2018 was an amazing year to be a gamer. From massive franchise installments like the latest God of War and Super Smash Bros. games to lesser-known gems like Celeste and Florence, this past year seemed to turn out something for everyone.
Gaming is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of entertainment available today. But just because many people may enjoy gaming, certainly doesn’t mean everyone is going to enjoy the same games.
While God of War topped many of the year-end “Best of” lists, it still might not appeal to those who aren’t a fan of the typical action-adventure games. Thankfully, just as there are a number of consoles which players can now choose from, there is no shortage of genres to pick from as well.
Those who grew up with the Nintendo Entertainment System and other classic consoles should be happy to know that platforming games have enjoyed a bit of a resurgence as of late. And for those who have long been a fan of the first-person shooter, the last few years have offered up some new takes on the ubiquitous genre.
So let's take a closer look at some of the biggest video games from last year and decades past to reveal who is the real gamer!
God of War
Released on April 20th of 2018, God of War went on to be one of the best-reviewed games of last year. It is the eighth installment of the action-adventure series, which finds Kratos traveling the world with his son, Atreus, following the loss of their wife and mother. From its graphics to its storyline, God of War was praised in nearly every way imaginable, which led it to receive a 94 out of 100 on Metacritic along with numerous nominations and accolades. Unfortunately, for many players, God of War is only available on PS4 (Wikipedia).
Originally released in 2017, Fortnite has a number of different modes for the player to partake in. But their battle royale gameplay easily became the most notable of them all. The mode is available for free on numerous platforms — including Windows, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch — and it involves up to 100 players competing to be the last one standing. This mode of gameplay alone brought in well over 100 million players in the year following its release, making it one of the biggest games of the decade (Wikipedia).
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Ocarina of Time was long considered to be the greatest game in the Zelda franchise. That is, until Breath of the Wild was released in 2017. The sheer scope of the gameplay had many in awe, as it seemed as though the player could take Link anywhere that was visible in the game. Like most Zelda games, the story centered around Link trying to rescue Princess Zelda and defeat Ganondorf, though there was certainly no shortage of twists, turns, and surprises along the way (Wikipedia).
The Last of Us
Though the Last of Us Part II is well underway, there still isn’t an official release date for this hotly anticipated sequel. So in the meantime, players can revisit this 2013 release from Naughty Dog developers. The action-adventure game is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where a man who lost his daughter years ago must now help transport a girl cross country under the belief that she may be the key to humanity’s survival. The film was praised for its immersive gameplay and engaging story (Wikipedia).
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Fans of the first-person shooter have grown accustomed to getting their Call of Duty fix in the fall of each year. In 2018, that fix came when Black Ops 4 was released on October 12 — a full month ahead of when most COD games are known to hit shelves. The game did away with the typical campaign mode and instead focused on revamping the multiplayer gameplay, which included a number of zombie maps — which have become somewhat of a standout of the Black Ops series (Wikipedia).
Originally released back in 2016, Overwatch remains immensely popular today, especially amongst fans of the first-person shooter genre. The game allows players to choose from a large roster of characters — all of whom have specific advantages and disadvantages on the battlefield. Then, players are broken into two teams of six before they square off and are forced to partake in any number of challenges and obstacles. Overwatch was praised for its ability to encourage teamwork between allied players (Wikipedia). But is it your type of game?
Released on September 11th of last year, NBA 2K19 is the 20th installment of its respective franchise — which once again finds the player suiting up to take part in the National Basketball Association. The game received largely positive reviews, with many praising its graphics and the slight mechanically improvements over its predecessor. However, many remained hung up on NBA 2K19’s microtransaction aspect, which makes the player pay for additional content and upgrades throughout the game (Wikipedia). So would you play?
Horizon Zero Dawn
Blending elements of both science fiction and fantasy, Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a world where large machine-like monsters are wreaking havoc across the world. Therefore, the player must take on the role of Aloy, a hunter who largely relies on ranged attacks and stealth gameplay to take down the giant beats. The game was released for the PlayStation 4 on February 28, 2017, where it received largely positive reviews. A year after its release, Horizon Zero Dawn had sold nearly 8 million copies worldwide (Wikipedia).
