Games I Played in 2018

A list I'm making so I don't forget what I've played. Though I'm starting this list in May; I've definitely already played and forgotten some stuff.

This list will not exclusively contain games released in 2018; in fact, it's going to be mostly made up of older games. I won't put every single game I play on this list, but I will put every single game I play for the first time on this list. I will also include games that I have played before, but found some new life for me during this year that lead me to playing it a significant amount.

I don't get to play a ton of actually-modern games due to lack of funds, so often these lists are made up of mostly older stuff. I have no idea how I plan to handle my GOTY this year; if I'll just pick something and ignore the release date, or if I'll stick strictly to this year's releases. We'll see just how many games from this year I end up playing, I guess.

List items

  • Played a LOT of this this year. I played a lot as a kid, but this year I played more than I had ever played before. And got way deep into it, learning the basics of competitive play. I'm not any good when looking at competitive play, but I am way better than most casual players, now. This game is super fun when you go deep on it, something I always dismissed before.

  • A pretty meh game, but serves its purpose well. This series is better on portable systems too, in my opinion.

  • Picked this up about a week ago. I've been trying to finish this game in some form off and on for actual years. The PS3 I had to play FES on is now broken, so this looked like my next-best option. I think I might actually be able to finish it this time; the Vita is an extremely convenient place to play long RPGs on. I can turn the screen off at any time, and my place is always saved when I boot it back up, and the Vita maintains battery life while in sleep mode like no other electronic device I own. It's great.

  • It was cheap on e-shop and I needed a game to play while listening to podcasts before bed. Served that purpose, though it's not a great game. It's okay, though. There are a thousand similar games on the e-shop, though, so it's not like I really recommend it.

  • A very-much improved version of the original Sun/Moon. The story is better, the endgame is not nonexistent, there's actual challenge to completing the main quest this time around... It's a great entry in the main Pokemon series.

  • This game has a severe framerate issue. I'm not someone that cares that much about framerate, but I found it to be almost unplayable. It also moves at a snail's pace, has very undefined goals, and controls pretty poorly. This was not a great first showing for the first game in the series with the new title. (This series is Harvest Moon. The name was changed due to a rights issue. Newer Harvest Moon games are not a continuation of the Harvest Moon series; these games are named the same as old Harvest Moon games are in Japan. Newer games coming out with the Harvest Moon name in the West are from a different series started by the company that used to publish the Harvest Moon games. They are not a part of the same series. Story of Seasons games are. It's fucking complicated, I know.)

  • I picked this one up in spite of my disappointment with the previous one because my younger brother told me this game fixes a lot of what's wrong with the last one. It does! It's still got issues, but the framerate is tolerable, the controls are btter, the goals are more clearly defined, and there's more to do in general! It's still an excruciatingly slow-paced game for the first too-many-hours, but it does actually pick up eventually. I enjoyed this game quite a lot, though not as much as my favorite Harvest Moon or Rune Factory games. Still, it's a lot of fun, and I can safely look forward to future games in the series, now.

  • This game was fun, but I think it's my least favorite game in the Shantae series, except maybe the original GBC one. That one only because I didn't play it at the time, and playing it in 2017-ish with the context of what the series would go on to be made it hard to finish.

    I have finished every other game in the series, though, including this one. This one is much more linear than previous ones, had worse boss fights (which are never that great in Shantae games already,) and less cool shit to be rewarded with for exploring that isn't strictly necessary for completion. The story isn't great either, though that's never been a selling point for Shantae games. I just found the ending unsatisfying.

    Still, I say all this, but I did enjoy the game. It's just following up a bunch of games that I like a lot more. Though this game has some issues that go beyond "not as good as the previous games", stepping into "has some straight-up bad aspects to it that I wouldn't like in any game, regardless of the franchise" territory. But it's overall a good game. Not a great game, which I WOULD say of some of the other games in this series.

  • Picked this up, thinking WayForward usually does good stuff and I wanted a cool puzzle game to play. I do not like this game's style of puzzles. That's not to say they're bad or anything, I honestly couldn't say. I just did not like playing this game at all. This game's core puzzle mechanic does not appeal to me.

  • I forgot to put this on my list last year, though I definitely played it then. I played more of it this year, getting into some of the DLC. This game is still incredible. It's a genuine masterpiece.

  • Now this, I did only play for the first time this year. It's really good! It's super well-made and a lot of fun.

    But... it did not grab me the way it grabbed other people. I think it's fantastic, but I think... I think there were too many moons. I just did not give a shit about finding them all, and getting really tough ones didn't even feel all that rewarding because I got the same thing after beating a really tough platforming challenge that I got when I ground pounded a glowy spot. I can see why this shift in direction would be appealing to some people; maybe it could even be appealing to me if I spent a little more time with it! But in the relatively few hours I played (less than ten, I think), it did not get its hooks into me.

    I never thought I'd say that about a Nintendo game that is generally liked; usually whenever Nintendo makes a "good" game, I loooove it. Especially if it's a good Mario game. But I liked the Wii U's Super Mario 3D World more than this one, which is not an opinion I would have thought I'd have when I was watching the trailers for Odyssey.

