Release date: January 26, 2018
2018 was such an incredible year for gaming. Rarely have I been so conflicted in choosing a favorite and rarer still are those conflicts rooted in so many favorites to choose from. My 2017 favorites were so sparse that I ended up giving the nod to the ridiculous Getting Over It with Bennet Foddy (although to be fair, had I played the life-affirming Nier: Automata back then I would've gladly written about that instead). But in any case, 2018 was absolutely overflowing with quality from the biggest ongoing franchises (Forza Horizon 4), to returning titans (Red Dead Redemption 2, Hitman 2), to even the tiniest of developers with some incredibly big ideas (Counterhero)… so how could I possibly choose!?
The answer is simple; take all the time I invested in those favorites, combine them, then add some more, and you have Monster Hunter: World.
MHW does a lot of amazing things to set itself apart from its series. Eye-rolling animation priority of the past has been significantly reduced in exploration and resource gathering. Automatic combinations for common ingredients occur instantly on pickups without requiring additional fumbling through menus. The levels themselves with its many planes and ledges fundamentally cater to combat within real 3D space (far better than swimming ever managed in the past) while the absence of room transitions now work to create a more fluid and committed combat experience. There is no stamina meter when you aren't in combat, so you can run and climb to your heart's content! I'm sorry but the volume and impact of this game's quality of life improvements can’t be overstated.
But even these updates are not the greatest achievement MHW can claim, nor is it the game's continuation of the series' excellent bestiary filled with gorgeous creatures that wordlessly communicate their combat style through visual design, observation, and interaction; a trait the Monster Hunter series carries like no other franchise on the market. No, MHW's greatest achievement is that of a full-blown liberator!
Each release in the series offers the opportunity to modify weapon controls, and MHW was no different. Looking at the list of moves for Great Sword available in MHW may not cause too much of a pause, but once you properly understand the implications of what they added, the changes are nothing short of revolutionary.
The True Charge Slash; an attack that virtually triples regular charge damage and the de facto thing you want to hit a monster will 'till it dies; falls outside of draw attacks. Do you realize what this means? WE'VE BEEN SET FREE! Great Sword users are free from the shackles of Crit Draw; virtually a prerequisite skill to be worked into just about any Great Sword build in the past. The diversification in strategy and armor sets for Great Swords just skyrocketed because of this move. And then there's the tackle... THE TACKLE!!! What a move to add to one of the most historically rigid and lethargic characters in the game. Can't get out of the way in time? Hang on to your butts while we stare down a charging monster to shoulder through the massive blow with precision timing and WE'RE STILL STANDING! Then you eventually realize you can even use tackles to fast forward through (and even stall when necessary) the charging process, leading once again back to... you guessed it... the True Charge Slash FTW! It's just too good.
Also the Slinger… you know, whatever. Anyway, Monster Hunter: World was a gigantic leap forward for an already excellent series of games and absolutely feels like the next generation evolution necessary to bring the game into the future. I can't go back; I won't go back. Game of the year.
Release Date: March 23, 2018
A cool and very cute ARPG game that had success in making beautiful towns... The player really feels that the towns are alive!
The journey is not only a single RPG adventure game, but there is also the Kingdom building part that some may like or not, as it is kind of a gimmick game that is need in order to advance in the game! Also the skirmish battles are something new in this Ni No Kuni that is very much like a RTS battle.
A very good ARPG that focus heavily on a beautiful world and emotions.
By Kashell Triumph
Release Date: Worldwide March 27, 2018
2018 started rough for a lot of gamers. The Secret of Mana remake on the PlayStation 4 was a bust. The two new Kirby titles were lame. So, I went into The Alliance Alive with some low expectations. Said expectations were even lower after I finished Cattle Call's previous attempt at recreating SaGa for another generation: The Legend of Legacy.
Luckily, The Alliance Alive combines the best aspects of RPGs from ages past and has new features to keep the experience fresh. After a good 40 hours of game time, it ended up becoming my favorite game from 2018.
