Thursday, June 20, 2019

Top Five: Video Games of 2018

  • Whenever I fall away from gaming, it's because I have become entranced with some other form of media. Whether it's comics or books or web forums, I usually have an excuse to not fire up a new game. This year is was streaming video, namely YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. Ironically, my addiction to streaming happened soon after we finally decided to cord cut and go internet only. Nonetheless, I found the time to play a few games.

  • Yakuza 6: The Song of Life - After my enthusiasm for last year's pair of games, I was ready to jump into another Yakuza game. Of course, the next available is the final Kazuma Kiryu story, but I did not find jumping so far ahead to be such a detriment. Kamurocho looks better than ever before. And with their Dragon engine allowing you to enter locations without load screens, it is more seamless and alive than before. Once again, Ryo Ga Gotoku Studio finds the right balance of drama, action, and comedy that fits my tastes to a tee.

  • West of Loathing - I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud at a video game. West of Loathing is a genuinely funny game. Its light RPG and adventure mechanics are just the catalyst for its absurd take on the Old West. Players of the online Kingdom of Loathing will find a lot of similarities here. But as much as I enjoyed the game, what I will remember is its humor.

  • Monster Hunter World - I never once imagined that I would enjoy a Monster Hunter. All of the preparation, the grinding, the arcane systems... None of it sounded like actual fun. Then Capcom filed off (most of) the jagged edges and left a game that was downright inviting. I'll never pick up a mainline game in the series. But World let me have a glimpse of what all the diehard fans love.

  • Diablo III: Eternal Collection - All I remember of Diablo III on the PC was Error 37. The zeitgeist was enthralling, but I haven't enjoyed an Diablo-like ARPG since Torchlight. Then they put it out on Switch and it was finally the right place, right time game for me. I much prefer the Dark Alliance style controls for these games that PC versions don't offer for some reason. So eight years (and two purchases later), I finally saw the game to its end and I had a blast doing it.

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Having another person in the house who is interested in video games has been a change for me. My daughter will likely never be a "gamer" like myself, but she enjoys watching me play from time to time and has a few she likes to play herself. One of those that we overlap on is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Purchased in the waning days of 2018, I thought it might be the kind of thing she would enjoy, and oh she did. We often play split-screen together, me charging ahead while she fights in the mid-field. It might not have been the game for me, but it is the perfect game for us. And those few days at the end of December playing together was enough to propel it onto my Top Five for the year.

  • This is usually the part where I list honorable mentions, but it really was that slow of a gaming year. Here's to a more fruitful 2019. (Spoilers: it's pretty good so far.)