Best Games of 2018: Before the Year Is Over

Ashley Fonte


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Even though 2018 isn’t formally over, the champions of the race in the gaming world are already easy to define. Though tastes differ, it’s the heavyweight combat, so there are only large grand games with an open world to explore, a branched narrative that depends on your actions, and visuals no less than stunning.

The hardness of competition can be understood by the absence of, say, Shadow of the Tomb Raider (given that it’s probably the best installment in the prequel trilogy). So only the best are invited, and each of them has their pros on the highest level.

God of War: Go North! Life Ain’t Peaceful There

God of War app screen

Though the name doesn’t reveal it, it’s the eighth in its series, though calling it just God of War – it’s like Metallica, already famous, calling their 1991 album just “Metallica”, like a debut one. Don’t let it fool you: the developers have a great tradition of creating action games. Despite it’s a restart, this time based on Norse mythology instead of Greek, the protagonist is the same. He’s a Spartan warrior named Kratos, and he dares to defy gods and defeat them. A long quest of getting to Jötunheim is full of traps, fights, and puzzles to solve. Fans of Norse myths will appreciate how accurately the well-known characters and stories were built into God of War narrative.

The game is only available for Sony PS4 so far. That means great graphical part, though some old school fans may be disappointed by changing the perspective from a fixed camera to over-the-shoulder one. But the music by Bear McCreary, the Battlestar Galactica, and The Walking Dead composer, is as great as you might expect.

Marvel's Spider-Man: What The Web Is For

When Marvel regained control over Spider-Man, it was only for the better. It took just a guest appearance in Captain America: Civil War to reintroduce Peter Parker into Marvel Cinematic Universe, in full accordance with his nature. The game also follows that line: there’s more to Spider-Man than his looks in the recognizable suit.

Though the story is not tied to what we see in comic books or movies, it’s alright with skills and abilities: they are the same, and they are used correctly. The fight mechanics include all of the acrobatic tricks with swinging on the web, shooting it out the moment you need. Aerial tricks and combat elements are what makes this game really outstanding. The visuals are just as stunning as Spider-Man movies, and that’s not much of exaggeration. There is a storyline organized in quests, but you can as well explore New York streets the way Spider-Man does.

This one is also a PS4 exclusive so far; so Sony, despite passing the rights to use this character back to Marvel, still own him in some way.

Red Dead Redemption 2: The Wild West GTA

The best Western-set game, alas, is available only for consoles yet, but it’s no obstacle for those eager to taste what some call The Game of The Year. It’s a prequel to the first story, telling the life of Arthur Morgan, one of Van der Linde gang. As you make your living in The Wild West, you’ll have to master various skills, from hunting and fishing to communicating with people, making decisions on whether to save them from trouble or to treat them brutally. The open world encourages you to venture it all through in free exploration mode because there is much more to it than just achieving primary goals.

The project has been called “the Western version of Grand Theft Auto”, and in some way, it is, though there is even more attention to horses than GTA had towards cars. The design is almost perfect; characters can be easily confused with real actors (or rather to Westworld androids).

So far the game is only available for the most popular consoles, but, remembering the other Rockstar games, we can expect PC release in about a year. That game, though, is a reason why buying a console can be a better decision than spending a year waiting.

Forza Horizon 4: No Racism, But We Know What Race Is The Best

Probably the best racing game of 2018 is released by Microsoft and Playground Studios. You get access to more than 400 realistically recreated cars for a race that takes place somewhere in the UK. The game features new generation of environment you have to interact with, including weather and season change. And it’s not only about visuals: your car can freeze, lose control on the wet road, or get stuck in melted asphalt. In winter lakes will freeze, allowing players to ride upon the ice.

The basic gameplay is what other race games offer, but the trick is how it’s done. In 2018 it was acclaimed as The Best Xbox Game and twice, in different contests, as The Best Racing Game. Its graphical perfection is especially obvious when you’re moving at high speeds, and the picture isn’t blurred more than it gets in real life.

