Nobody ever thought 2017 could be topped in terms of shittiness, but here we are, 2018 is almost behind us, and for what seemed like an eternity, this year proved to be one of the worst, not only in terms of politics, but for entertainment as well. We lost some gigantic names like Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, who were paramount in building an industry that helped pave the way for the thing we all know and love that I put so much time and effort into covering through this website.
Still, even with all the bitter feelings that will be buried as soon as January 1st rolls around, there are also good ones I want to cherish. 2018 was the year I got to move Entertainium off of the terrible server it was at before, and also give it a great make-over. It was also another fantastic year for videogames as I hope my list below will show. It’s really hard to limit it to a specific number of choices, so bear with me as I mentioned some of the games that I loved throughout 2018.
I mention ‘throughout’ with intention here — 2018 was consistent, from January to December, top to bottom, with quality games and experiences that can’t go without some sort of note on my part. Please keep in mind, as usual, that I’m only one person and I was only able to play some (not all) games that came out, so if there’s anything you feel particularly strong about that isn’t listed here, maybe I didn’t get to play it. But hey, be sure to leave a comment mentioning it so I can go ahead and check it out in 2019!
Here’s to a better year for everyone! Cheers!
And without further ado, my list…
God of War
I might be a little suspect when it comes to talking about God of War since I’m friends with some of the artists behind it, but hell, I can’t help but including it in my top games of the year list. I had an absolute blast getting through it for review in a three-day play fest that seemingly went by, something that very rarely happens these days for me, mostly because of my lack of focus when it comes to sticking with a single game for too long, but also, well, time. God of War’s story stuck around in my mind for a long time after I was finished, and I frankly cannot wait to see what Cory Balrog and the team have in stock next.
WadjetEye Games once again proved that they know what they’re doing with Unavowed. It’s one hell of an adventure game that happens to look like old school, playing with your notions of just how a story can be carried in some interesting ways. I’ll definitely be coming back to this in order to give the other protagonist backstories a go and seeing how they pan out throughout the game. If you haven’t given this a shot yet, you should — it’s one of the best adventure games in quite a while.
Monster Hunter World
I’ve had a soft spot for this franchise ever since Monster Hunter Tri came out for the Wii years ago, and ever since getting into it, I’ve always dreamed of playing one in HD and with an actual controller in my hand. It took Capcom a little while, but they finally made that happen with Monster Hunter World, and man, they REALLY nailed it. World is an amazing accomplishment and issues aside, it’s taken the series to the mainstream in a brilliant way. Can’t wait to dive into Iceborne expansion once it’s out next year!
I really thought we’d never get another Hitman game after everything that went down between its developer IO Interactive and parent company Square Enix, but the impossible happened and they even dared to release a new game the same year everything that could possibly prevent it from happening, happened. And what a game Hitman 2 is! If no other ‘new’ game comes out for a while and IO decides to make it a delivery platform for new content, I’ll be more than happy to support them for years to come.
Celeste and La-Mulana 2
I bundled these two together because they both play with the same part of my brain that makes me enjoy merciless platforming games so much, but in unique ways. La-Mulana 2 kicks my ass by being really inscrutable, but it’s all so rewarding. Celeste is incredible on its own in that regard as well, and thanks to its charming writing — which La-Mulana 2 lacks, disappointingly — there’s always something waiting for me after a particularly rough patch. YOLOOOOOO!
If the previous pick didn’t make it clear, you can never count December out when it comes to great games coming out. Gris is another late year release that kicked me in the feels with some of the best looking art and atmosphere in quite a while. It’s not a game about conquering or destroying, but like Callum mentioned in his review, it works anyway, or if I could dare say, it’s all the better for it.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
You can never count out a game coming out in December. 2018 has taught me that with Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, one of my anticipated games of the year. The Bearded Ladies struck gold with their mix between stealth, tactics and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I had a great time getting through this one, and given how its story goes, very much keen on seeing what’s next for Mutant Year Zero as a new series.
I’m almost those who think Spider-Man is among the few heroes who has gotten decent games over the years, but man, did they nail this one! Movement is perfect, and while I would’ve done with fewer combat scenarios all throughout the game, I really dug how well Insomniac has captured the feel of being Spidey, both in brawn and speed. It also helps that the whole thing looks so great, with some of the best animated characters I’ve ever seen in a game.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
I’ve been waiting for this one for years, and it was totally worth it. With Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King being my favorite entry in the franchise, it seemed like I would never get to play another full-fledged big boy console Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest XI is beautiful, ridiculously charming and really, really huge. Loving it to death!
