2018 was a year. Video Games. There's Never Been a Better Time to Play Video GamesTM. What a season, what a season! For real, I have had to create 3 different categories for my honourable mentions alone... Every single item on my Top 10 list could easily sit at number 1. I don't know if this was a great year for video games or I my tastes were pandered to, but 2018 in gaming will go down as one of my favourites. Let's get started with...
GAMES THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE LIST, BUT I LOVED BECAUSE OF TECHNICALITIES OR THEY JUST SLIPPED
DELTARUNE surprised me and filled me with an utter joy I've experienced before... Playing UNDERTALE. I can't wait for more. The year of Hollow Knight. Yes, it technically came out last year and by this point last year I'd only just started but wow... a top game of all time and over 2018 I played it to 100% on PC, Switch and again on PS4! I got deep in the lore and this game took over me, every element of it just completely gels and something something I love symphony of the night. Leading into Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, which was short and sweet, they nailed Castlevania and it's the perfect starter before the main course of Ritual of the Night. I hold immense hope. Lastly, Iconoclasts, Dead Cells and Wandersong are all great games that slipped out of my top ten because I didn't finish them... Mario Tennis Aces is a great competitive game and I will be returning to it. However, a lack of good single player was a big let-down.
GAMES I HAVEN'T PLAYED ENOUGH YET BUT ARE PROBABLY GOTY
Return of The Obra Dinn and The Missing aka What Am I Doing Writing This and Not Playing These Games....... I've put a bit of time into both and they are excellent so far. Yakuza 6 is one I am enjoying like a smooth glass of whiskey. Slowly and with lots of punching. I love this series and it seems like a great send-off for old man Kaz. I've yet to buy SOULCALIBUR 6 and WarioWare Gold despite loving both series and knowing I would enjoy each and one has 2B now so....... Video Games are expensive. OK. So. Super. Smash. Brothers. Ultimate. BABY. I will be playing this one for a while to come. I don't want to throw it in my top 10 because I've not had enough time with it, but I expect it will be my entire holiday break. Oh, and I need to play more Lethal League Blaze, but Funky Fresh Beats is my real GOTY 2018.
RE-RELEASE/REMASTERED VIDEO GAMES
This year, some of the greatest games of all time showed up in re-release/remastered forms. So shout outs to my time spent with some of my absolute favourites including Burnout Paradise, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Funky Mode), Bayonetta 1 and 2, Castlevania Requiem, Mark of the Ninja Remastered. Shadow of the Colossus. All still as amazing as I remember.
So... the LIST
1. Tetris Effect: They made the best version of modern Tetris and wrapped it in some of the most stunning music and visuals ever. While being aware of the pretentiousness and outlandishness of the following statement, it very often felt like a transcendental experience. Let's play some Tetris mother fucker.
2. Monster Hunter World: Monster Hunter has been a franchise I have had a big interest in but up until 2018 it hadn't landed its monstrous claws deep in me. Well - fast forward 300 hours (apparently my most played PS4 game ever...?) and World took over the first half of my year. The QOL changes all added up to a never-ending loop of Prep > Hunt > Craft > Dress Up > Eat repeat. I played every corner of this game and joined in with every seasonal event. I fell harder than I ever thought I ever would. I learned monster patterns and habits, I swapped 'main' weapons 5 times, I learned all the strongest combinations at the highest levels and I enjoyed it all. So, I really love Monster Hunter now. It's very good fun to play with pals including my Palico who is the best pal.
3. Minit: My partner and I played Minit together, swapping every time one of our 1-minute lifespans was up. It was a wonderful shared experience and while we both explored and learned what made this small game so special, we got so invested. We saw the game through to it's an enjoyable conclusion and immediately jumped into new game plus and did everything possible to get 100% and unlock the trophies. Short, smart and recommended. Minit sounds wonderful and it's a pleasure to exist and die in this black and white world.
