What a time to be a gamer! We’ve seen the quality of game narratives, graphics, and gameplay hit another high this year. Triple A developers have pushed the bar in terms of how easy it is to get lost in a fictional world, and indies have gifted us with incredible and emotional experiences that will surely be talked about long past 2018. It has seemed like every other week has seen the release of a game that could be a heavy contender for Game of the Year!
Although there are many games we could recommend, we have settled on our Top 5 best games from this year. These games were chosen based on votes from each of the editors, writers, and contributors that make Gamerpros the publication that it is. In no particular order, our Top 5 game of 2018 are:
Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden
Logan Wilson writes: “Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a marvelous game based off the pen-and-paper RPG of the same name that comes to is from the developers Bearded Ladies Consulting and was published by Funcom. This being their first title, they pulled out all the stops and created an amazing game. Mutant Year Zero is proud to wear its heavy inspiration from other turn-based strategy games and makes improvements to their systems. For example, the stealth mechanic from XCOM 2. Mutant Year Zero takes the idea of sneaking up on your enemies and improves it by making it real-time stealth. This gives you the ability to properly react to enemy movements instead of having to wait until your turn. Mutant Year Zero hosts a handful of interesting playable characters that you can fill your squad with that each have something to say to one another, but aren’t chatty to the point of being annoying. Each character has there own set of interchangeable mutations that affect how they play in combat. Things like growing moth wings to get a height advantage or their skin becoming tough as rock. The story will draw you into the ominous and beautiful world that has been crafted with care. The game also features a wide range of weapons, armor, and headwear that will fit every kind of play style you can think. A gun that knocks opponents out of cover, armor that makes you immune to fire, or a hat that gives you a better chance at a critical hit are great examples of this. These innovations made by Bearded Ladies Consulting will hopefully help shape the future of the turn-based genre. If you are a fan of games like XCOM, Phantom Doctrine, and BattleTech, then Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a must play.”
God of War
Ben Eberle recounts: “When I saw the original trailer for this year’s God of War, it was clear that something had changed with this franchise that I always ignored. I could never relate to Kratos and his ridiculous, spewing anger, but seeing him now as a father somehow tugged at my heart strings. The journey of Kratos and Atreus will hold a special place in my heart for many years to come. I fought alongside them, cried with them, felt their pain and their joy, and most importantly I cared for them.
It’s a rare experience to have next to nothing to criticize, and I loved every aspect of this game. From the pacing to the combat, the level design and the characters, I can confidently say that I have no complaints. For the first time in ages, I didn’t rush through a game for the sake of completion. I knew that this was where I wanted to be and how I wanted to spend my time. I could listen to Mimir tell stories in the boat all day long. When I had a free moment, I took to visiting the blacksmiths, Brok and Sindri. These interactions, while separate from the main plot, reinforced the game’ themes in a meaningful way.
God of War is a significant step forward for video games as a medium, justifying its violence while telling a beautifully human story about choices, family, and morality. Each step of the journey carries weight, emphasized by the eternal presence of the World Serpent, whose character brilliantly ties everything together. Level design, combat, secrets, aesthetic, and progression are all handled with extraordinary care. It’s a game that begs to be finished with 100% completion, even with the backlog building up. I will revisit God of War someday, because I feel like there is new perspective to gain from multiple playthroughs. It stands as one of the great games of this legendary generation, and an amazing revitalization of a character and story that many thought to be one-note and stale.”
Dale Wilson writes: “I would like to start things off by stating that Marvel’s Spider-Man was my favorite game of 2018. What Insomniac Games achieved with their latest release was nothing short of astonishing. Insomniac managed to blend all of our favorite elements of Peter Parker and Spider-Man into one perfect mix that does justice to every version of the character from my childhood. From Christopher D. Barnes in the 90s Animated Series to Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, to Josh Keaton’s version in Spectacular Spider-Man, Insomniac took a piece of every iteration of Peter/Spider-Man that I loved as a kid. This resulted in a Spider-Man game that shows it truly understands and respects the source material, whatever medium of said source material that you grew up with, while also not being afraid to add their own twist into the mix as well. All of this culminates into a Spider-Man game where you get the rush of being Spider-Man when swinging around and fighting villains, but you also get to see the sacrifices that Peter needs to make in order to protect the people of New York City. You see that no matter what, even when it hurts like hell, Peter is still willing to make the tough calls to do the right thing and that, in my opinion, is the core of what it means to be Spider-Man. Couple this amazing Peter Parker/Spider-Man story with the fluid gameplay and combat system and you’ve got one of the best Spider-Man games ever made.
