It’s time to go through the ten best games of the year (according to NGB’s writers and editors)!
10 – GUACAMELEE! 2
Guacamelee 2 is an incredible Metroidvania with an excellent soundtrack and a wonderful art style. It’s one that picks up right where the last one left off, and it doesn’t let up in terms of the humour, action or Mexicana. As someone who doesn’t normally “get” Metroidvanias, this is a fantastic game that kept me on the hook from start to finish.
Andy: Ayayay! The original Guacamelee was a fun Mexican tinged Metroid-vania with a wicked sense of humour and, while ostensibly more of the same, Guacamelee 2 is the perfect continuation.
9 – Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Andy: Still a relatively new title but, without a doubt, an incredibly deep and generous fighter with loads to enjoy. Maybe it’s not everyone’s bag, and that’s cool, but it is simply the cherry on top of what has been an excellent year for gaming.
Charles: I haven’t felt the hype for a game in a while but this smashed it. Not only did the release fill me with excitement but now that it is here, every time I have to turn it off I am sad. It’s like resetting a timer that I watch every second tick away from until I can play again. It is also so refreshing to have a game that doesn’t insight “pay to win” tactics. You play to unlock characters. The way it should be. I may be sliding into the realms of being a retro generation when it comes to games now, but Smash ticks every box on my nostalgic heart whilst adding enough new criteria for me to stay interested.
8 – HITMAN 2
Hitman 2 is, for all intents and purposes, Season 2 of one of the best games of 2016. An incredible set of levels, culminating in quite simply the best mission environment that has ever been included in a Hitman title. A wonderfully silly sense of humour permeates the game, with a few glorious easter eggs, and a deadpan delivery of Agent 47’s lines in the most ludicrous of situations. It also allows you to import all of the original game’s content so you can experience everything all over again with *sharp intake of breath* working mirrors! Simply put, this is one of the best games of the year and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on it.
7 – Yoku’s Island Express
Yoku’s Island Express is a solid little title that mixes up pinball with platforming to great effect. Playing as the titular bug while shifting around a huge ball, the way in which the platforming is achieved is kept fresh throughout with a series of evolving mechanics and increasingly zippy pinballing. Brilliant stuff.
Deb: Yoku’s Island Express is one of the most charming and delightful games I have played this year! I knew it would be my type of game but I underestimated just how much I would love it, I am still head over heals for it! Following a small bug with a big heart it was one monumental adventure. An amazing experience from beginning to end, I could not wait to share it with everyone and was all I was talking about for weeks. I couldn’t help myself in recommending it to anyone I knew who loved games. The music is infectious and uplifting and the hand painted character and world design is absolutely adorable. It is unique, quirky and ingenious and I advise everyone to add this to their collection!
Andy: A sweet little Metroid-vania with some Sonic Spinball influences, Yoku’s Island Express is an absolute delight.
6 – TETRIS EFFECT
If you’d told me at the start of the year that a new Tetris game would be on our Game of the Year list, I’d have been checking your calendar and making sure that everything was OK at home. But here we are. After its initial unveil at E3, I was captivated. A game from Mizaguchi, the architect of Rez, Tetris Effect is an astonishing achievement. Put on a VR headset, and it becomes a simply wonderful experience. Almost other-worldly, it transcends video games at times, to form an emotional attachment that is unparalleled. All of this from a Tetris game.
Jonny: You can’t really go wrong with Tetris, but the addition of original scores that change in time to your movements and hypnotic visuals are the perfect update for the best game of all time
5 – FORZA HORIZON 4
Gari: The Forza Horizon series just keeps going from strength to strength every time a new game from the series is released and when you think they can’t improve it, the guys at Playground Games just seem to somehow find something to add to me the experience even better. This time around its seasons and it really adds depth to a game that is already crammed full of content. If you’re after a racing that offers a ton of content, is fun to play and brings something new with its seasons, then Forza Horizon 4 is for you. I’m not sure how the development team can improve this for Horizon 5, but I’m sure they will so how!
Andy: Take what made Horizon 3 great and add it all to a truly fantastic map which takes the best of the UK and distills it into a boiling pot of changing seasons. Gorgeous vistas accompany thrilling races and while the online aspect feels a little underdeveloped it never gets in the way of the enjoyment of the overall experience.
4 – ASSASSIN’S CREED ODYSSEY
Jonny: Having not jumped into an AC game for some time personally, seeing the leaps and bounds the series has made in recent instalments coalesce here was a great surprise. A huge world that looks beautiful, with sunny Greece making a nice break from much of the grit and despair of many environments, plus witty dialogue and plenty to do makes this my game of the year
3 – RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 provides the most realistic world that I’ve ever experienced in a game, with a mind-blowing soundtrack, and a whole host of characters with more depth than the diving area at your local swimming pool. One of the finest examples of the medium this generation.
Jonny: A little slow for my tastes, but nevertheless an incredibly impressive achievement in terms of world building, characters and visuals
Andy: Yee-haw! Rockstar Games mosey into town with one of the most technically brilliant yet arguably dull (but in a good way?) videogames of 2018. A stunning game world merges with a relaxed and plodding story and purposefully slow mechanics to create a genuinely unique experience.
Kieran: It was a given that Rockstars follow up to Red Dead Redemption was going to be a hit but RDR2 really is something else. It’s not flawless and, in fact, I have issues with the gameplay, namely the gunplay, but the world in which Rockstar has crafted is simply breathtaking. Throw into the mix Rockstar’s trademark nuance of storytelling and you’ve got yourself a more than credible entry for Game of the Year 2018.
