Eesh, whatever. I’m leaving Spire on until it’s explicitly disallowed by whoever is making the rules for this thing. Almost everyone who played it, played it this year. For whatever value the word “released” has in 2018, it was released in 2018.
Yeah I got confused because I thought it had entered Early Access in 2018, not Nov 2017. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. But I hate to retract a ruling I made upthread, especially after people voted for the game. So this is Slay the Spire’s best shot at winning a Quarterly.
I retracted my vote for Slay the Spire, since it seems anyway to be the only game still in EA that is being nominated this year. I hope Spireslaying lovers shall unite again this time next year!
I was all hyped to vote for my absolute favorite game of the year, They Are Billions; a game I have been playing almost daily since this summer. Alas, it seems that it was released just over a year ago… I weep with the knowledge that I missed over six months of play-time.
I played the hell out of this game when it was in early access, then I played the hell out of it when it was released. Awesome pacing; relaxing and tense in equal measure; a surprising pacifistic streak. I look forward to playing it in VR someday.
I doubt I can add much to what’s been said above.
- Dead Cells
I hate platformers; I don’t care for “pixelart” games; I don’t like 2-D side-scrollers. Yet I adore this game. Smart grinding, well-paced action, and a meta-progression that keeps me coming back.
I used to play the original board game, and loved it. This it the first computerized version that has really reclaimed that feeling.
- Fallout 76
There are no shortage of things wrong with this game, but it’s still a good Fallout experience and I’m still racking up the hours.
Slay the Spire
Into the Breach
I checked into it last year, but it was an Early Access title, so it was not eligible last year. Is it out of Early Access yet? If it comes out in 2019 when it’s released, you can vote for it then.
I just checked and it isn’t out of EA yet.
Remember when games got release dates, like actual real life exciting release dates and didn’t just sort of roll into here’s a v1.0 as a footnote?
It can be even worse: on mobygames, some people enjoy adding GOG rereleases of DOS games as 201x Windows/Mac/Linux releases.
- DCS: F/A-18C Hornet .Dcs really came into its own this year for me. And just before years’ end they improved the VR fluidity in no small measure!
- Subnautica would have taken top spot for me if it weren’t for DCS. It’s creative use of game mechanics to subvert the usual find stuff, shoot stuff gameplay into find stuff and scan stuff is imo of no small significance. There is fun and tension to be had without a gun in your hand!
- BATTLETECH does good ol’ violence real good tho. Big! Stompy! Robots! ZAP! KAPOW! I loved every plodding minute of it.
- Assassins’ creed Odyssey introduced me to my favourite character ever; Kassandra. She’s hot, she’s sassy, she’s smart and in my game, she’s a good person. She kicked every ass she could except those she forgave their sins. I had a great time with her. The fact that she lives in gorgeous cartoon Greece helped too.
- Overload I hardly played enough of this, but just how perfectly it catches classic Descent gameplay feel warrants its place on my list. VR too!
I’ll be damned. Here I thought I was playing a post-release game. Well there we go: my #1 game for 2019 (?): They Are Billions.
- Into the Breach
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
Games that I really like so far, and might have made the list if I had found time to dig into them more: God of War, Monster Hunter World, Slay the Spire, Subnautica, Hollow Knight
Honorable Mention: Bard’s Tale IV, Dead Cells, Overload,
Games I played in 2018 and would have easily made the list if they weren’t old: Ni-oh, Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin, Breath of the Wild, Golf Story
Games I haven’t played, but want to: RimWorld, Warhammer 40K: Gladius, Red Dead Redemption 2, Spiderman, Obra Dinn, Dragon Quest XI, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
I tried a wider variety of genres this year than I have in previous years. I continued with my annual $200 spending limit experiment (admittedly it’s less of an experiment after five years though), so to stretch my dollars as far as possible, many of my favorite games of the year are ineligible.
- Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
My list probably would be different if I wasn’t without my gaming PC from June through the end of the year. Any one of these have the potential to crack the top 5 if I had been able to play them: Kingdom Come: Deliverance, The Bard’s Tale IV, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, Frostpunk, BATTLETECH.
- I took off Slay the Spire due to it releasing in 2019.
