Every year there are tons of new games to spend hours and hours of our lives playing. And almost every year I disagree with the Game of the Year award. I mean, I get it. Something has to win. But with so many genres and fandoms, can you really just settle with this ONE game being considered “Game of the Year”? For instance, this year’s winner was God of War (2018).
Okay. Great choice and definitely a two thumbs-up worthy game, but was it the best game I played this year? I’m sorry to say to those who agree with this choice, no, it was not. So rather than pick just one game, we compiled a list of our top games of 2018. Spoiler alert: they’re all different.
Release Date: September 7, 2018
Publisher: Insomniac Games for Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s): Playstation 4
I’m not much of a “modern day” gamer — I’ll still dabble in updated versions of Mario, Zelda, and the most recent version of Grand Theft Auto (Yeah, Read Dead Redemption 2 was a first day purchase just so you’re aware), but when it comes to the big titles, I’m few and far between when it comes to purchasing.
Therefore, it may not be my place to state the following, but I’m awarding Spider-Man for PS4 the game of the year. This is the best Spider-Man game since Spider-Man 2. Hell, even saying that, in my opinion, it IS the best Spider-Man game. It provides fans of the character everything they want in an experience where you get to be the wallcrawler.
The story is phenomenal; it even finds ways to tug at the heartstrings. The voice cast is fantastic, the score is wonderful, and the game is just a blast to play. From the moment you start swinging across the city in the beginning of the tale, you cannot help but know you’re in good hands. And I didn’t even mention the glorious photo mode!
Spider-Man on PS4 is just pure greatness. It’s not completely original in structure, as the combat and missions borrow heavily from Rocksteady’s Batman games, and some of the stealth missions drag, but to me, this game nails the look, feel, and saga behind the world of Peter Parker and his costumed alter ego. It just gets it right. After 14 years of lackluster titles in the webhead’s video game library, Insomniac finally knocked it out of the park. Spider-Man on PS4 will make you a true believer.
Detroit: Become Human
Release Date: May 25, 2018
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s): Quantic Dream for Playstation 4
There’s really no other game that has pushed the boundaries on storytelling experiences more, in 2018, than Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human. The game let’s players shape their own story as the follow the journey of three androids in a near-future Detroit as they slowly begin to have more human emotions.
After playing it, what I loved the most about it was the truly unique experience I had with the game because of all the different decisions and story paths people can have during the game. From talking to friends about playing the game and watching streamers go through their play throughs, I got to see conversations, cut-scenes, and even levels that weren’t a part of my Detroit experience. It really speaks volumes to how in-depth the decision making of Detroit: Become Human is and how much a player’s interactions, success, and failures can change their entire experience.
The game’s main three characters, android detectives Connor and Kara, and Marcus, the leader of an android revolution, all have incredibly unique, standalone stories.
Marcus’ story brings some incredibly relevant themes of racism and peaceful protest that aren’t seen much in the gaming community. Not to mention, he also has some great action oriented scenes that are incredibly tense.
Kara’s story is much more endearing and her growing relationship with the abused girl, Alice, that she tries to protect become more and more touching as you play it.
Connor’s story brings some great gameplay, as well as some great character building with Connor’s partner Hank, excellently played by Clancy Brown. Also, I’m a sucker for a great detective story.
Frankly, not even all of this can encompass how much Detroit: Become Human is my favorite game of year. It’s an experience that literally anyone can enjoy, regardless of gaming skill, and has plenty of great story and character moments that just can’t be found in other games.
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
I feel like I can comfortably say that the majority of people reading this have heard of Square Enix, the Japanese game development and publishing company best known for RPG series such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts.
But trust me, they’ve done plenty more, including the Bravely Default and Bravely Second games for 3DS. Now, I wanted to specifically mention those titles because they were both produced by Tomoya Asano, who also produced Octopath Traveler. Basically, from now on, if his name is on it, I’m going to play it. It’s become a thing now.