You begin the game in the rainy town of Svald. Here, a resistance group called the Night Ravens wish to overthrow the Daemons. But! Two individuals wish to do more than just make their town peaceful: they wish to restore the world's balance. The first is Galil, a determined, promising young member of the resistance. The second is Galil's best friend, Azura. The Alliance Alive has a great story and amazing characters with a linear narrative; something very different from the usual SaGa style. But, the interesting thing about The Alliance Alive is that, while there is a clear path about what you're supposed to do next, you can take your time and explore your surroundings to your heart's content.
Hopefully, players do just that. There is a lot to discover in The Alliance Alive that is beyond the scope of this entry. However, special mention needs to be given to my favorite part of the game: battles. Battles have been improved substantially since The Legend of Legacy. While they still move at a brisk pace, they offer more options and rely less on RNG. The most exciting aspect of battle is the Awakening; the term used when a new skill is unlocked mid-combat. With multiple weapons and magic, it's a treat to build your party as you see fit. The game always has the right level of challenge, but since battles are so much fun, it's easy to battle everything you come across.
To top all of this off, the game has a great presentation, a wonderful collection of music, and plenty of extras that can keep that clock running. When the credits rolled, I immediately saved my cleared file and started a New Game Plus. The Alliance Alive did just about everything right. It's an easy game to recommend to someone new to RPGs, or to someone who has been playing them for years. The Alliance Alive is my game of choice for 2018.
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Forgotton Anne is a digital-only game that caught me by complete surprise. It is a story-driven platformer, which usually is not my thing, but once I saw some videos and screenshots of the game, I knew I had to get it. Developed by ThroughLine Games and published by Square Enix, Forgotton Anne is one of the most beautiful games I have ever played.
The game is not very long, you can probably platinum it in 8-10 hours, but it is a great bite-sized adventure. From the voice acting to the gorgeous animated scenes, as well as the fun gameplay, and a really good soundtrack. The game was nominated for multiple awards, including "Original Song" at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition" at the D.I.C.E Awards, as well as "Best Storytelling" at the Golden Joystick Awards, among others.
I have seen it being compared to a Studio Ghibli film, and I personally believe that is a fair comparison, and if you play it, hopefully, you see what all they mean.
Since the game is so short, going into detail about the story would be huge spoiling, so I'll just say that you play as Anne, who is an enforcer in the Forgotten Lands, which is home to objects that have been "lost" to people in the real world.
You can find the game on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, the Switch, as well as being available for Windows, and I highly recommend it for people that are looking for something new, something short, and something beautiful.
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Plenty of games out there try to sell players on the notion that they're paying tribute to classic games of old while bringing in modern sensibilities to the formula, creating a concoction that serves to entertain not only by tickling your nostalgia bone, but by updating those tried and true elements into a modern form that serves to both impress and innovate. However, very few of these games live up to such lofty promises, perhaps by relying too much on memories of yesteryear and creating watered-down imitations, or by throwing out so much of what made those classics great that you're left wondering what they're paying tribute to in the first place.
Octopath Traveler is one of those rare gems that is able to walk that fine line of old and new, of memories and ambitions, of familiarity and innovation. By combining two-dimensional sprites that would feel right at home in the 16-bit era with breathtaking three-dimensional environments that look like they were plucked straight from a dreamy pop-up book, Octopath Traveler makes an instant impression with its stunning graphical style, rivaling the most impressive AAA games not with sheer technical prowess, but with beautifully inspired art design and direction. Of course, none of this would matter much if it didn't have a gameplay system to back it up, and Octopath Traveler also delivers an endlessly compelling combat system that stands among the best the JRPG genre has to offer. Deciding what roles each of the game's eight unique characters will play in your party while engaging in battles of which the least significant are never boring is an addictive process that is consistently engaging.
Octopath Traveler is unquestionably one of the most memorable experiences of 2018, and one of the best games of the year. It manages to both pay respect to the classics of the genre while simultaneously reminding us of the possibility that the best is yet to come. And if this game is any indication, the future certainly looks bright.
