DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Meaney’s Top 10
Being on the community team I don't have to review every single game that flies through our door. That said, here are the games I loved the most in 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.
As DualShockers’ Community Director, I’m blessed with not having to review every single game that flies through our door. That’s a gift, since I wasn’t as thrilled by 2018’s lineup as many of my fellow staff members. It was a great year for gaming, to be sure, but I definitely spent a lot of time working through my backlog.
Still, I wish I’d had room for Monster Hunter World and Kingdom Come: Deliverance on this list. Those 2018 titles deserve all the praise their communities heap on them. In the meantime, the following 10 titles stood out as the most memorable games I’ve played this year.
10. Past Cure
Yeah, you read that right. If we’re talking about the games I had the most fun with in 2018, I simply cannot ignore Past Cure. Let’s be clear: Past Cure is a bad video game. Our review reflects that. That said, it is bad in a confusing, strangely interesting way. Beyond a few specifically infuriating sections, I don’t hate it.
Past Cure’s combat is bland, but serviceable. The checkpoint system needs serious work. But most importantly, Past Cure genuinely feels like disjointed fractions of a full story. Not because it ends on a cliffhanger. It has an ending. But the actual story is just all over the place.
Just to put a point on this, Past Cure is about:
- psychic powers from drugs purchased off the deep web
- evil mind monsters
- occult rituals
- organized crime
…sort of. The game is only a few hours long and almost none of these story elements are properly fleshed out. The plot has bizarre hanging threads that came out of nowhere and, in retrospect, were just awkward and utterly pointless. Past Cure feels like a college essay where the writer hit the required word count and said “close enough.” You can watch our gameplay video from earlier in year for just a small taste of that:
Still, Past Cure is a bizarre game and it is easily one of the most memorable I’ve played in 2018. Supposedly there is a major patch that radically alters and improved major parts of the game. Knowing that, I have to admit, I’m genuinely curious to give it another full play through.
9. Crusader: No Remorse
In 2018, I revisited two of my favorite old ’90s action titles. Crusader: No Remorse and Crusader: No Regret are very similar games where you play as a red Boba-Fett-looking super-soldier called a “Silencer.” He’s out for revenge against an evil corporation / government that wronged him. The story is told through delightfully-cheesy FMV scenes.
The gameplay has an almost real-time tactical approach to combat. Your ammo is limited and you can be gunned down rather quickly if you don’t use your brain. To save ammo, why not blow up a generator behind a group of enemies? Or unleash a few roving spider bombs to hunt your foes? The interactive environments were truly innovative for their time.
Best of all, there isn’t a penalty for collateral damage. The Silencer shows no remorse and no regret. Pesky scientists standing in your way? Shoot ‘em in the gut and then simply step over the corpses. Man, ‘90s PC games were the best.
I love these games and I’ve been steadily running back through the series since reinstalling them this year. Of course, I also admit that they have aged like milk. If you didn’t play them back in the day, the odds that you will dig them now are slim. The Crusader series is pure nostalgia on my part.
8. The Last Express
Here’s another classic I’ve spent a lot of time with this year. If you’ve never played it, The Last Express is a truly one of a kind mystery game from Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner. Taking strong inspiration from Murder on the Orient Express, you play as an American doctor in a race against time to solve a murder and sabotage a World War I-era arms deal.
Oh, and one more thing: the clock never stops running. All of the unique characters move around the train on their own schedules. If you miss an opportunity, it’s gone! Granted, this leads to a fair amount of trial-and-error…but the journey here is absolutely worth it. It’s an excellent story with a unique rotoscoped art style and an even more unique gameplay mechanic.
You can pick up The Last Express for PC or Mac, but I actually recommend the mobile version. The controls have been updated in some very smart ways.
7. WipEout Omega Collection
WipEout Omega Collection was fun when it was first released, but it really came into its own when the PSVR patch arrived in 2018. WipEout remains blisteringly fast and immersive, and the VR patch works exactly as well as you’d hope.
If you own a PSVR headset, this is not to be missed. Turn off those comfort settings and prepare to experience raw speed from inside the cockpit of a flying rocket car.