The combat system feels flexible, in that you can pick and choose which gadgets you want to synergize with certain attacks, then execute your plan with grace and sit back and enjoy the mayhem as it unfolds. The beauty in this flexibility is that you can then combine this with other gadget combinations, aerial maneuvers, and take-downs to create this wonderful ebb and flow in combat where you never need to stop moving and always feel in total control of every punch and kick that Spider-Man hurls at his foes.
The other important thing (arguably even more crucial to Spider-Man) is the Web-Swinging. How does it feel? Well, to sum it up, it feels like everything you would want out of a modern Spider-Man game. You can swing, wall-run, cut corners with ease, whip over the tops of buildings in a pendulum motion, parkour over obstacles, charge-jump over large distances, Web-Tunnel through tight spaces with a stylish twirl, dive-bomb from terrifying heights, and you can even do tricks to earn extra experience points in the process, helping Spidey level up as you swing around. Insomniac absolutely nailed the feeling you get when playing Spider-Man; he is fast, agile, and stylish. He is also a phenomenal fighter, all while being a genius capable of finding solutions to the toughest situations, making us all wish we could tap into whatever it was that made Peter so smart when trying to find the solution to that elusive algebraic equation from our high-school math classes. Marvel’s Spider-Man is truly the greatest Spider-Man game we’ve gotten in a long time. Thanks to all of these reasons, this is why I believe Marvel’s Spider-Man is a must-play game of this year (or generation, whichever you prefer) and why I suggest that you go out and buy it, if you haven’t already, then thank me later.”
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country
Brandon Bui explains: “Torna – The Golden Country is a stellar prequel expansion that adds dozens of extra hours of content combing the lush and expansive world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, set 500 years before the events of the main game during the pinnacle of the Aegis War. With an already massive game in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, to think that even more content could be added is unthinkable; a physical expansion that has enough material to be its own standalone game is a remarkable feat.
Torna – The Golden Country features much quality of life changes that help streamline the adventure, making it easy for newcomers to hop in and play while giving the veterans a whole new way to experience the thrilling combat of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 with an original cast of heroes peppered with some familiar faces and references to the main game. With acclaimed composer and producer Yasunori Mitsuda returning to the helm for this project, Torna – The Golden Country is an incredible way to conclude the story of Xenoblade Chronicles 2.”
Red Dead Redemption 2
I (Jordan) will close out our top 5 games of 2018 with a game that I believe is one of those rare generational greats, Red Dead Redemption 2. The days of the Wild West was one of the most interesting time periods in United States history, and we get to see it through the eyes of a hardened outlaw during the period’s ride into the sunset. The story of our main hero(?) Arthur Morgan is treated with such an attentive nuance that he really feels like a a living, breathing person. When the story takes a really heavy turn two-thirds of the way through, and gets increasing weight to it, my emotions in that moment were some of the strongest reactions I’ve had to a game in the last five years. I may be in the minority here, but even the epilogue felt impactful and interesting given the way the game wraps up. While many people complain that the game felt to slow, I would argue that the pace perfectly captured the day-to-day lifestyle of the group and we wouldn’t have become as attached to each of Red Dead Redemption 2‘s many characters without ample time to spend with each of them.
Rockstar has pulled off the incredible in terms of how the game looks and the atmosphere they have created in so many different, visually distinct areas. Like I tweeted around the time of Red Dead‘s launch, it is the only time where I have been impressed by a game’s mud. Not only that, but light from the sun or street lamps glistens so beautifully through the trees or during foggy times that if you would have shown me a screenshot of that moment (and I’d have never played the game) I would have thought it was real. Character faces and animations have an incredible level of detail to them as well. You could practically count the individual hairs in Dutch’s mustache; the artist paid that much attention to detail.
For me, Red Dead Redemption 2 stands up with Breath of the Wild and the other greats as a game that needs to be experienced this generation. Even if you’re not sold on Red Dead Online (join the club), the story this game tells and the visually impressive way that it’s told make this game and easy recommend to anyone, cowpoke or not.
These are our picks for the games that we think need to be experienced this year! We wholeheartedly recommend each of these games to you, and if you haven’t found time to give them some love we’d urge you to do so! Each of these define the world of gaming in 2018, in addition to the tons of other great games released this year that didn’t make it to our top 5.
Let us know what you think of these games and tell us what games struck you in a way that no other ones did this year in the comments below!