THE GHGAMER AWARDS [Best Video Games of 2018]: Boyz II Men.
Eight GHGamers give their Top 5 Video Games of 2018–AAA, action/adventure, RPG, platformers, fighting, sports & racing, indies, hell, even VR on all platforms: Xbox One X, PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Our Nerd Clergy of Cool also tip their caps for this year, with an early look at their Most Anticipated Games of 2019. Enjoy!
1. Red Dead Redemption II (X1X/PS4) – While my #2 pick may have been the most delicious meal I had all year, my #1 GOTY was the most fabulous menu. If you’re looking for an experience above a mere gameplaying one, RDR2 is that — akin to diving two or three seasons into your favorite Netflix show, falling in love with the story and fully immersing yourself into it. I can’t remember a video game narrative that had me this invested in its characters. Thankfully, Red Dead II‘s also a great game too; while not perfect, shooting is wicked fun, the soundrack is mesmerizing, and the 4K landscapes (especially on the Xbox One X) go beyond visual comprehension. This once in a lifetime blockbuster took me to another pop culture realm that video games just don’t do. Yee-haw, Rock Star, we’ll see you in another ten. – 5/5
2. God of War (PS4) – Boy. You can blame Kratos and Atreus for giving this longtime Xbox fanboy a reason to go forth to the Darkside (PS4). Not since the O.G. PlayStation has this Moody dared do such a nasty thing like touch a Sony control pad, but the hype on God of War was real. With insane visuals, a hypnotic soundtrack, absolutely brutal and addictive combat, this was the greatest, most visceral single player game of its kind since Skyrim. Any other year, GOW is the clearcut GOTY. – 5/5
3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch) – No game has been easier to pick up and play this year than the return of Super Smash Bros. This Ultimate Switch exclusive has everything longtime Nintendo diehards and curious casuals would want: 75+ characters, 150+ levels, 800+ songs (hell, you can use your Switch as a damn MP3 player if your little nerd self so truly desires). I enjoy the amount of gameplay sessions it takes to unlock characters, giving me a reason to come back for more each time, and World of Light is the perfect mode for this non-competitive Smash brawler to invest several hours into this most bizarrely captivating universe. The game is flat-out insane, challenging yet never frustating, and will last in my Switch library until the end of the console’s time. – 4.75/5
4. *TIE* Forza Horizon 4 (X1X/PC) / Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) – While Spider-Man was arguably the #1 console seller this holiday season — and I feel of no need to explain my love for a comic book superhero game of this caliber — the high marks and high praise Forza Horizon 4 received this year finally turned more casual heads. Great Britain is a surprisingly vast region to explore, too; Edinburgh’s wondrous architecture presents great street racing, while the hilly Scottish terrains offer a surplus of slippery winter and fall challenges. Tis’ the season, Xbox players; we have ourselves a winner. – 4.5/5
5. WWE 2K19 (PS4/X1/PC) – Had only Yukes/Visual Concepts improved upon the stagnant, repetitive commentary, this would be the greatest wrestling game of all time. I swear. Although not without its in-match glitches (although very little, there’s the rare chance your tag team may be jumped by.. invisible people), everything else about WWE 2K19 feels like a huge improvement and continues to wow me with every additional gameplay session. MyCareer is everything anyone could ask for, Showcase is a warm return to form, and Universe Mode is fucking baller; due to a plethora of cinematic cutscenes, this mode has pushed more hours of this game on me than any other this year not named RDR2 . – 4.25/5
Honorable Mentions: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Dragon Ball FighterZ, MLB: The Show ’18, Destiny 2: Forsaken, Divinity: Original Sin II, NBA 2K19, Fire Pro Wrestling World.
FOR NEXT YEAR:
1. Doom Eternal (X1X/PS4/PC) – Of all the great games coming out in 2019 (I have several pre-ordered thanks to Amazon Prime’s last 20% off hurrah), no game seems more like a sure thing than Doom Eternal. And I say that following one of Bethesda’s most lackluster years in the much beloved publisher’s history. Fallout 76 was a bust, but that was something completely different. Here, the sequel to 2016’s outstanding Doom reimagining will ramp up the madness, giving us thrice the demons to slay, stronger slaughter devices and a home for this new brand of hell: Earth. I’m in the mood already.
2. Devil May Cry 5 (X1X/PS4)
3. Mortal Kombat 11 (X1X/PS4/PC)
4. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (X1/PS4)
5. The Outer Worlds (X1X/PS4)
P.S. Despite witnessing extensive footage at E3, I’m not expecting Cyberpunk 2077, Halo: Infinite nor The Ghosts of Tsushima to release in 2019.
