With the end of the year hours away, some of the writers at Gameplanet got together to discuss some of our favourite games of 2018. It was an amazing year absolutely paced with some of the best games we've seen to date on the current generation. Without further ado, let's jump in and see what our writers top games of the year were.
Chris Brown's Top Games
1: God of War
Kratos’ return was so much more than I could have hoped for. It not only reinvigorated the series but in many ways redefined the genre. No other new game this year delivered on its potential like God of War did. This is what a system seller looks like and is perhaps the best game in the PlayStation library. It certainly is the most consistently brilliant. My game of the year and by a large margin. As much as I enjoyed the other games on this list God of War is on another level.
2: Red Dead Redemption 2
To call Red Dead Redemption 2 epic would barely begin to give credit to what Rockstar have achieved with this game. It made the stale open-world formula feel fresh again by focusing on letting the player explore the world organically all the while expanding the narrative in a naturalistic manner. The emotional depth and complexity of the characters is perhaps what I have come to appreciate most of all because as much as I adore the world, it’s the characters that made it feel real. An unmissable game.
3: Tetris Effect
You could call Takashi Ishihara’s decision to reimagine the bona fide classic Tetris audacious or even arrogantly presumptuous, but you cannot argue with the results. The Tetris Effect is spectacular! The trippy visual and audio overload completely alters the experience while keeping the core of what we love about Tetris completely intact. This is one game I will be playing for years to come.
4: Into the Breach
If there ever was a game that perfectly encapsulated the idiom ‘less is more’ it is Into the Breach. One of the most elegantly designed games I have played in recent memory. It strips the turn-based strategy formula down to its fundamentals and in the process created one of the most addictive games in the genre. Don’t let its retro aesthetic and seemingly simplistic mechanics fool you; this is a complex and challenging title that will test you.
5: Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
While I enjoyed Deadfire at launch, it was in need of some additional polish. That polish has been applied over the past six months or so, and the game is now what I would label essential. This series may have started as a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate but with Deadfire, Obsidian have eclipsed their inspiration and delivered an adventure every RPG fan should experience. The Deadfire Archipelago is quite different from the predictable “high fantasy” setting of Pillars 1 and injects its own unique personality into proceedings. This is Obsidian at the top of its game and perhaps heralds great things for 2019.
Divinity Original Sin 2: Definitive Edition - My favourite game of 2017 became my favourite RPG of all time with this updated release.
Dead Cells - This is the definitive roguelike experience. Its available on basically every platform, buy it immediately.
Sonic Mania Plus - It’s Sonic how you remember him only better. No 3D, no fur, just pure fun.
Diablo III – Eternal Collection - The best port on the Switch and still as addictive as ever, only now you can carry your addiction to the bathroom, and it has the advantage of not being too affected by the blue lights.
Spider-Man - Possibly the best superhero game I have ever played and in any other year likely would have made the top 5. The second-best swinging experience I can remember.
In a year with quite a few stinkers, nothing stunk up the place like this fetid pile of bad design, poor execution, outright deception, and an almost complete disregard for the intellectual property and its long-time fans. All of Bethesda’s past sins and shortcomings seemed to coalesce into a single entity, they then slapped the Fallout sticker on it and had the audacity to charge full price for it as well as additional micro-transactions. Can Fallout come back from this? And if it does will anyone still care?
Andi Garnett's Top Games
God of War
Just a staggering feat in game design. To play an entire game without a single camera cut or loading screen is incredible. Coupled with rich worlds to explore, fully-realised characters, and the best campaign narrative the series has ever seen - God of War is my GOTY.
Nothing's ever captured the feeling of being a super-hero quite like this. Plus, it's awesome to see Insomniac not just realise Spider-Man as a rich character, but Peter Parker as well. I'm sure I'm not the only one that's clocked 40 hours of gameplay before touching the main storyline – they just made swinging through New York far too much fun.
Red Dead Redemption 2
So cinematic, so textured – I've never been pulled into the world of a game so quickly. While work has kept me from sinking too many hours into this title, it's likely that between the main story and Red Dead Online, I'll be livin' the cowboy life for years to come.
