It’s time for the 2018 Quarterlies! Vote for Quarter to Three’s Best Game of 2018

Happy New Year to yinns!

The Quarterlies are the Quarter to Three Year-End Awards for Best Game of [the year that just ended]. I have streamlined the rules for this year.

Rule 1: Just list your top 5 games of 2018. @arrendek’s awesome script will keep track of them. Put your picks in order* (see below), so that this is a weighted choice. Your first pick will get 5 points, your fifth pick will get one. Popularity will be aggregated to come up with a final set of winners. Please provide commentary on your picks if you are at all inclined to do so. I will quote them in the wrap up for the winners. The running tally will not be public so if you really want to see who is winning, you will have to do the calculation yourself. Although please keep it to yourself, since doing otherwise would be a SPOILAR.

Rule 2: Any game–console, PC, mobile, etc–released in 2018 is eligible. Early Access games are eligible if they were “released” (whatever that means–showed up for purchase I guess) in calendar 2018. Boardgames are fine. Tabletop RPGs are fine. If it’s a game, it counts, as long as it was first “released” in 2018. (Sorry, no “these are the games I played the most in 2018, even though some came out in 1998.”)

Rule 3: Revisions to your original post are fine. Revisions as subsequent posts are not fine because the script will only pick up the first one. Only your first post with votes counts, so don’t make a new post to change your votes. Don’t separate your list into multiple posts.

That’s it! OMG

Voting closes at 23:59 Pacific Standard Time (America) on Friday, January 11.


[a] All in a single post, you must post your votes on separate lines, with a number next to the place in your list you are assigning it. Please put a period and a space between the number and the bolded title.

[b] Bold your choices.

[c] You can put other stuff in your list, including discussion/explanation (which is encouraged) and stuff like platform but please do not bold anything other than the name of the game. Don’t even bold the platform, like (PC). Here is an example from @jsnell from last year.

For reference, the “Year in gaming” article on wikipedia has been used before to clarify what was released in the calendar year.

Get voting!

The final votes have been counted and are available here

Just for the sake of clarity, as I think that game may come up a lot: this means a vote for Slay the Spire is valid?


This is why AI always sucks.

Early Access will remain a challenge. Go with your gut.

Only one person voted for Dead Cells last year, for example. This is its year.

  1. Battletech
  2. Warhammer 40,000 Gladius - Relics of War
  3. Parkitect
  4. Dragon Quest XI Echoes of the Elusive Age
  5. Valkyria Chronicles 4

This was another down year for me. I’m really looking forward to 2019.

  1. Dead Cells
    Satisfying gameplay with some structural concerns.
  2. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition
    I’m cheating here due to the lack of games I enjoyed this year. This might go higher but I haven’t finished it yet.
  3. Battletech
    One of those games I enjoyed at the time that doesn’t feel memorable or exciting anymore. Hmm.
  4. Kingdom Come: Deliverance
    I’ve only played this 4 hours and I guarantee it’s on this list. It may go higher if I find time to play it before voting ends.
  5. Return of the Obra Dinn
    Edges out Celeste for being more consistently interesting and engaging. I think it’s going to be quite memorable too.

Honorable mention to Celeste: excellent first half, then it collapsed a bit from the story and later levels. Also for Monster Hunter: World and La-Mulana 2. I didn’t play them enough to know if they’d make it on the list. Both seem promising.

I was disappointed by Iconoclasts, Wizard of Legend, and The Messenger.

That’s pretty much all I played from 2018. Yikes.

I think you will need to fix the spelling of Battletech or the game Battetech will have one vote with five points.

  1. Monster Hunter: World
    It’s a great entry to a genre that I’ve been interested in years but just didn’t click. It can be fun for hours, for 30 minutes, with or without friends. The community is largely pleasant; they keep adding content and it’s just a great experience overall.
  2. Overcooked 2
    This is just pure fun, and it’s cute and it can be challenging and is online now! They took the idea of Overcooked and built on it.
  3. Two Point Hospital
    Theme Hospital in 2018…hello!
  4. Red Dead Redemption 2
    I haven’t gotten far in, but I am blown by the world so far, especially the way the horses move and react. The story probably not so much, but It could grow on me.
  5. Warhammer: Vermintide 2
    I liked this enough to buy it for part of my group. The look and feel of the combat with the diversity of characters just works.

