It’s that time of year when we celebrate video games and completely objective and scientific lists of video games come out declaring which are best. No opinions here. The third of these rather factual lists is Brendan’s ten best video Games of 2018.
10. Mega Man 11
An almost long forgotten franchise to Capcom, it seems they are still able to create new and interesting Megaman experiences in 2018. This was a great first attempt at rebirthing the franchise. While the music and voice acting leave a lot to be desired, the core gameplay and level designs are classic megaman. I very much enjoyed my time with this one.
9. Let’s Go Pickachu (Switch)
I’ll admit, my enjoyment of Let’s Go Pikachu is mostly due to the joy it was sharing the experience with my wife. That said, Let’s Go still does a lot of things right that deserve to be celebrated. It’s hard to not smile while looking at the adorable updated visuals and heartwarmingly familiar tunes of Pokemon Yellow. This is a great pokemon experience for new and seasoned trainers.
8. God of War (PS4)
God of War is both a visual and storytelling achievement. While I’ve personally never enjoyed the series, this year’s title demonstrated a refreshing improvement in the storytelling and character of Kratos, to the point where I now enjoy the character. The many moments of awe in this game, coupled with the lovingly crafted world had me wanting to come back and explore this world again and again.
7. Dead Cells (PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4).
Dead Cells OOZES style. It is impossible to think about Dead Cells and not picture its vibrant, flashy aesthetic. But a great game must be more than its visuals. Thankfully, Dead Cells also happens to be one of the tightest and most replayable roguelikes in recent memory. What an absolute joy it is to play Dead Cells.
6. Spider-Man (PS4)
With two phenomenal movies this year alone, Insomniac games has somehow managed to create the quintessential Spiderman experience (outside of the comics). While Spiderman for PS4’s gameplay and world are first class, it is the characters that steal the show. As the first spiderman game to understand Peter Parker is just as important as the web-slinger the experience feels genuinely grounded and heartfelt from start to finish.
5. Florence (Mobile)
My biggest surprise of the year. This mobile game tells a story that feels both genuine and lived without a single line of dialogue. Creative uses of gameplay, visuals and sound all weave together into a beautiful tapestry that is an absolute pleasure from start to finish.
4. Celeste (PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4).
An imaginative, challenging and ultimately rewarding spirit quest, exploring the physical world of Celeste and the mind of Madeline. Whether it’s the character journeys of growth and learning about ourselves or a super tight platformer with fun variations and optional challenges, Celeste excels at everything it tries to achieve. Also my pick for best soundtrack of the year, Celeste is proof that platformers can have a coherent story without sacrificing tight gameplay.
3. Dragon Ball FighterZ (Xbox One, PS4, Switch)
The best traditional fighting game of 2018. The best Dragon Ball game of all time. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a joy to play, and an even bigger joy to watch. Every match is a sensory experience, the closest we’ve had to the traditional anime by far. Every single piece of this game has been crafted with love of fighting games and the source material. In 2018, Dragon Ball FighterZ gave us the best Marvel and the overall best Evo moments in recent memory.
2. Super Smash Bros Ultimate. (Nintendo Switch).
A letter of love to all previous entries in the Smash Brothers series, Ultimate feels like the culmination of all series entries thus far. It’s not a perfect game by any means, but damn is it full of value. Having fixed a lot of my issues with Smash 4, Ultimate makes me excited about Smash again, in both a party and competitive sense. Take Smash Ultimate’s position here with a grain of salt. I am always invested in Smash series entries. It’s hard to stay objective when so much of my life has been spent playing these games. What I will say though, is that Ultimate has been one of the only games I have played since its release, and that trend looks to continue in 2019. Maybe I will sour on this and go back to melee in 3 months time, but where I am now and how I feel, this game will be here to stay for a long while.
1. Into the Breach
Strategy games are an odd beast for me. I love the idea of strategy games, but playing them is rarely a joyful experience. The fear of losing hours and hours worth of work gives me analysis paralysis and I usually leave the experience feeling stupider than ever. Imagine my joy then when Into the Breach dropped into my lap this year. Into the Breach isn’t the best looking game this year, hell it isn’t even the best sounding game this year, but none of that matters.Into the Breach is not only the best strategy game this year, it is the best strategy game ever created.
Often, my gripe with strategy games comes down to scale or obfuscation of information. Into the Breach suffers from neither of these. All information is presented to you at all times. Every turn is a puzzle waiting to be solved, every mistake a consequence of your miscalculations. There are tough decisions between losing pilots or losing energy that matter not because the game tells you to but because you FEEL the weight of that decision through the gameplay. It’s more akin to chess than any other strategy game.
Into the Breach is the one game I have come back to again and again this year. It makes me feel smart, it makes me happy, it is both challenging and fair in ways that I didn’t think strategy games could be anymore. Congratulations to Into the Breach, my Game of the Year for 2018.
- The Hex
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