Didn’t get as much time to play this year’s games as I’d have liked, but there were some real standouts in the games I did play.
Magic the Gathering: Arena
I think Magic is an extraordinary game, but sometime actually playing it can be a challenge. Arena changed all that, now I can play as much of my favourite game as I like.
Into the Breach
Where’s the line between puzzle game and strategy game? What constitutes a hand-crafted scenario or a systemically generated one? Into the Breach rides the lines between to deliver an unbelievably tight and tense experience. As Will Shakespeare once said, thinking is such sweet sorrow.
This game transported me to a lonely and magical world, the haunting halls of Hallownest will stay with me.
A last-minute entry on to my list. This complex game of mech management and tactical confrontations immediately stood out as something special.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Ubisoft, what did you do with the real Assassin’s Creed? And how much do I have to pay you to not bring it back? This is a startling and refreshing open world game from Ubisoft. If Hollow Knight wasn’t on this list, then this would take my vote for best world building of 2018. I’ve played this game for 100 hours so far and would happily join Kassandra and her crew for a few more. Malacka!
Some really great games were fighting to get on this list, but the stomping of giant BattleMechs denied them a place:
- Slay the Spire
- EXA Punks
- The Red Strings Club
And apologies to Red Dead Redemption 2, Return of the Obra Dinn, Dead Cells and possibly Celeste for being games that looked like they could have troubled my top five, if only I’d had a chance to play them!
Additionally, an additional post script, notable games I played in 2018 but were not eligible for these awards:
- Goragoa 
This thing is beautiful and intriguing [and short]. If you go back and play one 2017 game in 2019, make it Goragoa.
- DropMix 
Is this a video game? Is it even a game at all? I have no idea, but it sure is a lot of fun and can entertain an entire room of people aged 5-50.
- Tyranny 
I’m a bit of an Obsidian/Black Isle sceptic, or perhaps a cynic. Either way, I was not expecting to enjoy this odd little role-playing game as much as I did.
- Doom 
I thought I had changed. Old though I am, I can still remember a time I enjoyed first-person shooters. Perhaps I had played too many and become tired of the genre? Maybe my tastes had evolved, and I enjoyed deeper game experiences now? Or is it simply that my reaction times and reflexes had been eroded by the ravages of time and I am no longer capable of playing a favourite genre? No, no and no. They simply stopped making them this good!
- Two Point Hospital
- Forza Horizon 4
- Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
- Pathfinder: Kingmaker
It is well deserving of the praise it has received this year, and many more eloquent writers than I have done so.
Forza Horizon 4
My first Forza Horizon game (and more likey than not my first and last Windows Store purchase.) Tons of fun and variety.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
I was more than willing to wash my hands of the franchise after completing Black Flag, but got brought back by the positive reviews on the setting, the characters, and the combat. It feels very different than the Assassin’s Creed I would have expected. I’m having a good time stabbing people with Kassandra.
Monster Hunter World
I have never played a game in this franchise before, and pretty much every description of it makes it sound like something I would get irritated with pretty quickly. But I have a lot of fun with it instead. Glad I took a risk and gave it a try, so I can beat up weird birds and lizards.
I still have many questions about the mechanics of all its systems, but it plays really well anyway, and - for this series at least - it onboards rather decently. I put a bunch of hours into one of the X3 games, and I fully expect the same will happen here.
A very conventional list, I think, with most of these purchases in the last couple months. Subnautica I played once it left early access. Like most years, I’ll probably end up playing the more interesting releases over the course of 2019: Obra Dinn, Wandersong, Yoku’s Island Express, Unavowed, Chuchel, Paratopic are all just a handful of 2018’s releases that I look forward to playing in the future.
OK, well, if @tomchick voted I spose I will too.
- Monster Hunter World
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Hitman 2
I was thinking I’d slide Mooncrash into my top 5, but my Top 5 is very strong this year. It’s the back 5 I could easily shift around. Strong year for games.
Of course, you can read mine, Nicks and Toms lists and commentary here - https://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2018/12/30/top-ten-games-of-2018/#more-47701
I’ve now put 39 hours into Kingdom Come: Deliverance and edited my list to place it in at number 4. Apologies to God of War, which dropped out of the top 5!
- God of War
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Marvel’s Spider-Man
Honourable mentions: Forgotten Anne, Detroit Become Human
Still to play: Subnautica, Return of the Obra Dinn
Disappointments: Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Red Dead Redemption 2
- Football Manager 2019
- Super Mega Baseball 2
There were a number of “nearly” games, but the one I want to call out is Forza Horizon Four, which would probably have neatly slotted into position four if the Windows Store wasn’t such a giant pain in the arse.
Point and click adventures are where I go if I just want play something at a relaxing pace (which happens more and more these days!) and Lamplight City is the most interesting one I’ve come across in a while.
Without giving too much away you basically play a detective in a 19th century London-ish style setting, you have dialogue choices to make, clues to discover, npc’s to accuse. You can accuse the wrong person and totally fail a case, but the game continues on and I like this aspect. Normally the voice-over work in these games can be a bit ropy, but for a point and click game they’ve done an excellent job. Even the music is pretty decent and that along with the 19th century style setting (all cobblestone streets, horses and carriages, LAMPLIGHTS!) worked for me and allowed me to really get into it.
