This list is one year late (sorry). I never got around to making a blog at the end of 2018, partly because I did not play many games and also because I forgot. But since this blog is now more of a depository for my “best games” it’s better late than never, right?
7. BATTLETECH: Turn-based strategy with huge mechs from the MechWarrior franchise that I’ve known since the early 90s. The game itself is a bit grindy (replace “bit” with “extremely”) but it is satisfying and rewarding in many areas. You basically just command various mechs over environments, through forests, and take down opposing units. Then you manage their weapons and pilots between missions and live off the rewards / salvage. Tons of fun.
6. VAMPYR: Dontnod have created a lot of different games and this is a solid and dark adventure about a doctor that becomes a vampire. As you navigate London, you have to decide if you will heal the sick, suck the blood of the sick (eww germs), or maybe both. Both ways are fun, by the way. If you get to know the people, their blood tastes better. Feeding off people makes combat easier but the moral questions (and search for action) runs in tandem with the doctor’s search for blood. It’s a clever game that needed just a bit more time to be great.
5. UNFORESEEN INCIDENTS: I don’t play a great number of point-and-click adventure games. This one came along at the right time and gave me something quite relaxing to play. I love the art style and thought the puzzles were very natural and substantial. It also has some great characters and an interesting story about a disease.
4. SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER: Lara’s third outing (of the new games) has a lot of great qualities. Her relationship with Jona is far more interesting this time around and he’s less of an idiot. It has some cool scenes, including one rather awesome sequence involving a tsunami. It puts more focus on exploring/uncovering than the previous games. It only needed more combat and a few more puzzles to truly excel.
3. SPIDER-MAN: This PlayStation exclusive is faithful to the series and a lot of fun. Swinging through the city does not get old. Plus it changes things up a bit with sequences where you play as Mary Jane or Miles. But the action is actually excellent, both in stealth and melee. It might actually best Batman Arkham games in both of these areas. When you get all the gadgets and really get into the combat, it is pretty sublime. Spider-man is a very game-friendly superhero and the implementation demonstrates that.
2. SUBNAUTICA: Survival games are a dime a dozen these days but this underwater adventure is one of the best experiences. Going deeper is absolutely perfect for progression. Using pipes to bring down air at first. Then setting up bases on the descent is so cathartic. And finally you get the Cyclops submarine and it becomes a home away form home in every sense of the word. Throw in a few hostile sea creatures, some alien ruins, some human settlements, and you have a great survival experience that is as fun in the shallows as it is in the depths.
1. ASSASSIN’S CREED: ODYSSEY: Not many games get so much out of the size of their world. Odyssey is basically a much better version of Origins, with improvements to world design, stealth, and a whole bunch of targets to assassinate at your leisure. The world is packed with interesting corners and the melee combat is pretty fun. Plus it has great sailing combat / traversal. The story leads in an interesting direction as it concerns the family of the main character (male or female). There are a few different endings too, some are bad. It may not be the best game in the series but it is certainly a style of game that I would be happy to play again, if the next game in the series goes down the same path.
So there are my top games from the year. Honorable mentions include God of War and Forza Horizon 4. Life got in the way in 2018 and I did not play nearly as many games as I have in the previous years (only 27). For example, I still have not played Red Dead Redemption 2. My best of 2019 list should be up in the next week or so, hopefully.