I'm Keeping Track of Every Game I Played in 2018

Another year, another list of video games I've played.

List items

  • Picking back up in the second case, after finishing the first case and the DLC case.

    I enjoy Apollo, just as a character.

  • Monster Hunter was always a game I was interested in, but never really a game I *got*. As it turns out, wall it took for me to truly love Monster Hunter was finding the right weapon: for me, this happened to be the Charge Blade. The perfect mix of attack, defense, speed and smashing monsters in the face.

    What also led to me loving Monster Hunter was learning how to love the multiplayer. The true heart and soul of Monster Hunter lies in the multiplayer, in tackling the beasts that troubled you through the campaign and just straight up slaughtering them.

  • Far Cry 4 is an excellent Far Cry game that has thankfully moved beyond the white savior narrative that Far Cry 3 had. Clearing out outposts and climbing towers remains as fun as Far Cry 3, but similar to that game, literally none of the main story missions are interesting. It's a shame that a game that really encourages players approach the side content from any angle they so choose has such boring and static mission design.

    Also I tried to shortcut the tower climbing by flying a minicopter into the side of a tower and the game killed me, so maybe it's not as free wheeling as I'd like to think.

  • One of my favorite games from 2017, and it's still as charming now as it was some 20 hours ago. My main gripe comes from the repetitive Moons, but it's relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.

    It's interesting to watch my wife play through Odyssey on her own. She cares about none of the side content, purple coins, or outfits, just a single minded path from start to finish.

  • I realized recently that Matt Thorson, one of the creative minds behind Celeste, was also behind some games I really enjoy such as Jumper, An Untitled Story, and (a personal favorite) Give Up Robot. Celeste follows in that excellent lineage, being a brutally hard 2D platformer that encourages the player the entire time. Each stage takes a unique gimmick and then expands that gimmick to its conclusion and tests the player along the way in mastery of the basic mechanics. The first stage, for instance, has platforms that activate as soon as Madeline (the player character, the mountain is Celeste) steps on them. These platforms transfer their momentum to Madeline, who can then use them to jump further and higher. The slow build up to mechanical mastery is truly impressive.

    I played around 20 hours of Celeste, collecting 175 strawberries, all of the Red and Blue hearts and nearly all of the Yellow Hearts. I had to drop out of the C-sides, as my reflexes aren't nearly what they used to be.

    Actually scratch that, I got all of the Yellow Hearts. Somehow.

  • I love Blaster Master, but man they probably could have done away with those top down sections and I wouldn't have even noticed.

    Then again, without that one gameplay element is it really Blaster Master anymore? These things keep me up at night, y'all.

  • Last year, I spoke about how Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is one of my "self-care" games and that continues into this year. When I'm nervous about a flight I'm on or de-stressing at the end of a long day, Curtain Call is such a fun, chill game that relaxes me. Tapping out beats to some of my favorite video game music is really calming. Leveling up characters, finding fun/broken party combinations, and just enjoying the cast of characters is great.

    It even has Benjamin from Final Fantasy Mystic Quest! How could I not love it?

  • There's a Welsh cat-girl with a talking dog-wolf, so I'm sold.

    Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is anime as hell and I love it.

  • I'm still not in love with Horizon, but god this game is pretty.

    I think I'm done with Horizon. The game is gorgeous, but the gameplay, story, and open world do little-to-nothing for me in this post-Breath of the Wild world. I hate the Witcher 3 style quests, I can't stand the core combat loop, and this is extremely petty, but holding to pick up items takes a fraction of a second too long so I'm just done. Sorry Horizon.

  • It turns out, the easiest way to kick a dragon in the face is to make sure you have the charm that reduces the damage from it's elemental attack on your entire party. Suddenly a fire dragon is doing 7 damage instead of 107. Neat.

  • I'm not well versed in dating sims, so I decided to play what many people consider to be "the best". It is the slowest of burns, but I've heard the twist that Muv-Luv takes is nothing short of phenomenal.

    But Jesus Christ some of these characters are annoying.

