Gaming Video Games

My 10 Favorite New Games of 2018

So, as we are about to close out another year, it seems right that I should give you all a peek as to what kind of gamer I am. And that carries some weight nowadays for me as for years I considered myself a gaming journalist as opposed to a fan. But, looking back at my time writing for various sites about video games and other aspects of geek/nerd culture, I have always been more of a fan than I was a journalist. I mean, I know how to separate my personal feelings from my critical thoughts, but I always felt that I was betraying who I was inside by doing this. After all, I have always been open about how video games, comic books, movies and anime helped save my life. So, I always found it easier to try and enjoy something rather than nitpick it. And I do know a bad or disappointing game when I play them, but I still try to look for the best in the game when I play them.

Still, I always felt more positively about something than negative. So, that is what you will see on this list here. This isn’t a list of the best new games to have been released over the last year, rather this is a list of the new games that I enjoyed playing the most throughout 2018. I will leave the decisions of what games are the best of the year to those who dedicate themselves to being professional gaming journalist; honestly, I am done with that part of my life – simply put, I want to remain a video game fan. That is why this list is what it is – my favorite games of the year. That is why you will see some games on here that you may not have heard of or may not have considered as being on par with the best games of 2018. But, be it what it may be, these are the new games that I personally enjoyed the most over the year.

So, agree with me or not, this is how I feel and this list is clearly a matter of my perspective, and really, that is what all video game journalism is – a matter of perspective when you break it all down. But that is a discussion for another day. Now, onto the list…

But before that, there are some games that I did enjoy immensely across 2018 that I feel are worth receiving an honorable mention as they just missed my cut of being on this list: Celeste, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Monster Hunter: World, Warhammer: Vermintide II, and WWE 2K19.

10. Onrush

Developed by: Codemasters
Published by: Deep Silver
Release Date(s): June 5, 2018
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 & Xbox One
Genre(s): Racing, Vehicular Combat

Though this game was widely well received by critics, it never quite sold the way it was expected to – and that’s a real shame because this game is a blast to play. Whether playing offline in career mode or online against others, this is a non-stop adrenaline rush as you ram, crash, and bump your way to victory. If you haven’t picked up this game by now, you should, especially if you are a PlayStation Plus member as it is one of the free games you receive for the month of December.

9. SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy

Developed by: SNK
Published by: NIS America
Release Date(s): September 7, 2018
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre(s): Fighting

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know the arguments against this game and how it is either a bit sexist and a simple fighting game, or a combination of both – but I had a lot of fun playing this game. Sometimes it’s fun to play a fighting game where you don’t have to be a pro player to enjoy victory in the game. And I will admit that I do find it alluring to watch some of SNK’s classic female characters in this game. Be it what it be, I found myself having fun playing this game, and that is the gist of this list anyway.

8. Soul Calibur VI

Developed by: Bandai Namco Studios
Published by: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date(s): October 19, 2018
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre(s): Fighting

And now from one simple fighting game to a game that has long since been a staple of the pro fighting game scene, this new entry into this classic series is just what I expected it to be and I have had loads of fun playing through it. Whether it be the various story modes the game presents players, the classic arcade format of the game, or challenging others online (damn, my win/loss record sucks), I’ve definitely put some hours into this game. I’ve even managed to craft some amazing user created characters in it just for fun.

7. Pode

Developed by: Henchman & Goon
Published by: Henchman & Goon
Release Date(s): June 12, 2018
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre(s): Platform, Puzzle

There is something calming and majestic about this game that simply captivated me when I started playing it when it was released. The visuals were simply stunning, the story as told through the characters and progression was enjoyable, and the music… oh, the music – this is some of composer Austin Wintory’s best work. All of it blended wonderfully to bring this simple but entertaining puzzler to life. I only wish it was released on more platforms so other gamers would have a chance to play through it.

6. Far Cry 5

Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal & Ubisoft Toronto
Published by: Ubisoft
Release Date(s): March 27, 2018
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre(s): Action Adventure, First Person Shooter

Although some would disagree with what I will say about this game, I really enjoyed the story the game presented and thought that the characters, both those that assist you and the antagonists of the game, really resonated with me and made me care a great deal for them. Speaking honestly, I even began crushing a bit of the character of Faith Seed as I thought her character was the most fleshed out and engaging in the game.

5. Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee! & Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu!

Developed by: Game Freak
Published by: The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
Release Date(s): November 16, 2018
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre(s): Role-Playing

I have been wanting to play a proper Pokémon game on a home console for a while now, and these two games did not disappoint. (Full disclaimer, I own the Eevee version of this game, but have played both.) And even though it is an enhanced remake of 1998’s Pokémon Yellow, the new game mechanics and the integration Pokémon Go really set it apart from previous games in the series. Already I have logged in more than 40 hours into the game and I plan on playing more as I try to complete the Master Trainer battles lying before me now that I have finished the main quest of the game.

4. Marvel’s Spider-Man

Developed by: Insomniac Games
Published by: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date(s): September 7, 2018
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre(s): Action Adventure

Okay, I’m not going to lie here, I was expecting a bit more innovation from this game from early expectations that I had amused myself with – but that’s just a minor complaint as what the game delivers in terms of story, character development, and gameplay more than makes up for any lack of ingenuity that went into the game. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the best comic book video game that I have ever played. And the one that makes playing as Spider-Man one of the best experiences I’ve ever played. Not since 2004’s Spider-Man 2 have I enjoyed a Spider-Man as much as I have this one.

3. God of War

Developed by: SIE Santa Monica Studio
Published by: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date(s): April 10, 2018
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre(s): Action Adventure

Oh man, I had a hard time putting this game at number 3 on this list rather than number 2, but I will explain my reasons for that in the next entry. As for this new game in the God of War series, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this game? It’s visually beautiful, the story is one of the best I have ever played through, the characters are all superbly well-crafted and developed, and the music is among the best that video gaming has ever presented. That, along with numerous other reasons, are why I have loved playing this game for most of the year.

2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Developed by: Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd.
Published by: Nintendo
Release Date(s): December 7, 2018
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre(s): Fighting

I know it has just been a few short days since this game’s release, but I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t expecting this game to blow my mind – and it has; oh boy, has this game blown my mind. But aside from being a fun game to play on my own, the fact that I can play this game with all three of my kids via local co-op has added to the fun factor of the game. I mean, playing a few rounds with my kids as we battle it out to see who’s the best (so far, my oldest son Alex aged 11 is) is nothing short of magical and entertaining. But then you add in what new elements the game has added – World of Light in particular – and that every previous character from the series has returned as well as introducing new ones, and it’s easy to see why I have enjoyed this game as much as I have in so short a time.

And, my favorite video game of 2018 is…

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

Developed by: Rockstar Studios
Published by: Rockstar Games
Release Date(s): October 26, 2018
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre(s): Action Adventure

Oh, my stars and garters; this game is absolutely perfect. I mean, Rockstar has done it again with this new entry into the Red Dead series. There is nothing in this game that I simply haven’t fallen in love with. It’s a visual marvel, the music is beyond epic, the characters are wonderfully engaging, the story is simply magnificent, the settings and world are as realistic as can be, the gameplay is more than I could have ever asked for… it’s just a damn perfect game. I don’t know how else I can say that I simply love this game. I thought that Rockstar had floored me with Grand Theft Auto V. I thought after GTA V there was nothing that they could do to wow me as much as they had. But playing this game, living in this world… this is the level of quality and entertainment that every game developer should aspire to.

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