Well, I've done it again. I overdosed on RPGs in 2018, same as I did in 2017. I'm ashamed of myself and my addiction. Hah. Just kidding. It's awesome.
Not only did I overdose on RPGs, I overdosed on Switch games. Lord, what can I say? When you live in a house with one HD television and a husband who watches a lot of WWE, handheld gaming is a blessing (yeah, we could technically buy another HDTV, but then we'd have to take our CRT set out of the bedroom. If you're any kind of retro gamer, you can understand the bind we're in).
All in all, I think I struck a decent balance between triple-A games on my PlayStation 4 (even if not too many of them made my Top 10 cut) and lower resource indie games on my Switch. Here are my 10 besties of 2018:
- Dragon Quest XI
- Pokemon Let's Go
- Diablo 3: Eternal Edition
- Octopath Traveler
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Valkyria Chronicles 4
- Monster Hunter: World
- Mega Man 11
- Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido
- Forgotton Anne
Ahhhh! After ten thousand years, Dragon Quest XI finally made its way westward! I enjoyed the heck out of it. Good characters, a great story, engaging battles, incredible monster designs—pretty much everything you'd expect from a mainline Dragon Quest release, really. Despite the intimidating "XI" in its name, I have no problem recommending Dragon Quest XI to newcomers of the series. Though it's stuffed with references and nods to past games (and it's based heavily around Dragon Quest VIII's framework), Dragon Quest XI is a self-contained story about hope, love, friendship, and all that good RPG stuff.
Pokemon Let's Go's seemingly childish graphics and interface might turn off some hardcore Pokemon fans, but I spent a stupid number of hours on this candy-colored Pokemon romp. Oh gosh, it's so cute and fun. More like this, but with Pokemon Gold and Silver, please. Then there's Diablo 3: Eternal Collection, which is on the opposite end of "cute," but likewise gobbled up hours of my life. I never played Diablo 3, if you can believe it, and it turns out wading into the beauty of hunting and loot collecting with the Nintendo Switch was the right thing to do.
Octopath Traveler was my "summer game" for 2018. While its fragmented method of storytelling doesn't sit with everyone, I love how the characters' stories form a spiral that gradually grows outwards. I also love how several of the storylines come to a climax in dark, beleaguered towns huddling under perpetually bloody sunsets. Unf, that atmosphere. Oh, and shout-out to a unique battle system that builds off Bravely Default.
Prepare yourself for a humongous surprise: I love Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's endless deluge of fan service. It even weaned me off the GameCube controller this year! So long, springy buttons. And, oh my God! Joker for Smash in 2019! Valkyria Chronicles 4 also gets a high-five for being the follow-up we've waited on for years. Some people might find its mechanics too loosey-goosey for a strategy game, but I think the character development and story—particularly the optional squad stories—make up for that.
Monster Hunter: World let me experience a rich ecosystem while I indulged in the thrill of hunting game ten times my size. Mega Man 11 marks a happy return for the Blue Bomber, though the Gear System isn't for everyone. I'm excited it reportedly did well: Seriously hoping 2019 is the year we hear something about a new Mega Man X game.
Finally, two lesser-known games I loved to bits this year. Forgotton Anne's beautiful graphics mesh strangely well with its dark themes; it deserves to be recognized by all fans of puzzle-platformers. Finally, there's Sushi Striker. Oh wow, what a nutty game. Some people had trouble with the controls on the Switch version, but it's nothing I couldn't overcome with a bit of practice. Less fair are the accusations that it's a "mobile game at full price." Sushi Striker is a meaty (fishy?) puzzle game with full voice acting and a delightful sense of humor. I—
("Don't say it, Nadia.")
I ate it up.