As its publisher is Microsoft, this game is available both for PC running Windows and for Xbox One. We’d recommend PC players upgrade their machines as much as they can before playing Forza Horizon 4, because it’s hungry for performance.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Get ’em All

Super Smash Bros is the popular fighting series Nintendo fans have been appreciating for years. It’s the showdown featuring most popular Nintendo characters, having them face each other in combat. And all of them have their unique fighting skills.

This time the game is following the motto of another Nintendo franchise – “Gotta catch 'em all!” The caught ones include characters from The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, Metroid, Castlevania, Street Warrior, and many other franchises, including (yes) Pokémon. This mashup resembles what we see in Ready Player One: the complete unordered salad where we just enjoy seeing all of our favorites together, finally able to find out which of them is stronger.

The game offers different modes, like offline, online, and local multiplayer. So you can play on your Switch with a friend, each controlling your favorite characters from your childhood. There’s no logic; it’s a pure childish pleasure of having all of your beloved toys in the same corner of the room, playing war between them, with no one dying yet.

Exclusive for Nintendo Switch, this game may be too little of the reason to switch to it, but if you don’t have it, you’d probably want it more.

Celeste: An Excelsior Platformer

What does a simple platformer do among all these giants? Maybe it’s not that simple. There is something fascinating about the story of a girl named Madeleine that travels up to the sky through unfriendly mountain peaks. Like any platformer, it offers unrealistic (though logical) physics, bonus objects to collect (this time it’s strawberries), and numerous traps to avoid. To unlock new difficulty levels, the game offers you audio tapes you need to collect to open “Side B” and then “Side C”: it’s oh so early 1990s!

Made by independent designers, Celeste is developed in a slightly nostalgic manner; though, considering current platformer renaissance, it’s not nostalgic for those born into the world where Mega Man, Donkey Kong or Super Mario already existed. It’s just as actual as other today’s platforming games.

Celeste is the first game on our list that anyone can enjoy. It’s supported by all three major consoles, Windows, OS X, and even Linux. So if you have any of these, there’s no excuse for you if you missed Celeste.

Detroit: Become Human – So What Do Androids Dream Of?

If you like anything that implies post-apocalyptic settings, cyber disasters and transhumanism issues, Detroit: Become Human is just for you. It’s set in the 2040s, when the superstates are clashing over the resources of the nearly exhausted planet, and a Detroit corporation produces androids that are supposed to replace humans for most dangerous missions. You have an option of three androids: a detective, a rebel leader, and a robotic woman going deviant because of human cruelty brought together by the storyline.

As you can see, the game is highly influenced by Robocop, Blade Runner, Terminator, and other futuristic techno-thrillers. But the developers insist that they did only use the technologies existing today while projecting this future.

The way the story ends depends on you. It’s mauvais ton in 2018 to offer only one possible ending, so you can replay it to see what’s behind the corner if you make a different turn.

This game is again an exclusive for Sony PS4. So its lucky owner can enjoy most games from our list.

Octopath Traveler

Eight travelers go their way through the mysterious land of Orsterra. Each of them has a unique story and a specific talent that can help them all through. A warrior, a dancer, a merchant, a scholar, a cleric, an apothecary, a hunter and a thief; they all have a lot to tell and to contribute to the adventure. So follow any of them through the land of unknown powers. But remember: no one will make it alone! Whoever you choose, you will gradually meet the rest of the party.

The game features innovative turn-based battle system with different weapons and spells applied and combined, great graphics, some nostalgic aura of the first console adventures, and controls as specific as it can go on Switch. Yes, this game is available only for Nintendo Switch. The developers say that it’s a kind of indirect sequel to Final Fantasy VI, though the stories have nothing in common. That rather means that if you liked the latter, you should notice the former.

So far it’s “Nintendo Game of the Year” and a nominee for a lot of other awards.

Maybe this list of best games (2018) is too subjective (and any other would be, too). Did you enjoy any of these games, or, maybe, all of them? Which one do you consider the best? And what games have we been unjust to, leaving them overboard? Come on and tell us what you think of it.