4. Celeste: Oh boy, oh boy. A gorgeous, tight, tricky platformer featuring the best music of 2018. Celeste is underlined with a powerful message about dealing with anxiety and this hole was made for me. I've dealt with anxiety most of my life and Celeste landed at a tough time and helped. My love for this game will last for a long time. In more than the obvious ways, it reminds me of Super Meat Boy and I can't think of higher personal praise.
5. Marvel's Spider-Man: Spider-Man is my superhero. I love them and always have. I feel like I've grown up with Spider-Man and the character and performances in this game were perfect. It felt so good to play as an older Peter Parker and spend time with Miles and Aunt May. His complicated relationship with Otto and MJ carried weight. Throw in some of the best swinging and traversal with combat that did the job. It was an enjoyable journey and I'm so glad to see big comic book games returning without a tie to any big comic event or the MCU. SPIDER-VERSE IS THE BEST MOVIE OF 2018 GODDAMN
6. Into The Breach: So FTL didn't click with me but always felt like it I should? Luckily, I didn't have any issue diving deep into the breach. Sinking hours and hours with a lazer focus on single turns. When it all comes together this game makes me feel like a fucking genius. Being in control of a board feels as good as how awful it feels when you lose control. I love big mechs.
7. God of War: I played this later in the year after the initial hype had died down. I had no real connection to the franchise up until this point. That said, I loved it. Norse mythology is my jam and being able to use that information to understand and guess what was going on what a perfect accompaniment to some intense combat and genuine character moments. Like MHW and Spider-Man, I did everything, and I enjoyed it all.
8. Mega Man 11: Mega Man 11 sure was a pretty big surprise. Excited that the blue bomber was back, and I loved the new look, but after trying the demo I was in no rush to pick up the game. It was fine? Regardless, I saw more people I respect sing the praises, so I decide to jump in and I'm so glad. I did. I've finished it over 6 times now and it is my second favourite Mega Man game (beaten by Mega Man 2 one of those all-time games). It looks good, it sounds great, it has some of the best level and boss designs in the series. For what feels like the first time in Mega Man, every weapon/upgrade feels useful. Watching speedruns people make use of every single weapon and it is a joy to watch! So happy they nailed this. Don't sleep on Mega Man 11!
9. Dragon Ball FighterZ: I saw this landing higher but maybe that's just another comment on how good of a year it was. That and middling single player content and odd choices of the trappings around the game. However, this game looks fucking AMAZING. The best Dragon Ball Z has ever looked and the best 2D fighting games have ever looked. Painstaking recreating every small detail from one of the best anime/manga out there and more Marvel vs Capcom than the latest release in that series. One of the best games to watch competitively (I was jumping out of my chair during EVO 2018) I can't wait to watch it evolve going forward.
10. Pokémon: Let's Go! Eevee!: I'm going to cheat a little bit and include Pokémon Go in here because they are so linked. This year was the year I jumped on Pokémon Go after being a bit of the stick in the mud in 2016. I feel silly for making myself miss out on that launch. Yes, it's shallow but it's enjoyable to move within places I know and run across a Mankey. I got caught up in Go this year and now approach the level cap and completed Pokedex! All because I was so excited and interested in the chance to return Kanto once again and explore my virtual childhood. It was worth it on all fronts. Let's Go was such a joy. Yes, shallow again like Go, but it's pretty, enjoyable and a perfect taste of what we have waiting in the next big Pokémon release. Oh and I don't want random battles to return in the series, the way Let's Go handles encounters is fantastic.
WAIT AH OMG HADES HOW.......??
Supergiant Games (maybe my current favourite game developer) announced and released into early access Hades. Their take on an action roguelike (my definite favourite game genre) borrowing some of the greatest elements of all their previous games and wrapped up in the phenomenal looks and sounds that come with Supergiant Games games. There's more to be polished up and finished off but they are on track to something extremely special and I will be following it closely. Expect it in my GOTY 2019 chat...
Thanks for reading my Gamer Boy Opinions. PEACE XOXO