My Top 10 games from 2018
To be clear these aren’t the objectively best games from 2018. I only played seven games that came out this year. I had to cheat a little to make this top ten, but I hope you will forgive me. Also, I’m putting these in numerical order because screw that descending format. Number 1 goes on top where it belongs.
#1 Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is possibly the best game I’ve ever played. It’s a masta-piece. Now some haters may come at me and say, “Well what about the linear missions? What about the clunky controls? Wasn’t God of War better?” Two things: 1) I haven’t played God of War so I can’t really rank the two games and 2) Those nit picks are dumb. Haven’t y’all played GTA 5? Why were you expecting anything different?
No, the real reason this game is #1 on my all time list is that story. Red Dead Redemption 2 is about the human cost of civilization and coping with change. It’s about capitalism, freedom, oppression, racism, sexism, trauma, loyalty, brutality and so much more. This is an experience you carry around with you. The pace is deliberate, forcing you to slow down, drink in all the little details, and think about the choices you’ve made. On top of that, the game is drop dead gorgeous. You can ride around through snow, desert, forests, swamps or the wide open range. All of the environments are stunning and make excellent desktop wallpapers. I’ve already started my second playthrough and I can’t wait to play this game again when it comes out on PC. It is unequivocally my Game of the Year.
#2 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. is my all time favorite series. If I need a little hit of video game, I boot up Smash. If I want to play a game with friends, I boot up Smash. Smash is good in every incarnation, but this version is that little bit better. It has every character from every Smash game, damn near every stage you can remember from the old games, and you can play it in bed. Melee will always be near and dear to my heart, but Ultimate is threatening to become my all time favorite. The only reason why this game is #2 is because Red Dead 2’s world and story is that damn good. Smash Ultimate didn’t make me cry so it’s gotta live with the #2 spot.
#3 Stardew Valley Online
Stardew Valley may have come out in 2016, but when its multiplayer mode launched this year it became a completely new experience. This game is by far my favorite game to play with a friend. When I left college I found myself miles and miles away from all of my best friends. I’ve never been good at calling up people so I found a workaround through video games. Gaming has let me maintain friendships across the country. Stardew is perfect for this. It’s a slow game so there’s tons of room to talk about what’s going on in people’s lives but there’s enough cooperation to ease the quiet bits. Multiplayer also brings along some quality of life improvements. Due to how the energy system works, you only have enough time to do one thing per day. Adding that second player allows the farm to grow in a much more efficient way, clearing out a lot of the game’s single player monotony. 10/10 would definitely recommend playing with friends.
#4 Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 is dope. It’s basically ‘Murica the Game. You play a US Marshal who is assigned to arrest Joseph Seed, a charismatic preacher and cult leader. As you arrest him, your helicopter crashes and you’re left stranded and alone in the mountains of Montana. You have to track down and kill his followers, recruiting citizens as you go. It’s a tense game with great gunplay and gorgeous graphics. I’m a sucker for anything rural America so I had a blast driving around in my pickup truck killing cult members with my American flag machine gun while my pet Bear named Cheeseburger chased off a wolf. The plot was okay but one section did a crazy awesome story thing that I don’t want to spoil. Far Cry 5 isn’t without flaws, but I had so much fun playing it I had to rank it up here.
#5 NBA 2k19
I love and hate the NBA2k franchise. For some reason 2k centers me. When I get home from work or I feel listless, popping in a game of 2k is better than a cup of coffee. I can focus my mind, make a few dope plays and leave the game feeling rejuvenated and ready to accomplish things in the real world. 2k basically got me through college — although there was that one time it made me late for an exam, but we don’t need to talk about that.
2k has also been the biggest source of rage in my life (behind our idiot President). I’ve had so many bad 2k games ruin my entire day. Compounding this frustration are the disgusting microtransactions and the soul crushing grind. I’ve never seen microtransactions on a scale like this. MyCareer — 2k’s flagship gamemode — has been almost unplayable in 2k19. In MyCareer you play as a rookie entering the league. Your player ranking starts at 60. You can’t shoot, you can’t dribble, you can’t pass and you’re super weak. Playing from 60–68 overall is just not fun. It sucks. It takes tens of hours of unfun grinding to to level your character up if you don’t want to shell out real world money.
