2018 Community Game of the Year

It's another short list this year; I've been playing fewer games for many more hours. I've also played a few games that are remasters/ports from previous years (e.g., The World Ends with You, Stardew Valley, Civilization VI)

1. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Torna The Golden Country (Switch): Yes, Xenboblade 2 was my #1 last year. This is actually a standalone prequel. It's not as long as the original, but it's got an arguably better story and it also explains the game mechanics way better than the original.

2. Final Fantasy - 4 Heroes of Light (Nintendo DS): The spiritual predecessor to Bravely Default. After playing Octopath Traveler (see below), I decided to go back to where it all began.

3. Octopath Traveler (Switch): The spiritual successor to Bravely Second. The storyline is sh*te, IMHO, but the battle mechanics and the open-world qualities are really nice. It has potential; if they make another and rely a bit less on tropes, it would be amazing.

4. Nintendo Labo (Switch): Tons of creative fun for the whole family! My five-year-old loved helping me fold the cardboard into various different toys - and that was only the beginning! We spent many hours racing cars and playing music.

5. Let's Go Pikachu (Switch): It's a Pokemon game. It's a cute little mix between Pokemon Go and Pokemon Yellow (not that I ever played the 1st gen games). It definitely seems stripped down when compared to the latest generations (X/Y, Sun/Moon); I was disappointed that I couldn't breed Pokemon at the daycare, or grow berries.

6. DropMix (iOS): I'm not certain that this counts. It's a hybrid board game that requires a Bluetooth connection to iOS or Android. It's a fun music game where you put cards on a NFC reader to mix tunes and beats. I played it once. Then my five-year-old took it over. Kid makes some dope mixes, and also is learning so much about songs from the past... he's familiar with The Jackson 5, Cake, and A Tribe Called Quest now.

Hey Dee, something funky with your list Nintendo Labo at 2 and 4.

troubleshot wrote:

Hey Dee, something funky with your list Nintendo Labo at 2 and 4.


Ganondork wrote:

10. c ya laterrr & The Loss Levels (itch.io)
I'm going to have to cheat and list these two short pieces together.

Not in this GOTY thread, Ganondork! By default, only the first game will be taken into account.

Thank you Taharka, iaintgotnopants, Ganondork, halfwaywrong, Baron Of Hell, Danjo Olivaw, Jonman, conejote, cheeze_pavilion and sometimesdee for your lists!!! They have now been tallied. Things sure are taking off now!

So... Interesting numbers so far, it's fascinating to see things change as your lists come in. That's right, folks, every list counts!! (Remember how ME:Andromeda just barely made it to #10 last year?) So far, 22 people have voted for 129 games! And that's all I'm saying.

No matter how long the year feels, this always sneaks up on me. Tagging in to read lists and add my own!

This is a tough one as I didn't really play all that many games this year, but here is my list, in order, -

Battlefield 1. This was a shock for me as I hadn't played any competitive shooters in quite a while, but I had some buddies who wanted to boost it and I tried it out - I loved it. I loved the campaigns and the little bit of history you got as you played along. Blew my mind learning how vicious and horrible WW1 was. What a neat experience. I loved it.

Red Dead 2 - This is going to be on a lot of lists and people who write better than I will explain what an amazing feat of game design this game is.

King's Quest - This game was pretty good but not amazing. It flirted with the greatness of the old Sierra games but wasn't a truly worthy successor. Still, at a good price is definitely worth the play.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole - These games are just a lot of fun, if you can get passed the puerile dick jokes.

Batman Telltale Season 2 - what a shame TT was so poorly managed as I just adored these Batman games and I am sad I won't get more in the future. This was a fun and worthy successor to the first season.

Far Cry 5 - it is Far Cry. 'nuff said. Doesn't reinvent the wheel, but I didn't want it to.

Super Mario Odyssey - got this for the girls, at the suggestion of Jonman and it has been so much fun watching them get enthused about playing games. What a fun fun fun game.

SallyNasty wrote:

Super Mario Odyssey - got this for the girls, at the suggestion of Jonman and it has been so much fun watching them get enthused about playing games. What a fun fun fun game.

Ha! Glad it's working out for your girls, Sally, but "have you heard of Mario?" feels like such a copout of a recommendation - not sure I can claim any credit for that!

Game of the Year, 2018


1. Marvel’s Spider-Man
2. Donut County
3. God of War (2018)
4. Florence
5. Holedown
6. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
7. Tacoma
8. Batman: The Enemy Within
9. Undertale
10. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze

Honorable Mentions: Games that could have made the list if I had more time to play them.

Red Dead Redemption 2—I actually don’t know if I want to pick this one back up. Every time I play it, all I can think is 1) how long it is, 2) the poor working conditions at R* and 3) someone decided the game would be better if the male horses had shrinking testicles.

Mark of the Ninja—I redownloaded it for the Waypoint 101, and it is on my PS4, staring at me every time I boot up Spider-Man to play with (for) my son.

Mario Odyssey—I got this for my wife, who dropped it for DK:TF (she is more into 2D). I need to pick it back up, and I have a long, Switch friendly drive and Holiday adventure coming up.

The List:

10. Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze—This game is on my list mostly because my wife loves it. We typically play pass the controller, and frequently it doesn’t get passed on my turn. It reminds her of the games she played as a kid, and the Funky Kong mode makes the game fun for her…deteriorated game skills.


9. Undertale—I came to this game very late, and thus had all of the weird stuff spoiled for me years before I got to it. Even having said that, I still enjoyed the multiple combat strategies (the violent one, the defensive one and the puzzle to find the nonviolent solutions). I thought the story was both novel and pleasantly familiar, and I love the art in the game (I am the one person not tired of retro pixels).