Deb: If I had to sum up Red Dead Redemption 2 in one word, well, quite simply it’s “Breathtaking”! The world has been lovingly crafted over many years of hard work, and it shows. As my first Red Dead Redemption experience, the snowy opening felt like an incredibly realistic experience, and as for the rest, never before have I experienced such beautiful cinematic views with landscapes that stretch so far with so much detail. It is stunning, and I could quite easily find a good spot and stare for hours. I love being able to lose myself in a game, not feeling rushed to progress but able to do my own thing and that is exactly what RDR2 delivers and more! With my morality under judgement and a great story delivered by an excellent cast, it will not be an experience I’ll forget for a long while!
Gari: No other game in 2018 has the scope and sheer guile of Red Dead Redemption 2 and without the likes of God of War and Spider-Man this year, RDR2 would’ve been my pick for GOTY. Rockstar has created an environment that is, without doubt, one of the best ever seen in gaming and one that felt incredible to explore. Alongside a compelling story and interesting characters, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a stunning piece of gaming as a package and although it suffers at times with weird control issues, the game will go down as one of the greatest achievements ever seen in video game history.
Nick: Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t quite deliver on narrative but Rockstar’s latest portrayal of the late west is perhaps the finest and most delicately crafted world they’ve created – and that’s saying a lot. There’s not many games that become even more enjoyable when you veer from the main path, but such is the game’s detail and grandeur, exploring can reveal a charm few other games share.
Robin: The original game was excellent, but RDR2 blows that out of the water. So much bigger, so much more to do in the open world and a much more interesting and emotional character journey, RDR2 has improved in every way imaginable. The game looks and sounds amazing, and still constantly surprises me with different random encounters in-game, and the sheer breadth of what you are able to do. And all of that is before I have even touched the online mode. A modern masterpiece.
2 – MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN
Spider-Man’s games outings have been somewhat lacking since the classic titles on the PS2, but Insomniac have absolutely nailed the traversal, storytelling and world design that fully immerses you in the world of Peter Parker. A slightly more mature take on the classic tale, it still throws up plenty of “Hell yes!” moments, and it’s a rollercoaster ride of pure joy. Insomniac have been catapulted back into the AAA space with this fantastic take on the Spider-Verse. A wonderful game.
Nick: Puddles not-with-standing, this is the best superhero game since Batman: Arkham Asylum. The game does well to play to its strengths, capturing the essence of what it might feel like to be Spider-Man, swinging through the city and slinging webs at a plethora of bad guys. It shouldn’t be understated how meticulously well the combat, traversal mechanics and atmosphere of the game fit the universe and it looks fantastic to boot.
Gari: Being a huge Spider-Man fan, I was blown away by the scope of the world that this first instalment of such an iconic character that developer Insomniac Games created. It made me feel as if I were part of the Marvel cinematic universe controlling Spider-Man around New York City. Beautiful to look at, sensational voice acting and a story that includes many iconic story-traits and characters from the comic books with Insomniac’s own take on them gave Spider-Man a fresh and new feeling but still made it look and feel familiar.
NEXT GEN BASE’S GAME OF THE YEAR 2018 – GOD OF WAR
Simply stunning in every way, God of War reinvents the franchise in a way few thought possible. Whether it’s the single-cut nature of the cinematic gameplay fused effortlessly into the cutscenes, or if it’s the incredibly weighty combat, or maybe even the emotionally resonant story that packs more than a few punches from its glorious looking environments and characters. A worthy winner.
Gari: If there is one way of reinventing a game series, God of War would be top of the class. A brilliant and realised game that is not only stunning to look at but boasts an engrossing storyline that keeps you playing right up till the end. The word ‘masterpiece’ is used far too frequently these days, but in the case of God of War, everything about it justifies the masterpiece tagline.
Andy: One of the best looking games of the year, bolstered with a responsive and easy to understand combat system and a story that surprises with ALL the feels, GoW is an absolute masterpiece.
Nick: This isn’t exactly the God of War game fans of the series might have expected, but it certainly exceeded expectations and then some. A masterclass in story-telling, a deep and satisfying combat system and a stunning visual world that’s a pleasure to play through. In 20 years’ time when people talk of the PlayStation 4, God of War will be amongst the first games on their lips.
Jonny: A game that lodged itself in the collective conscious of gamers almost immediately has to be high up the GOTY list. Taking a fairly repetitive franchise and launching it into a cinematic adventure was a masterstroke.
Robin: Having never liked previous God of War titles, it is saying something that this latest installment is on my GOTY list at all. But this is a real reinvention of the series, even if it is still a hack and slash at heart. The Norse mythology is cleverly woven into the existing fabric of the God of War franchise – often in very surprising ways. The story finally allows Kratos to evolve from simply being an angry grunt, to a father who is somewhat lost in how to best raise his son. This is a lot more interesting than the bloody tales of revenge that came in all previous titles.
Kieran: Without a shadow of a doubt, God of War is the standout game of this year. Heck, it may even be the standout game of this generation. God of War managed to reinvent itself with this perfect story-driven action-adventure cum RPG game which surpassed any expectations I had for it. Visually stunning, exceptional gameplay and writing that was both genuinely humorous and encapsulating are what makes God of War my game of the year. Faultless.
And that does it for our GOTY 2018 content! Congratulations to God of War, a simply stunning title that deserves the plaudits it’s received. Thank you so much for checking out all of our content throughout 2018, we’ll see you in 2019.