While everyone is releasing their favorite games of 2018, with the lists kind of looking the same, I thought I’d bring some other titles into the mix. While I loved most of the big releases this year, I enjoyed some others more. In no particular order, welcome to my Games of the Year.
Before you ask me “What about ___________!?” rest assured this would be a massive list if I rattled off every game I enjoyed. These are just a handful of games over the past year that left a resounding feel with me even months after I played and ones I have encouraged others to purchase almost vehemently.
Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft)
Yes, I mentioned this one first because it has not been a one-and-done situation with me. In a time where my week is split between usually four to five different games, I played this not just on PC but I bought it on PS4 just to co-op with my kid. If a game has me owning it on different systems, it has me hook, line and sinker. The story is phenomenal with a cast of villains that are so charismatic that you start to see why their cult exists. Greg Bryk plays the magnanimous leader of Eden’s Gate, a cult that has taken over Hope County. Montana has never seen people like these and, to counter that crazy, comes a much crazier resistance. The game tells a wild story but the DLC goes into the B-movie wacky and I loved every moment of it. Grab this game and play it co-op with a friend. You’ll be entertained the WHOLE time. If you knew how much I loved Ubisoft’s other title this year, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you’d know how good Far Cry 5 had to be for me to put it here instead.
A Way Out (Electronic Arts)
Now, I tend to talk about my favorites as being games I can get a lot of time out of. Replay value or multiplayer modes tend to stretch a title quite a bit with me, but A Way Out doesn’t have replay value for me, so what gives? Simply put, it’s an incredible experience to play with someone you care about and yeah, perhaps just once. Now, I haven’t tried playing it more than once but I think it’s because that first time was such an indelible experience that I didn’t want to experience it again because a second time meant I knew everything. The heartwarming story wouldn’t have resounded the same if I knew what was coming. Playing this with one of my favorite people made this a game where all I could do was yelp “FRIENDSHIP!” before doing anything at all. EA did something neat where the game was only $30 and your friend could play for free. This comes off of the fact you’re encouraged to play with a friend and I believe EA knew the replay value would be low. Think of it as taking you and your BFF to the movies. You see it once and it’s $15 per ticket but you had a great dang time. That’s what this is. Top notch animation and voice acting made this game such a treasured moment this year for me. Wondering why this is so vague? I refuse to ruin it for anyone. It’s a buddy-drama movie you can play — go do so!
Destiny 2: Forsaken (Activision | Bungie )
We can all readily admit that Year One of Destiny 2 was confusing and a rough start to the sequel. However, with Forsaken being the first major expansion effort that would open up Year Two — I felt such relief. Forsaken kicks off with the beloved character of Cayde-6 being in some trouble. A character many had fallen in love with from the moment they played the first Destiny title, there weren’t many players not heavily invested in this storyline. It brought much needed changes to the game’s play-style, a brand new mode called Gambit that brought PVP and PVE together for those wanting to dip their toes into player-versus-player in Destiny and story development that would make your head spin. So much happens that it was one of those situations where you had to cut a friend off if they were asking about it with “No, no. I know how Year One went but trust me, this MORE than makes up for it.” and send them on their way. As we work through our first DLC since the expansion, let me tell you – there’s a lot more meat to this game than ever before.
Battle Chef Brigade (Adult Swim)
I know, I know. “But Candice,” you’ll say, “this game came out in November last year.” and I’ll nod and slide you a plate of cookies. Then I would let you know you’re very right, but that I never include games from the last two months of a year in any Game of the Year picks and that other people shouldn’t either (hint-hint.) Sure, I could include Red Dead Redemption on here as it’s a marvel that we’ve been waiting forever for, but it JUST came out. That hardly seems fair. Now, Battle Chef Brigade came out last November and within that year has already come with a Deluxe edition as a free update, but has had me hitting ‘New Game’ more than four times now. The Deluxe Edition brought us split-screen multiplayer, a new character to play, survival modes and freeplay. It boosts an already incredible game into one I loved and adored already. With beautiful music, animation, voice acting and an engaging and well-crafted Fantasy Iron Chef story – there’s just not a lot out there like it. If you know someone who loves puzzles but wants to kick it up a few notches, grab this for them ASAP.
Honorable Mentions: God of War, Jackbox Party Pack 5, Animal Lover, Sally’s Salon: Kiss and Make-Up and Monster Hunter: World
Now, I won’t bog this down and I mentioned two of the bigger games down here because they’re obvious “Of course” titles. Everyone, including myself, has written about the glorious feat that is Sony Santa Monica’s God of War. So, in the favor of brevity, I shall keep my reasoning to one short sentence per title. God of War brought my time knowing Kratos into a full perfect circle that made me fall in love with him all over again. There are few games more fun to put on than Jackbox 5’s Mad Verse City because rapping robots are my mood always. Animal Lover is a comedic triumph of a visual novel written and drawn by one of the best up-and-coming indie developer partnerships you’ve never heard of (Trainwreck Studios. Check them out!) Sally’s Salon is, at first glance, one of those time-management sinks your parents like but give it a second glance because it is ANYTHING but that. Monster Hunter: World doesn’t need me to tell you how fascinating and fun it is but it could do from some more intuitive UI in the future. I still loved playing it, so it gets a pass and its gorgeous visuals and non-stop content updates mean it deserves being on this list.