It’s a very dialogue heavy game, there is no traditional point and click style inventory which normally lead to illogical puzzles where you have to combine the knitting needle with the model car you picked up earlier, in order to frighten the cat down off the bookshelf in order to get the message it has tied to it’s collar etc. I don’t even mind those puzzles usually, but it is a nice change of pace to play a P&C without them.
I feel like my votes are throwaways for the most part so I kinda don’t know why I am even posting, but I guess it’s good to put something in for the record. I didn’t play Spider-Man or God of War although I do own the former and my son bought the latter. There simply isn’t enough time to play everything in a year.
- Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Best 8-bit styled game since Shovel Knight. Everything about it evokes a certain era but without any of the slowdown, shimmering, or general jank that could pervade even the greatest of games from that era. Also doesn’t end after you “finish” it, which is great. It’s short and to the point in a way I wish more games would emulate.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII - It’s the best iteration of Team Deathmatch available in a modern game. Blackout is fun, and I enjoyed messing with it, but this is all about TDM (or Kill Confirmed) for me. Heist is cool too, though. Shwakt!
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - It’s Smash, with everything, and it’s great. You either get it or you don’t.
- Battlefield V - Between Call of Duty and Battlefield, I think these are the best iterations of these two franchises we’ve ever seen. Conquest in Battlefield V has a “You are there” sensibility for a World War II game that is unmatched. The destruction of buildings and terrain is an incredible playfield addition that again adds to that verisimilitude the Battlefield series strives for while still remaining a game. With both this and CoD, I approach them without any real care for single player content or bots so my opinion is directly based on multiplayer online, which again, I think is the best it’s ever been. This is a beautiful rendition of the horror of war.
- SNK 40th Anniversary Collection - It’s one of the very best retro collections I’ve ever played. Filled with facts about development and anecdotes that show just how simple things we take for granted today required serious thought in the early '80s. The games are awesome too, and it expanded half again through free DLC. Digital Eclipse made up for a lot of failed past efforts with this one.
As documented in the Nostalgia, Gaming, and You! thread, I spent a lot of my gaming time playing stuff on systems released before the turn of the century. It’s been a lot of fun both tracking down things I want to play and learning how to get the best picture and sound quality for games of that era on modern televisions. I still have a Sony Trinitron CRT that I love, but there will eventually come a day when other methods are required and I still find emulation to be a tool in the box and not the be all end all solution.
There’s just something about the games of that era that resonate with me far more than many modern releases. Shorter, skill-based, tightly focused… I think that’s why I really enjoy Nintendo’s output more than anyone else’s these days. Even something long form from Nintendo like Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey or Pokémon Let’s Go (which almost made my top five…) is built to be played in small chunks where there is wonder around every corner. That’s how I play so I’m glad someone is still making those sorts of games.
My votes are definitely all throwaways. Still fun to vote!
I guess that depends on what you consider the point of voting even is. If it’s mainly a contest that you “lose” if games you voted for don’t place, then I guess I could see it being a throwaway.
I think it’s just that the votes are sort of wasted. Maybe it’s just a product of there being so many games coming out now that it’s hard to find consensus picks anymore unless it’s something truly eye opening?
It’s cool. I posted anyway. I got to play Battlefield V recently so it made the list a little more valid even if that too is almost completely unrepresented.
I’m glad you posted. I know you said upthread that you wouldn’t because they would be throwaway votes. Being a forum, Qt3 is a series of topics that certain subsets of people go into. I’ve never been in the Slay the Spire thread, or any thread labelled BSG Forum game, or any board gaming thread, or a whole bunch of genres that I don’t play. But I still enjoy hearing about people’s passion for those things when they come up in the general, more communal threads at Qt3 that everyone visits, like the Bargain thread, or threads like this that vote on our game of the year. It’s a chance to be in a virtual fair where you might run across Qt3 members that you don’t normally see since you don’t share the same sub-interests. But it’s still great to hear from them, and to read about why they like their particular sub-interest.
Exactly. And if people only voted for popular stuff, I wouldn’t buy half the s*** in my library. When I see people pull out some super obscure game like Scavenger SV-4, and put it on a game of the year list, I’m pretty much convinced to buy it on the spot. Sure I’ll do a little background check on it, but if someone is passionate enough about some unknown little indie game to put it on a list like this, I know I’ve got to check it out.
Although I can’t say the same about votes for a known entity like Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s those little “throwaway” votes that really get my attention.
So, for me, this thread might serve a couple different purposes. Not only do I want to see how the forum weighs all big titles overall, it’s a way for me to discover little games that might only have been mentioned in threads I’ve never come within a thousand feet of.
I just got done watching dunkey’s video which is really good btw…
…and now I almost want to put ZeroRanger in my list because it really is that good. He has some excellent picks in there.
I’m intrigued by what you said about this game, I’ve been a long time P&C sceptic, but I do look to have my mind changed. Last year I played both The Red Strings Club and Unavowed (ninth and eleventh respectively on my GOTY list) and I thought they were both innovative examples of the genre, did you play them and how does Lamplight City compare?
- Slay the Spire