For the 2018 games I actually have played…
Into the Breach: Such good bite-sized tactical battles with good faction variety. A unique twist is the game displays what the enemies are going to do on their next turn - which eliminates the guesswork and maximizes the tactical options. Also, Slay the Spire actually displays enemy intents too, so maybe it is a sign that this is a good game design decision.
Northgard : A RTS for someone who doesn’t like the frantic clicking of traditional RTSs. The campaign did a great job highlighting the play styles of the different factions. I have only spent a little time playing skirmishes vs the AI, but the campaign was a lot of fun.
Hollow Knight: (Switch) I have a love hate relationship with this. The gameplay itself is good, but it does start off slow. Needing to find the map to be able to navigate each area reliably is both rewarding and frustrating. Mastering the moves needed to beat the bosses can be aggravating but also provide great highs. Unlike most I’m not crazy about the art style - I much prefer the colorfulness of something like Ori and the Blind Forest. Still, Hollow Knight has something that keeps calling me back after I step away - I’m still working on finishing it but it can be exhausting.
Railway Empire: Something satisfying about picking up resources and bringing them where they are demanded. Laying track and organizing train lines is rewarding. The game isn’t without it’s flaws. Sometimes planning which trains enter a station on which track can be fiddly. The AI opponents can be pretty annoying with their banter.
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War : A 4X focused on war - there is no peace, but it does war pretty well. The AI handles it wayyyy better than Civ. Gladius doesn’t have the breadth of a more traditional 4X, but it does what it does well.
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire: If this were turn based it probably would be higher. I’ve learned I’m pretty tired of real time with pause for my RPGs. This improves upon Pillars 1 in many ways with some mechanic tweaks. The writing is less flowery in general with is a plus. I still like the non combat usage of skills to determine the outcomes of dialog and events. At release the combat wasn’t balanced very well which made much of the combat trivial on veteran difficulty.
Pathfinder Kingmaker: Much of what I said about PoE 2 applies here. I prefer the DnD system, and the setting of establishing a kingdom better than PoE 2. The ‘kingdom ruling’ part is so much better in theory than in practice. It is so flimsy, but it does add some flavor. Bugs also drag the game down.
Other recommended games…
For the King
Two Point Hospital
Not bad, but skippable…
- God of War
- Marvel’s Spider-man
- Monster Hunter: World
- Slay the Spire - I am so confused if this should count or not, but if it does, I have not played a game this obsessively since its predecessor Dream Quest, which it surpasses in almost every way, or even Diablo 2, which I played on and off for practically 10 years. A terrific blend of long term strategy with short term tactics, risk mitigation, sometimes puzzle like cardplay, and a heaping help of crazy card effects and randomness to keep it all interesting for a very very long time. This is actually my game of the year for this year and last and possibly next.
- West of Loathing (2018 on Switch) - Very very funny in a refreshing, not meme-y way. Plus fun to play. All that I hoped it would be.
- Yoku’s Island Express - Just a delight and never failed to put a smile on my face. I love the opening song.
- Captain Toad Treasure Tracker - does this count? A thoroughly charming and ridiculous collection of actiony puzzles. I am unwilling to replay the minecart sections to get enough stars to unlock all the stages so this will forever remain unfinished, sadly.
- Labyrinth of Refrain - Only halfway through (if that) and I love the changes this brings to the dungeon crawler (DRPG) genre. The ability to break through walls makes me feel like I am exploring more than in other DRPGs, even though logically I know it’s the same mazes with a coat of paint on top.
Into the Breach, Dragon Quest XI, Ass Creed: Origins, Yakuza 0, Katamari Damacy Rerolled, Lego DC 2 Villains
Cultist Simulator - best writing with worst gameplay. Which describes how i feel about all Fallen London associated games, sadly. Can some of these talented folks just write a novel or short stories or something so I can access their luscious writing in a more enjoyable way? Have they already?
Spiderman - Haven’t played it enough to put it anywhere…I love the gameplay but man am I getting tired of just awful things happening in superhero games. I want Spiderman ‘66 with gameplay just as fun as this.
Go Vacation - wanted to shout out this as probably the most played game on my Wii, with my 5-yr old at the time. So great exploring and skating/rollerblading/horse riding/racing around. We barely even touched the minigames. The remake is certainly recommended to anyone in the same situation.
