Cue the horns and drums, because it's that time ladies and gentlemen. I was not satisfied with naming my best and worst picks for Nintendo this year so I went back to the drawing board and made a definitive list of the best and worthy games for 2018 across all platforms. My eighteen picks for the worst category were some low points in the year for me personally. Some of these are far worse than others like Extinction. It doesn't deserve to be next to Shadow of the Tomb Raider. That game is also bad, but more on a disappointing level. Extinction is legit an awful game, but we'll get to those two later.
As for my top picks, well, it was honestly hard to narrow things down to this list. Right now I'm also preparing end of the year content for my YouTube channel, ReActionExaminer, so this was a nice way of helping me narrow down some lists and categories for that. Will these games make it into my personal top ten? Maybe, but there's still time before the end and I'm still trying to play through a bunch of this year's backlog. Whether they all make it in or not doesn't matter because no matter the order, they all rock. And you know what, you guys rock. This was another fantastic year for TheGamer and all you readers made it possible. Thanks again and I, we, promise to make 2019 another year to remember. Now let's get to these rankings!
32 Worst: Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth Hacker's Memory
Digimon games are a dime a dozen and they've all been pretty bad from day one. That is until Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth came out in 2016. I loved that on my PS Vita so that's why I had such high hopes for Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker's Memory. I thought, okay, Bandai Namco has their stuff together. Well it looks like I was hyped for nothing because this was a stinker and was just more of the same, but worse.
31 Worst: Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
Not many know about the Dissidia games, as they were PSP exclusives, a console that didn't exactly flourish outside of Japan. That's why I was excited to see a console revitalization via Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. It looked so cool, but better since it was no longer stuck with PS2 era graphics. While the game looked and played good, and had a good roster, it was an empty package. Here's what got me. There's a story, but only in cutscene form you have to play other modes to unlock. It's a downgrade for the series for sure.
30 Best: Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter World was, without a doubt, the biggest surprise of 2018 for me. I didn't just dislike the series before this. I despised it. How could people play those games what with the terrible loading, split areas, and clunky controls?
Eat your heart out Jurassic World.
Now I get it and I think Capcom did as well. This is the answer to critics like me who loathed the series prior to this. It is probably my personal Game of the Year. I just had so many great multiplayer memories.
29 Worst: Dynasty Warriors 9
I have a pretty high tolerance when it comes to the Dynasty Warriors franchise. That is to say, they're great in small bursts and with a co-op partner. Dynasty Warriors 9 was a re-branding of the series, taking out co-op and making it into an open world RPG. It wasn't a good experiment however and made the tedium even more tedious if that is somehow possible. On the plus side, they did bring back the goofy English vocals so I enjoyed that. If you wish to learn more, here’s my review.
28 Worst: Metal Gear Survive
I wanted to keep my mind open about Metal Gear Survive even though Hideo Kojima, the man behind Metal Gear since 1987, left Konami in 2015. It was a bad breakup, but I remained hopeful. At first, I actually had some fun wailing on zombies and exploring, but then the survival aspects kicked in and it was all downhill from there. It was tutorial after tutorial after tutorial. Also, it's pretty upfront about wanting you to pay in microtransactions. If this was free I'd probably be more forgiving.
27 Best: God Of War
God of War came out in April. Wow, what a year it has been. Monster Hunter World was a big surprise, but so was this on a smaller scale. The last God of War game, Ascension, left a bad taste in my mouth plus Kratos just kind of stinks.
Dad jokes for the win!
I never thought I'd actually care for him the way I did in this reboot, sequel, whatever, but I did. From start to finish I was mesmerized.
26 Worst: Sea Of Thieves
Nothing about Sea of Thieves sold me on it pre-release. You know what got me interested? Xbox Game Pass. It was a brilliant move on Microsoft's part. If it wasn't for that the game would have probably received less coverage than it already did. The idea of going on pirate adventures is one hundred percent something I'm into, but not in the way this game presents it. The game is more of a sim, or accessory to Discord, which hey, is a pretty okay accessory, but not a good game.
25 Worst: State Of Decay 2
Microsoft's next "free" game was State of Decay 2, which I somehow liked even less than Sea of Thieves. That might be my fault as I just don't like survival games, or at least the ones that make things too complicated. Oh yeah, and games that are incredibly buggy, like this, that make progression nearly impossible. It and Sea of Thieves clearly weren't done, but Microsoft simply couldn't wait any more. They needed games and they were very unfortunate in the results.
24 Best: Marvel’s Spider-Man
Licensed games are usually bad, blah blah blah. It's been said before, but it still remains true. Cliché or not, Marvel’s Spider-Man was a legit worry for me. I love Insomniac, but their last venture, Sunset Overdrive, just didn't do it for me.
Living free in the NYC.
