2018 was a great year for video games! There were many brilliant and memorable games for the PC, PS4, Xbox, Switch and even your phone. Here are the games that stood out to me as the most fun and interesting of the year.
Best Fighting Games
Dragon Ball FighterZ
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Nintendo’s crossover game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate didn’t deviate very far from the formula of the earlier Smash Bros. games, but the fact that it features every single character ever playable in this series in addition to the long-awaited inclusion of fan favorites like Ridley and King K. Rool makes this the best one. I previously reserved the number-one spot for the excellent Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but Nintendo Switch is my new go-to console for satisfying my Smash craving.
Many indie platformers have been paying homage to games of yesteryear lately in an attempt to bring some retro charm to their projects. I loved how The Messenger went all the way by looking and sounding exactly like a game that could have been on the NES. It was clearly inspired by Ninja Gaiden, which is made clear by the game’s cast of characters and their hilarious fourth-wall breaking dialogue.
Mega Man 11 – Hardest game of the year
This sequel in the long-running Mega Man series not only revealed some backstory on villain Dr. Wily but it also followed in the tradition of the Mega Man series by being extremely challenging, but that also meant it was incredibly rewarding when you were able to beat it.
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
FAR: Lone Sails
My Memory of Us
Most Old-School RPGs
I loved Crossing Souls for not only looking like a game from the ’80s but featuring a story straight out of the ’80s as well. The makers of this game have sighted inspiration from things like E.T. and The Goonies and it shows. Thank you Kickstarter!
The Swords of Ditto
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Games That Are Fun to Play and Also Fun to Look At
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine
This game for mobile devices was essentially a love story told without dialogue and it was creative and also very heartfelt.
Return of the Obra Dinn
11-11 Memories Untold
Tetris Effect – Most beautiful game of the year
This might be my favorite Tetris game ever made thanks to its great sound and visuals, not to mention the ability to make awesome chain combos like the “Perfectris.”
Weirdest and Funniest Games
Genital Jousting – Funniest game of the year
This NSFW PC game in which you play as a human penis is one thing when playing with others in multiplayer mode, but the single-player story mode is the most absurd and funny thing I’ve seen all year, partly due to the inclusion of a sophisticated narrator who plays it completely straight, but also due to the fact that very little about what you are seeing makes any sense. One thing that’s clear: a certain group of game programmers has a very wicked sense of humor.
Baldi’s Basics in Education and Learning – Scariest game of the year
You wouldn’t think a game with a title like that would fall in the survival horror genre, but I still have nightmares about the sound of snapping rulers after witnessing this educational game parody that starts out innocent but quickly goes south.
Minit – Most innovative idea of the year
An adventure game where you die every few seconds might sound frustrating but the constant trial and error actually forced you to be more creative with every do-over you got.
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido
Most Cinematic Games
Monster Hunter: World
God of War – Favorite game of the year
I loved the first three God of War games because they were great action games with challenging puzzles (plus I love Greek mythology). This game was very different though. There was action, but an older Kratos with the responsibility of fatherhood made for a more mature and emotional game as well.
Yakuza Kiwami 2
Life Is Strange 2
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Red Dead Redemption II
After Rockstar proved how brilliant it was with the Grand Theft Auto series, Max Payne, Bully and the first Red Dead Redemption, they really outdid themselves with the gorgeous Red Dead Redemption II, the greatest game they ever made, which also features the hugest world they ever created, and in typical Rockstar fashion, the variety of what to do in that world is endless.
Best Virtual Reality
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
This VR experience for the PlayStation 4 in which you guided a robot to help him find his robot friends was one of the most enjoyable and endearing games I’ve seen all year. I also found it refreshingly cartoony since most PSVR games are dark and serious. This is the virtual reality I want to enter.
In my next blog I share my favorite TV shows of 2018.