It's funny, two of my most-played games of 2018 aren't on this list (Football Manager 2017 and Fire Emblem Heroes, for the record). But when it comes to my personal favorites, two stood well above the rest: Red Dead Redemption 2 and Monster Hunter: World.
Monster Hunter: World grabbed my attention when it released in January, and it remained in heavy rotation well into the summer. It made the series more accessible than it had ever been to that point, and it was rewarded with huge sales and a legion of new fans. Monster Hunter: World might be the biggest success story of 2018 outside of Fortnite. We expected Red Dead Redemption 2 to be a huge hit, but I don't think anyone imagined that MHW would become the highest selling Capcom game of all time.
As for Red Dead Redemption 2, I already shared my thoughts in my Game of the Year write-up. I know that I really like a game when I consistently wander off the main path and explore, which happened to me on a regular basis in Red Dead Redemption 2. I loved the story, too, but it was often hard to pick one of the missions, because I usually just wanted to go hunting. It might be my favorite open-world game ever.
Here's the rest of the list:
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Monster Hunter: World
- God of War
- Tetris Effect
- Forza Horizon 4
- The Messenger
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Into the Breach
- Pokemon Go
Okay, Pokemon Go was actually released in 2016, but it made massive strides in 2018. Social features, battling, and research tasks were all huge additions, and it was enough to get me back into it in a big way. Two years after its release, Pokemon Go looks like it's finally reaching its potential.
The rest of my list reflects my determination to branch out as many of this year's big games as I could. I ended up really enjoying God of War, and Forza Horizon 4 remains a personal favorite. Sadly, it was a weak year for sports games, so you won't find any here.
Indie games were a larger part of my gaming diet than usual. I picked up Celeste on Caty's recommendation, and I fell in love with its wonderful soundtrack and challenging platforming. The Messenger was a tremendous ode to Ninja Gaiden and the Sega Genesis. Into the Breach reinvented tactics games with one of the smartest takes on the genre I've seen in years.
2018 may not have had the all-time classics that 2017 had, but it felt like I played a much more diverse array of really strong games this year. Part of me worries that 2019 won't be able to carry on the momentum of 2017 and 2018, especially with developers hard at work on next-generation consoles, but I'm hopeful and ready to be surprised. Whatever happens, I can say that I've played a lot of truly amazing games of late.