8. Batman: The Enemy Within—The Telltale swansong, the last completed TT game. It was both everything I loved and hated about the TT games. It had a novel and interesting take on an established IP and told a story that could only appear in that game. It put me in a chose-your-own adventure book and made me feel like my decisions mattered, even when they obviously didn’t. It was also a technical mess, and crashed hard on my PS4 several times.


7. Tacoma—Another lttp game for me, and another game I had spoiled for me before the game even launched on a system I own. With that in mind, I still enjoyed living in that space, and the contrivance of listening to the digital recordings of the crew members to piece together whatever the eff happened on that station. And I loved finding the cat. If I am ever on a space station, I want a cat.


6. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit—Is this even a qualified game? I mean, it really is just a teaser for a game that isn’t going to be fully out until 2019. Even still, this game struck me. As a foster parent, I have worked with kids in bad and abusive homes, and I have worked with those birth families to try to get their lives together. This seems like about as honest representation of that process as I have seen, from the kid who is regressing to playing with action figures to the dad struggling with alcoholism and abusive tendencies. I am not going to start LiS2 until it is closer to complete, but this game made me excited to dig into it.


5. Holedown—I fell down some stairs this summer and completely tore my quadriceps tendon. I had surgery, and months of recovery, which I am still going through. Thankfully, I found Holedown. It is a very relaxing, even oddly satisfying mechanic to peggle my way though plants, attacking obstacles with more and more balls. It made my incapacitated state a bit more bearable.


4. Florence—I am a sucker for a good story told simply, and Florence is that. It is a classic story of love and love lost, told through touch gestures, simple taps, and minimalist art. Somehow, without any dialogue or text, I felt like I could understand the characters and their struggle more than in the grand love stories in a Bioware game.


3.God of War (2018)—I love simplicity, but I also love spectacle. And there are few games that can do grand spectacle like God of War. From the sweeping score to the view from the tallest mountain in Midgard, this game is all about big, brash emotion. And although it does have some missteps in the story towards the end when it does attempt to resolve some more personal issues, the big of the game still shine brightly. I will probably minimize how hokey the climactic battle was (I may already be minimalizing it), but I will never forget freeing the last Valkryie.


2. Donut County—Very few games are both fun and smart. Donut county is both. It has a great mechanic that is fun and assessible to most anyone (my two-year-old loves to play the “clean up” game). The story is humerous, and every bit of text—from dialogue to the trash-o-pedia, is filled with laughs that range from anti-capitalist sardonic sarcasm to silly garbage puns.


1. Marvel’s Spider-Man—Someone made a video game just for me. I love open worlds, but only if there is a fun way to traverse quickly. I love corny comic book stories, but only if they do something different than what has been done ad naseum. I love deep, nerdy references I can dig out of the environment. I love video games that get my two-year-old excited to watch me play them (especially with Naked Spider-Man). And Spider-Man delivers. It has an interesting take on Spidey, especially considering the MCU take on the character, and a story that rates with most of the better MCU offerings. It has a fun open world filled with fun things to find and a fun way to traverse the world. And it gives my son such joy to see Spider-Man change clothes, web swing, web a band of roving muggers, and have Spidy dive into the “dirty water” in Central Park. I love Spider-Man, but this is my GoTY because I love that I can share it with my son, and from it he can learn about some of the things I love.


Glad to see Tacoma, Batman: Enemy Within, Florence and King's Quest cropping up in lists.
And it sounds like I really do need to check out Donut Country.

Thank you for your lists, SallyNasty and UpToIsomorphism! (Hope your quadriceps tendon is healing, UpToIso )

Folks, I have to say, the results so far are not what I expected. Of course, there's time yet before 2019 rolls around! And with only 24 lists, well... I'd say this is but a small sample size of our community.

I’ve yet to play Spider Man, which I hope to get around to (maybe early next year), and I took a pass on RDR2 based on open world fatigue and reviews placing it in more of open cowboy simulation territory. Maybe someday? My tops of 2018:

5. Warframe (X1X) - I finally hopped aboard the Warframe train after Twitch supplied a couple of Prime frames in a monthly loot box and boy, this game has a lot going for it. Straightforward gameplay loop at the core, great story missions, it looks and plays INCREDIBLE, and there are so many options in regards to weaponry, augments, missions, modes, frames/abilities that completely change how to play and progress. The multiplayer aspect also really works well (grouping, Dojo progression, etc.). Hard to believe it’s free, really, and a game I had no qualms about supporting through a currency purchase to unlock some slots/frames. From what I hear the current state of the game has been a long time coming, but it’s certainly firing on all cylinders now! Aside: NIDUS IS AWESOME.


4. Dead Cells (X1X) - compelling metoidvanias/roguelikes are a sweet spot for me, and if I had to choose a desert island genre this might be it. Though the gameplay loop is always the same, I love the variation that stems from the RNG-driven levels, monsters, weapons, etc., and you can end up feeling like you accomplish something even if you only have 30-60 minutes to play. I’ve only had this one for a few weeks, but I’m smitten, and by the time I’m done, it may find itself atop the pile of Isaac, FTL, Ori, Spelunky, Rogue Legacy, Hollow Knight, etc. The gameplay is tight, the abilities, weapons, and options you open up are all impactful based on the play style you choose for each run, and the pixelated world is gorgeous.


3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (X1X) - even without a single-player campaign, this entry of the series combined and improved upon everything I’ve loved about each of the previous titles, removed most of what I’ve hated, and added an addictive Battle Royale mode as the cherry on top (and I’ve avoided every other Battle Royale out there). This is an extremely satisfying, fast-paced, thrill-ride of an online FPS. Each single mode - Multiplayer, Zombies, and Blackout - are nearly worth the price of the game standalone IMO, and I’m looking forward to how the iterate and progress on what they’ve delivered moving forward.


