DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Ben Walker's Top 10
With God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, and so many other great games, it was hard to pick just 10. That said, here are my top 10 games from 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.
2018. Seriously, what a year for gaming. I can’t remember the last time I actually had this many games to juggle into the top 3. When Sony blew their load at E3 2016, it was one of their best conferences and, incidentally, most of those games released this year, like God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man. I didn’t jump on the Nintendo Switch hype until August of this year, and honestly, I’ve barely used it because of all the other titles shining instead.
I don’t usually compile lists in my head of ten games because only a select few titles really keep my enthusiasm by the end of the year. However, when thinking about my backlog and the games that did come out this year, it reignited a spark in me that felt these games needed recognizing. Here are my Top 10 games for 2018:
10. Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 ranks at the beginning of my list for Game of the Year and it barely made it onto here. Let me tell you a story of how I even came to purchase this title. I’m a bad spender – give me money, it’s gone in a week or two. I had money around the time that Far Cry 5 was about to release and I thought “meh, why not” and pre-ordered the game. It’s a bad habit; help me. In doing so, I jumped blindly into a series which I had never really touched other than playing Far Cry 4 and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon at a friend’s house in the previous years.
Needless to say, Far Cry 5 was a huge change from its predecessors – and I’m not sure I liked it. At the start of the game, it’s quite fun when you begin to learn about the cult and story of the world you’ve been dropped into. It had great potential from the get-go, with a cool concept. However, Ubisoft wasn’t the best at executing that later on down the line.
I’ll be honest – I didn’t finish the game because I lost motivation to do so. Either way, a game has its faults but can also be quite fun. I did have a bit of a blast in co-op free roam and running around this unique open world. As is with Far Cry games, I loved the times where wild animals would appear out of nowhere and help me attack NPCs. I adored Boomer and all of the other companions, but that’s about it.
Check out the DualShockers review of Far Cry 5.
9. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Okay, this was a huge change for Call of Duty, at least in the sense that they barely changed any features from previous games. Black Ops 4 removed single-player, one of the series’ best elements, and replaced it with Blackout – an awful attempt at battle royale. That said, the multiplayer is surprisingly fun with its new additions such as manually-regenerating health, specialist-based combat, improved mobility and controls, and the change in game-modes.
It’s nice to see a Call of Duty game be fun again, and actually feel somewhat balanced. Blackout is another story – that mode absolutely sucks. Zombies becomes more and more complicated every year, so much so that I don’t feel like it’s a “casual mode” anymore. All I want is for me and my friends to jump into zombies and see how long we last, but the maps are too convoluted and you have to do a crap ton of objectives just to unlock the better weapons. I want Zombies from the original Black Ops back.
Either way, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (or IIII if you want to be difficult) takes players on a good journey into the lands of playing online. In short, we don’t care if you want to play a story – fight these kids instead. At least they actually made it fun unlike Fallout 76.
This incredibly good spin-off to my personal Game of the Year from 2015, Undertale, is just part one of a possible series, and I’m super excited. We’re finally into that part of the list where I stop half-criticizing games and instead showcase how bloody good some of them are. Deltarune was a fantastic revisit to the world of Undertale with vital mechanic changes, a unique story, and an all-new cast of characters mixed with reused ones.
Lancer’s design is hilarious; I love the thought of a chubby spade who rides a bicycle. I won’t reveal any of the plot details, because if you’ve played Undertale but not Deltarune you have to go jump into it right now. It’s a blast, and you should be playing it. If not, go play Undertale then this game. I’ll be waiting. I’d put this game as number 1 if so many amazing AAA games didn’t exist. Let’s get into those now.
Yes, Fortnite is on my Top 10 list. No, I have no regrets. I’m putting it on this list less because of it being a good game (it’s pretty good, to be honest) but more because of the game’s significance this year and the impact it made on my life. I played Fortnite on the day they released the Battle Royale mode last year, purely because consoles (at the time) didn’t have a battle royale game due to PUBG being on PC originally. I found that it was decent, but never would I have imagined the absolute influence it would gain.
Aside from becoming the most popular video game on the planet, Fortnite actually helped me expand on my career this year. I started off the year at various other outlets before eventually branching out into writing about Fortnite. Writing about this game actually allowed me to open up my experiences in games writing, and I actually ended up here at DualShockers because of it. I’m happy at the journey this game allowed me to take, and the memories I’ll have because of it. As much as it can suck sometimes waking up early in the morning to write about patch notes, it gives me the motivation to keep going and not just lay in bed all day. Thank you, Fortnite. You can suck it if you blindly hate this game. That’s my two cents.