So… I can’t normally do these lists because I don’t often buy the games in the years they’re released. This is one of the reasons I kind of puzzle a bit when people ask about the last great year for gaming. As far as I am concerned, it’s the current year.

  1. Astro Bot Rescue Mission
    Charming and clever from start to finish, one of the best 3d platfomers in years with superb boss battles, tight controls, catchy music, and integral and smart use of VR. No game made me smile this year as much as Astro Bot.
  2. God of War
    A more than successful rebuild for the franchise, radically changing things while still feeling true to the games roots. Excellent world building, exploration, characters, and solid combat mechanics.
  3. Into the Breach
    Almost more randomized puzzle game than strategy game, fluctuates between making you feel brilliant or an idiot for the moves you make.
  4. Marvel’s Spider-Man
    One of the best super hero games to date. Spectacular locomotion, fun combat, and a surprisingly well written and acted story.
  5. Monster Hunter World
    Just an amazingly tight loop of tracking,combat, and upgrading.

I haven’t played much from this year, but of the few:

  1. Slay The Spire
  2. Magic: The Gathering Arena
  3. Dead Cells
  4. Tower of Time
  5. God of War

I really thought AC:O was just ok, but I’m struggling a bit here. Does Slay The Spire count as 2018?

EDIT: Ah, missed the above exchange!

  1. Slay the Spire

Oh dang it being EA, it’s just too good! This game keeps on giving, it is a bottomless pit of dynamic deck building. I am about 300 hours in, I am still surprised almost daily, I still have to limit myself to one play per day. It amazes me that developers can get the balance of their creation that right.

  1. Into the Breach

Like Slay the Spire in a way, it is a game that mixes its limited assets in innovative ways all the time. This stimulating puzzle game asks from me exactly for the right amount of attention to feel smart without actually having to make too much of an effort. I also enjoyed its open lore.

  1. Yoku’s Island Express

I am only about 5 hours in, but I have no bad things to say about this little game.
To begin with, I bought the game after playing the demo. Never did a demo leave me with such a wonderful impression. It began and ended on a perfect note, and was really merely the first few minutes of the game as is. I think this shows how crafted and well thought out the game is. There is attention to details in every aspect of the game, even the dialogues (sometimes creepy!) which are usually a dismissed aspect of the genre. Edit: Finished it, and was a wonderful game. Even the if the boss fights were not good, they were very short and not hard. Wonderful little game.

  1. My Brother Rabbit

A strangely naive and touching experience for me. This game resonated with me in ways different but not unlike Quadrilateral Cowboy did last year.

  1. Crosscode

A game whose difficulty ruined it for me after 15 hours, and then the devs dropped the ball in the way Tom loves so much, by allowing you to tune every dial to your liking and even turn yourself invulnerable. I was actually thankful for it, as it helped me get past the point I was having troubles with, but once I got there, I didn’t progress further because I got too absorbed in my flight sim ventures. Nonetheless, what I played was some of the most refreshing action RPG… action (sic). Even the writing wasn’t annoying, sparing the player most of the heavy-handed “homages” the genre is known for. I’ll definitely get back to it in the coming months.

Other mentions:
Airships: Conquer the Skies: I really wished I’d have played more of that game, but an update killed it on the Mac for about a month, and I never got back to it. I really enjoyed every aspects of this weird Lego technics real-time combat engine.

Dead Cells: It’s a really cool game, but I have the feeling that what makes it such a killer experience for a lot of people escapes me, in a similar way to the appeal of Isaac escaping others. I like it, but I can’t adore it, mainly because I can’t shake off the feeling I need to grind, however wrong that sentiment may really be.

Rimworld: or more exactly, watching @Jason_McMaster play Rimworld, which I thought was very satisfying as the stories is what I am most interested about in this game.

One Deck Dungeon: I enjoy this die rolling game a lot, but it doesn’t have the replayability I was hoping for because of a lack of variety. Maybe the expansion solves that issue? I should try it out. I had a great time with it though.