2. Monster Hunter World (X1X) - the first entry in the Monster Hunter franchise I’ve ever played has been an amazing experience. Each weapon completely changes the feel and play of the game, the monsters are unique and fun to hunt, the world itself is beautiful and just walking around in it is enjoyable. It’s a great pick-up-and-play title, and although I stopped after getting to high level/tempered monsters (there’s plenty left for my first character to do), I feel compelled to start a new character with a weapon I’ve yet to experience and do it all again.


1. God of War (PS4) - this game completely owned my soul from start to finish. The tight and empowered gameplay, the music from Bear McCreary (one of my favs in the biz), the Norse mythology, the RPG elements, the witty dialogue, the cinematography and sheer spectacle of it all. Put simply, it pushed all of my buttons, and it’s one of the finest experiences I’ve had playing video games.

Above and beyond all of it for me was the narrative: the story of a man’s (who happens to be a god) flawed relationship with his son after his mother is no longer in the picture, who wants to help the boy fulfill his mother’s dying wish, but in doing so finds himself trapped between teaching his boy the truth about his life and shielding him from it, in order to protect him from the darkness and pain that truth has wrought upon himself.

As a parent suffering through my own son’s battle with blood cancer, where every day I question if I’m doing right by him given the realities of his own life, I felt every ounce of weight from every single conversation Kratos and Atreus had together, and every decision Kratos made for better or worse. It was gripping, and still resonates over 7 months later as I’ve reconsidered how to approach my role as a father since playing it.


Just the list, ma'am:


1. Magic the Gathering: Arena (PC)
2. Slay the Spire (PC)
3. Monster Hunter World (PS4)
4. Hollow Knight (Switch)
5. HITMAN 2 (PC)
6. Mario Tennis Aces (Switch)
7. Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Switch)
8. Into the Breach (PC)
9. Ni No Kuni 2 (PS4)
10. Picross 2 (Switch)

1. Magic Arena (PC) - there is no reason to ever play Hearthstone/Artifact/Eternal/Shadowverse/Gwent again. This is the fullest and most magnificent realization of the best CCG of all time. MTGO was terrible and I became a Hearthstone addict because of that. MTGA reminds me what a strategic card game can really be, instead of the children’s clownfiesta that Hearthstone has become. Best-of-3 games format, sideboards, counter magic, graveyard interaction....Seriously, stop playing worse card games and get on the Arena train. My only two gripes are the duplicate card system (fix coming in Q1) and the economy is a bit too grindy for my tastes (doubt that gets changed as this WotC after all). I’ve played probably a hundred hours over the last few months and it’s completely consumed my gaming time.

2. Slay the Spire (PC) - 2018 is wild. My top two games are card games? What? StS is a roguelike deck builder, which makes it a pretty rare breed to begin with. The thing that really makes StS special is depth of it’s deck-building. You have hundreds of choices to make as the game goes on and each one fundamentally changes your chances of winning and how you’ll win. It makes other roguelike strategy games like Into the Breach seem childish in comparison. It scratches my deepest strategic itches and I urge everyone who enjoys any card game to give this a shot.

3. Monster Hunter World (PS4) - going into 2018, I assumed this was going to be my hands-down GOTY. I didn’t see MTGA or StS coming, however. I also didn’t feel like MHW reached the heights I wished it had reached. It’s an incredible game and easily the best MH for new players. The quality-of-life improvements are fantastic and the battles can finally benefit from a real controller with two full analog sticks. However, there seemed to be something about the endgame monsters that just didn’t fit the bill. MH endgame content is something I chew on for 60+ hours alone and I found myself only doing a few hours past the story end in MHW. The lack of meaty endgame drops this to #3 on my list.

4. Hollow Knight (Switch) - the 2nd best Metroidvania of all time, behind Symphony of the Night. Hollow Knight is better than all the actual Metroid games; it's time to rename the genre Hollowvania. I’m counting this as 2018 because that’s when it came out on Switch (I have my own GOTY rules and one of them is that the game has to come out in the calendar year, so yeah I’m cheating myself here). The sound design is incredible, the art design is even better, and the gameplay is the shining jewel. It’s a game that seems simple on the surface, but hides a deep mechanic system underneath. And it’s so damn cute.

5. HITMAN 2 (PC) - almost the same game as last year’s HITMAN, but better in almost every way. If you like HITMAN, it’s a must-buy. If you don’t, it won’t change your mind. If you’ve never played HITMAN before, buy this one and buy it now (or Steam sale). It’s not an action game, it’s not really a stealth game. It’s a puzzle game with each contract being a puzzle for you to complete using the resources available. Flipping all the little switches and pushing all the little buttons to experience each level’s Rube Goldberg machine is some of the best gaming around.

6. Mario Tennis Aces (Switch) - Mario sports games are always a tight-but-simple affair and Aces is no exception. Once you master it, it can get kind of boring, but the way there is tons of fun. The charge-up-then-unleash-ultimate mechanic is well implemented here and makes every match feel more strategic than it otherwise would.

7. Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Switch) - sequel to one of my favorite SRPGs. Only a few hours in, but it’s great so far. Definitely not a huge improvement over previous games, so if you didn’t like them then you won’t like this.

8. Into the Breach (PC) - not as deep as I’d hoped and the difficulty tiers seem almost non-existent. Also too easy to “cheese” levels with simple strategies. Other than that, I love everything about this game. Great way to spend 10-15 hours if you want to relax.

