DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists -- Lou’s Top 10

After revealing our official DualShockers' Game of the Year Awards, Editor-in-Chief Lou Contaldi shares his personal top 10 games for 2018.

December 18, 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.

I consider 2018 to be a slump year compared to the powerhouse year that was 2017, but that isn’t to say that there weren’t some amazing releases in 2018. I spent so much of this year reviewing and catching up on older titles I missed in previous years (some of which make the list!).


However, there are some games I’m upset I didn’t get to try yet. I never got too much time into either Monster Hunter: WorldReturn of the Obra DinnDragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, or Valkyria Chronicles 4. In other words, some of the longer and most prestigious games of the year.

Even still, everything I got a moment to play really showed growth year-over-year — though the pick of games may be worse overall, I’m positive that next year will be able to grow from a lot of the titles in a substantial way. Without further ado, here is my Top 10 list of 2018:

10. Far Cry 5

At the risk of getting some grief over this choice, Far Cry 5 is a really great game for what it is: a game. I’ve got qualms with how the game ends, but I do think the game underneath it is solid. Tight shooting mechanics, great use of an open-world environment, and a soundtrack that brings it all home gave Far Cry 5 a spot on my list. I teeter on whether I am more a fan of Far Cry 3 or Far Cry 5, but I spent well over 50 hours getting lost in Hope County (and you should too).

Check out the DualShockers review of Far Cry 5.

9. The Messenger

Another game that really only had hype if you were following enthusiast sites, The Messenger is truly something special for developer Sabatoge’s freshman project. I’m not going to go too far into what makes the game special…that is for you to discover. But I wouldn’t let this one slip by you.

Make sure you check out the DualShockers review of The Messenger.

8. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

You know what was a vastly under-appreciated JRPG this year? Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. Sure, I still haven’t gotten time to invest in Dragon Quest XI, but this was a solid sequel to one of PlayStation 3’s best RPGs. Despite major asset losses like Studio Ghibli no longer partaking in the animation, Ni no Kuni II was able to tell an engrossing story in a fleshed out world far better than most competitors.

Check out the DualShockers review of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom.

7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I fully expect Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to have a higher spot in next year’s Top 10 list given how late it released this year, but I can already tell (unlike Super Smash Bros. for Wii U) this is an iteration of the series that will last for a while. I’m digging the story mode, even if it is cheeseable at times, and gameplay on the Nintendo Switch is buttery smooth. While many of the games above and below it will come and go, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be sticking around for some time.

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


Yeah… this is a weird one for me to qualify too. Hi-Rez’s SMITE on the surface just seems like a cooler re-skin of more popular MOBAs like League of Legends or Dota 2, but I’ve grown to really appreciate the console-native approach to MOBAs that Hi-Rez brings to the table. Through the course of the year, SMITE became my bread and butter — even if I eventually got jaded from being an AMC main.

5. Dead Cells

Each year, the bar-raising in the ever-popular Metroidvania genre seems to shock me. And while I still think Ori and the Blind Forest is topping my all-time list, Dead Cells squeaks in at a close second. Thanks to the rogue-lite elements and pick-up-and-play nature of the game, this became one of the best (if not the best) titles for Nintendo Switch this year, and Metroidvanias at large. If you need to grab one indie game this year, Dead Cells should be the one.

Check out my (original) Dead Cells review.

4. SoulCalibur VI

I was expecting to have a great time with SoulCalibur VI — I’ve been obsessed with the series since the GameCube iteration of the game, and the deep systems that Project Soul adds to their projects brings fighting games to the next level. However, thanks to a robust character creation tool, I ended up having more fun than ever playing as The Fairly Odd Parents’ Doug Dimmidome or Bowsette (above).

Check out the DualShockers review of SoulCalibur VI.

3. Red Dead Redemption 2

While it isn’t my personal game of the year, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the technical achievement piece of 2018. While it is easy enough to point to graphics, its open-world, and sound design, Red Dead Redemption 2 is otherwise a showpiece of creating a living movie as a video game. The game elevates the medium to something arguably better, even if there is definite room for improvement when it comes to controls.

Check out the DualShockers review of Red Dead Redemption 2.

2. God of War

While I personally argued for Red  Dead Redemption 2 taking home the official Game of the Year title for the DualShockers awards, based solely on personal preference I enjoyed Sony Santa Monica Studios’ God of War far better. I’m simply a sucker for narrative-driven games built around action-adventure and puzzle platforming. I may go as far as to make two bold claims: this is the best SIE published game ever created, and this is the best Zelda-style game (including official The Legend of Zelda games) ever made.

Check out the DualShockers review of God of War.

1. Persona 5

Hey, remember last year when Persona 5 came in my fourth place slot for top games of 2017? I was only just past Madarame’s Palace. Once things slowed down for me again in 2018, I picked up right where I left off and this game cannot be praised enough. I don’t care that it came out last year. I don’t care it already won DualShockers‘ 2017 Game of the Year from both the staff and readers. This is a game meant to be revisited every year and thoroughly appreciated for everything it is.

Check out the DualShockers review of Persona 5.

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

Lou Contaldi

Lou Contaldi specializes in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.

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