  • I've been in the mood for a good 4X game, but I feel like Civ V unfairly punishes war. All I want to do is burn my enemies to the ground and spread my dominion far and wide, is that so wrong.

  • Space 4X! I'm really digging Stellaris, but I better win or at least partially succeed at my current game, because it's been about 10 hours and I'm just now starting to meet a lot of the galaxy's other inhabitants. It's a pretty long build up. The game is constantly on my mind, though, when I'm not playing it, I'm thinking of playing it and the new opportunities I can't wait to uncover.

    I think the biggest complaint I have right now is that the tutorial doesn't really do much in the way of tutorialization. Quite a bit of the way in, I got to a screen I'd never been to before and was greeted with some game changing information (in this case, edicts. Those are important).

  • The Bayonetta 3 announcement reminded me I never finished 2. So I'm playing 1 and remembering the absolutely insane story.

    Normal is too frustrating to play through and Easy mode feels like its mocking me.

  • I love the idea of Project X Zone, but not necessarily the execution. A strategy-RPG featuring characters from a bunch of Namco, Sega, and Capcom games? Sign me right up. Unfortunately, in practice, there's very little in the way of tactics, and every battle basically boils down to "send your guys directly at their guys and you'll probably win". Each fight can take upwards of an hour with each individual attack taking a great deal of time and coordination to pull off successfully. And then once you've taken out maybe four or five enemies, a boss character will usually show up with about a dozen people with them. If the story were better, I might be able to power through, but it's not engaging either. The word that best comes to mind to describe the act of playing Project X Zone is tedious.

  • Etrian Odyssey V seems like a step forward and backwards for the series. Completely gone are the sailing/skyfaring segments and focuses entirely on a singular dungeon. This allows for a much more focused experience à la the first two games in Etrian Odyssey. The characters have also been revamped, creating sort of hybrid classes that don't have exact roles in a party. What would previously be a pure tank class in IV (the Fortress) becomes the Dragoon, a class that creates a damage sponge and deals damage in the meantime. It's interesting, but I'm still early enough that the differences between classes haven't become meaningful just yet.

    I also want to point out that this might be the easiest Etrian Odyssey yet, with a lot of items and skills that restore health and mana. I'm currently on the fourth floor of the first stratum, running a Harbinger/Pugilist//Warlock/Rover/Botanist party. Status effects, punching, magic, healing dogs, and poison - all in one party! It's pretty enjoyable so far.

    I do need to shout out the absolutely ear-splitting sound effect that pierces my ears whenever a character has 100% special gauge. It has the effect of forcing me to use my special moves more often instead of saving them, but god it's frustrating.

  • I have no idea where I was in the story, so to a guide I go!

    The AI is actually pretty good, so I've been making my party members destroy random battles while I try to get to the next town.

    I'm tapping out - Dragon Quest VI has a lot going on, but the story and gameplay are just not enough to carry me forward. Battles are too constant, too resource intensive, and the game makes little-to-no effort to guide the player. This, coupled with a ton of what feels like padding, turns me off DQVI entirely and puts it towards the bottom of my personal list of DQs.

  • Immersive sims are my catnip, but Mankind Divided is such a huge bummer. One of the most disappointing endings in recent memory, too. The game ends at what is basically the midpoint and cuts to "a few days later" with absolutely no resolution. The Pirates of the Caribbean 2 of Deus Ex.

  • Still a slightly perverted camera mixed with great Grandia-style JRPG gameplay. If the story doesn't pick up fairly soon, I might put Blue Reflection down to play something else.

    I want another Grandia. Make another Grandia, Game Arts, stop remaking the first LUNAR game.

  • I have a lot of feelings on Dark Souls III. The game feels almost painfully linear, with few branching paths or alternate routes to take. Whereas Dark Souls II (and I, to some extent) let you go where you want from the start, III feels extremely constrained. I do appreciate the dedication to shortcuts and vertical level design - while the world doesn't feel very interconnected, each level tends to wrap around on itself, leading you back to the start or a convenient bonfire.

