Merriam-Webster defines the word "game" as "activity engaged in for diversion or amusement." Well, 2018 has certainly been a year for games! Here are our favorites.
If you disagree with our picks, please don't hesitate to make overly long Youtube videos about it! We feed off your hate. Happy holidays, everybody!
Michael De Sua - Managing Editor
2. God of War
4. Life is Strange 2 - Episode 1
5. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee!
I don’t want to sound dramatic, but you need to stop what you’re doing and play Celeste if you haven’t already. I know you’ve heard that kind of phrase hundreds of times, but it’s the first time it’s actually true in your entire life. Celeste is a masterpiece, as its controls are tight, its soundtrack is beautiful, and its story is moving. You’re gonna to die (A LOT), but the game never feels unfair and rewards your perseverance.
The rest of the games I’ve listed here are great, even terrific at times, but pale in comparison to the mighty Celeste.
Raphael Bennett - Lead Editor
1. Return of the Obra Dinn
2. Red Dead Redemption 2
Honorable Mentions: Vampyr, Far: Lone Sails, God of War, Forgotten Anne
2018 has been a year of honest-to-goodness role-playing games. Not the ones where you level-up and collect gear, but the kind of role-playing that looks a bit more like improv. But more than that, the impressive array of mood and tone pieces that came out this year have proven (again) that games have reached a level of maturity where they can be timeless without being revolutionary or genre-defining.
Return of the Obra Dinn is the only game I played this year that struck me as a whole cloth *new* kind of video game. Do. Not. Miss. It.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was easily the biggest surprise of the year for me because of how slow and contemplative it was. It is a dictionary definition of “epic.”
Florence and Celeste both use game-mechanic to communicate subtle emotions in tangible ways — and the world is a better place because of them.
And Paratopic is a thriller with no action; an aggressively linear game that has you looking over your shoulder for no palpable reason.
Meghan Overbury - Senior Editor
2. Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
4. Octopath Traveler
5. Detroit: Become Human
Honorable Mentions: A Way Out, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Celeste
This year in video games was all about good storytelling and incredible set pieces, and oh man, was I there for it. From the first moments whipping around (a very accurate) New York City in Marvel's Spider-Man, to climbing onto my first horse in Red Dead Redemption 2, 2018's games really knew how to immerse players immediately.
A lot of games that released this year had a lot of hype to live up to, and while some didn't exactly deliver as promised (looking at you, Fallout 76), for the most part I wasn't just pleasantly surprised, but impressed. That being said, there were plenty of gems that were less talked-about but absolutely deserve a look, like Octopath Traveler and Detroit: Become Human. Honestly, if 2019 is going to be anything like 2018 for games, I'm looking forward to it.
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man
3. Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee
4. Monster Hunter World
5. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
For me, 2018 has been a very nostalgic year of gaming. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate takes the top spot in my book, the latest in a franchise that has always managed to get my friends and I together and laughing/cursing uproariously. Good old fashioned local play is a rare thing nowadays, and it’s precious.
Marvel’s Spider-Man, meanwhile, evokes joyful memories of the hours I spent with the last Spider-Man game I actually liked, back on the original PlayStation. Kudos to Insomniac.
Elsewhere, new-yet-familiar takes on two of my favourite franchises of all time, Pokémon and Monster Hunter, made me very happy this year. As did the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which was treated with all the love and care that the original games deserved.
1. God of War
3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
4. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
5. Marvel's Spider-Man - Honorable mention: Deltarune
2018 saw the release of a number of notable games. One stands above the rest: God of War. This game perfectly combines compelling story and epic gameplay. Meanwhile, Celeste is an example of indie games matching, and exceeding the bigger budget games. Celeste has challenging levels, and a beautiful, tragic, but ultimately uplifting story.Despite a few negatives, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to the hype, delivering the biggest fighting game crossover of all time. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a great end to a great trilogy, delivering good combat and an interesting setting. Spider-Man is the best superhero game since the Batman Arkham series.
The biggest surprise of 2018 was the release of Deltarune, a kinda (but not really) sequel to Undertale. Deltarune is a wonderful game with an ending that will sit with you for a while. Hopefully it's not too long until Chapter 2.
1. Super Smash Bros Ultimate
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man
3. Dragonball FighterZ
5. Super Mario Party
2018 was the year of hype. Marvel Studios’ long-awaited Infinity War promised to be the greatest cross-over of all time, but Nintendo had other plans. Somehow Ninty managed to announce and release a new Super Smash Bros. in the same year, delivering a product filled to bursting with pure content. DragonBall FighterZ hit the esports world with Super Saiyan ferocity, and Insomniac managed to capture that Spider-Man 2 nostalgia and then some.
REVIEW: Super Mario Party Like It's 1999
Yet there were also subtle moments that reminded me gaming has more to offer than hype. In a year when Blizzard made phone games the enemy, a little title called Florence delivered an emotional gut-punch as if to say there’s still sincerity in mobile gaming. And while I gave Super Mario Party a middling review, it won over my game night crew. If this year taught me anything, it’s that everyone, even Monty Mole, deserves to be loved.
1. A Way Out
2. Detroit: Become Human
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
4. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
5. Marvel's Spider-Man
My list is probably just as surprising for you to read, as it was for me to write.
Spider-Man was great. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was the best of the rebooted trilogy. And from someone who hadn’t played a Call of Duty title in nearly five years, Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode had me drinking the battle royale Kool-Aid, pulling me back into the series where much of my free time is still being spent.
What surprises me most is that my top two titles were games in which each decision or reactive button push determined the final outcome of the story. I was a fan of the Choose Your Own Adventure books growing up, but never enjoyed that style of gameplay or storytelling in video games…until this year. The focus and depth of the characters made A Way Out and Detroit: Become Human truly captivating and memorable.
1. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
4. Dragon Ball FighterZ
5. Monster Hunter World
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age had the misfortune of being released alongside Spider-Man, which meant that the best game of the year was overshadowed by a more high-profile title.
All fans of JRPGs, RPGs, and just plain amazing games owe it to themselves to try Dragon Quest XI.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came close to stealing the top spot, but the issues with the online mode and the glitches at launch have held it back slightly.
Deltarune might be the biggest surprise of the year, as it came out of nowhere and showed a lot of promise for its final release.
2018 may have seemed like a crappy year for a lot of people, but there is still one bright spark in the future, as more Undertale content is coming and that is definitely something to look forward to.
Patrick Sklar - News Editor
1. Into The Breach
3. Overcooked 2
4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
When people ask me - and they often ask me - what hot games I've been playing lately, I tell them I don't have much time these days to play new games. "Heck," I say, "I only got around to starting DOOM last week."
"What?" they reply, "you hadn't played the new DOOM yet?"
Then there is a pause, and a full-body shudder, and the room spins a little, and I'm on the floor, gasping, "they made a NEW DOOM?!"
I'll get around to it eventually.