6. Tetris Effect
There is a very strong argument that can be made that Tetris is the best video game. As many of us know, it’s the only game that has the power to instantly captivate almost anyone, young or old, hardcore gamer or total novice. Tetris Effect is Tetris, in VR, reimagined by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the guy who gave us Rez.
It’s everything you could hope it would be. It’s a psychedelic visual trip with a thumping soundtrack and airtight gameplay. Tetris Effect is, without a doubt, one of my favorite 2018 games.
5. Titanfall 2
Standby for Titanfall!
Anyone who spends time on the DualShockers Official Discord knows my deep passionate love for Titanfall 2. Quite frankly, I think it’s the best multiplayer shooter released yet during this console generation. It’s probably the only game that I never even consider uninstalling from my PS4. The fact that it flew under so many players’ radars should be considered some form of war crime. I love running on walls, shooting people in the face and riding around in a giant walking machine gun tank. It’s thrilling and challenging.
It had a pretty good campaign, too. Hopefully someday I’ll get my Titanfall 3.
Check out the DualShockers review of Titanfall 2.
That’s right, Myst. It’s always been a love or hate series, and I stand firmly on the “love” side. Since this year marked the 25th anniversary of Myst, I decided to head back through the old classics. If you enjoy games like The Witness or The Room, but somehow haven’t played Myst or Riven, you absolutely owe it to yourself to give them a shot. I just adore getting lost in these mysterious, fascinating worlds.
Also, I absolutely immediately bought in on this Kickstarter. I needed this working Myst linking book on my shelf. I mean, look at this thing:
3. Brutal DOOM
Look, I love the new DOOM. I am quite looking forward to DOOM Eternal. But the original games are always going to be my favorite. DOOM II is probably my favorite game of all time.
And make no mistake, the DOOM modding community hasn’t remotely slowed down over the years. They take these classic games and somehow keep remixing and altering them into something fresh and exciting.
Of all these, I highly recommend that fans of the new Doom games give Brutal Doom a try. It adds a ton of weapons, customizations, finishers and more. Over the years, Sgt. Mark, the mod’s creator, has even tweaked the visuals of DOOM II’s “Earth” levels to feel more like actual ruined human cities. It’s really just a delightful new paint job for an already legendary game.
Brutal DOOM remains my go-to game to play when I need to kill some time. Oh, and most importantly, it turns DOOM into the ultra-violent gore-fest that the news always warned you about.
Here’s a trailer for an older version that sums the mod up pretty well:
2. Sea of Thieves
It’s me: I’m that guy who loves Sea of Thieves. This dumb game is superb and brilliant… and it absolutely should not exist.
Let’s not mince words: I revere Sea of Thieves without any reservations. I don’t think it’s missing content or “unfinished.” I don’t think Rare should add “more player guidance.” This feels like precisely the full game Rare intended to make. They gave us the tools to make our own fun and for the surprisingly active, dedicated community, we did.
The emergent gameplay in Sea of Thieves is among the best I’ve ever seen: the rest is just basically hanging out with friends. As far as I’m concerned, it’s practically perfect: every voyage in Sea of Thieves ends with a story of some crazy, unexpected tale. I mean that literally; without exception, each and every time I’ve hit the high digital seas, we got into some sort of wild hijinks that was worthy of retelling like a great drunken adventure.
With good buddies and a free evening, Sea of Thieves easily remains one of my favorite co-op games of all time. It’s simple enough to pick-up-and-play, but complex enough that our captain has gotten terrifyingly good at docking our ship in a storm. To say nothing of all the hilarious people we’ve met in the game world.
I don’t know what the hell possessed Rare to make a major AAA video game just for me, but I thank them.
Check out the DualShockers review of Sea of Thieves.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Enough has been written about the level of polish and quality in Red Dead Redemption 2. If you only buy one game from 2018, this should be the one.
The attention to detail in the open world is astounding. The characters feel like people I’ve grown to know and love. Look, I’m intentionally playing at a snail’s pace because I don’t want it to end. This is easily my favorite game of the year.
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