9. Ni No Kuni 2 (PS4) - bought it day 1 because I love JRPGs and Level-5 animation. The difficulty was way too easy and I stopped playing after a few hours. To their credit, they’ve patched in higher difficulty levels and I’m back in it. Solid JRPG that won’t blow you away. Gorgeous art design and fun Tales-esque battle system.

10. Picross 2 (Switch) - it’s Picross on the Switch. It goes on the list.

2017 games that would have made the list if it wasn’t 2018: Prey, Persona 5

Honorable Mentions:

God of War - just barely started it. I don’t love most Action games other than Souls-style games (I need some difficulty to chew on), but this seems like a really fun game so far. Gorgeous, obviously.

A Way Out - coop story game. Would have made the list if I finished it, but we burned out on it. It’s too slow and doesn’t give enough action to keep me interested. Cool economic model, however. If you buy the game, you can invite a friend who didn’t buy it to play it with you and they can.

Ring of Elysium - the only Battle Royale game other than PUBG that is worth playing. It has similar “military sim” aesthetic/gunplay as PUBG unlike the kiddie casino shooters like Fortnite. Also brings a ton of fresh ideas to the table instead of just trying to copy PUBG with inferior gunplay. The biggest thing holding it back is that it uses the ancient DX9 graphic API. It makes the gunplay feel “like a mobile game” and holds the entire engine back. Once they overhaul it and make the whole thing more moden, this could be the real PUBG killer.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Black Ops 4 (only played Blackout) - pre-ordered this as I wanted to support more Battle Royale games (PUBG was my 2017 GOTY by a mile). I should have known this would be a lazy cash-in. The gunplay is as deep as a puddle. All the guns are roughly the same, there is VERY little recoil, the TTK (time to kill) is achingly long which means it’s less about twitch aim skills and more about how long you can keep your stream of bullets tracked on a target. There are also random “perks” scattered around that can mask your footsteps and amplify enemy footsteps. At high level, this makes gunfights incredibly luck-based and boring. It’s almost impossible to “outplay” anyone. It's one thing if lucky looting results in slightly better guns, it's way worse to give someone a super power from random luck. PUBG has a ton of problems, but the core gunplay is skill-based and tactical in a way that Blackout can’t ever be.

RDR2 - I know it’s awesome, but I’m boycotting it until they release on PC.

Here is my games of the year plus a few other things list. I may or may not make changes depending on if I play something new and feel like adding it or just saving it for next year.

Games I Wish I Could Have Played
    1. Spider-Man (PS4)
        I don’t have a PS4 so this was a no go. I still think it is odd that a property this big was a console exclusive. It probably helped sell a good number of PS4s, but I can only imagine that Marvel lost millions in sales that they could have gotten if it had been multi-platform.

    2. God of War (PS4)
        I was never a big fan of the original games in this series, but the change in formula made the new game look way more interesting.

Hardware Of The Year
    1. Analogue Super Nt
        This thing is amazing. A High Definition Super Nintendo with none of the jankiness of the emulator based alternatives. Sadly I haven’t used it as much as I would have liked thanks to lots of great new games being released.

    2. Xbox One X
        I recently got one of these because the Bluray in my Day One Xbox One was going out. Great system. I have really enjoyed revisiting older games that have been enhanced. There is no way I would have gotten it if not for the Xbox All Access deal.

The Games


    1. NieR: Automata (Xbox One)
        I was very happy to see this get ported to the Xbox One this year and I am actually surprised has ended up in my number one spot. Thinking back on the games I played this year I just remember having so much fun with this game. The way the multiple play-throughs with different characters weave the story into a single whole was very well done. The game-play was such a blast, especially once I wrapped my head around the Plug-In Chips and the fusing system. Being able to really change the combat style based on which chips you were using meant if you got tired of one style you could switch it up a good bit. I also really loved how they seamlessly blended different styles of game-play together, but I wish there had been more of the shmup and twin stick sections when you were in the mech suit (the hacking mini-game got a bit old). The side scrolling Forest Castle section was better executed than many games that are just side scrolling. This game was very anime inspired though which frequently turns me off of Japanese developed games. I do like anime in general, but never go for stuff that is super fan service oriented and this game really felt like the character designs were in that vein. I could have dealt with seeing 2B panties a lot less for instance and the loli style designs of all the humanoid characters was a big turn off. Heck even the male characters were loli-boys. It just makes me feel that many Japanese developers are stuck at an adolescent maturity level even more so than the western development community.


    2. Red Dead Redemption 2 (Xbox One)
        It was super hard to decide if this was going to be my number one or number two game this year. I have greatly enjoyed my time with it and Rockstar did an amazing job crafting an open world and that is part of where it falls apart for me. At first so much of it feels like a natural world, but then you start to see behind the curtain a little bit and find that it is still just a video game. Yes a fox is going to spawn in that spot every time you ride past it. Yes that crazy guy is going to be screaming at you every time you ride by that spot until you interact with him. Yes you have tons of choices in what you can do until you start a mission and then you are usually limited to playing it out in the one specific manner that the developers intended. Choice is ultimately an illusion. I have a plan. Would you kindly just have faith.


    3. State of Decay 2 (Xbox One)
        I enjoyed the first game and this was mostly more of the same. It felt a little bit less wonky than the first one, but still had plenty of wonkiness. I would actually like to get back into it at some point and maybe do some multiplayer if I can find a group to play with.


    4. Surviving Mars (Xbox One)
        This is not normally my type of game, but I really enjoyed my time with this one. It was very chill and relaxing to come home and just spend a few hours building up a little city on Mars. I don’t think I have gotten into a city builder game this much since the original SimCity.


