It’s the most wonderful time of the year… The time where the KeepItNerdy.com team counts down our favorite games from 2018. While in 2015 and 2016, we focused on games that stole our hearts throughout the years, in 2017 we started the tradition of focusing on our favorite games that were released within that respective year. For 2018, we’re doing the same and adding a new category called ‘New To Me Game Of The Year’. This category is games that weren’t released in 2018, but are new to us and we’ve spent countless hours enjoying them.
So here we are, sharing the good and the meh of 2018.
If there’s something we missed, or you want to yell at us for our poor taste in games… Leave a comment below.
To start, let’s just jump right in by talking about the giant, hot pink elephant of the room.
FIRST, LET’S ADDRESS THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM… THE UNANIMOUS “MEH” OF THE YEAR.
A game with so much potential that really let us down, and even left us heart broken a bit. When thinking about games that really missed this year, the KeepItNerdy.com team unanimously and simultaneously mentioned ‘Fallout 76’. Overall, the game was missing crucial elements that left open world explorers and questers feeling alienated in the post-apocalyptic world. The game really felt rushed to get to market, and we do feel that if it had a couple more months in the dev studio, it could have been passable, if not a hit for 2018.
Hands down, 2018 was the year of the Nintendo Switch. So many AAA titles released and re-released to the platform that have really pulled me away from the monotony and grind of both Overwatch and World of Warcraft.
Super Mario Party
Super Mario Party on the Switch is a much needed revamp on a classic title. While the mechanics are more or less the same, there are some new interesting twists to the map that keep things fresh. For one, you can collect allies along the way to boost (or sabotage) your dice rolls, which can really change the outcome on certain maps where you need a big roll, or a sabotage to your own roll. There is also a survival mode that is a co-op to paddle down a river, and play mini-games along the way. Overall, if you enjoy having some friends over for dinner and drinks, and screaming at one another (whether or not that’s a fun or angry scream is completely up to you), Super Mario Party is a must for the Switch, and has already consumed dozens and dozens of hours of my time since it’s launch on October 5th, 2018.
Pokemon Let’s Go
I lost interest in the Pokemon franchise shortly after Yellow came out, and often would replay my copy of Pokemon Red to relive the nostalgia I carried around for fond places like Lavender Town. As an adult, when new Pokemon games came out I’d pick it up and just feel so out of touch with what was going on in the world, with the ridiculous new “pocket monsters” and rivals. But Let’s Go Pokemon managed to reignite my excitement within the franchise, and feels like a modernized version of Pokemon Yellow. Which version of the game you buy dictates which Pokemon you start out with, and the opening scene to meeting Pikachu or Eevee is absolutely adorable.
I do remember that as much as I loved Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow, not being able to “see” the Pokemon in the wild and just being attacked at random (and sometimes attacked too often) was quite irritating. I’ll chalk it up to modern technology, but Let’s Go Pokemon let’s you see and choose which Pokemon you want to interact with. You can also tell ahead of time if the wild Pokemon is special, as it will either have a blue or red ribbon swirling around it that indicates it’s either tiny or large. When you choose to engage with a wild Pokemon, Let’s Go borrows mechanics from Pokemon Go. You can entice the wild Pokemon with berries to either calm them or get more items/experience/etc. out of the interaction. And you toss a Pokeball by aiming. No more need to fight them down to a low health, only for them to die or run away last minute.
This change to catching Pokemon has made the frequent battles with trainers in the wild more tolerable. You’re not having to fight both Pokemon and Trainers, at least right out the gate. You can simply catch Pokemon, and save your health and items for battles that count. That being said, when you reach a certain level you will need to start fighting Pokemon occasionally, in order to catch them. But it’s few and far between.
While I could go on all day about Let’s Go Pokemon, I won’t bore you with the details. If you have a Switch, this game is a must.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
With this being the year of the Switch, I had to include the much anticipated release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. From the title screen, I was hooked and have sunk nearly 10 hours so far into battling it out and unlocking new characters. It’s a fantastic party game, and a must for the Switch. In fact, the entire Super Smash Bros. franchise is a must for each Nintendo console it’s been released on thus far.
