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 15 through 11.
The Song of Life
Yakuza 6 acts as a fitting send off for everyone’s favorite ex-Yakuza Kazuma Kiryu, offering closure to fans who have followed his more than decade-long story. Almost everything that Yakuza fans have come to know and love about the series is here, along with a few new features sprinkled on top. The biggest and best new addition is the Clan Creator, which lets players control their own gang in a top-down strategy minigame. Another noteworthy improvement is the marked increase in graphical fidelity—thanks to a new engine—which really makes Kamurocho pop. Overall, Yakuza 6 doesn’t quite reach the heights of Yakuza 0, but it’s still a great entry in the long-running series.
|#14||Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: IO Interactive
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hitman 2 might seem like Hitman 2016’s second season of content more than a full-on sequel, but there’s no world in which that’s a bad thing. Running with the formula that made Agent 47’s last outing one of the best—if not the best—in the series, Hitman 2 makes the smart move in simply providing players with more. The levels (for the most part) are bigger and more complex, with actual bushes to hide in and sneak through. Agent 47 has even more tools in his arsenal, including an underrated picture-in-picture feature. Most importantly, the deadly setpieces are even more devilish and hilarious. There’s just nothing quite like a Hitman game, and after a tumultuous runup to its release, Hitman 2 makes an emphatic argument for the series’ continued existence and relevance.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
|Mega Man 11|
2018 not only marked the celebration of the Mega Man X series with the Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2, but it also gave fans of the original Mega Man series a new entry in the classic platforming catalogue. Mega Man 11 continues the long-running formula of players guiding the Blue Bomber through eight stages to defeat new Robot Masters, but it doesn’t stop there. Along with a colorful cel-shaded art style, the game introduces the wild Double Gear system, allowing players to control time and Mega’s power. The feature creates a more customized approach to the series’ typical jump and shoot routine and reminds players that Mega Man can still have new tricks up his sleeve. The only downside is the mediocre soundtrack, but thankfully, Capcom has remedied that by offering a fantastic alternate instrumental score that really brings Mega Man 11 into its own.
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
|Far Cry 5|
Truth be told, Far Cry 5 doesn’t deviate too much from the series’ established recipe for open-world mayhem. We’ve got the guns, the vehicles, the sprawling map full of dangerous wildlife and picturesque vistas (the bigger-than-ever Hope County, Montana). And of course, we’ve got an unhinged, intense villain in the form of Evil-Father-John-Misty-slash-cult-leader Joseph Seed. But Far Cry is one of those games where a bigger, newer version of the same formula can be enough. There’s no other franchise out there that lets you a herd of cows with a flamethrower or befriend a bear named Cheeseburger. And it’s not like Far Cry 5 plays everything safe. That explosive finale went out on enough of a limb that opinions remain starkly divided at the EGM offices to this day.
|#11||Publisher: The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
Developer: Game Freak
|Pokémon Let’s Go|
Pokémon games get remasters almost as often as they get new releases, but few change up the Pokémon formula as much as Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! Not only does Kanto look bigger and brighter than ever before, with the Nintendo Switch fulfilling our childhood dream of seeing the world of Pokémon on a big screen TV, but the Pokémon themselves gain new life, hopping around after their trainers and springing up from the grass. Add in brand-new catching mechanics and some streamlined systems and you have a game with all the familiarity of Kanto, but revitalized training, collecting, and traversal. With adorable partners, a nicely remade soundtrack, and shiny hunting that’s actually fun, the Let’s Go games are more than worthy of kicking off the next console generation of Pokémon.
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.