My top 10 games of 2018

Another great year for video games, kinda marred by the fact that I had a lot of stuff going on and hadn't had time to play as many as I wanted. Notable games that goes in "I probably would have loved this if I had played it" is stuff like Tetris Effect, Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Dead Cells, but on to the real list!

List items

  • Rockstar is one of the only big companies left who can really do what they want without having their games wrung through shareholder opinions, focus testing or social media outrages. RDR2 is an uncompromising vision of a gritty cowboy adventure with unparalleled world detail and a luxurious amount of it. You feel the passion that has been put into crafting every part of it from thousands of people and I think it delivered on the hype I had for the game in many surprising ways.

  • Criminally overlooked JRPG of the year. While Octopath Traveller might have garnered all the attention from its striking look, Dragon Quest truly captures the spirit of classic JRPGs in my opinion: Great world, story and memorable characters with their own personalities and motiviations. It's not just the critical path, all the kinda side-stories you get intertwined in along the way are all great and I was moved several times when playing this. It's just been announced that it's coming to Switch in 2019, so hopefully it will get the recognition in deserves there, because it did not sell very well at all in the West.

  • It suprised me more than anyone that Phantasy Star would make the list this year, but kinda outta nowhere SEGA AGES Phantasy Star appeared on the Switch and let me tell you, brother: This game is great. Old 8-bit JRPGs are often ancient and unapproachable in a way that platformers and action games of their generation aren't, but SEGA and M2 have made some smart choices to modernize it, the biggest one being an automap for all the 3D mazes of the game and a built-in help screen that explains what all the items, weapons and spells does. The music is fantastic as well with great composition that makes me want to listen to it outside the game, despite having had it loop in my ears for hours on end while playing it.

  • SEGA finally returned to the roots of what made the best game ever, Valkyria Chronicles, so good. I've only really sunk a couple of hours in so far, but I cannot wait until I have the time to get back to it, because this game is strategy excellence with a great story and characters.

  • Marvel's Spider-Man is really good. It plays well, it has a nice story and has just the right amount of side stuff to do without being insurmountable... but it is a very "produced" game. Everything has been carefully measured and put together based on countless hours of feedback and many, many spreadsheets. The human element of this distilled concoction is only really glazed on top of it, but in a very thick way that really connects with most people, myself included. I had fun, but it's kinda like getting a new phone, TV or other piece of tech where it makes me wonder if it will hold up in the years to come?

  • EDF! EDF! EDF!

  • Finally some of SNK's pre-Neo Geo games makes it to home consoles and man did they make a lot of top-down-muscle-man-with-gun games. Where these games in the arcade previously relied on rotary joysticks, they have all been fixed to play as dual-joystick shooters now and it works great. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the Forza-style rewind feature as well, which allows you to correct mistakes and really learn how to master the games in a fun way, such as P.O.W for the NES, a favorite retro game of mine where my profile picture is from.

  • I saw a lot of outcry from some sites on this one, chastising Far Cry 5 for not being "political" enough. Well, to be honest, I'm glad it wasn't. It's not because I'm some right-wing nazi that don't want no politics in my game, it's because I don't want to have it preached to me by a big cooperate entity like Ubisoft, who doesn't really care about the issues but just does it because it's in vogue to do so. EA does it to their fans, pandering to marginalized groups and pretending to be woke, but don't fall for it, people. They just want to nickle and dime you to death by giving you as little content as possible for you 60$ with Battlefield V. Ubisoft, on the other hand, has made quite a meaty game with Far Cry 5 and despite being the company that usually loves to copy/paste content to pad out their games (I'm looking at you Assassin's Creed Odyssey), there is enough variation to the missions and encounters in the game that I almost 100%'ed it (couldn't be bothered with the fishing to be honest). I really liked the endings and characters as well, because it was fun to see what a world would look like where all those doomsday preppers finally had their fears validated.

  • Like a lot of other people, I did not think that I was gonna get into a Monster Hunter game, but Capcom did the smart thing of streamlining it in most of the right places to make it accessible and by putting it out on "big boy consoles" where it could really shine with cool graphics. I spent the whole game playing Light Bow Gun and now I wonder if I kinda gimped myself, because last time I went back for an event I was so rusty that I was angrily booted from a group for dying twice in a row, which hasn't made me want to return to it much after, but the 80 or so hours I had playing the game at launch were fantastic.

  • Maybe it's because I played it back to back with SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy or maybe it's just because it's that good, but I had a great time with Blade Strangers. In a sea of fighters, this one doesn't try to get too fancy with obtuse systems, making it easy to pick up and play. It's a solid roster of interesting, varied characters with the kind of deep, semi-obscure cuts that *I* like to see. You get a story mode for each of them apart from an arcade mode, your versus tournament modes, training modes etc.