    All that said, I'm finding the actual game... fine? It's fine. It's more Dark Souls. I feel like enemies don't follow the same rules as the player character, almost as if they have unlimited stamina and unfair attack frames - for instance, enemies can knock you down and then continue smashing you while down. If you happen to knock an enemy down, though, you can't touch them until a second after they get up. And because every enemy seems to be frenzied, the second they get up is when they start attacking again. Huge enemies with giant axes doing 14 hit combos to drain your stamina and health, because fuck having interestingly designed enemy encounters, I guess.

    The starting areas are kind of boring, as well. Undead Settlement, Catacombs, and the Road of Sacrifices are all drab. It isn't until I hit Irithyll of the Boreal Valley that I starting finding areas fun to explore. I also found the reveal of Anor Londo to be underwhelming as well, almost felt like fanservice for fanservice sake, rather than an interesting area to explore. They did nothing with it! Just, oh hey here's Anor Londo, remember that? remember how much fun you had there?

    Do you remember? Do you?

  • I played it bit more Titanfall 2, but even when playing during peak times, I had wait times of over 2 minutes. Considering my game time is limited as it is, I can't spend 2 minutes waiting for a five minute match.

  • I played more Street Fighter V and, to no one's surprise, I suck still! I haven't been good at a single Street Fighter past IV.

  • I haven't played enough Kiwami to make much of an opinion yet, but it's more Yakuza!

    They really overuse Majima. The Majima Everywhere system sounds interesting at first brush, but it leads to a lot of same-y encounters and makes the act of trying to complete any sidequest an excuse to shove Majima in there. Majima is most interesting in small bursts, not as a constant, overwhelming threat.

  • While not my favorite Dark Souls, it's also not my least favorite. A much different beast than Dark Souls 1, 3, and Bloodborne, I kind of dig what it's going for.

    The DLC is fantastic, up until I had teleporting horses trampling my face.

  • It's more Assassin's Creed but instead of having one unlikable protagonist, we have two!

    Pass.

  • Just the demo, but man those connection issues are unfortunate. I can't stop thinking about it, but I also have no desire to play more of it because of lag.

  • I had fallen off of the Assassin's Creed train for a long time. I've played just about each one, some a lot more than others, but when Ubisoft announced that Assassin's Creed was going to take a break for a while, I was perfectly fine with that.

    And what a departure Origins is from previous Assassin's Creeds. A huge, expansive world full of people/animals to hunt, a pretty decent plot, and a wonderful protagonist. Bayek is such a breath of fresh air compared to previous Assassin's Creed leads and I love my Egyptian bald boy.

    The "real-world" stuff has and always will be super boring to me, especially since it never really leads anywhere interesting or serves any more purpose than plot structure. Desmond learning Eagle Vision was fantastic! Now we just have Layla who is... I dunno. Just kinda there?

  • Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is an odd game. Created by Nihon Falcom, one of the progenitors of the Japanese RPG as we know it today, it exists almost out of time for Western audiences. Released in Japan in 2004, but released in the west in 2011, Trails in the Sky feels old from the second it's booted up. The character models are not detailed, the combat is clunky, and the first few hours of the game drag on, and on, and on.

    Despite those issues, the world that Trails in the Sky sets up is nothing short of phenomenal. The writing is absolutely stellar, and the main cast is incredibly well fleshed out. The heroine, Estelle Bright, is such a fun individual to play as, especially because she is so bubbly and cheerful. NPCs have great story arcs that are a joy to uncover, and I really love the interactions between long-time party members.

    If I had to level any criticisms, the main one would be that the end seems to come out of nowhere. Nothing is truly resolved and around five new plot threads appear simultaneously.

  • it's more Trails in the Sky!

  • If you asked me which Mega Man was my favorite, I would probably say 2. Or, at least, the section of Mega Man 2 from the beginning of the game up until the fourth Wily Stage, because the Boobeam Trap is fucking garbage and a really poorly designed boss.

  • Since the birth of my daughter, I've had a lot less time to play games. I've spent some of that time playing the first hour or two of a bunch to see what's worth my time and quickly cutting out games that I don't have time for.