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls series has long been a favorite amongst many fantasy and role-playing gamers. But the series reached new heights with the release of 2011’s Skyrim, which managed to sell over 30 million copies five years after its release. The game has been ported over to numerous system since, where it has also been subject to various expansions of downloadable content. However, with so much time elapsing between now and the release of Skyrim, many are eager for the next installment of the Elder Scrolls series (Wikipedia).
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Released just last month, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fifth installment of the popular Nintendo franchise. Once again, the fighting game was back with an impressive roster of character — this time, including every playable character from previous Super Smash Bros. games. But none of that would equate to much if the levels weren’t enjoyable and the characters not equally balanced. But thankfully, Nintendo seems to have another hit on their hands, as the game sold five million copies mere days after its release (Wikipedia).
Shadow of the Colossus
A remake of the 2005 original, Shadow of the Colossus was released for the PlayStation 4 in February of last year. The game finds the player embodying Wander, a young man who must set out to defeat sixteen monsters, known as colossi. Shadow of the Colossus received praise for its updated graphics and controls, earning it a score of 91 out of 100 on Metacritic. Though the game was rebuilt from the ground up, the gameplay is strikingly similar to the classic (Wikipedia).
Super Mario World
Often considered the greatest Mario game ever made, Super Mario World was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990. The game featured a number of elements that could never be included in the original NES games, including the addition of Yoshi — who the player can ride on top of throughout the majority of levels in the game. Super Mario World went on to be the best-selling game on the SNES, selling over 20 million copies around the world (Wikipedia).
Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4 was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One back on October 11, 2016. The game picks up 25 years after the events of its predecessor and finds J.D. and Del leaving the Coalition to team up with a group known as the Outsiders. Together, they continue to unravel the mystery of the Locust Horde while taking on a new enemy, known as the Swarm. A sequel, simply titled Gears 5, is expected out later this year (Wikipedia).
Originally released for Windows and OS X back in 2012, the immense popularity of Diablo 3 has found the game being ported over to a number of other consoles since, including PlayStation and Xbox. In November of last year, the game was also made available for Nintendo Switch players. Diablo 3 allows the player to choose from a class of a characters — each with their own attributes — before the set out to defeat the eponymous character, who is also known as the Lord of Terror (Wikipedia).
Though it may not be nearly as well known as the majority of other games on this quiz, Celeste found itself placing high on many of the “best of” lists for this past year. The platforming game finds the player embodying the character of Madeline, who is tasked with making it up a Celeste Mountain while avoiding numerous traps and obstacles along the way. Celeste received nearly perfect reviews across the board, and the game is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, as well as Microsoft and Mac (Wikipedia).
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
A sequel to the 2011 game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Wild Hunt was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 19th of 2015. The latest installment brought newfound interest to the role-playing series, which draws inspiration for The Witcher fantasy novels. Once again, the story picks up with series protagonist Geralt of Rivia as he embarks on a quest to find his missing adopted daughter, all while slaying numerous beasts along the way (Wikipedia).
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Though it may be nearly a decade since this Naughty Dog game was released, many still consider Uncharted 2: Among Thieves to be one of the greatest games ever made. The story once again follows protagonist Nathan Drake, this time as he journeys in the footsteps of the explorer Marco Polo. On Metacritic, the game received an extremely impressive score of 96 out of 100. In 2015, a revamped version of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was made available for the PlayStation 4 (Wikipedia).
Released in 2012, this indie game boiled the action-adventure genre down to its core, which simply found the player taking on the role of a character who is headed towards a mountain on the horizon. The story is kept to a bare minimum, and Journey doesn’t even feature any dialogue between the characters. But despite all of this, the game went to receive universal acclaim, with praise specifically directed at its visuals and sound design (Wikipedia). But is this type of bare-bones game sound like your cup of tea?
Though fans of the Portal series have long been waiting for a third installment, developer and publisher Valve Corporation is known for keeping their most popular franchises at two installments or less. Maybe they do this to keep the player wanting more, which was certainly the case for Portal 2. The game was released in 2011 to extremely positive reviews, with many pointing out how it seemed to improve upon nearly every aspect of the already-respected original (Wikipedia). But do you think it's a game worth revisiting?