1. God of War (PS4) – Perfection. With amazing graphics, fleshed-out characters, great story, tight combat, and a beautiful world, the new GoW evolved gaming not only with being flawless, but also with seamless transitions between cutscenes and gameplay. This game didn’t need to be open world or 50-plus hours to be fulfilling. Perfection is not an overexaggeration when describing this game. – 5/5
2. Red Dead Redemption II (PS4/X1) – RDR2 pays more attention to detail than any game ever, thus setting a new bar for open-world experiences. This game motivated me to slow down and pay attention to every NPC conversation, every footprint detail in the snow, and the muscles in a horse’s butt. This attention to detail didn’t fall short in the brilliant character development and narrative, thus making me feel connected to every core NPC. – 5/5
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) – Zipping through NYC is suprisingly cathartic, as the music adapts to how fast you’re zipping around. Spidey picked up all of the elements we love from the Batman Arkham Series (e.g. combat, challenges), while still feeling very much so like a Spider-Man game. Plus, any substantial game that anyone can pick up and platinum without being a cop-out like My Name is Mayo, is a thumbs up in my book. This all in thanks to a reasonably-sized game length that motivated players to do extra activities and unlock those beautiful Spidey suits. – 4.75/5
4. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (PS4/X1/PC) – Huge redemption for the series, as it took everything we know and love about Assassin’s Creed and sprinkled it with good ole Spartan brutality. This made the combat more satisfying. However, the biggest evolution is that ACO has the best narrative since Assassin’s Creed 2. The dialogue choices were a welcomed addition, and Kassandra easily became my favorite Assassin since Ezio — one of my all-time favorite protagonists. – 4.5/5
5. Detroit: Become Human (PS4) – A pure narrative experience where every choice the player makes can impact the entire game. Not to mention Detroit makes the player question some real life moral issues, as you play the story as three different androids in a world where they’re mass produced and enslaved. Its no surprise that Quantic Dreams implemented brilliant butterfly effect narrative. Detroit: Become Human is the best narrative driven game to date (sorry Telltale, Supermassive Games, and DontnodEntertainment). – 4.25/5
Honorable Mentions: Shadow of the Tomb Raider, A Way Out, Celeste, Monster Hunter: World, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
FOR NEXT YEAR:
1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4/X1X/PC) – FromSoftware created one of my favorite series with Dark Souls and one of my favorite games of all time with Bloodborne. It would be no surprise that Sekiro would give me the satisfaction that the previous Souls-Bourne games, while still giving a slightly different twist that will maybe give use Tenchu vibes? Hopefully, Sekiro will be a substantial hold over until Bloodborne II.
2. Resident Evil 2 (PS4/X1X/PC)
3. Anthem (PS4/X1X/PC)
4. Days Gone (PS4)
5. Kingdom Hearts 3 (X1X/PS4)
1. Forza Horizon 4 (X1X/PC) – My favorite game franchise returns with yet another stellar entry in the series. Haters scoff all they want with “different seasons — big deal”, but don’t know that they drastically affect the aspects of nearly every race. That one course you dominate in Summer? Good luck doing the same in Fall and Winter. – 5/5
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) – The hype was real. Insomnia knocked it out of Central Park in nearly every aspect with this PS4 console seller. Trash DLC was underwhelming, and that’s without taking into account the odd dlc suit offerings (no Future Foundation!? No Black Suit!?). – 4.75/5
3. Monster Hunter: World (X1X/PS4/PC) – The gaming industry is often plagued with “new and shiny”-itis, which is why I wasn’t going to let this earlier title go unnoticed. Having come out way back in January, MHW thrust players into a living, breathing world that sucked you in with its exploration and challenging hunts. With the year-end sales going on, you can get it cheap. Don’t miss out. – 4.5/5
4. Civilization VI (Switch/PC) – Spare me the “tHaT’s BeEn OuT oN pC fOrEvEr”. I’ve seen a Destiny expansion and a glorified update (No Man’s Sky Next) making the rounds in “Best of” lists, so I’ll do whatever I want. What’s really impressive about Civ on Switch is how you get the full experience. There are no compromises with this port, and you can take it anywhere. If you’re a strategy fan, it’s hard to go wrong here. – 4.5/5
5. *TIE* God of War (PS4) / Into the Breach (Switch/PC) – It’s GoW. Just re-read the tons of praise everyone else is giving it. Into the Breach is a fantastic little strategy game that was previously on PC. Don’t let its small price tag and indie looks fool you; it’s a deep game with a lot to uncover and play through. – 4.25/5
Honorable Mentions: WWE 2K19, AC: Odyssey, State of Decay 2, Super Smash Bros: Ultimate, Hand of Fate 2, Fire Pro Wrestling World.