Worldwide Release: September 4, 2018.
I spent a lot of time on Dragon Quest XI. I initially completed the Japanese version earlier in 2018 and that took me close to 80 hours. Granted I had no idea what I was doing, but hey it was still fun, then I heard that they had announced a translated version and I couldn't wait to play the game in a language I could actually understand.
DQXI so far is the only game I have actually platinumed, or at least even wanted to platinum. Everything about the game is perfect for me. The story was emotional and had depth, the gameplay while traditional still offered some fun moments and could be a challenge at times (especially if you do Draconian Quest modes), not to mention the entire game is beautiful. While it is not a super intense graphical masterpiece per se, the environments were insanely gorgeous, the character designs were great as usual, and the cutscenes were well done.
I understand that many people's complaints were that the game was cliche and a generic JRPG, and in many ways it was, but the game was exactly what I wanted and was executed perfectly in my opinion. I really cared for the main characters and wanted to see the game's story unfold in its entirety.
The soundtrack was really good too, although I wish there was less repeating of town themes and while exploring the map.
However, the coolest thing in my personal opinion was that there were no paid DLC, which was great because you do not have to pay extra money to get the complete game, everything is included here, with a lengthy post-game.
You also do not have to play the game multiple times to platinum the game, which I felt was a nice touch as I usually do not have time to replay games of this length, even if I really like them. I understand some will probably chalk this up as a loss in terms of replay-ability, but I do not think it cheapens the replay factor for those that like to replay games.
There you have it, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is my personal Game of the Year for 2018.
Oh, and yes I have the Japanese version's cover art on this because I like that cover and I stoked that the game included a reversible cover art, which I am a huge fan of.
Note: The original Japanese version did release on July 29, 2017, but all games here are based on Western release dates
Release Date: September 7, 2018
Before this, the game that most people would say made them “feel” like the Wall-Crawler would be found way back in 2004, as the tie-in to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Sure, the voice acting was…not amazing, and that cursed kid kept losing his balloon, but in almost everything else-the combat that was Arkham before Arkham Asylum, the impressive(for the time) rendition of NYC, and, most of all, those amazing swinging mechanics-it was the gold standard for which all other Spider-Man games tried to reach, with mixed results.
Now, more than a dozen years later and with Insomniac at the helm(they of Spyro and Ratchet fame), we Spidey fans finally have a game that reaches, if not surpasses, that standard.
From the first moment you open the game and hear that awe-inspiring main theme in the main menu(which harkens back to other Spider-Man composers), to an end which gives a reversal of what One More Day did, the game at once not only appeals to fans with both its reverence and alterations to the source material, but also brings in the general crowd by being just a well-made game.
It is, at once, a feast for both the eyes(only Manhattan now, but with a graphical upgrade to match) and the ears(have I mentioned that wonderful main theme?). The combat feels like Arkham all over again, except that, unlike the Bat, Peter is a lot more acrobatic and has quite a few more toys up his sleeves. And did I mention the swinging? Spider-Man 2 might have it beat in terms of freedom of movement, but Marvel’s Spider-Man makes it feel far more intuitive and natural than its predecessor. And I’m only tackling the big points; what about the plot, which has both heartfelt and heartbreaking moments, or the characters, who at once feel both familiar and new? Sure, there are some flaws(stealth sections are hit or miss, some wasted potential with the villains)but they are small scuffs to such a well-polished game.
Reviewers of the game have said again and again that this game is the closest yet to make you “feel like Spider-Man”, almost to memetic proportions. And, as a Spider-Man fan who has waited so long for a game like this, I am overjoyed to say that they are absolutely correct.