  • Steins;Gate is so good on its own that it absolutely did not need a sequel/prequel (it's a time travel game, so it's kinda both.) Before I played this game, I would have told you that there wasn't room for a direct follow-up, and that the existence of one would only serve to muddy a perfect plot. When I saw this game 1. existed, and 2. was out for a platform I owned, I still bought it immediately. Steins;Gate is one of my favorite games of all time. I couldn't just NOT play the follow-up.

    Thankfully, this game is good enough to manage to sidestep all of my worries I had going into it. They find a good place to put it on the timeline that could actually use some filling in, in spite of me not thinking a place like that even existed. It doesn't feel shoehorned in or tacked-on; it feels like a genuinely important part of the story that was left untold before. I don't think it's anywhere near as good as the first game, but the fact that this game both took advantage of and added to my enjoyment of the first game is a major accomplishment. I revere the first game, probably more than it deserves (though it deserves most of it; it's wonderful) and assumed that any other story told with the same characters could only ever cheapen the impact of the original. The "true ending" that concludes the first Steins;Gate is extremely satisfying; cathartic, even. If a sequel came along and said there was yet another disaster needing to be dealt with, then the well-earned feeling of closure that the ending gave me would be totally undermined. And any sequel that takes place on some unrelated timeline or dealt with new, unrelated characters... that wouldn't even mean anything to me. It wouldn't need the Steins;Gate name on it.

    So I was extremely pleased with what events they chose to cover in this follow-up. It felt like an important story, dealt with the characters I loved from the first game, and only added to the plot of the original without undermining it, while still being a story with high stakes. I liked it quite a lot, and I was really expecting not to. I was expecting to have to imagine it wasn't canon or something, like I do with the Tales of Symphonia sequel.

    So yeah. A great game. By following up what I consider one of my favorite games of all time without disappointing me is a seriously impressive accomplishment. That it actually added to that story in a meaningful way is almost unbelievable.

    Play the original first if this game looks interesting to you. I've heard that it can be played without that context, but the original is excellent, and it makes this game that much better. There's an anime adaptation of the original (along with a now ongoing adaptation of this newer game) which I haven't seen, but people also like a lot, so that might be enough, too; I can't say for certain. I can say the original is worth playing, though, if you're not opposed to a game that amounts to little more than reading a long book with some choices scattered throughout it.

  • I am kind of perpetually playing this game, now. I don't have much to add right now, but I wanted to put it on this list because if I do manage to get to or even beat Yama at some point this year, that'll be worth talking about as a kind of separate experience from previous years.

  • On this list even though it was on a previous year's list because of the multiplayer update. I've only played a liiiiitle (because I am spending what little spare time I have between schoolwork on other games, or stuff like this list. Generally being antisocial, though) but what little I've played showed a lot of promise as a new experience.

    The addition of more players relieves a lot of the pressure to "not fuck this up" you can feel playing in single-player, where the knowledge that it's POSSIBLE to be more efficient can sometimes turn into an obsessive need to actually achieve it. Austin Walker said that weird pressure was why he never got into it when it came out. It never affected me to the extent it did him, but even I can feel the effects of the decreased pressure playing it multiplayer. It helps that I played it with and intend to keep playing it with a very cool person, for sure, but I definitely like the way the multiplayer helps keep everything from feeling like it needs to be done immediately.

  • This game is a rogue-lite Megaman game. It's got procedural dungeons, permadeath but with minor progression upgrades from one run to another, and it also has bosses with weaknesses to weapons gained by beating other bosses, wall jumping, charge shots... and a lot of other Megaman stuff. It's pretty cool, though the best Megaman games are great because of the human-designed levels, so it loses a lot.

    It has co-op, though, both local and online, and having a co-op, rogue-lite, infinitely replayable version of Megaman is really nice. The co-op is fun, with each player controlling characters with different fighting styles. (For those familiar, it's basically one player is Megaman [or X, I guess] and the other is Zero.)

  • It's a totally fun game to break out with roommates or family and play. It's got that "Smash Bros. with all the items turned on" sort of chaotic fun to it.

  • I bought this hoping for an Etrian Odyssey game with Mystery Dungeon elements, because I like the Etrian games at their core, but find them to be infuriating and tedious at times and haven't ever completed one. This game was the reverse of what I was hoping for, but still pretty fun. I stopped playing after getting distracted by other games, but the core of Mystery Dungeon is fun, and the Etrian Odyssey style of story and level progression is a good wrapper for it. The art is great too, as it generally is in the Etrian games.

  • This is the game I accidentally dropped Etrian for. I found a physical copy of Birthright at a retail store for full, not-marked-up price and bought it because that's not an easy find. Even used copies of this game are generally sold above MSRP (though not as badly marked-up as Awakening) and while I could have bought it digitally, my 3DS memory is limited and I kinda like owning Fire Emblem games.

    This game is worse than Awakening. It is a game about quantity over quality, and has a staggering number of units for you to control, level up, specialize skills for, marry off, and pass on skills and stats to their kids. There are a LOT of systems in this game (these games?) and playing with them can fill a lot of hours.