Path of Exile - I finally tried this again after many years and hoo boy they have ironed out the rough patches for sure. I am going to play this a lot. I hope the PS4 version is good, anyone have comments on the XBONE version?
Ni no Kuni 2, Mario Tennis Aces
Battle Chasers Revenant - there’s a lot of mechanical depth but too many repeated slow uninteresting battles
Looking forward to trying: (a list needing some culling because good grief)
Gorogoa, Subnautica, Ass Odyssey, QUBE 2 - this got great reviews when it came out, anyone have any thoughts?, Swords of Ditto, Pillars of Eternity II on switch, Bards Tale IV, Omensight, Finally getting through an SMT game with Strange Journey Redux, Detroit, Moonlighter, Capcom’s Beat em up Classics, Vampyr, Minit, more Yakuza, Gris, Gardens Between, The Missing, Donut County, 428 Shibuya Scramble, Wasteland 2 on Switch, Crosscode, Xenoblade 2 Torna, Wandersong, Starlink, Obra Dinn, Unavowed, Thronebreaker, Gal Metal, Mutant Football League, Sypro remake, Monster Boy, Florence, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Celeste on easy mode, the easy patch mode for Dead Cells so I can get past the first boss, Forgotton Anne, 11-11 memories retold
Slay the Spire is a weird one, because it came out in 2017 (according to Wikipedia) but in November, and basically everyone picked it up in 2018 to play, and it is basically finished, but its release from EA is in January 2019.
They basically structured this to make it impossible to quantify a release date.
My thinking is, a massive amount of people played Slay the Spire in 2018, you could pay money for it, it is basically out at this point. If people want to hold off to make it GOTY next year, have at it, but 2018 was the real debut of Slay the Spire, to me, so I am putting it on my list.
No. In 2016 the rule on EA was “if you gotta, you gotta, I suppose” and in 2017 it was “go ahead and list whatever”.
Brief historical note: originally everyone was happy to spread the votes across multiple years to penalize EA games for their crappy release policy. Now it’s pretty standard I guess.
Who’s to say it doesn’t sweep the nation in 2019?
Playing Subnautica hit all the right buttons for me: discovering stuff, finding my own solutions/being somewhat creative and having something that speaks to my imagination. And, Oh my, deep waters scare me a lot. I played it with a constant shiver - and those sounds! What an adventure.
(Since it’s gone it’s not an alpha/ea anymore!) Poor 80s-man’s Battle Royale. Yeah, it’s an embarrassing choice, I know. Many considered it a technical mess and it was an actual alpha version. And a mess. But after 15 years or so I accidentally re-discovered the joy of multiplayer shooting. It managed to give me a clear understanding of weapons’ strength and purpose. It had an instresting enough map and some of the game-show-theming was well done. The final shootout remains the best staged endgame/final of a Battle Royale-game and ‘You Are the Best Around’ was just the perfect song for it.
I’m not really sure if I like adventure games at all. Mostly it’s the atmosphere and their anachronistic/old game design (static, slow, reading lots of text, strange puzzles to solve) that draws me in. Mostly I don’t stay for long. But this here came at the right time and it’s different: it’s easygoing but it’s not an interactive movie/Telltale. There’s enough to do. As someone mentioned above: there are new mechanics when it still feels like a classic point and click adventure. And, last but not least, a short trip to a dark rainy New York.
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War
Just one more turn. No distractions. As others said: RTS thinking paired with relaxed turned based acting.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
Very straightforward design: explore the map, fight your turn based fights, loot, upgrade, enjoy the story bits of the bizarre setting, repeat. Good atmosphere/pretty graphics.
Games that could have been on the list if I had already played them more: Call of Duty: BLOPS 4, Tower of Time, Star Control: Origins, Battletech, Kingdome Come: Deliverance, For the King, Dead Cells. Liked them all very much but it was a busy year and longer interruptions make me change my games…
A game that should be on the list because I fulfill all the requirements: Monster Hunter: World. I love Dark Souls/challenging fights…, I like grinding, I like MMOs. Maybe in 2019. I just disliked the lengthy beginning of it so much; …and the quests/introductions thereafter… and the interface…
Oh shit! Now you did it!