This year was great for gaming. There were so many wonderful titles, that I did not even make it to some of the biggest releases. They are currently waiting for me to dive into them when I have the time. That fourth quarter release schedule is murder.
Even had I played every game, I am not sure where they would fit into this hotly contested list. I am rating my children in the order I love them most already, and some of these games could switch places and still be right. The differences were very small in a few cases.
Let’s get into this overly dramatic top 10 list and a few honorable mentions.
#10: Resident Evil 7
Who would have thought that Resident Evil could reinvent itself again after Resident Evil 4? I certainly didn’t, and I was totally wrong.
Capcom made a scary game that didn’t seem to have anything to do with its usual Umbrella Corps villains. It went back to true survival horror after trying to be the next FPS. The change is for the best, and it has revitalized what I saw as a dying series.
I am now eagerly anticipating the inevitable Resident Evil 8, and eventually I will
work up the courage find the time to try it with PSVR.
#9: Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn was the poster child for Sony exclusives this year. Guerrilla Games went in a completely different direction from Killzone, and provided the best looking game I played all year. They also let me ride and fight robotic dinosaurs, so that’s another thing off my bucket list.
The only thing I would say is that Dr. Sobeck is kind of a self-righteous jerk. Don’t get me wrong, she saves the world, so that gives her some leeway. She’s an incredibly brilliant person, but I might choose to be shredded by robots than spend 30 years in confinement with her. (I know the story is different, but I can’t be the only one who had this thought.)
#8: Last Day of June
Last Day of June was a story filled with emotions, even though there were no voices or dialogue in the game. A man loses his wife, and he relives that day as he tries to make different choices to prevent it. Last Day of June had a slightly different spin on a familiar story, unique visual styles, and good music that combined to be something so much more that it could have been.
For the rest, the puzzles were OK, but that is not why it made my list. The game communicated some really heavy emotions very effectively with such limited communication. Parts of the game are heartbreaking, and you can feel it in every frame.
#7: Torment: Tides of Numenera
Torment: Tides of Numenera is a spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment, and it may have had the most text I read in a single game this year. The world is full of conversations, choices, and stories throughout multiple dimensions without much voice over. It didn’t create just a universe, but multiple universes with millenia of history.
If you love a story and making choices that matter, Torment: Tides of Numenera is for you.
#6: Elite Dangerous
I am not sure I can completely recommend Elite Dangerous. It’s good with caveats. I have never had to or wanted to spend so much time reading about how to navigate a world in my life. The game directs you to watch training videos on top of training missions. It can be an absolute grind from mission to mission to eke out just a few more credits and flying to land (not crash) on a planet can be a chore.
At the same time, I put hours into the game, and I intend to keep playing it. I love seeing the different stars and jumping to a new area. There is so much to uncover and the game continues to glacially open new options for me. There is a peacefulness to the game to accompany the occasional frustration.
More updates and features are planned throughout 2018, but there is no PSVR support for now. Even though it is hard to quantify the addiction, I keep going back.
#5: Danganronpa 1.2 Reload and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Yeah, that’s two games under the same number. My list, my rules.
I played through the Danganronpa releases when they were re-released for the PS4 and the new release this year. I would throw money at another sequel tomorrow. They are the visual novel series I recommend to anyone who wants to give the genre a try. The world and characters are fascinating. The story about a murder game adds tension, and the writing is sharp with black humor.
For anyone who likes the movie Heathers and appreciates the ability to laugh at death, these games share some similarities (I think they do, anyway) and never take themselves too seriously considering the premise.
#4: South Park: The Fractured But Whole
There is no game that made me (intentionally) laugh more than South Park this year. The trademark satire from a show more than 20 years old proved it can still be fresh and relevant. I loved hanging out with the characters from the show, and it has never looked better.
Their take on superhero movies and making fun of just about everything and everyone is something that every fan should play.
#3: Persona 5
Persona 5 is a game I would not shut up about this year. I was Pure PlayStation’s engineer on the Persona 5 hype train, and I was not disappointed. The incredibly stylish world, the crazy types of Persona, and a good story were wrapped in the addictive turn-based combat. It is a modern, classic RPG.
If this is the last Persona game, they went out on top in a number of ways.
#2: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein has had a warm place in my icy heart since 1992, when I first played it on PC. The graphics and story have changed a lot since then. The fact that I can look at this game and tell you there is a good story with solid writing is more than most games have. It manages to elevate the sometimes two-dimensional “guy with a gun” to a fully-fleshed person with a past and clear motivation for the future.
Add in the heart exploding action, and you have one of this year’s most solid experiences and a true example of how great singleplayer gaming can be.
#1: Yakuza 0
This one came out of nowhere. I finally was able to get into the Yakuza franchise with this series prequel, and it was an amazing ride full of dramatic twists and turns and beating up everyone in sight. Even button mashers can enjoy this one. From the karaoke to the classic arcade games, there is so much content in this game.
The cutscenes are really long, the voice acting is entirely in Japanese, and the visuals can look a little dated. I loved it.
Honorable Mentions (no particular order)
Yeah, the title shows top 10 games, but I wanted to share a few games that almost made the list.
#1: Just Dance 2018
As a game, it is OK, and you can have a lot of fun. As a party game or family game, it’s amazing. Whether you buy it as a standalone title or want to use it as a service, you can grab the family or friends and have fun being overly competitive or just goofy.
If you are looking for a fun game to play with family over the holidays, this one is a winner.
This visual novel had some translation issues and was a little slower to get going. Once it did, I was blown away by the story, and it kept me guessing what was around the next corner. The scenes and dialogue from Chapter 8 are haunting, shocking, and showed how to build tension and suspense.
Although I sometimes play games to give my brain a break, the ending for CHAOS;Child has stuck with me far more than I expected.
#3 Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
I wasn’t sure this would work with the Uncharted B team characters, but Naughty Dog’s magic was present in this shorter experience. The game is mostly temples and enormous puzzles, which are my favorite parts of the regular series games anyway. It felt like it was slimmed down in just the right way.
I also hope we see another game set in India. The mythology and architecture were very interesting, the environments were beautiful, and I would like to revisit it.
Those are my top 10 games of the year, plus a little more. It was really difficult to choose which games I loved the most, and some of them are so close. If you have the same trouble, be sure to let me know your top 10 games in the comments and which games almost made your list.