DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists -- Tanner's Top 10
Though it had its ups and downs, 2018 was still an incredible year for games thanks to God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man, and more. Here are my Top Ten.
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.
Well, it’s the end of the year again, which means it’s time to tally up our favorite Games of the Year and contrary to what others at this site have said, I think it’s been a great year for games. Some were all-time favorites, some set precedent for the future of gaming, and some were so popular and fun that they couldn’t be ignored, even if they didn’t come out this year. Some, in fact, I didn’t play until literally days before our Game of the Year deliberations.
So, without further ado, I’d like to present to you my favorite games of 2018 for you to criticize me for in the comments section or on Twitter.
Ok, so I’m kicking off this list with an interesting pick. Many of my fellow writers know that I haven’t exactly been speaking highly of Fortnite as of late. That being said, until Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was released, there was no other major battle royale game to play. Because of this, I played Fortnite a ton between January and October. No matter how much I like other forms of battle royale, there’s no denying how much I played the game during that period of time.
In addition, Fortnite does put a unique spin on the genre with its building aspect. If you want to make a giant castle to hide out in while the final circle is closing in on you, you can. If you need to make a quick board for cover, you can do that too. For both of these reasons, I feel like it deserves a spot on my list.
9. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
This may be cheating a bit since I put it on my list last year, but once again, there’s no denying how much I played of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links this year. The game itself includes a quicker version of the normal dueling format: three card zones instead of five, 20-card decks instead of 40, 5 extra deck cards instead of 15, etc. This lends itself perfectly for the mobile format, allowing you to do quick duels while riding the bus or train but also have a ton of fun dueling with friends that have more complicated decks.
Beyond that, the game is being supported like nothing I’ve seen before. New main boxes and mini boxes are released nearly every few weeks, there’s always some kind of event going on in-game, and recently, we got an entire world based around 5D’s, the second spin-off in the long-running YuGiOh series, which introduced Synchro summoning. While some people may think it complicated the game, I personally think it’s a great addition, and I hope that the other summoning methods (Xyz, Pendulum, and Link) all get added in the near future.
8. Sleep Tight
There are certain titles that I had to include on my list and Sleep Tight is one of those games. I got to play it for the first time at E3 2018 (and even took part in a hilarious video) and ever since that point I was hooked. Sleep Tight combines elements of twin-stick shooters with base-building for an incredibly addicting experience, as players need to buy weapons, pillow forts, turrets, and more in order to survive.
My only problem with the game is that it doesn’t have a ton of content. While you may have a good amount of characters to play, as some of them aren’t easily unlockable and the game only includes one map. I think if it included more content, it might be higher on my list, but right now #8 is a good place for Sleep Tight. Certainly a highlight, but not the best of the best.
Check out the DualShockers review of Sleep Tight.
Vampyr was one of the first major games I played for review this year. I gave it an 8.5, which is apparently higher than most people gave it, but I still stand by the fact that it’s a fun and interesting title all the same. While I haven’t touched it in a while, it still stuck with me through the past months since its June release. Dr. Jonathan Reid, the game’s main protagonist, has to struggle between helping others and fulfilling the bloodlust that comes from being a vampire and it’s an interesting struggle. On top of that the gameplay, while simple, can be mastered in a number of different areas.
That’s not to say that I didn’t have any complaints about Vampyr: in fact, the bugs that I experienced were downright dreadful at certain points. Muddled textures, framerate drops, and other small annoying bugs occurred during certain points in the game. While it’s often enough that I’d call it “frequent,” it certainly doesn’t help Vampyr get higher on my list, though I did enjoy my time with it this year.
Here’s where we start getting into to the truly wonderful experiences. Florence is absolutely stunning when it comes to its art style and story. Its narrative is heartbreaking, uplifting, and incredibly relatable. Anyone who’s been in a relationship in the past can appreciate what Florence has to offer. On top of that, it’s art style is charming, to say the least.
