Now is the winter of our disc content! I think I played more new games in 2018 than in any other year. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case for a lot of people, particularly given the barrage of new titles that assaulted players’ wallets in the later months. And to be honest, I don’t think I disliked any of them, and a select few have now found their way onto the Firm Favourites shelf of my heart. Naww.
But before we get to my top three games, here’s the definitive list of all the new stuff I sunk time into in 2018 (in order of discovery…)
- Sonic Lost World
- Detroit: Become Human
- Far Cry Primal
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Stardew Valley
- The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Red Dead Redemption II
- Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Now, I can’t say I was particularly good at some of these (here’s looking at you, Smash Bros.) but there’s a lot to be said for taking part, right? I’m also fairly terrible at Mario Kart 8 but it’s a game that I seem to be continually drawn back to like the proverbial moth.
There are some titles, though, that are just so all-consuming that you can literally lose all sense of time and perspective – and for a man who typically has his daily meals timed to the second, this is no mean feat. These are the games that I consider to be a cut above the rest, and they are the ones that will take pride of place on my 2018 podium. So here goes.
3. Stardew Valley
Oh man, what can I say about the wonderment that is Stardew Valley? I want to pack up and go live there. Well, I say that, but I’m pretty sure I’d be dead within the first week. The idea of moving to a rural community to do nothing but plant seeds, fell trees and dance with the locals seriously appeals to my inner bohemian, and I have been truly captivated by the magic of the world of Stardew. But I’ve reached a fork in the road. Do I continue on the PC, or do I make a fresh start on the Nintendo Switch? Hmm. Leave your answers below.
2. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!
When I was a teenager, I became seriously addicted to Pokémon Gold. I remember losing whole weekends – often playing late into the night – in the never-ending quest to “catch ’em all.” And as time has gone by, I’ve looked back at this somewhat self-indulgent period and chuckled at my former inadequacies – so innocent, so easily seduced, so lacking in responsibility…
Of course, any illusion of character growth was quickly shattered when I sat down with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! which, incidentally, was my prime motivation for purchasing a Nintendo Switch in the first place. And unlike my new pocket monster friends – who seem happy to evolve with no qualms whatsoever – it quickly became apparent that little had changed when it came to the HP of Al Survive. With the Switch in hand-held mode and headphones firmly clamped about my ears, I suddenly reverted back to my pre-pubescent instincts and stayed up way past my bed time – and on a school night no less! But do I regret it? I mean, do I reaaaally regret it…? Not really. Not entirely, anyway. It’s so nice to have rare candies and TM boot-ups in my life again 🙂
1. Detroit: Become Human
My absolute number one game of 2018, though, goes to the artistic masterpiece that is Detroit: Become Human. For those of you who’ve never played a Quantic Dream game, this developer tends to make emotionally-charged, story-driven titles with thousands of unique narrative permutations and a labyrinth of possible endings. Detroit was no exception, and as such it is one of those rare games that makes you want to replay the main story mode as quickly as possible. Moreover, in doing so you will be rewarded with a markedly different gaming experience as you tackle matters from a fresh perspective, and in many ways you will feel like you’re picking up a brand new title.
As with the latest Pokémon adventure, Detroit: Become Human cost me a serious amount of sleep, but to be honest I’d much rather lose a little shut-eye over this seductive SF dystopia than to noisy neighbours and nocturnal angst. The plot revolves around artificial intelligence and the old chestnut of ‘what it means to be human’ but by far the most compelling aspect of Detroit is its relationship management system. In your interactions with many of the game’s characters, Detroit will constantly update you on your standing. For example, if you happen to say something that pleases Lieutenant Hank, he’ll reward you with an approving smile. Misjudge your response, though, and he’ll start doling out the demeaning looks of disdain. This is what happened to me, and it was quite heartbreaking because I fell slightly in love with Lt. Hank Anderson, but everything I did just seemed to fan the flames of his ardent distrust. It all ended very amicably between the two of us – by the game’s conclusion, we were hurling insults at each other atop an icy roof as we wrestled with a high-precision sniper rifle. Bae.
But of course, the beauty of Detroit: Become Human is that you can effectively ‘travel back in time’ and give your life another go. In addition, at the end of each mission, you are rewarded with a flowchart that displays all the possible branches that the story could have taken, inciting you to quickly hit ‘reload’ and discover all the nuggets of narrative that you missed. And I know, waiting for me somewhere, is a button that reads ‘Make Lieutenant Hank think you’re awesome,’ and I need to go press it.
So there we are – those are my favourite games of 2018. I want to know what yours are! Let me know in the comments below. And if you too have been scarred psychologically by the deterioration of your friendship with Lt. Anderson, hit me up and we’ll see if we can get an online support network going.
In the meantime, click on the links below to buy these games for yourself and help support this site…