One of my favorite exercises that I’d explored during this time of year for the past few has been looking back on what I deemed as the best of the best in the prior year to see if and how my perspective has changed in the subsequent 12 months. I’ll get to my “Best of 2019” lists but let’s first take a look back at my Top Ten Games of 2018.
10. West of Loathing
What I said then: “Or as I like to call it, the good Western that came to consoles in 2018 (take that Game of the Year contender/winner Red Dead Redemption 2)”
What I think now: I definitely still stand by my West of Loathing love and my Red Dead Redemption 2 disdain. The game was filled to the brim with clever humor and charm and is definitely worth picking up on your Nintendo Switch.
9. Fortnite Battle Royale
What I said then: “I was definitely addicted to the challenges and the Battle Pass grind, playing hours and hours of the 50v50 modes through Season 5.”
What I think now: I’m 99% sure I didn’t go hands-on with Fortnite at all in 2019 but I still admired the game from afar, especially when they sent the entire game into a Black Hole for a few days late in the year. Even if I wasn’t playing or keeping up, I frequently sought out clips of the major events like that Black Hole or like the Star Wars event at the end of the year.
8. Tetris Effect
What I said then: “…this is a beautiful tribute to the age-old classic. And playing in VR adds another great…sigh…dimension… to an already incredible experience…”
What I think now: When I invited Cameron Abbott to be on the first season of That Ultimate Video Game List Show, I knew it was almost a foregone conclusion he would fight to get this game featured on our Top 20 list. And I was happy to fight alongside him and help it get up to the 14th best game on that list. The soundtrack is delightful and I have kept the Tetris Effect theme active on my PlayStation 4 all year.
What I said then: “I absolutely adored the game’s fairy-tale aesthetic and its enjoyable approach to platforming in virtual reality.”
What I think now: This is where I’m reminded what a great showing VR had in my top ten of last year. Tetris Effect kicked it off, but Moss and a couple other upcoming titles really highlighted what a standout year PSVR had in 2018. I still can’t wait for a Moss sequel. I just hope I’m finally in a more spacious living situation when the time comes so it isn’t such a chore to set up.
6. Beat Saber
What I said then: “I’m not great at it yet but the soundtrack is wonderful and swinging around my virtual lightsabers to the beat of the music makes me feel like…a badass…”
What I think now: Every few months in 2019, I set about rearranging my furniture just to dive into some Beat Saber. Sometimes it was to explore a new music pack they released but it was probably mostly to jam out to K/DA “Pop/Stars.” I was even seriously considering picking up an Oculus Quest at year-end just to play this come a bit more easily and if I hadn’t lost my job, I’d have probably bit the bullet. I am very interested in the Harmonix response AUDICA, though. So I’ll have to give that a shot next time I go in on my PSVR.
What I said then: “…once I beat the game I found myself having even more fun playing with [the assist mode] options…”
What I think now: Early in the year when I was bouncing around games looking for something to play, I loaded up Celeste again and enjoyed its phenomenal soundtrack while playing around once again with its assist mode options in order to enjoy a relatively stress-free time with the game. I never got around to the free Chapter 9 DLC that came out in September but if I decide to jump in again in early 2020, that will probably be first on the agenda.
What I said then: “I loved playing as a Peter Parket who has been at this for years now. Not only did it feel like a fresh perspective from what we normally see in the mainstream iterations, but it also made discovering little nuggets of this world’s history such a joy to find.”
What I think now: When I look at the games I played in 2019, there’s a significant Spider-Man shaped hole where a big open-world action-adventure brawler could have gone. Crackdown 3 was a huge bust and there’s still no word on what Rocksteady or WB Montreal might deliver next. Here’s hoping we get a Spider-Man or Horizon Zero Dawn sequel early in the next-gen life cycle.
3. The Messenger
What I said then: “The difficulty almost never felt unforgiving and the few times where it was a bit brutal, it was just because I hadn’t stumbled upon the correct approach to a boss fight or platforming section.”
What I think now: It’s almost as if Sabotage Studio read that comment while working on the free Picnic Panic expansion and said, “how badly can we fuck with Trevor?” I’m hard-pressed to recall I time I went from loving a game as much as I loved The Messenger to hating its DLC as much as I despised the punishing brutality of Picnic Panic. The boss fights in the DLC featured randomized attacks and the fights themselves went on about a third too long. I still very much love the base game, but I would pretty much encourage anybody to skip the DLC for anything other than the Shopkeepers new stories.
2. ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
What I said then: “I had a smile across my face as I played through the various levels collecting all of the hidden robots and I only wanted to throw my controller a couple of times during the more difficult ‘challenge’ levels, but they all felt incredibly rewarding when I was able to find every secret or nail a perfect run through a level.”
What I think now: ASTRO BOT: Rescue Mission remains the standout must-play title on PSVR for me. I wasn’t particularly drawn back to the headset too much this year outside of a bit of Falcon Age, Trover Saves the Universe, and the aforementioned Beat Saber but if people are ever looking for suggestions, this is the game I tell them to check out.
1. God of War
What I said then: “It was easily my favorite game of the year and has me seriously considering it against Final Fantasy VI as my all-time favorite.”
What I think now: On any given day if you ask me my favorite game, it’s still a toss up between God of War and Final Fantasy VI but I am a bit more inclined to give Kratos and company the edge. God of War was the second title I put forth on That Ultimate Video Game List Show and, without spoiling the final rankings, I’m quite happy with how it fared. I replayed through the game again early in the year and it’s more or less just a staple on my PlayStation 4 at this point so I can hop in if I’m ever in the mood to experience excellence.
So that’s my look back at my favorite games of 2018. Stay tuned to That Nerdy Site for a similar retrospective look at my favorite movies of 2018, as well as all sorts of other Best of 2019 and Best of the 2010s features from my fellow Nerds.