DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Logan’s Top 10
Even though 2018 was a weaker year for games than I expected, it still gave us plenty of gems while also allowing me to catch up on my backlog just a bit.
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.
As the Reviews Editor here at DualShockers, all forms of criticism and opinion-based content on video games pretty much begins and ends with me. I’ve been placed into this role because after comprehensive research conducted by our staff, we found that my own opinions on video games are without fault. In fact, the things I say about video games aren’t even opinions — they’re facts. With this all being said, I have a few things to share with you about the year that was 2018.
As a whole, 2018 was just an okay year for games. While I think many of the best games of this entire generation released this year, a lot of the more standard releases that we’ve come to expect every few years seemed to be in decline. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Battlefield 5, NBA 2K19, and heck, even the disaster that turned out to be Fallout 76 were all pretty disappointing to me. At the start of 2018, I thought this year looked like a monster on paper, but there ended up being far more duds than I would have initially expected.
Luckily, this weaker slate of games finally allowed me to return a bit more to my backlog and play some titles from past years that I’ve been putting off for far too long. Simultaneously, this lack of new games that interested me also led to me falling into a MOBA hole for the first time ever and folks, lemme tell ya, that ain’t a fun place to be at. Fortunately, as the year wraps up, I think I’ve finally figured out how to balance my newfound MOBA addiction while still playing plenty of other games that interest me. I’m in a good place in my gaming life heading into 2019, and I’m excited to see what this next year will bring.
As always with these year-end lists, I didn’t play everything in 2018 that I would have liked to, so take that into account before you yell at me in the comments and tell me that my list sucks or whatever. As for the games that I did play, here are my 10 favorites that I spent time with in the Year of Our Lord 2018, whether they released in this calendar year or not.
10. Asuka 120% Burning Fest. Limited
I’m coming out of the gate firing this year, folks. Asuka 120% Burning Fest. Limited is likely a game you’ve never heard of. Heck, it’s a game that I didn’t know existed until about a month or so ago myself. But after discovering it with some friends while going through a back catalog of Sega Saturn games, I immediately fell in love with this schoolgirl anime fighter.
For being over twenty years old, it’s amazing just how much the mechanics of Asuka 120% hold up all of this time later. The game’s small roster of characters all feel incredibly balanced, each boasting their own unique playstyles and moves — shoutout to baseball girl (I don’t know her real name). While I only played Asuka 120% for about a three-day span over the course of one weekend, it was some of the most exciting, pure fun that I’ve had playing any video game with friends this year.
Asuka 120% is easily the most enjoyment I had with a fighting game in 2018, or even the past few years for that matter. Sorry, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
9. The Messenger
Easily the most slept-on game of 2018, Sabotage Studios’ The Messenger won me over after the first five minutes that I saw it back at PAX East. Not only does it have some of the tightest controls and gameplay mechanics out of anything I’ve played this year, but the twists and turns that this game takes are also something you’d never expect upon first glance. The Messenger isn’t just an homage to the sidescrolling games of yesteryear, it also trailblazes a new path for the genre as a whole moving forward.
Also, shoutout to Rainbowdragoneyes for The Messenger’s phenomenal soundtrack that I’m still bumping constantly months after release. The way in which the music transitions between 8-bit and 16-bit sound effects is still one of the single coolest things I’ve seen in a game all year. I could keep going on about how much I love this game but I’ll just keep things succinct and stress you to pick it up for yourself. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
8. Shadow of the Colossus
I said in my review of Shadow of the Colossus earlier this year that it was likely one of the best remakes ever made. About ten months later, I still vehemently believe this to be true. The graphical work that Bluepoint Games was able to accomplish in Shadow of the Colossus still astounds me and I really do think it might be one of the prettiest video games ever. Not only is the game gorgeous though, but I’m glad that one of gaming’s greatest achievement has now been made all the easier to revisit.
Shadow of the Colossus remains such a special game thirteen years after its original release on PS2, and it’s a game that I think everyone needs to play for themselves before they die. I’ll likely continue to revisit this gem every year or two and I hope that other remakes on the horizon can live up to the standard that was set here. I’m looking at you, Resident Evil 2.
7. Guacamelee! 2
Guacamelee! 2 is some of the purest fun I’ve had with a game in 2018. Throughout the entirety of its runtime, I was laughing nonstop thanks to the hilarious writing and goofy situations that I was placed into. Not to mention, it just feels really good to play. Suplexing enemies into oblivion is great.
While it might not be a major departure from its predecessor, Guacamelee! 2 is just a jolly video game that I adore. If you’re a fan of Metroidvania games whatsoever, make sure you get around to playing this one.
6. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
Every year, I’ll get bitten by maybe one multiplayer game that I’ll play endlessly with a group of my friends for about a month or two straight before bouncing off of it and never really returning. In 2018, that game ended up being PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds which I played probably close to every single night in the months of January and February this year. Even though I was playing on the crummy Xbox One version, I still loved every minute of my time with what is factually the best battle royale shooter.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds wasn’t so much a game that I loved playing–although it is a ton of fun–but it instead became a lobby for me to hang out and talk to my friends. In between conversations of, “Should we drop at the prison? Or how about the military base?” we’d be catching up on one another’s personal lives and chatting about life. Even though PUBG as a whole is full of moments built with stress and tension, playing with my buddies that I grew up with made for a hilarious and joyful experience that I don’t find in video games very often.
5. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Months after finishing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I’m beginning to think that it’s probably my new favorite entry in the long-running series. Not only is Greece a gorgeous location that I loved running around in for dozens upon dozens of hours, but AC Odyssey scratched an action-RPG itch for me that I’ve so desperately been trying to scratch for years now. While it’s an Assassin’s Creed game in name, Odyssey instead feels like the BioWare games that I grew up playing as a kid.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey‘s vast world, surprisingly engaging story, and stellar leveling system kept me entertained longer than any other single-player game that I experienced in 2018. As of this moment, I’m still looking for a reason to dive back in, and that might just result in me purchasing the game’s season pass sooner rather than later.
4. Dark Souls III
No, Dark Souls III didn’t release this year, but 2018 was the time I finally found the chance to go back and finally play it — and boy, am I glad that I did. With Bloodborne having already been one of my favorite games of this generation, it stood to reason that I’d be just as enthralled with Dark Souls III and that proved to be true mere minutes after I first booted it up.
Look, I now understand why this series is revered like it is. Dark Souls III, much like Bloodborne, is now one of my favorite games of this generation and is likely one of my favorite action games ever made. The secret boss fight against the Nameless King, in particular, is likely one of my favorite gaming moments from this entire year.
Not only did I play Dark Souls III this year, but I also finally played Dark Souls Remastered after it came to PS4 and I dug that a whole bunch as well. While it took me somewhat longer to get to than many others, I’m glad I finally experienced most of this franchise for myself. Even if it’s maybe referenced a bit too much, Dark Souls really is as important as it’s made out to be and I’m now a FromSoftware fanboy. Bring it on, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Check out the DualShockers review of Dark Souls III.
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man
I said earlier in the year after first playing Marvel’s Spider-Man that it had a chance to be one of my favorite games of all-time. After playing it following its release in September, I’d say that statement holds true.
As a massive fan of Spider-Man since I was a kid, Marvel’s Spider-Man is one of the single best stories centered around the character that I have ever seen in any medium. Not only did Insomniac Games absolutely knock it out of the park in their first go-around with the Spider-Man license, but they also proved that they know and understand this character on a level that many storytellers do not. For that reason alone, Marvel’s Spider-Man is a special game to me.
While I do have some complaints and issues with the game from a critical perspective, those qualms are so easy to overlook thanks to fantastic combat and a swinging system that is easily the best gameplay mechanic of 2018. I think what excites me the most about Marvel’s Spider-Man though is that it feels like simply the first step in something much bigger, not just for Spider-Man, but for Marvel video games as a whole. I cannot wait to see what Insomniac does with the all-but-guaranteed sequel to Marvel’s Spider-Man.
2. League of Legends
Lord, please forgive me for even listing League of Legends at all here, let alone so high. As much as I may hate myself for this, I can’t deny for a second that League is likely the game that had the biggest effect on me in 2018. I’ve gone from making fun of the game and all of my nerdy friends who have played it for years to now pouring a fair number of hours into it every week myself.
Furthermore, I became obsessed with the League of Legends pro scene this year to the point that I was waking up at 4:00 AM nearly every day in October to watch the World Championship live as it happened in Korea. League of Legends has turned me into someone that I don’t really recognize, but I’m kind of okay with it. I’m curious to see if I remain as obsessed with League as we move through 2019, but as for this year, it stands as the game that captured my time and attention the most.
I’ll see you in the Jungle.
Check out the DualShockers review of League of Legends.
1. God of War
God of War is my favorite action-adventure game since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. If you know my gaming tastes (OoT is my favorite game ever made), then you understand how big of a statement that is coming from me.
What’s crazy is that coming into God of War, my expectations weren’t that high. Personally, I didn’t care for the original God of War games on PS2, PS3, and PSP. While everything that I had seen of this new iteration of Kratos greatly interested me, I still knew that deep down I had no great love for this character. Now, I think Kratos is one of my favorite characters in the history of video games, and God of War likely stands somewhere amongst my 5 or 10 favorite games ever made.
God of War‘s masterful storytelling, combined with some of the best action gameplay I’ve seen in years, makes for an experience that I’ve been dying to play. Even though I love games like The Last of Us and Uncharted, I’ve always found that the gameplay in those examples was never able to match their masterful storytelling. God of War, on the other hand, finally proved to me that just because you place story at the forefront of the gaming experience doesn’t mean it has to come at the cost of enticing, fluid combat mechanics. This marriage of gameplay and narrative delivery I think is the greatest achievement that we saw in gaming in 2018 and makes for the best all-around experience of the year — as seen with our Game of the Year honors.
God of War wasn’t just my favorite game that I played in all of 2018, it’s now easily my favorite game of this console generation. While 2019 is looking great on paper, it’s going to take a whole lot to unseat Kratos from this throne.
Check out the DualShockers review of God of War.
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