2018 was a very interesting year in video games. Over the last 12 months, we received even more proof that single-player games are alive and well, saw a mix of big releases and small indie hits, and watched as unexpected games crashed and burned (or rose to the heavens). We also, in many ways, had a lot of hopes and dreams finally fulfilled—no matter if you’re looking for a bit of smashing, or a smidge of redemption. And yet, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this generation’s days may truly be numbered, and that something is waiting just over the horizon. No matter what, it was a year that gave us a lot of great gaming. In the end, however, we could only pick twenty-five of those experiences to fill the slots of our “Best of 2018” rankings. So, after much deliberation, here are EGM‘s Top 25 games of the year, today looking at numbers 10 through 06.
|#5||Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Insomniac Games
In an age of superhero oversaturation, it’s hard to do something that stands out from the crowd. Even Spider-Man on his own is a little overexposed these days, with 2018 bearing witness to an appearance in Infinity War, a spin-off in Venom, and an animated movie that’s literally about how there are way too many Spider-Men. But once you pick up a controller and start playing Marvel’s Spider-Man, all that context and clutter just falls away. You’re swinging through the streets of New York. You’re taking out classic bad guys (with the fresh twist of a modern makeover, of course). You’re reliving remixed story beats from classic comic arcs. You don’t worry about Spider-Man fatigue because, for those few hours you spend in virtual Manhattan, you are Spider-Man. That’s a special trick.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
|Monster Hunter: World|
For years, Monster Hunter was the semi-obscure series that Japanese gaming fans wouldn’t shut up about. This year, that all changed with the release of Monster Hunter: World. This latest chapter of the franchise is still built around the idea of players teaming up and traversing a hostile world to take out monsters immense in both size and ferocity. The difference this time is that, freed from the limitations of previously having been almost exclusively released on handheld hardware, Capcom used the power of current-gen consoles to take everything to a whole new level. This was the Monster Hunter fans saw in their minds when playing the previous games, but now that those fantasies are real, the series has been opened up to a far wider audience, and we all won as a result.
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd.
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate|
Before anyone even played Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it was already poised to be a contender for one of the best games of the year. The great news is that not only did it live up to its hype, but it also managed to exceed expectations in the areas that no one had anticipated. The addictive free-for-all Smash mode is just as amazing as its always been, and the whopping 74 playable characters have quickly made it the definitive way to experience the brawler’s formula. However, it’s the new Spirits heavily featured throughout the World of Light campaign that add a surprisingly fun role-playing element to the party game. Now there’s a level of strategy that hasn’t been seen in a Smash Bros. game, which should radically change the future of the franchise. Plus, solo players have a reason to continue coming back even when they don’t have friends to smash. Good work, Nintendo.
|#2||Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio
|God of War|
God of War is 2018’s god of gaming. It’s rare for an existing series to pull off a reimagining that’s on par with the originals, but God of War mops the floor with its predecessors. The best parts of the original gameplay are still there, with meaty combat that’s both tactical and brutal, and Kratos’s Leviathan Axe proving a mighty weapon as it rips through enemies and obstacles alike. Kratos is more than a ruthless war machine now, though. Haunted by his past and determined not to let his son, Atreus, repeat his mistakes, Krato embarks on a quest through Midgard in a story with a gripping emotional core. With the stunning backdrop of Norse mythology, an enormously huge and polished world to explore, and secrets and challenges around every corner, God of War is one game from 2018 that shouldn’t be missed.
|#1||Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
Developer: Rockstar Games
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
|Red Dead Redemption 2|
Once or twice a decade, a game will come along that raises the bar. Red Dead Redemption 2 is such a game. Even before its impressive multiplayer experience launched, this game’s single-player was unlike anything we’ve played before. The characters are exceptionally well-realized, and the action is perfectly paced, but it’s the level of detail and care put into the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 that leaves the most lasting mark.
Take the gunplay, for example. RDR2 uses a feature that requires players to manually pull back the hammer for each shot of single-fire armaments. This may sound like a trivial system, but it gives the gunplay a satisfying level of immersive challenge. You have to master the firing rhythm of every gun you use, and once you did, it makes you feel much more like a true cowboy than a conventional firing system ever could.
Perhaps even more impactful, however, is the connection the game helps you form with your horses. Horses in the previous game were relatively disposable means of transport, but the sequel gives these beasts their own place in the story. Forming a functional bond with them has gameplay benefits, but the emotional bond that can develop during the campaign is just as rewarding. While using these animals to travel across the game’s massive landscape, it’s hard not to appreciate the effort that went into creating everything around you. From the dense forests to the rolling plains, and all the wildlife that inhabit them, there is always something to uncover on this frontier.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was a long time coming, and it was hard to believe that the game could possibly live up to the hype. But it did, and we’ll continue enjoying this adventure for years to come.
We’re taking a look at the best games of 2018 all week, from December 24th through January 1st. Check back every day for our Top 25 Games of 2018, as well as our personal lists for the games we loved most this year. Check here for everything that’s been posted so far.