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Alex’s Best of 2018

2018 was an interesting year for myself and gaming. To start the year, my apparently cheap self finally sprang for an external hard drive, ready to take on ALL THE GAMES… on just one console, because I didn’t buy two. But hey, I got the time!

Nope! Life, travel, schedules, the occasional massive update download, and massive maps to navigate through had a definite impact on my gaming time this year. So, I’m forgoing our traditional style of Top 10 Games and offering a slightly different take.

The Best Game That Died And Came Back

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season – PS4, Xbox One, PC

What a ride for Telltale’s The Walking Dead. The final season started on such a great note with a focus on Clementine and a new sense of emotional weight mixed with great action. Then Telltale shut down and the game was killed until Skybound picked up its development. So, a zombie game died and came back to life. Hmm.

Now it will be released exclusively through the Epic Games Store in 2019. Personally, that’s a huge bummer because now I know for sure that I won’t be able to play it with my console restrictions. I hope Clementine gets the send-off she deserves.

The Best Game that Life Hasn’t Wanted Me to Play

Shadow of the Tomb Raider – PS4, Xbox One, PC

This game has not gotten a fair shake from me at all. Released September 14, it was already coming a week after Marvel’s Spider-Man, which wasn’t a game easily finished within a week (I certainly didn’t do that). But then the next day, I went searching for my own tombs on a trip to Paris.

In three months, I’ve been able to complete Cozumel and the Peruvian Jungle, just barely getting to the Hidden City. At this rate, I’ll finish by next summer! It’s been a generally great game, though. The game has been a good challenge, with interesting puzzles and great action sequences (especially against some jaguars). It’s offered some great initial growth to Lara’s character to show off why this version is so badass. One day, I’ll finish it.

The Best 2017 Series that Finished in 2018

Batman – The Enemy Within – PS4, Xbox One, PC

Normally, our lists only count games that had a true 2018 release, which means most episodic games are off the table. I’m bringing this one, though, because I think it’s a worthy inclusion.

Batman stories featuring the Joker are a little too common, even if the villain is classic for a reason. But this game did such a great job with presenting a good take on the character that really showed why he’s so integrated with Batman. So much so that I’d love to see a full Joker game! But haha, jokes on me! It’s a Telltale game, so that’s not happening.

The Best Game I’m Still Trying to Play

Red Dead Redemption 2 – PS4, Xbox One

Full transparency on my denseness: I completely failed to realize that Red Dead Redemption 2 required two disc downloads in order to get started, so I spent the first day and a half trying to download the same game file multiple times. Maybe that helps you understand why after nearly two months, I’m only at 46% story completion. I should not be allowed to play this game.

But from hours I’ve been able to get in, the game is pretty damn good. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first chapter and its slowness, but things really pick up from there and it becomes that much more enjoyable. It’s classic Rockstar: a massive map, intricate story, plenty of side missions, generally interesting characters. But there are times where there’s so much to do, even with the main story, that it’s borderline unenjoyable. There’s an emotional whiplash I feel when I complete two, great main missions, only to find that my completion percentage went up half a point. This game definitely has the “marathon, not a sprint” mentality to it.

Oh God, the online portion. I’m never finishing this game.

The Best I Actually Completed in 2018

2. God of War – PS4

What a great game. It told an impactful father-son story in a brutal, vulnerable way. The dynamic between Kratos and Atreus was great and engaging and clearly filled with plenty of meme capabilities. It was filled with fantastic, if not overly challenging at times, action. It was an accessible story for the many that would get their first experiences in this world through this game. It was a game that I was always excited to spend more time with. I can’t really describe it any better than epic. The scale, the tone, the story, the characters, the music, the action. It was all epic.

1. Marvel’s Spider-Man

Full transparency: Spider-Man is my favorite superhero. That said, there’s been a lot of crappy Spider-Man things, video games included (though I still think Ultimate Spider-Man was a great game and I will die on that hill). Insomniac, though, killed it with this one. End to end, this was a fantastic game. The Peter Parker/Spider-Man character was a joy; a heroic but vulnerable guy who just wanted to do the right thing and keep the people he loves safe, which occasionally bumbling his way through things. Mary Jane was finally useful and kicked ass! Miles Morales! Engaging villains! A pretty accurate New York to swing through with a lot of side missions and a ton of suits to unlock (another hill I’ll die on: the Stealth Suit is the best suit). The only thing the game hasn’t completely succeeded with is the DLC releases, but they don’t take away from the amazingness of the main game.

At the very least, I have some goals for 2019: finish at least two of the games on this list!

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