It’s another year done and the games I played were not disappointing (except Sushi Striker). As a matter of fact, there are several surprisingly deep titles.
10. Dragon Ball FighterZ – PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
What a gorgeous game! The roster is chock full of nostalgia for me. Surely this would rate higher on my list if I were not such a suck ass fighting game player. FighterZ, I’m sorry I couldn’t appreciate you more.
9. Forza Horizon 4 – PC, Xbox One
This one felt like more of the same. Maybe I didn’t have enough time between my huge binge playing of Horizon 3, maybe there were too many games staring at me while I played this saying, “Hey, pick us instead!” Maybe I see way too much of Great Britain’s countryside via TV shows and movies, leaving a far less exotic feel than 3 had. Either way, this is a great game many may feel bored by it as well.
8. Nintendo Labo – Switch
Nintendo really tapped into the maker guild vibe with their Labo line. We have all of them except the robot, and they are a blast to assemble, a blast to play, and a blast to share with friends. I wouldn’t say this is limited in appeal based on age, either. My favorite? Fishing. Surprise, surprise.
7. Mario Tennis Aces – Switch
Maybe I’m late to the Mario Tennis party (and it feels a little like the Mario Party franchise), but I’m glad I finally showed up. With unique court challenges and actual challenging opponents, the story mode on this game is solid enough. Couch co-op with friends yields quite a bit of trash talking and overall loud behavior, sure signs of a good time.
6. Celeste – PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Replay value, replay value, replay value. I need every strawberry, I must revisit that one room I missed! The music is so stunning I’d replay just for that. Ever since Cuphead bruised my ego, I’ve avoided twitchy games until Celeste. The controls are perfectly simple, the characters are good, the pixel art is lovely to behold and becoming a fav theme of mine (see game #3). Just FYI, Celeste will be featured on Xbox Games with Gold in January 2019.
5. Monster Hunter World – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Monster Hunter World surprised me. I borrowed this one thinking it would be a one-off play, go on a few hunts with my palico, explore the story a bit, then move along. It has some serious hooks–gathering, different hunts, equipment crafting, armor upgrading and augments–but it did get grindy quickly.
4. Super Mario Party – Switch
I’m a longtime fan of the Mario Party franchise, so this installment would have to be truly wretched to be excluded from my top 10 annual list. It definitely wasn’t, we’ve had raft loads of fun with its many game modes (except Soundstage which can go die in a fire along with my lack of rhythm). My favorite new feature is online play. Amazingly enough, I’m not a total scrub at the online minigames. Win!
3. Kingdom: Two Crowns – PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Raw Fury has made one of my fav new franchises with Kingdom. I’ve gotten perfect game on the original Kingdom as well as Kingdom New Lands and logged an embarrassing amount of hours riding a horse, unicorn, and stag from one side of my kingdom to the other. Two Crowns has the same basic principal, but with so many added features. Hands down my favorite is the couch co-op. My partner and I have to promise each other we will not play the game on certain days, otherwise absolutely nothing gets done in real life and it’s magically 2 a.m. again and we’re still saying, one more day, we’ll save at sunrise then do XYZ. We never do XYZ. And it’s amazeballs.
— Theresa Samons (@netgyks) December 21, 2018
2. Red Dead Redemption 2 – PS4, Xbox One
Yeehaw Skyrim–and the person who coined this phrase isn’t wrong. I’ve long been regaled with tales of the first game from a buddy who survived most of grad school by zoning out riding the train back and forth. When the second game came along, I thought sure, why not give it a try. Holy horseshit, I’m going to playing this for a long time. There is a feeling of authenticity while walking through muddy streets in front of the general store. The characters are deep and engaging. The story is top notch, including the little snippet above about getting an O’Driscoll to talk. The sidequests are going to devour all my free time, and I love it.
1. Octopath Traveler – Switch
Thank you, Square Enix. I didn’t know I needed to meet any of these 8 amazing characters or learn their backstories. So many of my SmashPad colleagues will likely be putting this in their top 10, so I won’t gush any further, but I will say this likely has a place on my top 10 RPGs of all time.
So there we have it, a very satisfying year of gaming!