Frostpunk came out so really early this year, and considering 2018 went on for about three years, it really feels like Frostpunk came out way longer ago. But review dates don’t lie, I wrote about it in May, and I really loved it. It made me anxious as all hell, but oh so glad I played it when I succeed in helping those poor bastards live as long as possible out in the cold. I really have to come back to Frostpunk sometime, there’s some new DLC that looks really enticing.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Warhorse Studios’ ambition can only be matched by the sheer hype behind this game over the years. Seriously, I must’ve gone to like three separate E3 appointments in order to see it in various stages of development! And hell, it turned out pretty damn good. The world itself is an amazing achievement, it really breathes, and while I wouldn’t call the protagonist Henry a gripping individual, the story the game takes him in is quite entertaining, including some of the better side quests this side of Skyrim, even though the ending leaves plenty to be desired, including a damn sequel!
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition
Larian’s latest re-release on console proved to be the best one so far, and although I finished my review, I’m far from being done with this one.They did a fantastic job once again converting a pretty involved PC game to a gamepad! It gets the proverbial rain check that I hope to cash very soon and pick up my adventure where I left off.
Return of the Obra Dinn
I’d be lying if I told you I was expecting much from an insurance claim clerk simulator, but given the pedigree behind Obra Dinn, I couldn’t help but give it a shot, and I did come out extremely impressed. Even though I’m not as in love with it as some friends are, especially due to just how slow and methodical it plays, the entire concept and execution is simply brilliant, making it a standout experience in a crowded videogaming year for sure.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 6
Can there really be too many Yakuza games released in a year? 2018 proved to be into the notion of answering that with the release of not only one, but two freaking Yakuzas. We’re spoiled. Both are fantastic games in their own right, and although I’ve yet to finish ,6 I played enough of it to know that I really like it, even if it feels like a step sideways in comparison to the sheer abundance of the previous games. Kiwami 2 is definitely a stronger game than the first Kiwami, not to mention a hell of an upgrade to the original Yakuza 2. All around a great year for Ryuu Ga Gotoku for sure!
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Man, I’m freaking terrible at isometric RPGs, and with two pretty distinct examples coming out the same year, I couldn’t help but like the other one more than Pillars 2, but that doesn’t mean I disliked Deadfire! Not at all! It’s a fantastic game for sure and I REALLY want to dive back in (pun intended?) and see what all the fuss is about the DLCs that have come out since release.
The Red Strings Club
Here’s another one that came out this year that I could’ve sworn didn’t. But it did, and here’s me talking about how great it is. Red Strings Club, like Unavowed, plays with your notion of what an adventure game could be. And if I could be so bold as to quote myself, “There have been few games that have touched this kind of subject matter with the same kind of naturality that The Red Strings Club does so well. It’s by no means a perfect game. The drink mixing game can get repetitive and a little finicky, and the lack of any sort of save feature for your previous decisions’ graph when starting a new playthrough — like in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors — is kind of baffling. Still, as a work of fiction that deals with real world issues, it does so in a way that makes it a must play for just about anyone looking to enjoy a great story.”
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
What can I say, I’m a huge The Witcher fan, I wouldn’t deny any excuse to be once again thrown into its world. It helps that Thronebreaker is such a fun game, making use of Gwent as means to carry the gameplay along in some very clever ways that you wouldn’t expect a card game to be able to do. It does so incredibly well and I can’t recommend it enough.
Top games I still need to play more of in 2019:
These are the games that have top shelf chances that I haven’t had time to play enough in order to include them on my top list. Don’t fret though, I’ll be diving into them soon enough during the holiday break!
Red Dead Redemption 2
Even though I started playing it the day it came out, I’ve yet to put more than three or so hours in, thanks to just how huge this thing is and how much of a time commitment it is. I’m hoping to play more during the holiday break, so keep an eye out for more impressions. The little of it that I’ve played felt incredible, though. What a world! Can’t wait to see more of it.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The same can be said for Odyssey. There’s so freaking much to do in this game! I picked it up for review in the middle of a pretty busy patch in the year, so I kinda missed the window, but I’m still hoping to get to write something meaningful about it down the line. I’m very slowly making my way through it, and even though it lacks the spark that glued me to Bayek’s journey in Origins last year, it’s still really damn fun to play and I can’t wait to get back to it. Oh, and I totally picked the lady protagonist, duh!