DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Hoffmann's Top 10
Our Community Manager Reinhold Hoffmann shares his personal top 10 games for 2018, featuring Street Fighter V, Yakuza Zero, and many more.
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 had a lot of great releases, but I still play many games that were released before 2018. Some I play to shrink my giant backlog a bit, while others, like Street Fighter V, I continue to play because they are still getting updates and are a lot of fun online.
It was difficult to choose just ten personal games for me in 2018, especially since I played many older ones. I bought way too many great games on PC in the last two years, thanks to Humble Monthly, and many other bundles alongside individual purchases.
Now, here are my Top 10:
10. GemCraft: Chasing Shadows
This tower defense game was released back in 2014, and it’s already the fourth game of the series. It is a true beast of a game with almost 200 levels and each of them can be a mighty challenge..IF you use the different options and battle traits + difficulty modes to make them one.
It is my most played game according to Steam so far, with over 330 hours. This year I took on the Iron Wizard challenge mode, which removes many features that made the game easier in its normal mode. The developer is currently working on the fifth game in the series that might come with many new features, but will also continue to build on the surprisingly deep and dark story of the GemCraft games.
9. Batman: Arkham Asylum
Yup, I am playing really old games that most people played years ago already sometimes. I love to play many good games, but the majority of my time is usually for fighting games and single-player adventures as the exceptions.
Sometime this summer, I finally started Batman: Arkham Asylum on PC and was…well, hooked. It took me some days and nights to get through it, but they were an awesome experience. The game still looks nice and plays well in 2018, and I am looking forward to playing and beat Arkham City in 2019.
8. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
First of all, the BlazBlue games are a wonderful series of technical fighting games, but they also have a story mode that kicks ass. Unlike the big cinematic experiences in the Netherrealm Studios fighting games like Mortal Kombat X and Injustice, they are going for the visual novel style which can be boring for those that want to see action instead of reading or listening to it, especially the sometimes cringy dialogue.
But if you like this type of story-telling, the BlazBlue games are doing a damn fine job. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend especially has a big main story but also individual story modes for the over 20 characters, and also a few extra stories. I played both the arcade mode and all the story stuff this year and believe that the BlazBlue universe can cause you even more headaches than the Kingdom Hearts ones.
But…I laughed often and that means it was worth the around 50 hours!
7. Grim Dawn
Grim Dawn is a hack & slash (& shoot) action-RPG by the TitanQuest developers, released in 2016 and one of the games that are constantly getting free updates and additions alongside purchasable expansions. Beside its grim setting, it is as addicting to me as Diablo II: Lord of Destruction was many years ago.
Even today and after many hours of playtime I did not see all the skills of every class or discover all the additional parts of the big world this game offers. I stopped playing Diablo 3 years ago as it was just not my thing, but this game is my favorite Diablo-like game now since its launch. It is still getting content, including a big second expansion soon that comes with another character class. Oh well…
I loved the old DOOM games and also the fantastic Brutal Doom Mod, but I had just too many other games to play in 2016 and 2017. In June this year, I eventually started 2016’s DOOM and did not play another game before I beat this damn gem of a first-person shooter, which took around 15 hours for me.
Everything in this game just screams “TESTOSTERONE,” from the awesome industrial metal soundtrack to the fast and very brutal gameplay, and being a protagonist that is more dangerous than even the Cyber-Demon himself. Can’t wait for DOOM Eternal now.
Check out the DualShockers review of DOOM.
5. Earth Defense Force 4.1
To save our mother Earth from any alien attack
From vicious giant insects who have once again come back
We’ll unleash all our forces, we won’t cut them any slack
The EDF deploys!
Play it…love it. This is one of the best video games ever created, and for me personally in the same league as Tetris, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Street Fighter II and Alien 3 on the SNES.
I can’t wait to play Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain next.
E.D.F! E.D.F!!! E.D.F!!!!!!
4. Dungeon Warfare 2
Dungeon Warfare 2 is basically a tower defense game but instead of towers, the player has a ton of different (over 30) traps to use against the masses of humans that want to enter the dungeon. The game has a ton of maps to defend, and the player has to learn strategies and also how to use runes that raise the difficulty of the enemies. But, this also results in bigger rewards for clearing the map and is accompanied by a super fitting metal soundtrack.
I bought this indie game at launch on Steam in July and played almost 60 hours so far. If you like defense-like games, being the evil guy, using traps, and you just love to listen to the death screams of your enemies…Dungeon Warfare 2 is something for you.
3. Yakuza 0
Yakuza 0 was first released on the PlayStation 3 in Japan back in 2015 already, but it is also the first Yakuza game released for the PC. It took SEGA three years to port it, but the game did not feel old or anything to me since I did not play the current-gen Yakuza games like Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 6 yet.
The graphics in Yakuza 0 look greater than ever before on PC, and the game itself is just like a rollercoaster ride through Japanese culture and the Japanese Mafia that the series gets its name from. The two absolutely lovable main protagonists, Kiryu Kazumi and Goro Majima, are a highlight in the sometimes funny, but sometimes also very sad main story.
This game illustrates how video games can be a perfect platform for a combination of an emotional story, relatively simple beat’em up gameplay, a sightseeing tour through Tokyo, and many short stories that are helping both main protagonists to express their very different personalities. I played it for around 40 hours to beat the main story, around 45 of the over 80 side stories, and I am now getting motivated to beat the complete Yakuza game series someday.
Check out the DualShockers review of Yakuza 0.
2. Super Meat Boy
This wonderful game starts so easy…and becomes a nightmare as soon as you meet the first boss. Super Meat Boy truly made me appreciate difficult level design more than any other video game I know about. I beat it by playing only 1-3 levels per day to not lose my mind in the last worlds.
This is one of the best 2D platformers ever made, and if you like a “meaty” experience get it, play it, and try to bat it completely, including all the extra characters and stages.
1. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
I originally bought Street Fighter V on February 16, 2016 but returned it after only a few days, since I was absolutely not happy with the game and how problematic it was, especially the online matches. However, I got a good deal with the PC version in December 2017 instead and also bought the first two season characters.
While I had some fun already with the story mode in the original version of Street Fighter V, I was looking forward to the Arcade Edition and since then, it has not disappointed. The Arcade Edition would add a real arcade mode as well as weekly Fight Money based challenges in the form of Shadaloo Soldiers, and the option to “unlock” extra costumes like the really cool Captain Commando costume for Nash.
To make it short, Street Fighter V is an excellent fighting game that has really a ton of content for both single players and weirdos like me that love to fight world warriors from everywhere and show them some #PsychoPower. And since I first played the game, the Arcade Edition shows it has come a long way.
I have played this game for over 300 hours off and online now since December 2017, and have some fun with it almost every day. Grab it and challenge me : )
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