    I don't have time in my life for Mafia III. The gameplay isn't engaging enough for me to suffer through so I can enjoy the story.

  • Zeboyd Games really likes Chrono Trigger. They also make really good JRPGs with interesting systems and mechanics to incentivize trying out all possible combat options instead of just mashing attack.

  • Diablo is a real fun "pick up and play" game, but I don't play nearly often enough or have enough time to play through a season. They seem neat though, even if I have no idea what the purpose is.

  • Because I'm the worst at playing new releases and also because someone gifted me the fancy version of Destiny, I went back and played some original Destiny.

    I'm completely baffled by some of the design decisions of this game. There's something like three loading screens between the menu and each quest, turning in quests means loading back out to the menu and then into where you turn the quest in, and everything seems so meandering. The gunplay is literally the only good part, because everything else is so hidden and pointless.

  • I really enjoy adaptations that play with expectations of the source material, but I only barely remember how the game ends beside an extended chat with Selena Kyle.

  • Tales of Berseria has been sitting on my shelf for a long time, but I wanted to play through Zestiria beforehand since the worlds are technically connected (albeit with a thousand year-ish gap between). I made it around 10 hours into Zestiria before bouncing. The story is basic, the characters are stock boring anime tropes, the combat is mashy, and the camera is unusable.

  • I like pinball but I don't really like spending 32x the price of a single play on virtual pinball!

  • I've said it before, but immersive sims are my jam. Still, something feels a little off about Dishonored 2. I loved the first, so I'm not sure why the sequel isn't hitting me as hard.

  • Fallout 3 was one of the first games I ever played on the 360. Open world games beforehand were far too overwhelming for me to truly enjoy. The idea of going anywhere and doing anything meant that I did nothing. Fallout 3 changed that and made me truly appreciate what a fully open world could do. I played around 100 hours and still only saw a fraction of the game world. I would call Fallout 3 the game of the generation for the seventh generation of consoles.

    New Vegas is one of the buggiest games I ever had the misfortune of playing. When the game wasn't crashing upon loading into a new area, I was falling through the ground, script triggers were going hilariously wrong, and quests would just never end. Even with those issues, New Vegas had heart and I remember it fondly.

    I spent around four hours in Fallout 4 and put it down.

  • Trackmania Turbo is a great time attack racing game, but it's definitely not why I come to Trackmania.

  • Just Cause 2 was a great open world game where you could do anything and blow up everything. Just Cause 3 is an okay open world game where you could do anything and blow up everything if the framerate were slightly more stable.

  • I'm trying to think of something pithy to say, but eh. Beyond: Two Souls is whatever. It's fun being a dickhead ghost thing, it's less fun trying to guide Ellen Page through special forces training.

  • Absolver is an interesting one. A Dark Souls/GodHand hybrid that is lesser than both games, but still enjoyable.

  • Iron Chef is one of my favorite cooking shows ever and Battle Chef Brigade captures the feeling of an episode of Iron Chef. The battles are intense and never feel like you have quite enough time to fully cook every dish you want. The puzzle system is a simple match 3 with only three colors, but eventually starts adding complexity with different colors that have to be removed, cooking pots that remove one color or only match one color, and judges that request multiple color profiles.

    I think my biggest gripe is the limited story animations and the story in general. I also wish I could take more than three cooking stations into each battle. I'm sure this is just a gameplay limitation, but having an extra slow cooker or cutting board or just being to switch would be great.

  • I tend to have issues with the games released by Subset Games. FTL was wonderful to play through, but I only ever had fun with it on Easy Mode. Normal seemed far too punishing and Hard was just a nightmare. Some people may have fun with that, but not me.

    The same holds true for Into the Breach - I only have fun on Easy Mode. Normal is too punishing.

  • Metroidvanias are one of my favorite genres, so I was excited to finally check out Hollow Knight based on the tons of positive buzz I heard when it finally came to Switch.

    Hollow Knight is a game at odds with itself, never quite sure what it wants to be, so it tries to be all things at all times. It wants to be a Metroidvania, but doesn't give you a map so that you can explore. It wants to encourage exploration, but punishes death so harshly and fails to reward actually exploring. It wants to be a Dark Souls style Metroidvania, but doesn't play as deliberately as Dark Souls instead favoring mushy combat where the player is constantly taking small hits.

