- Oct 25, 2017
- Celeste: So this game came along super early on in the year, and then it hasn't been topped since. I think it takes a special game to be a GOTY candidate and release so early on, and Celeste definitely is that special game. Incredibly satisfying platforming mechanics that meant that I went much, much further into the difficult postgame than I expected, fantastic music, and a story for which my biggest complaint is that it arguably ends a third of the way through the game. Which is barely a complaint at all. Fantastic game, everyone should play it.
...Still not going for the golden strawberries though.
- The House in Fata Morgana: A Requiem for Innocence: Oh my god they've done it again. I didn't think a prequel to the best game/visual novel of 2016 really needed to exist. But GUESS I WAS WRONG. The new music is fantastic of course, and the art is just as beautiful as the main game. But the main highlight of Requiem is the way it sells such a tragic narrative, to which we already know the outcome, with such depth and sincerity, and in a weird way, hopefulness. It feels very thematically significant.
Also, the extra side stories included are also great. I cried several times with this game. YAY CRYING.
The only thing I'd say is, in 2019, I'd just wait for the ps4/vita compilation thingy which will have even more content. Which I'll be double dipping for. Fata Morgana everyone! Play it.
- The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories: Last minute addition, let me be real for a sec: It's kind of janky. There are several odd design decisions that I'm surprised weren't caught in testing. On paper, it's a 7/10 platformer.
The Missing is a game that I hope won't be overlooked. The main hook gameplay wise is compelling, and they do some cool stuff with it, but the way the gameplay ties into the narrative is where the game really shines. Because is the narrative, despite the other strong entries, is possibly one of the most important of 2018. I hope we see more games like The Missing.
- Super Mario Party: "Wow, what's Mario Party doing so high on this list" I hear you cry. "Isn't it just a bunch of board games and minigames?"
But Super Mario Party was exactly what I needed. It's fun, you can play it with family, the minigames are generally of a pretty high quality for the series, it was just really nice and my 2018 would have been of a lower quality without it. And that's all I'll say on *that* matter lol. I acknowledge this is a bit of a personal pick, but if a game can improve my life, it deserves to be on this list.
- Katamari Damacy Reroll: Never played a Katamari game before, EVIDENTLY I HAVE BEEN MISSING OUT. Just a really wacky, creative game. Soundtrack is ace. Makes me feel happy. What more can you want.
- Life is Strange 2: Episode 1: The story of Life is Strange 2 isn't finished. This is the main reason why this game isn't higher on the list. But similar to The Missing, it tells a very compelling, important story (at least so far), and its subtlety being about as subtle as a brick to the face is quite frankly what we need in 2018. Looking forward to the rest.
- The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit: Pretty much the same as above. Captain Spirit didn't resonate with me as much as LiS 2 did, but it's also free. No reason not to play this.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: It's a great game! Like there's not too much to be said here. There's a ridiculous amount of content (characters, stages, music), I've played it a bunch, it's good.
Why is it not higher? It's not really that it has any major flaws for me as such. It's just not super new or exciting beyond "omg I can't believe ____ is in Smash". And I wasn't able to connect to it in quite the same way as Super Mario Party, for example. (I can already feel some people judging me for this statement, but it's true! For me at least.)
- Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age: Music is trash, with brief periods of "oh wait maybe - nope, definitely still trash". That it's all low quality midi instrumentation isn't the killing blow in this regard, but it doesn't help.
That all being said, it's still a fantastic JRPG despite that. Still not done with it, but I'm like 50 hours in, so I hope this is enough to confidently recommend this. Sylvando best boy.
- Octopath Traveler: Still need to finish this one as well. Music is great, combat is super satisfying, graphical style is sometimes a bit too much but overall really pretty. Writing is a bit of a mixed bag? And the cutscene direction generally needed to be a bit snappier. There's a lot of pausing for characters to slowly shake their heads or whatever. I wanna see what happens next man!
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II: The PC version is the best version of THE SECOND BEST ENGLISH TRAILS GAME. Fight me. Not higher because despite the PC version having numerous improvements, it's still just a really, really good port of a game I've already played. A great JRPG, but you'll need to play the also excellent Cold Steel 1 first. And also ideally the Sky trilogy. But this port was enough for me to replay a super long JRPG, so I hope that speaks to its quality.
- Zwei: The Arges Adventure: Honestly, played like an hour and a half of this. Not because I wasn't having fun, I just got distracted. It was really pretty and funny from what I've played, really need to get back to it. It seemed good? But this is why it's an honourable mention.
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