2018 has been one of the most exciting years for video-game releases in recent memory. In just 12 months, we saw the return of iconic AAA franchises, the birth of brand new, innovative IPs, and the indie scene launch genre-defining games on a near weekly basis. As this year comes to a close, it’s time to pay homage to the greatest gaming achievements of 2018.
A few years back, we decided to mix up our Game of the Year Awards and do things a little differently. The quality, variety, and sheer number of incredible games that release every year makes it near impossible, and definitely unfair, to pick just a single game. As such, we give our prestigious Game of the Year Award to the top five greatest games to grace any and all platforms throughout the year. In no particular order, we present to you the best games of 2018.
As I am writing this, I’m thinking about how crazy it is that a racing game is on a list of the best games of 2018. We had some incredible games this year, and Forza Horizon 4 is absolutely one of them. Forza brings fun racing to anyone and everyone. You are rewarded for doing nearly everything, from crashing into obstacles to getting the highest speed at a speed trap. It emphasizes the whole “play how you want to play” mantra as much as it can in a racing game. To top it off, the entire thing is online and can easily be enjoyed with friends.
The fact that the entirety of this title is online and it runs so well is a testament to the game itself. There could easily be more than 25 highly detailed cars on screen at once, and the game still runs perfectly. The story is admittedly weak, but you won’t even notice it because of all the amazing events to do. The bar has been raised, and we are eagerly waiting to see how Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games can top themselves in Forza Horizon 5.
Throughout 2018 a monster lurked, waiting to appear late in the year. Put simply, the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 was a spectacle. We set out sights on people in cowboy hats, dogs in cowboy hats, and even lizards in cowboy hats. We all had waited for the beast to rear its head so we could finally see what Rockstar Games’ newest piece had to offer. High acclaim for the original Red Dead Redemption set expectations high, for more than just the stockholders. It was a phenomenon that had the entire industry focused on two things: Arthur Morgan and Red Dead Redemption 2.
It was a story of an outlaw who rode with John Marston and Dutch, and masterfully set up the story of the original Red Dead Redemption. Red Dead Redemption 2 had the best visuals, some of the best characters, and one of the best stories of 2018. It was also home to some of the best side missions in 2018, giving meaning to the quests instead of just sending the player out on errands. The online mode might be a bit barren at the moment, but the potential is limitless.[testimonials user=” email=” name=” position=” photo=” style=”callout”]Surprising absolutely no one, Red Dead Redemption 2 is easily a game of the year contender, if not the winner. Rockstar Games knocks it out of the park once again, and we are eagerly awaiting Red Dead Online. (Full Review)[/testimonials]
I remember my reaction to Monster Hunter: World when it was announced at E3. Finally, a new Monster Hunter was coming to home consoles. Expectations were high, and they hit the mark in every way. Epic monsters to slay, tons of new weapons and armor to craft, and a large amount of post-launch content sounded like a recipe for success. The collaboration content alone has been impressive, and next year we get Geralt and a new expansion. It’s no surprise that some people claim this to be the best Monster Hunter yet, and I have a hard time disagreeing.
Monster Hunter: World brought the game to a whole new audience that hadn’t tried the series before. The more simplified UI and more straightforward mechanics made it so anyone could enjoy the game. The endgame hunts and certain missions still brought a huge challenge to series veterans as well. Monster Hunter: World was able to satisfy new fans without alienating its entire core audience. It’s a transition that doesn’t always work, but here it worked – and then some.[testimonials user=” email=” name=” position=” photo=” style=”callout”]Whether you are a veteran hunter or a newcomer to the series, Monster Hunter World is a great action game to play by yourself or with friends. You can easily get lost in the game for more than 100 hours, and not regret it for a second. (Full Review)
Moonlighter is a story about a young man who has inherited a shop from his grandpa. Dungeon delver by night and salesman by day, you have to bring items back to the shop to sell them. There’s just one small catch: if you die, you lose all your items and have to start at the beginning of the dungeon. What’s the plan? Sell enough items to upgrade your equipment and then bash the enemies heads in. Bring back more loot, earn more cash, and repeat.
There were a lot of good indies in 2018, but Moonlighter stood out above the rest. Combining rogue-lite elements with simulation mechanics, we found ourselves addicted to the game until the very end. When paired with a great soundtrack and a beautiful visual style, you have yourself a recipe for a great indie. We hold out hope for an expansion or a sequel.[testimonials user=” email=” name=” position=” photo=” style=”callout”]Moonlighter is an exciting action adventure-shop simulator game that shouldn’t be skipped. If you have any interest in running a shop and dungeon diving, then this game is for you. (Full Review)
If there was an award for the biggest evolution of a video-game franchise, it would be God of War. Completely redefining the creative direction of the franchise, Santa Monica Studio and Sony Interactive Entertainment took the opportunity to release a game that would forever change the God of War series. Stepping away from the linearity of past iterations, the eighth title in the series delivered a massive open-world experience filled with character, charm, death and desire, touching every part of the emotional spectrum.
A creative, immersive, and expansive game world was bought to life with one of the years best soundtracks, a wonderful father-son dynamic, and the gritty backdrop of Norse Mythology. That’s without mentioning the challenging endgame content, ever-evolving combat system, and absolutely awesome ending. Seriously? Have you seen it? If you’ve yet to play God of War, what are you waiting for? Boy.[testimonials user=” email=” name=” position=” photo=” style=”callout”]Every facet of God of War has been created as a labor of love. Seldom do we see such a complete, such a whole experience in modern gaming. God of War is nothing short of a modern day masterpiece. (Full Review)[/testimonials]
And there we have it, the greatest games released throughout 2018. Were you expecting to see another game? One you think we overlooked? Post a comment below.