But somehow I still love this game. I’m not really sure why.
#6 Dragon Ball FighterZ
Although my love for Smash is boundless, I must admit I’ve never really got into a proper fighting game. My friend would occasionally play me in Marvel vs Capcom, but I wouldn’t call watching my character die over and over again to 70 hit combos “playing”. Enter DBFZ. This game is FUN. It’s accessible and over the top and a must play for anyone who wants to get into fighting games. DBFZ also got me into the world of Dragon Ball Z, leading me to discover the joy that is Dragon Ball Z Abridged. I’m not good at Dragon Ball FighterZ, but I’m better than my friend. And that’s all that really matters.
#7 Yoku’s Island Express
I always have a soft spot for metroidvanias. For those that don’t know, a metrodvania is a game set in one big map where you unlock abilities as you play. Unlocking these abilities let’s you backtrack to old areas and explore parts of the map previously locked off to you. Yoku’s Island Express is a metroidvania, only with a twist. Instead of being based around platforming, Yoku is based around Pinball of all things. Yoku’s Island Express was a joy to play. The music was relaxing, the characters were charming, and it had so much pinball! Yoku was great. Not a heavy hitter by any means, but a great way to pass the time while you make pasta.
#8 Hollow Knight (for Switch)
I’m not sure if I like this game or not. When Hollow Knight came out last year it was applauded as a game changing Metroidvania. Naturally I had to try it out. Unfortunately, it combines all the difficulty of platforming with the frustration of losing all your stuff when you die. I never understood why games like to borrow this lose-all-your-stuff mechanic from Dark Souls. Why do I need to be punished for dying? Isn’t dying the punishment? Do you think I like dying in games? I want to like Hollow Knight because it is a really good metroidvania, but the punishing difficulty and the F-you-for-dying mechanic makes this game just a little too frustrating to play for me. I put the game down around Yom Kippur and I’m scared to pick it back up again. It’s not a game that forgives rustiness.
Celeste is an indie platformer, which should have made this one of my favorite games. But it just…isn’t. The gameplay is good and the platforming is tough, but I just don’t enjoy playing it. Platformers usually make me angry, but when I play Celeste I become unpleasant to be around. The music makes me dread turning the game on. Now I know some people LOVE the music for Celeste. I understand that. It sounds great on YouTube or your phone. But when I keep dying over and over and I start to feel my blood pressure rising, that music becomes unbearable. Nails on a chalkboard. Maybe one day I’ll finish it, but for now I’m just trying to cut down on games that make me mad.
#10 — Red Dead Online (yes it’s a separate game)
Red Dead Online exists so separately from the rest of the Red Dead Redemption 2 that I think it’s fair to judge this as its own game. In Red Dead Online you play as a voiceless outlaw who gets dragged into a handful of forgettable story missions. Outside of those missions you can hunt, fish, or get tossed off a cliff by griefers. In the handful of hours I played this mode, I ran into so many players who shot me in the head. When a posse decides they want to harass you, the only way you can escape is by logging off. There’s no passive mode and no private lobby. If you play Red Dead Online you have to play with these people.
Now I don’t mind fighting off gangs of other players. I play Red Dead Online so I can be a total bastard. If you want to play a nice guy, play the story. It works better there. But the real reason why Red Dead Online is so far down my list is its grind. This may be the most grindy game I ever played — next to 2k19. For example, If you want to buy a winter coat, something that is required if you want to explore the whole map — you need to level up your character to level 11 and spend $74. To put those things into perspective. I’ve played online maybe 8 hours and I’m currently level 8 with $36 in the bank. I would have to grind forhours upon hours just to be able to get a freaking coat that should have been included at the start. This level of grind is stupid and not worth the effort. I don’t see myself playing much more of this mode. At least not on my own.
Games I wanted to play in 2018
Just for fun, here are some games from this year I wanted to play, but I either didn’t have the money or time to play them:
Return of the Obra Din
God of War
Kirby Star Allies
If you thought I left out a game, let me know! I always love recommendations.