Release date: October 2, 2018
Playground Games/Microsoft Game Studios
Imagine the year 1990, 3D in racing games is beginning to gain umm.. "traction". Test Drive 3 is released for DOS, an open world racer where you can drive offroad, anywhere you can see. There's not an awful lot to see, roads and hills, but the landscape is populated with cows, and a train to interact with. Now skip forward 16 years to 2006, Need For Speed has given us some limited free roam games, and now Test Drive Unlimited returns to its roots with free roam and the entire island of Oahu as an open world to explore, but no cows and no trains.
Now fast forward to 2018, Forza Horizon 4 is here, open world, free roam, with sheep and a train. The Forza Horizon series has given us free roam, with huge maps, and varieties of terrain with Colorado, the South of France, Australia, and now, in the latest offering, Great Britain, specifically Scotland. On this map is a huge variety of races, road races, dirt races, cross-country races, drag races, and special events. Seasons change, changing the scenery and driving surfaces. Events include things like showcase races against jet planes, locomotives, hovercraft, and dirt bikes. Add to this an incredible range of subgames and activities, stunts, online events, and challenges; and you're unlikely to run out of things to do. I find myself playing for longer than I intend, buying and selling cars in the online auction house, or competing in the hourly online challenges.
For a racing game that successfully straddles the line between sim racers like Forza Motorsports and Gran Turismo, and arcade racers like Burnout and Motorstorm, Forza Horizon 4 appeals to both casual racers and serious car buffs, with fun races, crash and bash gameplay, and a gigantic number of licensed cars, more than 450 plus DLC cars. I find not only my current rides, but many of the cars I've owned in the past, such as the '59 Austin Healey "bugeye" Sprite, '69 Fiat 124 twincam Spider, '60 and '67 Corvettes, '69 Camaro Z28, '71 Falcon (Torino), all with detailed dashboards correct with my memories. The roster of cars is heavy with American and European iron, and light on Japanese makes, I can drive my E36 BMW but not any version of my Supra or Celica.
Avatars can be dressed in a variety of clothing, one of my minor quibbles with the game is that many prizes are -disappointingly - clothes. You also buy houses and castles(!) that serve as save points.
The huge variety of things to do and see, the appealing exploration of the Scottish countryside, the amazing sets of events and subgames, the ability to set your own goals, the fun variety of licensed cars, the endless nature of the game's challenges, make Forza Horizon 4 my game of the year for 2018.
Release date: October 26, 2018
Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) is a bizarre game. A brilliant, beautiful, often breathtaking but nonetheless bizarre game. Now, you may ask yourself why „bizarre“ is the first thing that pops into my head to describe my game of 2018. A valid question that I‘ll try my best to answer. The developers of RDR2, Rockstar, have often gone to painstaking lengths to create vivid, violent and colorful worlds to explore. Indeed, Grand Theft Auto 5‘s Los Santos was a bustling playground of vehicles, weapons, mayhem, and experimentation. However, grounded in those worlds are countless narratives, some small, others heavy, even others utterly insane. Those narratives give substance to what would otherwise be open-ended sandboxes with plenty of options but little purpose. With their most recent creation, Rockstar has gone one step further in their pursuit of the perfect marriage of freedom and narrative.
In one word, the gameplay of RDR2 is clunky. Every button on the controller seems to have over a dozen different functions depending on where you are and what you‘re doing. Aiming and shooting a weapon at a certain target can sometimes feel akin to waging war between your fingers and the game‘s interface. You need to sleep, eat, drink and smoke to be at the top of your game. You buy stuff by either walking up to it on the shelves or picking out your desired items from an absurdly detailed catalog. Your horses feel like actual living beings that will sometimes not particularly like what you want them to do. Nothing in this game is handed to you without you having to work for it; it‘s absolutely perfect. With this complexity, which sometimes borders on the ridiculous, the options you have in how you play RDR2 are virtually endless. You can hunt, play poker, race, rob stagecoaches, fish, take bounties, strike up a conversation with random strangers, help damsels in distress, take down rival gangs, ransack houses, groom horses and even groom yourself. This is just scratching the surface of what you can do in this game‘s world, a world that is alive in almost every sense of the word.
