Another year, another set of great games. Hello and welcome to my top ten games of 2018. This year saw some pretty great releases, so let’s get right into them. But before that, some formalities.
It should go without saying that this is my personal list, which means it’s based on the games I played. So before you go wondering why Red Dead 2 isn’t on the list, just know that I haven’t played it yet. Also, the one rule I have for this list is that early access games don’t count. Since it isn’t a full release, I don’t consider games entering early access this year as games released this year. I do, however, consider games leaving early access this year as a release this year, even if it is a game I bought last year (as you will soon see). With that out of the way, let’s get into it.
The number ten spot on this list is Dusk, a kickass game about kicking ass. When I first formed my list, I found Warhammer Vermintide 2 at the number ten spot. While I enjoyed my time with the game, I didn’t think it was good enough to be on the list. So, I turned to Dusk to see if this game was worth being on the list, and, well, the answer speaks for itself. But don’t get me wrong, I didn’t put this game up here just to usurp Vermintide 2. I put this game here because it is a damn fine game. It nails it inspiration through its look and level design, the weapons are a blast to use, the movement is tight and fast-paced, the enemies are varied, the music is great, and so much more. Not all games nail what they are trying to achieve, but this game does it in strides. It is one of the best modern retro FPS games I have played in recent memory, and it deserves to be on the list.
I’ve been following this game for some time before release because at the time, I was looking for a good shop-keeping game. Not only did this game offer shop-keeping, it also offered dungeon crawling as well. And as it turns out, the combination of the two works well, as for the gameplay loop is fun, both aspects of the game are a joy to play, and the progression that you can make both with your character as well as your shop are meaningful. Moonlighter does a good job at blending two different sub-genres into one game and providing a good gameplay loop that leaves you wanting more. It is a great indie game and is number nine on my list.
8. Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 controversially slides into the number eight spot because, at the end of the day, it is still the Far Cry game I have come to love throughout the years. This is definitely one of the most controversial releases of this year, but controversy aside I think this is a solid Far Cry game. I love the Far Cry series, and the improvements made to this game felt meaningful. Better aerial gameplay, no more towers, a more interesting map, better side missions, and more. It isn’t the best Far Cry game out there, but I still think it is a solid game worth playing if you are a fan of the series.
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
When this game was first announced, I admit to being on the hate bandwagon. I didn’t care all that much about them taking out the campaign, but I still thought this game was going to be a disaster. But when I got my hands on the Blackout beta, I knew I was wrong in my judgement. Fifty hours later, and I think this is a pretty damn solid Call of Duty title. the Zombies mode made meaningful improvements to progression as well as perks, multiplayer is still its same old self, and Blackout is my personal favorite battle royale game. I think this is the best Call of Duty since Black Ops 2, and I think this a great multiplayer shooter.
6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Throughout my years of writing, you can find me saying how am not a fan of fighting games. Because of that, I never really got into Smash despite wanting to. So, I got myself a copy and forced myself to like the game, but as it turns out I didn’t really need a lot of force. Its simple controls are easy to learn, and its broad list of fighters gives a lot of options. I love the campaign mode and how each level represents a character from other franchises, but even good ol’ fashion fun with friends was a blast. I wish I got into this game sooner, but I am still happy I gave the game a chance. Smash Ultimate is easily the best first-party game on the Switch this year and is number six on this list.
5. Into the Breach
As a fan of turn-based strategy games, I knew I had to try this game out from all of the talk around it, and man did it not disappoint.I have played quite a few turn-based games trhoughout the years, but I have never played one quite as satisfying or as different as this one. Instead of just shooting enemies and trying the kill them, Into the Breach is about assessing the damage that is going to be done by the enemy and moving them around. Each round feels like I am controlling a Rube Goldberg machine: setting up my moves to create a chain reaction of pushes and kills that gets me safely to the next round. Getting the play right is one of the best feelings I have ever had in a strategy game, and that feeling becomes addicting. Into the Breach is easily my top turn-based strategy game for its satisfying gameplay, and it makes it as the number five contender.
4. Dead Cells
Remember when I said you will soon see what I am talking about when it comes to early access games releasing this year? Well, hear it is. Dead Cells is definitely the weirdest one to rank on this list because about half of my time with the game was in 2017. Still, it is a 2018 release, making it a possible contender for this list, and I would be remiss if I didn’t put it on the list. Every aspect of Dead Cells just clicks, and it all combines to make one helluva game. The non-linear level design is excellent and I never felt that the levels were randomized. The combat, though easily manipulated, is challenging yet a lot of fun. Both the metroidvania and the roguelike aspects of the game blend together well and creates an experience that you can go back to over and over, and there is a good amount of progression that keeps you going. Dead Cells is a great game that combines elements from multiple different sub-genres into one hodge-podge of fun. It did early access right, and it makes number four on this list.
3. Monster Hunter World
Just like Smash, Monster Hunter is a series I never got into until now. And just like Smash, I found a new series to love. Monster Hunter World finally made its way to the big boy consoles (and PC, where I played it), and man am I glad it did. It was hard to get into at first because of how complicated and systems-heavy it felt, but once I got past that barrier I found myself getting lost into its world. The game is filled to the brim with things to do, and the gameplay loop of fighting the monster then taking its part to craft new gear is satisfying. Monster Hunter World is a fantastic game, and it makes me wonder why they stayed on the DS for so long.
2. Hitman 2
Is more of the same a bad thing? That certainly isn’t the case for Hitman 2. I am a big fan of the first game, so to see that this game is more of the same offerings definitely didn’t disappoint me. This time around though, I feel that the dark humor this game unintentionally mastered in the last game is more refined here, and the new briefcase that can be used is a game changer. What really made the experience great though is the sheer amount of content available. In this one package, you can have Hitman 2, all of Hitman 1 (2016), the sniper assassin level that was a pre-order bonus for this game, escalation missions, community contracts, elusive targets, and the new 1v1 competitive mode. Hitman 2 is Hitman at its biggest, and playing those levels over and over are just as fun as playing them the first time.
1. God of War
Was there ever really a doubt? God of War is more than a game of the year for me. Just like how The Last of Us felt like the champion of the PS3, God of War feels like the champion of PS4. The game finds the perfect balance between gameplay and narrative, and both aspects are well refined. The narrative is tear-jerking good, and the gameplay is surprisingly bountiful in systems and mechanics. On top of that, other achievements such as its endless tracking shot elevates the experience all-the-more. God of War makes the top of this list with strides, and sets a shining example on how to perfect the single player game.
Bonus: The Early Access Games
While I don’t consider these games as 2018 releases, I still think they are worth playing. These are the notable games I played that released into early access this year. The three I chose are Hunt: Showdown, Beat Saber, and Hot Lava. Hunt: Showdown is a multiplayer FPS that takes place in the late 19th century where ten players (in solos or duos) enter the Louisiana swamps infested with monsters trying to hunt down a big baddy, take its stuff, and leave. The only issue is, nine other people are trying to do the same thing as well, and the loot doesn’t split so evenly. Beat Saber is a VR rhythm game that has you holding two sabers, one blue and one red, and tasks you with cutting down boxes to the beat of music. Finally, Hot Lava is a first-person parkour game that takes ‘The Floor is Lava’ a little too seriously. You play as an action figure come-to-life as you swing, slide, and run your away across platforms, just so long as you don’t hit that lava.
That is going to wrap up this list as well the year. Tune in soon for my top movies of the year as well though. 2018 was a pretty great year for gaming, and I wish had more time (and money) to play all of the great games released this year. Thank you all for reading, and here is to 2018.
Here are my top ten movies of the year.