Six Ages: Ride like the Wind: I enjoy it more than King of Dragon Pass. I love the game, although it’s really a dynamic book.

Real game of the year: EF2000. In one of those trouble times of one’s life, this aging simulation has been constantly providing the escapism I was thriving for, no small thanks to the awesome documentation that @BrianRubin pointed me to.

Late to the party mentions: Hollow Knight and Zelda. Those are two games I really wished I had voted for last year.

  1. For the King
  2. Battletech
  3. Subnautica
  4. Slay the Spire
  5. Star Traders: Frontiers
  1. Kingdom Come: Deliverance - One of the most immersive games ever made, true historical RPG set in my home country with gorgeous visuals, soundtrack and inventive quests that go far beyond the usual fetchquest fare. First/Third person RPGs are my royal genre and KCD is the best one since Witcher 3.
  2. Red Dead Redemption 2 - Masterwork by Rockstar and first game by them I would give 10/10. That does not mean it is flawless - for example I would love to see more open mission design and less reliance on shootouts (see the game above this one for reference), but the sheer ambition, immersiveness, storytelling and how much I grew to like Arthur and enjoy inhabiting his world means this is a classic I already look forward to replaying on PC.
  3. Hitman 2 - There is nothing like Hitman on the market. Pure stealth game with one sandbox better than the last. Only thing missing is Jesper Kyd.
  4. Detroit: Become Human - Detroit quite surprised me. While it still features hammy, unsubtle writing from time to time, overall it is much stronger than previous efforts of Quantum Dream. I was genuinely enthralled by it. And it features some of the greatest visuals ever crafted for a game.
  5. Vampyr - Very atmospheric RPG. The low budget and lack of RPG dev skill is visible, but overall it was a strong first effort for Dontnod.
  6. Spider-Man - Blockbuster popcorn in its purest videogame form. Well crafted, but ultimately unmemorable. Beautiful NY and fun webswinging though.

I also played God of War and FarCry 5, and while both were enjoyable, I didn’t quite enjoy them as much as I hoped and not enough to include them in my yearly top.

  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  2. For the King
  3. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
  4. Super Mega Baseball 2
  5. BattleTech

Some others: I would have listed OOTPB 19, but it didn’t add enough new stuff aside from Perfect Team, which I haven’t got into yet, to warrant inclusion. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was probably the best game released in 2018 that I played last year, but since it was a re-release, I assume it’s not eligible. I played Star Traders a bit in 2017 as an early access title but I haven’t returned to it since. Nantucket was kind of nifty. Into the Breach was fine, but it didn’t stick with me, nor I with it. I wish I had played Celeste.

This year I played a bit less than usual, there were a pair of months where I was busy with a formation for work, and in summer I read five Malazan books, that’s close to 4500 pages!. Hell, in the past weeks I’ve been reading Dorohedoro, that’s… 2800 pages of manga. So in reality this is close to the list of games I played in all the year, lol.

  1. Dead Cells
    One of the best action games in years, and the roguelike structure for once helps in giving more replayability, with cool random weapon combos and procedural levels that aren’t shit. Every action game, not only roguelites, could learn a thing or two of this game.

  2. Subnautica
    Best survival game ever, precisely because it doesn’t go super hardcore in being a survival game. It has a story and definitive end that help focus the experience instead of being a scatter-shot and/or bland experience, like it happens lots of times in these cases.

  3. Dusk
    A surprise of a retro FPS, it goes beyond a simple nostalgia trip and it is genuinely good on its own. It starts decent, but in the second and third parts it goes well beyond expectations in atmosphere and weird shit.