    5. 20XX (Xbox One & Windows 10)
        I liked this game enough that I bought it twice: once on Steam and then again later in the year when it released on Xbox One. This game is a rogue-lite take on Mega Max X. The controls are dialed in almost perfectly and it has lots of weapons and power-ups. My main complaints about this game are that you can unlock all the permanent upgrades in about three hours playing on normal and there is not enough variety in the levels. They are randomly generated but they all follow the basic pattern of moving from the lower left to the upper right and you will frequently see the same level sections over and over. They do mix it up by having what feels like at least three different versions of the level sections (one easy, one medium, and one hard with the versions getting harder as you proceed through the runs) and the boss enemies follow the same pattern with later versions of bosses being much more difficult that earlier versions.


    6. Hollow Knight (Xbox One)
        A Metroidvania with a slight masocore tilt. I love Metroidvania style games, but I feel this one could have used a bit more direction. I have probably spent about half my time playing just trying to figure out where to go next.


    7. The Witness (Xbox One)
        I was really happy to hear this game was getting released on the Xbox One. I really loved Myst and Riven back in the day, but haven’t had much luck with other games of that type in the years since (though I did enjoy Pneuma: Breath of Life a few years back). The Witness has a nice mix of puzzles that are easy and others that make you frustrated until you get it and then you feel brilliant and then some that just make you want to quit playing for two weeks until you wake up in the middle of the night and realize how to solve it.


    8. Pizza Titan Ultra (Xbox One)
        When I heard Amanda talking about this on the podcast I had to look it up and what I saw in the videos had me sold. The easiest game to compare it to is Crazy Taxi. Deliver pizza via a giant mech while rival pizza companies try to destroy your mech.


    9. Far Cry 5 (Xbox One)
        Hey this sure was a Far Cry game. I liked the twist at the end and I loved just wandering the woods. If I had played more new games this year this one probably wouldn’t be on this list.


    10. Kingdom Rush (Browser)
        I missed the train on this game years ago and only recently came across it while looking for a browser based tower defense game to play. Lots of fun and mostly well balanced. The original gets a place here instead of Frontiers because Frontiers is just too easy. This was originally going to be an honorable mention, but I figure might as well make it an even ten.

    Honorable Mention 1. Race The Sun (Xbox One)
        This game can be very zen at times and very frustrating at others. I am not a huge fan of endless runner/drivers/whatever, but this one had a great mix of visuals and music that make it worth mentioning.

    Honorable Mention 2. Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse (VALA) (Xbox One & Windows 10)
        I got the Play Anywhere version of this game mostly as an impulse buy after watching a couple of videos. Being able to play on my Windows 10 laptop and my Xbox One made it a good game to play while work was slow. It is silly to an extreme, but a very well made twin stick shooter.

Simple list to make things easier for the always awesome Eleima:
1. NieR:Automata (Xbox One)
2. Red Dead Redemption 2 (Xbox One)
3. State of Decay 2 (Xbox One)
4. Surviving Mar (Xbox One)
5. 20XX (Xbox One & Windows 10)
6. Hollow Knight (Xbox One)
7. The Witness (Xbox One)
8. Pizza Titan Ultra (Xbox One)
9. Far Cry 5 (Xbox One)
10. Kingdom Rush (Browser)

Really solid year of games. Last year I had 3 really stand out games. This year was just filled with a ton of solid good games.

1. Celeste (PC/Switch) - This game is a work of art. Better and more interesting mechanics than super meat boy with the grace of storytelling of a walking simulator. Layers of difficulty that would allow nearly all the succeed while still stratifying video game masochist like myself. Few golden strawberries in and plan to get them all eventually.

2. Hunt Showdown (PC) - The atmosphere of this game will sends chills down your spine. Never have I played a game before that played so much on an atmosphere yet still had great mechanics and original ideas. Perfect mixture of Pve/PvP in a smaller BR type situation. Far too often games tries to please everyone. They stuck to their guns and designed a game around Duo’s. You can play Solo at a disadvantage but the game is truly designed for teams of two. People asked for larger teams and they said no because the balance/design would suffer. Not a game for everyone but a gem for those that it is for.

3. Call of Duty Black Ops 4 (PC) - Blackout is a BR that is fast, vicious and fun. The best pacing and map of any BR that I have played (and I have played nearly all of them). No 10 min of looting to just get killed by 1 camper. You are generally fully looted in 2-3 minutes and looking for action. They did a great job of minimizing the boring parts of the game while still leaving a lot of strategy involved. The feel of the movement is smooth and well designed. Some issues with armor durability and a couple weapons but they are fixing those. Absolutely the shooting mechanics are not as realistic as PUBG/RoE. However, not everything fun needs to be realistic (Mario for example). Personally if I want something realistic I will play Arma/Escape from Tarok where things are truly realistic and not some in-between. However, this is absolutely my go to for a well paced, fun to play BR that will still give you the exhilaration of a BR but not the disappointment of wasting 15 minutes to never shoot at someone. On top of all that same old multiplayer but still a good amount of fun. Zombies is also fun but more involved then I care to be in it.

4. Monster Hunter World (PS4) - Same fun of the old MH games with new tools and better graphics. They missed the step on a few things but for the most part they hit a home run on bringing this game to a major consoles/PC. The Expansion next year will be a instant purchase. Like most games always better with a friend.

5. Dead Cells (PC) - An amazing rogue like action game. Level design and game design is great. Difficult but fair. My only complains would be is 1. Red weapons seems to be far superior (not counting Gold of course) 2. No way of removing weapons you don’t like from rotation once you have unlocked them.

6. Slay the spire (PC) - An amazing merge of a rouge like deck building game. Three characters play vastly different and have all unique cards.

7. Megaman 11 (PC/Switch) - It’s mega man. I a more of a fan of the X series but have always loved mega man. The game plays and feels like it should. The new gear system is interesting although I do think it hurts the overall difficulty.