The aforementioned gameplay also immerses you fully in the narrative world Rockstar has created. You‘re not just some gamified gunslinger with your weapons locked into easily navigated wheels – you‘re Arthur Morgan, a tired outlaw of the Van der Linde gang, witnessing the twilight years of the Wild West. RDR2 has a wide focus in its storytelling, focusing not only on Arthur but taking its time in setting the scene, introducing his acquaintances, friends, and enemies as integral parts of his daily life. The writing is brilliant and reminiscent of some of the best Westerns from the world of cinema. This is partnered with a visual presentation that is nothing short of stunning and a soundtrack that is both eclectic and adaptive.
What makes RDR2 bizarre, therefore, is that it‘s a game with clunky, cumbersome gameplay that somehow still feels so good. The gameplay meshes beautifully with the world and narrative, creating a congruent whole that rewards experimentation but still feels focused. You can do so much in RDR2‘s world yet nothing feels watered down or without purpose. This is what makes the game so memorable and impactful – no game has encapsulated the Wild West with such vibrancy, veracity, and variety. This is why RDR2 is my game of 2018.
Release Date: November 16, 2018 (WW)
2018 was a tremendous year for JRPG lovers, Octopath Traveller, Ni No Kuni 2, Dragon Quest XI and others...
Then at the end of the year a new entry of an incredibly famous Jrpg series: Pokemon! A remake/re-imagination of the very first generation of a so famous game-series.
Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee is a modernized version of gen 1, it has that nostalgic feeling for the long-time fans of the series, but it is also a very easy pick-and-play for young gamers.
The idea was to make people play gen 1 as it was originally created to be...
Removing newer additions to the series as Abilities, Equipped Items, and also restricted to just 151 Pokemon (plus Alolan forms and Melmetal line) and with restricted move sets...
But LGPE added so many very good Quality-of-Life improvements: no HMs (as it was in gen 7), visible encounters, the possibility to change (deposit/withdraw) your party outside of the pc... also the possibility to choose any Pokemon to walk by your side is just so cool!
As a long-time fan from the series, at start, I got frustrated with some of these changes (the new catching system, no items/abilities), but when I decided to play it, I had a BLAST...
The classic gen-1 experience with amazing graphics and several new features...
It has that slow start but just after Mt. Moon the game just gets so amazing and beautiful, reexperiencing S.S. Anne... checking the big city of Celadon and getting to the sad (or scary??) part at Lavender (poor Cubone)...
Even the restricted move pool made it very interesting to understand and test some forgotten Pokemon that are much stronger in this "new metagame".
Pokemon LGPE was also the first main titles ever to be released on a home console. It is certainly a game that every long-time fan of the series must play and arguably the easiest entry point for new players (and that ones that used to not play Pokemon because they don't like to play on handhelds).
As the last point, but not less important regarding Pokemon LGPE:
Master Trainers made it more important (and addictive) than ever to catch 'em all!
Now we wait for the launch of Pokemon Sword and Shield versions.
Some honorable mentions are:
Kingdom Come: Deliverance- I really liked the idea of this game and while having its fair share of bugs there was a lot to do in the game and I believe the developers delivered with this RPG. Major props for a small studio with their first Kickstarter success. Fans of first-person medieval games should love this and gamers who want a historically accurate story will be pleased with it.
God of War- I personally have not played the latest entry in the series, but I have heard many great things about it and it felt justifiable to include it as an Honorable Mention.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana- The Switch edition was released in 2018 and it included a brand new translation that felt like an entirely new game, but since the game was originally released in 2016 it falls to just a mention here.
MLB The Show 18- I love every edition of the MLB The Show series and this was no different, with Aaron Judge as the cover athlete and a killer soundtrack this was definitely a great game for me.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate- Oh man this game has made me waste so many hours and I definitely recommend picking it up for any Switch owner.
Once again, thank you for reading this list and I look forward to reading the feedback and future lists anyone writes!
List by LoneCourier2281 (05/15/2019)
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