Julian Harris’ Top 5 Games of 2018

It’s now 2019, and I want to look back at the games of 2018. I’m really impressed with the variety we are starting to see in gaming these days with Game of the Year contenders no longer only being AAA titles. I wish I was able to add more games to this list but I guess that is what honorable mentions are for. There were a lot of great games that were released that I didn’t get a chance to play yet, but these are the top 5 that I got my hands on.

5. God of War

I was never the biggest fan of God of War but I wanted to be. There was always a little something that took me out of the experience. This year, everything changed. This God of War did a lot of different things well. First was the combat. It has always been over the top but it was something that I couldn’t latch on to. The new systems feels more tactile and gritty. The story of this game changed Kratos into more of an interesting character. Watching the evolution of the relationship between him and his son was really amazing. The build up of how they got to where they are was really interesting. Kratos was finally made into a character that people cared about.

Santa Monica Studio is clearly a talented team. In a time where were are seeing a lot of remakes and rehashes to various games, they were able to make something new and appealing. I look forward to whatever is next for Kratos and Santa Monica Studio.

4. Monster Hunter: World

This was the first Monster Hunter game that I ever spent a substantial amount of time with. This iteration of Monster Hunter made things more attainable for first time players of the franchise. I attempted to get into previous iterations on mobile platforms but this just seemed like a game that I needed to play on a big screen. I really enjoyed the multi-player aspects (once I was able to get them working). It’s a polished co-op RPG experience that I have wanted from many titles and in my opinion, Monster Hunter does it well.  It was so easy to get lost just exploring the various locations. I have run around for hours just gathering various resources and discovering different monsters. It’s great that the game does not stop you from exploring because of your level. Between that and all the ways to customize and mix armor sets, you can spend hours in the game and not touch the actual story. In my opinion, Monster Hunter: World is the perfect game for the multiplayer RPG enthusiast.

Spider-Man PS4 E3 2017 Helicopter

3. Spider-Man

I have to start off my saying that this may be the best Spider-Man game that I have ever played. Spider-Man 2 was the front-runner for a long time and this game feels just as good. The swinging mechanics are really fluid and may be one of the best parts of the overall game. Movement within the environment never felt clumsy or cumbersome. This is one of the few open world games where I felt compelled to complete. Even while completing side missions, I never really felt like I was taken away from the story too much. Insomniac did great with making New York feel like a living, breathing world. The constant content drops have been great as well. I have confidence that Spider-Man will live well into 2019.

2. Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon has taken over as the leader when it comes to the arcade racer. It is always impressive how they are able to improve over the previous iteration. With the decline of the Need for Speed franchise over the years, I was happy that another arcade racer emerged. With so much going on in Forza Horizon, it is still a calming experience to me. One of the things that I was most excited about this year was actual multiplayer. Drivatars are still a thing but racing with and against friends is something that I have wanted for a while now. The many improvements that have been implemented with Forza Horizon 4 are a testament to what Playground Games is capable of. At the moment, Forza Horizon may be the best title on Xbox One.

Great music and vibrant environments will keep you coming back to play more. I am always interested in what Playground games will be able to do next with the franchise. I would say that Forza Horizon may be one of the biggest bangs for your buck.

1. Destiny 2: Forsaken

Destiny 1 left me with a sour taste in my mouth so I wasn’t sure if I was going to get into Destiny 2. Once Destiny 2 released and I completed the main chunk of content, I felt the same. I put the game down for a long time and wasn’t sure if I would come back. When the story of Cayde and Destiny 2: Forsaken was released, I decided the give the game another chance. Bungie did a great job with the story in Forsaken which is what many of us wanted. Even though we knew that Cayde would die, there were still moments of shock and sadness once seeing everything that surrounded the situation. There are still some rough spots when it comes to Destiny but it is definitely the game that I have spent the most time with this year.

Honorable Mentions

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

The only reason that this game didn’t make onto my list is because I didn’t buy it until after Christmas. So far, I am having a great time with the game. The story mode that they have implemented into Super Smash Brother Ultimate is the best yet. I am still getting used to playing with the joycon controllers but everything feels great. Being on the least powerful console of the big 3 doesn’t have a negative effect on this title, it still looks amazing.

Red Dead Redemption 2

It has taken me a little while to get into Red Dead 2. That doesn’t mean that it is bad. The game starts off really slow so it took me some time to get really into the story. Once everything gets going, it is definitely a great experience. This is one of the best looking open world games that I have ever seen. If you have a Xbox One X, I recommend checking it out there. I was able to dabble in the mutliplayer as well and can tell that many will be sinking hours into that part of the game. As an overall package, this deserves a mention when it comes to the best games of the year.

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