Destiny 2: Forsaken
I've been on the Destiny ride since the original beta, and it's been an emotional journey. Not just from the narrative highlights of the game, but the ongoing struggle between community and developer. I know Bungie's doing its best, and some hurdles can't be avoided... but it's always been tough to see the studio make the same mistakes over and over.
Forsaken definitely put the game back on the right track (even if they did kill off my favourite character), so I have to take my hat off to the team for righting the ship. Fingers crossed this annual path keeps them focused on the path ahead and gets the bean-counters at Activision off their backs.
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
This was an expansion that had me intrigued before it was even announced. Legion tied up narratives that had been running since the days of the RTS titles, so seeing where Blizzard would take the story next was a real thrill. While the game might be seeing issues at the moment regarding content and azerite mechanics, it's still been a lot of fun.
Alan Bell's Top Games
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Grisly, horrible ways to kill Lara are just ONE of the reasons to buy this game (just kidding, they’re horrible - and if you buy this to see them, chances are good you are too). There’s also killer puzzles, great graphics (which are even better if you have an Xbox One X), and loads of action. Just ignore the morally questionable nature of the whole thing, and you’ll have a blast.
Pokemon: Let’s Go
Far from a simple re-release of the Game Boy game Pokemon Yellow, the first Pokemon game on Switch changes up many aspects of the formula from every game before it to create something amazing. It’s deep yet approachable, with rich interactions that will reward newcomers and series veterans alike. A wonderful game.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection
Someone will probably downvote this thing due to their entitlement clashing up against Diablo Immortal but who cares; this is the mobile Diablo we all want, and it’s glorious. I’ve put so many hours into this bad boy and have lots of shiny orange and green loot to show for it. It’s already one of my most played games ever!
A glorious game that fully captures our spidey pal in all of his guises; you can swing around as well as you’d like to be able to, he’s funny, the situations and enemies you encounter are super-true to the comic, and the package is the best released since that one on the GameCube (probably better).
Call of Duty: Black Ops IV
I buy Call of Duty games for the single player, which might make this seem like a weird choice for a top-anything list. Blackout, however, is such a bonkers-good mode I’ll actually tolerate playing multiplayer for it. As someone who enjoyed the idea (but not execution) behind PUBG, Blackout is bangin’ and good enough to justify the game’s price all by itself (and there’s heaps of other cool stuff to do).
Dan Grayson's Top Games
God of War
Is this a surprise to anyone? In a year absolutely packed with incredible games (some of which I've still yet to find time to play), there was one game that stood head and shoulders above it's peers. That game is Sony Santa Monica's God of War. A reboot of sorts for a series in which I've played and loved every single entry. Gone are the days of an angry one-dimensional Kratos, and in their place, we found a relatable hero with a staggeringly human tale of love and loss, with a healthy spattering of brutality. The strikingly personal tale of Kratos and his son Atreyus kept me enthralled throughout the fourty plus hours I spent on my journey. Story aside, God of War also featured my favourite video game weapon in years and had some incredibly satisfying combat to boot. God of War has set the bar high for what comes next and is easily my favourite gaming experience of the year and among my top five ever.
Red Dead Redemption 2
I still don't quite understand how Rockstar managed to pull off the incredible technical and artistic feat that is Red Dead Redemption 2. No other open-world game even holds a candle to RDR 2 when it comes to detail and the lived-in feeling that permeates every corner of the game. I'm already deep in to my second playthrough and am still seeing things I missed in my first 70 hours with Arthur and the gang. RDR 2 is the product of a deeply talented studio that has mastered their craft and sits high on my list of favourite games of all time.
Forza Horizon 4
It's been years since I've really felt the hook of a truly great racing game and I honestly expected 2018 to come and go without changing that. I couldn't have been more wrong. Forza Horizon 4 absolutely blew me away with it's incredible graphics and exhilarating racing. Set in the gorgeous British countryside, Horizon 4 offers a wealth of cars and potential race lines to discover, which lead to many a night burning rubber till the early hours. I never expected to include a racing game in my list but Forza Horizon 4 represents the very best in the genre and was more than enough to get me back in the digital driving seat.