    Forcing the player to purchase maps for each area, instead of having one from the outset, is my biggest knock against it. While this could be an interesting, what the situation usually boils down to is "well I hope I don't die before I find the map seller" because the game also doesn't record areas you traverse before you find the map. The map only starts filling in once you've purchased it. And I hope you aren't playing with the sound off (since, you know, newborn and all), because the only clue to the location of the map seller besides a piece of paper or two that can be easily overlooked is auditory clues. Great.

    The combat is mashy and unfun. Enemies do a considerable amount of damage and I've never been able to consistently avoid attacks. Most combat encounters can be won by just mashing attack and healing up afterwards.

    Also, to anyone that tells me "oh you can fix the map issues and combat issues by equipping items that fix them", let me say this: if part of your game design is fixed by including items that the player can equip, then your game design is fundamentally flawed and should be better.

  • IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL FOR A GAME TO BE THIS GOOD.

  • A fun little platformer a la Gish or Jumper.

  • Fun JRPG with villain protagonists that have awful fashion sense? Sign me up. Combat is a little mashy and sometimes too choatic to really get to the nuances of the battle system. There's an interesting combo system of attacking an enemy with all of their weaknesses in one combo, but unless you remember where each of your elemental moves is in your 4x4 flowing grid, it's kind of pointless? Still the most fun I've had with a Tales game in a while.

  • The beginning of the end for Trials, in my mind. Ridiculous monetization, long load times, and a myriad of minor issues makes this my least favorite Trials game.

  • A fun little Metroidvania from WayForward. There's supposed to be a mechanic where you run back to find your corpse when you die, but, uh, that hasn't happened yet. The game is so good that it almost makes me want to watch that Tom Cruise Mummy movie.

  • A fantastic ride from beginning to end, but those humanoid boss battles were *lame*. It's hard to pull off combos if enemies are able to insta-block everything you're throwing at them.

  • I have never been very good at Binding of Isaac. I did beat Mom on my second run, but then remembered the game gets much harder from there.

  • The Switch version is great!

  • I wanted to like Night in the Woods a lot more than I did. Though I never dropped out of college like Mae, I did contemplate giving up numerous times. My own hometown, significantly larger and more suburban than Mae's, had its fair share of factory closings and grocery store closings. We inexplicably had a video store far longer than any place really should. I grew up with people a lot like Gregg and Bea and Angus. And Selma, who is maybe my favorite poet in a game ever (it's a short list).

    I just wish the story stayed more grounded and less supernatural. Much like Oxenfree, the spooky story that gets told is infinitely less interesting that the dynamics of everyone in this small town. Though, I have to ask if anyone would a game that's just about a group of friends that grew up together and how they grow apart?

  • I haven't really loved a Resident Evil since 4 and the co-op mechanics of RER2 are not great to play solo. Why can't Claire just carry a flashlight!

  • I was bored by the second world.

  • I played as a Pomeranian for an hour and ate a deer. 10/10

  • I love Hitman and always have. Hitman 2016 is the best Hitman this side of Blood Money. I might find it more enjoyable because the crazy, zany actions Agent 47 are easier to execute.

  • I have no recollection of playing this, but I got two trophies in August, so?

  • I got a free PS3 with NCAA Football 13 in the disc drive. I'm awful at football games, but hey, 2013 was the last year Carolina beat Clemson (for the fifth year in a row, in fact), so it's probably a great game.

  • I spent around an hour trying to get a handle of Re:Chain of Memories, but the 3D movement was just not well suited to the card based gameplay of the original.

  • Which is why I went and found my GBA version of Chain of Memories. While there are some minor issues, especially with putting most of the important plot development in the Kingdom Hearts series in a side game on an unrelated platform, I love Chain of Memories. It's a beautifully sprited mess of a game with a story that makes little-to-no sense, card based gameplay that's incredibly easy to break, and the first chance to play as everyone's favorite trainwreck, Riku.

