Fakey's 2018 Games of the Year

2018 was a pretty good year for me, with games. I didn't play as much as I'd like, still, but I had some good peace around what I could play and what I did spend my time on. I'm hoping to have a little more energy in 2019 to play longer sessions with some games, and finally introduce my kids to games (I have very particular thoughts about when kids should start playing video games and spending very much time in front of screens, based on research, but, don't worry, I won't go into that). :D

I didn't feel quite as left in the dust this year, for whatever reason, though there are new games I didn't play that I wanted to, games from the last few years I still haven't played, and games on consoles I still don't own that I really want to play...

But, anyway, away we go!

Honorable Mentions

Assassin's Creed: Rogue

I know this is a really weird one to have in a 2018 list, but the hype around Origins prompted me to start catching up in the series, from where I left off. I enjoyed Rogue more than I thought I would, and I definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to play more AC (the few of us there may be...). The controls work well (better than some of the other AC games), and it is more bite-sized than the other AC games, which means it is more focused. I also enjoyed having an Irish protagonist, though I'd still love an AC game set in Ireland in the medieval Celtic time period.

Blackwood Crossing

I really wanted to love this game, and there were definitely parts of it that pulled my my heart strings, but parts of the gameplay were frustrating, and parts of the story even hit a little too flat to make this as powerful as something like Edith Finch (which I did love). Still, if you like smaller games with depressing/heartfelt stories, Blackwood can be worth a play through.

Deadly Premonition

This is the year I finally got to Deadly Premonition, and while I don't really have anything new to say that hasn't been said many times, I'll just say that there were definitely parts of the game I liked and a few I liked a lot. I was mostly counting the hours until I finished it, because it was very hard to get running consistently on PC without crashing too often, the controls are atrocious, and some of the pacing just really got to me, especially when I felt I was simultaneously wasting time I didn't know how to wisely spend due to the cryptic side mission system. I wish I could have seen all the side content, but the work to do so was just too much for a game that fought me the entire time between the crashing and bad controls. If this game got a good remake (not remaster), it could be a really great game, for sure.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

I enjoyed my time with StarCraft II, which I really stretched out, mainly because strategy games don't fit into my life very easily anymore, due to the time and focus they take. I really liked a lot of the LotV campaign, but the SC story has always been cheesy, and that has worn on me more and more. I am going to play through the Nova missions early this year so I can finally uninstall SC2 after having it installed for years on my hard drive.

Most Disappointing

Emily is Away Too

I feel a little bad labeling this game as "Disappointing," but it is entirely a personal thing. I really liked the first Emily is Away, which replicated my most nostalgic internet experience and had music I identified more with. However, I actually identified with the story of Emily is Away Too more, which really mirrored a relationship I once had. If I could replace the story of the first game with the story of "Too," and just leave all the music and design of the first game, it would be one of the most powerful nostalgia, young love/heartbreak experiences I've ever experienced based on how closely it would strike many chords with me.

Sunset Overdrive

I haven't finished Sunset Overdrive, yet, but based on the first third of the game, I can already tell this is where it belongs on my list, unfortunately... I almost bought an XBOX ONE for this game, and I waited (mostly without hope) for it to come on PC, as one of my most anticipated ports. However, when I finally got it, it didn't live up to my expectations, at all. I was hoping it would make me feel similar to how I did when Jet Grind Radio first came out, grinding and doing tricks around a city in a way I liked even more than the Tony Hawk series (though I did love the first few Hawk games). However, Sunset Overdrive just doesn't make me feel as competent as I want with the controls, making me feel like I'm fumbling more than succeeding, and the characters and story are grating the majority of the time. The more I play, I am getting better, but it still just doesn't feel very fluid or fun.

New Games that I didn't get to (but could have been contenders)

2018 was the year I thought I'd buy a new 4K TV and PS4, but I didn't (mostly because I had to do some expensive work on my house... I hate home ownership...)

