Last year was a fantastic year for video games. This year, we got more games from existing franchises that did really well: some were soft reboots, others anticipated sequels. This year I played some of the latest and greatest, but I also went back and played some older games. Regardless, let’s start off with the usual top three, boy!
1. God of War (PS4)
It’s been a few years since God of War 3, which saw the destruction of Olympus and the end of Kratos, or so it seemed. Then, a few years ago, Sony revealed at E3 that Kratos would be returning, with a reimagined combat formula and a new setting: Norse mythology.
When I first saw this, I was slightly skeptical due to the scope of the changes, but I was also hopeful. Well, this year, the game was finally released and the world got to play one of the best video games ever.
Yes, as far as I’m concerned this is one of the best games ever, from an overall perspective. The game looks absolutely beautiful and the story is engaging. Kratos and Atreus' relationship is believable and the dynamic between them is fantastic. I wanted to play through the whole thing through in one sitting: that’s how good it is.
There’s also a few moments in the game that gave me shivers as I was playing it. (If you’ve played the game, you know there’s certain moments with callbacks to the original trilogy, and those are absolutely fantastic. This game also has one of my favourite moments in video games, ever. But I won’t spoil anything specific.)
God of War is the most impressive game I’ve played this year, so it earns the top spot. I cannot wait for the inevitable sequel.
2. Total War WARHAMMER II (PC)
While not exactly a new release from this year, WARHAMMER II did receive two major pieces of DLC which introduced many new legendary heroes and an entirely new faction (Vampire Coast). I teamed up with friends to play through various co-op campaigns, and spent a lot of time conquering the world of WARHAMMER Fantasy.
The initial release of Total War WARHAMMER II had an interesting campaign, but the true potential of this game wasn't unlocked until a bit later: that's when the Mortal Empires campaign was finally released, which allowed you to play as any of the factions from both Total War WARHAMMER games. It merged both maps from both games in this new campaign.
This meant that players of WARHAMMER II now had access to a massive amount of content! (It took me and a friend 90 or so hours with many battles auto-resolved to beat a multiplayer campaign.)
WARHAMMER II is such a delight and the amount of content in the game is staggering. Every faction plays differently, and each campaign feels fresh and engaging. It's a wonderful strategy game that remains fun to play, and doesn't succumb under the weight of its own systems.
It’s a strategic powerhouse of a game, and because I spent so much time playing it this year, it earns second place on my list.
3. Detroit: Become Human (PS4)
As far as narrative-heavy games are concerned, Detroit: Become Human is nothing but mostly story with some QTE’s (quick time events, you have to hit the correct buttons at the correct time). That being said, it is an interesting story with a great presentation.
Detroit: Become Human is a story about three androids, and their place in society. Is robot emancipation possible? Is it a necessity? Is there something that can make a robot human? The title obviously hints at the themes of the story, but there’s a lot to take in here.
While this is a narrative game with QTE’s, it’s unfair to say it’s totally linear — your actions will have consequences. At the end of each chapter of the story, you get to see a flowchart of the combination of all choices you’ve made that have led to the outcome you’ve experienced. A single playthrough will take roughly ten hours, but if you want to see every permutation of the story, it will take you a lot longer. (If you’re using a guide, you can get the platinum trophy — 100% completion — in roughly thirty hours.)
Because it is one of the most memorable games I played this year, I’ve elected to make this my number three.
The games below did not not make it in my top three, but were among some of the games I enjoyed the most this year.
Destiny 2: Forsaken (PC, 2018)
Destiny 2 was a disappointing release last year, but thankfully Bungie improved upon the game with their latest expansion, Forsaken. I ended up playing a lot of this game near the end of the year, after the release of the expansion and the additional content, so this does make the list this year.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4, 2017)
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was originally planned to be an expansion, but this eventually turned out a standalone title. I didn’t play it last year, but it was one of the first games I got around to this year. It’s an Uncharted game, but it is shorter than the major instalments. If you need your Uncharted fix, this will do the job. Deserves a spot on here just because the game is so very polished.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PC, 2016)
Deus Ex had been on my backlog for some time, and thanks to some encouragement from a friend, I finally got around to playing this game. It was delightful to explore the futuristic Prague and play a part in facing the Illuminati from the original Deus Ex. I also really enjoyed the A Criminal Past DLC. On the list because I just love Deus Ex.
Since the ending did fall a bit flat, I would love to see a sequel. Some say the third act of the game was scrapped, and I could see that. It’s a shame, because if not for the beginning and the ending, I would’ve played this sooner (the game started too slowly, and ended with no real conclusion).
Persona 3 FES (PS2, 2008)
Last year, I played Persona 5 and really loved it. This year, I went back and played through the 10+ year old PS2 game. It’s probably the darkest game in the series, so far. It holds up in terms of core gameplay, but playing this really made me appreciate some of the quality of life changes they’ve made in Persona 5. It was a long but worthwhile time playing through this. Oh, and the music is also super catchy. (Yes, I also played the Persona 3 and 5 Dancing spin-offs that released earlier this month. Those were fun too!)
That concludes the list of honourable mentions, and this post.
One more thing: a little update on the usual suspects: I still did not get around to The Witcher 3. (I am going to play the game next year, if all goes well. I might play the first and second game in the series first, or at least try them for a while before I get into the third game.) Oh, and we did not get to finish Divinity: Original Sin 2 with our co-op group. We did make a lot of progress! Regardless, it’s been a fun year in games, so let’s hope next year is as good as this one.