Feature: Game of the Year 2018: Jeremy’s Top Ten Games

When I was a wee lad, and my responsibilities consisted of school and eating, I’d love to lose myself for hours in brutally hard side-scrollers that you had to beat in one setting because they didn’t have a Save feature, or NES classic RPG’s like Dragon Warrior, The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. As one grows older, the real world responsibilities don’t just pop up here and there, they spread like wildfire, or like the dandelions in my neighbor’s yard. Eventually, responsibilities like careers and families will sneak up on you, and you’ll be forced to cut back on things you once loved. My neighbor has apparently eliminated yard work from his busy schedule, and I’ve done my share of pruning as well. But unlike many my age, video games have survived the purge. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Sadly, I don’t have time for every open-world, fifty-hour opus that these giant studios unload on us each year. I’ll pick and choose a few that I think will be worth it, like last year’s Horizon Zero Dawn and this year’s Red Dead Redemption 2. It sucks to play these games and never consistently get the time to really dive in. I still haven’t finished RDR2, forgodsake. Don’t cry for me, however, because this is where my love of PSVR and indie titles come in. I’m not talking about those 2 hour cash-grabs and generic wave shooters here, I’m talking about unique, exciting, heartfelt, and original games that the most of the big boys don’t attempt anymore. Before I get to my real list, I’m going to take a page out of Jason’s book and drop in a few honorable mentions. Here goes:

  • Moss for the PSVR is a great little puzzle platformer that everyone should try. Quill is freaking adorable and the world is a real delight to explore. It just didn’t wow me quite like Astro Bot, and I couldn’t fit them both on the list.
  • Racing motorcycles is hard, but Ride 3 for the PS4 manages to satisfy that race, reward, repeat formula that makes racing games so damn addictive.
  • I really wanted to add Creed: Rise to Glory, and not just because it would have been funny to have a movie tie-in game on a best-of list, but because boxing is one of those experiences you just have to do in VR. The PSVR got two great boxing games this year. Knockout League gave us the fun Punch Out inspired pattern recognition style gameplay, while Creed focuses on more realistic boxing. It’s not a sim, but it has a fun, albeit short, campaign, training mode and online PVP. Plus you can fight as Rocky himself!

Much like my top ten list from 2017, my 2018 list has a similar theme. I love the PlayStation VR, and this list is going to be heavy on the virtual, and a little light on the traditional flat games. Give it a read and please tell me where I got it all wrong in the comments below.

10: Killing Floor: Incursion – Tripwire Interactive (PS4/PSVR)

I must admit that I didn’t enjoy the first two Killing Floor titles that much, and I wasn’t expecting much from the VR Version. But it didn’t take long after booting this one to realize that I was going to enjoy this zombie killing spree quite a bit. Killing Floor uses the Move controllers to play, so as PSVR vets know, full locomotion is going to come with a few compromises. Thankfully, developers are getting much better at implementing the Moves to allow full locomotion, and in turn, we’re getting better at playing them. This game is a good reminder that using the Aim controller isn’t always the best way to play. I love the Aim. LOVE it, but in Killing Floor: Incursion, my favorite part is reaching over my shoulder to grab one of my knives to throw at the enemies. The throwing motion is surprisingly accurate and fun as hell. You can’t have that type of action with the Aim. Just imagine the Move controllers with analog sticks, allowing us full/intuitive movement with the ability to actually holster your pistol, reach over your shoulder, grab a knife and throw it with a better-than-thought possible degree of accuracy? That’s what this game allows, minus those pesky analog sticks. For now, we’re stuck making the most of what we have, and I plan to do just that.

9: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden – The Bearded Ladies Consulting (PS4)

This one came out of nowhere. I “volunteered” to review it, because I was the only one of the team that didn’t have a review going, and I thought I was going to hate it. Wrong. I actually sort of love it. You play most of this apocalyptic game as a talking duck in funny clothes, and it just oozes style. It’s the mix of funny writing, stealth gameplay, and exploration with the traditional strategy combat that makes it so fun and unique.

8: God of War – Sony Santa Monica (PS4)

If I’m being honest, I probably would not have bothered playing a simple rehash of the old God of War series. I know some were disappointed in the direction Sony Santa Monica took the beloved series, but I commend them. I enjoyed the updated combat, and it looked remarkable, but it makes my list because of the great Father/son story at its heart.

