By Tanner Mondok
I spent 2018 playing video games the same way I’ve spent the past couple of years due to budget and time constraints; I played a handful of 2018 releases, caught up on games I missed in 2017 and played some titles that I never got around to playing but always had an eye on.
I enjoyed almost every game I played, but I’m only here to feature the best. The games I enjoyed the most, had the most fun with and felt the strongest connections to.
Before starting the list, I want to make clear that this isn’t a list of the best games of 2018, it’s the best games that I played in 2018 because not all of them were released last year.
10. Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World thrusts players into a world overflowing with dragons and giant dinosaur-like monsters. The game tasks you with defeating them in daunting, hour-long fights using many of the different weapons offered was by far one of the strongest parts of the game.
Using materials you gathered from defeating the monsters, players could apply them to craft new weapons, armor and even armor sets for your Palico, a weapon wielding cat, sidekick.
The game severely lacked on story but grinding for new armor and weapons was a joy and the game really rewarded players for the amount of time they put in.
Despite the incredibly frustrating multiplayer issues, playing with friends made those long monster battles an exciting and fun experience.
9. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
Set in a hypothetical world where Nazi Germany actually obtained world domination during World War II, Wolfenstein 2 follows up on protagonist William “B.J.” Blazkowicz’s path of utter Nazi destruction in efforts to overthrow the government from Wolfenstein: The New Order and delivered a very similar, and bloodier, experience.
The Wolfenstein games are known for their exceptionally violent cutscenes and Wolfenstein 2 takes things to a whole other level. The sequences involving an old deteriorating Adolf Hitler were easily some of the most memorable video game moments I’ve ever witnessed.
8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
All I really have to say about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is that it’s another Smash game and it’s a really good one.
The idea to include every character that has ever been in a Smash game and then some new ones is still so amazing to me and I’m grateful for Masahiro Sakurai for yet again working himself exceptionally hard to produce another quality product.
7. Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta 2 takes everything that was successful from Bayonetta and just turns everything up a bit to deliver a fast-paced and non-stop action-filled experience that had me hooked from beginning to end.
The story was never a big deal to me during my playthrough of Bayonetta, but the second installment into the series had me much more engaged and constantly applauding Hideki Kamiya’s unique style while also delivering a similar experience in regards to gameplay.
6. Night In The Woods
Playing as a college dropout cat named Mae who is returning to her hometown to move back in with her parents, Night In The Woods served me one of the most satisfying and fulfilling stories that I’ve ever consumed in a video game.
You spend most of your time hanging out with Mae’s friends, going on sometimes illegal adventures and reconnecting with the town Mae left behind before she dropped out of college.
During my playthrough, I felt attached to all of the characters and began to genuinely care about Mae. I ended up making decisions that I felt represented her personality and would provide her the most beneficial outcome.
I purchased Moonlighter during the last week of 2018, and I had no problem squeezing in about a solid 20 hours worth of gameplay before the year ended.
In the game you play as a merchant and fight your way through dungeons in a rogue-lite style, while collecting items dropped from the enemies you face which you then sell in your shop.
The gameplay loop in Moonlighter is well balanced and fulfilling, which as a result, makes you feel like you’re never exploring the dungeons at night for too long or shopkeeping during the day for too long.
4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
I was always aware of the obscurities and rich storytelling in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, but I had never actually played one of them for myself. The Phantom Pain definitely lived up to all the praise I’ve heard about the series.
I have never played a game in my life that upon completion sent me into such a deep, time consuming YouTube hole researching and consuming everything I could about the game’s story until this one.
Aside from the intricate but deeply satisfying story, the stealth mechanics of this game are superior to any other stealth game I have ever played and it’s not even close.
Now I’m excited to see what else Hideo Kojima has in store for me when I play the rest of the series.
3. Stardew Valley
I never considered myself to be much of a farmer or someone who would ever enjoy what is essentially a farming simulator, but Stardew Valley sure did prove me wrong.
For 80 hours of 2018 I was a farmer and I loved every second of it.
The loop of waking up, watering my crops, harvesting anything that was ready to be collected, then selling it, gifting fellow Stardew Valley resident Haley sunflowers and coconuts until she married me and then ending the day by either fishing or mining for ores in the caves was dangerously addictive.
At the end of my time with Stardew Valley, my farm essentially ran itself with Haley making me eggs in the morning, all my crops were watered by sprinklers and my cows and chickens were being automatically fed every morning.
2. Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata is the best sci-fi experience I’ve consumed in any medium since Blade Runner.
The game offered an obscure post-apocalyptic android led sci-fi experience that I have been known to fall for whenever I encounter it.
The most enjoyable part of the game to me was that to experience the game’s true ending you had to play through it at least five times. The first two times are essentially the same story but told through different characters. However, the rest of the endings are what truly hooked me.
While the story is impressive on its own, so is the gameplay, with the best part being it changes every playthrough. As soon as you get bored with 2B’s dual sword style of slicing through enemies you’re then introduced to 9S’s unique hacking mechanics to take down opponents.
I could also go on forever talking about the music. I don’t think there’s another video game soundtrack I could put above this one or another video game that has complemented its soundtrack this well.
I will forever savor my time with this remarkable game and I can’t believe it wasn’t even my number one game of the year.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption was one of the best games of the last console generation, so the idea of being able to explore the events that happened before John Marston’s story in the first installment in the series in Red Dead Redemption 2 was exciting to me, but I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did.
Red Dead Redemption 2 forced me to role play a video game character unlike any other way I’ve done before. I was skeptical at first about Arthur Morgan after viewing the game’s trailers, but I can now say with confidence that he’s the most well written video game character I have ever played since Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series.
Throughout my time spent with Arthur, I found myself thinking as he would. I was no longer making decisions for myself and my experience, I was thinking of him and as him.
I spent hours dressing him up and meticulously maintaining his hair and facial hair to ensure that he was the best version of himself at all times. In my play through no one looked better than my cowboy dress up doll Arthur.
Rockstar absolutely nailed the story in this game and delivered the best prequel writing that I’ve ever witnessed in any other medium.
The area where this game really shines is how well it allows the player to play the game any way they’d like. I found myself spending hours every day neglecting the main story missions in favor of doing side missions, hunting and stumbling upon interesting occurrences that just seemed to pop up out of nowhere.
The world in Red Dead Redemption 2 never felt dull and seemed like a real breathing environment that you’d find in real life.
An incredible story, a vast open world, a robust and diverse cast of characters and an exceptional protagonist in Arthur Morgan all designed in the most true to life graphics ever in a video game.
Easily the most impressive game I’ve ever played on a technical level and one that I can’t wait to play through again.