Happy New Year everyone! It’s officially been 2019 for a couple of days now, so that means it’s time for me to reflect on last year and my favorite games from it.
To be frank, 2018 was kind of a weird year for gaming. There weren’t many good games that were released, but the good ones were REALLY fucking good. We saw a the glorious rebirth of one of gaming’s most beloved franchises, the world taken by storm by battle royale phenomena, and what may be the greatest game ever made. It may have not been the best year for gaming in recent memory, but it sure was memorable.
I know I’m a bit later to the party than most, but here are my five favorite games from 2018:
- God of War
While it’s not my favorite installment in the series, there’s no denying that God of War is an incredible game. As a huge fan of the franchise, I wasn’t big on the changes made to the gameplay and tone, but I respect Sony Santa Monica for being bold and ambitious enough to try something new. Instead of sticking to the fast-paced, ultraviolent action formula that the series became famous for, they took a risk and experimented with a much more serious and slowed down approach. Sure, it lacks in blood, guts, and adrenaline-pumping action, but it more than makes up for it with the series’ best narrative, the ability to freely explore and complete side quests, deeper RPG elements, and choices that affect Atreus and, according to game director Cory Barlog, the storyline of the sequel.
- Hitman 2
I’m a sucker for Hitman games, and Hitman 2 is probably the best installment in the series since Blood Money. Straying away from the episodic approach of the last installment, it drops you into six sandbox-styled environments where you are tasked to eliminate high-profile targets. Per usual, the way you do so is entirely your choice. Do you want to take the stealthy approach and kill your target in a creative way, or gun them down in a blaze of glory? Do you want to study enemy routines, disguise yourself in various costumes, and orchestrate the perfect hit, or do you want paint the walls red with your Silverballer pistol. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Another solid installment in the greatest fighting game series of all time. While it doesn’t seem like much changed on the surface, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate improves on gameplay mechanics quite a bit, most notably by reintroducing fan-favorite techniques like wavedashing, directional air dodges, and short hops. Its name is fitting because it truly is the ultimate Smash Bros. experience. Every playable character and stage from prior installments is included, as well as some welcomed new additions. A few new game modes have made their way in as well, my favorite being the World of Light narrative where you’re tasked to rescue captured fighters and defeat an evil entity named Galeem. Simply put, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Smash at its finest.
- Shadow of the Colossus (PS4 Remaster)
Rebuilt from the ground up, the Shadow of the Colossus remaster is a must-play for anyone with a PS4. While there are virtually no changes to the gameplay, the updated visuals are breathtaking and provide more than enough reason to plug back into its lush, beautiful world. There are a few minor additions – including the ability to play with different visual filters, a statistics screen that allows you to see gameplay metrics and milestones, and collectible hidden coins scattered across the map – but in the end, it’s a reskinned version of a classic game. Nevertheless, if you’re a long-time Shadow of the Colossus fan or you’re interested in playing for the first time, I highly recommend picking this up.
- Red Dead Redemption II
Without question, Red Dead Redemption II was my favorite game of 2018. Once again, Rockstar made my jaw hit the floor with a gorgeous, expansive, and interactive open world full of memorable characters and riveting missions. The game’s protagonist, Arthur Morgan, is one of the most likeable and deep characters Rockstar has introduced since Niko Bellic, which makes up for the fact that the main storyline falls a bit short compared to its predecessor. Yes, you could say Red Dead Redemption II has sunken its claws into me like a mountain lion would a deer. I’ve been playing it for the past three months and plan to continue to do so through 2019. It’s a doggone masterpiece.
What were your favorite games of 2018? Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Share your thoughts in the comments!