    That said, the main quest for each of the three games that make up Fates (Birthright, Conquest, and Revelations) is maybe not that long when each game is 40$, and the quality of the writing and of the plot itself is poor. But after buying one game at full price, the other two are discounted to 20$ a piece. Each game's main quest is as long as the main quests of the others (Revelations might be shorter, I'm not sure) making them a steal at 20$, more than compensating for "overpaying" for the first game you purchased.

    And if you want to engage with all the systems more than the main quest requires, even one game can last you many, many more hours than that main story takes to complete... for Birthright, at least. I know Conquest is more restrictive in how much it'll let you do between missions, but I had some DLC (all of which is accessible in all three games, and after purchasing once - thank god) that mitigated that. But you can spend dozens, if not hundreds of hours grinding levels, grinding money, learning specific skills to create broken character builds, making the characters' relationships stronger, deciding who will marry who, upgrading weapons, managing your personal castle, visiting other players' castles to trade with or fight against, playing on harder difficulties...

    There's a ton of stuff to occupy your time with in Fates. Unfortunately, the end result isn't the most cohesive thing in the world, and there are enough systems that trying to pick up playing from an old save after being away from it for a long time is extremely difficult. And in this huge pool of "content" available to you, none of it is really exceptional. Almost every previous Fire Emblem game (released in the US, at least) has done a few things significantly better than Fates does, though which aspects are better and which are not vary from game to game. The games released prior to Awakening all have significantly better characters and writing. Even Awakening, which is written in a similar style and (like Fates) leans heavily on anime tropes, tells a more engaging story than Fates and uses its cliched character archetypes to far better effect.

    I say all this, but I invested about 200 hours between the three games anyway. There is something to be said for having that huge quantity of content, and all of it's at least serviceable, even good at times. The trope-ridden writing and characters are weak, but that style of character writing makes it easier to use as mindless escapism. There's nothing underneath the surface you have to search for; every character behaves exactly as expected, and when you turn your brain off, they elicit the occasional smile as they say something nice or show affection for another character. It is occasionally even genuinely endearing, too. It's just a game that was perfectly designed to let me slip away into.

    And in spite of my complaints, I do think the game is good overall. But I loved Awakening quite a bit. I spent a bunch of money on an imported Lucina Amiibo I saw at NY Comic Con because the US ones immediately sold out in all the retail stores I frequented. My affinity for Awakening runs deep. And this game didn't live up to that. It was good, and it filled the void I needed it to fill for quite a while, but... I had higher expectations than that, you know?

  • Between session of Melee, this was booted up. finding the depth in Melee made this game a lot less fun, but it was still fun as a way to mix things up on occasion.

  • I was starting to lose faith in the Tales series, having not liked the last several releases. This game was excellent, though. Had it not been, Tales games would no longer be something I would look forward to, or make console buying decisions based on, like I used to. This game restored my confidence in the series, and I am eagerly awaiting the next game, as long as it takes to make that.

    I wrote an extensive blog about this game and its impact on my relationship with the Tales series, if you want more details.

  • The randomizer has brought a new energy to my affection for this game. I already play it once a year, but being able to play it in a completely new and exciting way has been fantastic. A Link Between Worlds evoked a similar feeling in me when it was released, though Worlds was fresher than this, and the intentional placement of secrets and completely new dungeons really made that game special, too.

    Still, I now have A Link Between Worlds, the original Link to the Past, and now the randomizer to play if I ever feel like chasing that nostalgia. I can mix it up!

    ...I have yet to actually successfully complete a randomized run, yet. Reading Mento's blog archiving his randomized exploits has inspired me to make another attempt, though, which I am a very short ways into as of this writing. The randomizer is really cool. It's letting me experience my favorite game of all time in a new way, as often as I want. It's awesome.

  • I have mixed feelings about this game. They're generally positive; it's very cool that they made a game in this style in 2018. But man, there are some things about this style that I just do not find fun. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I played it on Easy mode, but it felt like I wouldn't be playing the "real" game in that mode, so I stuck to Veteran complete with the infuriating knockback and everything.

  • I had actually never played this game before; I owned Gold and Silver when they came out, but I was a kid, so buying another game in the same generation just wasn't an option for me. If I had money for a game, I was going to spend it on something completely new.

    But I like the changes they made to it. Playing as a girl is great, and the animations they added, while sometimes tedious, are also nice to look at. Also having the ability to catch Suicune without going on the nightmarish adventure of hunting down a roaming Pokemon was also nice. When I'm fully through with it, I'm gonna do some shiny hunting in it; there's an egg that has a ~12% chance of being shiny when it hatches, which is significantly better odds than the usual 1/1300 or 1/600 I deal with during my usual shiny hunts.

  • I bought it on Vita, thinking it might be more than a mobile port, but it was, in fact, a mobile port. Complete with timers and everything. What a bummer.

  • I do not love this game as much as everyone else does. I might even go as far as to say that I dislike it.