FOR NEXT YEAR:
1. Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Switch) – The announcement at The Game Awards. Honestly, it kind of ruined announcements for the rest of the night. X-Men Legends 1 & 2 paved the way for the first two Ultimate Alliance games, which are arguably the best and biggest Marvel crossover games out there (aside from maybe Marvel VS Capcom 2). Already have it pre-ordered even though what they have is that B.S. “Dec 31st 2019” placeholder date.
2. Fire Emblem (Switch) – First true Switch FE game. Remember, that musou Warriors crap doesn’t count.
3. Pokemon (Switch) – Full fledged poke. Let’s Go Eevee is an appetizer.
4. Animal Crossing (Switch). – A nice getaway from all the chaos.
5. Halo Infinite (X1X/PC). – Holy shit, you gotta take on Cortana and her fleet of pissed off, ultra advanced A.I.
1. Red Dead Redemption II (PS4/X1X) – There shouldn’t be much more to say about doing an hour long plus podcast segment solely on one game, but there’s just that much to RDR2. When I think of the story of Arthur Morgan, I don’t compartmentalize it in ‘video game campaign’; that experience is up there with some of my favorite movies and TV shows of the year. I’m hard pressed to think of a season of television where I fell in love with the characters as much as I did with Dutch’s crew. Combine that with gorgeous visuals, layered open world systems, and unique in-world surprises that only Rockstar can do and you have nothing short of a classic. – 5/5
2. God of War (PS4) – This was a tough one to knock down to second and I may regret this moving forward because this is the epitome of a perfect game. I went into it not even loving Kratos as a character and thought the series in general was an interesting spectacle but nothing special enough to stick with you, but oh boy did this game turn it around. With the new perspective shift and focus on a more intimate narrative experience, GoW gave a third dimension to Kratos that he was in desperate need of and yet they were still able to reintroduce classic God of War weapons, mechanics, and combat and have it still feel cannon to games that pale in comparison, and feel much different, than this instant, perfectly polished classic. – 5/5
3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch) – If this is the first article you’ve seen me post on GHG please know that I don’t just give out 5 bibles willy nilly. This has just been that great of a year for video games, and the big Nintendo blockbuster title wasn’t any different. Smash on 64 is probably my most played video game of all time and Ultimate beautifully celebrates the entire series up until that original release. More than just a platform-fighting game, Ultimate is also a museum for video game history, low-key an RPG, and one of the best party games ever made. From one to eight players I’m hard pressed to find a situation I’m in where I don’t want to play it. – 5/5
4. Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) – After doing a written review and a podcast about this game I still find joy in going back to it when another one of the DLCs dropped. Even in a post Red Dead and Smash world, the gameplay still stands on its own and the rush of zipping around as Spidey is an experience that will probably never be matched. The DLCs so far haven’t matched the quality of the main campaign, but they were still a great excuse to dive back into Manhattan and visit our old friends again. – 4.5/5
5. Destiny 2: Forsaken (PS4/X1X/PC) – Sure, it may just be DLC for a game that came out last year, but if you really understood what it did to bring Destiny back to where it should be, as well as how much content it gave us, then you’d understand that Forsaken is a title on its own. The quality of life changes that came with the expansion alone would warrant it being on a top ten list, but on top of that the campaign came with a shockingly engaging story, one of the more interesting end game areas the game’s ever had, and one of the biggest raids the franchise has seen. – 4.5/5
Honorable Mentions: Tetris Effect, NBA 2K19, Night in the Woods, Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, Forza Horizon 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
FOR NEXT YEAR:
1. Psychonauts 2 (PS4/X1X/PC) – The original is one of my favorite platformers of all time and I’ve been a huge of Tim Schafer’s games since his days at LucasArts and can’t wait to see what he and his team at Double Fine have been cooking up.