Octopath Traveler is unique in a lot of ways, while very familiar in many others. It’s most unique aspect is the plot. In this game, there are eight protagonists with distinct story lines that intertwine but can be played entirely independent of each other. So, while you can do them all at once, you don’t HAVE to, and you will still get a full story experience.
Each character is also a different class, though later in the game you can give each character a Secondary Class as well as Master Class options. The characters include: H’aanit the hunter (my girl, right there), Therion the thief (second favorite), Ophilia the cleric, Alfyn the apothecary, Tressa the merchant, Cyrus the scholar, Primrose the dancer, and Olberic the knight. Each has a different reason for setting out on an adventure with different quests, different bosses, and different side characters they interact with.
The story progression is also incredibly unique, at least based on my gaming experience. Despite going to the same towns, what you do and who you talk to is entirely different depending on which characters’ story you choose. You also don’t have to do one story at a time; you can have them all going simultaneously. For example, I did everyone’s Chapter 1, then everyone’s Chapter 2, then 3, and so on and so forth. But I didn’t have to. The freedom of choice you have in story progression and who you use and what classes they are, there is so much YOU get to decide for you experience, which makes for some great re-playability.
I loved the Bravely games so the gameplay was already a familiar set-up to me. I love the concept of saving up attacks so that you can do multiple or one massive, super-charged attack. It enables a lot of strategy options for characters and character combinations. And finally, to top it off, despite the game being 8-bit, the art is detailed and layered – it isn’t just a flat world, but rather you can go behind, under, and through things, you can see in the background where you are going and figure out the path to get there, its so detailed but looks so simple at first glance. It’s just a gorgeous world.
Release Date: October 5, 2019
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4
Expectations were mediocre at best when I picked up WWE 2k19, the newest installment in the WWE gaming series. Having played wrestling games almost every year since the late ’90s, I was aware that I could be buying the same exact game, only with an updated roster And possibly a few extra features).
In recent years, the WWE games have lacked replay value and a captivating one player story mode. To my surprise, 2k really brought it this year with phenomenal new story modes and more fluid action in the ring.
The graphics and game flow are on point in this game. I especially love the reversals and pacing of the matches. This year’s game features great new animations and moves. In the last game the lighting was low particularly during the entrances, but this time around there’s no need to worry because 2k19 looks great. Some entrances, such as Naomi’s Glow entrance, really stand out. I will however say, the character models in the character select screen are kind of weird looking at times (Check out Kofi/Ronda for example).
Nice extras include the ability to cash in your Money in the Bank with the hit of a button and you can actually defend the briefcase in a match. Also there’s lots of new features in steel cage matches allowing for more moves in the cage and from what I’ve heard you can break through the cage walls.
My only gripes with this game are a few minor glitches that always come with these types of games –guys teleporting, floating, voice-over issues, etc. My biggest issue that I hoped would be fixed is that the signature/finisher buttons should activate more quickly. Sometimes you can’t hit your finisher when you hit the button due to the prompt not appearing in time or a pin feature being activated instead. This cost me a lot of matches in previous years, and still is.
WWE2k really did their homework this time around. With fantastic story modes, voice-overs, and new in-ring animations. I really can’t put the game down. What I really appreciate is the wrestling history featured in this game as I actually did learn a lot especially about Daniel Bryan.
Another pleasant surprise were the references to guys trying to make names for themselves in the indies and footage being used from other promotions in this game. Not to mention the references to guys like Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and AJ Styles making names for themselves all in Japan.
This game has it all: replay value, great story lines, new characters, and even a contest to win a million bucks! This may indeed be the wrestling game we’ve all been waiting for. Believe that!
-Rob Crowther IV
There are more awesome games out there other than the ones we have listed here. Maybe you still think God of War was the best, maybe you picked the same one as one of us, or maybe your choice for the best game of 2018 isn’t any of these choices, maybe it’s one none of us have played or all of us played and didn’t pick for some reason. That’s the beauty of video games. They’re all so different and appeal to so many different interests. Still, if you haven’t played these games, I hope you give them a try, if you have, well, keep on kicking video game butt then. – Rachel Freeman