DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Ben Bayliss’ Top 10
From Sea of Thieves, to Red Dead Redemption 2, to older classics like Rocket League and Ocarina of Time, here were the games I most enjoyed throughout 2018.
As 2018 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games and what were their personal highlights within the last year. Unlike the official Game of the Year 2018 awards for DualShockers, there are little-to-no-rules on our individual Top 10 posts. For instance, any game — not just 2018 releases — can be considered.
This year has been an exciting one, with highs and lows all over the place as well as some remarkable-looking titles being launched across all platforms. Xbox Games Pass has also been a fantastic service to me this year, allowing me the chance to try out some of the biggest Xbox exclusives this year, and on top of all these new titles, I’ve also found myself delving into some titles that weren’t launched this year, but still hold up well enough to enjoy.
So without further ado, I’m going to go through some of my top titles from 2018, but I will try to keep it as close to 2018 launches as I can:
This un-released and (now dead) Decksplash from Bossa Studios was an absolutely amazing skateboarding title that should have been released in 2017. Sadly, the business side of Bossa decided that it wasn’t worth pushing live after a free week failed to hit their target goal of 100,000 players.
Despite those circumstances, Decksplash utilized interesting and weird controls that previous Bossa Studios titles such as I Am Bread and Surgeon Simulator are famed for and had players riding skateboards that could be flipped, perform grinds and manuals to tie large combos together. The core idea of Decksplash was that the bigger the combo that was landed, the more of that team’s paint coverage would splash out from the skateboard. I played this weekly throughout the closed alpha testing from about February 2017 until the free week that ended in the fall later that year. It’s certainly one of the best skateboarding titles in years, it’s just a shame it never saw the light of day.
9. Portal 2
While I did enjoy Portal, I felt more connected to the sarcastic humor as well as the addition of multiplayer that came with Portal 2. The story mode provided me with more than enough playthroughs, as each time had me trying to better my previous run. However, the unique portal mechanics thrown into a cooperative world led to me replaying levels with friends over and over; not to better my previous run, just to enjoy myself and have a laugh. It’s certainly up there as one of my favorite titles I’ve played, and revisiting Portal 2 proves that it has aged wonderfully.
Check out the DualShockers review of Portal 2.
8. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Why is one of the most adored games ever listed at number 8 you cry? Well, I agree with the masses: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an incredible game. The graphics are amazing, the story had interesting twists and turns, and the combat felt better than the first title.
But while I lost myself for hours exploring the world taking photos with Nvidia Ansel, I realized that my desire to return to the storyline I’d frequently leave depended on how ready I was to invest myself in it. I love it, but I felt like I could never do it justice with short playthroughs and so I only return, dipping my toes into Geralt’s boots for a short while, then leave feeling guilty I didn’t overstay my welcome.
7. Forza Horizon 4
I’ve always been a fan of Forza Horizon games, but I’ve only had the pleasure of playing demos prior to launch. Thankfully, 2018 saw Xbox Games Pass bring Forza Horizon 3 to Xbox One users, but then shortly after we got Forza Horizon 4 fully launched onto Xbox Games Pass.
Forza Horizon 4 is an incredible driving title that felt like it was living and breathing as the seasons changed and other players racing around doing their own thing in the British countryside. Of course, the traffic didn’t feel as realistic as it is over here in the UK, but at least Playground Games captured our rainy days perfectly and the simulation aspect complimented the arcade racing style. It’s just a shame that the subtitles were awful, so I have no idea what happens in the story really.
Check out the DualShockers review of Forza Horizon 4.
6. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS
My all-time childhood favorite Legend of Zelda game has to go in this list because after moving house this year, I found my Golden Triforce 3DS and whacked the game in. I ended up completing the game once again, and still have no idea how many times I have completed it to this day.
While the original N64 version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time will always remain true to my heart, I’m a huge fan of the 3DS version. That’s not only because of the way it brings a new perspective to enjoy the game, but the handheld and motion control aspects were something else. It’s a timeless classic that received an incredible remaster.