6. Detroit: Become Human
“Oh no,” you say: we’re entering Sony territory – and with a bang, as one of the most gorgeous games of this year is Detroit: Become Human. Detroit was a huge step forward from the previous titles from Quantic Dream and David Cage, and a game where choices actually changed the story. From the days of Telltale Games and Life is Strange emerges a game where the choices you make surprisingly matter, and the game lets you view what could’ve happened instead. I loved when I checked the choice map at the end of a scene and realized everything that mattered. Except for saving that goldfish at the start – that made no difference whatsoever.
That’s also not to mention how absolutely mind-bogglingly gorgeous this game is. The photorealistic visuals are mind-blowing when accompanied by those motion-capture performances of a lifetime. The star-studded cast of Bryan Dechart, Clancy Brown, Valorie Curry, Jesse Williams, and more perfectly brings each and every character to life to tell an enriched story of a very possible near-future. It’s a visually-appealing masterpiece.
5. Tetris Effect
Tetris Effect is a gem of an experience. With incredible, entrancing visuals that make you feel like you’re in either the next Star Wars combined with a mixture of audio that flies around your brain and sucks you into the dreamscape, Tetris Effect is a masterpiece. Each movement subtly synchronizes itself with the music playing in the background, with the BPM adapting to your placements and rotations. For something as simple as Tetris, this game really puts an Effect on you.
It’s also extremely difficult. As someone who had never played video games would say, it’s the Dark Souls of puzzle games. I should probably change the difficulty, to be honest. Either way, I’m having a blast with this game; I wouldn’t even call it a game – but an auditory and visual experience. Go play it.
Check out the DualShockers review of Tetris Effect.
4. A Way Out
A Way Out was such a good game, and a refreshing take on the co-op genre. I absolutely adore co-operative games, especially those in which me and a single friend can complete a campaign. This game from Hazelight Studios was an absolute blast of a time, with minigames in-between story elements such as Connect Four or Baseball being such a nice way to take a break from the story and just have fun. Me and my co-operative partner beat the game in a single sitting with how much we adored it.
I think I’ll forever keep coming back to A Way Out with new friends just to see their reactions to each element of this short, but sweet experience. The fact that it is developed for couch co-op but also allows anyone with a copy to invite their friend to play for free is something I absolutely admire, and Josef Fares’ dream came together extremely well. The game sold well, which I love, and I hope to see more out of this genre of video games. What a title.
Check out the DualShockers review of A Way Out.
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man
Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best superhero video game of all time. Sorry to the Batman: Arkham games, I love you – but this game is just so good. I’m kinda sad that it got snubbed at this year’s The Game Awards ceremony, losing to the next two games on my list (spoiler alert)…and also got snubbed at our own Awards ceremony. Boy, oh boy, this game got pushed under the rug.
The combat is magnificent when combined with all of the different variations of movements that the player can create; it is an utterly satisfying experience, one in which I keep coming back to. It’s rare that an open world game can keep my attention for so long (I have the attention span of a fetus), and Marvel’s Spider-Man achieves that magnificently. Well played, Insomniac Games.
2. God of War
God of War is a masterpiece; a project with the absolute intent of demolishing any of its competition Kratos-style. The game was my first foray into the God of War series, and playing the original remastered trilogy makes me just wanna go back to the new one. It’s such a damn good game that if I went into everything amazing about it, then this article would never be finished.
The gameplay, the story, the music, the tone, the setting, the atmosphere, and everything – just everything about God of War is an absolute delight. My issue is that the game ended way too early. I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment. Bring it, Sony Santa Monica.
Check out the DualShockers review of God of War.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 brings something new to the table; not in the sense of just being a fresh take on the open-world genre, but being a revolutionary landmark in the history of video games. Ever since the release of the original Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games has worked tirelessly on this project – controversially so, after the senior writers stated that they worked 100-hour weeks.
If you’re reading through each and every staff member’s Game of the Year lists, it’s pretty likely that most, if not almost all of them will include both God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 at the forefront (assuming they played them). I’m falling straight into that trend – but you have to admit that there is an astonishing reason behind it. Both of these games are absolute masterworks, built detail-by-detail in order to transcend the normal experience of an open world game.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a thrill to play, and quite frankly is one of the greatest video games ever made.
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