is the closest I’ve gotten before World). It’s overall combat is easier to understand, it’s a little bit lax on the animation priority (though it still has those kinds of weapons for others that want it.) and there’s so much maneuverability that it feels like an entirely different game at times. But on the other hand, Bagelgoose is garbage and a strong enough case to take everything positive I’ve ever said, and throw it out the window.

But really out of all the games in this top 10, MH:W is the one I want to recommend the most because of its history as a hard to understand game. This is it, this is the one you want. Play it.

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I think this is actually more of a surprise to me to have Dead Cells as my number one than any other game on this list, Hell I’m the type that would have put Fallout 76 above the rest out of SPITE. Dead Cells is a solid experience that just blew me away when I turned it on for the first time. It has a gameplay loop that is addicting, because you know you can do better than the run you just had. Even when your weapon drop isn’t as good as the previous one, (sometimes you’re just stuck never getting to have a shield) it just works because the gameplay is so finely tuned it makes Picross look sloppy.

Having it on the switch also just gives it that pick up and play feel of giving yourself time for a couple of runs and seeing how far you can get. I guess I have a soft spot for games that encourage you to pick yourself up and try again, while also saying “hey maybe you should try this route now.”

A lot of the games on the list this year (and probably every year) are just iterations of a thing I’m already familiar with. Tennis, Picross, Battlefield, Fallout yeah yeah we’ve all been here, and maybe you’re also the type of asshole that calls Dead Cells a Souls-like. I think it’s actually been a real solid year with great games, but Dead Cells, just has a unique experience that came at the right time, and quite frankly stole the top spot from what was probably just going to be Hyrule Warriors again.

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It might be weird to some people that Tetris Effect isn’t on the list proper given my history with the games. There’s a lot to enjoy about Tetris Effect, it does something unique with a puzzle game that doesn’t need any real gimmicks to get you to enjoy it. But I guess if you’re talking about Tetris like it’s Lumines and touting that VR support, then the only thing I can say to that is “Sure. yes. This is a pretty good Tetris game. But while we’re here, why is there a lack of Multiplayer? Nobody is going to care about collectively building up a score every weekend to get an avatar. Tetris isn’t about chilling out and having a good time IT’S ABOUT PROVING WHO IS BETTER! ME OR DOLPHIN_BUTTER?!” “But yes, it’s a good Tetris game.”

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In a world where Mech strategy is the one true video game, BattleTech is the game that I bought thinking to myself that I play these all the time, and yet I have no goddamn idea what I’m doing. So unfortunately it will now be in my steam library egging me on insisting that I give it all the time in the world to play. I imagine there’s an alternate universe where I’m some kind of popular Twitch streamer known for playing this game poorly, but you know what. At least that Bon is playing this game. So good job Bon, you heckin love the hell out of that game!

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The only problem that I had with Fire Emblem Warriors is that it wasn’t Hyrule Warriors, and the only problem with Hyrule Warriors is that I bought it on the WiiU and the 3DS, so what the fuck am I doing buying it again? Oh yeah, cause it’s better than Fire Emblem Warriors. But hey, at least Fire Emblem Warriors is better than Dynasty Warriors 9.

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Maybe there wasn’t a lot going on music wise that really captivated me this year, but in all earnest the OST for Octopath Traveller is one of the many elements that made the game very much what it is. From character themes to overworld sounds, it felt lived in, somber, unique. I dunno, I get sentimental when hearing it.

Sometimes a good soundtrack doesn’t have to be EPIC, or BOISTEROUS or JAMMIN, but pleasant.

But Honesty, if the soundtrack wasn’t as good as it is, the song to beat would be Hideki Naganuma’s “Ain’t nothing like a funky beat” on loop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1lNhNHdoPI

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Overwatch has the unfortunate privilege of being that game I just can’t say no to. A symbiotic relationship of both pain and joy. Getting frustrated at the bad games but getting very excited about the good ones. It’ll be a three year old game soon, and I hope that’ll be the time that I really want something more out of it. I won’t be as dramatic as others might be about the state of the game or even Blizzard themselves.

I think despite all of it’s problems there’s still a game in there that I just like, I mean, I’d have to if that’s my game where I stream nothing but big Moira or Widowmaker plays. And new characters like Hammond have been a breath of fresh air and given me a new understanding/better appreciation for a whole class that I just never want to be (now find myself always having to be. Because everyone else on the team only wants to be dps) Friends and I, even pros have ranted endlessly about it, but every time I go to the computer I hover over it’s icon and say “I just can’t quit you.”

That's it! The games blog thingy! I did it!

Now I guess I'm just going back to being a hermit.

Your pal,

Uncle Lapti.

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