8. Spiderman (PS4) - Very good game. Good story telling, good game play, and decent open world. It does a lot of things other games do and does them better than most. However, I did feel like most of the challenges and other open world activities got dull quickly. I also feel like the combat was fun but redundant.

9. Scum (PC) - What we wanted from Dayz. This is a game I will revise because it was certainly in very early EA when released. However, if they an fix the net code and just add more items and content this game is exactly what DayZ should of been. They have added a bunch of crafting changes and added vehicles. I will revise this early next year really just hoping for a networking patch.

10. Raft (PC) - This is a great simple survival. I could see it getting a little boring alone but was a great 6-8 hour experience with a friend. I forget how much I paid but pretty sure it was $20 or under. Had a great few days with this game and would think about doing it again.

Honorable Mentions

Floppy Heroes (PC) - This is the best $1 I have ever spent. I probably put 10-12 hours into this game. A great party game or game with your significant other that is not good at games. Great laughs just floating around turning your character trying to get your weapon pointed the right way. All the fun of one of the hand simulators but not frustrating in the same way.

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate (Switch) - It’s Smash brothers. I have skipped a few of the newer ones but feels just like it use to on 64. Sad they removed the target challenges but there is tons to do. The spirits mode was not that great for first 45 min but then it really starts to grow on you. They really did a good job designing some of the fights for spirits. I’m having a good time with this game.

Hmmm, my tastes are pretty mainstream so nothing on my list is a surprise or needs any explanation, but here are my top 5:

1. Red Dead Redemption 2
2. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
3. God of War
4. Monster Hunter: World
5. WoW: Battle for Azeroth

Wow. What a great year for games. I say this almost every year and 2018 is no exception. I just can't believe I finished about 2 dozen games. Usually I'm good for about 10, but here we are.

Anyway, here's my top 10. Most of these are not games that were released in 2018 but I enjoyed the hell out of them anyway.

1. Fallout 4 and Far Harbor - maybe it's because of my East Coast origins, but this has to be my favorite of the first person Fallout titles. I can't point to a particular reason why it worked. The voiceover? Nearly instantaneously available power armor? The setting that was equal parts urban and wilderness? The story that made sense? Freaking Cait as the best travelling companion since Minsc and Boo? I don't know. All I do know is that I had to make a conscious choice to walk away from the title and the outstanding Far Harbor expansion, otherwise I would still be playing it well into 2019. This game still has its warts: Most of the time I'm carrying too much stuff, and the settlement management was awful without a few great community mods that practically automated it, but overall I'm happy to say if I ever need an immediate Fallout experience I'm guaranteed to enjoy, I'll skip Fallout 76 and head right back to the wastes of Boston.

2. Agents of Mayhem - Wow. I did not expect this. The gameplay is basically tag team FPS. The dialogue is beyond juvenile. The plot is ridiculous. Seoul and the enemy bases are repetitive as hell....and I absolutely loved the game. The agents in MAYHEM were so interesting, differed from each other significantly, and had some fun backstories, I wanted to learn how to master each and every one of them. Everyone has a favorite combination of three agents to bring on each mission (for me it was Hollywood, Fortune, and my girl Daisy), and most importantly there is such an infectious energy about this game that is so eager to please the player I couldn't help but love it. I understand the ok reviews, but I would buy a sequel on Day 1 if they ever got around to making one.

3. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth - Just when I thought I was out, Blizzard pulls me back in. No epic storyline this time, just Alliance vs. Horde, but that amazing trailer, followed by the burning of the Night Elf home Teldrassil, pretty much locked me in. I thought I would just level, but I have to admit the storyline and how it's presented has hooked me in. And then I started playing my alts in Legion, and discovered what an outstanding expansion that one is. It's like getting two expansions at the same time!

4. Stellaris: Apocalypse and Megacorp - The Stellaris I bought at the beginning is not the Stellaris of today, and that's a good thing. I can't believe how much love and support Paradox continues to give to this title. They look at this game constantly and say "we can make this even better (and make more money). Let's add [insert expansion and patch features here] to the game. It'll be great!" The team is also not afraid of removing features and gameplay mechanics to make an overall better product. That's brave. And as a result Stellaris has slowly, deliberately moved to becoming my all-time favorite Space 4x game. I can't wait to see what they add in 2019.

5. Assassin's Creed: Black Flag - Edward Kenway is the least believable assassin to date in the franchise, but as a character he was almost as charming as Ezio (almost). Hell, this game was worth it just to pilot the Jackdaw and collect pirate shanties so I could hear my crew sing on the way to the next mission. I don't think it's the best AC game ever (hello AC2), but the sailing is easily my favorite in any game ever.

6. The Sims 4 - Look. I get it. It's not cool among hardcore gamers to like the Sims. I don't care. EA Maxis has the Sims formula down pat, and it's just fun. What other game is going to let me make the Joe Rogan podcast in an apartment and see if they can live together? The City Living, Get to Work, and Get Famous expansions are mandatory for this game

7. Batman: Arkham Origins - Another underrated title. It's not as good as Arkham Asylum or City, but it's still a damn good Batman game. It's like comparing Casino to Goodfellas or The Godfather 1 & 2. Not in the same league as those masterpieces, but still an enjoyable ride. Don't believe the naysayers, but get it on sale.

8. Metro 2033 - Man this game was hard, and ammo was hard to come by, and there are a couple of places I almost put this down and walked away, but I'm glad I finished it, and even though its supernatural plot made no sense, it was mesmerizing to see how post-apocalypse Russians could survive in the Moscow subway system. And The Library is one of those all time classic levels you'll remember for years.