God of War

Marvel's Spider-Man

And my Games of the Year!!:

List items

  • Yakuza 0 turned out to be one of the most fun and surprising experiences I've had with a game in years. I played Yakuza 1 on PS2 a few years after it came out, but I never liked it, probably partially because I was hoping it would be more like Shenmue (which, yes, I loved when it came out). However, Yakuza 0 is the game that reminded me more of Shenmue with more personality, places to explore, and living characters. Yakuza 0 also had much more of a narrative than I remember 1 having, and I focused mostly on progressing the story of 0, simply because I couldn't wait to see what the next chapter held. It really helped that the game switches between the two main characters, which I know I will miss when I do play Kiwami (when that is released on PC...).

  • NieR could have been my #1 if it was just a bit shorter, the fighting was more fun (or faster/easier when replaying parts), and the world was more interesting from area to area. However, from about 5 hours in to about 25 hours in, I was very much entranced by finding out more about the story and characters. The last 30 hours or so was a bit more of a slog, though (which is also why I bought but didn't play much of the DLC). I still want to play the first NieR, now, even though I know it is a very different game, but I'm not rushing into it, simply because of the last ten hours or so of Automata.

  • Doki Doki really surprised me, and I'm still surprised it is this high on my list, but it really did make an impact. I really enjoyed the way it told the story, with all its tricks and deceptions. I felt for the characters, and for at least a couple hours, I really believed I was making unique choices that had unpredictable outcomes. I recommend it to anyone that likes a good story/narrative!

  • The Red Strings Club rang a lot of the same bells as Doki Doki. And, what is really funny is that I encountered a glitch at the end of the game that I had to spend time researching to see if it really was a glitch or just a part of the game. The game deals with cybernetics, hacking, and the like, and so when two conversations started overlapping, and my character was twitching and replying to both conversations at the same time, I thought it was intentional! It was a very neat way to wrap up the game, though, since I still did what I would have done without the glitch, and I watched the non-glitched ending via YouTube after. :D

  • I wish Shadow of the Tomb Raider was higher on this list, because it would mean I liked it more than I did. I actually really didn't like the game for the first few hours, but I did eventually get into it and had fun. However, it mostly felt flat and not as exciting and thrilling as the last two, which have been some of my favorite games to play and think fondly on. At this point, I'd be very skeptical for another Tomb Raider anytime soon without a big change in the "formula" and how the developers approach it.

  • I know most people really dislike Unity, but I actually liked it a fair amount. Of course, at this point, it is MUCH less buggy than it was when it was released, so that's definitely something. I liked the look of the game, and while the flow of the running, climbing, and jumping was a little off still, it worked better than the older games, and I liked the atmosphere and different areas in the game. I also had fun with some of the murder mystery stuff, and I would have played through every scenario there if the quality had stayed high there, but they started getting cheap and uninteresting. Ultimately, though, I did enjoy the game, and I'm looking forward to playing through Syndicate this year, as I work towards getting to Origins, which sounds like the game I'll really love....

  • My only complaint about Gorogoa is how short it is, but everything else from the art, the puzzles, the way the story is told, is all so great, and I feel every gamer should play through it, and the brevity makes it a very bite-sized afternoon treat. :)

  • I'm really behind on the adventure games in my backlog, especially because I love the Wadget Eye published games. I plan on getting through at least two in 2019. Primordia is a great one for any fan of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic literature.

  • Donut County's personality may not work for everyone, and it was close to missing for me, but it did work, and I found parts of it funny in a wry way that made me wish there was more to the game than the few levels and one mechanic it has. Don't get me wrong, what is there is all great, but another mechanic, more levels, and maybe even other parts of the game that involved some other environments or running around or maybe even another mechanic.

  • I actually enjoyed Far Cry 5 more than 4... I know, blasphemous, but I enjoyed 3 more than both, personally. However, 5 barely made this list, because the story was extremely disappointing, and the gameplay has just been recycled too many times, at this point. However, there is some fun still there, and clearing out the bases/strongholds is still fun. So, I did finish the game and enjoyed some mindless action.