7: Borderlands 2 VR – Gearbox (PS4/PSVR)

Borderlands 2 VR is here, but they left out the cooperative gameplay that Borderlands is known for. They also didn’t include Aim support or the DLC. What were they thinking? So all we get is this over-the-top adventure and universally acclaimed shooter with 30 plus hours of hilarious content. You’ll find enough comfort settings to satisfy the wobbliest stomach, and most importantly, the best full locomotion Move controller implementation I’ve ever used. But in all seriousness, Aim support would be freaking awesome. MAKE IT HAPPEN, GEARBOX!

6: Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Square Enix (PS4)

As a child of the eighties, the Dragon Quest series (re titled Dragon Warrior for in the west) on the original NES was damn near my first true love, just after 49er football, and just before Jennifer, Jill, and Angie. As I mentioned above, It’s going to be near impossible to find the 60 chill hours necessary to finish this game, but I’ve been killing slimes since the ’80s, bro, and I ain’t gonna stop now. Plus the game is fun. I mean, the cut scenes for some of those special attacks and spells are extra cringy and embarrassing, but then, so were the ’80’s.

5: Astro Bot Rescue Mission – SIE Japan Studio (PS4/PSVR)

From the first time I played the Astro Bot level on the free Playroom, I knew the folks at SIE Japan Studio had a winning recipe on their hands. It was only a ten or fifteen minute demo, but it was so damn charming. Mixing a cute little robot hero, perfect controls, a unique and exciting virtual world, and it’s no wonder everyone is talking about it. I was expecting the full release to be good, but I never dreamed it would be this good. Astro Bot Rescue Mission is the next level for platforming, and the genre may never be the same again.

4: Beat Saber – Beat Games (PS4/PSVR)

Beat Saber is ridiculously simple, and more fun than it has any right to be. It takes the addictively fun gameplay of the best rhythm games and replaces the silly plastic instruments with a bad ass light saber. The soundtrack, while cool, is a little light. Thankfully, new paid and free song packs are promised to be on the way. And seriously, if you don’t want to wield dual light sabers in virtual reality, then we probably can’t be friends.

3: Red Dead Redemption 2 – Rockstar Games (PS4)

What can I say about Red Dead Redemption 2? I remember riding my horse into town on a busy day and thinking how alive everything felt. Rainwater filled the wagon wheel ruts in the road while a dog barked somewhere. The town folk would mingle in a way that seemed natural and not in a way that made them seem like actors waiting for me to arrive. Triple-A blockbuster personified.

2: 2MD VR Football – Truant Pixel (PS4/PSVR)

I know what you’re thinking: I can’t believe this game is so high on his list. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, I can’t believe I only spent $11 on this game brand new. I truly love 2MD VR Football. As an American football fan who always wanted to read a defense while the pocket collapsed around me, this game is a dream come true. The ability to draw up real plays to beat a defense that is actually changing and not just doing the same thing over and over sounds crazy to me even after I’ve done it a million times. You can actually look off the deep safety, to buy that split second you need to hit your flanker in the middle of the field. What a time to be alive. Oh yeah, developer Truant Pixel recently added a couch co-op mode where a friend can play as the defense with the DS4 via the social screen. It’s an awesome mode and was completely free. I feel like I’m stealing from them at this point.

1: Firewall Zero Hour – First Contact Entertainment (PS4/PSVR)

What can I say about Firewall Zero Hour? It’s my slam-dunk, no-question game of the year, but it’s also possibly the most flawed game on the list. It’s a tactical 4v4 shooter with only one game mode. Sometimes, it’s a pain in the ass to get into a game with your friends, and if you do, and the host quits, everybody gets kicked out. Those two things can be frustrating, but what the game does right, is so much fun. You know the game is good, because the player-base is always there. You can get a game 24/7 if you want, and with limited PSVR install base and the niche nature of tactical shooters that rely on teamwork and communication, that says a lot about the game. I’m painfully average at the game, but playing with friends, especially my Pure PlayStation squad mates, is easily the most fun I’ve had gaming in the last year.

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