One thing that some people may complain about is the gameplay. I, on the other hand, think that its gameplay is what sets it apart from everything else. Everything you do is simple, even all the way down to the dialogue choices. You don’t hear any voice acting, hell, you don’t really read any either: all of it is based on context. After playing Florence, I can’t wait to see what developer Mountains does next.
Check out our editorial on Florence.
5. Tetris Effect
For me, the biggest surprise of the year has to go to Tetris Effect. Who would have thought that a Tetris game would be one of the best titles released this year? Its music selection is absolutely top notch and the way that it combines the typical Tetris gameplay with its music is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a video game. Within the first minute of the first song, I got goosebumps and was in awe, and the way it transitions from song to song gave me chills every time.
My only complaint about Tetris Effect is how short it is. Hopefully, the game gets DLC in the near future, because I just want more, more, more, more, and more. Tetris Effect is something that should be experienced by everyone, even if it’s just a rental for a weekend.
4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Did you think I could write a Top 10 list without including Call of Duty: Black Ops 4?This is the change that Call of Duty needed; Treyarch has made so many alterations to every single mode in the game that I was honestly astounded. The whole game saw an increase in health across all modes, the addition of useful specialists, and the addition of a fantastic battle royale mode in Blackout (despite what my colleague Ben Walker thinks). In fact, Blackout is my favorite battle royale mode out of them all. It’s time to kill and pacing is next to perfect for my tastes and seeing old maps be used in new ways will never get old, at least for me.
Specialist HQ, the game’s “story mode,” may feel rushed, but everything else about the game feels meticulously crafted to the point where I basically have no major complaints. While I don’t want the next few Call of Duty games to try and replicate Blackout in some other form, I hope that Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer takes notes on what Treyarch did with all the other modes.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
Now we’re getting into the cream of the crop, the top tier stuff, the best of the best, starting with Red Dead Redemption 2. What Rockstar Games did with the game on a technical front can’t go unchecked. In that area, the game is absolutely phenomenal and deserves all the praise in the world. What they’ve done for graphics and technical gameplay will be the new industry standard for years to come, maybe until Cyberpunk 2077 hits.
While the graphics are amazing, it’s definitely the lowest of the top 3 titles. I know I’d get a lot of flak for that opinion, but the game suffers when it comes to the other aspects. Its story isn’t exactly riveting, it’s unbearably long, and frankly, the gameplay is awful. The graphics are good enough to put it at the same level as this year’s other games, but it’s, frankly, the only thing keeping it there.
2. God of War
Where do I even begin with God of War? In my opinion, even though I put it as my #2 favorite game, it’s the best Game of the Year. First off, the story of Kratos and Atreus respecting his mother’s last wishes and spreading her ashes at the highest mountain in all the realms brings an unexpected and welcomed heartwarming aspect to the series.
On top of that, the game’s gameplay is superb on most levels. While the upgrading and armor system can be a bit confusing, the moment-to-moment gameplay is next to perfect. And don’t even get me started about how satisfying the Leviathan Axe is to throw and call back. In fact, I played almost the first half of the game exclusively like that. Sony Santa Monica and Cory Barlog should be proud of the accomplishments they achieved with this game.
Check out the DualShockers review of God of War.
1. Marvel’s Spider-Man
Like I said in my previous entry, is Marvel’s Spider-Man the best Game of the Year? No. However, it’s definitely my favorite. The web-swinging is probably the best mechanic featured in a game all year: you can’t tell me that jumping off a building, falling, and swinging out at the last second doesn’t feel buttery smooth. Combat also feels just as smooth and when you’re playing as Spider-Man with all of his flips, jumps, and movements, it kind of has to be.
While it may not be as good as God of War’s, the story is also fantastic. The relationship between Mary Jane and Peter feels so real and relatable, and the introduction and arc of Doc Ock throughout the game was perfectly tragic for these versions of the characters: mature, not young and naive.
I could go on about why Marvel’s Spider-Man was my favorite Game of the Year, but, frankly, others have talked to no end about it. If you want to find out more, I highly suggest you pick it up, if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.
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