  4. Overload
    We had previously a pair of attempts on doing a Descent clone, but it was finally needed for the original devs to try it, to be successful. Smooth combat, movement, cool secrets to find and a set of levels that go perfectly between

  5. Thronebreaker
    A engrossing war story with vivid characters and with novel card gameplay in the Witcher world.

Top 6-11
Prey Mooncrash: Very interesting way to mix roguelite sensibilities with normal FPS/inmersive sim gameplay. Who knew this formula could work.
Into the breach: A tightly designed strategy game, small but pack full of variety in that small scope, with a puzzle-like feeling.
Northgard: The surprisingly hardcore slow RTS, that imo is almost as well designed as Into the Breach (but somehow it got 10 times less nominations than ItB), with great variety of permutations thanks to seasons, random events, provinces with their own effects, several victory conditions, etc.
Forza horizon 4: A super smooth and entertaining racing game, one of the best ever in fact, it’s outside of the top 5 because the similarity with FH3 while as the same time it does a pair of things worse than that game.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2: It has that good combat feeling of killing hundreds of enemies of the first parts, while improving the graphics, art and variety of the first game.
The room 3: A delicious puzzle game focused on devices full of secrets with a Lovecraftian atmosphere.
Special mention: Hitman 2, which knowing how much I liked the previous game it will be on my list, it isn’t right now as I still haven’t bought the game.

Overall, I feel like this has been a ‘old school’ year to me. Dusk and Overload are retro goodness, that’s much is clear, but even other games I think it applies too, there are several where you can see a sensibility for good, carefully done game design. Prey Mooncrash is more inmersive sim goodness, with gameplay trumps story. Dead Cells, behind that facade of a new genre, the “roguelite”, has at the core something that reminds me of classic Doom, of all games: smooth, fast, responsive action, with an arsenal that is a joy to use and a great set of enemies where each one fills a niche in a complete ecology: you have the melee guys, the ranged guys, the ones that drop bombs when they are killed, the ones that fly, the ones with a nasty melee combo, the ones that teleport, the ones that support others generating fog, etc.
Northgard is a new take in and old genre that in the last years has been on life support, the RTS, and it has done it by recovering part of the original RTS formula, one where it doesn’t fall on the trap of quickening the pace and putting more micro to make it more actiony.
Even Subnautica, you could say there is nothing ‘old school’ in that game, but the decision of making a proper, well crafted static world, instead of a random procedural world like in so many new games of the genre, feels old school to me, like the way it’s a semi-guided experience, instead of letting player freedom dominate everything at the expense of other factors.

edit: I find super interesting that precisely Tim James, the other old Doom passionate guy of the forum, also put Dead Cells on first position. I was onto something.

Hm, well I’m not usually much for lists and I didn’t play a lot of 2018 releases this year, but I’ll go for a few:

  1. Red Dead Redemption 2 - nothin else comes close. One of the best things I’ve ever played, let alone for 2018.

  2. Battletech - I kickstarted this one, and it paid off. Still haven’t completed it, though I fully intend to.

  3. Sea of Thieves - I guess? I was really involved in the testing stages and then when it actually released I just kind of tailed off. But I did really enjoy the time I spent with it.

Bunch of stuff that I know I’d like if I just tried it, like The Return of Obra Dinn and Dragon Quest XI. But that’s what 2019 is for, I guess!

  1. Battletech - Not finished it, not sure if I ever would have the time but this hits a lot of sweet spots for me
  2. Banner Saga 3 - Excellent way to wrap it up. Hit me right in the feels. I will miss these people
  3. Bards Tale IV - This is a lot more fun than I expected. I backed it out of nostalgia and although it’s quite different to the original games they did a great job creating a compelling experience
  4. Football, Tactics & Glory - was absolutely addicted to this for a bit. There’s a few things I don’t like about it but overall this is a hugely fun game
  5. Into the Breach - Not actually played this a huge amount but it’s wonderful. One day I will get stuck into it again I’m sure. It’s an incredibly tight bit of game design.
  1. Rimworld
    There once was a world named Rim
    'Twas a brutal survival sim
    My pawns always die
    And I always cry
    Then I start it all over again.

  2. Kenshi
    What is this Kenshi?
    Post-nuke squad strategy thing?
    Twelve years to complete!

  3. Slay the Spire
    My ranking of Slay the Spire
    Should probably be a lot higher
    It’s deck-building gold
    It never gets old
    A game all of you should now acquire

  4. Star Traders: Frontiers
    My ship’s crew is drawing loud cheers
    As I play more Star Traders: Frontiers
    It’s on the PC
    For the Rubin in me
    A space sim for pretzels and beers

  5. Six Ages
    King of Dragon Pass
    Sequel two decades later
    Cattle, lore and gore