Game Of The Year: 2018's 10 Best Games
By Matt Espineli on
GameSpot's nominee countdown for the Best Games of 2018 is over and our choice for Game of the Year has finally been revealed. Each game we’ve highlighted is among this year’s best and should be at the top of your queue if you haven't played them already. Our list was formed by our global team of GameSpot editors and video producers, who spent hours locked in fierce debate fighting for the games they felt most passionate about.
Like in 2017, this year’s nominees were difficult to compile. After all, there was no shortage of amazing games to play across PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile in 2018. The toughest decision was narrowing down which game we wanted to be Game of the Year. This year, we selected 10 unranked nominees and then selected the Game of the Year from those candidates, rather than ranking our entire list.
After several hours, we were able to compile a nominee list of the 10 best games culminating in our overall Game of the Year choice. The games in this features are informed by an array of tastes and preferences, reflecting our team's diverse gaming backgrounds and opinions. Read on to see why we chose each game as one of the best for 2018, and scroll to the very bottom to see our choice for Game of the Year 2018.
For more on our picks of the best games of the year across various categories, as well as features focusing on the year's performance, check out our Best of 2018 hub. In the meantime, which games did you love the most this year? Let us know in the comment section below.
Monster Hunter World
"It's been said over and over again this year that Monster Hunter World is the most accessible game yet in the long-running Japanese action RPG series. Monster Hunter's detractors know that doesn't mean much--World may be the easiest entry point yet, but it's still pretty obtuse for all but the most diligent, attentive, and detail-oriented newbies. Either you need to have the dedication and persistence to fight through hours of ignorance while you speed-Google every new thing the game throws at you, or you need a monster-hunting veteran friend to lend a hand. But that's fine--some subjective concept of "accessibility" isn't what makes MHW so great. And besides, cooperative multiplayer happens to be exactly where Monster Hunter World shines brightest." -- Michael Rougeau, Senior Entertainment Editor
Into The Breach
"Into The Breach is focused. It is an exceptional distillation of turn-based tactical strategy. The compact, chessboard-sized 8x8 maps mean that confrontations and problems arise immediately. The short missions means there's a constant urgency. The clear transparency of its systems shows you absolutely everything that is going to happen in the next turn--what enemies are targeting, how much damage they will deal, and any effects that will occur. It's a game that tells you everything you need to know, keeps randomness to a minimum, and never wastes your time." -- Edmond Tran, Senior Editor and Producer
God of War
"The new God of War from Santa Monica Studio is a masterful reinvention of a now-classic PlayStation series and, primarily, its lead character. Kratos went from being a killing machine driven solely by rage in previous games, to, well, a killing machine driven by paternal instinct and a promise made to his deceased wife. But even without being compared to his former self, Kratos' newfound sensitivity and self-awareness are as effective as they are because of how well the character and his journey are executed in general. For fans, it's great to witness the character's pivot from yesteryear's action darling to today's loving father figure in disguise, but Kratos and the game he leads are simply excellent on their own terms." -- Peter Brown, Managing Editor
"On paper, Dead Cells is an amalgamation of familiar ideas, some of which have been recycled to the point of overexposure; the exploration, discovery, and gradual empowerment of Castlevania and Metroid, the trial-and-error runs of Spelunky, and the oblique world of Dark Souls. But what truly distinguishes Dead Cells is the harmony it achieves between these individual elements. Developer Motion Twin successfully captures the essence of each of the games it is inspired by and uses them to give life to an experience that is refined and refreshing." -- Tamoor Hussain, Senior News Editor
"Marvel's Spider-Man is special, if for no other reason than that it's the closest a video game has come to capturing what it feels like to be everyone's favorite friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. It's exhilarating to step off a skyscraper and hear the orchestral score begin to swell, only to crescendo and level out as you start swinging towards your next objective; there's never a moment in the game's 20-hour run-time where you don't want to be flying through the air. You're constantly unlocking or discovering tricks that Spidey is known for pulling off in the comics--like firing out a web from both shooters to slingshot yourself through a hanging pipe--that make traveling from point A to point B the most thrilling part of the game." -- Jordan Ramee, Associate Editor
Return of the Obra Dinn
"Armed with a magical pocket watch that allows you to see and explore each victim’s final moment and a mostly empty notebook to fill in--as well as your own detective skills and possibly a real-life notebook--you go from corpse to corpse gleaning what you can from short snippets of voiced-but-not-animated scenes frozen in time. Your notebook includes a passenger manifest with names, jobs, and countries of origin as well as an artist’s rendition of life on the ship, and differentiating between one seaman and another is no small feat. Return of the Obra Dinn does not hold your hand, and you have to pay very close attention to keep track of who’s who, how they died, and, if they were murdered, who did it." -- Kallie Plagge, Reviews Editor
For more on why we chose Return of the Obra Dinn as one of the best for 2018, check out our full write-up.
"Tetris Effect is unquestionably the prettiest version of Tetris there is and it uses that aspect of its personality to enhance the core draw of the puzzle game within, making it easier for you to find that unspeakable bond between mind and game. It's an unforgettable experience that marks a new chapter for one of the medium's most familiar and beloved properties, and when people talk about Tetris from now on, Tetris Effect will undoubtedly be used to reference the original game's timeless appeal." -- Pete Brown, Managing Editor
"Like its predecessor, Hitman 2 can be many things to many people. The variety of possible approaches allows for wildly different experiences. You might opt for a more head-on plan that involves killing anyone who gets in your way. Maybe you use the briefcase for its intended purpose and sneak in a sniper rifle to take your target out from a distance. Or perhaps you opt for something far more elaborate: Discover the use of a high-powered fan in a movie shoot, recover and deliver a missing script to the crew so filming can continue, and then rig the fan to blow your target off the roof once the cameras are rolling. (It made for great footage, the film's producer concedes in a private phone call afterward.) It all sounds sadistic on paper, but with Hitman 2, developer IO Interactive has continued to hone its comedy chops by instilling a sense of humor into so many of your actions and every corner of the map." -- Chris Pereira, Engagement Editor
For more on why we chose Hitman 2 as one of the best for 2018, check out our full write-up.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
"Over 70 unique characters from nearly 30 different video game franchises, with more to come. A refined combat system that is still exciting, still accessible, and still has a high skill ceiling. A number of varying modes to enjoy on your own or with others. An immense library of great video game music. There are so many wonderful things packed into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that, even in the short time between its release and our Best Of The Year discussions, it has filled us with an immense amount of joy." -- Edmond Tran, Senior Editor and Producer
For more on why we chose Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as one of the best for 2018, check out our full write-up.
Game of the Year: Red Dead Redemption 2
"It can be frustrating, in an open world game, to be forced into actions you didn't want to take. Red Dead Redemption 2 gives you a ton of choices but very few outcomes; there's often nothing you can do to change how a story mission ends. It can feel like you're fighting against the game, but that's why it's brilliant. Your weariness and your frustration are also Arthur's, and that gives you a greater understanding into the inner turmoil he experiences throughout the story. Those feelings draw you into him, his relationships, and his world, and that's a connection that's hard to shake when it's all over. Of everything about Red Dead Redemption 2, from its responsive, living world to its most meticulous details, that is its greatest achievement." -- Kallie Plagge, Reviews Editor