5. Overcooked 2
Overcooked 2 is a game that I think deserves to go up here because of how powerful its couch co-op mode is. While online play with no microphone and working with strangers is a nuisance, being in the room with friends —and even with your kid, if you have kids— is a great experience.
Shouting at your mate to pass the flour and then swearing at them to stop throwing dozens of eggs at you is an experience I’ll never grow tired of. Additionally, the bond that can form between you and your child is wholesome as they descend into giggling fits over dropping a pancake in the swamp.
Check out the DualShockers review of Overcooked 2.
4. Sea of Thieves
Not everyone was a fan of Rare’s pirate-themed online game Sea of Thieves, but I was. After trying out some of its closed alphas, I was almost sold as I had been looking for a decent pirate game that wasn’t Sid Meier’s Pirates! or Pirates of the Burning Sea for years.
Sea of Thieves ticked all the boxes for me; it let you freely sail a boat, find treasure, battle, and join friends and strangers to sail the seas alongside other pirates. While most didn’t seem to enjoy the “lack of a story,” I adored being given the freedom to carve out my own adventure, and then, later on, tell the tales with friends. The water looks fantastic as well.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
It goes without saying that as my most anticipated title of 2018, Red Dead Redemption 2 ended up being a beautiful work of art but suffers from feeling so vast, similarly to my comments on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The cowboy setting is always a winner for me and I always find jumping into the world captivating and engaging.
While the story is told brilliantly, I still haven’t finished it, nor have I gotten far into it due to not having the time to invest in it. On top of that the new online mode has arrived, causing my odd adoration for managing an online avatar to pull me away from the single-player. However, I am still enjoying the entire title when I take my time with it as every time I enter the Wild West, there’s always something new happening.
2. Two Point Hospital
I have never liked hospitals. As a child they creeped me out, and then I started getting into Theme Hospital, which ended up giving me nightmares. Despite that, I still loved the classic game, so when Two Point Hospital arrived this year, I had to have it. I was not disappointed and was overwhelmed with how similar that Two Point Studios had kept it true to the original, but with tasteful, modern reimagining.
Managing the hospital felt refined and left me feeling confident in managing funds, and treating patients felt both challenging, but easy-to-understand. The graphics looked cutesy and reminiscent to Theme Hospital and the music kept me hooked.
1. Rocket League
I have always wanted Rocket League but I never thought I’d enjoy it, so I held back from purchasing it. However, in 2018 I decided to just grab it and try it out. Since then, I’ve raked in over 200 hours on the PC, and recently over 10 hours on the Switch.
I’ve played it with friends and owned them, but then the big surprise for me was when I told my father about it. He grabbed hold of it on the Switch, eager to try out this game I was boasting about. Together, we took advantage of the cross-platform play, and soon Rocket League became a weekend activity for us both. The title is still thriving with a community that keeps growing, and next year we should see full cross-platform play arriving with RocketID.
Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10 lists and our official Game of the Year Awards:
December 17: DualShockers Game of the Year Awards 2018
December 18: Lou Contaldi, Editor in Chief // Logan Moore, Reviews Editor
December 19: Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor // Tomas Franzese, News Editor
December 20: Reinhold Hoffmann, Community Manager
December 21: Scott Meaney, Community Director // Ben Bayliss, Staff Writer
December 22: Ben Walker, Staff Writer // Chris Compendio, Staff Writer
December 23: Grant Huff, Staff Writer
December 26: Jordan Boyd, Staff Writer
December 27: Max Roberts, Staff Writer // Michael Ruiz, Staff Writer
December 28: Rachael Fiddis, Staff Writer
December 29: Steven Santana, Staff Writer // Tanner Pierce, Staff Writer
December 30: Iyane Agossah, Staff Writer // Travis Verbil, Staff Writer // Zack Potter, Staff Writer