DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Zack’s Top 10

After a year of pleasant surprises, I present my top 10 games of the year. I apologize in advance for the number of fighting games present.

December 31, 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.

This year’s games were definitely a…mixed bag for me. What I thought I would absolutely love, I found entertaining but nothing spectacular. And the games I didn’t pay much mind to became some of my favorite games this year. Now I’m not here for a “hot takes” list to get the comments wild or anything like that. Hell, I wish I just played more indies so maybe I could have a more conversational list like some of my coworkers.


But of course, you’re here for a list, a culmination of what piqued my interest this year. My list could be disappointing… but hey at least mine isn’t the last one coming up…wait mine’s the last one?

Anyway, here is my Top 10 list for 2018:

10. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight

I always have a soft spot for a good rhythm game, and as a huge Persona fanboy, I thought this game would be a sure knockout for my GOTY list. Every song in Persona 5 is how you’d call, a banger.

From “Life Will Change” to “Rivers in the Desert,” every song is a classic in the OST and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight gives us remixes as well as the originals. Put that with a great note input system and difficulty settings, and you get a great time. Whether I have a couple hours or a couple minutes, Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight feels like a great kick back and chill out to some anime jams-type of game.

Check out the DualShockers review of Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight.

9. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!

The Pokémon series is something I struggle to keep up with. Before the latest entry on Switch, I believe the last time I played a game in the series was back when everything was in 2D. However, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! does a fantastic job at keeping the nostalgia and sense of adventure intact, while limiting the confusing mechanics and grinding. There’s not much more I can say other than that this game just brings me back to what made me love this series in the first place.

Check out the DualShockers review of Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Eevee!.

8. Monster Hunter: World

Now I know this seems counterintuitive to my previous entry, but I really enjoyed grinding out Monster Hunter: World. As a first time entry in the series for myself, I listened to one of my friends and picked this one up. I quickly got sucked into a very detailed world full of bright colors, beautiful environments, and of course, fantastic monsters. Though this game isn’t technically anime, it felt like I was playing in one by how immersive this world is.

Check out the DualShockers review of Monster Hunter: World.


7. Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st]

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st] has probably the best mechanics for a fighting game that I’ve played. As someone who isn’t too keen to the anime fighting game genre, I was rather hesitant to try out this game. But after some tutorials, I quickly realized I had nothing to worry about.

From clean input options to fluid combos, this game gives great options for some funs sets. Typically I don’t spend much time coming up with tech in video games unless it’s Street Fighter V, but this game had me up until the late hours trying to get the most optimal damage on all my combos. Also to boot, you have a superb soundtrack and a solid cast of characters. I mean, I don’t want to say this is the best feeling fighting game of all time, but I haven’t played a fighting game that played this well since Marvel vs Capcom 2.

6. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition

Not straying too far from the fighting game genre, the Arcade Edition update for Street Fighter V fixed basically every issue that I had with the base version of the fighter. From improved UI to new characters and a true arcade mode, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition has quickly become my weekly fighting game to level up in. With a robust community to join and grow in, I feel this game can only get better with experience. Now here’s hoping Sakura gets some more buffs for Season 4.5.

Check out the DualShockers review of the original Street Fighter V.

5. Dragon Ball FighterZ

Okay, I can explain here. 2018 was just a good year for fighting games, and Dragon Ball FighterZ probably was the best of the best. With probably the best 3D representation for an anime I’ve ever seen on top of a well-developed fighting game, you’ve got yourself a GOTY contender. Not to mention I had so many friends interested in fighting games for once. Plus a Dragon Ball fighting game that put Piccolo as high-tier? 10 out of 10.

Check out the DualShockers review of Dragon Ball FighterZ.

4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

It’s no surprise that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is probably the best iteration of the series ever. But what is surprising is how much fun I’m actually having with this game. Like seriously, I didn’t think I would have fun with Spirits Mode of all places. But here I am getting excited when I finally unlock the Spirit of Shadow the Hedgehog to add to my digital collection. With a huge array of characters and content, I’ll be sure to play this one for years to come.

Check out the DualShockers review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

3. God of War

I mean, what can really be said about this one that hasn’t been mentioned by everyone else? God of War made me forget everything I knew about the series before and gave me something even better. With a beautiful world to explore and a whole new realm of mythology to dive into, God of War was probably the only game I was expecting to love.

Check out the DualShockers review of God of War.

2. BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!

Alright, when I said there were games that I didn’t expect to like so much and I ended up loving? Yeah, this is probably the best example of that. Ever since I played Tap Tap Revenge on my iPhone 3s, I was always waiting for another phone rhythm game with good quality. It wasn’t until one fateful day where I saw an ad for BanG Dream with gameplay, and my wish had been granted. BanG Dream offers a great variety of original songs and anime covers with Guitar Hero-influenced scrolling. This game also has probably the craziest difficulty range out of any rhythm game I’ve played. And boy, did it hook me in.

Now you’re probably thinking, “How the hell did this get so high on your list?” Well, I probably played this game more than any other game on this list combined. In my year of playing this game, I put in over 250 hours into this game, unlocking banners and gaining experience every day. Now I didn’t think I played that much, but I guess those short breaks in between appointments or random times add up.

I’m probably alone on supporting this game among my coworkers. But hey; if I couldn’t sell you on BanG Dream, maybe pro wrestler Kenny Omega can convince you this game is as great as I think it is.

There is no review from us for BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! because it’s unfair to judge this piece of art.

1. NieR: Automata: BECOME AS GODS Edition

I was a little late to the 2B hype train, but luckily after a surprise deluxe edition of NieR: Automata that released earlier this year on Xbox One, I jumped all in. NieR: Automata is probably one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever played. What I originally thought would be a Metal Gear Rising clone, I was pleasantly proven wrong.

NieR presents one of the best narratives in recent video games. As opposed to most games with a great story, NieR: Automata has such a refreshing and engaging combat system that fuses multiple genres into a game that truly deserves the “action” accolade. Not to mention, this game offers probably one of my favorite depictions of a post-apocalyptic Earth — with massive deserts, destroyed cities, crazy robot theme parks and tons of other unforgettable locations throughout.

There haven’t been many games that have been able to hook me in and make me obsessed with them as much as NieR: Automata got to me. If you haven’t joined the fight for mankind with YoRHa and uncovered the truth, I highly recommend picking up this beautiful game.

Check out the DualShockers review of NieR: Automata.

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

Zack Potter

Zack Potter is a Staff Writer at DualShockers with a special love for fighting games and their competitive scenes. When he's not button mashing in Street Fighter, he is studying journalism at Fresno State.

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