The latest installment of this first-person shooter series, Battlefield V was released on November 18 of last year. For many players, that might not even be enough time to have checked out this World War II game as of yet. Unlike many FPS games, Battlefield V deprives the player of additional supplies, making every shot and strategic move seem all the more important. The game is currently available for Windows, PlayStation, and Xbox, where it has largely enjoyed average to positive reviews (Wikipedia).
Grand Theft Auto V
Released back in 2013, Grand Theft Auto V was easily the most ambitious installment of the Rockstar Games action-adventure series to date. The story found the player taken on the roles of three protagonists in their intersecting stories, which all took place in the fictional setting of San Andreas. Like most GTA games, the fifth installment was subject to its hair share of controversy. But that didn’t stop Grand Theft Auto V from becoming the third best-selling game of all time (Wikipedia).
Madden NFL 19
Released on August 10th of last year, Madden NFL 19 is the 30th entry to this sports series, which was made available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game had a number of new features, including touchdown celebrations along with the ability for the players to push back against the other opponents near the line of scrimmage. Madden NFL 19 received largely positive reviews, earning it an 81 out of 100 on Metacritic (Wikipedia). But is it your type of game?
Super Mario Odyssey
Despite the franchise being around since the 1980s, the Mario series continues to reinvent itself year after year, as was the case with last year’s Super Mario Odyssey. The game was released for the Nintendo Switch on October 27, and found the player getting to explore real-world settings all while using a new magic cap that allowed Mario to embody other characters and objects. Super Mario Odyssey became a best-seller for the Switch, selling over 12 million copies to date (Wikipedia).
Released back in 2004, Half-Life 2 was the highly-anticipated sequel to the 1998 original. The story picked up years after its predecessor, once again following Gordon Freeman as he attempts to take down the alien Combine which has overrun the world. Nearly every aspect of the game received praise, with many now considering Half-Life 2 to be one of the greatest games ever made (Wikipedia). Of course, the graphics and mechanics may not quite hold up to today’s standards, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not worth playing.
Far Cry 5
Set in the fictional Hope County in Montana, Far Cry 5 finds the player taking on the role of a junior deputy in a doomsday cult, who wished to go against the tyrannically leader and escape from his clutches. The game features no shortage of vehicles and weapons for the player to utilize, both in the fight against the cult and the wildlife in the area. The game was released on March 28th of last year and was made available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One (Wikipedia).
Resident Evil 4
Often considered the best installment of the Resident Evil series, this game was originally released for the Nintendo GameCube back in 2005. However, its immense popularity has resulted in Resident Evil 4 being ported over to a number of consoles since, including the Nintendo Switch. The game follows series regular Leon S. Kennedy as he embarks on a rescue mission in a rural town in Spain — one that is, inevitably, overrun by zombie-like beings and monsters. The third-person shooter is still regarded as one of the best survival horror games ever made (Wikipedia).
World of Warcraft
The fourth installment of the Warcraft series turned out to be a huge cultural phenomenon when it was originally released back in 2003. The online role-playing game managed to amass a fanbase the likes of which had never been seen before, with over 100 million accounts created some 13 years after its debut. The game has seen a number of expansions since its release, and World of Warcraft has managed to maintain its fair share of players even today (Wikipedia).
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Released in October of 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is set in a fictionalized 1961 where the Axis forces have managed to win World War II. The game follows former soldier B.J. Blazkowicz as he fights the enemy living in America. The first person shooter received largely positive reviews, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was made available for Switch players in June of last year (Wikipedia). So have you played?
Dark Souls 3
Those who enjoy a real challenge when gaming have almost certainly heard of the Dark Souls series — a franchise of fantasy role-playing games which find the player setting out into a brutally harsh open-world environment. The latest (and supposedly the last) installment of the high fantasy series was released for Windows, PS4, and Xbox back in 2016. Once again, the game was a critical success, and Dark Souls III also went on to be the best-selling game in the franchise (Wikipedia).
With Spider-Man enjoying a resurgence on the big screen thanks to movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this 2018 video game managed to win over many fans of the superhero genre. But while plenty of video games have been based on our favorite Marvel and DC characters, few have earned as much critical praise as Marvel’s Spider-Man — which managed to get a 9.5 out of 10 in Game Informer. The only downside for some is that the game is only available on PS4 (Wikipedia).