Jurassic World Evolution
Ok, so Jurassic World Evolution isn’t a total miss for games released in 2018. But… It did leave quite a bit to be desired. The game play and quests overall becomes repetitive, which leads to feeling burnt out on the grind to reach specific goals to expand your park to other islands. The interactions between different species doesn’t quite add up to how they would behave IRL, and for a general biz-simulator, you seem very limited with what you can and cannot do. Much different from Frontier’s previous game, “Planet Coaster” that we couldn’t shut up about for some time.
It’s worth noting that Frontier has taken feedback on the game seriously, and it has improved (slowly) over time. Because of this, I assume the game will continue to get better with each update, however, I would have expected most of these features being implemented to be available at launch rather than created to appease the community.
NEW TO ME GAME OF THE YEAR
Dead by Daylight
So, Dead by Daylight was released in June 2016, but it’s “new to me” as of this year. I first got sucked in to the franchise after watching Twitch streamer OoOSkittles play for 8 hours a day. I picked up a copy on sale and instantly got immersed. This is everything that the Friday the 13th game should have been, and so much more. If you aren’t familiar with Dead by Daylight, think of it as hide and seek, with 1 killer and 4 survivors. Your objective as a survivor is to repair generators in order to “Escape” the killer. In the process, you can use various map items to speed up progress, evade the killer, and heal up as needed. The game can be fun, infuriating, and rewarding all in one. And while Dead by Daylight does have DLC, it doesn’t limit much of the game play. Through grinding, you can unlock the survivors and killers using in-game currency, or you can pay $6.99 USD for the DLC to unlock both instantly. Even without the DLC, you can still play on every map in the game, so you aren’t under any obligation to purchase DLC to progress in the game.
Not only is the Spiderman game absolutely gorgeous, but it also has unique mechanics (that are also fun), a good story line, and plenty of quests that live within it’s MASSIVE world.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
It’s an obvious pick. And our “Best Games of 2018” list wouldn’t be complete without it. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has a massive roster of characters and plenty of maps to choose from, without changing up the formula that we were used to all too much. That being said, #FixSnakesButt
Metal Gear Survive
The game that literally no one asked for. The game arrives a few years too late on the zombie apocalypse hype train, and has nothing to do with MGS. It’s the equivalent of buying a Casio watch and writing Rolex on it with a sharpie. Then, pretending that it is an actual Rolex.
Wait, does Casio still make watches?
NEW TO ME GAME OF THE YEAR
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is an awesome RPG with a chibi art style and is similar to games like Disgaea, Phantom Brave and other Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) titles. The RPG play style is a first person POV and has the feel of an old school RPG like the original “Might and Magic” games. The combat system is simple and easy to pick up, but definitely not reinventing the wheel… Which is fine for a game like this. The characters are likeable, and the overall game is story driven to the point to keep me hooked and play 8 hours straight in my first sitting. And, there’s still plenty of game to go from here.
Call of Duty: BlackOps 4
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 came out swinging at launch, with a huge arsenal of new maps and modes. Blackout is seemingly the strongest of the modes, and my favorite. It’s a massive, online survival mode that let’s you team up with your squad, or queue solo with ease. And, the COD name on this mode really helps give it a fighting chance against the similar and popular game, Fortnite.
The Video Game Industry Overall
The video game industry overall was a huge miss in 2018. Lack of innovation really was the star this year, as franchises and game modes were rehashed for whatever trend was rising at the time. Popular games like Fortnite were copied by every other studio out there, despite Fortnite not being the first to take on a Battle-Royale mode infused with hot memes and pop culture.
In 2019, I just want to be excited again. I want to stay up late and watch streams from conventions and hear something new. I want to spend a few hours in line at PAX East and know I’m seeing something revolutionary. LET’S GO!
NEW TO ME GAME OF THE YEAR
While Fortnite debuted in 2016, it’s new to me this year. The game play mashes up the mechanics of Battle-Royale and Survival, while fusing it with unique building options to get to higher ground or evade enemies on the fly. Fortnite Season 6 introduced Pets as a new form of “Back Bling”, and brought in some significant amount of cosmetics, map changes, and challenge modes. In Season 7, we saw winter come to the island and a bounty of new cosmetic gifts — including a new vehicle — grace our presence.