Of all the games I played on the Switch this year, not one of them managed to keep me hooked for as long as Dead Cells did. I have to admit that when I first started playing, I didn't quite understand the appeal as it just seemed like another side-scrolling game with the overused retro aesthetic. I couldn't have been more wrong. Dead Cells is a stunning piece of video game design and is packed with nuance. The core loop of unlocking new items and leveling up your character was absolute perfection and it kept me playing well past the "oh my god, my thumbs are dying" point. While it certainly looks retro, it's gameplay is anything but. If you're even remotely interested in Metroidvania games, you owe it to yourself to play Dead Cells ASAP.
Hitman 2, while not a major departure for the series by any means, still represents a studio that has a strong vision and truly understands how to implement that vision into stealth gaming perfection. HItman 2's breathtaking locales and seemingly endless options for dastardly murder kept me coming back time and time again long after seeing the credits roll.
Matt Coupar's Top Games
Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Dragon Quest was always a series that interested me (being the lover of RPGs that I am), yet I was always intimidated by the massive list of games in this franchise that I got a bit overwhelmed! I finally decided to just give it a shot when Dragon Quest 11 dropped a couple of months ago, and I was not disappointed. I learned that there was clearly a reason why DQ has lasted as long as it has. Solid, easy to understand but steadily increasing complexity in the battle system made for a perfect learning curve for new players. The characters and the world looked amazing and was just oozing all kinds of personality, and the story is quite a unique take on the traditional "questing" RPG. Dragon Quest 11 was an excellent experience that welcomed me to DQ with open arms, and if you give it a shot, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
I am a sucker for pixel art. There is just something so endearing a world made of only a few tiny blocks of colour, and it is a big plus when a modern game pulls it off well. Enter Octopath Traveler. I instantly fell in love with the style Square Enix went for, a 2.5D pixelated quest through desolate deserts, dense forests, and icy tundras. I was eagerly anticipating its release for a year, and the game itself was well worth it. Sporting a battle system similar to earlier entries in the Final Fantasy series with some new elements sprinkled on top for good measure, it was a delightful adventure that had me rooting for the game's party of eight all the way to the end.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Some of you may be thinking, "But wait! Smash Ultimate hasn't even been out for a full month! How can it be here?" and my response to that is, "IT'S JUST THAT GOOD". Truly deserving of the Ultimate title, the Nintendo crossover that even puts Avengers: Infinity War to shame, has over 70 fighters from all walks of game world life duking it out in what feels like a perfectly refined game. The slight tweaks, returning features, and new additions to the combat makes fights much more fast-paced and exciting without feeling to frantic. However, if you want the game to be frantic, you can certainly do that by making your own game format from a massive list of customizable options, adding even more variety to battles. Full to the brim with a huge array of other game modes, and one of the best gaming music collections ever compiled, it truly is the ultimate Smash Bros. game, and a must-have for fans of the series, or even fighting
games in general.
It seems that at least one game each year comes out of nowhere and makes the gaming world stand up and take notice. In 2018, that game was Celeste. Created and developed by Canadians Matt Thorson and Noel Berry, Celeste tells the story of a young woman going on a journey to climb the massive Mount Celeste, but what takes place on her way up the mountain is what makes this game so fantastic. The main character’s motivations for climbing the mountain are slowly explained, and with the introduction of charming and unique characters, the story is built up at a perfect momentum that kept me invested all the way through to the summit (yes I finished this game in one sitting, it was well worth it!). This, paired with some of the most perfectly designed platforming I have ever seen, Celeste is an indie game that should not be passed up, no matter what.
Detroit: Become Human
What if you could control how a movie played out and had the power to determine the fate of everyone in the movie? This question was answered for me with the rise of cinematic adventure games, where the decisions you make create branching storylines, molding a story around your actions. Detroit: Become Human is one such game, and it focuses on a dilemma that our society could be facing in the future; should androids (granted they exist) be treated as equals to humans? Telling the tale of three androids in this futuristic (but not too futuristic) world, the game throws all kinds of moral dilemmas your way in an effort to find an answer to this question. Although there isn’t much in terms of gameplay aside from a few quick-time-events, the characters and world of Detroit alone make for a unique experience that I’ll be coming back to in the future to see what else could have become of all android kind.