Game of the Year 2018

So as 2018 comes to a close, I’m looking back on the year in gaming and while, release wise it was a great year, personally it wasn’t that great.  Due to a lot of personal reasons (read: work, so called friends and Destiny 2) I didn’t play as many games this year as I would have liked.  However, what I did play was extraordinary and well worth my time.  Without further adieu, my list for 2018 Games of the Year (in no particular order):

Secret of Mana (Remaster) – It was nice to return to the world of Mana after being away for so many years.  Despite all the crashes and other bugs in the game I enjoyed what I played of the game.  The constant crashes though did keep me from finishing the game but at least I’m near the end of the game.

Burnout Paradise (Remaster) – I’d been pining for a new Burnout game for years and finally the gods at EA finally answered my prayers by giving this bad boy a remaster.  I’ve enjoyed reacquainting myself with the streets of Paradise City, but the looming difficulty spikes and grinding to reach the upper tier licenses kept me from staying in Paradise City for any length of time.  Hopefully 2019 will see my return to Paradise City and reclaiming my spots on the friends leaderboard.

Moss – this PSVR gem is unlike anything I’ve ever played in my life.  All the set pieces are virtual dioramas that you can move (yourself) around and look in!  Wanna look down the hall?  Lean forward and look.  Wanna see whats behind a pillar or wall?  See for yourself.  What stopped me from finishing this was 2 things:  1.  VR still makes me a bit nauseous when I play (hopefully more exposure will reduce or eliminate that) and 2.  the game is so good I don’t want it to end!  I’ll go back and finish it eventually though.

Gorogoa – this was the first game I beat in 2018 and being that I played it all the way back in January, I can still remember how beautiful it is artistically though the vague story still eludes me (like seriously, what was this game about?)  I had just read an article about the game a few weeks prior to buying it and I could see the love and attention to detail that had gone into every single panel.  Finding out that I could finally buy this game was such a joy that I won’t forget, and I loved it so much I double dipped and bought it again on PS4 with the intention of playing it again in 2019.

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King – one of the three games I played on Nintendo Switch this year (the others being Gorogoa (above) and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild where I foolishly decided to gather all 900 Korok Seeds:

I thought this game was wonderful and so close to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past I had to wonder how the developer didn’t get the shit sued out of them.  None the less, I thought this game was a wonderful throwback to old school top down RPGs of yore.

Owlboy – I really wanted to like this game, but one of the protagonist’s acquaintances really made me dislike playing this game.  He’s just so awful toward the main character that I personally felt very attacked at times, plus it brought up a lot of bad memories about things in my past that I’d be better off forgetting.

Farcry 5 – I enjoyed this game what I did play of it.  My reason for not finishing it was the ending.  It was spoiled for me by a YouTube channel that I follow.  Part of me is angry that it was spoiled and part of me is glad that it was spoiled because it saved me several hours that could have been wasted trying to finish this only to be bested by the final boss anyway.  Needless to say that once I learned how the game ended it was traded for credit at my local GameStop.

God of War – It’s been many, many moons since I played a God of War game.  Or even since a new one was released.  But all in all I do have to say that this one was definitely worth the wait.  The combat, environments, music, characters, sound design…all of it is top notch.  The fact that they added a New Game+ post launch makes a second play through very appealing as well.  The only thing that I didn’t really like about this game was the overabundance of gear and no way to get rid of it.  Couldn’t sell it, couldn’t break it down into components, you were just stuck with it.  It also took some getting used to trying to figure out and understand the stats system in the game.  It was also [SPOILER] a nice surprise to see the Blades of Chaos make a return.  I was a little afraid that I would be stuck with that dreadful ax through the entire game.  And figuring out how to string combat combos between the two of them together was very rewarding.  [END SPOILER].  All in all, I think Sony Santa Monica did an amazing job telling such a great story using so few characters on screen.  I was on edge the whole time living in fear that Thor and/or Odin was going to show up only to be relieved/disappointed when they didn’t.  But that ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel.

Detroit Become Human – Once again, Quantic Dream knocks it out of the park.  What began as a story of the three artificial intelligences, ended up becoming a very personal analogy to the struggle for human rights – black, gay, Jewish, transgender, non-binary, etc.  The uncanny valley in this game is real.  While I enjoyed the characters and the way they moved, talked, and looked, after a while looking at them became a little unsettling.  While I didn’t get the best ending (read: fucking depressing) it leaves a lot of room for replays to squeeze every last line of dialogue and interactions out of this game.  I’ll be playing it again in the future, but not anytime soon.

Honorable Mentions:

Monster Hunter World – I really wanted to like this game, I truly did.  But I had a lot of issues with this game.  First of all, the font size of all the menus was a bit tiny, and the menus themselves were a pain to try to navigate.  They didn’t really make sense to me even after several hours of gameplay.  On top of that, I ultimately felt like my weapon choice (sword and shield combo) was far inferior to everything that everyone else was using.  Here I am trying to do damage and attack and kill stuff while the others are traipsing around murdering things left and right.  I felt totally useless in battle most of the time, but by the time I had discovered my error in weapon choice I felt I was too far in to switch and start over with something else.  Speaking of the others, there was a promise that if I bought the game, I’d have someone to play with.  But instead I ultimately got left behind as others went on ahead and played and leveled up without me.  Back to the subject of combat, I found that some of the monster fights in this game were highly irritating on every level.  Having to chase the target from location to location, getting knocked down, status ailments, only having three “lives” per battle, having to stop and repair your weapon mid fight…it’s just too much.  If nothing else, I learned from this experience that this franchise simply is not for me.

Bloodborne – I realize it’s a 3 year old game at this stage, but a brief stint back into the world of Yarnham earlier this year (thanks to Destiny 2 burnout) made me appreciate how awesome this game is all over again.

Infamous Second Son – a launch PS4 game that I haven’t touched since its release, I’ve been plagued by a trophy glitch / save file glitch for years that kept me from getting the platinum.  This year I decided to fix that and now I can say I have finally and truly 100%ed this game.  After going back and replaying this game years after the PS4’s launch, it’s still a graphically beautiful game.  Now if only we could get another in the series.

A Way Out – What started out as a 70’s themed crime drama, ended on (for me) a sour note as the two main protagonists ended up turning on each other in the end.  I was both surprised and not that it happened.  No honor among thieves as they say.  Beyond the terrible ending, it was a fun co-op romp through what felt like a campy crime movie.  This is one of the few games this year that I actually did finish.

Beat Saber (PSVR) – I was sooooooo happy when I saw during E3 that this game was coming to PSVR, and for the most part I enjoy it and think it’s fun.  But, I wish there were a lot more tracks to play.  In the span of a couple hours playing the campaign (and not completing it) I went through every available track there was.  Needless to say, this game did scratch the Rock Band itch I’ve been having as of late, but I want MORE.

Other Things of the Year

Most annoying NPC: Atreyus (God of War) for his constant screaming during combat as the game goes on.  Plus his shitty attitude toward Kratos during a certain point in the game.

Best NPC:  I think I’m going to have to give this one to The Drifter from Destiny 2: Forsaken.  He’s definitely a looker but beyond that he’s a mystery that I look forward to unraveling.

Most pointless thing I did this year:  finding all 900 Korok Seeds.

Nice surprise:  the remasters of both Resonance of Fate and The Last Remnant.  Hopefully this means that Square-Enix is planning on remastering more of their game catalog (Parasite Eve!  Parasite Eve!  Parasite Eve!)