9. The Banner Saga - I loved the world, the music, and I really appreciated the meaningful choices with consequences. There were a couple of times I thought of going back and trying to get a more palatable result, but I'm happy I resisted. I lost some characters I was attached to, and I definitely didn't get the best ending, but I didn't care. Good game. The gameplay was too tough for me, but I've reached a point in my life where I'd rather lower the difficulty on a title than conquer a difficulty setting.

10. The Division - Picked it up at a ridiculously low price, played a couple of dozen hours, and I'm probably not returning to it. But I still got my money's worth. As a New Yorker, the game does a good job of modelling midtown Manhattan, but I found the game suffers too much from the treadmill nature of the MMO genre. Still, I had a good time with it.

Honorable Mentions

These are games that either came out this year but I haven't played enough of yet, or older titles I've replayed and continued to enjoy.

Civilization VI: Rise and Fall
Warhammer 1 and 2: Total War
XCOM 2: Wrath of the Chosen
and the free Tactical Legacy Pack
Endless Legend
Endless Space 2
Crusader Kings II

Biggest disappointments

Deadlight - not so much a disappointment, more of a "meh". Great looking sets, but the story was kind of bland, the gameplay became repetitive, and it ended pretty quickly.

Cultist Simiulator - the game is intriguing, and I love the idea of it, but the gameplay required waaaay to much micromanaging, and I had too little patience to go to FAQs to figure out even the basics of how to play the game. I may revisit it, but I would love a sequel with a much better mechanic

Phantom Doctrine - Oof. Talk about a missed opportunity. Yet another game that I was super excited for, love the idea of, and yet the mechanics just killed it for me. There's some brilliant ideas in here, but you know a game's mechanics aren't good when you dread having to return to the game instead of looking forward to the experience. I would love the developers to give it a second try though...

Overall a great year for playing mostly older games.

Free wrote:

Just the list, ma'am

Rykin wrote:

Simple list to make things easier for the always awesome Eleima

Thank you kindly.

Many thanks to WizardM0de, Free, Rykin, escher77, AcidCat and Budo for your lists! Votes have been tallied, and thanks for those amazing write ups! Always a treat to read!!!
So we're now up to 30 goodjers, voting for 159 games. This is gonna be good.

Budo wrote:

Wow. What a great year for games. I say this almost every year and 2018 is no exception.

I say this every year. And every year, it's true.

Eleima, you know what's coming next:

The dreaded "Oh wow, I just played Frostpunk and now I totally want to change my list! Sorry!" portion of the thread.

As long as you give me the heads up, it’s fine.


Also, I can be appeased with GW2 gems or Kaidan fan art. ;)

Reading this thread makes me realise that I need to play more games and to broaden my tastes to include more indie games.

Like AcidCat, my year's been pretty mainstream.

Number 1 - Red Dead Redemption 2

I'm in Chapter 4, but it's a game that I still get excited to play.

Number 2 - Spiderman

Boss battles and the dull city aside, this game was enormously fun to play. Loved the traversal. Loved the wave-based arena battles. Loved finding the collectables.

Number 3 - Papers Please

Obviously, I came to this late. But it was a brilliant and thought-provoking idea, spoiled for me by being almost completely unsuitable for Vita's touchscreen.

Number 4 - Far Cry 5

Very pretty game. Loved the open world. Loved the AI companions. Disliked the fact that travel by road was impossible. Disliked the difficulty spikes.

Worst Games?

Bastion. Perhaps the Vita's too small screen was to blame, but I didn't enjoy the game at all.
Destiny 2. Bad enough to remind me that I will never play another online-only MMO.

Eleima wrote:

Thank you for your lists, SallyNasty and UpToIsomorphism! (Hope your quadriceps tendon is healing, UpToIso )

Thanks, if you want more details I can send you a PM. But the long and short of it is I get up at 5 AM to go to the gym to work out every morning because my physical therapy visits ran out. Doc says I’m about 8590% of normal. Sadly though, I’m never going to play football again.

UpToIsomorphism wrote:

Doc says I’m about 8590% of normal. Sadly though, I’m never going to play football again.

Is there a decimal point missing there (85.90%)? Otherwise, I'd expect you to be wrecking everyone on the football field!

Uhhh try a dash. 85-90%

But my Madden character is really broken!

I can just hear a coach now: "You think it's enough to give 110%? UpToIso gave 8,590%!"

Thanks for doing this Eleima. The thread is already a great read.

1. Return of the Obra Dinn
It's interesting that when this game has shown up in this thread, it's number one every time. It's one of the first games I've played in a long time that actually introduces a novel form of gameplay. It's also the only game I've ever played that actually lets you solve a mystery, instead of following a text tree through someone else solving a mystery. It also has one of the greatest soundtracks of all time. Nothing I'd listen to outside of the game, but all perfectly chosen for the actions taking place. Come to think of it, the sound design in general is just top notch.

2. Yakuza 0
I've seen the gifs. Now, I've played the game, and it's great. Can I explain why it's great? Not really. Two big stupid guys get in a lot of fights, most of them really dumb. Also they do slot cars and batting cages and telephone dating and underground fight clubs. What I find weirdly compelling about this game is the acting. It looks like they brought in a whole bunch of heavy hitting Japanese character actors for this game, then stuck all kinds of ping pong balls on their faces to accurately capture and model their expressions. All of the mob bosses are wonderful, and express all kinds of little micro-expressions that a lot of actors would be hard pressed to communicate in full flesh. The plot should be stupid, and often is, but also has some surprising twists and is a little smarter than it lets on. The fighting mechanics are just complicated enough to be fun without making you want to throw your controller through your monitor. It's a big dumb fun game, with a surprisingly big heart. I can't wait for the next one to hit PC.

