Game of the Year 2018

Ah, 2018. Once again I'll leave it up to you to decide if it's been a good in general. When it comes to video games, 2018 was pretty good. It definitely ended up feeling better than I expected one year ago. While last year was insane, this year had a more even spread when it comes to the top titles. Which in some ways is probably better, so less games gets drown out. A few did still get lost in the shuffle though.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider comes to mind as one of those games. I don't feel like I heard as much buzz about it compared to the last two games. I absolutely loved Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, but even I felt something was a bit off about this one. It's certainly not as good as RotTR, and when a sequel feels like a step back it's usually not making you interested in playing it.

I have to mention the biggest disappointment for me this year. Without a doubt that dubious honor goes to The Crew 2. I really enjoyed The Crew. It was by no means a perfect racing game. Not even close. It did have something special about it though. The huge world and while the story was pretty lame, it was still juuuuust good enough that me and friend spend most of a Summer racing all over America.

A few other games I will forget about in the new year are Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, Dynasty Warriors 9 and Bravo Team. Dissidia just don't make any sense to me. I tried my hardest to understand but I just don't get it. I don't like to call it a bad game, because those who like seems to really like it. I just can't wrap my head around how that game is supposed to be played. Dynasty Warriors 9 and Bravo Team on the other hand are just bad games. DW9 tried to go open world, but failed spectacularly. Bravo Team didn't even try, It's a lazy PSVR shooter that barely works, and it also looks like an early PS2-title.

Now, here comes The Crew 2. Had they improved on the orignal? Could they use the great concept and well designed world, and actually put a racing game that would great to control in it this time? Nope. Instead they gutted it, removed most of the things that actually worked in the original and the world feels so dead. Even with the added options to fly and boat racing, the game felt incomplete. I had no reason to keep playing this game. I'm still so disappointed, and I hope The Crew one day will live up to it's full potential.

Now let's forget about the bad, and praise all the good games that actually came out this year. Obviously I have a top ten list, but I have some honorable mentions. It was actually more difficult to keep it down to ten this year than I expected. A game I really wanted to see on the list but just lost out in the end was WarioWare Gold. Yes it's 2018 and a 3DS game almost made it on my top 10 list. I had a blast playing that game and I can't wait to hopefully see a new WarioWare game on Switch some day.

Moss was also close to join the list. 2018 once again wasn't the year that VR would get it's major breakthrough. We did get some good VR games though and I would honestly say you can recommend buying a PSVR now. There are enough good games for it now and Moss is one of them. A fun cute little platforming/puzzle game where you control a mouse. While it doesn't look very spectacular on a normal screen, this is one of those games you have to play in VR to understand it. From high fiving the mouse to looking around the wonderfully crafted diarama world, Moss is most definitely a game worth playing if have the means to do it.

A game I would love to have on my list is Civilization VI for Switch. I don't feel like it counts as a 2018 game though. I did also have Civ VI on my GOTY list when it came out on PC, so I've given the credit it deserves. Just know that it is a fantastic port that plays surprisingly well on the Switch. Speaking of amazing ports for Switch, I have to highlight Diablo III, Bayonetta 2 and Wolfenstein II. Really worth picking up if you need some great action on the go. Also, Windjammers came out on Switch. Get it.

Other games from 2018 I had fun with are: The Inpatient, FIFA 19, Pro Evolution Soccer 2019, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Monster Hunter: World, UFC 3, Shadow of the Colossus, Burnout Paradise Remastered, Far Cry 5, Yakuza 6, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, Le Tour de France 2018, Mario Tennis Aces, Lumines Remastered, Jurassic World Evolution, Forza Horison 4, Detroit: Become Human, Fire Pro Wrestling World, Soulcalibur VI, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee! and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight.

List items

  • This is the game I've been waiting for ever since the Spider-Man 2 game out. Somehow no one was able to make a truly great Spider-Man game after that. Sure, there were some decent here and there but nothing that felt better than Spider-Man 2.

    At least until Insomniac Games decided to give it a go. Sure, I understand why this won't be everyone's game of the year. While the combat is good, it's pretty much just the same as the Batman Arkham games. The game looks great and the score sounds like it's from one of the Spider-Man movies. What surprised me the most, and why I really loved playing this game, is the story.

    Not that it's super original or does anything special. It's just that it works much better than I expected. I really did end up caring about Peter Parker, MJ and all the other characters this game presents to you. Sure not all the villains are written interestingly, but there's a good reason for that. The characters that truly matter for the game's story gets a good treatment.

    Then there's the swinging. It just feels so amazing to swing your way through New York. It really is a pleasure to just fly through houses, trees and juuuuust come close enough to the cars on the street. It's just a joy to control.

    That's probably why I enjoyed this game the most this year. It's a joy. Something I've been missing from Spider-Man games. I'm not a huge comic reader but I've always had a soft spot for Spider-Man. There was something about him that I could relate to unlike other superheroes. This game is the closest thing I've ever been to actually be Spider-Man, and for that I owe Insomniac Games my award as 2018's Game of the Year.

  • To be fair, looking purely at the game from a analytical and technical point of view, this is the best game of the year. Unfortunately for GoW I decided with my heart instead of my brain. That's not to say God of War is bad. Not at all! It's my number two after all.

    That's actually quite an accomplishment when you consider I never really understood the hype around the old God of War games. Sure they were fluid beat'em'up games, they had some amazing set pieces and provided solid action if you needed some of that.

