Games I Finished in 2018

List items

  • 12/25/2018

    5/5 - I don’t typically put spoilers into these small little blurbs, but for Red Dead Redemption 2, the main reason I love this game so much is a major spoiler in the story. So you have been warned.

    The main character in this game is brought down by a disease. A normal, human sickness. This is the singular reason why this game is so powerful. The outside forces sparking Arthur Morgan’s evolution and progression as a character are clearly obvious in the beginning: society is becoming more civilized as the time of outlaws is ending, Arthur’s criminal crew is slowly but surely coming apart due to the questionable decisions made by Dutch, and so on and so forth. But the final arc of Arthur’s story, when he’s dealing with something as real and mundane as tuberculosis, is what makes this game special. Being stricken with a terminal disease is such a human, real-life thing to experience, and seeing Arthur deal with the consequences of his actions, while simultaneously struggling with his own mortality, was a beautiful, tragic, and ultimately profound thing to behold.

  • 1/2/2018

    5/5 - Games often offer power fantasies or expansive worlds to get lost in, but so rarely are they about actual human experiences. Night in the Woods absolutely nails that feeling being lost and aimless in your mid 20s, and as someone who's in his mid 20s feeling lost and aimless, Night in the Woods impacted me in a big way. The dialogue in these types of games can quickly devolve into hipster speak that makes you want to cringe, but Night in the Woods did a fantastic job at making the banter between all of the characters feel like something real people would say. The only issue I had with this game is in regards to the final arc of its story, in which the narrative swerves away from its character interactions and more about the overall town.

  • 12/11/2018

    5/5 - This is the most creative murder mystery, whodunnit game ever created. I thought Her Story was amazingly innovative in how it unveiled its story through a series of recordings in a police interrogation room, but somehow Return of the Obra Dinn manages to top even that. Playing as an insurance agent with a magical device that allows the player to witness the brief moments before a person’s death in order to properly assess the financial damage of a 19th century merchant ship? Sounds pretty typical to me.

  • 5/28/2018

    5/5 - I have no nostalgia for the God of War franchise, but I immensely enjoyed my time this game. This is such a tight, well-rounded package in every imaginable way. No one particular aspect was especially mind-blowing, but every single facet of this game was of such a high quality that it all came together in such an incredible fashion.

  • 2/18/2018

    5/5 - Even if this game had no narrative, the platforming by itself would be enough for me to really enjoy Celeste. But with a surprisingly touching story that deals with mental health in a very smart way, Celsete ended up being one of my favorite games of the year.

  • 10/20/2018

    5/5 - While I’m not surprised Insomniac nailed the feel of the web swinging and the fluidity of the combat, I am shocked at how invested I became in the narrative. The facial capture work and the excellent voice acting both contributed into why I was so eager to see the next cutscene. Although you can see all of the supposed plot twists from a hundred miles away, the story as a whole still kept my interest thanks to the outstanding performances of all the characters.

  • 5/5 - When I visited Japan in 2017, Taiko Drum Master was easily my favorite arcade game. And now that these games have come stateside, I don’t have to travel across the Pacific to get some anime drumming action in. The Switch version edges out the PS4 version due to the inclusion of the Rhythm Heaven-esque minigames. Also, I spent 80 dollars on the PS4 drum peripheral that doesn’t work as well as it should. More on that below.

  • 5/5 - I will NOT belabor the fact that I spent 80 goddamn dollars to import the lemon of a drum peripheral which had terrible sensitivity. I will instead highlight the fact that I loved Taiko enough to spend 80 dollars on it. Ugh.

  • 5/5 - I was one of those people who actually liked the Budokai games made in the early 2000s. Was it because those games were actually good, or was it because I was 10 years old at the time? The world may never know. But I am confident in saying that Dragon Ball FighterZ is the best Dragon Ball game ever made. The fighting system is rock solid (even though I am absolutely terrible at team based fighting games like Marvel vs. Capcom), the fan service is spot on without being overbearing, and the game just looks so goddamn good.

  • 1/1/2018

    5/5 - Quite possibly one of the weirdest and scariest games I've ever played. I don't want to divulge too much into why it's so strange, but suffice it to say that this game is not at all what it seems to be. Yes, it's a dating sim game with generic anime girls, but what it becomes is something so much more. Doki Doki Literature Club is a a surreal, fascinating, and downright haunting experience.

  • 2/11/2018

    4/5 - What Remains of Edith Finch is a wonderfully crafted game. There’s a handmade, tactile quality to Edith Finch that is hard to explain to people who haven’t played the game, but it makes the game all the more charming and engaging. Maybe it’s because the house, an extremely complex structure with plenty of hidden passageways and secret doors, feels like a shoebox diorama one might make in grade school. Or maybe it’s because the wide swath of different vignettes makes it feel like a patchwork quilt. Regardless, it all comes together in a way that makes Edith Finch one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had all year.

  • 7/14/2018

    4/5 - Since Yakuza 0 was my first game in the series, I simply wasn’t ready for how goofy this game could get. The main storyline is a pretty serious tale about the Japanese criminal underworld, but everything else surrounding it tiptoed the line between the absurd…and the even more absurd. And I loved every minute of it. The only thing that prevented this game from easily being one of my favorite games of the year is how tiresome the combat became near the end.

  • 1/5/2018

    4/5 - The abbreviated length of this game might be its greatest strength. Even though its set pieces weren't as eye-popping as the other mainline Uncharted games, the fact that this game doesn't overstay its welcome does wonders in making this a very enjoyable and tight Uncharted experience.

  • 1/1/2018

    4/5 - Hellblade’s audio design is what makes this game work. From top to bottom, every aspect of the game’s audio design serves to show the player a chilling look into Senua’s psyche as she struggles with her own inner demons. I’ve been fortunate enough to have never dealt with something as serious as psychosis, but from what experts into the matter say, it seems like Ninja Theory did a fantastic, nuanced job at depicting such a haunting disease.

  • 6/24/2018

    4/5 - An extremely clever and charming game that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy so much. The narration really makes it, and seeing all the different permutations they thought of was impressive. And the situations they came up with were ridiculous as well.

  • 7/21/2018

    4/5 - The parallels to Journey are obvious, but Abzu manages to carve out its own niche thanks to its beautiful representation of the ocean and all the wondrous creatures within.

  • 11/24/2018

    4/5 - A breezy, easygoing, and surprisingly enjoyable cooperative experience for me and my girlfriend. Spoiler warning for this list: we both liked this game more than A Way Out.

  • 10/16/2018

    3/5 - I’m simply going to chalk this up to Assassin’s Creed fatigue on my part. I have played every single mainline Assassin’s Creed game, and I think Origins was my tipping point. The combat didn’t really click with me, I thought the open world was bloated with monotonous side activities, and the story didn’t draw me in. I hope this series can spark joy within me sometime again in the future, but I think I just need to take a break for now. It’s not you, Assassin’s Creed. It’s me.

  • 7/13/2018

    3/5 - For a game that’s supposed to be a cooperative experience, I didn’t think the cooperative gameplay scenarios the game put the players in were all that interesting or challenging. Very rarely were you working in tandem with your partner; it would often be a “you do this, and then I do this” kind of situation. It also doesn’t help that the last third of the game simply becomes a cover-based third-person shooter, when I was hoping the game would be a more puzzle-focused experience.