As we take a look back on all of the games that we were fortunate enough to play over the course of 2018, a few of us wanted to share some of our picks of the year. We’ll be looking ahead to the upcoming releases in 2019 shortly but for now, let’s cast our minds back and see what stayed with us the most!
Duncan – In a year where I reviewed the disappointingly sparse Sea of Thieves and the entertaining The Crew 2, there were plenty of other ups and downs on the gaming release list. My personal highlight was Red Dead Redemption 2, although I have yet to finish it, I love it as much as the first game and it might edge it out of my favourite games of all time. Roaming around this world and just gawping at the scenery and how beautifully detailed the world is, feels like a joy, exploring it all and going hunting animals is as much as fun as playing the main story. Another highlight of mine was a re-release, the incredible Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice on the Xbox One, any excuse to play that game again and I’m there as someone who has suffered with mental illness, Hellblade hit the nail on the head with what it’s like to live with one of these diseases, as well as being an awesome game to boot. Once I’ve caught up on my video game “pile of shame” I have Assassins Creed Odyssey to play through as well, which seemed to garner a lot of positive attention from critics and players alike.
I also tried to play games that I wouldn’t play, to broaden my horizons a little bit, so I started playing Oxenfree on the Switch, which is a good little adventure game, that’s more than a little interesting. It has an interesting story and gameplay mechanics.
For me 2019 might be the year of the indie game for me, I have a few gems on my radar, that look like a lot of good fun and something a bit different.
Lefranzine – 2018 has seen some fantastic offerings to gaming libraries across the platforms whether it be new releases, remastered classics or some titles moving to other platforms for more fans to enjoy. I’ve been blown away by many titles and those are the ones I want to mention. First off was God of War. Simply stunning. As someone who only touched previous God of War titles and resorted to watching others play, but I didn’t intend on missing out of this one. God of War was not only a beautiful game to look at but was also a delight to play due to the mechanics… I mean, who doesn’t want to hurl an axe at something to have it return to you? In an age of open world game that never end, it was great to have to game that allowed some exploration for side quests and to upgrade your gear but still allowed you to finish the story in a certain number of hours so that it wasn’t another game left unfinished in your library. I love open world games, don’t get me wrong but Sony Santa Monica did a good job and pitching it at the right pace and game length in my opinion. The Norse setting was fantastic, the design was immaculate and the character work was also good… although Atreus was a little pest at times with his mood swings. God of War is a great game and a must have for any PS4 owner.
Other games which I loved playing in 2018 were Marvel’s Spider-Man, GRIS, the return of Spyro and Crash Bandicoot, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Detroit: Become Human, Overcooked 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. With many Nindies and other indies added to our libraries too, it’s been another great year for the gaming industry and I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us!
Kuniku – 2018 has been a pretty special year of gaming for me, and has included a lot of incredibly good games that I actually finished (and I rarely actually finish games!) My top three games are all very close together at the top of the mountain that was 2018’s new releases. God of War has to take the top spot, as it was easily one of the best games I’ve ever played. Spider-Man follows very closely behind it and Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom comes in third.
As Lefranzine said, God of War is, simply put, a masterpiece! The story, the design, the graphics, the audio, the gameplay and everything else are all brilliant. Few games are truely good enough to warrant buying a console for – but God of War probably does claim that title! If you haven’t played it, and don’t own a PS4 – you’re probably doing yourself a disservice not getting it!
In any other gaming year, Spider-Man on PS4 would easily claim the top spot in its own right. But unfortunately for the lovely folks at Insomniac Games, God of War dropped during the same year. Much like God of War, Spider-Man just gets everything right – which is saying something, as after previous Spider-Man games fell flat – the modern offering had to tick a lot of boxes. And tick them it did! The gameplay is incredible – from the hours spent web-slinging around New York, to the awesome combat that represents Spidey spot on. The story is gripping throughout and really makes you feel the suspense. If you’re needing to get yourself a PS4 for God of War, Spider-Man makes that purchase that much more worthwhile!
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is worth a special mention, this time last year when looking ahead to 2018, I thought that the second offering in the Ni No Kuni universe would be a near guaranteed winner for the top spot – little did I know what else would be on offer this year! Revenant Kingdom was fantastic though, so it needs to be mentioned. It is a bit more niche, in that if you’re not a fan of JRPGs it probably isn’t your kind of thing, but it was wonderful. Continuing the Studio Ghibli style anime artwork from the first game the game looks stunning, and shares the story that can only be described as “lovely” – it warms the soul when it all comes together!
Honourable Mentions: There were many awesome “Remastered” games that came out and/or released on the Switch – many of which are perfect additions for that on the go playstyle. Similarly there were a whole load of awesome and beautiful indie titles on the Switch. Super Smash Bros Ultimate deserves a mention, Pokemon Lets Go starts to realise the dream of Pokemon fans (even if the “Go” mechanic is lame), Dragonball FighterZ was probably the best fighting game released this year, even if I can’t get my head around high level play. And my favourite indie game probably has to go to Call of Cthulhu – which captured the Lovecraftian themes brilliantly.
I’m already super excited to see what 2019 has to offer!