    I just lost interest after a while though. The fights would get a bit repetitive and Kratos himself weren't especially interesting. That's all changed in this new iteration. Kratos seems like he's got more to offer, which is helped a lot as he has to connect to his son. A relationship that certainly could be better and it's interesting to watch it evolve while you play.

    Putting Kratos in the Norse mythology obviously aslo makes it easier for me to be drawn into the world. It is closer to me after all than the Greek mythology. No matter what though, God of War is a game anyone with a PS4 should try out.

  • Yeah it's Tetris. I could pretty much end my reasoning there, because I love Tetris a lot. That being said it is possible to make bad Tetris games, so I should probably make sure to say this is a good Tetris game.

    I don't know if I would call it the best Tetris game made. Well, maybe the best single player version. For multiplayer, Tetris DS could still very well be the king. This game is made by the man behind Rez and Lumines and you can tell that immediately.

    That's a very good thing because Lumines is an awesome puzzle game that mixes puzzle with music and visual effects. That's more or less the same formula that has been used here. Except it feels like it's always meant to be this way. It's hard to describe but when everything just clicks together, the beat from the music, some colors are popping on the screen and you clear a line.....it's a fantastic sensation.

    Add in that you can also play this in VR and make everything blow straight into your eyeballs. Now you've got a game that everyone should play. Unless of course you already know you dislike Tetris. Because at the end of the day, at it's core it's still Tetris. It's just a very, very good version of it.

  • This game might be the biggest surprise to me this year. From the moment Activision announced that Black Ops 4 wouldn't have any single player campaign, I was already worried. They have had three years since BO3, and they couldn't come up with a campaign mode? Yes they are usually not very long, and as time has gone by, they have had few surprising moments. Still, I've enjoyed having them as sometimes I don't want to play online or maybe I've got friends who prefer some offline co-op fun.

    Fast forward to the Blackout beta. I have dabbled a bit with Fortnite and PUBG, and this felt like more of the same. It seemed functional but eh, will it be worth the full price that Activision still asked for it.

    I decided to give it a chance and I'm glad I did. I've been playing this a lot, and of course I wouldn't miss the short campaign mode. Especially not when the multiplayer modes play as good as they do. The maps are great, and Blackout turned out to be much better than it felt in the beta.

    If you haven't played Call of Duty for some time, this is the one to come back to. Battlefield V seems disappointing, at least for now, and like half a game. So if you want a full complete multiplayer FPS package, I can't recommend Black Ops 4 enough.

  • Hitman 2 is more of the same. Just like Overcooked 2, this sequel don't mess too much with the formula of it's predecessor. Instead Hitman 2 adds some great new features and fixes some of the problems of the original. Isn't that what any truly good sequel should do?

    "But Hitman was you game of the year in 2016! If it's more of the same, why only number 6?" - Well, you do still expect something more when a game get 2 attached. It still plays great, is full of replay value and does everything you hope. It looks great and sounds great. It's just not enough to get higher on my list though.

    To be fair, this game was probably going to be released the same way the original was. As an episodic game and with the new levels just added to your already existing Hitman game. Remember, the last Hitman was originally called Hitman season 1. Then Square Enix got wierd, and IO Interactive became independent. You can definitely feel this game has a smaller budget when it comes to cut scenes. Speaking of Hitman season 1, if you own the old game all of those missions can be transferred into Hitman 2. Complete with the new features and that is awesome. Now you also have a reason to replay the old maps once again.

    It's a shame the game looks like it didn't sell great, but hopefully more people will pick it up in January while waiting for the next big thing. It certainly don't deserve to flop.

  • Overcooked still stands as some of the most fun I've had playing video games with my friends. I knew it would be difficult for the developers to create a sequel that could be even better. That's why I'm so happy that they actually managed to do so.

    Not that the game looks much different from the original, but that's also the good thing about it. Why fix something that already works? No, instead the Tony Hawk Evolution model has been. Although instead of adding manuals to this game, it's the ability to throw food and items.

    That little addition opens up for more tactics and ways to work together when you play with your friends. I should say the single player mode still isn't very fun to play. So you should only get this game if you love to play with other people. Especially as another big addition is the option to play against other people online. Now, I wonder what Overcooked 3' answer to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3's revert could be?...

  • If you just look at this game, it looks like a basic platformer. It's not until you put on the PSVR headset and play it for yourself you understand how great this game actually is.

    Astro Bot is basically a simple platformer, but it is the way it uses VR to actually make it feel different. Sure you collect coins, and pick up your lost bot friends. What makes this different is the way, the game pulls you into the world. You have to move your head around to look around corners or beneath you to find the secrets spots where some bots may hide. In other cases you have to headbutt a metal plate, to turn a crane the right way.

    The controls are good, the bots are adorable and this game just has a charm that's hard to resist. It just makes you happy to play through this VR-adventure, and sometimes that's all I need. By itself I wouldn't say it's quite good enough to be a system seller, but get this, Moss and Tetris Effect. Then you'll have a bundle worth getting a PSVR for. If you already have a PSVR headset, this game is a must have!

  • Sure, the retro-style Metroidvania indie 2D adventure games are starting to feel a bit old. That's why it's refreshing to see that when it's well done, it can still be a joy to play.

    Dead Cells style looks amazing, and the animations are great. That being said, a game can't live on the visuals alone (Rise of the Robots taughts us that in 1994). Luckily Dead Cells is also a joy to play. It's not easy, but it's still a joy.

    If you're looking for a challenging 2D Dark Souls inspired adventure game, look no further than Dead Cells. It really is one of this year very best games.