    I love this dumb game. I love it so much.

  • Free on PSN for a short time. I played a match or two online and did alright, but give me Titanfall 2 any day of the week. I don't really have the ability to play online shooters as much since the needs of a newborn require instant attention. She can't just wait until the end of the match and I'm not going to make her wait.

  • I wish I liked Type 0 more. I just want some turn based gameplay, not some weird action hybrid.

  • Luminous Arc is one of my least favorite strategy games to exist, maybe ever. It's one of only a handful of games that I've ever sold immediately after purchasing because of how much I just did not enjoy it. Stella Glow is a much better game than Luminous Arc.

  • It's WarioWare and it's goddamn amazing.

  • The more I think about just how gated off the progression is and how much the Rhythm Heaven Megamix holds back from the player, the more pissed off I get. I put a dozen hours into this game and I still have no idea how far I am or what rhythm games I'm missing. I just want to play some good remixes! That's all I want! Let me do that Megamix! Let me enjoy you.

  • I love Bravely Default, even with the mess of that endgame. Bravely Second is just as good and maybe even better because it's less broken!

    Yew is precious and must be protected.

  • I've only just scratched the surface of what Octopath Traveler is, but so far I really love the beautiful pixel art graphics and fantastic turn based gameplay. I started with Ophilia because healers are invaluable and quickly picked up Cyrus and H'aanit.

  • God of War is a very good game where you hold forward a bunch. Sometimes you hold forward while running through a nice looking forest, sometimes holding forward while on a boat, and sometimes holding forward while your son and a magic head chat. Occasionally you fight dudes.

    I have pretty bad hand and wrists pains that make holding forward on the Dualshock 4 a pretty significant chore. NieR: Automata was a huge offender of this last year, to the point where it physically hurt to play for longer than an hour. Games with a ton of just holding up on the stick that don't allow for alternate momentum schemes like Xenoblade Chronicles 2's autorun or the Follow Path Horse in Assassin's Creed Origins can be truly frustrating to play. Trying to alleviate this with an alternate controller on PS4 is hard because, well, there aren't really any alternate controllers.

    So with all that in mind, it's hard to separate my feelings on God of War from my hand issues. I love just how the existence of Atreus recontextualizes Kratos into more than just an angry murder machine. I love the exploration of the father-son dynamic and how it mirrors my own relationship with my gruff, distant father. I really enjoy the combat after struggling with it for so long, especially after getting the second weapon. I absolutely love the details of the world, and the stories that you hear throughout. I just wish the game gave me a break from holding forward sometimes.

  • Marvel's Spider-Man is a weird one. At a glance, it's an insanely polished love letter to everything Spider-Man. It doesn't bother with an origin story because you probably know who Spider-Man is at this point. The game immediately starts with you swinging because that's the thing everyone who has ever had an interest in any Spider-Man game wants to know: How's the swinging?

    The swinging is alright. I'm sure it took a lot of people an extremely long time to fine-tune the swinging to get it just right, but my main issue is that there doesn't seem to be enough momentum. Dive from the top of a tall building and then start swinging, and you'll see Spider-Man catch himself in the air a bit and then swing a little faster. Were he actually going to start swinging from a dive, he would fling himself halfway across Manhattan. And that's what I *want* from a Spider-Man game. I want the ability to mess up, to make mistakes, to accidentally slam into a wall so that I get better. Instead the game treats swinging with kid gloves, making sure you're always succeeding even when you shouldn't. Hit a wall, it's okay he just runs up it. Need to turn? Just shoot some web and do a quick turn and jump to this building edge and leap off even though that doesn't make a ton of sense? It's alright and even fun when you get into a nice groove, but it's much like the many Marvel movies to me: Appeals to everyone at the expense of any rough edges that might have made it more interesting.

    Marvel's Spider-Man is an almost immaculate game and that makes it more than a little boring. It's easy for everyone to recommend, but hard for anyone to truly love.

  • They gave Yoshi an Up+B move that actually works as a recovery move so now everything is bullshit forever.