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Meck’s Top 5 Games Of 2018

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What a good year for video games this has been. A ton of great single-player games on the AAA front to sink your time in. The more niche, indie titles also got some good hits too with the resurgence of strategy tactics and builder games on PC.

So as a person who enjoys a diverge of different game genres with a bias towards gameplay over story, I was spoilt for choice. There’s plenty of good games, some I was given opportunity to review by the publishers, though some I missed just because of budgetary reasons. (WE NEED MORE MUNNEH!)

Anyway, before moving to the Top 5, a quick shoutout to these games that I loved but did not make the cut.

Into The Breach РThe followup of the developers of FTL combines rougelike and strategy tactics to perfection. I did a review here.

A Way Out – A bold co-op only adventure game that reignites my belief that one day, these narrative adventure games can be something worth my time playing through.

Tetris Effect – I want to get high on Tetris so bad.

Marvel’s Spider-Man – I only got to play it at a preview event, but I loved what I played. It’s good seeing my favourite developers still going strong.

And here’s my Top 5:

5: Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Spyro! I managed to finally play it after we crowned this game the Best Remake/Remaster for 2018. And it definitely lived up to my expectations.

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Twenty years ago I discovered a magical game thanks to a demo disc from a UK magazine. So it’s a PAL disc which meant everything ran in black and white on the NTSC PS1. But, it opened my eyes to a different kind of game- a game with open-ended levels and sandbox design that you can stray away from the critical path for a while and be rewarded for your curiosity.

Spyro The Dragon is the Super Mario 64 replacement for me growing up. Spyro 2 is one of the first games I properly beat to 100% completion. Spyro Year Of The Dragon taught me piracy is wrong since I never found a working bootleg copy back in those days. It kept crashing, the progression loop was broken, some levels won’t load or unlock and then the in-game message seals the deal. That scarred me.

The faithful remake of the trilogy is what I expected bar a few nitpicks. It’s like playing the old three games through nostalgia-laden rose-tinted glasses.

Also, the original Spyro games are how I fell in love with Insomniac, in case you’re wondering.

4: God Of War

Two action game franchises that I never played back at its inception on PS2: Yakuza and God Of War. I’ve finally played Yakuza Kiwami early this year but I did not expect to give God Of War a try.

I was cynical, thinking it would be another The Last Of Us, a great game yes, but I mean it as a ‘oh, it’s that game again’. I also thought that the new dark souls style controls was a weird choice.

I was definitely wrong in all of those accounts.

God Of War is a masterstroke at balancing two extremes you did not expect. It is both a soft reboot and a hard sequel to the three numbered games before. It is a hard-on character action game but with the slower and methodical approach Soulsborne players familiar with. It blends its cinematics and its gameplay into one cohesive package polished to the brim.

God Of War deserves all the praises it gets. It’s not that high on my personal list because I don’t have much attachment to the series and story, but it’s a remarkable masterpiece you should at least give a chance.

3: Frostpunk

So the developers of This War Of Mine made a city builder this time. The city builder aspect got me interested, and the aesthetic of a frozen wasteland with makeshift steampunk technology has a cool, unique look to it.

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But man, it pulled some heart strings in me.

While a competent scenario-based city builder at first (it now has a endless mode which is great), the setup and world building around Frostpunk makes it hard to just make the optimal decision. Each choice has a consequence, both good and bad. It’s a matter of choosing what you can cope with right now, even if it sounds wrong.

Making children overwork that can lead to deaths, or amputating injured workers immediately if their limbs broke sounds harsh, desperate and cruel. But times are ending and desperate times calls for desperate measures.

And the most horrific of all is the two philosophy where you can rule your city with- building up faith and become a zealous, cult-like religious fanatics or a safe, over-protective communists that requires 100% obedience to the supreme leader.

But through all of the alarming decisions, the harsh conditions you are tested, there’s always a glimpse of hope that the city will survive. A ray of optimism always shine through this gloomy game and it made such a big impression on me, and on the review for the site.

Plus, I just love city builders in general. About time we got a decent one.

2: Red Dead Redemption II

May I?

I love Red Dead, but oddly it came from the PS2 Red Dead Revolver rather than the first Red Dead Redemption, which I have yet to play to the finish. That did not stop me from enjoying every single bit of Red Dead Redemption II.

I have always wanted a long game to sink in myself in like how I lost myself in Skyrim and Red Dead Redemption II hits the spot. The numerous mechanics never felt tedious or in the way for me, just enough to make me invest in the ever-changing world and, more importantly, invest in Arthur Morgan. That man carries a lot of nuance not only to justify the need for an Honor system, but makes him such a believable character.

I have issues with the controls and it’s not as realistic or system driven as it may look, but you should check my review for that.

You can see from a mile away the story of Red Dead Redemption II will end up and it’s still a gut-wrenching ride. Let me tell you, I was shooketh to the end.

If you ever wanted to see a tragic story being unfold like FFXV but delivered better, Red Dead Redemption II is it.

Also, Arthur for best game dad 2018. The dad of all horses.

1: Hitman 2

This is an obvious pick if you have followed me enough on social media or listen to the many episodes of dia.log – The Gamer Matters Podcast or checked out my review.

There’s something I really enjoy about deadpan humour. The Yakuza series did those well. And now Hitman has upped their game with Hitman 2.

I’ve always been a fan of the series so seeing Hitman 2 realising the full potential to Hitman 2016. And that’s great! But what’s better is how the game embrace the deadpan humour. From your typical black comedy to more absurd, ludicrous references and easter eggs, Hitman 2 is not afraid to have fun.

Yeah, smuggle a fish in that briefcase. Bring it out and throw at someone. Someone else saw it? Now throw that briefcase as it it tracks and curves to reach its target. Why not dress as Knight and pretend it’s Dark Souls? Or grab a shovel instead and pretend you’re playing Shovel Knight? The developers know you want to goof off after the finishing the levels on your first run properly. So they reward you for your curiosity.

And even if you prefer a more linear experience than uncover the secrets of the levels on your own, Hitman 2 nudges you in the right way and also present to you some hilarious circumstance your targets can die from.

If you love Metal Gear Solid and prefer to play stealthily, check out Hitman 2. Skip Hitman 2016, buy Hitman 2 and the Legacy Pack DLC and trust me, it’s fun and brimmed with content now.

2018 was great! Here’s to more good games in 2019!