2. Control (PS4/X1X/PC)
3. Rage 2 (PS4/X1X/PC)
4. Resident Evil 2 (PS4/X1X/PC)
5. Anthem (PS4/X1X/PC)
1. Red Dead Redemption II (PS4/X1X) – No surprise here. In my view, the most finely crafted and complete gaming experience of 2018. In a year where competition was both sparse, yet stiff, taking top honors in this category is quite the achievement. I can’t stress enough to my clergy how much I love this game. While definitely not perfect, its pretty close. In my opinion, the best game Rockstar has ever made, the best open world game made, and the best most complete and compelling story yet to be told. – 5/5
2. God of War (PS4) – If you were to ask me what game would take the top honors for 2018 at this time last year, I would have told you God of War, hands down. It was my most anticipated game, and it definitely did not fall short of expectations; in fact, it blew them away. Placing GoW at the number 2 slot is difficult, as it is truly a game of epic proportions, and redefined what this medium can do in terms of storytelling mixed with almost perfect gameplay. The only thing that held it back from the top spot was that it didn’t resonate. I finished it, and never went back to it. – 4.75/5
3. Fortnite (Everything) – I know, I know. I was a massive Fortnite detractor for the longest time. I saw it as a fad, childish, and a blatant money pit. I found myself in the gaming drought at some point and decided I’d pick it up and see what all the fuss was about. A few games and about $120 later on battle passes, meaningless skins, and now controversial emotes, I was hooked. Fortnite managed to recapture that sweaty cooperative play with friends that I loved so much while playing Destiny. It’s completely undeniable that Fortnite has taken the world by storm, and its “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality and ease of use actually make it a great game. Plus, it never dries up as there’s always fresh, new content available. Well done, Epic Games. – 4.5/5
4. Spider-Man (PS4) – Who remembers how awesome Spider-Man 2 was on the PlayStation 2? I do. This updated and full throttle edition of more or less the same game is a welcome addition not just to gaming, but to the Spider-Verse in general. While it can be a little rote and repetitive at times, there really aren’t that many truly exhilarating experiences in gaming compared to zipping through a beautifully crafted New York Cityscape. – 4.5/5
5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch) – Prime Nintendo hater right here. I’m an unapologetic snob when it comes to gaming, and I can’t bring myself to love anything Nintendo does. That being said, Smash is legit. I can’t go a day I’m without seeing friends with their Switch console battling it out with friends in an epic confrontation, them bellowing in triumph or agony with the result. SSBU brings back the old school, couch gaming party sessions of the past and gives us a fresh take on a classic. I begrudgingly acquiesce that this title is damn good, and at times makes me want a Switch, briefly. Very briefly. – 4.25/5
FOR NEXT YEAR:
1. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (PS4/X1X/PC) – Since Ghost of Tsushima likely won’t see a 2019 release, I’ll have to settle on Division 2. “Whhhhhaaaaaatttttt?!??” one might be asking. I loved the original Division… for two months. The endgame content was beyond broken, and yes, they did fix it, but the player base had all but abandoned the game except for a few diehard fans. I have faith that Ubisoft has learned from their original blunders and will release a better game on this go round.
2. Days Gone (PS4)
3. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PS4/X1X/PC)
4. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (PS4/X1X)
5. Anthem (PS4/X1X/PC)
1. Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) – I’ve been waiting for this game since it was announced back at the Sony E3 press conference back in 2016 and it was worth the wait. PS4’s Spidey has the best web-swinging since Spider-Man 2, a great combat system, great story and great DLC. Since I recently platinumed the best Spider-Man game ever made, I’m beyond looking forward to the new Spider-Man 2. – 5/5
2. God of War (PS4) – GoW was the year’s best reboot and continuation of an Action Adventure series that shows the growth of a gaming icon that has been around almost 2 decades. The new combat system and story that shifted from Greek to Norse mythology made this game a true masterpiece. GoW takes you on a wild journey between a father and son, and makes you want to keep playing. The sequel can’t come fast enough. – 5/5
3. Red Dead Redemption II (PS4/X1X) – The most breath-taking open world game this year. This great prequel also had a terrific combat system and, currently, a multiplayer that’s only going to get better in the New Year. I expect to still be playing Red Dead Online a year from now! – 5/5
4. Hitman 2 (PS4/X1X/PC) – I recommend that you play the first game before jumping into the sequel, as this game takes place right where the first one left off: Agent 47 is tracking down the Shadow Client and piecing together memories of your past. Hitman 2 has fun stealthy combat, exotic open world environments and a multitude of ways to terminate your target. The game truly makes you feel like a real assassin. – 4.25/5
5. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise (PS4) – If you’re a fan of the manga and the Yakuza series, you’ll dig Lost Paradise, which stays true to the post-apocalyptic source material; the combat allows players to make heads explode and inflict damage on the bodies of your enemies. – 4/5
Honorable Mention: Soulcalibur VI.
FOR NEXT YEAR:
1. Kingdom Hearts III (PS4/X1X) – Fans of the series have been waiting almost 20 years for this game! If you don’t know anything about KH, this is the best time to get into it, because you will be lost when it comes to the story if you don’t. Unfortunately, the only way to do is to own a PS4 (Xbox.. my bad). With KH3 I’m looking forward to exploring all the new worlds in ultra HDR, and witnessing the final conclusion to this fan favorite series. Feels crazy just saying that.