The backstory of this online first-person shooter revolves around a conflict between the Guardians and the Cabal. The Cabal serve as the stories antagonist, who are led by the tyrannical warlord Dominus Ghaul, who seeks to get rid of the last safe haven on Earth. The online gameplay features a number of different modes that range anywhere from traditional battles to objective-based missions. The game was released for the PS4 and Xbox One back in 2017 (Wikipedia). So would you pass or play on Destiny 2?
Ever wonder how your favorite DC heroes and villains would square off if you had a say in the matter? Well, that exactly what the Injustice fighting series has allowed players to do. The second installment was developed by NeatherRealm Studios and released in mid-2017. Once again, a few Mortal Kombat favorites made their appearance in the game as well, including Sub Zero and Raiden — which makes sense considering that MK creator Ed Boon served as a director of the game (Wikipedia). So are you a fan of this fighting series?
Donkey Kong Country
Mario may forever be the most popular platforming game available on the Nintendo. But that doesn’t mean that franchises like Donkey Kong aren’t as enjoyable in their own rights. Donkey Kong Country was originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1994, though many may also remember enjoying it on the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advanced. Donkey Kong Country was a critical and commercial hit upon release, which went on to spawn its own series (Wikipedia).
A somewhat spiritual successor of the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne is another challenging role-playing game that was also directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki. The game has a much more Gothic feel than the Dark Souls installments, as well as a heavy emphasis on offensive combat rather than defensive strategies. Bloodborne went on to earn a 92 out of 100 on Metacritic, which ranked it amongst some of the best-reviewed games of 2015 (Wikipedia). But do you enjoy this type of challenge while gaming?
Like many of the most popular games today, Minecraft places a strong emphasis on allowing the player to create their own world — this time, through the use of three-dimensional blocks. This sandbox game has a number of different gameplay modes, which find the player facing off from everything from the environment to enemy hordes. The game was released back in 2011 for macOS, and Microsoft Windows, and it continues to enjoy a massive player base today (Wikipedia). But are you one of them?
Set in the 1960s, BioShock takes place in an underwater city known as Rapture, which was meant to be a utopia for its inhabitants — until things went horribly off the rails. The player inhabits a protagonist, known as Jack, who travels to the underwater city and utilizes a number of weapons and superhuman abilities to try and defeat Rapture’s foes. The first game in the series was released in August 2007, while a second and third game were released in 2010 and 2013 (Wikipedia).
Mario Kart 8
A favorite amongst Mario and racing fans, the Mario Kart series made its debut on the SNES back in 1992. The eighth main installment of the series was released for the Wii U back in 2014, but last year it was ported over to the Nintendo Switch. Mario Kart 8 included a number of new features, which allowed the player to drive on ceilings and walls. Like the other installments of the franchise, the game was a hit upon its release (Wikipedia). So would you play?
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
After Zelda II departed from the top down perspective, A Link to the Past returned to many of the franchise roots which made the series such a success in the first place — all while giving Zelda fans one of the most ambitious fantasy games ever made at that point in time. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released for the SNES back in 1991, where it was both a critical and commercial success (Wikipedia). But would the dated graphics and mechanics prevent you from playing it today?
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third major installment of this fantasy role-playing series. The game is set in the fictional continent of Thedas, where a rip in the sky has resulted in demonic beasts overrun the world. The player takes on the role of the Inquisitor, who must travel to the Breach and return the world to peace. Many agreed that this latest installment was a massive step in the right direction for the franchise, which ended up earning Dragon Age: Inquisition a number of accolades (Wikipedia).
Sonic the Hedgehog
At a time when Mario was dominating the world of video gaming, Sega tried to recreate the success of this platforming franchise with their own: Sonic the Hedgehog. Thanks to the titular character supersonic speed, the games seemed to have a much faster pace than most Mario levels, and the first game received largely positive reviews. It was released back in 1991 for the Sega Genesis and followed Sonic on his first quest to try and take down Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Wikipedia). So would you have any interest in revisiting this classic?