3. Battle Brothers
Fantasy X-Com. It's a little tough to get beyond the graphics for this one, which have a certain Prison Architect aspect to them. But those graphics are actually really good at communicating information. While I'm not crazy about the style, there's a really great game hiding behind what is, at first glance, a really simple interface. This is a tactical turn-based game where you manage a mercenary company. It often ends with all of your employees beheaded. Or zombies. Or both. It's incredibly well-balanced and well thought out. In a lot of ways, it makes good on the promise of Battletech's economic system. Here, you really are sweating whether you're going to make payroll, or feed your men, or repair your armor. And it's constantly tempting you to take jobs that are probably over your head, or are going to cost more blood than gold can compensate.

4. CrossCode

An action RPG. It has the feel of a Supergiant game, even though the aesthetics are very different. In CrossCode, you play as a character in an MMORPG. Except this MMORPG takes place in the real world, where much of it is built using a quick-forming kind of matter. Also it's physically on another planet, and it's not 100% clear how much of it is a game and how much of it is some kind of gonzo exploration project. Also, there are real people in the world with you. Also, you're stuck in the game. So you're about five levels deep before they even start throwing plot at you. And on top of that, it's super well characterized and just plain charming. The combat is great, the puzzles can get a touch over-elaborate, but never impossible. And the world itself is really pretty and colorful.

5. Legends of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
This is what I want out of a JRPG. The puzzle-like combat, characters that I actually care about, a plot that's not completely nonsensical, and half a billion side quests. Things I didn't want out of this game: having to pay real money to download a costume so that I didn't have to constantly be staring at a 14 year old's barely covered pubic region. That aside, Trails of Cold Steel gives me the things I want out of a JRPG while avoiding its worst excesses.

5. Graveyard Keeper
Stardoom Valley. There's just something mesmerizing about the constant improvement you're striving for in every minute of this game. You have to do one thing to do another thing to do another thing, and before you know it, it's night again and your character has to go back to bed. And you probably should, too.

6. Valkyria Chronicles IV

I think this is actually a vote for the Valkyria Chronicles series, of which VCIII is probably the best (I played all of them this year). But IV is worthy of a lot of praise in itself. The side character missions are great, and the VC combat model is still a lot of fun. They've gotten rid of a lot of the weirder character classes (fencer, armored tech) and tightened up a lot of the series' excesses. It's definitely the most polished of the series, though I'd argue that it can be a little bit too polished in places.

7. Assassin's Creed Origins
Look man, I just like stabbing dudes. Bayek's probably the most likeable AC character since Ezio. That's not a high bar, but Bayek's genuinely likeable.

8. Hollow Knight
It's so pretty. Most metroid-vanias are kind of muddy and spare. Hollow Knight's character designs are so elegantly drawn that they convey a lot of expression without shrinking everything down to a few pixels.

9. Batman - Telltale
This surprised the hell out of me. It's not really my ideal Batman, but there are some great Batman dilemmas peppered throughout the two seasons.

10. Battletech
Didn't grab me as much as some people. Still, it's a nice take on the genre. I wish there was a little more variation in the non-story fights.

kazooka wrote:

1. Return of the Obra Dinn
It's interesting that when this game has shown up in this thread, it's number one every time.

It has certainly gotten me intrigued.

Budo wrote:

Phantom Doctrine - Oof. Talk about a missed opportunity. Yet another game that I was super excited for, love the idea of, and yet the mechanics just killed it for me. There's some brilliant ideas in here, but you know a game's mechanics aren't good when you dread having to return to the game instead of looking forward to the experience. I would love the developers to give it a second try though...

Solid agree. I spent an awful lot of time playing this game trying to will it into the game that I wanted it to be. In the end, it looks like they had a lot of great ideas that they just couldn't bring to fruition. There are a lot of loose ends that were clearly meant to be something more than they ended up being. It has the feel of somebody's school project that started with a lot of ambition, and then got rushed to meet the deadline.

Mantid wrote:
kazooka wrote:

1. Return of the Obra Dinn
It's interesting that when this game has shown up in this thread, it's number one every time.

It has certainly gotten me intrigued.

Check out the GDC demo here to get a small taste of it!

kazooka wrote:

1. Return of the Obra Dinn
2. Yakuza 0
3. Battle Brothers
4. CrossCode
5. Legends of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
5. Graveyard Keeper
6. Valkyria Chronicles IV
7. Assassin's Creed Origins
8. Hollow Knight
9. Batman - Telltale
10. Battletech

Nice try, Kazooka, but I'm making this list and checking it twice. You've got 11 games on your list. Fix it, or I'm bumping Battletech.

Thanks to both you and detroit20 for your lists! Votes have been tallied.
Looks like I need to add Obra Dinn to my wish list.

BNice wrote:

Thanks for doing this Eleima. The thread is already a great read.

The pleasure truly is all mine.

Eleima wrote:
kazooka wrote:

1. Return of the Obra Dinn
2. Yakuza 0
3. Battle Brothers
4. CrossCode
5. Legends of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II
5. Graveyard Keeper
6. Valkyria Chronicles IV
7. Assassin's Creed Origins
8. Hollow Knight
9. Batman - Telltale
10. Battletech

Nice try, Kazooka, but I'm making this list and checking it twice. You've got 11 games on your list. Fix it, or I'm bumping Battletech.

Thanks to both you and detroit20 for your lists! Votes have been tallied.
Looks like I need to add Obra Dinn to my wish list.

BNice wrote:

Thanks for doing this Eleima. The thread is already a great read.

The pleasure truly is all mine. :)

Yup, go ahead and knock off Battletech. 7-10 are pretty interchangeable anyways.