Well, they not only broke that curse but the licensed Spider-Man curse as well because hot dog was this fun to be Spider-Man. Swinging never felt so good. It almost made me retroactively buy that red PS4 Pro bundle. Almost!
23 Worst: The Quiet Man
The Quiet Man was quietly announced, no pun intended, at this past E3. It was demoed to a select few who came away baffled but ensnared by its weirdness. Fast-forward to its stealthy release out of the blue wherein critics finally saw it as the sham that it is. How a game can come out like this in 2018 is beyond me. Even at $15, it's not worth it. That is unless you like The Room because this is the equivalent to that in video game form.
22 Worst: Fallout 76
Not being a fan of Fallout 4 and because Bethesda announced this with a wink made me feel uneasy. It's going to be broken, but we'll get through it together. That was basically the marketing behind this game. That's fine for some minor glitches, but not only did this game launch with an incredible amount of bugs, but there's barely any content. If it were free to play I would understand, but $60 for this? Take that wink and go away, Bethesda.
21 Best: Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is the last best game of 2018. Not on this list, but in terms of high profile releases for me personally.
Dang, it feels good to be a cowboy.
And wow what a way to go. It wasn't what I expected in that it has a lot, and I mean A LOT of mechanics. Some for the better and some for the worse, but in the end, I enjoyed every second I poured over this thing. I wrote quite a bit about it too if you care.
20 Worst: Pokémon Quest
I said it in my Nintendo wrap up, but I'll say it again. Pokémon Quest blows chunks. It was tossed out to make a quick buck on consoles before going to the wasteland that is the iOS and Android stores. Look. I'm not against simple free to play games on my phone, but that's where I want them. My phone. It doesn't make sense to put cheap stuff like this on a beautiful console like the Switch. It's sacrilegious is what it is.
19 Worst: Octopath Traveler
I was vague in my Nintendo wrap up about Octopath Traveler, but that's because I have too much to say. I really liked the first ten hours and the music is outstanding, but then the game really starts to dig in its terrible claws. The job system is bare bones, the grinding is insane, and made even worse when non-party members don't earn experience. It eventually just started to feel like a job to play and one where the stories just weren't interesting.
18 Best: Valkyria Chronicles 4
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a return to form for the series after a lot of misfires and long periods of nothingness. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's a seriously addicting strategy RPG.
Rags is a good boy!
It may not look as good on the Switch as it does on the PS4, but I enjoyed it more on the portable. The way it's laid out just makes more sense and if I wanted to experience a big battle on my TV, I had that option.
17 Worst: Shaq Fu A Legend Reborn
Hey Shaq, buddy, you doing okay? Why did you let them put your name on Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn? Are you that hard up for money because I have a few ideas of where you could have pitched this elsewhere and I bet someone would love to make a game starring you. Making a fund campaign for this just felt wrong from the start and seeing how this turned out, well, my assumptions were true. What a waste of everybody’s time.
16 Worst: Lego The Incredibles
Lego The Incredibles is, well, just look at Mr. Incredible in my picture. Just look at him! That is not how he is supposed to look. While I'm not a fan of the LEGO games I will admit that they are charming and usually make pretty good recreations of characters and actors. Here's the thing though. Charming dialogue and gags can only go so far and playing this game in particular just isn't fun. Who are these even made for? The difficulty spikes are all over the place.
15 Best: Ni No Kuni II
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom made me cry. It really did. Not just in story moments, but the trailers leading up to its release.
Welcome to Ding Dong Dell!
The story of a young king being overthrown and then finding friends to rebuild a dream kingdom isn't an original idea, sure, but small, tender moments really made this game sing to me. I had some problems like too many half-baked mechanics and an easy difficulty, but those were small potatoes compared to the things I loved about it.
14 Worst: New Gundam Breaker
New Gundam Breaker is basically about a collector that uses toys to go on missions. You build various Gundam mechs and mobile suits, go on missions, and fight in normal environments like in somebody's shop. It's a neat idea to make a game about Gundam model building, but it's unfortunately not up to snuff. Building your mech is just too cumbersome in the menus. Plus it's just very repetitive and not worth the effort even though there are some cool moments for Gundam fans.
13 Worst: The Crew 2
I'm not really into racing games unless Mario, or some other cute character is in a go-kart. I try them all though, well, at least the big ones just to keep up with the trends or whatever. I didn't like the first The Crew, but after seeing the Inception vibes of this one’s E3 trailer, I was in. Unfortunately that only happens once for no reason. You sold me lies Ubisoft! I want my Inception racer! Ahem, besides that, it's just lacking content.
12 Best: Detroit Become Human
I am a David Cage apologist. I know his games tend to be super cheesy and full of plot holes, but even the worst ones are worth playing because, well, it's hard to explain. They are fun when you're not thinking about certain perspectives.