2. Days Gone (PS4)
3. Devil May Cry 5 (PS4/X1/PC)
4. Resident Evil 2 (PS4/X1/PC)
5. Mortal Kombat 11 (PS4/X1/PC/Switch)
1. Sea of Thieves (X1X/PC) – Whats not to like? High seas pirate sailing in a gorgeous world with amazingly designed and developed water tech. I’ve spent the year playing the beta and then release, and haven’t stopped once this year. The devs at Rare are some of the best and keep constant communication and actively interact with the community. This game ranks up with my top games ever played in my 34-years of gaming.
2. Beat Saber (PSVR/PC) – Excellent combination of VR and rhythm games. I’ve had a blast playing this since release, and it’s a great workout too. The community is constantly mapping new songs and the developers are always working on fixing bugs and releasing new features. – 4.5/5
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII (X1X/PS4/PC) – I’m as surprised as you are that this made my Top 5. Treyarch pulled it off and gave us a proper Black Ops title that we’ve been missing since 1 and 2. And the battle royale mode is great as well. Zombies is well received by many, although for me its my least favorite game mode in this release. – 4.25/5
4. Call of Cthulu (X1X/PS4/PC) – I enjoyed learning about this game at E3 and talking to part of the team behind the game. The release was not disappointing at all, and was quite fun to play through with an interesting story and gameplay. – 4/5
5. Arca’s Path (PSVR/PC) – Another VR title hits the top 5. Simple yet beautiful gameplay that is easy to pick up and very enjoyable. – 4/5
FOR NEXT YEAR:
1. Doom Eternal (X1X/PS4/PC) – DOOM 2016 was excellent, and what we have seen of Eternal looks as good if not better. Definitely a day 1 purchase for this gamer.
2. Mortal Kombat 11 (X1X/PS4/PC/Switch)
3. Anthem (X1X/PS4/PC)
4. Metro Exodus (X1X/PS4/PC)
5. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries (PC)
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch) – The most saught after title in the Switch library. It has so many easter eggs for longtime fans and enough single player content to last you well into the New Year. It’s main attraction? 4-Player chaos. This return to Smash easily tops the list for me. – 4.75/5
2. God of War (PS4) – I’ve always admired God of War from afar. Yes, at one time I did own a PlayStation and always wanted to play it. I knew the series would be great and this entry is no exception. GoW 2018 has outstanding voice acting, amazing HDR visuals, and top-notch gameplay. – 4.5/5
3. Destiny 2: Forsaken (X1/PS4/PC) – I love what has changed with Destiny 2, and there’s absolutely enough changes to warrant people to give this a second.. err, third.. err, fourth chance. Bungie has slowly started to embrace the RPG aspect of their game while simultaneously going back to what made Destiny 1 so good as an MMO with the plentiful amounts of loot you could obtain. – 4.25/5
4. Far Cry 5 (X1/PS4/PC) – The fact I can load the car up with C4, roll it down a hill, into unsuspecting Militia, and have it explode; puts the game on my list. – 4/5
5. Spyro Reignited Trilogy (X1/PS4) – After pouring in several hours I now understand why Spyro had an admirable following. It’s a fun game, with things to do that are enjoyable, and a character who has a personality. Spyro Reignited makes for a super holiday gift so long as one can discover a way to fix the camera that is giving me fits. – 3.5/5
Honorable Mentions: Hitman 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Marvel’s Spider-Man.
FOR NEXT YEAR:
1. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (X1X/PS4/PC) – I know this sounds weird, but I seriously cannot wait to see how it turns out. I played the first Division and was let down by it. But the turnaround of the first game … from trash to gold was astounding. The dev, like Bungie, listened to the community and fixed all the issues. So, now I am curious as to if they regressed or they progressed.
2. Devil May Cry 5 (X1X/PS4/PC)
3. Catherine: Full Body (PS4)
4. Days Gone (PS4)
5. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (X1X/PS4/PC)
***GHG’s Games of the Year***
1. Red Dead Redemption II
2. God of War
3. Marvel’s Spider-Man
4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
5. Forza Horizon 4
Honorable Mentions: Destiny 2: Forsaken, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, Monster Hunter: World, WWE 2K19, Hitman 2.
***GHG’s PlayStation 4 Exclusive of the Year***
-God of War
***GHG’s Xbox One Exclusive of the Year***
-Forza Horizon 4
***GHG’s Nintendo Switch Game of the Year***
-Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
***GHG’s Fighting Game of the Year***
-Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
***GHG’s Sports Game of the Year***
***GHG’s Indie Game of the Year***
-Not enough of us played Celeste. Sorry?