A beautifully flawed masterpiece.
There's a lot in Detroit Become Human, but even with its faults I cannot recommend this game enough. It is an experience that is like no other, good, or bad. You owe it to yourself to play this.
11 Worst: We Happy Few
We Happy Few is a pee snappy ew? That insult got away from me, but it is terrible I guarantee it. The game was first showed off like a BioShock clone, in a good way. Then it got into early access and the general consensus was a bit baffled because it was a roguelike survival game. Based on that feedback the developers restructured it to be more like BioShock again, but it feels held together by glue as in there's a lot of random ideas and pieces that don't fit well together.
10 Worst: Naruto To Boruto Shinobi Striker
Naruto to Boruto Shinobi Striker is a...dumb name. That said the idea had me intrigued. The game is essentially structured like a Destiny, or Monster Hunter type. You create your character, join in an online lobby, and go on repetitive quests all in the name of loot. Unfortunately, it's a very vapid example of this gameplay model. And speaking of models, the game looks rough around the edges. If this was CyberConnect2, the company that worked on the Ultimate Ninja Storm games, I'm sure it would have been better if only for the art.
9 Best: Moonlighter
There were a lot of indie games that I adored this year and Moonlighter is chief among them. It may be my absolute favorite, but Monster Hunter World is just a teeny bit higher.
Fighting evil by moonlight.
Anyway if you somehow missed this shimmering gem, the town you live in is home to mysterious dungeons travelers come from around the world to explore. Your family profits off of this by selling them gear. You're a shopkeeper by day and a warrior at night, exploring the dungeons for loot to sell. You can hear me gush more in my review.
8 Worst: Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
Despite the less than stellar lead up to launch, I hoped for the best for Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The one part I was excited for in previews was stalking the jungle for prey like in Metal Gear Solid 3. While those moments are indeed satisfying, they are few and far between. It feels like a rehash of the last two games like a greatest hits collection along with the story being like fan fiction. It was a letdown to be sure.
7 Best: Dead Cells
Rogue Legacy is my favorite roguelike and it turned me onto the genre. How much do I like it? I've replayed the whole thing, in its entirety, three times on three separate consoles, one of which was the Switch port this year. So when Dead Cells was sold to me as a game like it you know I was on board and it did not disappoint. Okay, maybe it did a little, but that's just because I hold Rogue Legacy in such high regard. It's still really good though, which you can hear me discuss in my review.
6 Worst: Nickelodeon Kart Racers
Okay Nickelodeon Kart Racers, you got me. With a name like that, it's trying to sell itself as a nostalgia piece, but it barely has any of the classic Nicktoons. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are cool, but get them out of this racer!
Where is Danny Phantom?
What's most disappointing out of the whole thing is its shoddy development. It seriously looks and plays like some sort of alpha build of the game, or at best a Facebook game.
5 Best: Full Metal Furies
January started the year off right for games. Well, all except for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. That aside Full Metal Furies and Monster Hunter World were too good. Both games have some amazing co-op memories tied to them for me. Full Metal Furies is also the next title from Cellar Door Games who made Rogue Legacy. Need I say more? How about the fact I played through the game twice less than a year apart. Once in January on Xbox One and once in October for Switch.
4 Worst: Kingdom Come Deliverance
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is not fun, pure and simple. Oh sure it may look like a highflying, medieval fantasy adventure, but it's more of a medieval sim than a fantasy adventure. There are mechanics on top of mechanics on top of mechanics! The beginning "tutorial" does a horrible job of preparing you for what's to come. Oh yeah, and it ran for crud. Maybe it was better on PC, but the PS4 version was just trash. Boo on you, Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
3 Best: Celeste
Celeste is one of those games that looks simple. From trailers it's very obviously in the same vein of puzzle, fast-paced platformers like Super Meat Boy and that is true. However, there's more to it.
Beware your reflection.
It's hard to discuss that though without spoiling things. It's about a girl's discovery of herself and her problems as she climbs this epic mountain. It's a game about the journey so going into any real details would rob you of the joy.
2 Worst: Extinction
Extinction was a game that seemingly came out of nowhere from a company that has a record for putting out less than stellar games: Iron Galaxy. That said it was an obvious Attack on Titan clone so I was all for it. Well, thankfully I didn't sink my money into it, as the hour that I played from my rental was good enough for me. Here's something positive I can say about it. It's a great example of how not to make a game.
1 Best: Florence
Here's a little confession. I put out my picks for the best of entries for this article and my editor told me to check out Florence. Now I'm not hip on the iOS and Android scene. I have some phone games, but they're more time wasters than anything special. That's all to say Florence passed me by, but I'm glad it got recommended to me, because it is indeed worthy of being on this list. If you want to cry on your phone, buy Florence.